So Banned Books Week has come to an end for another year, but I hope it has inspired people to at least go out and try a book, comic, or graphic novel that someone has challenged at one point or another. It really excites me–banned books week–makes me think of rebelling against these unseen and completely unwanted “authorities” who claim to know what everyone should or shouldn’t be reading. Reading a banned or challenged book is my small way of telling them to stuff-it, and get out of my way. No one but me is going to tell me what I can or can’t read; no one puts Baby in a corner! (Or something to that effect, lol!) But I digress.
Today I’ve been thinking about book adaptations, and how great (or terrible) they can be, and I’d like to shine a light on one that I think could be pretty fantastic. That one being the fairly recent: The Queen of the Tearling.
The book, first of a trilogy, came out this summer, and was the debut title of Erika Johansen. It was optioned a year before it was even released, apparently. Someone must have gotten a whiff of the excellent material ahead of time and snatched it up. That someone works at Warner Bros. as they are the owners of the movie rights. But that in and of itself is not what makes me excited about the adaptation possibilities. Nope, its that Emma Watson is just as excited as I am and has agreed not only to star in the movies, but she’s also signed on as the executive producer as well, according to a New York Post article (actually, this information comes from several articles I read, but the Post one is nice and brief).
I read this story pretty close to the book’s release, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve seen some people on Goodreads and other personal review sites that had issues with it, but I found it incredibly refreshing. Just one little tidbit to follow if you choose to pick it up and try it out. Don’t listen to the marketers and people who compare it to Game of Thrones. I swear, every marketer on the planet recently has decided every good fantasy is “just like Game of Thrones.” It’s not. The Queen of the Tearling has a bit of a dystopian flair, a little medieval spice to it, and a whole lot of great magical and political elements as well. I thought the main character, Kelsea, was strong and smart, but not invulnerable or without flaws. I think Emma Watson could do a fantastic job playing her. Especially if they (forgive my word choice here) ugly her up a bit. And apparently I’m not alone in my sentiments. Here’s an article on Zimbio by someone else who is excited to see what she could do.
Now, this is by no means a definite. Hollywood has screwed up a lot of great characters before. And this article’s author was clearly was focused on the differences between the character of Kelsea and Katniss. Personally, I enjoy Katniss, and think the story lines Suzanne Collins created and her reasons for making Katniss they way she did, were great choices for that character in that place and time. I can’t say that I think Kelsea would “outshine” or “be better” than Katniss. She’s a very different personality and it’s up to you whether you think she’s better or worse. But I AM really excited to see a girl like this on the screen for many of the same reasons as the article’s author.
She’s right about Emma Watson being able to pull off an almost annoyingly smart character. And I really hope that Watson will gain some weight before taking to the screen, because it would really be nice to see a lead character not be a size 2 or 4 (or 0). Especially since the book really takes notice of that, and part of the reason her court and guards don’t like her (at least, at first) is due to her very unpretty status. So, if she’s out there reading up on what people would like to see, I will make a plea directly to her: Emma, please, eat some junk food before you film this movie! It would be great to see a “teen” character with some meat on her bones. Thank-you! There. At least I tried.
But, regardless of whatever Hollywood makes her look like, I’m really looking forward to checking out The Queen of the Tearling as a film. There’s a lot of potential here. And Emma Watson is an incredibly smart actress, who tends to make great choices. Hopefully, this will be one of them.
Have an opinion? Feel free to sound off in the comments!