- Harry Potter: Time turners, Quidditch and Hermione Granger are all name-dropped—the books seem to exist within the universe.
- Obviously, Narnia is the basis for the Show Within a Show that provides the title.
- Word of God is that Quentin was named after a character in The Sound and the Fury.
- The five Chatwin children are named after real-life intrepid explorer Bruce Chatwin.
- The great field of grass that is known as "The Sea" is a play on the Dothraki Sea in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire.
- One particular scene is explicitly borrowed from In Search of Lost Time, where Marcel stumbles on a lesbian couple having a sado-masochistic affair.
- A marble nicknamed "Rakshasa" refers to an old D&D character in the Monster Manual.
- It's also the name of a creature in Hindu mythology.
- Sir Hotspots is actually a reference to Martin Tenbones in The Sandman.
- Amelia Popper’s Practical Exercises for Young Magicians refers to a similar David Popper's books on the cello.
- "Ricky, the man behind the counter," is named for great magician and magic scholar Ricky Jay.
- The use of the word "coolth" is from a story titled Beauty and the Beasts. Most editors try to take it out.
- Given that Grossman is a fan of Iain M. Banks, a brief (sailing) reference to a "very fast picket" in The Magician King is most likely a nod to the space warships by that name in the Culture novels.
- Near the end, Emily Greenstreet talks about how magic gives her the howling fantods.
- The support group Free Trader Beowulf is a reference to the back cover blurb for Traveller, which captures the distress call of a ship breaking up in deep space, desperately seeking assistance from anyone.
- Discworld and Ringworld are both namedropped in book two.
- Quentin's middle name, Makepeace, may be a shoutout to the character Quentin Makepeace from The Bartimaeus Trilogy.
Shout Out / The Magicians
A list of Shout Outs in The Magicians.