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. Continue reading

Other Favourite Stories of 2019

Books are undoubtedly the protagonists of this blog. However, I also consume stories, be they fictional or not, through other forms of media. So, I like to annually compile and share with you my other favourite stories, which are usually TV series and films. From the ones that I watched for the first time in 2019, I have four favourites.

 

Game of Thrones – Season 8

The last season of Game of Thrones was surely divisive. I’m part of the seeming minority (or maybe of the less vocal majority) who liked it immensely. I’ve discussed the reasons behind my enjoyment in significant detail on my monthly favourites of April and May, so I’m going to avoid spoilers and be brief this time.

Season 8 is visually stunning, atmospheric and emotive. Not only did I cry, but I also laughed. The acting is outstanding, the camera work is fantastic, and the score is perfect. I don’t think that I’ve mentioned it before, but I loved the final montage. The actions of the characters, in my opinion, result fully from their personalities and are a consequence of their life experiences. Although there is one occurrence that, at first, feels slightly anticlimactic, everything makes sense. I would have liked it to be one or two episodes longer (I think I’ve used the term ‘a couple of’ before). They were not necessarily needed for a fitting telling of the story, but I selfishly wanted more interactions between the characters. Their state of mind would have been even clearer. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – May 2019

Another month, another instalment of my monthly favourites! Today, you can expect a long exposition about my favourite TV show. But, fear not, before that I’ll reveal my favourite book and songs from May. I don’t want to bore you to death if you’re not even remotely interested in the show in question.

May was a complex reading month. I read the final pages of a book that I didn’t like and read in their entirety another three. Regarding the latter, I had conflicting feelings about A Cidade de Ulisses (City of Ulysses) by Teolinda Gersão and liked both The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante and The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier. After some contemplation, I think my favourite was The Story of a New Name. It is the second book in the Neapolitan novels and continues to follow the lives of the friends Elena and Lila. I wholeheartedly recommend this compelling story about female friendship, which is full of conflicting emotions. It also features reflections on class, equality and social mobility.

Music-wise, I loved two new songs by The Black Keys, ‘Eagle Birds’ and ‘Lo/Hi’. Rock songs that we can dance to are some of my favourites, and these are just great for that. I’m really excited to listen to the new album in full. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – April 2019

I’m generally able to be brief and concise when the time comes to reveal my monthly favourites. But I don’t believe that will be the case today. Although I read a couple of good books, my reading month wasn’t exceptional by any means. I’m even on the verge of a reading slump. However, I have many opinions to share about my favourite TV show of this month. I’m going leave that to the very end, because (also unusually) spoilers will abound then!

Seeing that this is overall a book blog, I’ll start by mentioning my favourite book from the ones that I read in April – Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Ursula Todd, the main character, wasn’t born only once. She had various opportunities to live. So, the reader is presented with various possible stories about her life, because even a small change in a previous event can make a difference. Ursula’s lives are not all equally gripping. Nevertheless, this novel is full of vivid scenes and heart-breaking moments. It also paints a picture of the first half of the 20th century in Europe.

Music-wise, I loved listening to ‘Gold’ by Band of Skulls, my favourite song from their latest album Love Is All You Love. But I also listened on repeat to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Jenny of Oldstones’ by Florence + The Machine, a song they recorded for Game of Thrones. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – January 2019

After loving sharing with you my selection of favourite books, TV series, films, music, joyful activities and items from each month in 2018, I decided to continue to do the same this year. January wasn’t particularly memorable. However, I still have a couple of favourites that deserve to be highlighted.

I read three books last month. My favourite was Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier. After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan went to live with her aunt and uncle at Jamaica Inn. She soon realised that her uncle was involved in a smuggling business. Was that the only illegal activity that he was guilty of? A dangerous atmosphere is present throughout the novel. The characters’ dialogues feel truly real, and I particularly loved the interactions between Mary and Jem Merlyn.

Although I didn’t watch many TV shows in January, the ones that I did were fantastic. I continued my annual re-watch of Game of Thrones and have now finished season 3. I adored it as much as when I watched it for the first time. Obviously, I wasn’t as shocked by episode 9 as before, but it still breaks my heart. I also watched the first episode of Sex Education the day before yesterday and quite liked it. It’s so hilarious that I cannot wait to watch the rest of the series. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – December 2018

December is inescapably the month of Christmas celebrations, and my favourites reflect that to an extent. Not only have I read six books (the biggest number in a month last year), two of them revolving around Christmas, but I’ve also listened to some unusual music to me, eaten too many sweets and got some new clothing items.

My favourite book from the ones I read last month is Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson. It’s a collection of short stories accompanied by recipes related to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It features many magical and supernatural elements. Some stories stand out because they are extremely atmospheric. Others have incredibly fleshed out characters. I didn’t like all stories equally, but a few were highly gripping. I’ll post a more detailed review soon.

Music-wise, during the first half of last month there was a song I kept listening to over and over again – ‘Santa’s Coming for Us’ by Sia. I don’t tend to like Christmas songs, so the fact that I enjoy this song so much is surprising even for me. My excitement for Christmas diminished as the date approached, but I still listened to this song (which I discovered for the first time in 2017) a few times after that happened. Continue reading

Other Favourite Stories of 2017

To complete my recap on 2017, I present you to my favourite stories told through a medium other than books. When I first thought about doing such a list, I had in mind films, TV series, magazines and newspapers features, etc., that I loved during a year. However, 2017 was definitely the year of TV series for me, as none of the films I watched for the first time or features that I read stood out from the rest.

So, without further ado, these were the favourite TV series I watched in 2017:

 

Game of Thrones – Season 7

I can confidently say that Game of Thrones is my favourite TV series ever. It’s exciting and keeps me on the edge of my seat. It’s not only visually astonishing but also features complex and memorable characters. Season 7 felt a bit different from the previous ones, because many of the characters were now at the same locations, whereas before their paths didn’t cross. Some people complained about how everything seemed to be happening really fast with no much regard for the needed time to travel from one place to another. But, as the characters are more than developed now, in my opinion it would have been extremely boring to follow them during their travels. And we, as viewers, are supposed to know that time passes off-camera, not everything is shown. Continue reading

On Adaptations: Are the Books Always Better?

Whenever a new film or TV adaptation is announced, it isn’t difficult to find someone saying that the books are always better. That is a statement that I’ve never agreed with. The vast majority of the adaptations that I’ve watched, I enjoyed as much as the books. Some I even liked more than the books. Although it’s true that I believe that some adaptations may not do a book justice, this is far from the rule for me.

I really struggle to claim that a book is better than its adaptation, or vice versa, mainly because I would be comparing two completely different forms of entertainment, which require different ways of storytelling. What works fantastically on page may not work on screen. I tend to compare the enjoyment I had when reading the book or watching the film or TV adaptation instead of saying one is better than the other. The fact that I liked reading about a story more than watching it on screen doesn’t automatically make the adaptation a bad one.

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad adaptations. If the adaptation completely misrepresents the feelings, the tone or the entire plot of the story to the point that it stops making sense, then it is not only a bad adaptation but also a bad film or TV show. I don’t expect all the plot points to be presented on screen in the exactly same way in which they were written. I don’t mind changes on adaptations at all, as long as they make sense in the context of the story being told, or they result in a more compelling story on screen. Continue reading

Other Favourite Stories of 2016

Stories are one of the things that I love the most. Although I have a special place in my heart for the written word, I sometimes just fancy sitting on the sofa watching great TV series or going to the cinema to watch a film. 2016 was the year of TV series for me, as I started watching many new ones and continued watching some of my old favourites. On the other hand, I didn’t watch as many films as I used to in previous years.

Game of Thrones continued to be my favourite TV series of all time. This is quite a bold statement to make, but I’ve never enjoyed a show so much as I do Game of Thrones. Enjoy is probably not the most appropriate word to use when talking about such a show. So, let’s just say I have never been so enthralled and amazed by something on TV before. And season 6 was no exception!

Last year, I loved seeing on screen actions and revelations I was already expecting to happen, but also being surprised and heartbroken. The combination of great acting and directing created some of the greatest moments on television. As I am not a book purist (I don’t mind changes on adaptations, as different mediums require different things to make a compelling story), I am fine with the majority of the things that were changed from the books, written by George RR Martin, and how we are getting main plot points revealed before the last books are published. For more on my thoughts about Game of Thrones, you can read my post on why it is my favourite book-to-TV adaptation here. Continue reading

Favourite Book-to-TV Adaptations: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is one of the most talked-about TV shows of the last 10 years. If you’ve never heard of it, you’ve probably been living under a rock. But I will give you a short introduction before you have to leave so not to be spoiled. The first season premiered in 2011 and since then it has broken records in Emmy nominations and illegal downloads worldwide. It is an adaptation of the yet to be completed A Song of Ice and Fire book series by the American fantasy author George R.R. Martin. However, the latest season has outpaced the currently five published novels.

Both the novels and the TV show take place in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos. Westeros was once divided into seven kingdoms, which are now nine regions, each one of them having a lord protector, member of a great House, who serves the king sitting on the Iron Throne. At the beginning of the books and the show, that king is Robert Baratheon, who won a rebellion against the Targaryens years prior the events taking place. The Targaryens are the family that had managed to unite the seven kingdoms hundreds of years before, mainly because they had… dragons!

After Robert’s Rebellion, the only two surviving Targaryens moved to Essos, remaining there in exile. One of the main strands of the story focuses on the siblings Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen, whose aim is to return home and take back their father’s throne. Meanwhile in Westeros, the great Houses are playing dangerous power games that leave various traces of turmoil. Throughout the first season and book, we become acquainted with Houses Stark, Baratheon, Lannister and Greyjoy. But the number of Houses and characters keeps growing as the story progresses. Continue reading