Move over son! This skeptic is hopping on the bandwagon!

Are you a book person or a movie person?

The way you answer that is going to make a big difference on how you feel about books being made into movies.

CringingWhen you are a book person, the words “They’re making it into a movie” can be cringe worthy ones.

When I hear that Hollywood is taking on one of my favorite authors, I nearly always cringe. Yes, I might feel a cautious feeble flicker of hope, but the trepidation I feel tends to squelch that tiny flickering flame.

Movies so rarely do justice to a good book.

Yes, I know that there are exceptions, Lord of the Rings being the most obvious one, but more often than not, what the end result is is a butchery of a truly good book.

butcheryTake “City of Bones” for example. Butchery, sheer butchery!

And, if it’s not an outright butchery, it still just falls so very far short of the written work itself. “Memoirs of a Geisha.”  “Gone Girl.” Decent movies, even “good” ones, but such a pale shadow of the written work!

Given this track record, you can understand the anxiety I felt when I heard the “Game of Thrones” was going to be turned into a TV series…

I wanted to be excited. I really did, but experience had taught me that I was likely to be disappointed. Very, very disappointed. The fact that it was HBO taking it on, and not some alphabet network, did give me some hope, the flame did flicker, but…this was my favorite series of all time. My favorite author of all time. Even if it was good, it was unlikely to be good enough.

bandwagonYou have to understand, I am a true fan, not a bandwagon fan. I’ve been with GoT since the beginning.

I remember well when my father told me, my freshman year of college, that if I liked Robert Jordan, he was about to wow me with his new find, a guy named George R. R. Martin. I was skeptical, as at that time I thought that Jordan was the best fantasy writer of all time. Still, as it was my dad giving me the tip, and he’d never done me wrong, I knew I needed to give it a try. With a fair dose of skepticism, I cracked the cover…

And felt into the pages, real world be dammed! Who needs to eat? Work? Sleep? I needed to know what would happen!

I gobbled “Game of Thrones” up in a day and a half, great tome though it was.

I was stunned. Martin had ripped my heart out, chewed it into a pulp, and spit it out right in front of me, the great red, pulpy mass that it now was–and I loved it.

oliverI found myself muttering to myself for several days, “I can’t believe he did that! Did he really just do that?!” It was unconventional. It was brutal. And yet I felt a bit like Oliver holding out my bowl saying, “Mo’ please.”

He changed the way I looked at literature.

I anxiously awaited every new release, and I re-read all the books that came before in anticipation of each new release. I found myself waiting on pins and needles–just what would Martin dare to do next?

I converted all my friends to fandom. We would sit around and cast the TV series for fun– a good decade before HBO decided to take it on.

eddard-starkWe would argue over which actor or actress would best portray what we saw so clearly in our heads. We’d argue and debate until we came to a consensus.

We dreamed that it would happen. For years we talked about what if it happened, but a part of me dreaded the possibility of it truly happening, because how could they possibly do it justice?

Then I heard HBO was taking it on…I followed all the news about casting, very concerned. So many of the choices just didn’t fit my imagination. Sure, you had some that were just perfect like Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), and LittleFinger (Aidan Gillen), but then there was Cersei (Lena Headey) and she just didn’t fit what was in my head…

Despite my fear, I found myself excited, but when it came down to it, fear won out. I couldn’t watch the show. It might spoil the books, and I just couldn’t risk it.

GoT-1024x512But then began the long wait.

And more waiting.

And yet more waiting.

And the waiting became so long and embarrassing, that Martin himself wouldn’t even project dates any more. Heck, he stopped even mentioning the book in his blog!

He’d talk about Comic Con. He’d talk about watching the TV series as it was filmed. He’d talk about going here and going there. He’d talked about his games. And all the little side projects he did. Anything except the book.

And I began to wonder if Martin would ever finish his series at all. And not knowing how it ended…well, that would be truly awful! (After all, my friends and I use to joke and worry about Robert Jordan dying before he could wrap up the “Eye of the World” and, lo! Our fears ended up being quite justified (Though I will say that Brandon Sanderson did a wonderful job of wrapping up that behemoth!))

Then I heard the news that the late comers, the bandwagon hoppers, the new flock of groupies, officially knew more than we, the true and faithful.

Unacceptable. Diabolical! A true outrage!

outrage

The true fans were being left behind!

And I kept hearing how awesome the show was. By everyone. And their brother.

Then even my brother, one of the true and faithful from the beginning, told me I really had to watch it. That I wouldn’t be disappointed…

So, I swallowed my fear, made myself a drink (A nice strong one for the occasion), and curled up on my couch with a good dose of skepticism.

At first, I noticed every difference from the book.

Cersei wasn’t pretty enough. Brienne wasn’t ugly enough. Jamie wasn’t blond enough.

But, I had to grudgingly admit it was good. Maybe not great, but good.

And the further I got, it was more than good.

And as it picked up steam, and increased in budget, it became everything that was in my head–it became amazing.

winterfellIt truly did this brutal world Martin had created justice.

As it went on, I realized that the casting choices that I had questioned were downright inspired. (Lena Headey, I owe you an apology. You are freakin’ amazing and make the absolute perfect Cersei. I can’t help hating you!)

And I mostly stopped questioning the differences from the book (But,why was Caitlyn Stark not brought back by the Lord of Light? Martin, will you please answer where you were going with that story line??).

The truth is, GoT is one of the rare occasions where the screen version actually lives up to the literary work.

David Benioff and Brian Kirk, you set yourselves up for failure when you took on this behemoth, and yet somehow, you more than pulled it off.

This fan humbly thanks you for not butchering my favorite tale. You won over this skeptic, and I am waiting on pins and needles for the last installment…

I know I can’t hope for a happy ending, it is, after all, Martin, but maybe a semi happy ending?? Pretty please? Just this once?

burningWho am I kidding. The world is going to burn, and yet I can’t make myself look away…

I’m once again sticking out my bowl asking “mo’ please.”

I guess we never learn, do we?

 

 

Advertisements

I think I might be a bit pathological . . .

It would likely not come as any real surprise to any who know me that I tend to be a bit compulsive. I mean, why do anything part way when you can jump off the deep end? If you’re going to do something, you may as well do it right, right? So why buy one new outfit when you can make it a mission and get the whole summer wardrobe updated in one fell swoop. Why tackle one room in your house when you can tackle them all (and drive yourself crazy in the process)? That’s kind of my approach to life and it definitely is a bit pathological!

Most of the time, despite the obvious pathological nature of this “all or nothing” way of life, it doesn’t rock my boat all that much. Sure it means that periodically I find it necessary to hole myself away in my bedroom, feed my family pizza and carry-out while I re-read every single Sookie Stackhouse book before the finale is released (only to be as thoroughly disappointed as I have ever been in any book I have anticipated I might add!),  but hey! Even a mom needs to indulge her pathology once in a while, right?

Most of my life, this has worked without any real negative side effects. Yes, I’m a crazy person until I can mark that task (say decorating my entire house within the first year after moving in) off of my to-do list, but by golly! I get it done! And usually in record time. Lately, however, the boat has started rocking and what once seemed like little more than a quirk, seems like a somewhat bigger problem and often ends up being an impossibility.

So, can I just back off and go about it normally, you know, like just watch the new season of Game of Thrones without having to re-watch every bloody episode (pun intended) that came before first? Nope! It just loses the full affect! So, here I sit, somewhere in the third season unable to jump in and watch tonight’s episode–all because I’m neurotic.

So, I’m wondering how many of you are as crazy as me and have to re-read every book or re-watch the whole series before jumping into the latest installment of your favorite show/book?  Am I alone in this, or are some of you just as nuts as I am?

 

 

In what reality does Flynn Rider end up with Mother Hubbard?

                As most of you know, I have put my career on hold for the last ten years to devote myself to my children and the domestic life. There are days when I doubt the sanity of this choice, but overall, I don’t regret it. Though I like to think of myself as an intelligent, career-minded woman, I feel that my children needed the hands-on, there for the little things, mother and I treasure all the special, tender moments we’ve had along the way. It also helps that, in my most antsy, struggling with a sense of self moments, I have the coolest friend in the world who allows me to live vicariously through her.

                Christa Banister was an old college acquaintance for lack of a better word. We hung out occasionally, so we were more than acquaintances, but we really weren’t close enough to be considered friends. All that changed when she, like myself, decided to transplant herself from the Twin Cities down here to Dallas. All it took was one real conversation for us to realize that we would be friends for life.

                As I mentioned, Christa is not only an amazing person, but she also lives the most amazing life. (Check out her blog to get to know her a bit!) She is a two-time published novelist which is super cool, but not the coolest part actually. She is also a free-lance writer who has a regular gig writing movie reviews. That means, not only does she get to see all the movies before they come out, but she also regularly gets to do press junkets to LA and NYC where she gets to meet and interview the actors. One of my favorite things to do is go through a list of actors and actresses that I’m curious about, find out which ones she’s met and get the skinny on them. Are they really as attractive as they seem? Are they nice or a spoiled diva? You get the picture.

                So, this regular old mom gets to see the reflected glitz through her best friend. After one of her last press junkets (one that she wanted me to go with her btw but I couldn’t swing the airfare at the time!) she stayed at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills and told me later than my crush Ian Somerhalder was staying in the same hotel at the same time she was. Sigh . . .  granted the crush is more about the fictional character Damon than Ian the actor, but still! I couldn’t resist daydreaming about running into him in the hall on a hiatus away from Mommyville!

                Though I have yet to go to one of the junkets with Christa, she has taken me to a few of her movie screenings. I have to admit, it is pretty cool to not only get to see movies before they’re out, but also to get to walk to the front of the line passed the mass of people who have been waiting for a couple of hours and getting to sit in a chair that says “Reserved for Press” even if I’m only there by association and am not the real deal myself!

                Last night was one of those times. She asked me to go to see “Snow White and the Huntsman” with her. It took a little brainstorming since my in-laws are out of town and my husband works late and has a long commute. We decided that I would take the kids with me and that Aaron would swing by on his way home and take them off my hands (we were also trying to avoid the cesspool known as Dallas traffic!).

                The meeting spot was at the North Park mall. I cringed. You see, there are malls, and then there is North Park. Get the image of the traditional, child friendly mall with the standard Gap and Charlotte Russe type stores out of your head. There is no child play area at this mall. Oh, no. North Park would much rather you leave the kids at home!

                North Park is what you would call an elitist mall. You don’t dare go to North Park in jeans (unless they are True Religion) and a t-shirt (unless it is an obviously high end designer one). Hair and makeup had better be up to par and you’d better pull out all the stops. Even if I dress my girls in the latest Gap outfit, I feel a bit cliché at this mall! Better to pull out one of the boutique outfits if you don’t want to feel like a wannabe!

                Okay, so I’m exaggerating, but not by much!

                I didn’t know there were actual stores for Versace and Gucci until I unsuspectingly stumbled into this mall for the first time! The very air smells rich. If ever a mall was pretentious, this one would be it!

                So, you can imagine my tremor of concern at the idea of taking three young, easily bored children into such a place. My kids aren’t bad kids, but they are kids, and being that not one of them is confined by a stroller anymore, well, this Mommy was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the very thought!

                Still, despite the difficulty, a night away from Mommyville with one of my favorite people in the world was too much of a temptation. I just had to brave it!

                I was in for a pleasant surprise. North Park mall might not want kids, but, the Disney Store, of course, feels differently. They’ve had a bit of a renovation since my last adventure to the “Upper East Side” so to speak.  Now they have an actual walk-in castle with three magic mirrors where the little girls can admire themselves with all the princess beauty in the background until Rapunzel magically appears in the mirror before them. They now have a coloring station with a large movie screen where they can program a playlist of all their favorite Disney movie tunes. A bit over the top? Maybe. But this was North Park after all and it was heaven to this stressed out Mama!

                We made the most of it and settled in until Christa and my hubby showed up.

                Lily’s favorite thing was standing before the castle mirrors and waving a wand at it yelling, “Bippity, boppity boo!” in an attempt to make Rapunzel reappear. When she didn’t come on command, Lily would just yell at the mirror which I found hilarious.

                When Christa arrived, we stood nearby, next to a “Tangled” display, chatting.

                Christa glanced at the display, laughed a little, pointed to the doll of Flynn Rider and said, “Look! It’s Aaron!” I laughed. She was right. The doll could have been modeled after Aaron!

                    “Looky there! I married a real Prince Charming!” I couldn’t help thinking to myself. I felt a burst of pride and admiration until that thought was followed by a more sobering one. How in the world did Flynn Rider end up with Mother Hubbard?!

                    One never thinks of Rapunzel turning into Mother Hubbard, but there it is!

                    It is a very sad state of affairs that men get better looking with age (at least mine did!) and women, well, we just age! The most that could be said for me is that I look good for my age or that I look good for having four children. Aaron needs no such qualifiers! It’s enough to put me in a good pout!

                   At least, the movie cheered me up a bit. Kristen Stewart’s youthful attractiveness couldn’t hold a candle to Charlize Theron’s more seasoned beauty. Maybe there’s hope for us yet . . . then again, I’m no Charlize Theron! 😉