Reflections of Reality (3)
Welcome to the third of my birthday blog swaps! This week my guest is Tricia Drammeh, who will be talking about the future of fantasy. Over to you, Tricia …
Thank you, AFE, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. Since this is one of my favorite sites, it’s an honor to be here. Before I begin to ramble, please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Tricia Drammeh, mother of four wonderful kids, author of The Claiming Words, and lover of Fantasy.
If you ask me what my favorite book is, the answer may vary. Quite often, my favorite book is the book I happen to be reading at that moment. But if you ask me what my favorite genre is, you’ll always get the same answer – Fantasy. I love Fantasy. Magic, dragons, wizards, trolls, elves, enchanted castles – if a book has any (or several) of these elements, it is probably the book for me.
In my opinion, Fantasy is the best. And if you ask readers and moviegoers, they might tell you the same. Ask younger Fantasy lovers what their favorite books are, and they might give you the following list: Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, or Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Admittedly, those books and their movie counterparts would be on my list of favorites as well.
But what about the amazing works by Terry Goodkind, Tad Williams, Robert Jordan, or Terry Prachett? Ask a younger reader about these authors and you might get blank stares followed by, “Who?”
Are Fantasy novels a dying breed, only chosen by hardcore Fantasy readers? Or will Fantasy novels continue to have a widespread appeal? What if only the huge blockbuster hits like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings gain a following? What happens to those other great authors and their brilliant work?
I worry about the future of Fantasy. And I worry about the younger readers who might be missing out on so much if their choices in Fantasy novels are limited to books that have been made into movies or massive series. Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against ‘mainstream’ Fantasy. And I certainly have nothing against books being made into movies. But when all our Fantasy choices come with cartoons, movies, video games, trading cards, and action figures, our imaginations are being limited instead of expanded.
Movies define characters and settings, meaning our imaginations don’t have to work as hard. I’ll never forget the breathtaking imagery in the LOTR movies, but before the series ever hit the big screen, I’d already had the opportunity to form my own incredible images in my mind. How? Because I read the books.
So what happens when kids won’t pick up a book unless they’ve seen the movie – or worse, skip the book in favor of the movie? What happens when the selection of Fantasy novels on bookstore shelves dwindles because publishers are only willing to publish books that will be marketable as a movie?
We must remind the young readers in our lives that while movies can enhance our enjoyment of books, they can never replace them. We must provide our children with high-quality Fantasy novels. We must give them choices. And when we do decide to take our children to the movie theatre to see an adaptation of the latest Fantasy novel, we must remember to engage them in a discussion on how the book differs from the movie. What worked and what didn’t? What did they change? What did they leave out? What scene do you wish they would have done differently? Remind them that the book is the foundation from which the movie was created.
Behind most great movies is a great book. We need to make sure we keep the Fantasy genre alive. Buy, lend, and recommend new Fantasy novels – and old favorites. Because when the book choices dry up, so do the movies. And so do our imaginations.
Tricia Drammeh is author of The Claiming Words Series. Book One, The Claiming Words, is available to buy from Amazon, and you can also find out more about the series on its dedicated Facebook page.
I'm talking about Halloween on Tricia's blog this week, so please come and check it out!
14/10/2012 09:22:59 am
Intelligent foresight, Tricia. I too worry about the future readership of any genre fiction in the face of cinematic blockbusters and the increasing ease of fantastic special effects. Your article made me ask the question, who reads today? If what is made main stream fiction is any indication, then I'd say the answer is quite limited to only women. I hope I'm wrong.
14/10/2012 10:08:34 am
Thank you, A.F.E., for the blog-swap. It's been lots of fun.
14/10/2012 11:39:03 am
I agree with you, Tricia. If not just children, but everyone pick movies over their book counterparts reading may be a dying thing. My teenage son is an avid fantasy lover, though he's a bit more odd about it. He actually isn't fond of the LOTR books, he really prefers Brandon Mull. He started with Fablehaven and then progressed into Beyonders, now if Mull comes out with any new books, Mom gets to buy them for him. LOL
27/10/2012 01:56:41 am
A very timely commentary, I think Tricia. I have a teenage son who will skip the book and wait for the movie - despite all my efforts to encourage reading - and a daughter who has read and enjoys many of the great fantasy writers.
Piper, I have a son who is just now getting in to the Percy Jackson series. He read the first book and then he watched the movie. He was amazed at how different the book was in comparison to the movie, and he's learned that books often have more to offer within their pages than a two-hour movie.
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