The Dark Is Rising vs. The Seeker

The Seeker, which came out in 2007, is loosely based on the book The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. And when I say loosely, I mean, someone maybe read this book when they were a kid, and decided to write a screenplay based on what they remembered of the plot, which was very, very little. And then they decided to take what few critical plot elements they remembered and do really strange things with them involving twin souls, watering down both Arthurian legend and English folklore, inserting a ridiculous and underdeveloped subplot about Will’s father writing a physics paper about Light and Dark that somehow connects to the weird twins issue, and, as though all of that wasn’t enough, extrapolating a teen crush who uses romance for evil based on her selfish desire to look young forever.

So, yes, this movie is less based on and more inspired by the broken spirit of the book The Dark is Rising.

Despite all that, movie does have several things going for it, especially if you try to think of it as unrelated at all to the Susan Cooper books. The movie has Christopher Eccleston as a bad guy; some gorgeous direction that involves lots of dripping water and ominous flying crows; time travel, which is always fun, and, wait, did I mention Christopher Eccleston?

The book, however, oh, the book. The book is a story close to my heart, and it’s a fantastic one, which makes a bad movie version hurt all the more. The Dark is Rising is the second in Susan Cooper’s series of five books featuring Will Stanton, the Drew Children, and Bran Davies, who discover their own magical destinies, travel through time, fight the Dark, and save the world.

The Dark is Rising is primarily Will’s story, in the days just after his eleventh birthday, and follows his discovery of his place as an Old One. He begins his search for the Circle of Signs to ward off the Dark, guided by Merriman (who we met in the first book of the series, Over Sea, Under Stone, where he acted the part of enigmatic, grandfather-like figure to the Drews.) This book has epic snowstorms, prophecy fulfillment, magical books, magical instruments, spooky (magical) masks, and tells a captivating story about how one boy’s seemingly ordinary life is revealed to be part of a larger, mystical, very old story that’s been going on underneath everything he knows.

You can read The Dark is Rising before Over Sea, Under Stone if you want to know about Will first and aren’t immediately drawn to the Drew children, but it’s important to know who they are before you get to Greenwitch, the third book, so you might as well read everything in order. And I do recommend you read them, because The Dark is Rising totally and absolutely wins in a battle with its movie counterpart. I’d suggest you watch The Seeker only if you’re feeling Christopher Eccleston-withdrawal after finishing the first series of the new Doctor Who, or if you are strange and you enjoy watching book into movie disasters.



One response to “The Dark Is Rising vs. The Seeker

  1. Pingback: Books & TV: ABC Does Terry Goodkind’s Fantasy Series « Watertown Readers’ Advisory

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