Wuthering Heights – Time for a re-think

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About 50 pages left of the book now, and have been re-watching Wuthering Heights ’09 … and formed a new opinion.

WH’78, frightfully dull as it was, must be the one version closest to the book. Well, except that the book fails to be be dull. The book is rather engaging and not as tedious to read as, oh, Jane Eyre. Emily is more to-the-point than her sister, doesn’t go off rambling in purple-tinted prose about stuff that doesn’t have an impact on the story or characters. She also doesn’t show off her French skills time and time again, although instead, she writes in dialect, which is only marginally easier to understand than the French.

WH’98, what I remember of it, is also at least semi-true to the book, but not quite to the same extent.

WH’09 … to say it’s true to the book would be … wildly inaccurate. I still enjoy watching it, it’s good telly, but I’d say they’ve been more true to the spirit of the book than the actual contents of it. So what’s different? I honestly don’t know where to begin. The events are a bit mixed up chronologically, there’s no Nellie telling the story to Mr. Lockwood, but that’s by the by. Nellie’s supposed to be of a similar age to Heathcliff, Cathy and Hindley, growing up with them. You wouldn’t get that impression from the miniseries.

Linton Heathcliff doesn’t seem like the sickly pansy of a mummie’s boy he is in the book. He arrives not as a child, but in his late teens. There’s no sneaking about with letters and him and Catherine being in love for a bit. The woman Hindley marries also doesn’t seem to be the bad choice of partner as it’s made out in the book.

Hareton seems too nice, but I’ve yet to read the ending, so maybe he redeems himself. Nor is Isabella’s crush on Heathcliff convincing, it seems like some sort of whim that quickly backfires… which of course it is. Edgar is a rather powerless character in the book, as in, he’s weak. He doesn’t seem particularly weak here.

People just don’t seem to be quite the same as in the book. “Creative liberties” they normally call it. For better or for worse.

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