So, the newest dystopian sensation, The Divergent Trilogy, debuted in the silver screen with the latest release of its first book, Divergent. I haven’t read the book just yet1 but eventually will. I’m one of those types where a movie adaptation is being produced that I tend to read the book first and see what the whole buzz is about. In short, I haven’t seen the movie yet and I don’t plan to until I finally read the book.
And because of that, I already fear that I may start losing interest in to reading the book before I can actually read it because of one thing: “teenybopper hype.”2
Not ranting or anything like that. Dystopian stories are actually one of my favorite genres to read, though not much of a die-hard fan of it. Be it The Hunger Games Trilogy or even the ones written by Margaret Atwood,3 as long as it catches my eye and peaks my interest, I’m down with anything dystopia. My mom introduced me to the dystopian genre by lending me a copy of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World when I was in high school. I thought it was a little too mature for me4 so I halted on that one until I was “mature” enough5 to get in to the story’s concepts. What really introduced me to the dystopian novel were the books required to read at high school literature classes: Animal Farm by George Orwell and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Here’s what’s funny though. Back in the early 2000s, fantasy YA novels were the “in thing” when it came to the movies. It was triggered by the debut of The Harry Potter Series on the silver screen6 that brought movie producers to “dig back” in to the classics and introduced us J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic series The Lord of the Rings Series and a little bit of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Hollywood even tried to create movie adaptations of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy but it only halted with the first book The Golden Compass.7 At that time, somehow it made me cringe then that the younger audience start to get back in to reading the classics simply because they read the movie, but what cringed me the most is when those start to act like they know all about the stories as if you’re some kind of an illiterate just by watching the movies. We as readers fully know that because of tight budgets that Hollywood won’t be able to cover the entire story originally written from the novels in the first place. They would have to produce a mini-series for those. In addition to that, they also make some changes in certain scenes in books8 to make it “more entertaining.”
Oh, and in the mid-late 2000s, we were also brought the vampires and werewolves supernatural genre. As a reader, the hype of the vampire/werewolf pop culture scene really bothered me a lot and this is all the fault of The Twilight Series. Let’s just say that I’m a traditionalist when it comes to what I know about vampires and werewolves. When a vampire and/or a werewolf sees you, a human, you are food and roadkill to these creatures, nothing more, nothing less. Second, both vampires and werewolves are night creatures and that they can’t survive under the sun. I mean come on, vampires sparkle under the sunlight? Seriously, Stephanie Meyer. No thank you. Vampires and werewolves have been a part of human mythology for decades and decades in all parts of the world, and the last thing that I would want in this crazy modern world is to have one author completely change our traditional knowledge of these mythical creatures. Because of Twilight that I no longer have the desire to read modern works related to vampires and werewolves because I already have this bad vision that all the post-Twilight vampire/werewolf novels would portray these creatures the same way Meyer did. There’s a lot more other reasons why I absolutely abhor the Twilight series and it goes way beyond the “rewriting/recreating” of the vampire and the werewolf, but I won’t write about that here.
And now, I’m beginning to worry about the nature of the dystopian genre and what would the younger fans (or rather fans who basically don’t read any books, let alone dystopian novels in general) do/react once the hype begins. Probably would act the same way as those LOTR/Narnia “new” fans who act as if they know everything just on the basis on the movies alone. It would be nice to actually sit down, relax, and read those books. I’ve seen the movie adaptations of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and even though there were minor changes (as expected) that Hollywood made in a few scenes, overall the plot covered majority of what was written in the book. According to my sister, both Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies are both equally good9 and therefore with an open mind, I look forward to reading Divergent.
A friend of mine from long ago was a huge fan of the Twilight series before all the “teenybopper” hype began when the movies came out. He stated that he simply lost his love and interest for the book series when it all began, which is rather sad in my opinion. The same thing also happened with my other friends back in the early 2000s when they lost their love for LOTR and Narnia (mainly LOTR) because of the “teenybopper” hype, which I thought should be impossible because those books were way older than most of us living in this timeline and are considered classics. I fear that the same thing may happen to the dystopian genre, but so far it hasn’t. I still love the Hunger Games trilogy and wouldn’t mind re-reading them again when I run out of books to read. I would re-read Margaret Atwood’s books in a second as well.10 I would like to re-read Animal Farm again just for the high school memories, but it’s been a little difficult to find a copy for free.11
I know I may probably be called a snob by many of those who have caught on the teenybopper hype on literature genres, but I am proud to say that I know a whole lot more about the story you just watched in the movies than what the movies show you. Want to know the deeper knowledge of those movies? Simple. Read the original novels.
I also have the same views when it comes to manga and anime, but I’ll save this one for another blog entry in the future.
- my middle sister has all three books but she lent the first book to one of her friends… [↩]
- do I even have to explain what this means…? [↩]
- definitely one of my favorite authors of my lifetime! I even had a reply tweet from her when I said hello! I didn’t take a screenshot or anything like that but I did add it as one of my favorites. Madame Atwood is also very active on Wattpad as well. [↩]
- and I was around 14-years-old back then… [↩]
- or rather smart enough? [↩]
- and I really did love that series… [↩]
- Northern Lights is the original title when it was first released in the UK. [↩]
- most likely because they didn’t like the scene that the author intended to convey… hmm… [↩]
- like I said before, I haven’t read the Divergent series yet, but I have read all the three Hunger Games books… [↩]
- I’m referring to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, and a lot more! [↩]
- eBook version… my bookshelf is way too full of textbooks… [↩]