TV Adaptations I Watched Before Reading the Books

I don’t always attempt to read the books before watching their adaptations. That is true for films and TV series alike. TV adaptations have, in fact, introduced me not only to books that I loved and cherished, but also to ones that I hope to enjoy in the future. Occasionally, I watch adaptations that don’t arouse my interest in reading the books for a variety of reasons (Outlander, Poldark and Normal People are some examples). This post is, however, about the TV adaptations of books that I’ve now already read or that I still want to read!


The Luminaries

I’ve watched The Luminaries this summer. Although I didn’t love it, since it has too few episodes to become familiar with the characters, it left me eager to read the book by Eleanor Catton, which I’m hoping to enjoy much more. It is set in New Zealand in the 19th century and focuses on Anna Wetherell and Emery Staines.


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Before reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, I watched the BBC adaptation in 2015. A year later, I decided to pick up the book, since the story had fascinated me. Set in the 19th century, it’s an alternate history and fantasy novel about the restoration of English magic. Two practical magicians, who have very distinctive personalities, are commissioned to help win the war against Napoleon.


War and Peace

I’m certain that I watched, in 2016, the BBC mini-series that adapted to the small screen the Leo Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace. For some reason, however, I can’t remember much about it. I still want to read the (massive) book in the near future. Set during Russia’s war against Napoleon, it portrays Russian society through various families.


Game of Thrones – Seasons 1 to 4

I discovered the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin thanks to the TV show. Everyone knows what it is about by now, so I’m not going to describe its epic scale here. I watched the first three seasons before reading any of the books. At that point, in order to avoid spoilers, I decided that it would be best to read the books. Before the premiere of season four, I only managed to read the first two books, A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. It was only after the end of that season, that I picked up the remaining already published books. One could say that I also watched seasons 6,7 and 8 before reading the books, but that applies to everyone else as well. I’m still hoping that the last two novels will see the light of day!



The TV series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss is only loosely based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, since it’s set in present-day London instead of in the 19th century. It’s still, nevertheless, an amazing show. The performances by Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Andrew Scott are memorable. So far, I’ve only read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and this was only after watching the four seasons of the TV series, if I’m not mistaken. I plan to read all of Doyle’s writings about Sherlock Holmes, though.


What TV adaptations have you watched before reading the books? Tell me in the comments!


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