So the big news on book Twitter the last few days has been the casting of the Netflix adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy and Six of Crows. These books are pretty beloved in the book blogging world, so it hasn’t surprised me that quite a few people aren’t happy with the casting choices (the main casting choice people seem to have a problem with is Jesper, who they’re saying hasn’t got dark enough skin for the role).
This got me thinking a lot about book-to-screen adaptations though, and how really, they’re always going to be a minefield for creators. In a lot of ways I think makers of film and TV would be better coming up with their own stories, simply because by using ones with an existing fan base, they’re never going to win. No matter how good the casting choice is, they’re never going to conjure up the exact image of the character that’s in every reader’s head. It’s inevitable that people will be disappointed, yet Hollywood and TV companies still continue to churn out either adaptations or remakes of everything going.
Personally I know that whenever I hear that a book I love is getting an adaptation, I’m always a little worried, but also intrigued. I’m curious to see how they’ll adapt it, who they’ll cast in it, what they’ll miss out, add or change…but I’m also praying they do my beloved book justice and don’t ruin it. For example, I’m kind of worried that Netflix is going to fall into the usual trap of adapting a YA book and make Six of Crows super cheesy…but at the same time I can’t wait to see it. And personally I didn’t overly disapprove of any of the casting choices announced so far (and it really isn’t cool that people have been directly tweeting young actors to tell them they’re wrong for what is probably the biggest role of their career so far!).
And thinking about it, there hasn’t been that many book-to-screen adaptations I’ve seen that I’ve genuinely hated. I tend to prefer the books, but I’ve enjoyed the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films as well as the Game of Thrones TV series. And it’s nice to think that through these adaptations people who don’t read can have access to some of the incredible stories they would have otherwise missed out on.
Like imagine some people not having been able to experience the wonder of Harry Potter? And the Game of Thrones series became its own phenomenon, even passing the books story-wise and gaining thousands, if not millions more fans for George R.R. Martin’s story. And it made fantasy TV shows a thing, which I’m certainly not going to complain about!
I think the key really is to try and consider adaptations as their own, separate entities. Not liking an adaptation or something about it doesn’t change your feelings about the original book, and at the end of the day you don’t have to watch an adaptation. But I do know that as a fan it can be hard to see something you love taken and changed, or morphed into something completely different (and thanks to the internet it’s now easy for fans to make their thoughts known…the controversial end to Game of Thrones being a good example).
In short, I have nothing particular against book-to-screen adaptations, in fact a lot of the time I’m curious to see them. But messing with existing fandoms is a risky business, and you can’t please everyone…So maybe Hollywood should try coming up with its own ideas more often?
So I’d love to know you’re opinions on book-to-screen adaptations! Do you love them or loathe them? What do you think of the Grisha/Six of Crows casting so far?