The Maze Runner – Welcome to the Glade


Ever since the trailer for The Maze Runner debuted, I’ve been eager to get my hands on a copy of the novel by James Dashner. The movie came out Friday, September 19th and became #1 in 50 countries. It’s yet another book based around a dystopian society such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, but it manages to have a different and unique plot nonetheless.

The Maze Runner centers on 16 year old Thomas, who wakes up in in a black box remembering nothing but his name. The Box takes him up to the Glade, a mysterious community run by other teenage boys, Gladers, who have also lost their memories. The Glade has been run by the boys for two years and each month a new boy, a Greenie, comes up in the Box. None of them know exactly where the Glade is or how to leave. The Glade is surrounded by walls that tower up to 100 feet and have four different entrances that lead out. However, they’re not exits: they’re entrances to the maze.

The maze surrounds the Glade and keeps the Gladers trapped; it is a dangerous place full of brutal beasts called Grievers. Because of this, not just anyone is allowed to enter the maze, only specially selected kids called Runners, “the best of the best”, are allowed in to attempt to map out the complex walls that change every night. At the same time each night, however, the entrances to the maze close. Whichever Runner doesn’t make it back to the Glade in time will die, and nobody ever survives a night in the maze.

Each month without fail a new boy comes into the Glade through the Box. No sooner than a month and no later than a month, so the Gladers are alarmed when a new Greenie arrives the very next day after Thomas. They are shaken even further when they open the Box to see something that never happens: a girl, Teresa. From this point on, everything starts to change.

To the average moviegoer who hadn’t read the book, The Maze Runner is an awesome action movie. It is entertaining and captivating, has good acting, and everything adds up in the end so nobody was confused. But to the reader who read and loved the book, there were a lot of major plot differences and character changes. Gally, who was unmistakably cruel and hated by everyone in the novel, starts off well-liked among Gladers and semi-amiable towards Thomas. He even seems to be of higher ranks among the Gladers. Newt, who attempted to help his friends as they struggled to make it back to safety in the book, only stands and watches in the movie, something that the character in the book would never do.

The technicality behind the maze changes as well. In the movie, only one of the eight sections of the maze is open every day. In the book, every section is open during the day and each Runner has a section assigned to them that they track each day. This becomes important later on in the book.

Somewhere inside the maze is the Cliff, a seemingly bottomless cliff that the Gladers describe as looking like the edge of the universe. The Cliff plays an extremely important role in the book towards the end of the novel and it is completely cut out of the movie.

Regardless of the differences between the book and the movie, The Maze Runner is definitely worth the trip to watch. The changes don’t take away from the fact that it’s still a good movie. I also recommend a journey to the bookstore afterwards to pick up a copy of the book, which is a fantastic and quick read as it’s so difficult to put down. Advent reader or not, The Maze Runner isn’t a story to miss.