With both House of the Dragon and The Sandman finding enviable success as TV adaptations, authors George R. R. Martin and Neil Gaiman agree that Hollywood is showing better signs of delivering faithful adaptations. Martin is best known for writing the epic fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice, which currently comprises five novels and a sixth that is currently being written. The series was adapted into the Emmy Award-winning HBO series, Game of Thrones. Its prequel series House of the Dragon, inspired by Martin’s Fire & Blood novel and co-developed by the author himself, premiered on August 21 and hit record viewership numbers for HBO, quickly earning a season 2 renewal order from the network.
Similarly, Gaiman also helped oversee the TV adaptation of his critically acclaimed The Sandman graphic novel series. The fantasy drama series was released on Netflix on August 5, with an additional episode released on August 19, telling the story of Morpheus/Dream, the personification of dreams and nightmares, after he escapes a century-long captivity by an occult ritual. Although it didn’t match the massive viewership numbers seen by House of the Dragon, The Sandman was also incredibly successful and ranked No. 1 in Netflix’s Top 10 list the week of its release and scoring widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
While House of the Dragon and The Sandman are drastically different shows, one similarity the two share is faithfulness to their source materials. This faithfulness can probably be attributed to Martin and Gaiman, who share a strong opinion about Hollywood adaptations. Variety reports that the two authors recently revealed their hatred for the phrase “I’m going to make it my own” regarding adaptations at New York City’s Symphony Space. Check out Martin and Gaiman’s full comments below:
Martin: “How faithful do you have to be? Some people don’t feel that they have to be faithful at all. There’s this phrase that goes around: ‘I’m going to make it my own.’ I hate that phrase. And I think Neil probably hates that phrase, too.”
Gaiman: “I do. I spent 30 years watching people make ‘Sandman’ their own. And some of those people hadn’t even read ‘Sandman’ to make it their own, they’d just flipped through a few comics or something.”
Martin: “There are changes that you have to make — or that you’re called upon to make — that I think are legitimate. And there are other ones that are not legitimate.”
How Sandman Stayed Close To Its Source Material
While The Sandman included some changes from its comic book origin, such as having Lucifer duel Dream herself for his helm and reworking Lyta and Hector’s story, the series still managed to remain incredibly faithful to its source material. This effort can be seen in Lyta and Hector’s storylines, which preserve their core relationships and dynamics from the graphic novel while eliminating any potential licensing issues The Sandman may have run into from using characters that link to the larger DC Comics. The series also proved its close relation to The Sandman comic with a side-by-side comparison of Death’s introduction scene and its original comic book panels, which featured nearly identical shots and dialogue of the two Endless beings.
By this point, Gaiman has plenty of experience adapting his work for the screen. He previously helped write and produce Starz’s American Gods series and Good Omens season 1 for Prime Video, so he’s learned when to let go and when to hold on to certain aspects of his writing. While some may incorrectly argue that The Sandman was updated only to appeal to “woke” audiences, through the series, Gaiman has proved that he knows what constitutes a legitimate change or not.
Read the full article here