For other versions of the character, see Bigby (disambiguation).
"Professor Bigby was brilliant, impatient, stubborn, and mercurial. And a 500-year-old Pixie who more or less saw humans as children to be toyed with."
Henry Fogg[src]

Neeny Bigby is a prolific Pixie-American Magician who specializes in Battle Magic and the first non-human professor employed at Brakebills University. During her tenure, Bigby taught several courses, most notably on Battle Magic, for decades until she was fired in the 1970s when the school outlawed the course.


Early Life

First Non-Human Brakebills Professor

Neeny Bigby 1893

Neeny Bigby, the first non-human Professor at Brakebills University.

"It was amazing reading about how you used the Rhinemann at Gettysburg to help win the war for the Union."
"And it was you who slipped it to Rupert Chatwin for the Battle of the Bulge. I mean, you changed history."
"Oh, I did, yes. Many times."
Alice Quinn, Quentin Coldwater, and Neeny Bigby[src]

Neeny Bigby was born circa 1516 on Earth, where she studied magic and became an expert in Battle Magic. She later participated in the American Civil War in the 1860s, allying herself with the Union against the Confederate States of America before culminating in a notable victory during the Battle of Gettysburg where she used the powerful Rhinemann Ultra spell to win the war for the North.[1]

Neeny Bigby 1937

Professor Bigby, Battle Magic Pioneer, in 1937.

Bigby was later hired as the head of the Battle Magic department at Brakebills University in the spring of 1893, a move seen as a progressive step forward for the institution.[2] As the university's scrying specialists detected rumblings of unrest and stirrings of dark magic in Europe in 1937, Professor Bigby urged the school to create an advanced track of Practical Applications geared toward training students in Battle Magic, and the course became a requirement for graduation.

Despite complaints from students and parents that the testing protocol delayed their ability to graduate, the university insisted upon the policy to prevent lethal being put into under prepared hands. In the outbreak of the second World War, Bigby and her students, including James Forsyth and Rupert Chatwin, participated in the design and implementation of highly advanced wards around the school.[3]

Dedicated Professor

In 1973, during her eightieth year as a member of Brakebills' faculty, Professor Bigby became the longest-tenured professor in the school's history. Always striving to outdo herself, Bigby pioneered a new program at Brakebills: an advanced course in Original Spell-Crafting which, despite concerns over unstable energy fields forming around the school due to student-generated spells, was met with great acclaim that put Brakebills at the forefront of magical innovation.[4] During this time, Bigby also began a relationship with Henry Fogg, a young Professor who would eventually become Dean of Brakebills.

Neeny Bigby 1973

Professor Bigby in 1973.

In 1979, when four students were involved in an unsanctioned Battle Magic duel that killed three and left one irreversibly transformed into an ostrich, the course was outlawed by the institution. However, Professor Bigby disagreed with the decision and argued with the school board about it until her tenure was terminated and she was escorted off the campus. Prior to leaving, Bigby hid a copy of Last Hope Options, one of the most powerful texts on Battle Magic, in the school's library with instructions on how to find her before she spoke to Fogg, telling him that the day he would need the spell again will be when it was his "last hope".[1]

Helping Alice Quinn

Bigby greets Henry Fogg at home in Rhode Island

Bigby greets Henry Fogg at her home in Rhode Island.

"No one but you can be within 20 feet of the blast. It will kill anyone, including your Beast. As strong as he is, you're stronger. But not for long. So, stop prattling and get to it."
―Neeny Bigby to Alice Quinn[src]

In 2017, 38 years after her tenure was terminated, Bigby moved into a lakeside house in Rhode Island. While attending to her garden she heard the arrival of Henry Fogg and went to greet him, remarking on his changed appearance before kissing him deeply, lamenting that he was still a wonderful kisser. She then asked if he would be able to go to bed with her, but Fogg declined, stating that he was on short time before introducing his students, Alice Quinn and Quentin Coldwater, whom he stated needed instructions on how to perform the Rhinemann Ultra.

Bigby explains why Battle Magic was outlawed

Bigby explains why Battle Magic was outlawed at Brakebills.

Reminded Fogg that they would have it the Brakebills school board hadn't outlawed it 38 years ago, Bigby invited them in for food. When Coldwater asked why Battle Magic was outlawed at Brakebills, Bigby claimed it was due to humans panicking and being paranoia before Fogg stated that it was due to the student deaths during the 1970s, but Bigby reminded him that the number was fewer than the 1870s, the 1920s, or the '60s. Bigby then remarked that short memory was yet another human failing.

Bigby reveals that she had sex with a god

Bigby reveals that she had sex with a god.

Looking to Alice Quinn, Bigby stated that she would be the one to cast the spell as it would kill anyone else. Sensing Quinn's power, Bigby realized it was similar to that of a god before she asked if Quinn had sex with one, revealing that the god she'd slept with left her glowing for weeks, though Quinn remarked that she got her power differently. Fogg reminded Bigby that the power was waning before asking her for the spell, but Bigby told them that they would need to convince her to share it instead.

Alice and Quentin convince Bigby to give them the Rhinemann Ultra

Alice and Quentin convince Bigby to give them the spell.

Quinn and Coldwater then explained how the Rhinemann Ultra was the only thing they found that may destroy the Beast. Quinn cited how Bigby previously used it to win the Battle of Gettysburg for the Union, and Coldwater stated that she was the one who gave the spell to Rupert Chatwin who used it during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, claiming that she changed the world's history. Bigby, however, inquired to Fogg if the juniper tree near the Brakebills Infirmary was still at the school, revealing that it had the softest grass beneath it and she and Fogg would sneak out at night to have sex there for hours, but Fogg told her that it was private. Bigby, however, stated that she could smell that Quinn and Coldwater had sex constantly with one another.

Bigby gives Alice instructions for the spell

Bigby gives Alice instructions for the Rhinemann Ultra.

Fogg interrupted and reminded Bigby that they were short on time and needed the spell, who argued that she told him this would be the case before standing. Grabbing a napkin from her couch, Bigby walked to Quinn and shook the napkin before holding it up, filled with instructions on the spell. She explained that nobody but Quinn could be within 20 feet of the blast as it would kill anyone, including the Beast. Bigby reassured her that she was stronger than the Beast due to her boosted power. Feeling her arm, Bigby warns Quinn that she would need to use it quickly before escorting the three to the door.[1]


Bigby is described by Henry Fogg as brilliant, impatient, stubborn, and mercurial, with a penchant for treating Humans as toys for her own schemes.

Magic and Abilities


  • Pixie Physiology: Neeny Bigby is Pixies, a humanoid race, with differentiating features such as pointed ears and a long lifespan.
    • Longevity: As a Pixie, Bibgy ages much slower than humans and has lived for over half a century. She was the longest-tenured professor at Brakebills University, having worked at the school for over eighty years.
    • Enhanced Senses: Bigby was able to sense Alice Quinn's enhanced magical power, realizing that it was similar to that of a god, and stated she could smell the sexual relationship between Quinn and Quentin Coldwater.
  • Magic Manipulation: Bigby is able to shape and manipulate the energy of the Wellspring to cast spells by speaking incantations and writing specific formations with her hands, conjuring phosphorescent constructs of energy. Bigby specializes in Battle Magic, an advanced discipline of magic that is used for combat, and created the Rhinemann Ultra, the spell used by Rupert Chatwin to win World War II. During her tenure at Brakebills, Bigby pioneered several advanced courses at the school, including Original Spell-Crafting, which put the institution at the forefront of magical innovation.


  • Expert Combatant: Having lived for centuries, Bigby has become highly proficient in battle magic, having taught the course at Brakebills University before it was outlawed. She was able to use the Rhinemann Ultra to win the Battle of Gettysburg for the Union during the American Civil War, and later taught the spell to Rupert Chatwin and Alice Quinn to use during the Battle of the Bulge and against The Beast, respectively.





Appearances for Bigby

In chronological order:


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