That’s a quote from the underrated John Travolta movie, Basic. It’s one of my favorites, and it sums up a fundamental difference my husband and I have when it comes to book to film/tv conversions. How close should the new media stick to the original cannon?
This is a spoiler alert. If you watch Game of Thrones and are more than one episode behind at the time of this post, spoilers are coming. Additionally, if you live under a rock and haven’t seen/read The Harry Potter series, or are at least unfamiliar with the characters involved in the upcoming Star Wars movie, stop reading. You have business to attend to. Same goes for Charlaine Harris’s True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse series.
Case in point, Game of Thrones, season 5, episode 4. I couldn’t find one thing that happened in the show that happened just as it did in the books. Jamie never went to Dorne. Loras was never arrested by the Sparrows. Jorah never said he was taking Tyrion to Danerys, (it was more implied.) Ellaria was not leading the Sand Snakes. Mellisandre didn’t pull her, “Let me show you the Lord of Light in my headlamps,” move, although that always gets me laughing. Oh, and last I checked, Selmy and Grey Worm… STILL ALIVE.
As the show wrapped up, I was on the edge of my seat, yelling at the tv. “That’s not right! That’s not how it happened!”
Thus began our argument.
I maintain the written word by the author is cannon. Deviation from that isn’t correct. That doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. It doesn’t mean I don’t like it. But it is not right as I see it.
My husband maintains that because the writers and producers of GoT have consulted with George R. R. Martin about the series and where the books are headed, these inconsistencies are no big deal. According to him, it’s fine because if they were important in the books, they’d still be in the show.
So here’s my deal. I’ve seen what HBO can do to a series. I watched four seasons worth of the True Blood train wreck happen. It started with Jason’s girlfriend. She was alright. I liked her, and it didn’t really change too much of the main plot. Then they saved Lafayette. I love Lafayette. I am Team Lala 100%, and I was so happy he didn’t die. And yet, by the end of what I watched, his plot line was as important as Sookie’s. After season 1, things went way off the reservation. To the point I just didn’t care anymore, and I’m leery when I see HBO leaning that direction again.
And Charlaine Harris was consulted on the show… at least in the beginning.
Given all this, I wonder if we let some things slide and some not, depending on how much we like them. Or is it the size of the change? I really liked Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film, although I think I’m in the minority. What I remember striking me was the little things added in, like the janitor lady at the Leaky Cauldron. Not in the books, but her two lines helped sharpen the world when the time needed for world building was at a premium.
Another example is the fate of everyone’s favorite Wookie. The GoT argument is not the first in this series for the hubs and I. Up until Disney purchased the rights to the Star Wars universe, there were tons of books written on what happened after Return of the Jedi. My husband informed me that in one such book, Chewy dies.
Once again, his argument was that since George Lucas allowed for the licensing, it’s legit. Chewbacca is sleeping with the fishes.
I say again. Um. No.
If George Lucas didn’t write, Chewbacca dies and sign his name, with two witnesses and a notary public, I’m not having it. To me, it’s just excellent fan fiction.
Thank The Force for this:
So at least in this case, I’m allowed to do the “I’m Right Dance.” Chewy lives!
But what about the rest? Maybe, because I’m a writer, I feel more strongly about this. If I didn’t write it, in my world, it didn’t happen. Anyone want to weigh in on this? Am I way off base?