*NOTE: This contains spoilers for both the book and film version of Avalon High!
Meg Cabot’s book, Avalon High, was adapted into a Disney Channel Original Movie in 2010. I remember watching the DCOM when it first premiered, and have read the book countless times — it’s one of my favorites. In today’s post, I’m going to be talking about some of the overall differences between the book and its film adaptation!
Here is the synopsis of the book, via goodreads:
To newcomer Ellie, Avalon High seems like a typical American high school, complete with jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, and even the obligatory senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy. But it doesn’t take Ellie long to suspect that something weird is going on beneath the glossy surface of this tranquil hall of learning. As she pieces together the meaning of this unfolding drama, she begins to recognize some haunting Arthurian echoes, causing her to worry that she has become just a pawn in mythic history.
As you just read, the book follows a girl named Ellie that moves to Maryland and discovers that she and her classmates have been reincarnated as King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and others of Arthurian legend. Even though the book was used as inspiration, the screenwriters changed a lot.
Here is part of the synopsis of the film, via IMDB:
Allie Pennington, the daughter of two Knights-of-the-Round-Table scholars, begins classes at Avalon High where, new to the area, she slowly discovers herself involved in the prophecy of King Arthur’s reincarnation.
They changed the names of some of the characters, with the biggest name change happening to the protagonist, changing her name from Ellie Harrison to Allie Pennington. In the book, Ellie corresponds to The Lady of the Lake, and Will corresponds to King Arthur. However, in the movie, it is changed so that most of the characters are different reincarnations. In the film, Allie is the reincarnation of King Arthur (hence the letter change of the “E” to an “A” in her name), the name of Mr. Morton is changed to Mr. Moore, and he replaces Will’s step-brother Marco as Arthur’s enemy, Mordred. The film then makes Marco someone who protects Will (as he thinks he is Arthur), and Allie’s friend Miles replaces Mr. Morton as Merlin. Will’s girlfriend, Jennifer, and his best friend Lance both still represent Guinevere and Lancelot, respectively. These changes severely alter the plot, including having the addition of a plot twist that reveals Allie as King Arthur, not Will, as she and the audience had previously thought.
Since Will is no longer King Arthur, a lot of the book was cut out, as those references to him being similar to Arthur were no longer needed. Ellie’s brother was also cut from the adaptation. Aside from other name changes such as the school team, many scenes were omitted or edited to make it suitable for younger viewers. For example, in the book during the fight scene towards the end, Marco threatens Will and Ellie with a gun. In the film, there is an epic battle where the characters are transported to a beach while in their school theatre. Since the characters’ reincarnations are different from the book, the entire scene (both actions and dialogue) needed to be changed.
Overall, due to the creative changes that were made, there was a lot taken out, added in, and altered when the book was adapted for the screen. Personally, I prefer the novel and wish that Disney would have stayed truer to it, but I understand why the changes were made. (Plus, it’s hard to be mad when they cast Gregg Sulkin…just saying)
What other books would you like me to make movie comparisons to? Let me know in the comments!