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TMI TV Tuesday: The Importance of Staying True to the Books

The Mortal Instruments

Every Tuesday, TMI Source and Fangirlish are bringing you TMI TV Tuesdays, where we discuss different aspects regarding the upcoming television adaptation of The Mortal Instruments.

With every adaptation there is a great risk of the source material being altered to extremes. As fans of Cassandra Clare’s books, our first obligation is to the world and the characters that live and breath on the pages. And when the time comes for them to make their way from the pages to the screen, we hope with every fiber of our being that they’ll be treated with care and respect.

It’s important to note that with any adaptation there are certain liberties that the showrunner, producers or studio will take as they adapt it for the big or small screen. But there’s a huge difference between changes that are necessary and changes that are forced and will negatively affect the adaptation.

It feels sort of repetitive and you have to wonder why it even needs to be said, but The Mortal Instruments television show must stay true to the books. And, no, I don’t mean that every single thing that happens in the books must be portrayed to a tee on the small screen. But the important events and the spirit of the Shadowhunter world must remain intact. Because it’s not the Shadowhunter world without it. And it might as well be an entirely different show altogether.

One of the problems with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones were the changes to things that were actually quite important to the story and the overall series, like Valentine not ending up with the Mortal Cup by film’s end. That was a significant change that affected the plot of the then-second-planned film. It was imperative that Valentine wind up with the Cup — that Clary had to lose something so that she was motivated to fight back, that Valentine posed an immediate threat. All of that was taken away because of the decision to have Clary come away victorious with the Cup. You don’t grow as a person because you win, you grow because you fail and then rise up and keep fighting back. That’s the spirit we all fell in love with. And that’s the spirit I hope remains intact in the show.

The simple fact is that there are going to be changes. There are going some things that are left and some things that are added as a means to move the show along. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to be bad. You might even find them needed. The important thing is to recognize the things that you can change and things that you can’t. It’s not merely because the fans want it but also because it’s important to the spirit of the series.

Speaking in regards to television, there are certain shows that have gotten it right and others that have gotten it wrong (more on that in a future TMI TV Tuesday), but the important thing to note right now is that The Mortal Instruments has the chance to redeem itself. It can be one of these shows that people talk about when they talk about great adaptations, or it can be one that people laugh about how it went horribly wrong. But I have faith that those at Constantin and Ed Decter know the importance of being faithful to the books and will deliver us a show that the fans and Cassandra Clare’s characters deserve.

Angelic Power Rune

Head over to FANGIRLISH on Thursday to read their thoughts on why  it’s important that The Mortal Instruments staying true to the source material, and check back every Tuesday for TMI TV TUESDAYS.

What are your thoughts? How important is it to you that they stay as true to the series as possible? What would be your reaction if they took to many liberties with it? Sound off in the comments!

About Alyssa Barbieri (2800 Articles)
Alyssa is the Managing Editor for Bears Wire. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @AlyssaBarbieri

16 Comments on TMI TV Tuesday: The Importance of Staying True to the Books

  1. Audrey Grubbs // November 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM // Reply

    I think one of the things in the movie that bothered me most was that Simon was bitten and that he wasn’t a rat that did the biting. I would love to see the TV series get that right. Not that it has a huge difference in the outcome in the end but I didn’t care for that change at all.

  2. My reaction if they take too many liberties is i’ll stop watching it. I don’t like the idea of the tv series at all because we’ve all seen what can happen if they don’t hold true to the books. Look at The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars. They shouldn’t have any reason to change too much. They have six books to work with and if they do it properly the potential for either six seasons or more depending on how much content they decide to take from each book. I’m just afraid they’ll change too much and veer really far away from the books like in the above mentioned shows. Those had several books to work with as well and they still veered really far away from them. My other worry is the show bsing picked up by a network I don’t have like HBO or Showtime. Or especially the thing that was talked about when this news first came out about amazon picking it up and having to pay per episode (I don’t know if this was just rumor or true) because I certainly don’t have the money for that. It was one thing to buy a single ticket once to a movie theater but to pay for each episode and probably have an episode a week? Uh uh I can’t do that. So that’s my second biggest concern, where its going to be shown. Then the third concern is the cast. It’ll be really hard to picture anyone else in the roles but those who have already played them but more than likely recasting will have to be done because some of those cast members either can’t contract to a tv show because of schedule conflicts and others don’t like to do tv or won’t do tv because they’re strictly movie actors. We know that Robbie won’t have any qualms about being on tv but will his schedule allow it? And I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jamie on a tv show, plenty of movies yes tv shows no. And I know some are still upset he was cast as Jace but I’ve grown used to seeing him there and recasting has the potential to, rather than make the casting more liked by fans, be worse than what some perceived as bad casting to begin with. I personally loved the cast from the movie but unfortunately either not many or none will be cast for the tv show. Right now the wait and see is what’s killing me, I was anxious enough wondering when they’d finally get to CoA movie, but now I have to wait even longer to find out what’s going to happen with this tv show!!!

  3. Patrice Westman // November 11, 2014 at 12:42 PM // Reply

    I to worry about the cast for the tv series. I was dead set against tv, but have come around a little. I love the cast from the movie. I personally can’t see anyone else playing Jace, Clary, Alec, Simon or Magnus than those who were in the movie. I loved Jamie’s portrayal of Jace. And yes he has done tv series. Camelot on Starz network and The Prisoner not sure of the network. Kevin has been on several series (Gracepoint-most recent) Jermima did The Borgas and JRM did The Tudors, Dracula and I am sure others, Lena is on Game of Thrones so most have had a taste of television

    • I knew about the others I forgot about Jamie’s. but it does kinda prove my point about scheduling conflicts. Lena and Kevin may not be able to do this especially if they’re contractually unable to do so. Plus I think the guy that played hodge is in a tv show too right now.

  4. It is very very important to stay close to the books, the events, the characters, the whole shadowhunter world…
    Characters like Raphael can´t be left out. They´re important to the storyline.
    At any rate, they should show the scenes we love most, like the Green House scene (loved it in the movie) and Magnus´ party (was way too short) and the scenes that are important, like Simon being turned into a rat. Adding exact quotes and jokes from the books would be nice too 🙂
    If the cast of the movie remains, which I hope, I also hope that Jamie Campbell Bower, though I like him as Jace, will bring out more the sarcastic, funny side of Jace. That´s an important trait of his personality because he uses his sarcasm to mask his feelings.
    If they start this right, the TV series can be very successful as the fandom is quite huge.
    They also shouldn´t only focus on the romance Clary/Jace because one of the things I love so much at the series is that it´s not only about one person or one couple, but about all of the characters. Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Magnus and their friendships and relationships and how they would do anything for each other.
    I hope they´ll also show some of the Extras, like “Kissed” and involve the Bane Chronicles a bit.

  5. teamedwardjace // November 11, 2014 at 5:47 PM // Reply

    I’m elated by the prospect of there being a tmi tv series and I think it’s important they stay true to the books while also ensuring non readers will understand and will keep watching m. I loved the film but there are certain things, that would have been better if they didn’t alter

  6. i hope they get the institute facts right this time. DEMONS CAN’T GET INTO THE INSTITUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I CANNOT STRESS THAT ENOUGH, they completely ruined the movie entirely when Valentine made that star letting the demons into the institute. nothing unholy can enter the institute, that’s just how it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • That’s one of the scenes that bothered me too at the movie. Also, there”s no portal in the Institute. The only portals ain NY are in Madame Dorothea’s apartment and in Renwick’s, if I’m correct. And Simon wasn’t kidnapped because the vampires wanted the mortal cup. It was merely per accident. And the thing with the memory blockade performed on Jace was just bullshit.

  7. You need an editor. I stopped reading at “live and breath”.

  8. I really hope the cast remains the same. The movie might have steered away from the plot a little but the cast was perfect.


  10. When I first found out they weren’t doing the movies I was totally bummed, but I got REALLY excited when they said they were going to turn them into a TV series. I only have ONE huge and MAJOR concern. There was another great book series I loved (the Sword of Truth series) that was filmed as a TV show called Legend of the Seeker . During the first few episodes I was really happy and was getting super excited because I’d read all of the books multiple times. But then they started to completely mess up the books timeline. I mean they FUBARed it. It was like the Hollywood producers or whoever was in charge took all the books story lines and decided to shuffle them like a deck of cards. Once they did that I not only lost interest in the TV show, I was disgusted enough and told all my friends and family to quit watching it and to just stick to the books. It was truly unfortunate, because it really had the potential to be as great or even grater than the TV shows Xina Warrior Princess and Hercules were during their hay-day. They’d gotten a great cast & director. Other than the messed up story timelines they even had great writers. If and I mean IF they do The Mortal Instruments as a TV show some one NEEDS to keep them as true to the books as possible. I’m not naive I realize they’ll have to make some changes to fit within ‘Hollywood’s’ TV show formats. Hopefully Cassandra Clare will be able to become a producer or get a position with enough “pull” to keep them on point. All the best movies that came from a book had the author’s input (i.e. Harry Potter)

  11. Crossing my fingers that they don’t do what they did in the movie. I hope they get a new cast, also, but I’m pretty sure y’all like the whole ‘I know who Lily Collins and Jamie Deadpan Crapface’ is all about. ‘They have talent’? … um… what? New cast is necessary. I will not watch the tv series if mistakes are made yet again. I’m sorry (actually I’m not, but I don’t want you to go crying now) but the movie SUCKED ASS. So did the acting. And portraying of characters. Go ahead. Whine and say “OMG! UR SUCH A HATER! I LOVED THE MOVIE!” I don’t like you. Bubble world of horror will blow up in your face when they do the same cast and don’t stick to the book. Jamie ain’t hot. Okay? I said it. Jace is sexy. He’s part flippin angel! Even more than most shadowhunters! HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE SEXY SEX GOD OF LIFE. Lily just didn’t do Clary for me. Half the time I was wondering who this brown-haired chick was and where’s Clary until someone called her that and I was trying to pay attention.

    Well, that was my rant.
    Bye -.-

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