The new four-part series follows the story of Marie-Laure LeBlanc (Aria Mia Loberti), a blind French teenager who has to flee German-occupied Paris with her father Daniel (Mark Ruffalo).
A curator at the Natural History Museum in Paris, Daniel takes a legendary diamond to keep it from falling into the hands of the Nazis.
The tale is undercut with the parallel stark storyline of Werner (Louis Hofmann), an intelligent German orphan who is enlisted in Hitler’s regime after showing promise in working with radios.
The story is an iconic one, having been a global best-seller at the time of its release in 2015.
So, it’s natural that fans are going to draw comparisons between the book and the new adaptation, which has been penned by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) and Shawn Levy (Stranger Things).
One of the main differences between the new drama and the book it’s based on is those final moments of the story.
Chatting exclusively to RadioTimes.com about how he went about deciding on where to end the series, Levy said: “Steven Knight, the screenwriter who made those decisions alongside me, he worded it interestingly.
“He said: ‘Its not that we changed the ending, its that we changed the moment we decide to look away, where we decide to let the characters go on without us.'”
Levy continued: “So, like the book, the culmination is Marie, who somehow survived the harrowing challenge of both the war and Von Rumpel, and she releases this cursed fabled stone, the Sea of Flames, into the sea itself.
“Now, the novel goes on to chapters that are frankly harrowing, and even when I read the book, the book had certain outcomes for Werner and for Jutta, [Werners] sister, that were deeply troubling to me even when I read the book, and I love the book.
“But I wanted to end our show on a note that was more laced with the possibility of a future, the possibility of hope.
“So, maybe that same outcome will befall Werner, and maybe that same outcome will befall Jutta and Frau Elena. We dont say that they dont, but were not showing that they do.
“I wanted to end on a moment of optimism because, of course, the theme of this story is, in some ways, about the tenacious belief in light we cannot see and the possibility of light beyond darkness. I wanted the feeling of that to exist.”
The series ends with one last look at Marie after she’s made her way to the beach to toss the diamond into the sea. The American troops have come in, meaning that they march Werner, a German soldier, away to a fate unknown.
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In the book, things don’t end well for Werner, who is taken prisoner by the Allies and gets ill, deliriously wandering into a minefield where he triggers an explosion and is killed.
We also learn that Werner’s sister Jutta is transported from Essen to Berlin to work in a machine parts factory with some of the remaining girls in the orphanage. Along with Frau Elena and a couple of other girls, their apartment is broken into by Russian soldiers, who rape her.
The fate of Marie is also addressed in the novel, with us seeing that she has a daughter and is working as a scientist at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, later being visited by Jutta, who returns the model house that Werner had in his possession upon his death.
The Netflix series, of course, doesn’t go that far into the timeline, but Levy said about the series’s closing moments: “I then followed it up with a title sequence that shows historic Saint-Malo on the days it was liberated by the British and the Americans.
“But then that, too, transitions to a final shot of Saint-Malo current day, reminding us that reconstruction and rebuilding is possible.”
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is available to buy now.
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