“They Never Make It Better, They Make It Worse” — GeekTyrant

George R.R. Martin is best known for creating the worlds within his book series Game of Thrones, which at one point in time was the biggest show on TV.

It infamously took a dive in the final season(s), and fans, as well as Martin himself, were very unhappy with how the series played out. Martin has spoken candidly about his disappointment in the writers and showrunners, who he feels took too many liberties when adapting his work.

Now, Martin is doubling down on his complaint that not just his books, but most other writers’ work, is being adapted with too little care.

The writer recently took to his personal blog to explain:

“Very little has changed since then. If anything, things have gotten worse. Everywhere you look, there are more screenwriters and producers eager to take great stories and ‘make them their own.’ It does not seem to matter whether the source material was written by Stan Lee, Charles Dickens, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, Jane Austen, or… well, anyone.”

“No matter how major a writer it is, no matter how great the book, there always seems to be someone on hand who thinks he can do better, eager to take the story and ‘improve’ on it. ‘The book is the book, the film is the film,’ they will tell you, as if they were saying something profound.  Then they make the story their own. They never make it better, though. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, they make it worse.”

Martin, however, said that “once in a while we do get a really good adaptation of a really good book, and when that happens, it deserves applause.” Such is the case with FX’s recent adaptation of Shogun, which is currently viewed as the frontrunner for the Emmy for drama series.

“I was dubious when I first heard they were making another version of the Clavell novel. It has been a long time, a long long LONG time, but I read the book when it first came out in the late 70s and was mightily impressed.  And the 1980 miniseries starring Richard Chamberlain as the Anjin was a landmark of long form television, right up with with ‘Roots’; why do it over again, when that version was so good?”

“I am glad they did, though. The new ‘Shogun’ is superb… I think the author would have been pleased.  Both old and new screenwriters did honor to the source material, and gave us terrific adaptations, resisting the impulse to ‘make it their own.’”

During his 2022 chat with Neil Gaiman, Martin asked: “How faithful do you have to be? Some people don’t feel that they have to be faithful at all. There’s this phrase that goes around: ‘I’m going to make it my own.’ I hate that phrase. And I think Neil probably hates that phrase, too.”

“I do,” Gaiman responded. “I spent 30 years watching people make Sandman their own. And some of those people hadn’t even read Sandman to make it their own, they’d just flipped through a few comics or something.”

FX is currently developing a second season of Shogun. Read Martin’s full blog post here.

via: Variety

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