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Archive for July, 2011

I dedicate this, rather delayed, blog to my biggest (only?) fan, who keeps reminding me, whilst bored at work, how long it’s been since the last post.

This month was going to be a neat segue from maps in books to pictures in books, or on book covers, but along the way I’ve got sidetracked into film adaptations and other book related imagery instead.

I’m not a fan of reading a book after having seen an adaptation of it on TV or a film (the other way round is fine though).  Friends at uni (quite rightly) insisted I read the whole of Lord of the Rings before watching The Fellowship of the Ring at the cinema. I want my own images and ideas in my head about what a place or character looks like before a director offers their ideas. However some adaptations are good and the characters and places are similar to the ones in my imagination.

The film version of Atonement by Ian McEwan was very well done and stuck fairly closely to the original book I thought. And the level of detail that had gone into the buildings, clothing and scenery in Lord of the Rings was stunning and must have done wonders for New Zealand’s inbound tourism (no wonder Tourism New Zealand is thrilled that The Hobbit will be filmed there too). Casting was spot on with Ian McKellan as Gandalf, and I was rather fond of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn too (but that was more of a personal appreciation  to be honest!)

I excitedly awaited the recent Discworld films for months before they were released. But personally it didn’t always ring true, either the storyline in the films was chopped up and reorganised too much to stay true to the original books or Pratchett’s descriptions of people and places seemed to get lost along the way. Going Postal (with the brilliant Richard Coyle as Postmaster Moist von Lipwig) and Hogfather were very good. However The Light Fantastic-Colour of Magic massacre was terribly disappointing. I didn’t watch it to the end, they simply tried to cram too much in and ended up not doing any of it very well. I guess the decision whether to stay faithful to a book or make a good movie (at the expense of the book’s original story) is a hard one – something I think JK Rowling probably experienced, as different directors treated Potter adaptions differently.

That’s the problem with trying to adapt a fantasy book. Otherworldly places (and people) will always form a set picture or idea as you read. To see someone else’s perception of, for example, The Tower Of Art is always going to be different to your own. Which is understandable. I’m not sure the total and utter miscasting of David Jason as Rincewind is forgivable though (one thing other fans agree on). Even putting aside the fact he was cast as Albert in the first Discworld film, Hogfather, and then played Rincewind, there’s no way a tall skinny gangly wizard can be translated into the short, rounded figure of David Jason. The Discworld wiki describes Rincewind as “athletic” – which makes sense with all the running away he frequently does – David Jason doesn’t strike me as someone good at running!

The Royal Mail’s December special edition of fantasy stamps featured Rincewind and Nanny Ogg. The Rincewind stamp had a gangly (slightly sleazy looking) character on it. Which, whist somewhat lecherous does fit my idea of Rincewind better at least.

Next time, if anyone’s still interested, I’ll head back where I was originally going in this post – book covers.

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