Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author of Talon and Rogue talks about her favorite books turned movies and her hopes for her own series, The Talon Saga.
What makes a great book and what makes a great movie are not always the same thing, but sometimes a book translates so perfectly to film it is pure magic. These are a few of my very favorite books that became incredible films and why they worked so well.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien: I love fantasy, and everything about this series was magical—the Shire, Helm's Deep, Minas Tirith, Mordor (one does not simply walk into Mordor). Everything in the books came to life on screen in beautiful and spectacular detail. The characters were well done, the graphics were well done…everything was well done. You felt for Frodo and Sam in their endless trek to Mount Doom with Gollum. You cheered on Gimli and Legolas as they fought through waves of enemies while bantering at each other the whole time. You really, really wanted Aragorn and Arwen to be together in the end (or I did, anyway). The characters, settings, action scenes, graphics and storyline all tied together perfectly to make this trilogy my absolute favorite book-to-film series.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner: The author’s storytelling is so cinematic it was easy to visualize the story unfolding as I read the book, so I was not surprised when it did become a movie. This one also has a large ensemble cast with characters for everyone to love and hate, and the way the filmmakers created the maze world and its frightening creatures felt very real. The Grievers were especially well done—dangerous and terrifying—and just like the book, the body count is fairly high so you’re constantly on edge. The action and effects are balanced by character development and twists that never stop, and I loved both the book and the film.
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling: The Lord of the Rings trilogy might be my favorite book-to-film series, but for pure magic, nothing can rival the world of Harry Potter. From owls to house elves, flying broomsticks, hippogriffs, wands, dragons, magic mirrors, potions, invisibility cloaks, kindly yet powerful wizards and evil dark lords, Rowling has captured the imagination of both kids and grownups worldwide, and the filmmakers did a wonderful job of capturing some of that magic, as well. The graphics were spectacular, and the creatures, be it a dragon or house elf, seemed completely real. But the real magic was, of course, with Harry and his two companions. You literally watch the characters grow and change throughout the series, and by the time the final battle with Voldemort rolls around, you have invested so much in Harry, Ron, Hermione and everyone, that every death and loss affects you on a personal level. (Who else shed a tear when Dobby died?) It was an amazing series, both in print and film, and it won't be forgotten.
The scope of what can be done in movie format has grown so much even over my lifetime and I am so excited to have my modern-fantasy dragon series, The Talon Saga, under option by Universal Pictures. Seeing my dragons come to life onscreen would be a dream come true, and I hope that viewers will feel the same magic I did when watching some of my favorite books perfectly captured on the big screen.
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