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She is a serial killer targeting the "greatest" in each sport. On the train to Chicago, Max mentions news stories about great athletes in other sports being murdered. These are her doing. For baseball, she originally targeted The Whammer, but switched to Roy after he struck out The Whammer on three straight pitches.In the novel, it is clear that she is insane and is obsessed with killing any athlete who does not play the game for the "right" reasons. She asks Roy why he plays, and this is a form of the heroes test which he fails and as a result she shoots and tries to kill Roy. Like the movie, originally she had intended to kill The Whammer, but when Roy strikes him out she switches her attention to Hobbs.
Yes. The Natural is based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Bernard Malamud.
The main difference is in the ending. In the film Roy Hobbs refuses the Judge's offer to throw the game and hits a game winning home run. In the novel Roy strikes out and afterwards is confronted by a disappointed child who says "Say it ain't so Roy". It is implied that Roy struck out deliberately to throw the game. The film also contains a number of other differences. The filmmakers have stated that the film was not meant to be a literal adaptation of the novel.My interpretation of the main difference is that by Roy striking out it captures one of the most profound aspects of all sports, that no matter how great an individual athlete is, he is always superseded by the younger phenom coming up.
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