Tag Archives: Lord of the Rings

The Best Novel to Movie Adaptations

Are you the kind of person who gets excited when one of your favourite books is being made into a movie? Or are you afraid that they’ll completely destroy your beloved story? Well, I say “yes” to both questions.

I compiled a short list of the novel to movie adaptations that I thought were well done. And they are:

  1. Lord of the Rings trilogy
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird
  4. Harry Potter series

I explained my choices in a video, which you can watch below.

What do you think are the best novel to movie adaptations? Let me know in the comments below.

A Real Life Minas Tirith?

It seems there’s a group of architects who want to build a life-sized Minas Tirith in southern England. If you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, then you’ll know the city.  How much will it cost? £1.85 billion! They’re raising the money through crowdfunding. They expect completion to be around 2023.

Not Minas Tirith, but Mont Saint-Michel, the inspiration for the city. This image is being used under the Creative Commons license cc-by-sa-3.0. It is owned by user b3rny at Flickr.
Not Minas Tirith, but Mont Saint-Michel, the inspiration for the city. This image is being used under the Creative Commons license cc-by-sa-3.0. It is owned by user b3rny at Flickr.

So, will they build it? So far, in 15 days, they have received £74,249 for the construction of the city. I really wonder if they can raise that much money. It may take years at this rate. Actually, it’ll take about 1,000 years at this rate. It’s an incredible thing to build, and I’d love to visit it if it’s ever built. If you want to contribute, you can go to the IndieGoGo page and donate. There are still 45 days left in this campaign. It really makes me wonder if they’ll get an incredibly generous group of people to help fund it.

What do you think? Can they do it? And if they do, will you visit it?

Fantasy Novel Settings Based on the Real World

A lot of fantasy authors are influenced by real history and locations. Some come out and say that they are a part of Earth’s lost history, and some are Earth’s future. And it seems like many are based on the European Middle Ages.

Lord of the Rings is based on Europe, and I think Tolkien admitted that. I believe it’s supposed to be Europe, but long before recorded history.

A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones) is also based on Europe, but not actually in Europe, but a fictional world. In fact, the entire war is inspired by the War of the Roses.

Shannara is quite different, though. It’s based in a world that had gone through an apocalypse. I’m not exactly sure of the precise location, but it is North America.

What are some other Earth-based fantasy novels and series?

Goodbye Christopher Lee

We lost another big name in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Christopher Lee passed away on June 7th, 2015 at the age of 93.

He was a highly prolific actor even shortly before his death. He’s well-known to movie fans for his roles in Lord of the Rings (Saruman), Star Wars (Count Dooku), The Man With the Golden Gun (Scaramanga), and of course as Count Dracula.

What I found particularly interesting is his involvement in heavy metal. After 2005, he did a couple of heavy metal albums. Before, he’d sung opera. He was a man of many talents, it seems.

What’s your favourite memory of Christopher Lee?

Creating Languages for Speculative Fiction

Quenya_Example.svgAnyone who reads or writes speculative fiction understands that English isn’t always the language that’s spoken by the characters.  What is generally spoken by characters in fantasy is often called the Common Tongue.  This is written in English.  In science fiction, English is more likely to be used, since it’s usually based in our future reality.  However, far in the future, the language is likely to be very different than today’s English.  I’ve often seen it called Standard, but not always.

But what about other languages?  In fantasy, it’s important to create different languages for different cultures.  Some languages may be linked, evolving from a common root language.  On Earth, there are many different language groups. For example, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian all have a common root in Latin.  The master of language creation in fantasy was J. R. R. Tolkien.  He created several languages, including the example at the top of this post.  That’s Quenya, one of the Elvish languages.  He developed the languages so well that you can even learn to speak them.

In science fiction, languages have likely drifted from what they are now, and I’ve often seen new words being used, especially slang and expletives.  And then there are alien languages.  These would be so completely different from anything we have on Earth, so they need to be very creative.  One such example is Klingon, created by Marc Okrand and James Doohan (Scotty), which was later expanded into a complete language by Okrand.  You can learn to speak this language, too.  You can read Hamlet in Klingon and learn to understand what “taH pagh taHbe'” means.

Anyone who wants to create a language for either fantasy or science fiction can probably make up a few words, not the entire language.  However, it’s best to set up some rules, particularly for pronunciation, spelling, and basic grammar.  That way, when you need more, you can expand using the rules you created.  It’s particularly useful for place names, names of characters, and so on.

How useful do you think it is to create a language?  Have you tried before?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Entering the Strange World of Movie Novelisations

There are a lot of movies based on books.  For some, I’ve read both the novel and the movie.  That’s always an interesting thing to do, seeing how they’re different.

Lord of the Rings comes to mind when I think of movies made from books.  They did a pretty good job, I thought.  There were some things cut out, but overall, it was one of the better adaptations I’ve sen.  Another is Harry Potter.  I think it was reasonably well-done, although some of the things that were cut I felt were essential to understanding the whole story.  The movies didn’t have as much heart as the books.  Jurassic Park is on the other end of the spectrum.  The movie held little resemblance to the book.  The book was smartly written, had several subplots, and was absolutely fascinating.  The movie focused more on the dinosaurs and action, rather than the story.  It was a fun movie, but I was disappointed in the story.

A unique one is 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The novel and movie were written at the same time.  Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick worked together, making sure the novel and movie followed each other closely.  However, the movie was changed to go to Jupiter, while the book went to Saturn.  I believe this had to do with special effects.  Late 1960s special effects weren’t good enough to show the rings of Saturn.  Subsequent books ignored the fact that the first one went to Saturn, and instead focused on Jupiter.  I loved both the novel and movie, though.  Usually, I find that novels feel much longer than movies, but in this case, the movie felt slow, while the novel moved at a quick pace.

startreknemesisAnd then there’s the topic I want to talk about, movie novelisations.  I’d never read one before.  Until now, that is.  I’m currently reading Star Trek Nemesis, the final movie featuring the Next Generation cast.  The movie didn’t go over well with people, and as I’ve watched it, I wasn’t enthusiastic about the book.  Well, the novel is very easy to read, follows the movie very closely, and is incredibly short.  But I have this very strange uneasy feeling while reading it.  I’m inside the heads of the characters.  I know what they’re thinking and feeling.  And that’s everyone, because we’re inside the heads of every character in every scene.  I’m not used to reading omniscient point of view novels, except for limited omniscient.  In this book, we know everything.  I’m really not used to being inside Star Trek characters’ minds.  And another thing is that I know exactly what’s going to happen.  There’s no suspense, and there’s really no difference from the movie other than knowing their thoughts.  It’s kind of unsettling.

What do you think of movie novelisations?

Read the book first!

Several years ago, back when I was in high school, I readJurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  I was enthralled.  It was great science fiction, had a good deal of science, and was intelligent.  I enjoyed the book very much.  I later watched the movie when it came out.  While I was impressed by the special effects, and I really enjoyed seeing the dinosaurs, I felt that the story was lacking.  The story was a bit different than the book, and wasn’t nearly as intelligent.  The movie was almost all action and special effects.  It didn’t satisfy the story lover in me.

After that, I was determined to read the book before I watched the movie.  I read Lord of the Rings a year before the movies came out.  I read the Harry Potter books before I watched any of the movies.  In both cases, I enjoyed the experience of seeing a familiar story unfold on the big screen (or on DVD), but I felt that the book was better.  However,Lord of the Rings was extremely well done as an adaptation of a novel.

At the moment, I’m reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  There’s a TV series based on his novels out right now, and I haven’t touched it at all.  I won’t watch it until after I’ve read the books.  I just feel that I can gain so much more by reading the book before seeing the movie.  I can imagine what the world is like first, then see how they made it look in the TV series or movie.  If I watch it first, then read the book, my imagination doesn’t work very hard.  I just picture the actors and the scenes that I remember from TV or the movie.  I want to use my imagination.  Therefore, I will read the book first.

How about you? What do you prefer to do?  Book first or TV series/movie first?