The Issue with Julia’s Plot in The Magicians

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Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

(Content warning: Discussion of sexual assault. Also, spoilers).

Okay, so, I’ve been catching up on The Magicians (the show, not the books. I have not read the books, so please don’t point any blame at Grossman).

And I have profound issues with Julia Wicker’s storyline. I like the show. I like the way that it points out the deep issues with Narnia. Elliot is the best character on TV since my girl Parker (Leverage).

But.

Julia Wicker’s storyline just has…issues.

(As a note, I’m behind. I just watched the episode in which they all sing “Under Pressure” and am mad that they didn’t include “Love Shack.” I may update this once I catch up).

Sexual Assault

The problem starts when Julia is raped by Reynard the Fox. I’m not going to use any euphemisms here.

She’s raped.

Now, I don’t necessarily have the issues many do with rape as a storyline, and in this case it’s not being used to motivate a man close to the victim. It’s also not gratuitous, but central to what is going on.

Her memory is wiped then restored and Revenge is on her mind. But there’s something else…

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Photo by Yaopey Yong on Unsplash

Abortion and Monsters

Julia’s pregnant with Reynard’s kid. Like many rape victims, she elects to have an abortion. With magic involved, this ends up being quite complicated.

They finally do it, but it results in the separation of Julia’s “shade,” the part of one’s soul that… Okay.

She loses her humanity and becomes a monster. As a direct result of aborting a rapists’ child.

I didn’t need the side of pro life messaging.

Victimization and Power

Julia now appears to have a measure of Reynard’s power, which is getting stronger all the time.

Oh, and she doesn’t get revenge either. Why? Reynard’s mom talks her out of it.

Seriously.

All a rapist has to do is appeal to his mom? Really?

So, basically we have this tangled mess which sends all kinds of weird messages and I’m not liking it.

Maybe it’ll be salvaged in the next few episodes, and it’s not ruining the show for me, but I really could have done without it.

(Yes, she does get her humanity back).

Written by

Freelance writer, freelance editor, novelist and short story writer. Jack of many trades. https://www.jenniferrpovey.com/

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