6 Book Adaptations That Didn't Disappoint Fantasy Fans

6 Book Adaptations That Didn't Disappoint Fantasy Fans
Image credit: Legion-Media

Since the end of the twentieth century, screen adaptations of fantasy bestsellers moved to a new level.

The Princess Bride

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Rob Reiner's story, published in the 1980s, anticipated the era of fantasy blockbusters. Despite its cult status, neither the book nor the movie has become particularly popular outside the US. The story follows the daring young man Westley, who sets out to save his beloved Princess Buttercup from marrying the hated Prince Humperdinck. Along the way, Westley encounters pirates, giants, and even a famous Spanish swordsman determined to avenge his father's death.

The Princess Bride is a movie that is both dramatic and funny, with extremely identifiable characters.

The Witcher

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Netflix dropped this one in early 2020, and it immediately captivated audiences despite criticism being levelled at the creators for casting Henry Cavil as Geralt of Rivia. But Henry, a big fan of Andrzej Sapkowski's book series and the video game based on it, really applied himself to create a believable Geralt. The first season also follows the story of Ciri and the young witch Yennefer, with each character's story following its own chronology.

All three narratives eventually converge, and the characters continue their journey together, making it easier for the viewers to follow the events in the series.

Captain Hook

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Probably one of the most unusual adaptations of James Barry's classic tale, Captain Hook reimagines the plot of Peter Pan and gives us a top-notch performance by Robin Williams. The plot follows Peter Banning, an adult Peter Pan who returns to Neverland after Captain Hook kidnaps his children. He reconnects with Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys and becomes nostalgic for his lost childhood.

Ironically, it is his inner child that ultimately helps Peter defeat Captain Hook and save his family.


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Stardust was the first Hollywood adaptation of a Neil Gaiman book. Since then, Neil Gaiman has become one of the most adapted authors, second only to horror master Stephen King. The movie's protagonist is a young man in love named Tristan. He sets out on a journey to find a fallen star to win the heart of his love. On his way, he encounters treacherous witches, fairies, pirates and lots of adventure.

Notably, Gaiman penned the script himself, and the movie starred the then-unknown British actor Charlie Cox.

The Magicians

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SyFy's The Magicians is a cross between Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and The Chronicles of Narnia. It's got its own version of Hogwarts, the Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, where the protagonist, Quentin Coldwater, enrols. Along the way, he makes some good friends and discovers the world of Fillory, a magical dimension whose entrance is hidden inside an ancient floor clock.

Despite being essentially a cocktail of modern fantasy tropes, The Magician manages to magically pull it off, primarily thanks to great characters and lots of comic relief.

Good Omens

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The book Good Omens, a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, offers a rather peculiar take on the Christian/Jewish version of the apocalypse. It sets the ball rolling with the birth of the antichrist and the emergence of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, death, war, pestilence and famine.

The series, starring David Tenant as a daemon and Michael Sheen as an angel, received mixed reviews from critics but won over the general public.

It has recently been announced that Good Omens has been renewed for a second season, even though it was initially produced as a miniseries. The new season will be all original rather than being based on a book.