Fans of the novel, The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, and those who are new to the story have given the Masterpiece mini-series on PBS rave reviews, but tonight’s conclusion shocked many fans of the book who were expecting the television show to follow a similar course. Now the author is commenting for the first time on the changes in the story.
Town & Country spoke to Burton about the changes in the story, involving the character of the miniaturist that have some fans shocked. In the novel, readers never actually meet the woman who creates the dollhouse furniture and accessories for Nella Brandt. Burton explains that in the book, she was symbolic.
“One of the predominant changes is the actual character of the miniaturist is shown. For me, she was more of a symbol in the book, but I’m coming to learn that when you come to a more visual medium, you kind of have to draw those characters in more closely.”
So who really is the miniaturist? Did she have supernatural powers or was she just observational?
Executive producer Kate Sinclair said she thought that having the character of the Miniaturist play a bigger role in the series would bring more to the drama.
“The main character of the title, the Miniaturist, doesn’t appear a huge amount in the book and we felt that that was a slight oversight.”
So a scene was created where Nella meets the Miniaturist according to another Inquisitrreport, and Burton gave her okay for this addition to the story.
“We felt that wasn’t right for this story and we didn’t want our audience to feel cheated, so John [Brownlow] has written a very beautiful scene where the two of them meet and Nella finds out more about who she is and why she’s doing what she’s doing.”
But Burton says that from her perspective, the Miniaturist is not clairvoyant or a witch.
“I think on some levels it works because it’s more explanatory, and I hope that will satisfy people, but the point of the miniaturist for me is that she’s an outsider looking in and she’s sort of a teacher, and she’s a comment on perception. I trust the filmmakers and the producers that they felt they were telling the story in a way that they had to in three hours, rather than reading a novel.”
While some fans of the novel will be disappointed that the ending was changed, others are said to be pleased that the titular character makes more of an appearance.