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In The Magician's Land, Quentin finds out that his father has died suddenly. After raiding his study, he finds no indication that his father was anything other than a completely ordinary man.

Seemingly the only difference his father's death makes is a slight increase in his own power, for unknown reasons, and it is generally never mentioned again.

What is the purpose of Quentin's father dying in this book, both to the plot and to the meta-analysis of the story (hero's journey and such)?

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The death of Quentin's father serves two purposes:

  • In Universe: Many times in the story, it is implied that Quentin is not important. In the first book, he's nothing special and it's Alice who was needed to kill The Beast. This is a recurring theme in the books. Someone is always better, faster, stronger, smarter, and more special than you. Quentin thinking that his father had some special background - and coming to terms with the fact that he doesn't - is one of the last transitions Quentin needs to make to reach full maturity.
  • Out of Universe: Lev Grossman's father, Allen Grossman, died during his writing of The Magician's Land. Writing about Quentin's father's death helped Lev come to terms with his own father's death.

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