With the release of Shadow and Bone on Netflix, I got to thinking how huffy some readers get when a great book makes it to the screen. Book to TV or film adaptations are getting a bad rep with book purists. Well… great stories should NOT be limited to one medium.
I’m all for books. I love books. On my bookshelf. On my Kindle or Google Books. In audiobooks. I love all book formats. Reading or listening to books forces my imagination. I focus on visual words to lose myself or I listen to someone reading a story like meditation.
So when a great book pops up in a series or film, I jump at the chance to see what it looks like.
My mind adjusts and is more open to another version of the book. Because let’s face it, that’s all it is, another version, an adaptation, a director and screenwriter’s interpretation of the story.
We have to separate the mediums of the written word and the theatrical adaptation.
To huff and moan about these adaptations is futile because it is not always meant for the same people who read the original book. By adapting a book to another medium, it’s reaching out to new fans, new people to appreciate the greatness of the story.
To huff and moan that anyone had the audacity to turn the book into a visual adaptation is to deny people fantastic books that captured so many readers. Some people don’t have time to read or struggle with reading, or find it hard to turn the descriptions into something visual.
We all deserve great stories in whatever form of media suits us best.
Let’s talk examples…
A Song of Fire and Ice was adapted to the TV series, Game of Thrones. I started reading the books after I saw the season 1 of the TV adaptation and wasn’t a fan of the books. I just didn’t enjoy the writing style, but I liked the story, so the TV version was more my thing.
I loved Netflix’s adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments. The TV series, Shadow Hunters, held the same amazing stories and characters with exciting variations for anyone who’d already read the books, which I had—all six if them. The TV series played on the same character challenges and personal issues while spicing things up so existing readers were teased with variations of the existing story.
I read Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone a couple of years ago and quite liked it. Now there’s a Netflix serious of the books. I’m excited for it and have seen the first couple of episodes to find a fun balance of similarities and differences. And Ben Barnes pulls off another great fictional character after his portrayal of Dorian Gray and Prince Caspian from the Chronicles of Narnia, more classic stories brought to life.
And let’s not forget Lord of the RIngs and The Hobbit. These were just as epic on screen as they were on the page. Releasing them as movies renewed many fans’ love for these fantastical and inspiring adventures.
Not everyone has the time or ability to read books. But a 2 hour film, or 40 minute TV show per week reaches an even bigger audience and may encourage people to read the book too, having found a story worth reading.
TV or film is never a true representation of a good book, so we shouldn’t expect it to, and book purists should shut up and stick to their books only book club or whatever.