Thoughts #40: Book to Film Adaptations


In today’s post I want to discuss film and television adaptations of books. I always find it really exciting when a book that I love is chosen for the screen, whether big or small. Being able to see my favourite characters or places in the flesh is amazing, and it always gives me another reason to re-read a favourite. But at the same time it scares me – what if the adaptation doesn’t do it justice? What if the characters or places look all wrong? I know this is a commonly debated topic on many a book blog, so I wanted to add my two cents.

  • The adaptation quality can differ greatly. Not every book makes the transition so well – maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. But other times that can be down to various elements – the casting, the locations, the general presentation of the show or film.
  • It’s hard to please everyone. We all imagine scenes, characters and locations from our favourite books in different ways. Therefore, it’s basically impossible for the director to make the adaptation perfect for everyone.
  • Important or favourite bits of a book can be missed out. Some of my favourite parts of my favourite books aren’t actually relevant to the story – they’re just nice to have their. So ultimately, when an adaptation is made, and a time limit is imposed, those are most likely the first bits to go.
  • Adaptations can create readers. Perhaps someone doesn’t normally think about spending their time reading, but they watch an adaptation and decide they want to give the book a try. This leads them to other similar books, and soon, they branch out. All thanks to that adaptation.
  • They can increase awareness of genres. Or make them ‘cool’. For example, Game of Thrones and fantasy. Fantasy has often had this reputation, along with science fiction, of being nerdy. But now so many people like fantasy shows like Game of Thrones – and again this could potentially encourage them to read other things of the same genre.
  • They can increase fandoms, as well as available merchandise. If Harry Potter had never been adapted, think of all the amazing HP merchandise we’d never have. Same with The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc.

Ultimately, I think adaptations are a good thing. They might not always be perfect, or even well done, but they make more people aware of the existence of the book or series the adaptation is based on, and this can lead to new readers. Plus merchandise!

What do you think of film/television adaptations of books?

Without the Game of Thrones adaptation, we'd never have seen this wonderful moment.

Without the Game of Thrones adaptation, we’d never have seen this wonderful moment.

9 thoughts on “Thoughts #40: Book to Film Adaptations”

  1. I totally agree with your post! I love adaptations, and although some can be bad, when they are good, it’s wonderful and does so much for the fandom. And even if they are bad it can be good to make fun of them sometimes. πŸ™‚ You are so right to with that gif, that there can be beloved scenes dropped out of an adaptation, but also amazing ones added.

    1. Haha yes, I do like watching a ‘bad’ film πŸ˜› I remember I wasn’t that impressed with the first 3 Harry Potter films, even now they’re not AMAZING but I sort of look at them with a warm nostalgic feeling πŸ˜‰

  2. I completely agree. However, for the most part, I actually prefer ANY adaptation to none at all – assuming it’s not completely sacrilegious of course. Just another excuse to get completely immersed in another world. Even mediocre adaptations have their charms…and we can always use the age old ‘but the book’s better’. πŸ˜€

    1. I COMPLETELY agree. Also sometimes it’s nice to watch the film/TV show if you don’t feel like (re)reading the book at that exact moment, but still want to immerse yourself in that world, as you say.

  3. I agree, even if adaptations are terrible to people that know the original at least it makes people who don’t aware.
    I also find that if I’ve seen a tv/film version first I will love the book whereas inevitably if I love the book I won’t be so keen on the adaptation.

    What are some adaptations you guys love/favourite adaptation? I kept meaning to listen to the radio version of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere

    1. I absolutely love the Lord of the Rings films, my favourite EVERYTHING. But one of my other fave adaptations is the 2011 version of Jane Eyre. So, so perfect (and I think Charlene will agree :P).

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