Friday, January 31, 2014

Katniss vs. Harry, Frodo And Bella Swan

As in why I will never read those books.

To begin with, let us get something very clear: I don't like to read. I really don't. First it was just a protest on my part because my parents are teachers, and I was like: "F*** culture and intelligence!". Then I discovered that I do like to read, but I become a little hermit that doesn't talk to anyone for months to come nor am I able to put a book down once I get it up. I am known for becoming antisocial and I have to quote a dear film here:

"No, I just-I started to feel like reading about life was taking time away from actually living life, so I'm trying to, like, accept invitations to things, say 'hi' to the world a little more.

Since then I read about two books a year, and I like to take my time. I am capable of reading a book a day, but I rarely find something that is so good I can't put it down*. Oh, the good old days when Laurell K. Hamilton's vampire hunter series with Anita Blake didn't suck! Those were good years! (To be honest, everything went downhill after book 9... and we are currently at number 22).
Either way, I do read plenty of articles and I do research for my papers and of course my blog entries. But not books, because often I am too tired to read at night and I can't read on the bus. That said, I have read The Hunger Games trilogy in 6 days... you may come to the conclusion that I really liked the books. As I matter of fact, I have found that it is a completely life defining story for me. We all have that, don't we? That trilogy (or more) that defines our teen years or college years. For some it was three of the below mentioned, while for me it was this. Now, in this entry I would like to tell you about why I am NEVER going to read The Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter series and the Twilight series.

To begin with, I also need to add that I love fantasy. I love it above everything else because it has nothing to do with reality - obviously. I have on several occasions read crime novels and simple tales that take place in our world, but when you think about it - it is wonderful to be part of another world, isn't it? To just leave the every days behind and venture into the unknown? Get to know creatures, their homes and their tales? Wonderful.
For that very reason I always had an eye on The Lord Of The Rings trilogy on my brother's shelf. I thought, there must be something to it for being a classic. And my father used to read me The Hobbit when I was little, although we never got to the end... I always loved the map of their world on the very beginning of the books! But as the years passed, I just kept on losing interest. Even when the movies came out, I had no desire to see them at all. I had seen, unintentionally, the ending of the second three times and then the last one, without seeing the first for at least four years. I remember in the December of 2006, after Christmas I sat down and told myself that I won't go into the new year without having seen completely all three movies. It was a fun marathon and I enjoyed them a lot, but not even enough to want to re-watch them, so reading was completely out of the question. Let alone the fact that I am disgusted by Gollum - on every level and I just don't get people who like him! I'm sorry, I'm not judging you, but please don't share that affection with me! There is something else that completely destroyed it for me and that is the spider.

I'm sorry, but I do not want to be reminded of reality when I am in a fantastic world. Why the giant spider? You know what my sister has? Arachnophobia. And you know how she got it? Because my brother has it and he starts screaming like a little girl every time he sees one. Because of that my sister gets scared and she slowly developed it on her own. Don't worry, it is indeed contagious as I am getting worse as well. You wanna know why I haven't seen The Desolation of Smaug in the cinema? Because I didn't want giant effing spiders jumping at me in imax 3D! Sue me!
And on the note of reality crossing into fantasy, J.K. Rowling... A F*CKING SNAKE?! You couldn't make him whisper to puppies, could you? No, no, you had to choose the most disgusting creature living on this planet - which is also the foundation of the fears of at least 50% of the overall population. I'm not even going to address the giant spider that lived in the forest, or the ones that returned to the final battle in the last movie (also, who the hell fought them? What side where they on? Why were they there in the first place? Where they killed, where did the go?!), you can guess where I stand with that, but the snake? OK, not the one at the end of the second movie. Let me tell you that I have never been so glad in my life that they effed up a 3D model so bad! But you see, dragons, unicorns, so many great creatures and this breath taking magical world and you completely ruined it for me by adding the one thing that makes me scared of being alive.
That said, after having seen the first movie I told myself that I would read the books if I liked it, which I did, so I began and one day my sister came up to me and asked me how I was with snakes lately. "Why?" She gently lowered her voice and after taking a deep breath said: "I don't want to ruin the ending, but he battles a giant snake at the end of this book." Closed it, put it away, never opened it again. When I watch the movie I can close my eyes for those few seconds or minutes, I can't turn it off once it is inside my head. Let alone that, I can't focus on a fantasy world if I see these recurring elements. If for example there were more creatures from our world, then perhaps I wouldn't have been bothered so much, but just snakes, spiders and a cat. Fantastic. Don't you argue with me about the three headed dog! It had three heads, he is clearly fantastic! And I am glad that I haven't read them because I am the living proof that the movies are good. I have only seen those and I loved each one, even the ones that didn't get too much recognition. The fourth is my favorite, I believe that the games were highly entertaining, not to mention the dragons and the scenes under water.

Since I begun this entry by pointing out my fandom toward vampire stories, I really couldn't go without mentioning this piece of work (you may insert any other word you wish instead of 'work'). I have seen the movies and I will never read the books. I get that they are supposed to be better, but I don't care for it. I genuinely don't like this world.
And it's not even the sparkling! I know people hate that, but overall that was the least of my worries! My problem is that a vampire is supposed to die from sunlight - they burn in an instant. What kills these vampires? If you cut off their head. Yeah, sounds real enough, but NOTHING else kills them! What happened to the garlic? The cross? The stake to the heart?! I mean, what is wonderful about vampires is that even though they are very strong and they have special abilities there are still very human ways to kill them because they are none other than animals themselves! What was supposed to make these characters scary just made them ridiculous because clearly, abstaining from human blood is very easy for them, which is simply stupid. And you know, the fact that they each have one special ability? It's awesome! Their red eyes and pale skin? Dead-on! Then why? Why  would you ruin it? And don't tell me that the writer had nothing to do with the movies and the script and the cast - because even IF the movies didn't get the books 100% right, they were still a pretty accurate adaptations of what the writer had in mind, for her to sign her name to the project!
I do love vampire stories, and if I have to be honest, I prefer werewolves that have something extra to them. Think of Harry Potter's Professor Lupin! Now, he wasn't just a wolf resembling husky! And here as well, the fact that the wolves were enormous, each with a different color of fur - I loved that! But I am old fashioned: I need them to sleep in coffin - or at least just sleep, because endless endurance is completely unbelievable - and I want them to be slightly weaker to give a chance to the everyday guy to defeat them! I'm not gonna get into another rant about how much I hate Bella Swan and everything she stands for. Nor do I wish to comment the performance of the actors - although trust me, I could! - I will say,  however that having seen the movies I am at liberty to discuss my discontempt and I can assure you that I do not dislike it because that is the cool thing to do! I actually sat down to see whether or not I would  like them and I can give you a lot of reasons that will justify my feelings.

That said. The Hunger Games portrays a dystopian half fantasy-technological, half sci-fi and half very real world that appeals to me from every angle! Without giving away too much spoilers, in case you haven't read them, we have a country divided to twelve districts plus a capitol were dictatorship rules. The main character is not your typical heroine, all that fuels her is the survival instinct and without wanting to be part of it, she is the key element in a revolution that tries to crumble the dictatorship. Actually, it is highly entertaining how she might be the only person who has found a way to make the best of what she has and she is constantly forced into the spotlight. She is actually very introverted and truly not a people's person and I loved that. I think that the thing that really got to me in the book - outside from the fact that I can totally believe that one day we could have dictators who force children to kill each other in a reality TV show - is that Katniss isn't the heroine because she is so good at it, this is just a story. She could really be anyone and she is, a simple girl who just wants to survive. And not even that, as there are several times when she accepts and embraces the idea of death. The story isn't about finding the monster within and fighting it or some coming of age tale because, let's face it, if you lived in this world there is little that doesn't already make you an adult.

And above everything else no book review, movie trailer, or the films themselves from the above listed ever made me want to pick up the book! Not one, except for The Hunger Games. The first trailer for the second movie? I got the ebook so fast, barely five minutes passed by! I read the three books in six days. Yes, I did start to read Harry Potter at one point, but it was utterly boring and I put it down after two chapters anyway - the fact that there was a giant serpent in the end was just an excuse I tell people. Sorry... But admittedly it didn't help at all in convincing me to continue my suffering.
We are different. The movie medium is something that appeals to me a lot, even if ironically I want to become a writer. But I have a very hard time writing fantasy because I feel like I need to set up some rules to follow while writing and I noticed that I tend to explain the rules instead of focusing on the characters and the story. That's a big problem. Perhaps in a couple of years, who knows? In the meanwhile someone bet me to read the Harry Potter books, so perhaps I should gather them, they are here somewhere in the apartment.
Now you know my reasons, what are yours? Did you at least read them? Because the book is much better than the movies, in case some idiot hasn't told you before! :P
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*I did read a couple of gems over the years that I just had to finish in one day, and I would like to share them with you, perhaps you'll be interested:
  • Gianfranco Liori: Come un Fumetto Giapponese (Like a Japanese Manga)
  • Jane Austen: Pride & Prejudice
  • Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
  • Federico Moccia: Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo (Three Steps Over Heaven)
  • Laurell K. Hamilton: Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake Series)
  • David Lodge: Small World
  • Pablo Desantis: Paris Enigma
  • Stephen Chbosky: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

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