Its very rare that I watch a film or TV adaptation before the book. I often end up missing out on seeing things at the cinema, or watching shows when they’re on because I haven’t had a chance to read the books first. It’s why I still haven’t seen Room, and why I raced through the A Song of Ice and Fire series (because I was not missing that, the night is dark and full of spoilers after all). The book is a reader’s chance to experience the author’s vision in its truest form, and I like to get to grips with that vision before being confronted by a more condensed interpretation.
The problem with Bitten is that I didn’t really clock it was based on a book series until I watched the first series for the second time, and although on the whole the TV series does stick to the main points of the book’s plot – Elena is the only female werewolf, bitten against her will. She tries to live life as a human, but a threat to the pack’s secrecy draws her back to Stonehaven and the life she left behind- there are some major differences.
One of these is that Logan is given a much larger role in the TV show than in the book. He is Elena’s closest ally in the pack, the only member she keeps in contact with when she is living her human life in Toronto. Yet, the reader never meets him in the book, only given glances of his relationship to Elena through a phonecall. It’s hard to care for a character you never really meet or get to know. In the show, Logan has his own storyline that tests his character and relationship with the pack. He’s the first person Elena goes to for advice. Having watched the show first, I felt that loss of potential character development, perhaps stronger than if I’d read the book first.
In both, Phillip seemed a little two-dimensional. He only has two modes: nice and slightly less nice. In a way, it felt like he was only there to amplify the tension between Elena and Clay. In the book she often forgets about his existence and so does the reader, so that when she insists that she does love him it sounds like she’s desperately trying to convince herself and failing. Philip’s family feature frequently in the show. It’s his older sister that sets Elena and Philip up and his younger sister asks Elena to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. His family are the closest thing she’ll get to a real family, so as long as she dates Philip she can play out the fantasy of a normal life.
Her relationship with Clay is tempestuos at best. She struggles to reconcile the man she nearly married with the man who turned her into a supernatural creature. Their longstanding history makes it all to easy to slide back into the rhythmns of their old life together, and at times she does fall back into their old life. By the end of the book, she seems resigned to the inevitable but in the show, her perception of Clay is changed when Jeremy reveals thr true nature of her transformation.
The finale of the TV series ended with a showdown that was a little too considering how the rest of the action played out. The book resolved the conflict in a way that captured the danger and violence that threatens to attack throughout the book, without turning it into the action scene of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Both were enjoyable, but I wonder whether I would have picked up on the points that I have if I read the book first? Would I have more issues with the show, and the way it deviates from the book? I’m not sure, but I am looking forward to reading more from the series.