Books/Movies: Some Notes

Wheel of Time
For those of you hiding under rocks, you might not be aware that the Epic Fantasy Monstrosity (EFM) Wheel of Time will be coming to a close soon with the publication of the 14th and final novel. The reason for the EFM moniker is because of the 14! novels it took to resolve the story, the fact that the first was published in 1990, and acknowledged-by-all-readers general epicness of the scope of the story.

Because the final book is coming, I convinced Jenn to pick up the series and read it from start to (almost) finish. I decided to re-read it as well, keeping ahead of her so that we could talk about what’s going on in the novels. She’s currently working on book 6 and I’m on 10.

The last time I re-read the entire series was back when there were only 9 or so novels and it took me three months. This time around, I’m skipping storylines that I’m familiar with or just don’t care about. There are some storylines that get resolved in the later books that don’t have much to do with the end novels and I’m flipping through those pretty fast.

However, I will say that once again, I’m noticing things that I hadn’t noticed before, with respect to little details. Robert Jordan, you’re the man1.

Song of Ice and Fire
For those of you who are still hiding under rocks, and don’t watch HBO, you might not be aware that George R.R. Martin just released the next novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series, another EFM. Those of you watching HBO might recognize this as A Storm of Swords. This novel, A Dance with Dragons, is actually the second half of the fifth book (started with A Feast for Crows) and was split due to size. It took Martin 5 years to go from book 4 to book 5 and another 6 to go from book 5 to book 6. I’m not criticizing him, however I’m not exactly running out to buy this one because it’s been soo loonnnng since I read the novels. This story is all about politics and intrigue and who’s backstabbing whom with what and where and when I read A Feast for Crows, I spent a great deal of time asking myself, “Who is this person again?” Despite what I’m doing with The Wheel of Time, I don’t think I can face rereading all of the Song of Ice and Fire novels. It’s a chore.

I’m sure I’ll pick it up eventually, but not right now.

Harry Potter
We saw Harry Potter 7 Part Deux on opening night. I was happy with the effects and the settings, but was generally unhappy with how they wrangled the story line. I thought it started off spectacularly with the scene between Harry and Griphook, negotiating the illegal entry into Gringotts. It continued well with the actual entry into Gringotts but quickly went downhill from there, at least from a story-telling perspective. There is no way that someone who hasn’t read the books could understand what was going on in this movie. No way. They didn’t even pretend like they were explaining some of the obscure plot elements. But, I’m sure they built this script around the fact that they knew 99% of their audience either had read the books or was sitting next to someone who had. However, I don’t think this movie will stand the test of time.

Like my complaining about the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, I think there were scenes that could have been taken whole from the book, and spoken word for word on screen and they would have been leaps and bounds better than what the script writers produced. One that came to mind particularly was the scene where Professor McGonagall was dispatching the castle statues to defend the perimeter. The scene scanned much better in the book.

I’ll stop complaining about Harry Potter, now. The movie was worth seeing, even in 3D. I’m happy that the HP movies are over because the actors are getting a bit long in the tooth to play teenagers. The most egregious of these is Neville.

  1. Except that he’s dead. He died before finishing the series to a lot of people’s dismay. Brandon Sanderson was brought on board to finish it up and he’s doing a good job []
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