Game of Thrones

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A Song of Ice and Fire is an unfinished fantasy series, written by George R. R. Martin. The series is often hailed as the next Lord of the Rings. Typically classed as high fantasy, the Westerosii world of Ice and Fire features knights and dragons, a winding plot, and of course the Game of Thrones power struggle spanning thousands of pages.

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6 years ago, the novel series was adapted to a hit T.V. series by HBO, called Game of Thrones.  The show, while maintaining the integrity of the books in the earlier seasons, by the most recent season 6 has reached new territory that the books have yet to cover. Even before the entrance of new territory, the series was making changes from the books. The changes manifested in character portrayal, thematic emphasis, and plot divergence from A Song of Ice and Fire. While there is some controversy among fans that are devoted to the books, it is widely greeted with approval. Other controversy around the show include sexual assault, nudity, and violence. Yet the show is Emmy award winning and the consensus among most is that it is very well done.

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The show has popularized the book and inspired much art work and apparel based off the series.

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Even video games have been adapted from the series.

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The book series would not have become as popular if not for the show, showing how valuable adaptations can be, even if one has a favorite version.

Want to learn more? links to photos/more info: 1 2 3 4 5

Degas’ Dancers

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Ballet is an art form of grace and precision, of using movement to express. Initially created in the 15th century courts of Italy, it has spread around the world and is a highly competitive art form today. One of the most prestigous of all ballet companies to date is the Paris Opera Ballet.

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Edgar Degas, born in 1834, is a famous artist from France. He is most famous for his painting, drawing, and sculpting of the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. His work adapted the art of dance to a new medium in painting.

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When you look at his art you can see how he tried to capture the movement of the dancers in the stillness of his paintings. While during his life his art got mixed reviews, today his adaptations of the dance art form are known around the world.

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Of Degas’ sculptures, the most famous is his Little Dancer, Age 14. Little Dancer was inspired by Marie van Goethem, a young dancer at the ballet, and a model for Degas.

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Degas’ Little Dancer, and the story of his sculpture has inspired many adaptations as well. Tiler Peck is the actress in the above photo, that played Marie in Little Dancer, a musical at Kennedy Center in 2014.

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Books have been written about the Little Dancer as well, like this one by Laurence Anholt. While young aspiring ballet dancers might not know who Degas is, this book adaptation was a hit with little ballerinas.

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Even professional ballerinas pay tribute to Degas’ Little Dancer. Misty Copeland (featured above and below) says that she sees her younger self in the Little Dancer.

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Misty has posed for many adaptions of Degas’ work.

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Degas’ adaptations of the Paris Opera Ballet dancers have become a timeless source for adaptations themselves.

Want to learn more? links to photos/more info: 1 2 3 4 5 6

The Lord of The Rings

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The Lord of the Rings is a book, divided into three volumes, written by J.R.R. Tolkien as a sequel to The Hobbit. The book is considered the ultimate high fantasy novel in history, and is now a classic.

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The Lord of the Rings, and many of Tolkien’s other works, are based in Middle Earth, a mythical land that Tolkien created as kind of “mythology” for England. It features the creation of a Fellowship of the Ring, that join in a wild adventure of peril, riches, friendship, and the eventual defeat of evil in an ultimate battle. Today The Lord of the Rings is inspiration for anyone writing fiction.

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It has influenced authors as successful as George R. R. Martin and J.K. Rowling, both of whom use their initials in pen name in part as a tribute to Tolkien.

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Not only has “The Trilogy”, as it is commonly known, influenced many great fantasy authors, it has inspired many adaptations. Probably the most well known is the Peter Jackson’s screen adaptation.

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The three filmed adaptations were met with wide approval, which was a first for the fantasy genre! They generated more than 3 billion dollars, and won more than 250 awards and 17 oscars. The movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings has been hailed as the most successful trilogy of this generation.

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While it was highly successful, it was by no means a direct translation from the book to the screen. Large parts were cut, and there were substantial changes. Yet, the film is still considered one of the greatest because the director, Peter Jackson, intentionally chose to create his “interpretation” rather than “translation” of the Trilogy. Not because he believed they should be changed, rather he realized that it would be necessary to create a good film.

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While the books had to be pared down to fit into 12 hours or so (if you watch the extended version), Jackson tried to remain faithful to the themes of the story throughout. Audiences of both devoted Tolkien fans and newcomers to the Trilogy, seem to agree that the screen adaptation is one for the books. The filmed Trilogy’s popularity has brought even more fame to the novels, reinforcing their place in history as a classic.

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Want to learn more? links to photos/more info: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The Art of Adaptation

Adaptation fever is a common “disease” amongst the arts. It seems like every time you turn around you see a new adaptation. But I mean, who doesn’t love The Lord of the Rings movies?Adaptations are common, and why not? We love the stories they tell for the most part, but then again, when adaptors take something we love and don’t do it justice when they re-work it, fans cry outrage.

There are good adaptations, and different doesn’t always mean worse. What makes good literature doesn’t necessarily make a good T.V. show, but they still can share the plot and overarching themes for the most part. Sometimes it’s best to mentally let the source and its adaptation exist separately. While T.V. writers and other adaptors have to keep in mind what works with their medium and what will get the most viewers, authors are primarily limited by their imaginations. After all, show biz is called business for a reason. Different mediums have different constraints, but they also offer unique perspectives.

Adaptations can be highly valued art. Just because it is inspired directly by something else doesn’t necessarily mean that it is worth less than the original. Originality isn’t actually what we value in artwork. Mark Twain, a master of “originality” himself believed that “All ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources”. What then do we value in artwork? Edith Wharton would say:

“True originality consists not in a new manner, but in a new vision.”

And if vision is what we truly put our stock in, then adaptations take on a new value.

Adaptations certainly aren’t a phenomenon unique to television and movies. There are lots of interesting and valuable adaptations out there! This blog is here to point out some pretty cool adaptations, but by no means all of them, and maybe connect art you never thought to. Art inspires more art often in different forms, art begets art, if you will.

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Speaking of adaptations… Surprise, this blog is an adaptation!

Want to check out the source? I have lots to say about adaptations and why they’re valuable, so if you’re interested, here’s a link (or you can find it up top in the menu). It’s an academic paper inspired by the study of HBO’s Game of Thrones as an adaptation from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin.