bookblob.wordpress.com is a great new blog about books. This post in particular really got us discussing so I’m posting it here but please visit bookblob to comment back on this post
…the movie or the book?
It’s a question that’s come into play for me a lot in the past. Is it better to read the book before watching its movie or TV show, or is it okay to switch it up sometimes? Up until a comparatively short time ago, I would have told you that you should read the book first—always, without question, no matter what. I’m afraid I had (and still have) a bit of a tendency to be a purist. How could anyone taint the meaning and initial impact of a story by watching its adaptation first?
And for a while, I was able to adhere to that, at least when I was aware that the movie or show in question was based on a book. Why on earth would I want someone to form my opinions for me? To fill my head with their own idea of what the story was and distort whatever thoughts I may have formed on my own? I made sure to follow this regimen with Lord of the Rings, with Harry Potter, and with pretty much any other story that I held in high regard.
But then, whether by accident or deliberately (I’m no longer sure which), I started watching movie versions of books before I had read the story. I began to fudge on my steadfast rule by watching movies like Pride and Prejudice and Emma and North and South, and, more recently, shows like Game of Thrones. And I discovered that by viewing one artist’s representation of another artist’s work, I was able to more fully grasp and enjoy the book that the adaptation was made from. I could take from the film version that which helped me to understand the book better, and I could choose to discard what didn’t. I could use the artist’s imagining of the book to expand my own imagination, or I could reject it and form different opinions altogether. I was beginning to make room for change amid my former rules for reading. In short, I began to discover that neither order of consumption is good or bad; both have their own merits and disadvantages, and neither form of the story necessarily has to compromise the other.
Read more here bookblob.wordpress.com