|Also known as|| Q|
The Volunteer Tomato
The Moderately, Socially Maladjusted
|Relatives|| Ted Coldwater (father)|
Arielle † (wife) (alternate timeline)
Eliot Waugh (husband) (alternate timeline)
Rupert (son) (alternate timeline)
Unknown grandchildren (alternate timeline)
King of Fillory
Columbia University (formerly; Magna Cum Laude)
|Portrayed by||Jason Ralph|
|First Appearance||Unauthorized Magic|
|Last Appearance||A Life in the Day|
Quentin Coldwater is a New York Magician at Brakebills University. Quentin has always been on the outside looking in. He's awkward, unsure, overthinks everything, He's the sort of guy always pining from afar (especially for his childhood best friend, Julia). It's no wonder the world of magic – especially in his favorite book series, Fillory and Further – has been such an escape. But, as Quentin discovers upon entering Brakebills University, magic is more than the card tricks he's learned over the years. It's very real and he can wield it. Seemingly for the first time in Quentin's life, the future doesn't look so bleak.
After suffering from the loss of Alice during their confrontation with the Beast, Quentin begins on a quest that even the most powerful of magicians believe to be impossible: restoring his lost love back to life. Throughout his journey, he finds himself making deals with dragons, confronting gods, robbing banks, and saving an entire kingdom from impending doom. However, as all things magic come with a price, Quentin and his friends' actions leave them scrambling to save magic itself, or face the possibility of returning to the bleak life he'd escaped once already.
In the 23rd Timeline, Quentin's Shade was torn apart by the Beast, which sent Alice Quinn into a rampage to find it, so that his soul may rest. Ember also mentions, in the 40th timeline, that normally by the time Quentin got into his temple, he had already killed Julia Wicker, his childhood best friend.
In the 40th timeline, Quentin is first encountered preparing for a Yale interview with Julia. After he finds the would-be interviewer dead, the paramedic, a woman named Eliza, hands him a package meant for him from the interviewer. Its contents, Fillory and Further Book 6: The Magicians, a seemingly lost addition of his childhood favorite series. After a brief argument with Julia, who insisted he give up the childhood fantasy of Fillory, the two part ways. As he begins reading, a piece of paper snatched by the wind lures him to a hidden portal that brings him to Brakebills University, a prestigious college of magic in upstate New York.
He passes an Entrance Exam, a collection of ingenious mathematical and otherwise mind-bending problems, then discovers his magical prowess when he manipulated a set of cards with his mind. He is later admitted to matriculate there along with the other studying magicians, remains at the school for the short time before the school year starts, spending his days with Eliot and Margo, the former of whom he met when he first arrived on campus.
Quentin has long, brown hair and brown eyes. His hair tends to look a little unwashed at times and gets messy, giving him an overall scruffy appearance.
- "My friend Julia said that I couldn't run away hard enough. She's right. I run and I find secret doors - whether I'm alone or in a group, it doesn't matter. Like I'm here. I'm in this amazing place. I have literal magic in my life and I'm still running. I'm still this person that I fucking hate."
- —Quentin Coldwater[src]
Intelligent, driven, and melancholic. Quentin is an introverted person but fiercely driven to grasp the power that’s been handed to him. He’s always suspected there was something different about him, and now he has the chance to prove it. But his low self-esteem and depression sometimes hold him back.
Quentin is a friendly but shy and awkward individual; he is happy to talk but often stumbles on his own words in a conversation. He has been a fan of the Fillory and Further series since his childhood and yearns to fill his life with the same adventures found in the books.
Quentin, before discovering Brakebills, was suffering from isolation anxiety, stating that the feeling of not belonging anywhere was overwhelming and that he was "the most useless person to ever live". As pointed out by Dean Fogg, however, he was never truly depressed. In reality, Quentin was lonely, and angry at the world, but this soon faded as he adjusted to his new life.
As he began his college career at Brakebills, he quickly made friends with Eliot Waugh, whom he met before his Exam, and Margo Hanson, upperclassmen and Physical Kids who held most of the authority in their Discipline House, the Cottage, after the mysterious disappearance of most of the Third-year class.
A neophyte to being a Magician, Quentin initially had very little understanding and control of his magical abilities. As such, he was easily impressed, along with the rest of his classmates, at the advanced capabilities of Alice Quinn, whom he came to admire and respect. He worried about his time at Brakebills, his fear of flunking out pushing him to ask if Alice would mentor him due to her comprehension. After the attack by The Beast, Quentin grew increasingly paranoid, as he and Alice, along with Penny and Kady, two other students in their year, performed the ritual that allowed it to get through Brakebills' wards. His paranoia drove him to steal an Emerson's Alloy Repellant from Penny, in fear of having his knowledge of magic removed and being forced to return to the mundane world he escaped from.
Upon his revelation that Fillory, the setting of the Fillory and Further series, was real, Quentin fantasized about traveling there to live out his childhood fantasy. After arriving, Quentin expresses a desire to be Fillory's hero and savior but decides that Alice, a much more capable magician than him, should be that hero.
Magic and AbilitiesEdit
- Journeyman Magician: Quentin is considered to be a very gifted magician with great potential. Even without the knowledge of magic's existence, Quentin was an adept practitioner of street magic, excelling in both sleight-of-hand and card tricks, as displayed in Dr. London's office and during his Entrance Exam respectively. Though his discipline is yet to be determined, Quentin is able to perform different kinds of magic and spells to varying degrees of success, though he has been grouped with the Physical Kids for the time being. He was able to summon a pocket watch into his hand when The Beast first attacked, and in Fillory he materialized a god-slaying sword into his hands to face Ember. During the Welters competition, Quentin was able to create a miniature vortex, winning the team the game; however, he had little control over it, as he struggled to shut it down. While under the effects of the Scarlotti's Web hex, where he was trapped in a fictitious world without magic, Quentin was able to bypass the power of the hex, performed by two powerful hedges, and cast a spell, despite previous attempts having failed. After slaying the Fillorian god Ember, and thereby upsetting the natural balance, the Old Gods sent their emissary, the Plumber, to cut humanity's connection to magic, rendering Quentin and every other magician powerless, except for Julia Wicker, leading him down the journey to restore it again.
- Telekinesis: As a Physical Kid, Quentin has shown himself to be adept at using telekinesis, notably during his Entrance Exam, when he manipulated a deck of cards telekinetically and formed a replica of Castle Whitespire, complete with its rotating towers.
- Mind control: Quentin first learned about mind control at Brakebills' the main campus in New York, where they are taught not to use this class of magic on living creatures. However, during their time at Brakebills South, Quentin and his classmates were extensively instructed on mind control by Professor Mayakovsky. At first, Quentin struggled with asserting his will on smaller insects, prompting Mayakovsky to get inventive with his direction. After being attached to a crude disciplinary device that would shock them if they made a mistake, Quentin and Alice, fortunately, navigated a bushel of fireflies through a chain of rings. Later, he's seen single-handedly guiding a mass of bees during a bank heist, having successfully sharpened his mental discipline enough to sufficiently control them to a high degree.
- Battle magic: Quentin first used battle magic without knowing what he was doing. He used it against Penny after memorizing the spell cast by Kady during The Beast's attack. Afterwards, the looming threat of The Beast pushed Quentin, Penny, and the rest of the Physical Kids to teach themselves rudimentary battle magic with a little help from Kady. As this field of magic requires years to fully master (at least a decade or so of training, according to Kady), the group took a shortcut to quicken the process by suppressing their emotions in magical flasks. After becoming more affiliated with it, Quentin no longer needed to bottle up his emotions, as shown when Quentin used his new found skills in the Skirmish in Fillory. However, his magic was still relatively weak during the confrontation, as Martin Chatwin was able to easily deflect his attacks. Quentin was able to successfully employ a shield charm, strengthened by the cooperative effort of Margo and Eliot, intending to use it to trap the Beast in place so Alice could utilize the Rhineman Ultra.
- Interdimensional Travel: While in possession of the Button, Quentin was able to traverse between Fillory, The Neitherlands, and Earth.
- Illusion magic: During a bank heist, Quentin is seen casting an Illusion spell on the bank's security cameras, scrubbing the group's images from the footage.
- Gifted Intellect: Quentin is able to grasp the full comprehension of magical theory as taught at Brakebills University. As is the standard for all Magicians, Quentin possesses at least an Above Average level of intelligence that enables him to utilize the concept of magic and apply it in the physical world. He was slated to go to Princeton before his discovery of Brakebills, and was able to beat the Madness Maker, a rogue trickster magician who went insane, at his own game, a testament to his intellect. After his instruction with Professor Mayakovsky, his intelligence allows him to perform the meta-mathematics involved in spellcasting to allow him to innately know the Circumstances surrounding his castings, as well as construct magical formulas and equations for spellcraft. Quentin's understanding of magical theory allowed him to create the ritual used to bring back Alice from her state as a Niffin, something no other Magician in history could accomplish.
- Multilingual: Quentin, as well as every other Magician, is able to speak and read in a multitude of languages, as it is a basic requirement for spellcasting. He's been able to speak Old High German, Arabic, Greek, Romanian, Latin, Russian, and Slavic, though his Ancient Egyptian is somewhat lacking.
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Quentin and his father had a strained relationship for a long time. Since Quentin had discovered his father has cancer, they began to reconcile their differences. Quentin desperately wants to cure his father's brain cancer, the newly discovered illness being all he can think about for a while, but he eventually accepts that curing cancer is impossible even with magic after he tries the cancer curing spell on a puppy and ends up killing it. His father knows about his magic abilities and accepts them.
Julia and Quentin have been best friends since their childhood and had a close, familial relationship that has manifested as a brotherly-sisterly love for one another. However, upon their introduction to magic, as well as Quentin's admittance to Brakebills University, their relationship was increasingly strained to the point of a bitter rivalry forming between the two. This rivalry eventually peaked when Julia, with the assistance of (and manipulation from) Marina Andrieski hexed Quentin with a powerful spell that the latter revealed would inevitably drive Quentin mad, and ultimately kill him. Upon realizing the extent in which she'd gone to get back at her friend, Julia pleaded with Dean Fogg to help her save him. After Quentin learned the particulars of their relationships in previous timelines, the two soon reconciled their differences after he apologized for not believing in her. Unlike his previous incarnation, Quentin doesn't admittedly have a blatant attraction to Julia but was shown to be romantically jealous of her relationship with James. However, he resented her relationship due to him feeling as though Julia left him behind in their friendship, as she soon grew out of their shared fandom for the Fillory and Further series, and spent less time with him to be with James. Upon learning of her assault by Reynard, Quentin grows increasingly protective and defensive over Julia, to the point where he argued on her behalf when confronted by his friends over her intrusion with their plans to kill the Beast.
Quentin met Eliot Waugh during the day of his Entrance Exam to Brakebills University. Initially, Eliot was dismissive with Quentin, as his only job then was to escort him to the Entrance Exam. However, after his admittance, Eliot was quick to become more familiar with Quentin, introducing him to Margo Hanson on his official first day. Since then, they've been close friends, talking and drinking together. Quentin, for the most part, ignored Eliot's frequent sexual comments; however, when trapped in the Scarlotti's Web hex cast upon him by Julia and Marina, Eliot was shown to be more aggressive in his advances, offering to trade sexual favors in return for drugs, hinting that Quentin may see Eliot's advances as more serious than he lets on. Later, Quentin, under the effects of a hedge spell, had a threesome with Margo and Eliot, inadvertently having an affair in his relationship with Alice. While this put a strain on their friendship, they eventually decide to move past it as they become Fillorian Kings.
While searching for one of the golden keys, Eliot and Quentin travel to Fillory to solve a mosaic with only, "the beauty of life", to help them. Upon arrival at the mosaic, they discover it is difficult to solve and begin to spend a lifetime devoted to solving it. One year in, Eliot and Quentin kiss and form a deep bond. Upon the death of Quentin's Fillorian wife, Ariella, Eliot helps Quentin parent his son Rupert. Eliot and Quentin grow old together, Rupert travels away, and Quentin turns one day to discover Eliot dead. While burying Eliot, Quentin discovers a missing golden tile to the mosaic and solves the puzzle. We learn that Jane Chatwin had the key all along and after recieving a letter from old Quentin, Margo finds the key and stops Eliot and Quentin from traveling back in the first place. Later, Quentin and Eliot remember the life they shared together.
Since the beginning, Penny has found Quentin irritating, while Quentin considers him an asshole for the most part. After Penny blamed Quentin for releasing The Beast on campus, Quentin, in frustration, used battle magic against Penny, which backfired and hit himself. As Penny learned that The Beast was targeting Travelers and trying to kill him, the pair formed an uneasy alliance with one another.
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Quentin first approaches Alice for help when he receives the sigil on his hand, and tries to summon her deceased brother, inadvertently summoning the beast. He has sex with Alice whilst driven by animalistic desire, and their relationship then builds from there. However the two break up after Margo, Eliot and Quentin have a threesome, and Quentin then overhears Alice having sex with Penny, Alice later saying he 'can't shame [her] for it' due to him sleeping with Eliot and Margo, Quentin in return arguing that he was drunk on emotion magic and she was not. Their relationship only continues to worsen after Alice becomes a niffin, after which Quentin goes against his promise to let her be free and restores her humanity.