I’m sure at least half of the people who have read a book ever have already heard about- and weighed in on- J.K. Rowlings’ controversial statement, denigrating her own creative decisions. I spent a few weeks fuming before I could come out with any thoughts halfway to articulate. When I finally reached some peace about it, it was because I had come to one clear conclusion: that the movie had changed the books. At least for the author.
In the books, Ron and Hermione made perfect sense. They balanced each other out. I wanted nothing so much for Hermione than for her to just chill occasionally, without her head spinning off its shoulders. She also had quite enough on her resumé without needing a partner to round it out for her. Ron had his teenage boy moments, but it takes some backbone to be constantly sandwiched between the consumate Valedictorian and the Chosen One. Anyway, it didn’t much matter if I couldn’t bring the die-hard-Ron-haters to see things from my side, because, after all, the Author already did! But then…. that happened!
After fuming for awhile, I went back to the full original:
“In some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit and I’ll tell you something very strange. When I wrote Hallows, I felt this quite strongly when I had Hermione and Harry together in the tent!… And actually I liked that scene in the film, because it was articulating something I hadn’t said but I had felt. I really liked it and I thought that it was right. I think you do feel the ghost of what could have been in that scene.”
I found it extremely telling that this “admission” came from, essentially, a published conversation between J.K. Rowling and one of the stars of the films. Meaning, this conversation was much more grounded in the Wizarding World of Film versus Print.
Now, you have me. From an acting perspective, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson did wind up having more chemistry together than with the actors they were meant to be paired with in the source material. Only, that didn’t translate, for me, that Harry and Hermione had changed. It was just one of the hazards of casting actors very young.
The movies couldn’t accommodate the same level of character development as the books- even for the leads. A lot of Ron’s better moments were lost in the films. For most of the books, he and Harry actually worked together better than Harry and Hermione. For their translation into a script, it often worked out that all the heroics stayed with Harry, whereas all the comic relief went to Ron, leaving him a more ridiculous version of himself. Hermione’s character, in a compliment went awry, lost most of her flaws during her translation from page to film. While print-Hermione was impressive enough with her over-the-top level of achievement and her insane work ethic, essentially no human being could even hope to aspire to film-Hermione, who was injected with an extra dose of emotional intelligence to balance out her iq.
These “revisions” didn’t stay on the silver screen, though. During the final books, the movie versions of the characters were starting to rub off on the page.
Harry Potter is not the only series [lucky/profitable] enough to suffer from these problems. It was a recent episode of Game of Thrones that caused me to revisit this.
In the case of A Song of Fire and Ice– (“What’s that?” say many of the viewers. You know, just the actual title of the series we mostly have come to refer to as the Game of Thrones) so few of the viewers have read the books, it creates a very interesting dynamic for discussion- and lots of room for extra arguments!
A lot more changes have been made in this transition- some for the better, some for the worse. For me, one of my favorite parts of the show was how differently they adapted Joffrey. I certainly didn’t like him in the books- but he was not nearly so terrifying as he was on the show. And Jack Gleeson was ever so much fun to watch!
On the other hand, it seems that the Lannister line can only contain so much villainy and that the Joffrey of the show didn’t leave enough behind for his mother. Much as I love Lena Headey, the Cersei of the shows is a like the tame, Canadian version of her source character. There are plenty of nasty surprises for viewers that want to take the plunge into George R.R. Martin’s books, so I will leave most of the details out for those who want to discover them on their own. But then, The Breaker of Chains episode broke something rather too important to chalk up to logistical niceties!
Cersei Lannister raped by her lapdog of a lover/brother? Inconceivable! Here’s a longer, later analysis, after the big names involved came out with their publicity statements. (Personally, I think the director needs to rewatch that scene from a more objective standpoint and either be more honest about the end product’s statment or permanently remove himself from the dating world)
Now, like most people, I don’t know how this will end for Cersei and Jaime- or anyone in Westeros and all those other countries everyone keep ambling about in… But I do know that I’m not going to be rooting for the same resolution for the Jaime Lannister of-consensual-incest versus the Jaime Lannister of-incestuous-rape.
Obviously, I love me all kinds of media. It’s sad when details are lost from books, but it’s much worse when the essence of characters go down the drain too.
Ah well, it’s great for J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin that people like me care enough to continue these rants!