* AuthorTract: Grossman's atheist views and apparent distaste for Christianity tend to [[OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions bleed into the characters' opinions]] rather glaringly, particularly in ''The Magician King''.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: At the end of the Brakebills welters tournament, Quentin experiences a revelation about things that don't matter, throws the match, picks Alice up, and jumps with her into a pool of water of unknown depth. None of this is ever mentioned again.
* CompleteMonster: [[Literature/ReynardTheFox Reynard the Fox]] from ''The Magician King'' is a hulking mass of muscle, red fur and sharp teeth, summoned by a sect of magicians who believe they are calling upon a benevolent goddess. When summoned, Reynard promptly proceeds to take the "sacrifices" he sees as his. Setting upon the magicians, Reynard kills many of them horribly and painfully, mortally wounding one and sneering over the young man's dying attempt to offer himself to let the final two live. When one promises her life in exchange for the other's, Reynard [[ExactWords chooses to interpret it in a dark way]]: he promptly brutally rapes her in front of her friend and tears her humanity out when finished.
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: One of the major themes of the series seems to be that human beings are not psychologically prepared to deal with a world in which magic is real. May cross into FantasticAesop.
* JerkassWoobie: Quentin drifts strongly towards assholish behavior in some chapters, but he remains consistently pitiable because a lot of the assholish behavior is rooted in his own psychological issues.
* NightmareFuel: When time stops still in the middle of class and the Beast appears, though they can't move, everyone is still aware of what's happening, which means that Amanda Orloff was perfectly conscious the entire time she was being eaten alive ''one bite at a time'', and probably a few people had no choice but to watch it all. The Beast counts as this in general.
* StoicWoobie: Elliot, as Quentin comes to discern, has a very hard-won outward coolness.
* TheWoobie: Quentin (at least in the early chapters), Alice, and at times Josh.