SciFi Daily reports that there is a deal in place to bring the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever to the big screen. This is a series of fantasy novels published as two trilogies back in the late 1970's and early 1980's by Stephen R. Donaldson. I was in high school and college during the years when the six books were published, and I ate them up. These were books that I had thought to be unfilmable. One reason is that they are unrelentingly dark and depressing. Another is that Thomas Covenant is a rather unpleasant, cynical, and very self-pitying character whose psyche has been twisted by his leprosy (yes, he has leprosy). He even commits rape in the first book--with tragic consequences that drive the plot in the first trilogy. The filmmakers will be highly tempted to sand off the rough edges, cast a big-name star to play him, and make him more likeable, which would destroy the story. I'm very leery, but hope it can be pulled off. What I fear is that they see visions of duplicating the massive success Peter Jackson had with The Lord of the Rings. The problem: This story, while comparable in quality, is not the stuff of a crowd-pleasing blockbuster, as LotR is.

As an aside, I've been wanting to reread the first two trilogies for a while now. The last time I read them was around the time Donaldson wrapped up the series in 1983 or 1984. It would be interesting to see if, as a middle-aged man, I still like the books as much as I did when I was in high school and college. Given how the series ended, though, I'm skeptical of whether the third trilogy that is now being published will be any good (particularly since Donaldson's other novels since then have been unimpressive to me). I'm probably going to read it anyway, though.


  1. i bought the first book in the new trilogy for my sister-in-law's christmas gift. as we're both huge fans of the first two series, i'm really curious to see what she thinks of this one.

  2. Meh. The books were depressing and I gave up after the first two in the first trilogy. LoTR is higher quality reading than Thomas Covenant. I'm willing to bet that more people, by an order of magnitude, have read LoTR than Thomas Covenant.

    It sounds like you're worried they'll screw it up, like they did the EarthSea trilogy recently. That's always a concern with *any* book being made into a movie. What's the big deal over this one?

  3. What's my concern? Easy, this story is much more easily screwed up than most. Of course, if you didn't like it that much, you might take the view that changes are more likely to be an improvement...

  4. Now that's an interesting question: Who should be cast as Thomas Covenant? What about Foamfollower (my favorite character)? Other characters?


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