Mythical nymphs and druids, spells and incantations, battles of sword and wand. In both Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings series, the films offered a temporary passport from the mundanity of our lives to a land of enchantment, or of peril, or intrigue. Like many of the movies currently dominating the theaters, the tale of the orphaned wizard and the journey to destroy a ring originated as words inked on paper. Words formed into sentences. Pages bound to pages. From those words we heard a voice that was certainly not our own, but of the character forged amidst those words. These stories manifested within our minds. However, it is time they present themselves before our eyes up on the big screen. These are the fantasy books I believe are due for a movie adaptation.
The Magic Kingdom of Landover Series by Terry Brooks
What it’s About: Ben Holiday was tired of the modern world. Work was unfulfilling. Hobbies were stale. Spouse was deceased and happiness seemed unattainable. Holiday’s inner pleadings for change were answered with the discovery of an inconceivable specialty item up for sale: a magical kingdom, complete with dragons, knights, and of course, a castle to rule the kingdom from.
Why it Needs to be Adapted: I first began this series at the recommendation of my math teacher in middle school. Years later, in my mid-twenties, Holiday’s brash stubbornness still rings true. As Holiday attempts to find a solution to the decaying state of the kingdom, the wit of the creatures and men he encounters, the precarious situations he finds himself entangled with, the unconventional party that accompanies him is fitting for an onscreen adventure.
Dream Director: Mel Brooks
The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix
What it’s About: Sabriel, the protagonist, is contradictory to the usual characteristics of a strong, female lead. Pale. Reserved. Solitary. Plain. Raven-haired. A bibliophile. A necromancer. Unlike other necromancers of the Old Kingdom who practice the art of reanimating the dead, Sabriel is a practitioner of drawing spirits to the outer gates for final rest.
Why it Needs to be Adapted: Although aimed for young adult readers, the dark undertones evident from the first chapter of this trilogy certainly speak to older audiences. The concept of the reanimated dead are a pop culture phenomenon. They infiltrate various movies, stirring new television series to crop up like a hand from the earth. There is a force that strives to raise the undead and yet, what of those who put them to rest? Sabriel, Lirael, and lastly Abhorsen offer an alternative approach to the fancies of a benevolent, magical realm and encompasses the very real struggle to defy death in an unparalleled manner not seen in existing films.
Dream Director: Guillermo del Toro
The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima
What it’s About: The old laws of two Weir houses divided carries on amongst the Anaweir, the non-gifted people. Each installment provides an added dimension of the gifted: a warrior, a wizard, an enchanter. This offers the opportunity to be fully immersed in the history of each guild and the ramifications of such an affiliation.
Why it Needs to be Adapted: Often, fantasy brings us to days of past: devoid of the technological comforts we have grown most accustomed to. Unlike the other series I have mentioned so far, The Heir Chronicles, takes place in an urban fantasy setting, a byproduct of old magic and new, so to speak. Seemingly unrelated to one another, the main characters are brought together and the solidity of old, unchallenged laws is tested. It almost sounds like another Hunger Games angle. In this case, though, the underlying theme of questioning governing bodies is not lost in love triangle.
Dream Director: Gary Ross
The Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce
What it’s About: Four incredibly distinct persons are the focus in this quartet. Despite their diversified backgrounds, personalities, and temperaments, they are linked by one common thread: magic.
Why it Needs to be Adapted: Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender (no, not the blue beings of Pandora) and The Legend of Korra will find Sandry, Daja, Tris, and Briar to be a set of complex characters who must seek their identity and learn to control their powers in the eyes of a society who deems them worthless. Each member struggles to master their discipline: Sandry with weaving, Daja with metalwork, Tris with weather, and Briar with flora; and realize their interconnectedness and required dependability in order to overcome their own internal battles. The level of sophistication that can be attained with visual effects is where the movie adaptation can be its strongest. As we have seen, or care not to see, in M. Night Shyamalan’s live action version of Avatar, the lack of powerful and carefully executed effects can greatly reduce the impact of a movie as a whole.
Dream Animation Supervisor: Richard Baneham
The Belgariad Series by David Eddings
What it’s About: A young farm boy is captivated by the village storyteller. Garion’s unusual heritage triggers his own quest to recover the Orb of Aldur in order to protect the West and fulfill a prophecy, which leads to an inevitable showdown between the forces good and evil.
Why it Needs to be Adapted: Out of all of the series I have covered, The Belgariad Series possess all of the elements necessary to generate a following that could mirror the successes seen with The Lord of the Rings. Rich history spanning from the beginnings, of the Gods, and of the origins of man and their clans; intricate bloodlines, well-developed characters, humor that is easily recognizable, and unpredictability in the plot are some of the elements that puts this series on a level above the rest. If these details can be transposed from a literary format to visual stimulation, I have no doubt the end result could draw an audience that was previously apathetic to the fantasy genre.
Dream Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss