A couple weeks ago I went to see Prince Caspian. It was a pretty good movie, but I didn’t remember reading anything vaguely resembling the stuff in the movie, in the book. But it’s been many years since I read the book, so I thought it might just be my poor memory. I wanted to go back and read the book again and see what was different.
Mark “Zompist” Rosenfelder did that for me, and I guess I was right, the movie doesn’t really resemble the book very closely at all. He does conclude, and this was my feeling too, that Reepicheep was still quite awesome in the movie, and that there were a lot of little good bits in a whole that didn’t make much sense or follow the book closely at all.
It’s OK for a movie to deviate wildly from a book, if the movie isn’t supposed to be the definitive movie version of a book, the one promoted and supported by the author’s literary heirs… Well, you can’t really trust literary heirs. Look what they did with Lewis: on the strength of an offhand remark in one of Lewis’s letters, they’ve rearranged the books in collections so that The Magician’s Nephew comes before The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, which is unbelievably stupid. Nephew is written specifically for readers who’ve already read Lion, and half the fun of the book is in seeing how all the things taken for granted in the first book might have had a reason for existing, in stories untold at the time.
Never trust a literary estate. An author’s works should be their own caretaker. Having a bunch of financially interested relatives hovering over the words as self-appointed guardians and interpreters is too… well… it becomes almost an ecclesiastical rather than literary situation, in the worst senses of “ecclesiastical.”
Dawn Treader, my favorite book in the Chronicles, is next… In the words of Brian Posehn, “Go ahead! Ruin it up!”