From Page to Paramount
Are you excited for the upcoming Wheel of Time series on Amazon? My brothers sure are—they're big fans. I never got around to reading it myself, but hopefully the series is a good representation. I'll let my brothers tell me how it measures up.
There's always a bit of wariness when a favorite book series gets translated to the big or small screen. So many things to get right. So many things to get wrong. So many changes which could be for the better... or the worse. I'm a big believer that The Dresden Files TV show, while nothing at all like the books, wasn't really that bad on its own. On the other hand, I loathed the TV adaptation of Under the Dome (one of my favorite Stephen King books). I was a firm believer for years that The Dark Tower series would never make a good movie. There was far too much to deal with, far too many abstract issues and concepts to incorporate, and too many things avid readers would recognize, but new audiences would just see as strange and confusing. Still, I was excited for the film—mostly because Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey were an amazing pair to cast in the lead roles—but, alas, was disappointed.
And yet I think we're always at least a little excited when there's an announcement of a new series based on a book or book series we love. There are so many possibilities in our heads. We love to imagine the casting, we envision some of our favorite scenes finally played out before us, and we celebrate being able to share our beloved stories with a whole new group of fans.
If you knew the end result was going to be a smash, which of your favorite books would you love to see made into a film or a TV adaptation? Which platform would you like to see it on?
My personal choice would be The Chronicles of the Cheysuli, by Jennifer Roberson. In my head, I see it playing out a lot like the Shannara Chronicles which aired on MTV and Spike. If they embraced the fantasy with such beautiful visuals and gorgeous set pieces, and with a gorgeous score maybe influenced by the music of indigenous peoples, I would be ecstatic to see it play out in an episodic series.
The Chronicles of the Cheysuli is a fantasy series about a clan of shapeshifting people, striving across generations to bring about a prophecy uniting warring countries and races, to bring about an era of peace and magic. It features main characters who all, in some way, are expected to help braid together a bloodline of alliances, intermarrying with the nations around them, both friend and foe, to bear children with the gifts of shapeshifting, as well as the blood of peoples far and wide. The final link in the chain must find a way to make the hardest connection: a union between their own magical race, the Cheysuli, and their ancient enemies, the Ihlini.
It's a fantastic series full of journeys to faraway places, wars with neighboring nations they must somehow find accord with, and the magic of bonding to an animal soul, and learning to shapeshift into its form. Each Cheysuli forges a soul-deep connection with a familiar known as their lir, and is able to communicate telepathically with them, as well as assume their shape. The magic, just like the grand adventure, is captivating and compelling. Just writing about the series, I want to dive back into it, and return to that world again. In fact, I think I'm going to go drop by Audible and pick up the audiobooks right now.
So personally, I'd be thrilled to see an Amazon adaptation of The Chronicles of the Cheysuli, or a Netflix original series, and I'd love to see it done in the same style as Shannara. I know there would be some issues in translation from page to screen, in the sense that the books tell a generational story passing down from fathers to sons and daughters, so the cast of characters would be constantly changing. Perhaps if they did each book as a limited series of about 8 episodes, it could work. Of course, the series is eight books long, not including short stories, so it would have to be a good enough show to keep up the momentum.
It's a pipe dream, I admit. The Chronicles of the Cheysuli started in the mid-80's, and as far as I know, it never had the sort of following that the Wheel of Time or Harry Potter did. Still, if I could choose just one series from my childhood to see brought to the big screen, that would be it.
What about you? What book or series would you like to see brought to life? Leave your thoughts in the comments and share some of your thoughts on what it might be like.