Got mad at The Secret Circle this week for not being true to the books, but not in a way you might expect. Cut six or more characters? Fine. Move the location? Sure. But do not, under any circumstances, change those spells.
Let’s sidebar here for a second: every time one of them says witchcraft was “abolished” I want to write an open letter to Williamson and Miller, essentially saying, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” And seriously, I wouldn’t pick on it but they’ve said it what feels like ten times. Abolished has more to do with destroying a thing completely, but they seem to be using abolished when they really mean banned since, well, the kids are all using magic now so clearly it hasn’t been abolished. It’s not completely the wrong word, but there’s a far better word out there. Witchcraft doesn’t appear to be a thing that could be truly destroyed, since the show bills it as a natural and innate ability. Perhaps this comes off on my part like some sort of slavish dedication to a pointless cause, and I don’t want to play the Books vs. TV Show game, but the original books contained such lovely poetic spells it’s already been a bit sad to see the spells reduced to simple boring commands. The Secret Circle presents the concept of being a witch as something you’re born into, and something that is unlocked within you within the presence of other witches. The circle draws power from each other but primarily from nature, in fact they are so attuned to it that they can will natural occurrences, and they seem to use their words to focus and direct this power. Words are necessary components for directing energy, and even the word incantation is from the Latin root canto, which means ‘to sing.’ The spells needn’t be long-winded silly songs or anything like that, but there’s a historical and literary precedent for lyrical spells that is really quite beautiful. In any case, a show that believes that words mean something — that the words of a witch can call fire into existing, that words can cause or calm a raging storm, a show like that should really not say abolished when they mean banned.
Precision of language, please.