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Ten Fantasy Books That Should Be Movies

When I was compiling my list of Ten Science Fiction Books that Should Be Movies last week, I started thinking of all the fantasy books I would love to see on screen to. So here it is. My list of Ten Fantasy Books That Should Be Movies.

Of course like any such list, this one is completely biased towards things I like. So please let me know what fantasy books you think would make great movies.

  • Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan - The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the dragon ride again on the winds of time.
    If the movie industry is looking to replace the Harry Potter franchise, this might be the perfect candidate. There’s no shortage of books to adapt and it has a huge existing fanbase. Certainly they’d have to cut out a lot even if they did a movie per book. But to be honest, there’s plenty of fat for trimming here anyway.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin - Winter is coming.

    Loosely inspired by the Wars of the Roses as well as more traditional fantasy fare, this would again require multiple movies. It would be much harder to translate to film, but imagine the spectacle of the dragons, or the Wall. It would be worth it.
  • The Belgariad by David Eddings - Garion, an orphaned farmboy is accompanied by his aunt Polgara and grandfather Belgarath as they try and fulfill an ancient prophecy that will decide the fate of the universe. Along the way, various “instruments”, or helpers, of the prophecy join their quest.

    This series might have been written specifically for the movies. The writing style is light on description and heavy on action. The protagonist is a young male and while special effects would certainly be needed for the magic (and some of the locations), all the central characters are human which makes life a lot easier for the make up departments.
  • The Sword of ShannaraImage via Wikipedia

  • The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks - Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil had ruined the world and forced mankind to compete with many other races–gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, and elves. But in peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knew little of such troubles.

    There are a lot of cliches in Terry Brooks first fantasy novel, but the quest format and the familiar archetypes would work to its advantage on screen. And who wouldn’t want to see Allanon battle a Skull Bearer.
  • Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny - Corwin is a prince of Amber, the “immortal city from which every other city has taken its shape.” All other worlds, including Earth, are shadows of that reality. Corwin has spent centuries on Earth as an amnesiac. But when someone in the family tries to kill him there, Corwin begins a search for his past. He quickly learns that his family has some very unusual powers. They can travel between Amber, its shadows, and Chaos by manipulating reality; use magical playing cards to communicate and travel instantaneously; and are able to walk the Pattern that created Amber.

    The connection with the “real” world makes a good hook for the general audience and Zelazny’s series is full to the brim with imagination. I could see this being an “all green screen” style movie.
  • Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay - In a desperate attempt to revive the memory of a land banished from existence and to restore freedom to a battered world, a wandering musician and his small band of compatriots traverse a countryside bowed under the weight of its sorcerer-conquerors.

    I’m really not sure that a movie could do justice to Kay’s prose, but I would love to see a director bring this world to life.
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer - Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. With two trusty sidekicks in tow, he hatches a cunning plot to divest the fairyfolk of their pot of gold. He knows that the only way to separate the little people from their stash is to kidnap one of them and wait for the ransom to arrive. But when the time comes to put his plan into action, he doesn’t count on the appearance of the extrasmall, pointy-eared Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit–and her senior officer, Commander Root.

    With studios snapping up every young-adult fantasy on the shelves, I’m not sure why we haven’t already had an Artemis Fowl movie. The books are fun, fast moving and perfect kids fare.
  • Good Omens by Gaiman & Pratchett - This zany tale of the bungling of Armageddon features an angel, a demon, an 11-year-old Antichrist and a doomsaying witch.

    This is probably both authors most accessible book. It’s also very very funny.
  • The Curse of Chalion by Louis McMaster Bujold - Iselle, the royesse (princess) of Chalion, and her lady-in-waiting, Bertriz, need a new tutor. Cazaril, the man chosen for the job, has been scarred, physically and mentally, from secret betrayals by the very people who now rule Chalion through Iselle’s uncle, and who seek to control her younger brother, the heir, as well. To rescue the royesse, and save Chalion, Cazaril must play matchmaker between Iselle and the prince of another realm, fight off assassins, lift a century-old curse, and risk everything-learning not to run from his own love for Bertriz-along the way.

    Not nearly as epic in scope as some of the other books. This is perfect as a done in one movie. I think it might well appeal to a wider audience than the pure action movies too.
  • The History of the Runestaff by Michael Moorcock - Charting the adventures of Dorian Hawkmoon, a version of the Eternal Champion, it takes place in a far-future version of Europe in which the insane rulers of the Dark Empire of Granbretan are engaged in conquering the continent.

    I love this series of books. I don’t understand why we don’t have movies of all Moorcock’s work really. But I’d particularly love to see this one. The baroque designs and the masks worn by the nobels of Granbretan would be wonderful to look at.
Eoghann Irving is amongst other things the creator and Editor of Solar Flare. He has a life long interest in all forms of science fiction and fantasy and a pressing need to share this interest with anyone who will listen. Find out more at his personal website

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12 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Kerebus

    George R R Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice has been optioned by HBO and it’s planned to produce them as a set of mini series.

  2. I hadn’t heard that. Thanks for the link. If they go through with it, I may have to sign up for HBO again.

  3. Kerebus

    I’ll watch if it does get out of ‘development hell’ but I’m not expecting it to be great, I suspect that HBO will tone down the grittier aspects of the books and simplify what is, after all, an extremely complicated plot.

  4. Even with a mini-series I can definitely see some plots being removed completely. On the other hand with it being HBO I don’t think they will necessarily tone down the gritty elements.

  5. With all of the inner stories within the Wheel of Time, I could see that as a television series that could possibly revitalize the SciFi channel, which seems to be scraping the barrel as of late for story ideas (Okay, so guilty pleasure Flash Gordon is set on my DVR, but I need some time to let my brain rest, you know…)

    Personally, I am a huge fan of the Xanth series, by Piers Anthony. I think he has enough humor and imagery in his stories to make a movie franchise goldmine.

    WWDD00s last blog post....::home::..

  6. cry4thelion

    I think Lloyd Alexander should definitely have made it onto your list somewhere. I know they made that Disney movie of The Black Cauldron wich was pretty aweful. But his Prydain series is overwhelmingly emotional and action filled with the main character starting as a young orphaned boy yearning to be a hero, to me it just screams movie material. It takes elements of old welsh myths and turns it into a wonderful story filling out over the 5 books as the young boy Taran and his friends go through hardships and happy times. I rate them in my top ten fav fantasy series right next to the Belgariad.

  7. Joseph Alfano

    I want to see a Seventh Son movie. I am suprised there isn’t one in the works.

  1. SF Signal - Apr 17th, 2008

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