When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.
I've been a fan of The Dark Is Rising since seventh grade, when a school librarian recommended the sequence. I still remember the shelf it was on in my Junior High library -- bottom left of the far right side of the library, next to the study tables. Maybe because I checked each of the five books out so frequently. :)
I loved them -- the Arthurian mythos, the English/Welsh countryside, the not-always-obvious battle for the soul of the world. For a long time, I read The Dark Is Rising every year at the winter solstice. It was a perfect beginning to the season.
So I was thrilled when I saw the new edition at the local Borders -- Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture! I ran home and looked it up on IMDB, clicking excitedly on the trailer.
By the end of the 45-second ad, I was crushed. They'd taken everything wonderful and magical and amazing about the book and stripped it away. They'd turned a shy, eleven year old English boy with a large but loving family into a typical, thirteen year old transplanted American with a family that treated him poorly. They dumped the Arthurian backstory. They cut the Walker, for heaven's sake!
Not only that, but interviews showed that the people involved in making the film either hadn't bothered to read the book, or they read it and hated it. The screenwriter doesn't like fantasy. The director thought he could trim out pretty much everything and keep the "spine" of the story. The actors mentioned how "dense" and "boring" the book was. The author, Susan Cooper, was interviewed on NPR , and came across as quietly devastated at what had been done to her book.
So the movie came out last Friday, now renamed The Seeker (formerly The Seeker: The Dark is Rising), and it -- tanked. Horribly. It was the worst opening for a fantasy movie EVER. Part of me is glad, because I hate to see books treated so abominably and the efforts rewarded. But I'm worried that a new generation of readers will avoid the books now that the movie associated with it is such a bomb. Even many of the reviews seem to blame the author or the book for the travesty that is the movie.
So please, take my advice. Save your movie ticket money and buy the book instead. You'll be so, so glad you did. (And so will I.) :D