I must admit that I’m not easy to please when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations. In my opinion, the adaptation cannot be too faithful to the novel. Every change, even if it is tiny, is noticed and although I can turn a blind eye to quite a lot of changes, there are some that drive me crazy. I know that I’m not living in a perfect world in which one to one adaptations are possible, but still. Therefore, it was really difficult to come up with good and faithful adaptations so I decided to give you a mix of different scenarios.
Faithful Adaptations That I Love
Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series → Game of Thrones series [2011 – ]
I know, I know, it’s a series, but I’m so glad it is. Everything else would have ended in tears. Although there are more and more changes the farther the series progresses, at least the first season is very very true to the novel. Although I considered myself a firm member of House Gatewatch in the beginning, I’m so happy with the cast and crew that I don’t really mind whether the character’s TV alter ego has a blue beard or is bald. As long as they deliver the heart of the series, I’m overjoyed. And let’s face it: it’s the best series out there at the moment.
Austen’s Pride & Prejudice → Pride & Prejudice 
I love both the BBC series and the 2005 adaptation but the latter is just perfect in my eyes although there are a couple of things missing. It is probably my all-time favourite movie and I’ve watched it a hundred times already. I have a couple of great memories that are connected to this movie, mainly a couple of my best friends and myself swooning every time Mr. Darcy is just mentioned – you can guess what happened when he’s actually in the frame …
Sewell’s Black Beauty → Black Beauty 
I’ve read the novel only once a very long time ago but as far as I remember, the adaptation is pretty faithful to the novel – and makes me cry every single time I watch it. This is definitely one of the best horse movies out there.
Unfaithful Adaptations That I Like
Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series → Legend of the Seeker series [2008-2010]
I feel sorry for the people who loved the novels and hoped for a great adaptation. That, unfortunately, did not happen for the series was disneyfied. Still, I didn’t know about the novels when I started watching and liked it a great deal although in retrospect it wasn’t that good, but oh, it was a fantasy series so I forgave it all those cheesy episodes in season one. Ah, and I loved Cara so much – well, not much of a surprise, right?! I bought the first nine books but only read the first half of the first one and skimmed through the second half. I loved it, but somehow I forgot that I was reading it. But I definitely will continue the series one day. My friends and I, we had great fun with the novel and the series, right girls? Zwo, eins, Risikooo!
Brooke’s Heartland series → Heartland series [2007 – ]
I’ve read lots and lots of horse novels but the Heartland series is definitely one of my favourite series. I must admit that though I loved it, I somehow paused for a very long time after the ninth novel. Last year, however, I watched the first two seasons and although they are quite different, there are still some similarities to the novels. That just made me want to read the series so badly that I’ve read the whole 21 novels in the course of one month, sometimes two books a day.
Adaptations I Dislike
Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban → Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 
This is my favourite Harry Potter novel and my least favourite movie. I really don’t want to go into the details why I dislike the film so much because if I start, I won’t be able to stop for quite some time. There are just so many little things I find important that were omitted in the adaptation although they would have been easily achieved. And the Dementors didn’t look like they were described in the novel. And … no. Just no.
Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows → Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 
Basically, the same goes for this one. I mean, I was a wreck nevertheless. I started crying the moment Hogwarts was attacked and didn’t stop until the film was over. My sister wanted to murder me because I was so embarrassing, but I didn’t care what all the people around me were thinking. This was the freaking end of something that has accompanied me since I’ve been nine years old. And then they dared to change the ending! How could they?! Not only didn’t Snape’s „You have your mother’s eyes.“ make any sense since film-Lily has brown eyes while film-Harry’s are blue (good God, that was possibly the most heartbreaking and beautiful sentence in the whole series, why couldn’t you cast a girl with blue eyes?!), but what bugged me most is that Voldemort never got to know that he had been betrayed for the thing he hated most by the guy he had trusted most. Gah!
Adaptations I Hate
Paolini’s Eragon → Eragon 
Back then, I was obsessed with the series and couldn’t wait for the movie. I cherished every titbit I got my hands on. But then – what the hell?! That wasn’t Eragon at all. This is the worst adaptation I can think of. The movie itself isn’t all that bad. It has a great cast, for instance. But it has nothing to do with the novel. They just cut so many important characters or scenes and changed a great deal that it was just something entirely else.
Pullman’s Northern Lights/The Golden Compass → The Golden Compass 
I really like the novel, mostly because of its interesting world. I wish I had a dæmon, too. Yet again, there were some major changes in the adaptation – but I was ok with most of them. Well, until the ending. They just stopped right in the middle of the novel’s ending. They had even shown scenes from it in the trailer but in the movie, they decided to cut them in order to have a better cliffhanger for a second movie that will never be made. What the hell! The novel’s ending would have been an awesome cliffhanger! But no, that wasn’t good enough so the movie doesn’t have an ending. Great!
Reisfeld’s/Gilmour’s T*Witches series → Twitches & Twitches Too [2005, 2007]
I really enjoyed the series when I was younger – the two more or less random movie adaptations not so much. They changed almost everything including personalities and made it a bubbly disneyfied mess with poor special effects and CGI. Urgh.