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Title:How you frame a discussion about adaptation can change your appreciation of the adaptation
Duration:29:48
Viewed:0
Published:10-10-2022
Source:Youtube

A lot of the sensationalist discourse about adaptation is framed in a very particular way. In addition to sensationalist extreme terminology such as 'Dumpster Fire' 'Garbage' and a complete lack of critical awareness or nuance, it also has taken an ideological position akin to a purity test with regards to fidelity. Despite paying lip service to the very real and completely obvious point that change is necessary and unavoidable in adaptation to a new medium, not only is every change framed as a negative deviation without considering what the change is actually doing in a potentially positive light, there is a complete disregard of how adapted narratives are attempting to achieve what the source material did in a different way (you know, the way that adaptation routinely does). A significant proportion of discussion of adaptation, particularly online, has degenerated into a simplistic binary of 'surface fidelity to text = good' and 'any deviation from text, no matter how insignificant = bad'. So this video is an attempt to address some of this by looking at a core principle of how we approach analysis, and how predetermined lenses can influence outcomes. I discuss one aspect of the Wheel of Time adaptation that was widely and routinely described as a mistake and an example of the showrunners not understanding the text (which is laughable when you think about professional writers being advised by an expert on the text). I also address the 'Mithril' controversy of Episode 5 of the second age of Arda show, Rings of Power. There are many ways to discuss difference in a non-biased and negative light, but also an importance on actually establishing similarity to text and not overly privileging source texts as sacred an unalterable. You don't have to like the adaptations, and it is perfectly fine to have criticisms, but when those criticisms are mainly pointing to differences between an assumed interpretation of the source text and the show runner interpretation of the same thing, and not taking into account obvious reasons such as change of medium, filling in gaps in source material, and the construction of a cohesive narrative, we do ourselves a disservice in our attempt to understand the adapted narrative. You don't have to like or even agree with every decision an adaptation takes, but the current discourse routinely dismisses or does not even consider comparison to source as a starting point, but jumps straight into all the differences. Surprisingly for grown adults who are ostensibly readers, there is also a complete lack of awareness of the difference between something presented as fact and something presented as fiction within a text. Not all deviations are bad, some deviations are necessary, and there are different types of storytelling. I apologise if this comes across as a rant, but my frustration with the discussion has nothing to do with whether someone likes or dislikes the adaptation in question, but that ranting about change is frequently unhelpful and skews the discourse away from understanding what the adaptation is actually doing and towards what individuals think that it should have done. Intro and Music by Professor Trip. If you would like to buy me a coffee or a book, Support me on Ko-Fi: ko-fi.com/criticaldragon #ringsofpower #wheeloftime #rop #wot

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