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The Finest Book-Inspired Viral Videos

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Jessi Lewis

Staff Writer

Jessi Lewis has her MFA in fiction and an MA in Writing and Rhetoric. She was one of the founding editors of Cheat River Review and now works to bring her own fiction, poetry and essays to eyes each month.     Twitter: @jessiwrit

It is a blast gathering the finest viral videos, but let’s be clear about this: There will be some fantastic videos on here, but I cannot guarantee that I will know your favorites, or have even seen the same videos that you have. Case in point: I asked fellow Book Riot writers for help in brainstorming the videos below and the majority of the responses I received were videos that I had never come across before. This is awesome, overwhelming and shows the power of this bizarre genre of entertainment.

Before we get to the fantastic options below, there’s something to say for the research (very little) that it takes to go back into time and find these videos.

First, it’s interesting how typically viral videos seem to be more common for books that have been made into movies. It might be that the audience is wider. It might be that, in general, it’s easier to produce recognizable visuals of a book if it has already been produced in film or images by somebody else. It also allows further cultural complication of the original story as we make commentary about it onward and forever. We love the layers.

Next thought: The formats of viral videos are fascinating. The more “professional” a viral video appears, the more we seem to share it around. What’s interesting is how easy it is to make “professional” work, and also how we define that. Yet, then the best videos seem to break down expectations in ridiculous ways. For example, you’ll see some basic hand puppets below, but they captured the attention of many.

Finally, check out the layers of parody here. There’s almost always a reference to at least three cultural pieces. Consider, for example Jane Austen Fight Club, which is, of course a reference to Jane Austen’s work in its story, a reference to the The Jane Austen Book Club in its title, and then of course the MANY script and scene throwback references to the movie/book Fight Club. There’s a lot going on here. Here’s a generalization: This may not apply to all viral videos out there (in fact it definitely does not), but this genre is a fantastic breeding ground of potentially intelligent entertainment.

Avengers of Oz: Age of Tin Man

I know– really this is the merging of two movies. But, those movies draw from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, of course, and The Mighty Avengers comic books. And it inspired this post.



Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise

For a couple months, nothing could quite beat the inexplicably popular Harry Potter puppet videos that seemed to catch everyone’s attention. Perhaps the effort that went into this one was more about the cute craft of puppets themselves and how fabric creatures can still be entertaining.



Brontë Sisters Power Dolls

Perhaps not as often viewed, this is a true classic for lit teachers focused on parodies of the Brontës. You can’t get a better image than the Brontë sisters merging to form a Brontësaurus. Yes. That’s awesome.



Jane Austen Fight Club

Clearly, I’m a fan of this one. The complexity here, the music choices and many acting roles made an impact. And, of course, the slow motion punch is perfect. Interestingly enough, one of the primary minds behind this piece, Emily Janice Card is an author and the daughter of Orson Scott Card. Honestly, this one just looks like it was really fun to make.



The Lizzie Bennett Diaries– My Name is Lizzie Bennett

This line of episodes is a really interesting cultural phenomenon in which the videos then supported the sales of the book and helped create an interactive environment for readers. Of course, this is a pretty awesome, confessional play off of Pride and Prejudice.



Dark Lord Funk

Dark Lord Funk parodies the song “Uptown Funk”. Another Harry Potter inspired viral video, it’s shocking how well done this one is. There are many song parodies out there, but this one seems to hold on in peoples memories. The python is a nice touch.



The Sassy Gay Friend- Hamlet

This one is out of Second City, the Chicago-based improv group that has employed people like Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert. Now, this online presence is working.



George R.R. Martin Blank Page

I’ll appreciate any video in which the author is a character within their created plot (That’s soo meta, man). This one is another song parody. This time, it’s Taylor Swift.



SO: What else should be on this list?