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Statement of Jurgen Leitner regarding his life and works. Recorded direct from subject.


Following the apparent banishment of Not-Sasha at the end of the previous episode, Jonathan Sims is left with his apparent saviour. He has revealed himself to be Jurgen Leitner as well as the mysterious figure who had been previously seen living in the tunnels and stealing from the Archives.

He tells John that he trapped Not-Sasha using 'an unexpurgated copy' of Ruskin's The Seven Lamps of Architecture. He claims to be able to use it to manipulate Robert Smirke's architecture, allowing him to capture Not-Sasha as well as reorient the tunnels to hide from John. He also reveals that he has been using his copy of A Disappearance to hide from John's 'master'.

Leitner explains that he has been in hiding since the destruction of his library in 1994, on the run from creatures and people who are hunting for him.

He then explains why he started his library. As the scion of a wealthy manufacturing family, Leitner lived a youth without struggle or need, but he always felt a calling to make something of himself. His one talent was finding and purchasing rare and valuable objects. Soon enough, he encountered his first of the books, The Stalwart Hunters' Almanac, following the violent death of its previous owner. Shortly afterwards, he hired his first assistant, Albert Stross, who barely lasted a fortnight.

Leitner's collection of these books continued to expand and he found that finding them was surprisingly easy. When he began encountering problems with storing certain books in close proximity to one another, he looked to the architecture of Robert Smirke for a solution and commissioned a house to be built upon his principles to allow for safe storage. At its height, his library held 978 books of varying types in the building's complex and bizarre architecture.

A few years later his library was assaulted. It began with strange people visiting and asking to see his collections. Soon after, the library was attacked by various entities, forcing Leitner to flee and resulting in the library being burned to the ground. Ever since, he has been on the run.

Leitner goes on to explain his understanding of The Entities behind the books, telling John how he believes the books (and creatures such as Michael and the NotThem) to be manifestations of vast, powerful beings that reside outside our normal perception. He also tells John that he believes Elias killed Gertrude, who he had been working with in the hopes of destroying the Archives, and that Elias took the files related to their plans. Leitner reveals that the Institute is a place of power for the entity known as 'Beholding', and that John belongs to it too.

John, overwhelmed, leaves to have a cigarette, at which point Elias enters the room, surprised and pleased to discover who Gertrude had been working with. Leitner tries to get the files from Elias, which he claims hold everything Gertrude found on stopping The Stranger and The Unknowing. Elias, however, brutally murders Leitner with a pipe and leaves. John returns, but flees upon seeing Leitner's body. The body is then discovered by Tim and Martin, who have managed to escape Michael's corridors.


  • Jurgen Leitner is played by Paul Sims, Jonny Sims' father.
  • This is the only season finale in which the statement giver is neither a servant or recent victim of an entity (his murder aside.)


This section contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot. Continue at your own risk.

  • Related Entity: Numerous, Leitner's account of the attack on his library features various familiar sounding entities. The fact that they all serve various different Entities, some diametrically opposed, is a testament to how much they hated Leitner's work.
    • 'Something with too many teeth and limbs like knives': A creature of The Hunt similar to the "werewolf" in MAG 31. It was later stated to be a separate but closely related creature in the Season 2 Q&A.
    • 'A cavernous maw opening beneath [an assistant]': An unclear manifestation. Thematically, it could be tied to The Buried, but by description it could also be The Flesh, as with its manifestation in MAG 49.
    • 'A door that shouldn't have been there': A manifestation of The Spiral, likely The Distortion due to the similarity of its appearances in MAG 47 and MAG 78.
    • 'A great hand [that] reached down through the roof and plucked away [an assistant]': Possibly a creature of The Vast, such as that seen in MAG 51.
    • 'A great, pulsating pile of meat': A creature or manifestation of The Flesh, similar to and possibly the same as that in MAG 18.
    • 'Rooms that had fallen into darkness': Manifestations of The Dark akin to those seen in MAG 9, MAG 52, and MAG 73. By their very nature, it is impossible to know whether anything lurked within them.
    • 'Rooms that […] burned with a fire that seemed to leave the books untouched': Manifestations of The Desolation.
  • 'An angry Goth', presumed by John to be Gerard Keay, apparently once almost beat Leitner to death. The incident is later mentioned by Gerard himself in MAG 111.
  • This statement seems to suggest that Elias and Leitner are both seeking to fight The Stranger, despite their animosity towards each other.
  • Elias likely continued to hide Gertrude’s notes in order to ensure John would be present at The Unknowing, which he knew would fail and which was essential to his own ritual, as revealed in MAG 160.