Nov 11, 2014

Who Did It Better? Books vs Movies

I love comparing books to movies.  Usually, it's best to do it right after watching/reading, but since these are all sort of fresh, and none are I-just-watched-this-and-have-soooo-much-to-say-about-it, I'm going to touch on a couple at a time, starting with Game of Thrones and Ender's Game.  Look for Lord of the Rings and Hunger Games next week!


Game of Thrones vs A Song of Fire and Ice

First exposed to: Book
Version I liked better: Movie/show

This was a rarity for me.  I almost never like a movie better if I read the book first.  Honestly, I'm pretty sure I just prefer the version I was exposed to first.  But A Song of Fire and Ice was the first series I've read that had so many characters to flip between, and I didn't even like all of them.  I persevered, because I'd just begun dating Ryan and he wanted to share his favorite books with me, but truthfully, it was rough going.

Characters: This has been interesting because some characters I like better in the books and some I like better in the show.  Jon Snow = awesome in book; not so much in the show.  Brienne = kind of boring and idealistic in the books; awesome (and idealistic) in the show!  And a lot of the minor characters play a much bigger role in the show than they did in the book.  For example: poor, poor Oberyn Tyrell, Shae, and Grey Worm & Missandei.

Plot: Both are gorier than what I typically like, but the story is so compelling, and the show does a better job (for me) of imposing that "epic" feel and I think that's what drawing me in.  Also, I think reading the book first helped, because I was already a little toughened up to the gore, I know when to hide my eyes (Ick, all the Theon torture stuff), and I can keep the characters straight.

One thing that's been absolutely fascinating is seeing how the show will deviate pretty extremely from the books and then tie it all back in.  Being less attached to these books than LotR, it hasn't bothered me too much.  Here's some examples of when I thought the book plot was done for:
  • Deviation: The Red Woman kidnapping Gendry
  • Resolution: Davos helps him escape, but not until The Red Woman uses Gendry to take credit for events that were going to happen anyway in the book story
  • Deviation: Rob Stark's lady wife travels with the army and gets pregnant
  • Resolution: The Red Wedding.  Death, death, and more death
  • Deviation: Danaerys handmaid betrays her in Qarth and reaps the reward (death)
  • Resolution: Apparently the handmaid wasn't going to do anything important anyway...  There's a lesbian scene that I guess won't be happening now.
  • Deviation: OMG!  The Hound and Brienne met!  And fought!  I'm still shocked from this one.
  • Resolution: The Hound's fate is the same as the book, but he got to go down in a much more epic way than an infected bite wound.
Bizarre and unnecessary changes: All the rape!  I mean, the world was violent and misogynistic enough without making it even more so.  The one that bothers me the most is Khal Drogo and Danaerys, because it makes less sense with how close they became later.  Oh, and I guess how Joffrey kills prostitutes instead of animals.  Both are bad; why the switch?  Was it to reinforce how evil he was?  Or are we really that much more comfortable killing women than animals?  Also the unexplained actor changes.  The Mountain has been played by what, 2 or 3 different people at this point?  And Daario's switch, the actors could not have looked less alike.


Ender's Game

First exposed to: Book
Version I liked better: Book, but barely

I thought the movie did a good job.  The only reason I liked the book better was for more detail and being more immersed in the world.

Characters: I know everyone was worried that the story would focus too much on the adults, and less on Ender.  I didn't feel as if I knew Ender as well as in the book, but the movie was very definitely about him.  Also, I didn't notice at the time, but Roommate was very upset that Valentine and Peter's exploits weren't mentioned at all.

Plot: On that note, I didn't feel like the brother and sister's activities were very important to what was happening with Ender in the first book.  I feel like they set the stage for some of the events in the later books.  So if they don't intend to make more movies, it doesn't matter too much.  Don't tell Roommate I said that, though!  One thing Ryan and I really liked was the way violent things happened, but it wasn't action for the sake of action.  All action was there to further the plot.  How often do you see this in movies, anymore?

Bizarre and unnecessary changes: None that I can think of off the top of my head.

Do you enjoy comparing books to movies?  Which media do you typically like better?  How sad were you when Ned Stark died?

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