The Accursed Kings, Part I

Epic medieval saga? Check. Long delay between books? Check. Lavish TV adaptation? Check. The Accursed Kings was everything I wanted for a post-Game of Thrones / pre-Winds of Winter fix

When a new English translation of The Accursed Kings series of historical novels was issued in 2013, George R. R. Martin contributed the foreword. He called it “the original game of thrones.” It’s easy to see the connection. Political machinations. Sexy intrigue with murderous results. Feudal families clashing, their bonds tested and frayed.

While the events of The Accursed Kings, taking place in France over the first half of the 14th century, are in the history books, it’s author Maurice Druon’s particular telling that makes it so influential.

But the big question is, does it fill the Game of Thrones shaped void in your heart?

Screen to Screen: High-Rise

The film adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s classic satire loses the plot, literally.

I have been slogging through one hell of a blogging slump. So I was lucky that a recent family outing to The Incredibles 2 inspired me with its retro-futurist look, a vision of modernity that takes its cues from 1950s sci-fi. It brought to mind another retro-futurist movie I caught up with recently: High-Rise, Ben Wheatley’s 2015 film based on the J.G. Ballard novel of the same name.

Pixar’s animated movie uses a joyful, colourful palette to set the tone for it’s superhero adventure. Meanwhile, High-Rise‘s vision of the future originates from the 1970s, when the book was written. It utilizes the concrete slabs of brutalist architecture to express its themes.

The reason I’m fixating on the look of High-Rise is because there’s not much substance to it. Most of the book’s story elements and pointed commentary on classism and capitalism have been stripped away. It’s left a film that’s a delightful sensory experience, but not much else.

Screen to Screen: Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

Planning on watching the new movie? Check out the original novel and its 2010 TV adaptation too. 

I’ve had a bit of a hiatus from blogging and social media for the past week. It’s good to be back! I was in a mad dash to get my manuscript ready for publishing. But now that it’s off for formatting and everything is out of my hands for the moment, I’m happy to have a bit of spare time again. I might check out a movie or two, including Murder on the Orient Express.

Now I love Kenneth Branagh’s work – even Wild Wild West (his campy turn was the best thing about it, besides the Will Smith song.) But when I do watch the new Murder on the Orient Express, I have to admit I’ll be judging it not just against the source novel by Agatha Christie. I’ll also judge it against the sublime perfection of David Suchet’s TV portrayal from the 1990s and 2000s. Yes this will be a very biased post.

It’s time for another Screen-to-Screen. Let’s compare the novel and the 2010 television movie from ITV starring Suchet.


It is impossible to talk about certain differences between the novel and its adaptation without spoiling the ending. For those who don’t know the story: if you plan on watching the movie, come back here afterward; if you are like my mother and read a mystery’s ending first before deciding if it’s worthwhile to read, go right on ahead.

▼ ▼ ▼ There be spoilers below! ▼ ▼ ▼


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