Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Lion and the Unicorn

The Little White Horse

Written by: Elizabeth Goudge

Released: 1946 by University of London Press Ltd.

Summary: The beautiful valley of Moonacre is shadowed by the memory of the Moon Princess and the mysterious little white horse. When Maria Merryweather comes to live at Moonacre Manor she finds herself involved with an ancient feud. She is determined to restore peace and happiness to the whole of Moonacre Valley, and Maria usually gets her own way!

Ok, this is horrible, but just like Howl’s Moving Castle I didn’t know this was a book until after I saw the movie. Maybe because it’s an older classic book, I don’t know, but I never came across it while I was younger. I am so happy, though, that I did watch the movie and finally realize that there was a book that said movie was based on.

Let me tell you, thought, that the movie and the book are WAY different and I’m not sure which one I like better since I like them for different reasons. Of course, the main parts are the same but it’s the ways that the end is finally reached in both that differ so. Thinking about it, and this is going to sound horrible, but I think that I may just like the film a little more but for a rather unrelated reason. See, the book deals a lot with religion; a lot of it takes place at the church or the old monastery, and there are so many virtues and vices that are discussed it got rather much at times. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t take away from the story, but I think that because I am such a non-religious person (years in Catholic school cured me of wanting to be a part of organized religion) it didn’t appeal to me because of that.

All that being said, the shift from mid twentieth century writing to modern day script was done really well and though there were many changes, it was enjoyable. I just wish that I had read the book first since a few things were ruined when reading the book. Like the dog Wrolf. Some things were completely different too, which made for a nice surprise while reading; like how the pearls were found and who Loveday and Robin really were.

But, back to the book. The character of Maria Merryweather was rather vapid. I mean, she was a fine character but she always did the right thing… I guess that files in with the whole religion thing too. It’s not that she rubbed me the wrong way or anything, as some characters tend to do, but I guess considering that books today are more raw and real it just made reading this seem like… well, I’m not even sure how to describe it. Tame, maybe? Still, that aside, I liked the story. The idea of the Moon Princess and finding the unicorn and uniting two branches of the same family tree were all really nice to read.
Maybe that was the main problem with the book; it was too nice.

In the end, the movie had more oomph to it. It was more ‘life and death’ than ‘pleasing God’. Sure, both were extremely nice in their own ways, but I can’t help but feel like I’m disappointing people everywhere for liking the movie better. So, all taken into consideration, I give this book 6/10.

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