The School For Good and Evil: Netflix Or Book?

The School For Good and Evil: Netflix Or Book?

Gracie Velasco

The School For Good and Evil was one of my favorite book series when I was younger. When I heard that there there was going to be a Netflix adaptation, I was curious to see how it would compare to the book.

The book’s story is about two best friends Sophie and Agatha. They live in a town called Gavaldon where children are kidnapped and taken to either the School for Good or the School for Evil. Sophie dreamed of being taken to the School for Good while Agatha dreads the idea of it all. When Sophie and Agatha are taken, Agatha finds herself in the School for Good and Sophie in the School for Evil. The plot of the first book revolves around the two girls attempting to switch their fates, while learning more about themselves in the process.

The Netflix adaptation kept true to the overall plot of the book, but I did notice some key differences right off the bat. Here are three of the biggest differences displayed in the movie.

1. Diversity

This is probably the first thing I noticed. On the cover of the book, Agatha is portrayed as a pale, black-haired “goth” looking girl. Upon seeing the trailer for the movie, I saw that Sofia Wylie was casted as Agatha. Of course, it is impossible as a reader to assume a character’s racial identity, but it is not uncommon to default to the idea that fairy tale characters would be defaulted to fair-skinned appearances. However, the director of the film (Paul Fieg) decided to cast an array of actors from different backgrounds. Some of these names include Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Yeoh, Kerry Washington, and Charlize Theron. Overall, I was pleased to see the film incorporated diverse faces and was able to showcase talent from all over.

2. Enrollment Process

In the film, Sophie and Agatha heard about the schools through a bookstore’s shopkeeper. Sophie then wrote a letter to the School for Good requesting enrollment. Agatha intervened, and both girls were taken to the school with their roles reversed. In the novel, Sophie and Agatha are selected to be the two children captured by the Schoolmaster on the 11th day of the 11th month every four years. Sophie becomes a “Never” at the School for Good and Agatha an “Ever” at the School for Evil. This is just a small detail which didn’t change the plot of the story, but was something that I remembered was different in the book.

3. The Story Behind the Two Brothers

In the film, the opening scene shows brothers Rafal (Evil Schoolmaster) and Rhian (Good Schoolmaster) fighting. Rhian defeats his brother, and acts as the only Schoolmaster. In the book, it was never specified which brother actually won the battle. Everyone assumed that the “good” brother defeated his evil counterpart since good seemingly always wins against evil. Again, this is just another small detail but I did notice this when I first started the film.

Overall, I would say that the Netflix adaptation was worth watching. Though little things were changed, nothing harmed the general plot of the story. The film brought back the magical memories I experienced when I first read the novel so many years ago. I would recommend the film but I will undoubtedly say to read the books first.