On Adaptations

Hello friends!

I’ve waited two months to write this blog. Though, really, I guess it’s been longer.

Adaptations. Specifically, book to screen adaptations. Some fall short of fan expectations (see: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief). Others capture the spirit of the book even if they’ve thrown out whole storylines or changed massive plot points (see: Howl’s Moving Castle). Some just keep the name and the general concept (see: Annihilation). Rarest of all the adaptations is the one that remains faithful to the story and the spirit, while also finding love among the existing fanbase (see: Holes).

With the rise of television, more and more books have been adapted into shows rather than movies, which I personally think has done wonders. The television format allows more room for side characters and subplots, allowing adaptations to remain more faithful to the source material.

I waited for years to see the Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone, and I went into the show with a cautious optimism. Clearly, the production had a high budget, and being adapted into a series felt like the right call for such a rich world. I was more apprehensive (and also more excited) about the Six of Crows storyline. The duology of books is among my favorites, and while it’s set in the world of the originally published Shadow and Bone trilogy, the characters and their stories rely on different aspects of the fantasy world, and the events in the duology take place years after the trilogy. Like many, I was skeptical about the meshing of the plotlines, but I held onto a shred of optimism. With every announcement and teaser, my excitement only grew.

The show hit Netflix on April 23rd. I finished watching all eight hour-long episodes on April 24th. Since then, I’ve watched the series all the way through two more times. And I love it.

I read the trilogy after I’d read the duology, so I was a little underwhelmed by it. However, the aspects of the trilogy I felt needed work were fortified in the show. And the Crows enriched the world and the show, while remaining true to their roots and going on adventures before the events of their books start. Obviously, some things were changed or added, but nothing that felt untrue to the spirit of the stories told in the books.

Overall, my cautious optimism was rewarded. I sat glued to my screen during my first watch-through, and I coordinated with my dear friend across the country so we could watch at the same time and text each other our reactions real-time. We laughed, we gasped, we freaked out, and we had a blast doing it. We’ve also kept each other updated on news about the show, like the announcement of its renewal for a second season. I’m positive that when they announce new cast members and release dates, we’ll be texting each other eagerly.

And in the end, isn’t it more important to build friendships on these beautiful stories than to nitpick the details?

What I wrote this week: Finley, outlining and dragging my feet and nonsense.

What I read this week: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender; Dreadnought by April Daniels; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

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