Quentin Coldwater/Eliot Waugh

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Pairing: Quentin Coldwater/Eliot Waugh
Alternative name(s): Queliot
Gender category: Slash, M/M
Fandom: The Magicians
Canonical?: Canon
Prevalence: Popular
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Quentin Coldwater/Eliot Waugh is the pairing of Quentin Coldwater and Eliot Waugh in The Magicians fandom.


Spoiler Warning: This article may contain spoilers. If this bothers you, proceed with caution.

Quentin meets Eliot at Brakebills University, a school where magicians are educated in the different disciplines of magic. Eliot, an openly queer man, rapidly becomes Quentin's friend and flirts with him throughout the first season, culminating in them having a threesome with Eliot's best friend Margo. Despite the negative consequences of this escapade on Quentin's relationship with his girlfriend Alice Quinn, the two men maintain their friendship.

In season 3, the group undertakes the Quest for the Seven Keys. In episode 3x05 "A Life in the Day," their search leads to Quentin and Eliot being transported to Fillory, several decades in the past, where they spend their lives together trying to complete a mosaic meant to demonstrate "the beauty of all life." After their deaths and as a result of time manipulation, that timeline is prevented from happening, but both characters regain their memories of their past life together anyway, deepening their friendship bond.

Eliot spends most of season 4 possessed by a monster and shoved to a corner of his own mind, with Quentin and the rest of the gang trying to save him and/or stop the monster. In episode 4x05 "Escape from the Happy Place," it is revealed that after their return from the mosaic timeline, Quentin offered to rekindle their relationship but Eliot turned him down. This is shown to the audience (but not to Quentin) to be Eliot's single biggest regret, and the show implies that, should Eliot escape the monster, he would attempt to get Quentin back.

Book canon vs. TV show canon

Lev Grossman references the cult classic homoerotic novel Brideshead Revisited as one of his major influences[1] and went as far as giving Eliot the author's surname. Despite several incidents - Quentin walking in on Eliot having sex with another male character and wondering why Eliot didn't pick him, the threesome with Margo - the idea that their relationship could be anything other than friendship remained largely subtext in the book, and Quentin's potential bisexuality is never clearly addressed.

The show was therefore applauded for bringing that relationship from subtext to text, first during season 3 with its "nod" to slash fandom (albeit in a timeline that, ultimately, never took place) and then in season 4, opening the possibility of the relationship coming to fruition in the show's main timeline.

See for example: The Magicians paid off 74 years of queer subtext this week (by Constance Grady, Vox.com, Feb 24, 2019):

This week on Syfy’s The Magicians, a long-established subtext, a subtext that has arguably been building since 1945, finally became text. I am talking, of course, about Quentin Coldwater declaring his love for Eliot Waugh. [...] This week, The Magicians TV show finally made the subtext text. It explicitly signposted Quentin and Eliot’s story as one of romantic love, one where they would kiss and express their love for each other and it wouldn’t be a weird self-destructive one-off. It made the slash canon.


From the beginning Queliot was the dominant ship in the TV fandom, but the fandom itself was fairly small. For example in the year following the shows release, 65 fics were posted to Ao3 of which 40 featured the pairing of Quentin/Eliot.[2] On the day episode 3x05 aired, there was 486 works in the Magicians fandom, of which 265 featured Queliot.

The episode 'A Day in the Life' (3x05) drew a lot of shipping fans to the series. The depiction of two men growing old together, albeit in an alternative timeline, was seen by many as evidence that Queliot would become canon. Some fans argue that Queliot was already canon at this point, but other fans were eager to see these two in a committed romantic relationship. This influx of new shippers lead to an increase in the number of fanworks been produced in this pairing.

As of May 2019, there are 2186 fics on Ao3 in the Magicians (TV) fandom, of which 1501 feature Quentin/Eliot.

The influx of new Queliot fans included many fans of the series Supernatural. Sera Gamble, the showrunner for The Magicians, has previously worked on Supernatural as a writer, and this many have encouraged some SPN fans as well. Some tensions did arise in the fandom due to SPN fans making comparisons between Queliot and Destiel, and often referencing Supernatural. Many Magicians fans and Queliot shippers, were not fans of this series or pairing and took issue with these comparisons.

full offense but can people new to the magicians fandom stop making everything about supernatural? they’re two different shows?
#keep your bad straight fantasy away from my good queer fantasy thanks #the magicians #sera gamble didnt make queliot canon bc she felt bad about ‘not making destiel canon’ #if she had wanted destiel to be canon #(and the other showrunners did) #it would be #so just like #leave my boys alone #theyre their own better more honest less queerbaited characters #queliot [3]

Events in the season 4 finale, have resulted in another surge in the number of fanworks been produced for this pairing. Between the airdate of the season 4 finale, April 17 2019, and May 8 2019, there have been over a 100 fics posted to Ao3 featuring the tag fix-it. See Fan Response to Season 4 for more information.

Further Reading

Common Tropes & Storylines

  • Missing scenes and episode related fics set during or after episodes Remedial Battle Magic, A Life in the Day and Escape from the Happy Place are common.
  • Fix-it fics set in and after season 4 abound, sometimes relying on the Magical Healing Cock trope.
  • Domestic fics set in the mosaic timeline are common.
  • A few dubcon and noncon stories also exist, mostly involving the Monster's apparent attraction to Quentin in S4.

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.




Archives & Fannish Links


  1. Lev Grossman, AV Club Interview by Todd VanDerWerff, 8/08/2011.
  2. Based on the number of fics updated in Magicians fandom, between 2015-1-1 and 2016-12-16.
  3. Full Offense a tumblr post by barryblvck