Let’s Talk: Book adaptations – Do we want them? Are there too many?

lets-talk-2

So for this week’s discussion I’ve decided to make it a pretty easy topic.

Book to movie / TV adaptations. They’re everywhere aren’t they? And while they’re great things, there’s also that hesitant side in most bookworms.

So I’m asking TWO questions today – Do we actually want adaptations most of the time? And is there too many of them?

want
Adaptations are a great thing for so many people. Authors get more support for their book. All the people working on the movie or TV show get to be part of a great story. We bookworms get to see something that was pure imagination before be brought to life. We see a well loved story shared even more widely. And people who might not be common readers actually decide to pick the book up and give it a chance, because they enjoyed the movie so much.

There’s been so many times where I’ve seen people who aren’t necessarily readers actually get into books because they liked the film adaptation of it. Or sometimes it doesn’t even get to that point – they’ll see the trailer, and decide to read the book before the movie comes out. And those moments honestly fill me with so much joy for them. So for that, I can’t really begrudge book adaptations.

not-want

Bookworms are notorious for being the harshest judges of adaptations. Which isn’t surprising really, since a lot of them are books we’ve already fallen in love with.

And that’s exactly why we might not want an adaptation. It’s not a scene by scene copy of the book in screen mode – it’s an adaptation. Scenes will be changed. Scenes will be cut. The ending may be different. Key things may be changed. The actors might not look how the characters were described. It might end up being a bit cringe-worthy. If it’s fantasy, the special effects might not look realistic.

It’s just that nagging feeling where if we love a story, we want the adaptation to be perfect. And yet, everyone reads the same story differently, so it will never be perfect for everyone. Not to mention the fact they have to make it screen appropriate, keeping it around 2 hours long and engaging enough to keep people interested.

For me, it depends which book it is. A lot of the time I’d be on board, but then there’s moments where I just panic thinking “DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH MY PRECIOUS” .

Looking at you, Throne of Glass. How the thought of your TV show terrifies me so.

too-many

This is something I’m sort of in two minds about.

Yes, I think it’s getting to a point where there’s too many. But…it doesn’t really bother me all that much.

It only comes to mind when an author will say on Twitter that they have an announcement coming up about their book, and my first thought will be “Bet it’s a movie or TV show”. And I’d be willing to guess that somewhere between a third-to-half of the +300 books I own have either a movie or TV show. I was actually going to count them to prove my point, but was quickly stumped by the classics I own – I don’t know which ones have films/tv shows or not πŸ˜†

It’s quite common now for that disclaimer to pop up in the opening credits of a film, claiming it’s “based off the best-selling novel”. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know. Sure, there’s hundreds of adaptations, but in comparison to the amount of books out there in the world, it’s probably only a small percentage that are optioned to be adapted.



So now it’s your turn!

What do you think of book adaptations? Do you get excited for them, or nervous?

Does it depend on the book?

Also, is there any difference in reaction from you if it’s one or the other? Would you be more excited about a movie, or a TV show?

Does it depend on other things instead, such as the producers/directors/actors?

Do you think there’s too many book adaptations?

Join the discussion in the comments!

Until next time…

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27 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Book adaptations – Do we want them? Are there too many?

  1. In a way, I do think it can get a bit excessive. Take The Mortal Instruments: it has a film AND a TV series. Why? Neither are particularly great or accurate, so why bother? I’m more likely to be interested in something original, but I will still give adaptations a try. On one hand I feel like adaptations can be lazy – you’re just copying something that’s already been done, sometimes not even well – but then I also feel like they’re so much fun and I love seeing things come to life on the screen. But then, if these things can get people into reading they can’t be bad!

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  2. There tends to be a numerous amount of adaptions flooding the theatres of late. I do not really care one way or the other to be honest. If I am interested then I will check them out (usually to be disappointed), but otherwise I don’t feel compelled or “obligated”.

    I do appreciate the fact that when done properly, they provide a chance for me to share certain fandoms with my better half who does not read. So bonus points for that! I appreciate the idea of it all.

    As far as movie or show, it completely depends on the book. Some books, such as GoT, are so detailed and lengthy that it is hard to imagine squeezing everything into one or two movies.

    Love this topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I love the point you made about being able to share fandoms with people who don’t read! I’d forgotten about that point, but it happens with some of my friends too. If two are us are talking about a book and the third can join in through watching the movie/TV show, then it just makes more conversation!

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  3. It depends how good it is. I feel that writers, directors and produces need to stop making bad changes to the adaptation. Where it feels like a completely different book, an example is Percy Jackson. My gold standard is usually the Harry Potter movies, even though they make a lot changes, but they still keep the essence of the book. I just hope that the Throne of Glass series can also keep the essence of the series.

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    1. A bad adaptation is just the worst feeling. I actually like the Percy Jackson films, but I watched the first one before reading the book so they’re completely different things in my mind. But it’s definitely a bad “adaption”. I love the Harry Potter films too – like you said, the main points are kept, even if some details are missed. Those extra details just make us Potterheads happy to reread them all over again πŸ˜† I’m so nervous about the Throne of Glass TV show! It’s so complicated a story, I can only imagine it being good if it were up to Game of Thrones standard…

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  4. Totally agree with what Darnell has said. Harry Potter is the pinnacle of a book adaptation done well, and Percy Jackson…well..the Sea of Monsters was truly, truly awful!

    I think, as long as there are no major changes to the story-line, no added romances for the sake of it, the essence of the books are kept and the author has had some input in the adaptation, then I’m happy. Obviously, there will be some artistic licence for film-makers as they want to make it as visually pleasing as possible, and a lot of inner monologue can not be shown on screen, so compromise is key. However, I can see the YA genre becoming too saturated in future, just like comic-book/ superhero genre has become now…

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    1. Unnecessary added romances annoy me to no end. Ugh! It’s always slightly comforting when you see the author is involved during the production. There’s sort of that feeling of “if they’re OK with any changes, it can’t be that bad”.

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  5. I get really excited about book to movie adaptations and then usually get disappointed by the final product. I am all for a adaptation … as long as they make it as accurate as possible. I mean, look at two incredibly successful franchises, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings; they both have incredibly accurate adaptations with minor yet understandable changes made to them. How difficult is it to follow their lead? They were successful because they were accurate. If they made more adaptations like they did those I would happy with them turning all my favorite books into movies or tv shows

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    1. I know – and like you said, it’s not like changes weren’t made. There were changes, but only in smaller details. Those things just give readers something to look forward to when (re)reading, sort of like an added bonus to the books. Game of Thrones is a good example too, everyone LOVES that show. Basically, all book adaptations need to follow the lead of the high fantasy icons πŸ˜†

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      1. Game of Thrones is a yes and no for me. I loved how accurate the first few seasons were but the further along they went the more off script they went. I know it was because they were surpassing the books and it was their only option but some of the changes they made took it a little far. But they started off the show doing everything perfectly.

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  6. I enjoy movie adaptations of books, even though they sometimes make me mad by not following the storyline. Why ruin a good thing, right? I just wish Hollywood would call me up and ask me which books need adaptations though, because I’ve got a whole list that would make much better movies than some of the ones they’ve been picking recently hahaha!

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    1. I agree! There’s just certain books where you can’t help but think “this would actually make a really good movie/TV show” but then you hear news about every other book BUT that one. I get that they would want to choose the highly popular ones because they’ll instantly have a bigger audience, but sometimes the stories of those books just need to stay in book form!

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  7. For me it really depends on the book, I love the game of thrones adaptations and the books equally, I was so disappointed with the Mortal Instruments movie and I haven’t even watched Shadowhunters, I just have no interest in seeing it. One thing that is so minor but it drives me nuts when I see it is, when a movie based off a book comes out and then the cover of the book is changed. That one little details drives me absolutely nuts.

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    1. Movie covers are just awful. There’s no need.
      As for the Mortal Instruments – the movie I sort of liked, but I was younger then and into cringey things. If I watched it now I’d probably disagree with my younger self. As for the TV show…my friend and I watched about 4 or 5 episodes then gave up because it was just SO cheesy. I couldn’t handle it.

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  8. I feel that when it comes to Dystopian novels, book adaptations might be a little bit unnecessary. Ever since The Hunger Games, that is. *sigh* I don’t think we need a book adaptation for every popular novel… because there’s always going to be something off about it. There are always going to be people who complain about the cast (the girl who played Rue from Hunger Games and Augustus Walters from The Fault in Our Stars).

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  9. Oh man, there are soooo mannnnny adaptations coming out at the moment! I don’t mind them, although I think for a lot of them you really have to view it as a new interpretation rather than a faithful reworking. And there are plenty of film and TV directors that do really interesting and innovating things with adaptations. That said, some of them do feel like a grab to make money, especially when they spin three books into four films. I often won’t watch adaptations of books I really enjoy because I don’t want to change the image in my head (a few years back I saw the *utterly woeful* adaptation of John Marsden’s Tomorrow When the War Began and was just like: how do you make such a terrible film from such a great book?! HOW?!), but then sometimes the film surprises you and turns out to be better than the book.

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    1. It’s always a surprising occasion when the film turns out to be better! It feels like blasphemy to every reader’s heart πŸ˜† It’s certainly annoying how the trend for splitting one of the books in a series into 2 films has come about though, because that’s definitely just a money grabbing thing :/

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  10. The only thing I despise about adaptations is taking what I saw in my head while reading and contradicting it. I imagine my characters a certain way, and when I see them in a movie and they aren’t the same, I feel like I imagined my character wrong. It’s the worst. Like, I would never have imagined Tris to be anything like the girl who played her in Divergent. And that’s just one example.
    I think it’s great for the author to make their vision become real, but to us bookworms, we are pretty strict with our personal interpretations. And I feel they are sacred. πŸ˜‰

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  11. I used to be excited for adaptations because they were rare and therefore a big deal once upon a time. While they’re still a big deal now, it’s get to the point where there are just too many of them that I go “ugh non again”. I have nothing about adaptations, I know how it helps the author and it gives another medium so more people can enjoy the story. The problem is, only 2 out of 10 adaptations work. I just feel bad for the people who worked so hard only to see the movies flopped :/

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