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So this is a slightly odd topic, but a discussion between two posters regarding the LORD OF THE RINGS adaptations (as well as recent casting tiffs) got me to thinking about how other books fared in the before-and-after of screen translation.

GAME OF THRONES is my first experience with this sort of phenomenon, so where others went through the pre-filming hand-wringing and the first-screening feedback of various classics (LotR, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, True Blood ... Lemony frickin' Snicket ...), this is entirely new to me -- as well as a few others who frequent the Westeros boards, likely.

I guess what I'm asking is ... how did it go for you, personally? People who are fans of any series enough that they follow pre-production have a vested interest that is probably ten times stronger than casual fans. Have any adaptations actually lived up to the expectations?

Any number of shared stories or anecdotes would be nice, and would help to pass the days until the end of October.

(Or at least until A Dance with Dragons is released.)

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XENArwen. I think that sums it up pretty well.

For you it does, but I still don't understand a great deal of this. I'm not a gigantic J. R. R. Tolkien fan -- I read The Hobbit three times and Lord of the Rings twice in high school (mostly because it was either that or abominable E. Gary Gygax Greyhawk novels), but I had criticisms of Tolkien's alarming lack of even halfway decent female characters even back when I was 13; Aowyn's "I am no man" line was basically it.

Not to mention Tolkien's penchant for multiple-page forest descriptions, and his habit of having random groups of dwarves and elves break into merry song.

And don't get me started on Tom Bombadil (o!).

Aside from that, The Hobbit was fantastic, and LotR was good. Good enough to read twice.

That said ... I liked the movies better.

Is the complaint against Arwen the fact that she was there at all (her role in the books is miniscule at best)? Or that, for a while (until the fans rose up) she was fighting at Helm's Deep?

Were most of the anti-Arwen howlers sated once her Xenarrific scene at Helm's Deep was taken out?

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Up to now, apart from Game of Thrones, I followed three adaptions closer. And these three show the range of feeling very good.

I will start with the second, which was the Move adaption of Alan Moores graphic novel "The League of Extraonrdinary Gentlemen". Iloved the story and the ideas Moore had about these classic characters after their origanal story was told.

The movie adaption was a real big slap in the face. The characters were changed completely. The drug addicted Alan Quartermain, who was dreaming about his golden times was now the great powerful leader of the group, Mina Harker were given some coooooool vampire skills, and so on. New characters were put in the cast, without thinking. We had that young fellow Tom Sawyer - who would have been an old man.

It followed a change of the villains in the story. Doctor Fu Man Chu and Professor Moriaty were replaced by "The Phantom" and the most parts of the storyline itself. And the they left all the small things. In the end, all that was left from the source material were some names.

The last one was again a graphic novel from Mr Moore - this time "Watchmen". And that was completely different. The team stuck nearly completely to the original story. They only put out a story inside the story for the cinematic Version of the movie, changed a bit in the end, that the solution of the story came out of the storyline - and not from outside. And I was really happy with that adaption. It was close and rally true to the original story.

The first one was the movie adaption of The Lord Of The Rings. Well, and that was somhow inbetween the other two. Overall the adaption was stuuning to me. And even some of the changes in the story were great and intelligent. The fact that movie-Aragorn lived in the wild with not only a broken sword as a weapon for instance. To actually see the story of Gandalf after leaving the shire (I loved the short scene in Minas Tirith. Id compensated eventhat strang wizard-duel). And to make out almost all of the fellowship real three dimensional characters you could care about, was also a good change.

On the other hand you had storytwists, I could only ask myself 'why'? Why did we get this stubborn Faramir, that first take the hobbits to Osgiliath having there his revelation, that the must go to Mordor?

And wy didn`'t they really thought about Arwen carefully before changing the character between the first two movies. After she stole the horse of Glorfindel, the strong will of Frodo and the mystical power of Elrond, Gandalf and two of the three Elven Rings of Power within a few minutes, I wouldn't have cared, if she would also steal the Rangers of the North from Halbarad and her brothers and march with them south. At least that would have saved me from Haldir talking about a new last alliance. I would have prefered Arwen true to her original character, but the error with her was already made, and changing her again didn't make it really much better.

After all, these adaption left me with mixed feelings - overall it was simply stunning to me, but flawed with some really bad and unnecessary changes.

I have seen some more adaptions, some of them very close and true to the source, some of them farer away from the original story, but still very true to the idea of it. It is impossible to say somthing about adations per se, because they can be so totally different to one another. And ther is no golden rule how to make a good one. Not even sticking close to everything in the book. The first two Harry Potter movies sticked for instance very close to the books, an I was somehow bored. The third moved a bit away from that - and up to now that is my favorite part.

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I've followed one adaptation from book to film (Watchmen), and when asked what I thought at a comic book store, I answered the following:

"When you take an unfilmable comic book and try making it into a movie that fits the studio's standards, you're screwed. Considering that, I think it was an amazing movie with few fixable faults."

A game of Thrones is a super filmable novel made into a television show by what I call "the greatest studio ever", HBO, and I have incredibly high hopes for it that are strengthened with every bit of news I hear about the pilot.

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Well, there is absolutely no way the show will be able to compare to the books. The lack of internal monologue is proof enough of that. However I feel it will still be a very good show and a faithful adaptation with regards to the spirit of the series.

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Lord of The Rings.

I've read the books one time, they are to boring to read again. I tried after the first movie got out, but when I got to Tom Bombadil, I just couldn't go on.

15 years ago, when the Fantasy book market had not matured to the state where it is today, those were excellent book. Now, they are certainly showing the rust and wear of old age. I just don't have the stomach for reading a 3 page description of something.

The movies fixed everything that is wrong with the books, and made a few mistakes along the way. But overall, the movies tell the story the way the book ought to have. As a story, the movies simply work a hell of a lot better.

Harry Potter

As said, the first two movies follow the books closer then the subsequent movies. At first I hated the 3rd movie, after leaving the theater. I didn't see it again untill it got released on DVD and then I immediately fell in love with it. I don't know why it wasn't until the 2nd viewing that I saw just how much better it is then the first two.

Overall though, I think all the Harry Potter movies are very good adaptations. Yes, a lot of things are cut out, but how else are they going to stuff those books into 1 movie each. All the essentials are there.

The Da Vinci Code

The movie follows the book almost to the letter. The book is great, the movie is very boring. Never read Angels and Demons, but the movie is certantly better then Da Vinvi Code was.

Could also just be the fact that the story is only entertaining the first time...

The League of Extraonrdinary Gentlemen

Without a doubt one of the worst adaptations ever. The reasons are all laid out perfectly by tzama earlier in this thread.

Sin City

I haven't read all of the stories that are in the movie and It's been quite a long time since I read them. But this movie was spot on accurate, at least as far as I can recall. And the movie was great, just fucking great!

Dune

The David Lynch movie is an atrocity. Only redeeming feature in it is Sting as Feyd Rautha Harkonnen. The story was butchered into this piece of crap movie.

The Sci Fi channel/Hallmark mini-series though, that one I absolutely loved. Granted, it lacked somewhat in the special effect department (even though it won awards for it's special effect), but overall it was a much better and more accurate adaptation.

Watchmen

Never read the Watchmen, but I loved the movie. Those of my friends that have read the graphic novel says it's a better adaptation then they ever dared hope for.

So, in my opinion there are no right way or wrong way to adapt a novell/graphic novel to the screen. It all depends upon the story. Some stories need to be tweaked to work on the silver screen, others need to be almost left alone.

But generally, if a book is more then a couple of hundred pages and they try and stick to the source material as close as possible, it will fail. Books that are more then 2-300 pages need more then a 2 hour movie to make it justice. Unless you are prepared to change the story.

Game of Thrones, being shot as a series is the best thing we could hope for. It would never work as a movie.

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Well, there is absolutely no way the show will be able to compare to the books. The lack of internal monologue is proof enough of that. However I feel it will still be a very good show and a faithful adaptation with regards to the spirit of the series.

I disagree. What we've seen is, in my opinion, better than the book.

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I will be short, because my english is not that strong to go into more details. (shame on me!)

LOTR - The casting anoucement did not upset me at all. (Although, some of my friends were.)

It was clear in my head that my imagination was not not Peter Jackons - we are two different persons.

To be honest I was little bit "afraid" of Viggo Mortnensen - but it has lasted till I watched the movie.

I accepted Arwen with no problem, only Faramir - change upseted me a little bit.

No Tom Bombadil - did not bother me at all, because, I understood that there was no room fo him.

HP

I was not so deep in HP anyway - so it worked for me, both books and the movies.

Some Agatha Christies adaptations:

I like Poirot with David Suchet - it is really in Agathas spirit.

But there are some really poor adaptations, for exemple, movies with Peter Ustinoc as Hercule (not because of him, he was fantastic actor, but because of the leak of the spirit and the atmosphere..

I prefered reading Ripleys game much better then watching the movie.

It is very diificult to say, it depends of many factors, not only cast.

That is way, I am pleased so far with ASOIAF cast - some of them are really amazing, but my biggest concern is the "spirit" and atmosphere of the Westeros worls.

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I just don't have the stomach for reading a 3 page description of something.

Fair enough as a reason not to like it - but I suggest this is a problem with your stomach, not with the books.

The movies fixed everything that is wrong with the books

How would you know, when you haven't read the books?

But overall, the movies tell the story the way the book ought to have.

No, they tell an entirely different story. In essence, they ransacked the books for a no-brainer blockbuster thrill-ride, removing any sort of depth, nuance, complexity or thematic significance, and fundamentally altering the nature and focus of the story (the Scouring was not written to fill the extra pages; that ending changes everything that has come before it).

Now, this decision may have been justified - want they wanted was a money-spinner, after all, and I don't begrudge them that much. But it makes it an entirely different thing from the books, so saying that it improves on the books or tells their story better is nonsense.

As an example, I've just reread 'The Garden of Forking Paths'. If a film adaptation decided to turn this into a gripping spy thriller, while leaving out or minimising all that confusing bit in the middle about books and labyrinths and chinese ancestors and the trousers of time... well, it might make a good film, and it might make a more watchable adaptation than one that was more faithful, but if somebody then said "well, I've not got the stomach to read three pages of amateur philosophy, so the film told the story far better than Borges did", they would clearly be talking nonsense.

[Judging the films by their own standards, I don't think they were that good anyway. The first film, yes, but they got worse and worse. The third was painful to watch. Some of the changes from the books hurt the films. Others were pointless; some probably made sense]

Harry Potter

As said, the first two movies follow the books closer then the subsequent movies. At first I hated the 3rd movie, after leaving the theater. I didn't see it again untill it got released on DVD and then I immediately fell in love with it. I don't know why it wasn't until the 2nd viewing that I saw just how much better it is then the first two.

You were right first time - the first film is bad, and they get worse and worse (except the fifth, which is actually quite good for some reason, and with one or two continuity exceptions should have been a direct sequel to the first, as it picks up where that left off, whereas the other three seem irrelevent). The third is better-directed than the first two, but the plot is just so agonisingly awful that it wrecks the film. When the characters themselves comment that the plot has made no sense, and that the film's events are pointless and of no consequence, you know that's not a good sign. Almost every scene had a gaping plot hole in it.

(This is all said on the basis of the films as films, not as adaptations, as I haven't read the books. I'm told the fifth film is the least faithful, but to my mind it's the only one that stands as a good film in its own right).

The Da Vinci Code

The movie follows the book almost to the letter. The book is great

Ahhhh. Perhaps this should be put in your sig, so that innocent readers can have it as the small print to your other views? Certainly, that opinion goes a good way to explaining your Tolkien opinions.

I've not seen the film (nor read the entire book, only the beginning before giving up), but I liked this quote from someone about the pros and cons of the adaptation (Mark Kermode? Idk...):

"The best thing about the film is that it doesn't have any of Browne's terrible prose in it. The worst thing about the film is that it does have all of Browne's terrible dialogue in it."

Sin City

I haven't read all of the stories that are in the movie and It's been quite a long time since I read them. But this movie was spot on accurate, at least as far as I can recall. And the movie was great, just fucking great!

Ah! You DO have some taste!

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How would you know, when you haven't read the books?

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough in my original posts.

I've read the series once, all three books. But it's at least 15 years ago, if not more.

I tried re-reading them when the movie came out, and my fond childhood memories of the books were instantly shattered. Those book have a huge nostalgic significance for me, but reading them again. No thanks.

The Hobbit on the other hand, now thats a timeless book that I have no problems reading again and again and again and again.

I think it's because that The Hobbit doesn't try to hide that it is a children's book.

About The Da Vinci Code. Granted, this is not a typical genre for me to read, by far. But I was entertained through the entire book. Just got a thing for Conspiracies and grail knight. Can't help it.

Harry Potter, The first movie is the most fathfull, the next one a little less so, the next one a little less so, the next one a little less so... and so on. That has been true so far.

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The only other thing I've really kept an eye on has been The Last Airbender, and, well... Uhh... Yeah. Not so chuffed so far, but we'll see when the movie comes out next year.

I guess the third X-Men movie to a degree, but they'd already taken a lot of liberties with characters like Rogue and Iceman, so I wasn't expecting anything great. Thankfully.

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The Hobbit on the other hand, now thats a timeless book that I have no problems reading again and again and again and again.

I think it's because that The Hobbit doesn't try to hide that it is a children's book.

Perhaps the problem is that you've been reading LotR assuming it's a children's book? It's really, really not.

That said, your views are at least consistent: the Hobbit is certainly the Da Vinci Code of Tolkien...

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I think Arwen fighting at Helm's deep would have been cool, purists be damned.

I am pretty sure the HBO version of GOT will not follow the books precisely because of realistic limitations but will still be the best thing on tv.

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I'm curious what some of you think the love / hate ratio is amongst hardcore fans after these adaptations come out. Like are the ones who had trepidations prior to seeing the screen versions of THE LORD OF THE RINGS or TWILIGHT the same ones saying the movies sucked?

I seem to remember being told the TWILIGHT faithful were gouging their cheeks when news of Robert Pattison's casting was leaked ("SO UGLY OMG NO!"), but now dude can't cross the street without being tackled by pre-teens (and their mothers). Are most of these fans of the post-movie sort, or were some of them old fans that were eventually won over?

TRUE BLOOD is extremely popular on HBO, and it didn't have nearly as massive a following prior to the show, so most of what people see on the screen is exactly their idea of what Sookie, Bill, and the others look like. But I'm sure there are a few people who read the books prior and had different images in their minds. Are they disappointed, or happy to see them come alive?

We're going to see a pretty big influx of GAME OF THRONES fans once the series starts. It will be interesting to see what characters get the most attention.

I can sort of imagine "Team Robb" and "Team Jon" t-shirts already. Oy.

SPOILER: A Storm of Swords
And mass teen suicides after season three.

That kid playing Robb is almost too good looking for his own good.

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I don't think we pre-tv fans will be nearly as divided as the LotR fans were. The adaptation will be much more true to the original story, both due to it's episodic nature and because it doesn't need any "updating" to make it accessible to a modern audience. That being said, I fully expect a small minority of the current ASOIAF fans to be griping. Probably the same ones who complained about Ehle's or Merchant's looks. I've avoided the topics about the pilot script, but I understand you can get a preview of adaptation griping there.

Anyone who's said "it should be that way because GRRM wrote it that way" is going to be disappointed somewhere along the line. So is anyone who claims something "HAS to be shown." No, it doesn't.

The only adaptation I've followed this closely was the LotR movies. I don't recall the level of casting bitching that I saw re: the GoT castings, but maybe I missed it. Re: the storyline changes, you just knew it wasn't going to be strict or pure, and I could live with that. It's changed to make it more accessible (female characters, Gimli "comic relief", shorter with fewer place names and side characters). Arwen's increased role was a given, even before Liv Tyler was cast. That doesn't mean I liked all the changes (I was less and less thrilled with each movie, from 1 to 3), it's just they didn't surprise me and overall I still enjoyed the product.

I should say I did read Watchmen, and the movie is coming up soon on my Netflix queue. Sounds like I'll enjoy it. I'm not surprised at all, however, that it had mixed reviews and a weird box office trend (great first weekend, then plummeted).

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TRUE BLOOD is extremely popular on HBO, and it didn't have nearly as massive a following prior to the show, so most of what people see on the screen is exactly their idea of what Sookie, Bill, and the others look like. But I'm sure there are a few people who read the books prior and had different images in their minds. Are they disappointed, or happy to see them come alive?

I watched S1 of True Blood, then read the first two Sookie Stackhouse books, then watched S2.

The HBO show is much better, for several reasons:

* The first book has _vampire Elvis_ in it. Pbbbth.

* The books (at least, the first two) are entirely told in the form of first-person narration by the Sookie character. This means that there are no scenes in the book that don't have Sookie in them. The TV show abandons this conceit, with the result that we can have other interesting storylines like Jason Stackhouse and his girlfriend; Lafayette; Tara and her mother; etc.

* The author of the books is a mystery writer by background. So the first book focuses much more on the murder mystery story. (The second book focuses on a mystery to a lesser degree, but it's still there). These storylines are also in the show, but not as prominent.

* Most of the social commentary in the show (i.e., vampires "coming out of the coffin" and the reaction of social and religious conservatives to this) is not really in the book.

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Anyone who dislikes Vampire Retard Elvis should be shot, mmkay? Vampire Retard Elvis, AKA Bubba, is the best part of the books. Which is kinda sad. And doesn't speak well for the books.

And the social criticism in the show is "Religious people hate gay people unfairly, even though gay people have been secluding themselves from us and like drinking our blood even though there's a replacement out there." It's impossible to use vampires as allegory for anything except vampires, and it's painful when the show tries.

That said, your views are at least consistent: the Hobbit is certainly the Da Vinci Code of Tolkien...

HEY! Not cool!

I'm a Tolkein fan (sort of, I liked all of the books I've read of his), and I think The Hobbit was his absolute best. I've read all of LOTR and Children of Hurin, if you want to check my reading list for suckiness. I've tried starting Silmarillion a few times and stopped. Not necessarily because of the book itself. It's either been lunch or dinner or sleep. But if it were good enough I think I would have skipped lunch/dinner/sleep.

EDIT- The HP movies are crap except for movie 5, which was only saved because of Luna and sticking (somewhat) to the book.

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As a LOTR AND a Peter Jackson fan I was very excited to hear about the production back then. I still remember the first time I glimpsed a teaser poster in the street and how my enthusiasm grew- it showed Frodo and the ring in a grainy, greenish-grayish pic and I knew he's gonna nail it. The opening sad, wistful violin strokes with the LOTR logo flaming in proved it right.

I loved most of the first movie, I thought he really got it- the ambiance, the landscapes, the colors, the non-cheesy use of CGIs, the clever inclusion of more traditional, non popular, 80s kind of ways of making effects, Ian Macallan, Ian Holm, John Rhys Davies... everything (almost) was perfect.

The Two Towers, which was still unforgettable, mainly due to the remarkable achievement of Gollum and the brilliantly cinematic opening sequence, was a bit less exciting- it's pace was a bit awkward- too much time with the Rohirrim, too much time with Arwen stealing looks on Aragorn. All those unnecessary changes to Faramir and the illogical scene in Osgiliath.

But all of these are trifles- the biggest let-down for me was Frodo. In the books he's growing, on his way to become a great man (or Hobbit, if you like)- his journey to Mordor is also a journey into his psyche, into his dark side.

The fault is in Jackson as the director AND as one of the script writers but I can't help but feeling that Elijah Wood was not the right cast. He was perfect in The Fellowship of the Ring- perfect for an innocent, wide eyed, fun-loving Frodo. But for a grim, stern, suffering, resolute, surprisingly tough, crushed-by-his-burden kind of a Frodo he sucks.

Maybe he was just too young to be truly in touch with his dark side. (and dont go now telling me about Sin City- anyone can play a psycho as long as he's a silhouette with sunglasses..)

And it grew worse in The Return of the King- the whole bread crumbs scene and the banishing of Sam was so out of Frodo's character as Tolkien meant it that it made me cringe. Gandalf became clueless, Aragorn turned to be the brain.... all changes that were uncalled for.

I also felt that the movie lost its grip on its too many threads, that it wasn't as emotional as the first two, that the final scene on Mt. Doom was ridiculous and that all in all it summed up to be a decent action flick and nothing more. Just my personal feeling.

I still like the movies and can watch them (with scenes skipping) over and over again, but I feel that along the way PJ lost something important. Damn shame.

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There have been a couple book/comic book to film adaptations that I've sat through.

LOTR wasn't a bad adaptation. As an avid LOTR fan, the plot wasn't my main issue with the movie. Instead, I took issue with the acting and dialog. Although better than the dreadful Star Wars Prequels, LOTR was little more than a series of summer blockbusters wrapped in Tolkien. All this work on sets and you've got dialog choices like "let's hunt orc" with slapstick characters like Gimli. Naturally, because of this, my main concern with any adaption is the writing and acting.

Another poster mentioned League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which had bad acting, dialog, action, plot, and sets. V for Vendetta was a much better adaptation. The acting was good, the dialog was reasonable, the action was nice, and the plot was different, but still entertaining. All said, I enjoyed it. My only qualm with this film was the way modern issues were clumsily injected into the premise, which is another concern I look for in any adaptation.

Finally, there's Sin City (which another poster brought up) which, in my mind, is one of the most successful translations. The art style, the acting, the dialog, and the plot all meshed well with the graphic novels. The key thing here, Frank Miller participated in the development of the film. I think this was a key reason for the success of Sin City and a good omen for the success of a Game of Thrones series.

TL;DR My main concern with adaptations is the dialog and acting quality, not necessarily the plot, so long as the deviations aren't too great.

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