Books – Geekshow Your hub for geek related podcasts. Home of GeekiNtertainment, The BuffCast, Two Geeks, True Believers, MeteorGEEK!, and the AngelCast. Fri, 08 Jul 2016 05:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 HBO’s ‘A Game of Thrones’ cast as it stands Tue, 01 Sep 2009 05:54:30 +0000 *Updated 9/24* Turns out, we don’t run Hollywood. The actual results of the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire casting continues to roll in. Each choice is unsurprisingly different than our original article about our choices for the show. Still, There is nothing really to complain about here.

So who have we got so far?

Eddard “Ned” Stark – Sean Bean

Sean Bean

Catelyn Stark – Jennifer Ehle

Jennifer Ehle

Robb Stark – Richard Madden

Richard Madden

Sansa Stark – Sophie Turner

Sophie Turner

Arya Stark – Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams

Robert Baratheon – Mark Addy

Mark Addy

Jamie Lannister – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Lena Headey – Cersei Lannister (Added 9/01/09)

Lena HeadeyCersei Lannister

Tyrion Lannister – Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage

Daenerys Targaryen – Tamzin Merchant


Theon Greyjoy – Alfie Allen

Alfie Allentheon

Jon Snow – Kit Harington

Kit HaringtonJon Snow

Joffrey Baratheon – Jack Gleeson

Jack GleesonJoffrey Baratheon

Viserys Targaryen – Harry Lloyd

Harry LloydViserys Targaryen

Sandor Clegane (The Hound) – Rory McCann

Rory McCannThe Hound

Added on 9/02/09

  • Lena Headey cast as Cersei Lannister
  • New Picture for Sophie Turner
  • New Picture for Maisie Williams (Maisie has been spelled Maizie and Maisie by George RR Martin, so no idea on correct spelling)

Added on 9/24/09

  • Rory McCann was added as Sandor Clegane (The Hound)
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To Make Or Remake: The Dark Is Rising Fri, 03 Jul 2009 13:24:42 +0000 When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back.

When I was in high school one of the first books I remember being made to read for English was Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising. It was one of my first tastes into the world of fantasy and even though we were being forced to study it and so all these homework assignments on it, I really liked the book.

I later found out that it was the second in a series of books and eventually I read the other four in the set. The others were ok but not as gripping as The Dark Is Rising was. It wasn’t unlike the Narnia books whereby the second in the series was the most popular and well known of the sets.

But I digress. Years passed and I forgot all about the book until in 2007 I discovered that it was going to be remade into a major motion picture. By then I was completely removed from the target audience that the movie was being aimed at, and I wondered if it was really worth a look. Now that I have seen the film I can say that it really wasn’t overly worth watching, at least not if you were expecting a faithful retelling of Susan Cooper’s captivating tale of one young boy’s coming of age as an Old One and agent of the Light.

The Dark Is Rising Sequence CoverThe novel The Dark Is Rising is the story of ten (almost eleven) year old Will Stanton. He is the seventh son in the family (in fact he’s the seventh son of a seventh son) and has to jockey for position for everything. Unremarkable as he is, Will can’t help but notice that strange things are beginning to happen around him. The animals are all afraid of him and there’s a strange tramp following him.

The winter cold is closing in and it looks like Will might just get his wish of birthday snow. But with the cold a malicious force is also closing in. The Dark is beginning to rise and as it turns out, Will is the last of the Old Ones of the Light whose charge it is to turn them back. More than that, fellow Old One, Merriman Lyon, informs him that he is the Sign-Seeker who must find all six Signs of the Light before the Dark can if they are to have a hope of driving them back.

It isn’t an easy task for young Will. The tramps is still following him and then there’s the malevolent Rider who tries to thwart his efforts at every turn. But being an Old One certainly has its advantages. Will has powers that he has to learn how to control, as well as times and places he has to visit (quite literally), all of which help him to gain the six Signs of iron, bronze, wood, stone, fire and water.

Will and the RiderUnlike the movie, Susan Cooper’s novel delves deeper into the human condition. As Old Ones, Merriman, Will’s mentor and friend of sorts, reflects often on how humans get caught up by their emotions and how it can get in the way of the things they are trying to achieve. This is seen in great example in teh relationship between Merriman and his manservant Hawkin whom he entrusts to help in a great mission of the Light, but ultimately goes awry and spells the dramatic change of fates of all involved. Without having to go into too much detail, Hawkin feels betrayed by the objectiveness Merriman displays in the task that very possibly could have cost Hawkin his life. As a result Hawkin turns to the Dark and new masters causing great problems as Will’s story unfolds.

Now I understand creative licence and how the difference between the mediums of novels and films can affect the translation of certain materials, but I felt the movie makers really went too far with this one, at least in terms of capturing the real essence of the story and the things that make it so powerful.

Will is no longer turning eleven but fourteen in the film. I really didn’t like this as I feel there was no great need to make the central character older. Perhaps they were trying to steer clear of a Harry Potter-esque model, I don’t know, and I guess that makes sense, but this story has been around so much longer than Harry’s has so why not stick closer to the original? Being now fourteen I guess the filmmakers felt he needed a love interest so they created one in a character whose purpose was very far from that, at least in relation to Will as a character anyway. Again stupid and unnecessary.

Will and MerrimanAnother thing I disliked in the film is that Will and his family are no longer British but American simply living in the country as new inhabitants. Again for the story it made so much more sense Will being a Brit as he had a greater connection to the land and the places in which he was questing, as even throughout all the time travelling he does, it was still the same land he was travelling over even if they changed physically over time.

Like Will, the character of Merriman has changed in some ways for the film that I really didn’t understand. Again perhaps it was an attempt to diverge from the Dumbledore/Potter dynamic as certainly the parallels can be drawn between these two sets of relationships but again I feel it was unnecessary to change things. Still a mentor of sorts, Merriman (in the film) has great doubts about will’s abilities and possibilities of success in his mission. Not to mention the fact that the actor they cast looks physically nothing like the striking description given by Cooper. In addition, Merriman almost seems to play second fiddle to another Old One who was a much lesser character in the novel and for no great reason other than to amp up the female involvement in this tale.

As for the aforementioned tramp (known as the Walker) and Hawkin, Merriman’s manservant, both are mysteriously absent from the film. Though the DVD does contain a deleted scene that features the Walker, there is no explanation as to why these omissions have been made. Frankly I can’t work it out an can only surmise they felt it was too complicated a subplot to go down in the film, which I guess I can understand.

Will, Merriman and Miss GreythorneBut I think the biggest change between the novel and the film is the morphing of Will’s quest for the Signs altogether. There are still six of them, he still has to travel thru time to find them, and he still has to beat the agents of the Dark that are trying to stop him at every turn. But instead of the six elemental Signs, Will has to find five elementals with the final being the soul of a human being. Very strange given the six elements stuff was deeply ingrained in the folklore of the Old Ones. Add to that the fact that Will suddenly has a twin brother he didn’t know about (which makes him the seventh son in the family, not the sixth like he believed) who as it turns out has been held captive by the Rider for years and not missing or dead like the family originally thought.

Having made all these objections, there were a few things about the film that I think were done very well. For one the visual effects were very good, particularly the time travelling and the explosions of fire as Will gets angry over his quest and comes into his full powers as an Old One. These things certainly would have failed in earlier film attempts if they had been made due to today’s advanced film technologies.

Will StantonI also really liked the young actor they cast to play Will. I think he did a really good job with what he was given and you couldn’t help but root for him. Likewsie, while dramatically younger in age than the Gwen described in the novel, the little girl they got to play Will’s sister and confidante was very sweet and talented for her age.

Call me a purist, and I really feel I haven’t commented very extensively in this very long article, but I just can’t get beyond all the changes that were made to the story of The Dark Is Rising between the novel and the film. In my opinion it was only very loosely the same story and the one that came out in the end was only half as powerful and entertaining as the original. Perhaps that is why the film flopped. It just lost something critical along the way.

My advice – read the book, read the whole series even, but don’t bother so much about the movie. Kids might like it but personally I couldn’t help but be massively disappointed. Another wasted remake.

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New Vampire Show on CW Sun, 08 Feb 2009 22:26:09 +0000 With the recent Vampire craze sweeping the nation, its time for The CW to get in on the action, with another novel adaptaion.

diaries1Despite the fact that The WB canceled Angel just a few years ago, their new network is ready to bring a new Vampire show back to the air waves. This time with “Vampire Diaries” a series of novels written by L.J. Smith.

Originally published in 1993 — which, as the CW took pains to note, was years before Stephenie Meyer launched her Twilight book franchise — Vampire Diaries revolves around a young woman who’s torn between two vampire brothers — one good, one evil — who are battling for her soul, and the souls of her pals, family and the small town where they live.

williamson-smThe CW has reunited with Dawson’s Creek scribe Kevin Williamson, who last produced Hidden Palms for the network.

“Vampire Diaries” comes from Alloy Entertainment, the same shingle whose past book series led to the CW’s series Gossip Girl and Privileged.


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To Make Or Remake: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Fri, 06 Feb 2009 16:25:17 +0000 Where is fancy bread? In the heart, or in the head?

As a kid, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a favourite book of mine. I was a big chocolate hound. I still am and in fact now work for a chocolate company ironically enough. There was something just so magic and wondrous as a kid about the possibility of getting to go into a chocolate factory and play around and then to find out you have won it at the very end. Timeless.

I think that’s why the story of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka and the Golden Tickets and everything has lasted for the last fifty years or so. Every kid wants to go to a wonderful place where all their dreams come true.

Since the book was written in 1964 there have been two major film adaptations made, one in 1971 and another in 2005. The first, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a musical starring Gene Wilder, while the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp was a more serious adaptation with a darker Wonka.

WillyWonkaTitleThe 1971 film has a really interesting story of genesis. The daughter of the director Mel Stuart read the book and told her father she thought it would make a good movie and that he had to make the movie and get Uncle Dave (David Wolper the producer) to put up the money for it. Wolper was already in talks on a side issue with a cereal company to produce a candy bar and how to advertise it, so he convinced them to call it a Wonka Bar and to make the movie as the perfect marketing ploy.

While not as stringently in line with the book as its successor in 2005, the screenplay for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was actually written by the book’s author Roald Dahl himself, with additional patchwork by David Seltzer. So its interesting to watch in that light, however, according to Wikipedia Dahl didn’t like the final result and therefore didn’t consent to sell the film rights to the book’s sequel.

WillyWonkaCharlie01That not withstanding, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is in my opinion a fantastic film, right up there as one of my all time favourites. I think it’s the heart of the movie that really makes it, and I think that it comes from the characters being so genuine. When you see little Charlie Bucket you can see that he has a really good heart, despite all the hardship he has had to endure as a poor kid.

There’s nothing like rooting for the underdog and Charlie Bucket sure is that. When his job as a paperboy can only afford his starving family a measly loaf of bread to go with their cabbage water soup, you know that there is no likely chance that this little boy could possibly have the means to find a Golden Wonka ticket. But the beauty of film prevails and the stars align just right so that the poor boy’s mighty dreams can come true.

WonakaChocolateRoom01Watching the film now as opposed to when I was a kid, you can tell straight away just how amateurish it all is. You can see the cardboard and tape and coloured balloons and know that it is all fake. But somehow, the fact that it is so real and human helps create an incredible suspension of disbelief when watching the film. Willy Wonka’s world is an immensely fantastic one that as the song says is a creation sprung from pure imagination and I think you need a little bit of that so that you can fully enjoy this world that is being laid out before you. To quote Charlie (how ironic) in The Santa Clause 2, “seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing”.

This extends not only to the sets of the chocolate factory but the actual locations as well. I think the filmmakers did an excellent job in making it a place that seemed as though it could be anywhere in the world, in any little town and could happen to any simple little boy. The costumes were likewise so real and basic, yet impacting enough that you could tell what the characters were like before they even spoke – Willy Wonka himself being a prime example in that wonderful purple coat and top hat.

WillyWonka01Speaking of Mr Wonka, I think Gene Wilder did an enormously fantastic job in playing this role. Certainly one of the best performances he has given throughout his career, particularly since he was not at all a singer before he landed this role. He’s mad and crazy and more than a little scary in some moments but there is also something that is just so sincere and endearing and loveable to this maniac of a man who invents the most impossible things.

But having said all this let us now turn to the second adaptation of Dahl’s book, the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Straight away you can tell that this film is completely different in approach to its predecessor, which I think is a great thing. I remember when it was first announced that this film was going to be made there was a lot of discontent with the idea of trying to recreate the magic and wonder of the original film. Thankfully Tim Burton had enough sense to steer well clear away from this wonderful piece of cinematic history and not therefore corrupt or spoil it in any way.

CharlieTitle01Instead, he returned back to the source material and went thru it with a fine toothcomb, seeking to get all the little details right and to be as faithful to the original novel as possible. Despite how much I adore the first movie, I really love this aspect of the second one. You can see that Burton has an enormous admiration for the full picture of the world that Dahl created in his book.

I think the fact that filmmaking has come so much further nowadays in terms of special effects than it had back in the 70s is a big contributing factor that makes all this possible. Little things like the tangent of Prince Pondicherry and his palace of chocolate, that only appear for a minute or two in the movie, are so much easier to do logistically and economically these days compared to what they used to be. We can have more and more fantastic sights like the fudge mountain, the pink candy boat, and a single guy playing a thousand little Oompa Loompas in the movies we see today because the technology is there and is common enough that these wonderful things can be placed seamlessly in without any disruption to the unity of the film.

CharlieWillyWonka01Considerable mention must also be made of the way Johnny Depp really threw himself into the role of Willy Wonka and made it his own. His portrayal couldn’t be further from Gene Wilder’s. The makeup and costuming play a significant part in this, however, it’s the strange delivery and mannerisms that Depp puts into the character that sets him apart as a new Willy Wonka for a new age and a much darker one at that. His comic timing is exemplary and helps to break up the tension that builds in some moments of the film.

Ultimately I think that Roald Dahl’s original book is a great story and a story that is worth telling over and over again. The fact that there are two film adaptations is a strong testament to that. The first one has a real heart to it that I think resonates with every generation to encounter it in some way. I think it really speaks to the child in us all.

CharlieChocolate01The more recent film, on the other hand, is visually more compelling. And while Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is much closer in likeness to the book it is based on, nevertheless I think it fails to connect with the broader audience that its precursor does. While the performances are good and the visual effects are stunning, there is just that little quality that is missing from it. Perhaps it’s the pure imagination.

Despite all this I really like both film adaptations, however, the former is my personal preference between the two. Yet Johnny Depp just really cracks me up a lot of the way thru the latter. So, I think that in the end its great that such a marvellous story has been retold in a more modern way so that new audiences can come to love this wonderful story as well. The question is, I guess, will the more recent film have as much staying power? Time will only tell.


P.S: If you ever get a chance, watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with the audio commentary of the five original kids on. A great treat for fans of this film guaranteed.

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