Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When You See It First

I won't lie to you. This is really an excuse for me to write about how obsessed I am with Game of Thrones (the HBO series) right now, but we'll pretend like I'm talking about other things.

As a reader and writer, it's usually that for visual adaptations, I've read the source material first. This is true for Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the Chronicles of Narnia, The Time Traveler's Wife, and probably most other things that I can't think of right now. I usually try to make it a rule that I will read whatever the thing is based off of before I go watch it. However, there are a few exceptions, where I will see the adaptation first and then that spurs me to go read the source material:

1) LORD OF THE RINGS. I actually never read LOTR before seeing the movie, and it was only because I was/am/will always be in love with the movies that I decided to go read the books and learn Elvish; yeah, judge me, this is how dorky I am. This is easily my favorite set of movies of all time. If I were allowed to watch one more movie before I die, it would be Return of the King. So anyway, I decided to go buy the books in college (I think?) and read them. And truth be told, I don't like the books as much as the movies. It's not that I don't appreciate the books. It's the source material; I obviously appreciate it greatly. I just don't enjoy it as much. And the scenes I like best are actually the ones that were in the movie because I can visualize it in my head better.

2) THE HUNGER GAMES. Technically, I watched the movie after I read the entire series, but I only read the series after the movie was being filmed and I watched the trailer. So really, I imagined Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in my head the entire time anyway. I like the books better. Hands down. The writing is very concise, and it's more realistic (read: more gory). I think the message of the books goes out better when actually violent things are happening, versus artfully cut scenes where little to no blood is shown. Also, the shaky camera thing in the movie gives me a headache, and I hate it.

3) GAME OF THRONES. I totally vowed that I wasn't going to read the books because they're too long, I abhor most modern high fantasy (versus classical, like LOTR), it's way too nerdy and I like to pretend I am socially acceptable, the series isn't completely written yet so I'd have to wait for the next books, they're too long, I have no attention span for long books, and did I mention, it's too long? Yeah, let's be real. I put up a good fight for a couple of weeks, but the second I move home and find myself with nothing to do, I'm going to buy the entire thing on my Kindle and I'll probably finish it in two weeks because I can't handle suspense. Then I'll proceed to bitch about how George R.R. Martin needs to write faster. But I draw the line at fan fiction for this series. I know that will only lead to a wormhole of social banishment because I will get addicted. (I hate that I am that person who is just jumping on the bandwagon now that it's popular, but that is actually me a lot of the time. I am so sadly mainstream.)

I think what I have learned from this entire experience is that in theory, I dislike high fantasy, but in reality, once I get into it, I transform into a convention-going freak of nature. Also, for high fantasy, I actually do think the adaptation-to-book movement for me is better because I can keep track of all the characters in my head without rapidly losing interest. It is difficult for me to envision white men with varying amounts of facial hair as all different people. I mean, seriously. They're all blandly handsome white men with scruff. It's great, but I can't mentally fashion memorable faces for all of them, I'm not that creative.

Like I said, this post has no purpose. Other than to tell you to go watch Game of Thrones.* And because I promised I'd blog twice a week. I didn't say it would be good or coherent blogging.

*Unless you're under the age of 18. I don't want to get in trouble for endorsing a show with an apparent boob quota per episode to children.



  1. Yeah, I read LOTR many, many times before I ever saw the movies. I love them both for what they are, but I do admit to loving the books more. The only thing I didnt like about the books is how much description Tolkien uses. It can definitely get boring. As for The Hunger Games, I actually haven't finished the last book yet but I enjoy the books more. I thought the movie was great, but there are just some things that dont translate as well from the written word to the big screen (and I think HG has a lot of that). I also have to admit that I have not been the slight bit interested in Game of Thrones. I tried reading the books (the first one at least) and I put it down out of boredom. Maybe the show is better, but I'm just not excited enough about it to add that to the limited amount of television/movies I do watch. If you like it though, cool.

    1. I actually do suspect that the show is better, simply because it's cut to be smoother and faster paced in order to gain a big audience quickly. I mainly want to know what happens to the characters, so that's my motivation.

  2. I'm with you on the Game of Thrones & LOTR thing. The LOTR movies inspired me to pick up the books, and as for GoT, I have Book 1 but I haven't started it yet. I suspect it'll be easier going now that I've seen the show for precisely the reason you said: it'll be easier to keep the characters straight!

    I had no idea you read the Hunger Games only after seeing the movie trailer! Katniss looked very different in my head since she's described differently in the books than how she's portrayed in the movie, BUT J. Lawrence was excellent as Katniss. I agree with you about how the depth in the books is just so. much. better. :)

    1. Yeah, I feel sort of shameful that I didn't get to the books first, but part of the reason I didn't start Hunger Games despite all the positive reviews was that I hate waiting for books, and the series wasn't over. This is going to be a real struggle for Game of Thrones!