Discussion: Adapting books

I just started watching the TV show True Blood (my dad will be happy–he’s been telling me to check it out for almost a year now 😉 ), which of course I know is based on a series of books by Charlene Harris. I haven’t read any of the books, but it was interesting to find out, poking around online, that the creators made a few rather major changes when writing the show. Particularly with the character Tara.

Right now, Tara is probably my favorite character. (Though Lafayette and Sookie herself provide some pretty tough competition.) She is made of awesome. It’s hard for me to imagine the story presented in a way where she is so peripheral she doesn’t even turn up until the second book! But technically, I guess, that’s the more “authentic” version, since it’s the version that came first. Of course, TV show and movie creators are always taking liberties when they adapt books. Sometimes for good reason (not everything that works on the page also works on the screen; condensing is almost always necessary), sometimes for reasons it is hard to perceive (I’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling from Harry Potter fans about bits of the book left out while other, seemingly irrelevant bits, were added in).

As book fans, how do you feel about adaptations? Are you happy as long as it tells a good story, regardless of how true to the book(s) it stays? Are there certain sorts of changes that particularly bother you–or, on the other hand, that you particularly like to see? What do you look for when you see a book you enjoyed made into film or TV?


Discussion: Adapting books — 2 Comments

  1. I watched the first season a while ago (I had to buy it on DVD because I don’t have HBO) but I loved it. Tara is probably my favorite just because of her attitude and humor. She don’t take crap from nobody and she isn’t afraid to say whats on her mind. Then I would have to say Lafayette would by my next favorite because he’s just so darn funny! I haven’t read the books either so I don’t know all the differences between the two. But I have also heard that Tara isn’t in the first book very much, and the books are from Sookie’s perspective.

    Now, I got to wait til the second season is out on DVD so I can see what happens.


    • Yeah, it’s tough when you’ve got to wait for a series to come out on DVD–I often don’t start watching shows until they’ve been around for a while which makes that less of a problem, but the new ones–oh the waiting!

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