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THE MAGICIANS Star Hale Appleman Talks Eliot’s Season 2 Struggles as High King of Fillory

THE MAGICIANS Star Hale Appleman Talks Eliot’s Season 2 Struggles as High King of Fillory

Warning: this story contains spoilers from the season two premiere of The Magicians, “Knight of Cups.”

It ain’t easy being king. That’s a lesson that Eliot (Hale Appleman) quickly learned in The Magicians season one finale, as he was miraculously chosen by a magical knife of all things to be the new High King of Fillory … a magical world filled with people and creatures that he knew nothing about. And he could never leave it again. And he had to marry a woman. Being an out and proud gay man who loved everything about his life and friends on Earth, those were all pretty big pills for him to swallow. But he did it for the greater good, and now he’ll have to live with the consequences of his actions in season two.

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“He finally got his own storyline!” Appleman joked to us on set in Vancouver when talking about Eliot’s new life as as High King of Fillory. “There’s a lot of struggle when it comes to Eliot and when it comes to handling the repercussions of committing his life to a time and a place that he doesn’t understand and the people and a country that he has no history with or concept of.”

All throughout season one, Eliot also struggled with addiction to alcohol and substance abuse, so adding the responsibilities of ruling an entire magical world along with having to marry someone he is not attracted to and doesn’t even know is the recipe for disaster.

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“In terms of his struggle with addiction we’ll see him attempt to recreate aspects of his life before he got to Fillory and want to exist in the way that he did in Brakebills,” Appleman said. “But as in life, sometimes you grow out of who you were and you can’t go back. There will be some time jumps so you won’t see him sweating through his itch for substances in quite that intense way, but you see him struggle with reckoning who he was with who he is now and not knowing who that is, having created a really clear template of the persona that he wanted to project to everyone he met and now realizing that that doesn’t fit anymore. He’s still trying to hold the curtains together and not let anyone see the insides but he’s not at the top of his class at Brakebills and in this sweet little magic bubble that he’s risen to the top of. He’s in a new world, in a country that is wild and essentially endless. He’s in over his head.”

Appleman was excited to explore Eliot’s journey in season two, as this tumultuous upheaval of his life will bring out a new side to the formerly confident and quick-witted magician.

“With conflict and struggle, Eliot’s vulnerabilities slip out at moments, and his inability to keep a safeguard on his emotions, they win out sometimes,” Appleman said. “You will see some cracks in his veneer and you will also see quite a very kingly veneer as well. Eliot’s version of being a king, you’ll see a lot of that. But for sure, you’ll see him struggle with holding it together and struggle with keeping his mask mysterious. He has a heart that’s beating louder than he wants it to and it makes his way out every now and again.”

Syfy

By the end of the season two premiere, Eliot’s friends including his BFF Margo (Summer Bishil) realized they needed to leave Fillory to find a piece of battle magic at Brakebills that had the power to defeat the Beast (Charles Mesure). Since Eliot can’t leave Fillory ever again, and time passes differently in the magical world, he has no idea how long it will be until he sees his friends again. He shared a heartbreaking goodbye with Margo and Quentin (Jason Ralph), and that feeling of being alone won’t go away anytime soon for Eliot.

“It’s going to be difficult without Margo,” Appleman said. “That relationship is very codependent and they will always find each other. They need each other. They love each other. They are so connected on a deep level. But Eliot is reconciling with his own demons with a lot of time alone, away from everyone else, essentially thrown into this position that he has no idea what he’s doing. He’s forced to step up on his own for the first time ever.”

However, he won’t be truly alone as he has his new wife by his side! “I don’t think he knows how to deal with that aspect of his life either,” Appleman said with a laugh. “Obviously this is not the person he would have chosen for himself. Eliot was the last character who was ready to tie the knot and commit himself to anyone full-time forever, let alone a woman. ‘Til death do us part’ are not words I can hear him saying anytime soon, but he had to. I think it’s valiant that he made that decision but it’s going to be a real internal conflict for him. He is not able to fully be himself and that’s a big issue. He’s not fulfilled.”

Syfy

That’s not to say that Eliot won’t come to like and appreciate her over time. “She’s certainly not who he would have picked, but she does surprise him in a lot of ways,” Appleman said. “She becomes his anchor in this world he doesn’t know, because she’s from there and can help him understand. There’s a slow building of trust there which he needs after being left on his own by his friends.”

As of now, Eliot’s story will stay in Fillory, and that means that Appleman got to shoot the majority of his season two scenes in the magical world.

“Expanding the show into Fillory gives the show more scope and makes it feel more epic,” Appleman said. “The bubble has popped and we have a bigger canvas to paint on and more colors on the palate. There’s just a lot more at stake now. We’re talking about worlds now, not just a little school upstate. And there are a lot of extraordinary costumes coming. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing Eliot’s kingly wardrobe becomes. Our costume department just knocked it out of the park with every look. It was truly delicious.”

Are you excited to see how High King Eliot rules over Fillory? Tweet me your thoughts and opinions at @SydneyBucksbaum!

The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.

Images: Syfy


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