Book vs. Movie – Inferno

Book vs MovieI’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fan of Dan Brown’s novels, not so much the thriller aspect but the symbolism and art. That’s what draws me in and keeps me reading. The movies, while not bad, are not as good as the books in my opinion.

Today’s Book vs. Movie is about Inferno.

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!

The gist of the story is that billionaire bioengineer Bertrand Zobrist has created a plague and hidden it somewhere in the world. His motive? To decrease the earth’s population so that mankind can begin again. In Zobrist’s view, mankind is like a plague itself, and if population isn’t controlled, there will not be enough resources to sustain the species. The next extinction event will be our own. Robert Langdon is recruited to help solve the clues Zobrist left behind and to help find the plague and prevent its release.

The book and the movie begin in a similar fashion, and the beginning of the movie is fairly faithful to the book. However, once the two diverge, they are almost two different stories.

At first, the differences are minor things.

In the movie, the provost asks to see Zobrist’s video instead of one of his workers insisting that he look at it. In the book, Langdon and Brooks have art students show them a way into Boboli Gardens instead of climbing the wall, and there’s a guard at the little gray door that leads to the Vasari Corridor who is absent in the movie. In the book, the Baptistry of San Giovanni is simply not open for the day yet, while, in the movie, it’s closed for repairs. In the movie, Langdon introduces Sienna to Marta as his niece. In the book, he claims she’s his sister.

However, the divergences get more pronounced the closer the two come to determining the location of the plague virus.

In the book, they are joined by a man named Ferris who works for the provost. He has a bad rash and a large bruise on his chest that makes the two suspect he has been in contact with the virus. In the movie, a WHO agent named Bouchard is the one who joins him. His interest in the plague is to sell it to the highest bidder. He kidnaps Langdon and tries to get him to reveal the location.

Another difference is in character relationships. In the book, Elizabeth Sinskey is head of the WHO and only meets Robert Langdon because she needs his skills to decode the message Bertrand Zobrist left. In the movie, she’s a former lover, the ‘one who got away.’ This, however, is a minor detail compared to the ending.

In the book, Sienna tries to escape, but she has a change of heart and comes back to tell Langdon that she received a letter from Zobrist after his death. She was so horrified by the virus he had created that she could not allow it to be released into the world. She followed Langdon in hopes of locating and containing it, just like the WHO.

However, the group is too late, and the plague has already been released and has reached world penetration. This plague isn’t designed to kill people; it’s designed to sterilize a third of the human population so that the number of people decreases over time. Sienna then joins Sinskey at the WHO to help figure out what to do next. Langdon goes home.

The movie takes a completely different track. The WHO gets to the plague virus and contains it. This virus is designed to kill and will create a pandemic at least as detrimental as the Black Death. Sienna is determined to release the plague and commits suicide detonating explosives designed to rupture the bag containing the plague. Langdon and Sinskey say their good-byes again, and Sinskey takes the virus for study.

When it comes to the ending, I think I prefer Dan Brown’s original one to the movie ending. What are your thoughts?

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

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The Fool

fool-140229_1920I have a wide variety of interests, though they’re all related. One of the things I love is the imagery and symbolism of the tarot. As a folklore and mythology junkie, I love exploring the various symbols found in world religions and belief structures.

The tarot is full of symbolism, as anyone well-versed in the system will tell you. The beginning of the journey is the Fool, often numbered 0 or 22. In many ways the fool is like the maiden seen in fairy tales. He is innocent and naïve, and he just flat out doesn’t have a clue about life or anything around him. He can be reckless and irresponsible, and, in literature, he is often seen hanging out by the well of the village.

The fool is the zero of the tarot, the one that comes before the beginning or after the end. He is pictured standing on a cliff with a dog biting his heels. He isn’t aware that he is about to tumble into the abyss, and it’s doubtful that he’d care if he did know.

The fool can grow into many things. He can become the knight and the hero, and he can become the father. If he refuses to grow, he can become the trickster, a person who is so self-absorbed that he is cruel to others.

We find the fool in just about everything that we read or watch. In Star Wars, he is Luke Skywalker, who must leave his home and claim his destiny, losing some of his selfishness along the way. In The Lord of the Rings, he is Frodo, who has to leave the comforts he has cultivated for himself and step into the world outside of Hobbiton. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he is Huck, and in the legends of King Arthur he is Percival and Gawain, both of whom are innocent and unknowing until they have gone on their quests.

In the story “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” from The Arabian Knights, Aladdin is the fool. He is lazy and unfocused, and this causes his father’s death and his mother’s grief. One day he is approached by an evil magician, who claims to be his uncle. This man takes Aladdin to a cave and orders him to bring out a lamp. The magician becomes angry when Aladdin refuses to hand the lamp to him and locks the boy in the cave. Aladdin rubs the lamp and frees the genie, who gives Aladdin everything he could ever want, including the Princess for a wife. Aladdin believes that his life will be nothing but peace and contentment, but the magician and his brother aren’t finished with Aladdin. The magician steals the palace with the Princess inside of it, and the magician’s younger brother convinces the Princess that she needs a Roc’s egg in the great hall of the palace. This request angers the genie, and Aladdin is forced to act on his own before he is allowed his life of peace.

Still, Aladdin never really learns the value of hard work or fending for himself. He is always dependent on the generosity of the genie to survive.

The fool can show us the way to the divine. In many of his aspects he is like the child – full of unharnessed potential – but in the fool’s case it is time for him to choose a path. He can’t wander in the meadow forever. There are stories, like the one about Aladdin, where the fool can maintain his foolishness and survive by sheer dumb luck, but most of the stories require that the fool grow up. He must choose a road and walk it, learning a trade or going into service to others. And this is where we can learn from him. We all have to find a way to support ourselves, and, sometimes, we are forced into careers that we don’t enjoy. But we have to go to work anyway. The fool can teach us to view this as a necessary stepping-stone, and, when combined with the child, he can help us find a way to change our career and lifestyle without losing everything in the process.

The fool is also seen as beginning. He can be the first step on a path, or the first step that comes after the trial of rebirth. Either way, he is full of optimism. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘can’t.’ When the child encourages us to go with a new concept, the fool can help us take that first step toward a new goal. He can encourage us to climb the mountains to the divine or our goals, and he can help us get through the trials as we carry our Rings to Mount Doom.

Traditionally, the fool replaced the king in sacrificial ceremonies, and he was the scapegoat for all human folly. He was not a positive symbol, rather, he demonstrated how easy it is for humans to fail. He spoke of human ignorance and the refusal to become wise.

Meditation on the fool can show us where we are being stupid. It can show us how our actions affect others, and it can point the way to wisdom. He can also provide optimism when we are lacking in it, but his optimism is born of ignorance rather than knowledge. He can show us the foolishness of our thoughts and the ignorance of outdated beliefs, but he cannot change these things for us. He can also show us where we are refusing responsibility and failing miserably. On the positive side, he can show us how to pick up and move forward rather than spinning our wheels in a hopeless endeavor.

While the fool, in modern times, is considered a harmless figure, this was not always the case, and it is important that we remember this. The fool can help us begin a new journey, and he can show us where we are stagnating, but he must be used with caution and understanding. And we must constantly remember that the fool has no wisdom or experience from which to draw. He lives by instinct alone.