I recently completed A Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin. I suppose as far as fantasy goes, the Song of Ice and Fire series is all the rage these days. To that end, I believe it is safe to assume that you, dear readers, know what I’m talking about. It is not the lone opinion of this humble blogger that these books are popular, for if nothing else, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the HBO drama, Game of Thrones. No doubt the advent of the series gave rise to the popularity of the books. Worked on me, but it’s interesting to see that the first of these titles was published 1996.
Before the Blizzardian Scourge, mind you.
I’m not going to talk about how awesome Game of Thrones is, or about comparisons between the show and the equally acclaimed books. My opinion on these as works of art and storytelling is overall positive, but I’m far from a fanboy. Three books is enough for me, at least at the moment – and yes, I did read them in time before the Red Wedding hit screens around the world. But I’m not even going to talk about that.
I simply wanted to present a question: Why is it television/feature films are considered the highest form of art? Why does our society believe that if they “make a movie about it” that’s how you know it’s ‘great’? As if that’s the highest, greatest thing that can ever happen?
Might have something to do with money. But we’re writers! We care about the craft, the art! …mostly.
I first came across this question when listening to commentary by Orson Scott Card, on his book Ender’s Game. Not getting into that either. All politics aside, he raised an interesting point, that to him, ideally, his work was perhaps best suited to an Audio Drama (which I how I happened to consume it), and to him sure, a movie would be great, but it’s not the highest aspiration. I found that interesting, and yes in case you haven’t heard, Ender’s Game is in fact due in theaters November 2013.
So, why movies? Most of us fantasy writers hone our craft and attempt to write great stories, convincing characters, driving plots, fun monsters and whatever the heck else we, and the audience, might want. But even I fall victim to the thought of “Wouldn’t it be neat if they made my book(s) for the silver screen?”
Truth is though, most books-made-into-movies are awful. They aren’t the same piece. They aren’t always good, let alone great, with very few exceptions. Game of Thrones happens to be one of those exceptions. In fact, I rather prefer the series over the books, for my own reasons. But who knows, maybe within the next year, in waiting for Season 4, I may pick up the next in the series.
Oh right, Season 4 is just the last third of Book Three. Seriously looking forward to that, actually.