Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why You Should Read the Book First

This is the first post where I don't have to specify who's writing it!  Hooray!  I was running out of ways to say hello.

So books are a thing which exist (I hope you knew that, as you've been reading this blog), and if they're really popular, they get turned into movies.  Sometimes, those movies are epic and amazing works of art.  Other times, they change the main character's race and completely rewrite the ending and force you to throw the book across the room and curl into the fetal position.

The thing is, even if you have a fantastic movie and the producers have done a pretty decent job of representing the book (because none will ever be perfect, but I appreciate good attempts), you're not going to get the full picture.

But there are people who think you will.  Cue sad piano music.

Yes, the sad truth of it all is there are people who believe they can just watch the movies and get on with their lives.  People who believe the book could have nothing more to offer, and that nothing could have been left out that they needed to know.  Let us have a moment of silence for these poor lost souls.

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So why should you read the book?  What's so special about books?  Why can't the movie give you the full picture?  Most importantly, why should you read the book first?  Before you watch the film?  Well I am about to explain that to you.

1. You can create your own idea of the setting and characters.
When you watch a movie, you're being forced to accept the characters and scenery the directors and producers set before you.  Once you've seen them, it's pretty likely that you'll see them that way forever.  For example, before watching the Hobbit movies, I imagined Thorin Oakenshield one way.  After watching the movies, it changed.  Now he will forever be Richard Armitage (not that I have a problem with that).  The same thing happened with Bilbo Baggins, Legolas, Aragorn, Gandalf, Frodo, Samwise, and all the other characters in that series.  

When you read the books first, on the other hand, you're establishing in your own mind the way YOU and YOU ALONE believe those characters should look or the setting should be made, with nothing but the author's descriptions to go on.  You are in control, and you're imagination is the one calling the shots.  Even if you might like the movie's version better, you'll have your own pictures in your head to base them off of.  Who knows?  It could completely change the way you think of the films.  Having something directly contradict the way you imagined it can be pretty jarring.  

2. You get to enjoy the author's writing style.
Every writer has their own way of telling a story, and when the book is being made into a movie, that part doesn't usually make the trip.  Part of what makes reading so enjoyable is having an author you love, or encountering a way of storytelling you hadn't been aware of before.  A brilliant example of this is The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.  When I discovered the movie I wasn't aware it was based off a book at all.  I enjoyed the movie, then went to look for the book.  It blew me away.  The writing style was unique and beautiful, the narrator was perfect, and the movie became bland and boring.  

Related image
Actual footage of what happens to badly done movies.

3. The book often has more backstory, or character building scenes.
Movies only have so much time, and they need to move the plot along so you get the beginning, middle, and end, all in two hours.  This means there's a lot of in-between bits they're forced to leave out.  Often these are scenes the author has included which reveal important character traits, hidden motives, or reasons why the next scene even exists at all.  More often than not, this ends in the book having much deeper characters and fewer plot holes than the film rendition.  

4. BRAGGING RIGHTS! 
That's right, you can be the one who's read the book first!  In my eyes, this is AWESOME!  Even though you get mad at the writers, directors, producers, costume and set designers, theaters, and that one annoying friend who says the movie was better, you'll know exactly what's happening, why it's happening, and what didn't happen!  You'll have all kinds of special knowledge you'll be able to pass on to your friends and annoy them with, and you'll be able to help them figure out what on earth is going on.  OF COURSE you can't apparate on Hogwarts property!  It should be obvious!

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So there you have it.  Four reasons why you should read the book first.  

Keep in mind that there will be people who disagree with my obviously perfect reasoning.  These people are peasants and should not be spoken to about anything literary.  Oh, fine you can speak to them, just be nice?  And convince them, somehow, to read.  Because reading is important and...

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