Monday, December 13, 2004

Not Watching Earthsea

In a galaxy far, far away, when life and its landscape were so different...when I was in grade one or two, we were driving home from church (yikes!) one Sunday, and my father was talking to my mother about a book he was teaching in one of his high school English classes. He must have noticed my intense focus on the conversation, because at the end of the drive he asked if I wanted it for my bedtime story next. I had long been quite capable of reading whatever I wanted for myself, but then and for a number of years after, a bedtime story from him was part of the daily ritual. It wasn't the first "real" book that I got read as a bedtime story -- I think there was some Mary Renault historical fiction, a couple of books in the Arthurian tradition, possibly others, that came before -- but Ursula K. LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea was an early one. I remember in grade two during recess and at lunch hour playing make-believe games based on the characters with my friends. It was one important step in the path that made science fiction and fantasy the staple of my reading until I was an adult, and something I still enjoy when I feel I can indulge.

(For those of a political bent but not much into scifi/fantasy, LeGuin also wrote The Dispossessed, a novel about a planet whose social organization is anarchist -- I read that one much later in life.)

Each time an ad for the mini-series based on LeGuin's Earthsea books has flashed across the television screen I have watched intently, often with an amusing (to my partner) frown on my face. "Should I watch it?" and "Will it do right by the books?" and "What on earth is that? I don't remember anything like that in the books!"

A posting by Brutal Women (whom I read at Feminist Blogs) led me to this statement by LeGuin herself on the mini-series. And that decided it: I'm not watching it.

I probably wouldn't have anyway, though -- I mean, the Lord of the Rings movies were amazing, and there was lots about them that I liked, but the liberties taken with the story, and in particular with the mythology of Middle Earth, grated on me increasingly through the series.

No comments: