Category Archives: Despite the movie

Are you reluctant to read a book because you already watched its movie version? You think you know the plot and therefore the novel might be boring since you know everything that is going to happen?

Fear not! In this category, I will write about those books which despite the movie deserve to be read.

Why? some of us tend to think movies are loyal to the plot and the characters of the book. But this is true? I`m afraid not.  It’s not uncommon that movies alter both plot or character.  In some cases, studio decisions imply maybe even exclude some characters, not even mentioning them at all due to production or script reasons.

In this category, I will focus on those novels which deserve to be read due to the significant differences with the books. If you are not a usual reader you will be amazed at how many differences there can be in fact!

Jurassic Park wallpaper

6 movies you didn’t know were based on books

Hello Wottareaders! today I’m bringing you something different. Books are excellent source material for making movies, it is way easier to have a script since the story is already written and most of the dialogues will be similar to the original writing. Also, producers can gather valuable data from the book sales, allowing them to predict how much will their movie adaption gross.

This is why lots of best sellers have a movie adaptation, such is the case of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings (check here to know why you should read the books) or The Hunger Games for example. And let’s not forget Stephen King, whose most of his books have a movie adaptation, as is the case of Pet Sematary which is going to be released in two months. Producers are playing safe here, they know these novels or authors have a huge fanbase so the risk gets diminished.

However, there are those movies based on not so known books. This is so that sometimes we don’t even know these movies are actually based on a novel!

Want to know some of these? Here you have 6 movies you didn’t know were based on books:

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park Book cover

Jurassic Park Book cover

The novel Jurassic Park was written by  Michael Crichton and published in 1990. The novel, like the movie, tells the story of a theme park with genetically engineered dinosaurs (what could go wrong? right?. Three years after the publication Steven Spielberg directed this project and the movie was awarded three Oscars by the Academy Awards.

This American writer was also a film director and producer, which led him in 1993 to achieve the unique distinction of having a Nº 1 top-selling book, Disclosure; the most-watched TV show, ER; and a Nº1 movie, Jurassic Park.  Crichton also co-wrote the script for Jurassic Park while its sequel, The Lost World, was written by David Koepp.

I am legend

I am legend book cover

I am legend book cover

I am Legend was published in 1954 and written by Richard Matheson. This novel influenced the development of the zombie-vampire genre and has many adaptations such as The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man and,  of course, I am Legend.

I must say that I Am Legend movie adaptation does not resemble at all to the original source, having a lot of inventive adaptation (such as it happens with Ready Player One). Despite sharing the same basic premise, the adaptation differs greatly from the original novel. I use to joke that the only similar thing is the main character, Robert Neville (acted by Will Smith).

The Men In Black

Men in black comic

Men in black comic book

The Men In Black is actually not a novel, but an American comic book series.  It was written by Lowell Cunningham and illustrated by Sandy Carruthers. The original series consisted of three issues, then, after different editorial acquisitions, new issues were published including a prequel.

The movie, starring Will Smith as Jay and Tommy Lee Jones as K, turned out to be a success. This resulted in two sequels and an upcoming spin-off which will be released in June 2019 and will be starred by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. This success also lead to other spin-offs like an animated tv show, video games and even an amusement park ride in Universal Studios Florida! (See here).

World War Z

World War Z

World War Z book cover

This novel was written by Max Brooks and got published in 2006. World War Z movie, released in 2013 and directed by Marc Foster, tells the story of  Gerry Lane (starred by Bradd Pitt), an investigator who travels the world in order to stop the zombie pandemic.

Meanwhile, the original material is an apocalyptic horror novel in which the story is told through individual accounts providing so different perspectives for the zombie plague spread all around the world. As Max Brooks himself stated, “the film had nothing in common with the novel other than the title”.

 

Fight club

Fight Club book cover

Fight Club book cover

Written by Chuck Palahniuk and published in 1996. The writer had a fight while camping, returning to work bruised and swollen, his coworkers avoided to ask him what happened and that is how Palahniuk got inspired to write this novel. The movie adaptation was released three years later, directed by  David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. For those who loved this story, it has a sequel, Fight Club 2, which is released in comic book form.

Funnily, after publishing the novel, Chuck Palahniuk received lots of phone calls by journalists asking him where could they find one of those fight clubs he was inspired about. Of course, Chuck Palahniuk kept telling them he had made up all of it but journalists didn’t believe him. Ironically, fight clubs exist now, inspired by the novel’s philosophy. Also, the Fight Club rules are widely used and adapted all along the Internet.

I, Robot

I Robot Book Cover

I, Robot Book Cover

This is a science fiction novel published in 1950 and written by Isaac Asimov. This book is a collection of short stories posing dilemmas related to the three laws of robotics which, by the way, he created.  Meanwhile, the movie starring Will Smith (third time he appears in this list) was released in  2004. However, the movie, despite using some of the characters of the book as Dr. Susan Calvin, depicts a story of hordes of killing robots whose leader, a machine, wants to control humanity. While controlling humanity is one of the short stories premises, it can’t be said that the movie is linked to the original source.

Three laws of robotics have influenced widely popular culture and had been referenced on several occasions. Some examples are Star Trek and Futurama tv shows or the movie Doctor Who. In case you like I, Robot there are three prequels written by Mickey Zucker.

Hope this list surprised you, how many of these you movies you didn’t know were based on novels? Share in comments!

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The Hunger Games wallpaper

The Hunger Games: Despite the movie

You have watched The Hunger Games movies and you feel like you know everything about this saga? let’s find out! in “The Hunger Games: Despite the movie” I will prove to you why you should read The Hunger Games even if you already watched the movie.

A small introduction

The Hunger Games is a trilogy, the first novel was published in 2008 by Suzanne Collins and it has sold around 100 million copies around the world. This story was so successful, that in 2012 Lionsgate Entertainment released the movie adaptation of the first novel. While the original series is a trilogy, the movie adaptation has four movies having the last novel, Mockingjay, adapted in two movies. A pretty common move I must say, as other sagas like Harry Potter or Twilight did. And let’s not forget about the Hobbit, three movies for adapting a single book of 95.356 words…

The movie adaptation was released starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as Katniss Evergreen and Peeta respectively. The last film, Mockingjay part 2, collected more than 100 million dollars during the first weekend of its premiere.

This plot takes place in Panem, a country governed by a cruel tyrant who annually organizes “The Hunger Games”. The purpose of this deadly entertainment is reminding isolated people from the districts that they cannot fight against the government. Every year 24 tributes from 12 different districts are selected to fight between them to death. 23 of them will die and only one will survive. That was the rule until one day, a girl named Katniss, by an act of love unconsciously planted the seed of hope in people and encouraged them to fight for their freedom.

Interesting fact: Panem was named by the Latin words “Panem et Circenses” which mean “Bread and Circus”. Smart uh?

How different are the films from the books?

First of all, I must tell you that from now on the article contains spoilers… Once warned, let´s start!

While both versions, the book, and the film, agree in the main story, there are some changes. Even so, I must admit that in this case, the movie adaptation is pretty decent. Of course, there are changes compared to the original source but nothing as the several inventive adaptations in Ready Player One movie  (in case you missed it just click here) or the character changes and elisions in The Lord of The Rings movies ( here)

The novels allow us to go deeper into the story of the 12th District. We learn more about the mining life and what it is to live surrounded by fences and with almost nothing of electricity. You even get to share the trauma of Katniss, Johanna, and Peeta, you feel their pain page after page. And, of course, feeling sorry for Peeta seeing how well he treats Katniss is inevitable… Also, the novel has the power to make you sympathize with the sad story of the Avox, that is, those punished for rebelling against the Capitol. All of this is told from Katniss perspective, which allows us to get more involved in her feeling and thoughts.

I will summarize some of the things that are different in the movies compared to the original source:

The Hunger Games

This might sound like a minor detail, but I think it shows really well how hard life is in District 12, and also says a lot about Katniss as a character: Prim’s cat, Buttercup, does not like Katniss because she tried to drown him because so her family didn’t have to feed the pet.

It was Madge, Katniss classmate, who gave her the Mockingjay Pin, so she can remind her home.

Katniss was unable to hear out of her left ear after the explosion she caused when she threw an arrow straight to the bag of apples that were in the supply pyramid.

When Cato falls into the ground where the Mutos were, he didn’t die instantly. He suffered until Katniss found him and killed him.

Peeta loses his leg and this is replaced by a new leg made of plastic and metal.

As you see lots of these things are too explicit, a reason why it makes sense they weren’t included in the movie adaptation.

Catching fire

This movie adaptation is the one that resembles more to the original source.

When Rhemus beat Gale with the whip, Darius, an Agent of Peace tried to protect him, but he was beaten so bad that he ended up unconscious. Later, this character became an Avox and suffered severe punishment for treason.

At the time Haymitch participated in the Games, four tributes were reaped from each district, meaning a total of 48 tributes instead of 24.

Mockingjay

In this novel, Katniss accepts to be the Mockingjay so she can be the one who murders Cornelius Snow, the president of the Capitol.  She also kills a woman without hesitating after Peeta went crazy and thought that he was going to become a Muto. She also never trains

Due to the death of the actor Philip Seymour, the scene where Plutarch and Haymitch meet with Katniss to inform her about her forgiveness for murdering Coin was omitted.

Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch wrote a Memory Book in honor of the people who gave their lives for the cause.

 

The film thrills and achieved a good adaptation, but the book creates a unique bond between the reader and the characters since the author allows you to know each of them intimately. You are able to feel what they feel and all from the perspective of a girl who had to become strong in spite of her fears and insecurities… A girl that became a symbol for a nation.

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Ready player one Movie poster

Ready player one despite the movie

Hello Wottareaders! I wanted to make this post long ago and it is finally here! As the title says, why should you read Ready player one despite having watched the movie already? Well… I have some major reasons for you 👾

Ready Player One is a science fiction novel written by the American novelist Ernest Cline which was published in 2011. The novel had a nice reception, it was a New York Times bestseller and received general appraisal by critics.

After the novel came the movie adaptation, directed by no other than Steven Spielberg and having Ernest Cline as a co-writer for the screenplay, being released in March 2018. The movie became a success, grossing 582 million dollars worldwide while its budget was 175 million. IMDb has it rated as a 7,5/10 with a 64 Metascore, pretty decent marks. But of course, they had Steven Spielberg as the director for a reason isn’t it?

Oh, before we start, for those wondering if Ready Player One will have a sequel: yes, it will. The same Ernest Cline confirmed in 2017 that there would be a “Ready Player One 2” and that he was already writing it, nothing else is known, not even the book title. May I suggest Ready Player Two? Speaking of release dates, it is yet unknown when this sequel will be published. Meanwhile, you can read his book Armada, which I also having a movie Adaptation.

What is Ready Player One?

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, Ready Player One is a dystopian novel set in 2040, the world has subdued to global warming, overpopulation, and an energetic crisis. Luckily, people have a way to evade of such a sad reality, they have Oasis, an online virtual reality simulator created by the fictional character James Halliday.

When the Oasis creator dies, he challenges all Oasis players: Halliday reveals he has hidden three keys in his videogame, whoever finds the three of them first will inherit all his fortune, including his shares of his co-owned company Gregarious Simulation Systems, implying the winner would take control of Oasis itself.

In order to win this contest, players will have to learn about the life of its creator and what he loved and inspired the most, 1980s pop culture. As a result, people become authentic experts in both his life and the 80s in order to win the competition. The book tells the story of Wade Watts (also known as his Oasis nickname Parzival), a teenager obsessed by the 80s who becomes the first one finding the Cooper Key, the first of the three keys to achieving victory.

Is the movie a good adaptation of the novel?

Hmm, how do I put this? Let’s say it is just an adaptation. The movie uses the novel as the basis, but there are massive changes.  You might think that having Ernest Cline co-writing the screenplay might have ensured the movie would not be excessively inventive since he could be consulted, and therefore, we would have a decent transcription of his novel. I’m afraid that was not the case. This is a case of massive inventive adaptation, full of stories that were not present in the source material at all. you don’t believe me? Let’s do this then.

Warning: the following section contains spoilers for Ready Player One both movie and novel.

Ready Player One Book vs movie: differences

School:

In the novel, Wade Watts (featured by Tye Sheridan in the movie) goes to high school in Oasis. There is a planet in the videogame called Ludus, a place full of public schools where children can study for free. In order to aid the players in their quest to find the three keys, there is a poem which says the following:

“The Copper Key awaits explorers in a tomb filled with horrors, But you have much to learn If you hope to earn a place among the high scorers.”

This “you have much to learn” is, ironically, the key for the first challenge since the Copper Key is hidden in a cave on Ludus, the planet previously mentioned where a lot of teenagers, including Wade, go to school. As you might have realized, nothing of this happens in the movie.

The keys:

Keys Ready Player One

The 3 Keys in Ready Player One

The movie simplifies Halliday’s challenge pretty significantly: you solve the riddle then you get the key. In the novel it’s a bit harder than that, the key is just the beginning of a new challenge, the player has to use the key in order to unlock its gate and therefore face a new puzzle.  Basically, the contest is so altered that is not even similar to what happens in the novel.

For example, while in the movie adaptation players have to win a race in order to get the copper key, turning out to be tricky since you have to race it backwards. The novel has not even a race at all, but it is instead hidden in a tomb of horrors (recreating so Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game) on Ludus where players have to defeat Acererak (a DnD character) at the videogame Joust in order to get the copper key.

After this, the player has to teleport to another planet, Middletown, to play another videogame (Dungeons of Daggorath) and then quote all the dialogues of the character David Lightman in the film WarGames.

As you see, pretty much harder than in the movie and way more 80s related.

Also, the other keys have different challenges than in the books, Parzival and Art3mis never dance for a challenge (they dance, but in a party). Also, they never visit a virtual version of The Shining. Instead, they have to face other puzzles, such as playing the game Zork. But I don’t want to ruin you the whole book, so I’ll let you discover the rest on your own.

The extra life:

In the movie, Parzival gets a quarter as a prize after winning a bet from the museum curator. In the novel it’s pretty different, he gets that prize after playing the perfect game of Pac-Man, that is, eating everything (dots, enemies and fruits)  on the first 255 levels while not losing a single life and getting as many points on the level 256 (at which game ends due to a bug).

The bounty hunter I-R0k:

While I-R0k also is shown in the book, his role in the original story is merely anecdotal compared to the movie adaptation. While in the film he has a major role, working for Sorento in order to virtually kill the main characters, in the novel he is just another player who likes to make fun of Parzival.

Art3mis is not kidnapped but Parzival:

Art3mis is kidnapped in the movie, while in the novel it’s actually Parzival and he does it on purpose in order to infiltrate in IOIs headquarters and destroy the impenetrable forcefield they have put to protect the last puzzle.

Oasis being closed:

In the movie after Wade becomes Halliday’s heir, he makes a change in Oasis: people can’t play on Tuesday and Thursdays. This doesn’t happen in the books, and it makes sense this doesn’t happen since, as previously, said a lot of people go to school thanks to Oasis.  But also, the world has not changed after Wade wins the contest, meaning,  he might be billionaire now, but the rest of the world keeps being the same, they live in a decadent real world and they still want to use Oasis to evade from it, the same Wade did until he had a girlfriend and was not rich, it would be a bit selfish to remove their online world from the rest wouldn’t it?

As you see, major changes, a lot of inventive adaptation. You might have noticed also that while the novel was full of references to the 80s. The movie, instead, had a much modern approach (showing video game characters such as Tracer from Overwatch).

So, time to read the book before the sequel gets released isn’t it? Keep reading!

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Lord of the rings book and movie poster

The Lord of the Rings Despite the movie

The Lord of the Rings has been a huge influence not only in the epic high fantasy genre but in the literature in general. The Lord of the Rings has sold over 150 million copies, meaning it is one of the best-selling novels ever. J.R.R Tolkien wrote a masterpiece which, funnily, was created because his publishers requested him a sequel for his previous book, The Hobbit.

Everybody know The Lord of the rings.  Once (when the books were published) The Sunday Times stated the following “the English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and those who are going to read them” this may have changed a bit, since a lot of people watched the movies first and decided they didn’t need to read the books. If you like this saga and you want  to read similar books, to might like to check this post by the way.

Worry not, I will warn you before there are spoilers. Reading is safe, for now…

But do you know everything must be known about this saga if you only watched the movies?

Absolutely not. Don’t get me wrong, the movies were amazing. Peter Jackson did a great job writing and directing The Lord of the Rings movies. But it’s only an adaptation, an impressive one, but still an adaptation. The movies, of course, use the novels as a basis but, as most of the movie adaptations, there are elisions, character changes, and inventive adaptations. Still, this movie adaptation has changest, but not as many as others like Ready Player One (massive changes in this one, just take a look at this post)

Of course, it is normal that movies based on books are not literal adaptations, would you imagine how long movies would be? Just take this example, In 1924 Erich von Stroheim attempted a literal adaptation of the novel McTeague (written by f Frank Norris) with his movie Greed, the resulting film was more than 9 hours long! And this was for a 123,250 words novel, now imagine (or feel free to calculate) how long it would be for the 481,103 words the Lord of the Rings saga has. The best is to consider both works of art as separate entities, so you will enjoy both of them.

What kind of details are different from the books?

Warning: this section contains minor spoilers

As every movie adaptation, there are in fact elisions, character changes, and inventive adaptations. Some characters as Tomb Bombadil do not appear or are mentioned at all. Others, like Glorfindel, have their role featured by another character (Arwen).

There is also some inventive adaptation in the books, for example, in The two towers movie elves came to help the defense of Helms Deep, this never happened in the book. According to Peter Jackson, he included the elven company lead by Haldir of Lothlórien he wanted the audience to know that it wasn’t just Men fighting and dying for the free people in Middle Earth at the time. In my opinion, this worked great, you actually felt some kind of support from the elves, but I remember watching the movie and thinking “I don’t remember reading anything like this?”

Elves arrive to Helm's Deep

No, you don’t…

 

 

 

 

 

Details that don’t happen in the movies

Warning: this section contains massive spoilers

If you are curious and want to know some things or characters that were not included in the movies, here are some of them:

Tom Bombadil

This charismatic character appears in the first book of the Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the ring. Although he is not mentioned in any film, he plays a very important role, saving the hobbits not once but twice. First, he saves Merry and Pippin from the Old Man Willow, another character not included in the book. Second, he also saves the hobbits from the Barrow-wights, wraith-like creatures that are also absent in this movie trilogy.

If that was not enough, Tom Bombadil was able to see Frodo despite him wearing the One ring and also was able to wear it with no effect. The One Ring had no effect on him, a reason why during The Council of Elrond it is suggested that Tom kept the Ring, having Gandalf refusing the idea saying Tom would not find the Ring important and would misplace it.

Oh! Did you know that Sam also wears the ring in the books?

The Shire

This region is located to the northwest of Middle-earth, where Frodo left to begin his journey. In the third novel “The Return of the King” when the hobbits return home they find it has been corrupted and controlled by criminals led by Sharkey, which you may know by his other name: Saruman the White.

Saruman

One of the most understandable changes in this adaptation. In the movies Gríma Wormtongue kills Saruman on top of the famous Orthanc tower. It is true that something similar happens in the book, however, there are crucial differences since, as you just read, he is alive and faces the hobbits when they return to The Shire.

Andúril

The fragments of Narsil, a sword forged by Telchar in Nogrod during the First Age, gave rise to Andúril (also known as The flame of the West), the sword of Aragorn. This sword is famous because it was awarded to him after Helm’s Deep battle. But this sword hides much more, and saves Aragorn more than once, something that is not included in the films. How? In the book, there are more details of the strong bond that exists between Lothlórien, Galadriel, Narsil and Aragorn himself (you might have to read the book to know more 😊 )

The Dead in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields

You probably remember Aragorn appearing with a huge Army of dead men in the Pelennor Fields, this was not exactly like that in the books. The Army of dead repaid their debt previously, in the battle of Pelargir defeating the Corsairs from the Gondor city of Pelargir. Therefore, it was not them who were Aragon’s reinforcements but it was the Grey Company (a group as Dunedain, such as Aragorn) instead.

The other Rings of Power

The other Rings of Power, despite being mentioned, are not as relevant as they are in the books. The movies don’t even mention  that Gandalf carries one of the Three rings of the Elves, Narya (the ring of fire). The original owner, Cirdan, gave it to Gandalf to help him. This is better explained in The Tale of Years, a chapter included in The Peoples of Middle-earth (one of thetwelve-volumee series of the books compiled by Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien’s son)

“Take this ring, Master, for your labours will be heavy; but it will support you in the weariness that you have taken upon yourself. For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill. But as for me, my heart is with the Sea, and I will dwell by the grey shores until the last ship sails. I will await you.”

 

Here you had some reasons why you should read the books, despite the movies. I hope it was convincing enough, keep reading!

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The witcher book and videogame

The witcher series

 

The Witcher video games have been a huge success. The third game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is the most successful of all. It won the  Game of the year award in 2015 (Golden Joystick Awards”, “Game Developers Choice Awards” and “The Game Awards), a prestigious award  given by various gaming publications to a video game that they feel represents the pinnacle of video gaming that year. If that was not enough, it is also considered by tons of fans as the best video game in this Console generation. Its developer, CD Projekt Red, couldn’t be happier, because the figures of this game series have already exceeded the thirty-three million copies sold.

The Witcher is an action role-playing game based on the novel series of The Witcher by polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The story is set in a medieval fantasy world telling the story of the witcher Geralt of Rivia, monster slayer with unnatural abilities like the power of the signs (considered simple magic spells by mages) or accelerated healing. These incredible powers are thanks to both his extensive training and the mysterious ritual that is performed in order to become a witcher.

If this was not enough, is going to be also a TV series created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich for Netflix. If you are interested on this TV adaptation check this post.

The Witcher books

 

The witcher books gif

Book covers

Thanks to these games, the witcher novels have gained more notoriety. People want to know more about Geralt of Rivia and his companions, could there be a better way than reading these fantastic series? Nope. The book’s plot happens years before the stories in the video games, it could be considered somehow a prequel, so reading is a perfect way to learn more about this wonderful world and its charismatic characters.

Whether your hobbies include both video games like reading fantasy books and you didn’t know anything about this saga, The Witcher is a great way to complement both worlds.  As I have already said, the video games are a sequel of the books, meaning that a good approach would be to read books and then play the video games (this is what I did by the way, and worked great), thus understanding better the plot and characters that appear. This way you would enjoy the most this literary saga which finds an astonishing sequel in the world of video games.

In case you already played the video games, I won’t spoil you anything, but you will be shocked more than once even so. Also, you will understand a lot of references to the books made during the game (it’s full of them!)

The proper way to read them

So, have you decided to read The Witcher books? Great! This is a fairly long series, and it gets a bit difficult to know the proper order to read them. There is much controversy on what is the correct reading order of these books. In my opinion, the one that makes more sense is reading them in chronological order (with one exception). The saga begins with two short story books after this come the novels, they subsequently end with a prequel. So, in my opinion, the best way to read this saga is the following:

  • The Last Wish (short story collection)
  • Sword of Destiny (short story collection)
  • Blood of Elves (novel begins here)
  • Time of Contempt
  • Baptism of Fire
  • The Tower of Swallows
  • The Lady of the Lake
  • Season of storms (Prequel)

I know, it may sound odd recommending reading the prequel the last one. There is a reason for this, it is true that chronologically it is the first one, but if you read the other books first you will understand its plot way better. This is only a recommendation of course. By the way, this book is not necessary to understand the overall story, but if you read the rest you will surely want to know more about the witcher’s story.

Why should you read the books?

The witcher books

The Witcher is a great literary saga, the plot of the books is certainly fascinating. The series revolves around Ciri a girl tied to the witcher by fate. Its protagonist, Geralt of Rivia has very special charisma, which makes the dialogues being spicy and fun.

Many of the characters have a unique personality that makes them very attractive. One of my favorite characters is Yennefer, a very powerful sorceress of which I already wrote in a previous post. The relationship between Geralt and his troubadour friend Dandelion (or Jaskier) is really inspiring, something that in my opinion you don’t get such  impression while playing the video games.

If you’ve already played video games or intend to do so, these books will provide much information on both the world and the characters depth. In addition, the game makes constant references to previous events that took place in the books. Therefore you will enjoy much more both formats if you read them before.

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