Monday, 2 April 2012

Epic Book Series to TV Adaptations: Sometimes Successful....other times....not so much.

EPIC Television TIME!

Did you watch the premiere of the second season of HBO's Game of Thrones last night?! Because it was freaking EPIC!!!!!

Okay now that I have that out of my system let's talk TV Adaptations of Books. 

We all know how movie adaptations of books go, they're even more of a hit or miss scenario than TV shows because the directors are forced to compress and mutilate a beloved book to fit into a 2 hour time slot while attracting new viewers and trying to keep them true to the books. But books that are made into movies are usually a relatively short series and would be incredibly awkward and boring if they were stretched out into a TV show (imagine how long you'd have to watch Katniss hunt, or primp and train for the Games if it were a show *shudder*). 

So what do you do with a high fantasy series that spans an excess of 600+ pages a book, with exquisitely detailed lands and a diverse cast of characters in over 5 books like George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones for the new fans) well you turn it into a TV show of course! 

I started reading the first book "A Game of Thrones" when I was 13...I think I was in my epic fantasy phase, you know reading all 10+ books in a series *cough* The Wheel of Time *cough*.
 I loved that the books are told from a multitude of characters (each with a unique voice) with multiple plots going on simultaneously. So really the only way to engage an audience with this kind of story is to take the time to fully develop the subtleties. I'm really glad that HBO optioned this because I feel they're the only ones that could properly (considering budget and production quality) portray all the sex, magic, violence and devious plotting that the series is comprised of.

When I saw the first episode of the first season I was instantly hooked - probably because I had read the books and saw how beautifully true they stayed to the story. The actors and actresses put on the performances of their lives, each of them delivering sharp wit, baring their bodies and doing some seriously disturbing things. My boyfriend on the other hand was really "Eh..." because he had no interest in the books (he reads really high fantasy books- more dragons, and dwarves), but this was probably because looking at the sheer size of the books they're pretty daunting. 

But when he said "Eh..." I thought great, if he thinks it's boring what will other people think, is this going to crash and burn??!!

Fast forward to 2 episodes later, he was hooked and we watched it religiously weekly and at the end all he could say was "WHEN DOES THE NEXT ONE COME OUT?!?!" His face fell when I told him not until next year.

But last night's premiere did not disappoint, we got a quick refresher recap of what happened last season and where the stakes stand as everyone prepares to fight for the crown. We were introduced to a few new characters notably the red witch Melisandre played by Carice Van Houten: 
  Who was a brilliant addition to the cast as a religious fanatic and powerful magic user. 

But who I'm SUUUUUPER excited to see is Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell - I loved her as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors - she does extremely well as a regal but intelligent and innocent character.  

Doesn't she just fit on that iron throne perfectly?
Overall HBO has done a great job bringing this series to life I just really hope that HBO can continue to do justice to the series... and not stray from the whole plot like another one of their popular shows. It's still extremely entertaining - but I'm pretty sure fans of the books keep going *face palm* whenever something that was supposed to happen doesn't or vice versa. 

If you haven't seen this series yet what are you waiting for?! Go watch it, I've recommended this to friends that absolutely abhor high fantasy (LoTR is all they'll admit to watching), but they LOVED Game of Thrones (likely due to the sex, gossip and dramarama that happens). 

Did you watch this premiere last night? What do you think of the series so far?

-Next time on the blog: Not so successful Book to TV adaptations. 

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