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!

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.