ADAPT: to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation
: to change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose
: to change (a movie, book, play, etc.) so that it can be presented in another form
So, this book I love is becoming a TV series tonight (not a movie, not a mini-series, but a full on, 16 episode first season series!) I have had the pleasure of reading the books for over a decade, seeing the first episode during the last week, and conversing via social media for the past year with author, costumer and actors…. and you know what?
THEY are right and you may be wrong.
Outlander, the first of at last count an eight big-book series, (with a number of smaller works that go along with them) written by Diana Gabaldon, premieres as a TV show on Starz tonight. The things that are IMPORTANT will be there. Possibly in a different order. (Patience, young grasshopper!) I have faith in this, because Ron D. Moore tells us his job as show runner is to not mess up his wife Terry’s favorite book.
The things that CAN be done will be done, and things that are important will stay. And if they aren’t still there, well maybe we are the ones who have created something in our heads that isn’t there. Seriously.
As Ansel Adams said, There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.
I would think that this is at least as true in the written word. When those words are then translated by hundreds of hard working actors, directors, screenwriters, costumers and set designers, the number of voices and visions might possibly deafen.
Each of us brings to any work of art, indeed, to any aspect of life, the sum total of all of our experiences. Either in the creating of said work, or in the consuming of it. That we have all had different life experiences doesn’t seem odd, and accordingly, our reading of words on a page must be influenced by different things.
That doesn’t mean that any interpretation on screen is WRONG. It just may be different than what YOU brought to the reading of it and what you took from it.
After a year of having the supreme honor of hovering about the edges of this creative endeavor—following Twitter and Facebook conversations with writers and costumers and actors alike, I have to say that I think they’ve got it in hand. Trust them.
In the 8,000+ pages where he lives, the character Jamie has commented a number of times on his wife Claire’s substantial bottom. That doesn’t actually mean that Claire’s rear aspect is overly large; indeed it could be read, as I did, as simple pillow-talk and playful behavior between Jamie and Claire. It also has absolutely no importance to the plot. For example, said plump ass never gets stuck in a doorway, blocking access for some thief in the night, which then causes a different outcome. If the big booty in question was required for the story, I’d be sorry to see them not get it right. (If you read the actual physical description of Claire, she is supposed to be about 130 lbs., and shorter than the actress portraying her. Diana Gabaldon put the height issue to bed quickly by suggesting that the only option was to find a less perfect actress or cut Cait’s feet off…) Perhaps Jamie is simply a fan of Sir Mix-a-Lot?
As it is, I have to say that the ass, as shown, is a lovely round thing and how dare we as viewers denigrate an actor who is willing to bare all for the story? (Odd, isn’t it, to be admiring my ‘friend’ Cait’s backside, huh? I can’t imagine how I will be feeling when I get to see my other ‘friend’ Sam’s ass;– we have been assured he has a fine one, by the author Herself!)
Similarly, Claire’s eye color, a great device in storytelling, didn’t actually accomplish anything other than being a way of description. At no point does the heroine get caught because someone noticed her odd eye color and realized she was skulking about where she didn’t belong, thereby changing the story. Diana writes long books. Gorgeous, evocative description is obviously a part. And the camera is now going to create for us proof of how wonderfully deep and complex Claire may be, Caitrona Balfe’s eye color and butt size be damned. However, Claire-hair WILL stay, and I think that a fine thing and a character of it’s own.
8,000 pages, give or take depending on your reading device, and the story isn’t finished. We, the long-time readers, can not continue to nit-pick every utterance or camera angle or choice made while ADAPTING the written word for the visual medium of TV. We are talking about taking one type of art and turning it into another type of art.
There have to be changes. The medium requires it—We have to be adaptable as well.
It is entirely possible some scene that to you is incredibly important, because of what you brought to the reading of it, may be cut. It is going to happen. What we have to be thankful for is that the over all shape of the story stays. That the intent and love of the story remains intact. We can hope that many more people fall in love with these characters and that that the entire cast and crew remains committed to making a quality product.
We need to adapt because there are 25 million readers who have 25 million life stories, 25 million visions of Jamie, or of the size of Lallybroch or the size of Murtagh in relation to Dougal, or who think Tobias Menzies doesn’t have Frank’s smile.
That for all these years, YOU have considered Jamie Fraser to be the size of Hercules with a Ronald Mc Donald wig on his head in no way makes the color red they came up with for his hair incorrect. If his hair isn’t long enough for your vision, then adjust your vision. This is the character, Jamie Fraser, played by the actor, Sam Heughan.
Filming is almost finished for the first season, so stop complaining, will you? Jamie will be imbued with Sam as much as Sam will be imbued with Jamie. (By the numbers, Sam is an inch shorter and a few pounds shy of the actual book description, your fantasy man notwithstanding.)
Yes, books are different than TV and movies, and usually, the book is better. And that will probably be the case, overall, here. But I am watching this as a companion to the books, not as a replacement. I can keep in my book world the images I have created and STILL enjoy the visual ADAPTATION immensely.
PS. Yes, young Roger IS in the manse. We just don’t SEE him in the first episode. Did you SEE how big that house is? He’s a tiny boy asleep on a chair, for goodness sake! Dinna fash, aye?
pps, and I am editing as I re-read…..sorry about spelling errors! Dang Auto-correct strikes again!
Prompts this week were tough!! (That means you get more CAT photos!!!) Crossed out prompts are those I feel I captured…. I LOVE COMMENTS! Nope, not a subtle hint at all
15. Dear Old Dad
17. In A Different Light
18. Photo Field Trip
20. Where I Stand
19. Historical– Written In My Own Hearts Blood –Historical Fiction, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Debuting as NY Times Number 1 book this week…. author Diana Gabaldon, on Wednesday June 8, 2014, National Press Club, Washington DC
20. Where I Stand, looking up on a VERY hot day, what do I see but the bats trying to find a cooler spot!
THREE!!! days of cat photos!—when all else fails, these clowns come through!
I really need a dandelion right about now.
With just hours left before Written in My Own Hearts Blood (aka MOBY) book 8 of the Outlander series is published (*Disclaimer—for the majority of readers, as there ARE people who have already received the book, legitimately or via oversight by stores stocking early, and there ARE countries where the book wont come out for a few weeks and…) the self-absorbed, unable-to-accept-an-answer, petulant five-year-old contingent of the internet has come out in some force on some social media sites about Spoilers and Sharing.
I know that the Red Wedding episode in Game of Thrones is bloody and shocking. I haven’t read the books, I am only on season one, but I am not so put off by this information, these “spoilers”, that I’ve decided to stop watching. I’ve learned, before even starting into the series that really, George RR Martin shouldn’t be your wedding planner, via social media and yet….
Yes, while the overall issue is exposed, the how we get there and the enjoyment of the show isn’t “spoiled”. I will just be on my toes, so to speak, and know that I shouldn’t become enamored of any character. I can use Facebook or Twitter, and if I notice that one of my friends threads is “Going there” I just scroll on. I MAY see a word or two, I MAY read a sentence, I don’t have to absorb and analyze the posts, and I haven’t asked them to stop speaking of the current season because I am three seasons behind them. No brainer. And of course, applying Caveat Emptor, I should stay off of Twitter on Sunday nights if it bothers me.
My Facebook page is non-denominational, if you would. I have a wide variety of friends, who have a wide variety of interests that we share, and they have a wide variety of interests we don’t share. Almost every post that is put up is a spoiler to SOMETHING if you want it to be. The topics we discuss, they discuss, (or, more to the point, that Facebook feels I should be allowed to read) well, they are endless and varying.
I am NOT planning on coming onto FB or Twitter after every Aha Moment and exclaim or carry on—(Diana has assured me she got Jemmy out of the
well tunnel. I know, Timmy down the well, Jemmy in the tunnel. I just “hear” Claire exclaim “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” I said. “Bloody Timmy’s in the well!” even though that is from ABOSAA) It’s just not my style, reading has until now been a solitary activity. I may be noticeably missing for a few days. I will not be following or commenting on threads that may get me farther along; I will accept that if I see the trees it doesn’t mean I cant appreciate the forest….
I will scroll down before commenting. I will honor any policy that is in place, but I will not have a fit if someone doesn’t understand the intricacies of the way a particular site works on a platform they don’t use and they inadvertently share ‘privileged’ information. Life sucks, yah know?
I have to wonder, seriously, if when people go off the deep end about the small stuff, is it because it is the only part of their spiraling out-of-control life they can manipulate? Is everything else so bad, so out of control that they obsess about things that aren’t worth the energy? The amount of psychic energy that is required to keep up a full-steam frontal attack on something that is truly amounting to nothing is more energy than I have. I am inherently lazy, I guess.
So, I apply empathy, and have to assume that the only reason they would waste 30 miles of gas, and hours of time, three times, to complain about and have the BACK of a picture frame repapered because it didn’t look smooth enough is because the rest of their world is uncontrollable and they need to be able to be in charge of SOMETHING. #Piff!