Harry Potter Books vs Movies
If you've just started reading, what I'm trying to accomplish with this hub is to compare each of the Harry Potter books with the movies. If you'd like to jump in, feel free. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the page so we're all on the same page :) Thanks for reading!
I love to read. I'll read almost anything I can get my hands on at least once. When I fall in love with a story, though, I become completely engrossed. I'll admit I didn't catch on to the Harry Potter craze right away. I'd seen all the news about how great the books were and then the first movie came out and it seemed to me that the whole world was obsessed. My sister had read the books and raved , insisting I should read them, too and see the movie. I resisted, sure that anything that was being hyped that much by the media couldn't possibly be worth reading. I was wrong. I actually saw the movie first while babysitting my niece who, of course, loved the first movie. So I watched (after being begged for twenty minutes by an extremely cute 3 yr old) and I was completely taken in by the story. Orphaned 11 year-old boy finds out he has magical powers and there's a completely new world waiting for him where he can escape his nasty aunt and uncle. I loved it. Chamber of Secrets was due out in theaters the following week and I decided I'd see that movie and then I'd read the books. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I borrowed the books from my sister and for the next week I don't think I did anything but read. I couldn't put them down! Any of them; the story just seemed to keep getting better and by the time I finished Goblet of Fire I was rabid for the fifth installment. I found out Order of the Phoenix wasn't due out until that summer (June 2003) and wondered how I was going to survive the next few months. So I went out and bought my own copy of all four books and pre-ordered the fifth. You could say I was hooked.
In my opinion, these books helped bring reading back to children, really made if fun again for them (and a lot of adults). I don't plan on bashing the movies; though my husband will tell you I have on occasion. I'd just like to tell you what I thought the high points of each book were and my overall opinion of each movie as it compares to the book. I'll be doing this over the course of the next few weeks; re-reading each book and watching the movie, then breaking it down on here. I'd love to hear what others have to say, as well, whether they agree with my assessment or not. So let the fun begin and let's follow Harry through his magical journey.
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in 1998 here in the United States. The movie was released in 2001 and was directed by Chris Colombus. This is the first book in the series and we get to meet Harry before he finds out he's a famous wizard. I think the best thing about Harry's character is how utterly normal he is in every other way. He's just a regular kid who's been touched by tragedy. Orphaned as a baby and left in the care of his mother's sister and her husband, he's never been shown love by this "family" yet he's not bitter or angry as you would expect a child to be under those circumstances. I think that shows Harry's strength of character.
In the book, I loved that Hagrid was the one to deliver Harry's letter (finally) and tell him about his history. This is one of my favorite parts of the story. You immediately see Hagrid as a friend rather than an adult figure in Harry's life. One of the best casting decisions they made was Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid. He just is Hagrid, there's no other way to say it. Also, Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall is absolutely perfect. Richard Harris really brought Dumbledore to life in my opinion, and no one else will ever do the role justice the way he did. I have to say Daniel Radcliffe is not a bad choice for Harry. My only complaint is they never put green contacts on him. This has bothered me since the first time I read the book. Harry is supposed to have green eyes; his mother's eyes. It's something he hears a lot as he gets older. He looks so much like James, but he has Lily's eyes. I believe this was a HUGE oversight. Even if it wasn't done in the first movie for whatever reason, why did no one rectify it as they went on further down the line?
This movie was very easy for me to enjoy. Daigon Alley was exactly right in my mind. The scenes at Gringotts and Ollivander's were also perfect. I have very few complaints about this movie, honestly. I know they changed a lot of the little things but it's the omissions and the add in's that bother me the most. When Harry finds out that Snape is going to referee the Quiddich match between Hufflepuff and Gryffindor and goes back to tell Hermione and Ron, I love their reaction!
" "Don't play," said Hermione at once.
"Say you're ill," said Ron.
"Pretend to break your leg," Hermione suggested.
"Really break your leg," said Ron. " p. 217
I understand they couldn't put every interaction in the movie, but I love that bit. One big thing I did want to mention was Hermione's bold use of Voldemort's name in the movie. It's so completely wrong; in the books Hermione doesn't start saying the name until Order of the Phoenix. Ron, especially, has fits whenever Harry says it and in the movie, he just sits there calmly while Hermione says it. Completely out of character for both of them, that upset me.
One other huge error, in my opinion was at the end when Harry has the stone and is facing Voldemort. Voldemort says they can bring back his parents if Harry joins him. And Harry considers it!!!
"Don't be a fool," snarled the face. "Better save your own life and join me...or you'll meet the same end as your parents...They died begging me for mercy..." p.294
Harry would NEVER join Voldemort, he'd never even consider it! Ever. Period. End of story. That was completely ridiculous in my mind, and it made me kind of angry at Steve Kloves, the screenwriter.
My last comment is about when Harry wakes up in the hospital wing. In the book, he starts firing questions at Dumbledore; where's the stone, where are Ron and Hermione, are they ok? what about Quirrell? In the movie, he just sits there and Dumbledore just tells him things. A big oversight is that in the movie, Harry never asks Dumbledore why Voldemort tried to kill him to begin with. It seems like kind of a big deal to me, what do you guys think?
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Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
It's Harry Potter's 12th birthday and he's feeling pretty low. He hasn't heard from his two best friends all summer and he's going to spend his evening pretending not to exist. Poor Hedwig is locked in her cage and all of Harry's school things are locked up in the cupboard under the stairs. Enter Dobby, a downtrodden house elf who's come to warn Harry against returning to Hogwarts. So starts Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second installment in the Harry Potter series. This movie was directed by Chris Colombus and released in November 2002. When I first saw it, I hadn't read the book yet, so I liked it a lot. It's still one of my favorites (of the movies, not the books) becuase it's truer to the story than some of the others. It certainly has it's high and low points.
First, I'd like to give two thumbs way up on the casting of the Weasley family. They play such a huge part in the books and they are all just perfect. My only complaint is with Ginny. She is supposed to have brown eyes. Again, they could've stuck some contacts on her. If they didn't do it for the main character, though, then of course they aren't going to bother with any of the others. In the end, I decided I can deal with it. Other brilliant casting decisions of note: Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Miriam Margolyes as Professor Sprout, Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle and Kenneth Branagh as Professor Lockhart.
I really enjoyed the scene at the beginning when Harry comes into his bedroom and Dobby is waiting there for him. I thought they did a great job of sticking pretty close to the story (even though they left out the official warning from the ministry) . Ron and the twins come to rescue Harry from the Dursley's and Uncle Vernon falls out the window, and even though it wasn't supposed to happen, I thought it was genius. The Burrow looked exactly like I'd imagined it would and I really loved the interaction between Mr. & Mrs. Weasley when she confronts him about the boys taking the car. Hilarious!
I was disappointed with the trip to Daigon Alley in the movie. They seemed to keep a lot out, and then add in things that weren't supposed to happen. The biggest blunder, in my opinion is them cutting the scene where Harry overhears the Malfoys in Borgin and Borkes arranging for dark items to be picked up at Malfoy Manor. This is where we find out for the first time that Draco isn't merely a bratty, spoiled bully. The Malfoy family definitely has an uglier side than they like to show the public. A huge mistake they made is having Hermione magically repair Harry's glasses; Mr. Weasley is supposed to do it, for one thing, and more importantly, they aren't allowed to do magic outside of school. Hermione, of all people, is not going to break the wizarding law! Another issue I have with this part of the movie is that we were robbed of the fight between Mr. Weasley and Lucius Malfoy! I really wanted to see this tussle. I feel like they don't really bring a lot of the Weasley's' character to life in the films. Even with Ron they don't seem to even scratch the surface sometimes. They become Harry's adopted family as time goes by. I wish you'd see more of Mr. Weasley's excitement when he finds out Hermione's parents were Muggles. You don't even see a lot of the humor from the twins in this movie. Ok, enough for my rant. One more thing about this part and then I swear I'm done with it. The interaction between Lucius Malfoy and Harry was just slightly ludicrous, in my opinion. All that nonsense about Harry's scar and Voldemort being legend.Lucius is trying to put on a good front to the world and make them forget he ever was counted among Voldemort's supporters, he is not going to go running his mouth, even to children, about Voldemort being a legend. That just plain old wouldn't happen, folks.
There's more positive criticism, I swear. I thought their first lesson with Lockhart was absolutely hilarious in the book and I felt they did a pretty good job of bringing that to the screen. I did miss Hermione defending him to Ron and Harry all the time, but I know they can't show everything. Onto the first Quidditch practice. When Malfoy calls Hermione a Mudblood, I was disappointed, and it goes back to what I said earlier about them not really bringing the Weasley's to life. Honestly, in the movie, you'd almost think Ron was overreacting if it wasn't Malfoy who'd said it. They all stay calm and only Ron moves, taking out his wand and cursing himself, instead of Malfoy. In the book, there's chaos! Everyone reacts except Harry and Hermione. The twins try to attack Malfoy and Flint jumps in front of him, Alicia Spinnet yells "How dare you!", and Ron, of course, curses himself with his broken wand and ends up vomiting up slugs for the afternoon. It gets worse when Harry and Hermione take Ron to Hagrid's. It seems that often in the movies, they forget that Hermione is Muggle born. They gave her and Hagrid all of Ron's lines from the book! In the book, Hermione is just as clueless as Harry as to what just happened. They give Ron too many cheesy one-liner jokes in the movies and they lose sight of the fact that he is, for all intents and purposes, Harry's guide in the magical world.
Moving on, I thought they did an excellent job creating Dumbledore's office. It looked absolutely perfect to me. I really like the scene where Ron and Harry levitate the cupcakes and Crabbe and Goyle take them. Very funny. "Uh, Ron, maybe I should do it." I thought they did wonderfully bringing the "follow the spiders" scene to the screen. Ron is hilarious here, "Now can we panic?" They kept it very close to what happens in the book. I wish they would've shown Hermione figuring out why Harry can hear the monster in the chamber and no one else can.
"The voice!" Harry said, looking over his shoulder. " I just heard it again-didn't you?"
Ron shook his head, wide-eyed. Hermione, however clapped a hand to her forehead.
"Harry I think I've just understood something! I've got to go to the library!"
And she sprinted away, up the stairs.
"What does she understand?" said Harry distractedly, still looking around, trying to tell where the voice had come from.
"Loads more than I do," said Ron shaking his head.
"But why's she got to go to the library?"
"Because that's what Hermione does," said Ron, shrugging. "When in doubt, go to the library." (p.255)
They always seem to stumble at the end in the movie. There are a few things that they changed that I thought were important enough to mention. First, Ginny is supposed to be nearly hysterical when they come out of the Chamber of Secrets. I mean, she's been through an ordeal! Then she wakes up and there's Harry Potter, the boy of her dreams and he's all bloody and there's a giant dead snake and a diary oozing ink..I'd say she'd be a little more than disturbed. In the movie, she's just calm. She wakes up and she talks excitedly for a few minutes and then nothing. Huh?
Second, once again Harry doesn't question Dumbledore; he just waits for Dumbledore to fill him in. This is so NOT Harry. In the book, Ron leaves to bring Lockhart to the hospital wing ("Impaled upon your own sword, Gilderoy?" Love it!!) and Dumbledore says Riddle must have been interested in Harry. And the floodgates open; Harry tells him about Riddle saying there are strange likenesses between them. They don't show Riddle saying this in the movie, instead Harry just says he sees likenesses between himself and Riddle. Harry would not say this; even if he did think it. He would never willingly admit he had anything in common with Riddle.
" "And so you met Tom Riddle," said Dumbledore thoughtfully. "I imagine he was most interested in you..."
Suddenly something that was nagging at Harry came tumbling out of his mouth.
"Professor Dumbledore...Riddle said I'm like him. Strange likenesses, he said..."
"Did he now?" said Dumbledore, looking thoughtfully at Harry from under his thick silver eyebrows. "And what do you think, Harry?"
"I don't think I'm like him!" said Harry more loudly than he'd intended. "I mean, I'm- I'm in Gryffindor, I'm..." But he fell silent, a lurking doubt resurfacing in his mind.
"Professor," he started again after a moment. "The Sorting Hat told me I'd-I'd have done well in Slytherin. Everyone thought I was Slytherin's heir for a while...because I can speak Parseltongue..." (p.332)
In the movie, they have Dumbledore always take the lead with these conversations. It's almost like they don't credit Harry with being smart enough to wonder about these things. One more thing and that will wrap it up for Chamber of Secrets. Did anyone else wonder why in the movie, Mr. & Mrs. Weasley weren't there at the school at the end? I mean, their only daughter was left for dead in the legendary chamber of secrets. You'd think they would've shown up after hearing that. Or is that just me?
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban opens with Harry in some trouble (no surprise there). Aunt Marge ran her mouth and Harry lost control of his temper and his magic. So, Harry sets off into the night with his trunk, not sure what he should do next. His two best friends are abroad and he's sure he's going to be expelled at the very least. He sits down to rest then sees a giant, bear-like dog across the street from him. Could it be the mythical Grim that haunts wizards before their death? Then, the Knight Bus comes almost running Harry over, and he decides to set off for Daigon Alley in London, figuring he'll start his life as a runaway after a trip to Gringotts in the morning. However, Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, is waiting for him at The Leaky Cauldron. To Harry's astonishment, he's not in trouble. Fudge just asks him to stay out of Muggle London and that's that. So Harry enjoys three weeks of freedom from the Dursley's before his return to Hogwarts. The night before leaving, though, he finds out why Fudge was so lenient with him. Sirius Black, Voldemort's supposed second-in-command has escaped from Azkaban and is intent on killing Harry. Uhoh.
This book is one of my favorites in the series. We have a new threat in Sirius Black and great new characters in this installment. The film was released in 2004 and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. When I heard about the casting decisions being made, I was elated. Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney (perfect!), for one. Gary Oldman as Sirius Black. I have to say, I love Gary Oldman, but unfortunately, he comes off as creepy in this role. I don't blame him for that, though..I blame the script. David Thewlis is a terrific actor but he didn't fit the role of Professor Lupin at all, in my opinion. Then we move on to the sad news of Richard Harris' death and Michael Gambon's taking on the role of Dumbledore. I'll be honest, it was hard for me to watch this movie again as much as I loved the story. I don't thinkGambon is all that great as Dumbledore. He, too, tends to come across as creepy. (Especially as the movies go on, but more on that another time). There is so much in the movie that I dislike. They left out whole chapters and changed so many things that it was hard for me to watch. I will do my best not to rant in my assessment.
Well, right off the bat they annoyed me. Harry's doing his homework under the blankets; yep, that part is right. However, he is not supposed to be doing his homework by wandlight. Um, Decree for Underage Wizards anyone? They act like it doesn't exist sometimes. "Lumos" is a spell, however minor it may be. Is it so hard for him to be using a flashlight like he does in the book? Moving on, I really liked how they did the scene where he blows up Aunt Marge. It was absolutely perfect. I love when the buttons hit Dudley off the forehead. Hilarious! I really enjoyed it. Another thing I was really annoyed with was the way they portrayed Tom from The Leaky Cauldron. Since when does he look and act like Igor?? Was anyone else confused at this? I would like to say that Lee Ingleby was perfect as Stan Shunpike. He was exactly the way I'd pictured him.
One scene I was really looking forward to seeing was when Mrs. Weasley comes into The Leaky Cauldron with the twins and Percy and the exchange between all of them. In the book, it was hilarious. Unfortunately, it didn't make it to the movie.
"Percy, however, held out his hand solemnly as though he and Harry had never met and said, "Harry. How nice to see you."
"Hello, Percy," said Harry, trying not to laugh.
"I hope you're well?" said Percy pompously, shaking hands. It was rather like being introduced to the mayor.
"Very well, thanks-"
"Harry!" said Fred, elbowing Percy out of the way and bowing deeply. "Simply splendid to see you, old boy-"
"Marvelous," said George, pushing Fred aside and seizing Harry's hand in turn. "Absolutely spiffing."
"That's enough, now." said Mrs. Weasley.
"Mum!" said Fred as though he'd only just spotted her and shaking her hand too. "How really corking to see you-" "pg.62
Now we move forward to the first time we see the dementors on the Hogwarts Express. Heavy sigh here. I was really disappointed. First of all, the dementors didn't look right to me at all. Also, what was the nonsense about the dementor kind of "feeding" off of Harry in the compartment? That was just ridiculous. I mean, they clearly illustrated that it got cold. All they had to do is have Harry hear Lily screaming in his head. Why is that so hard to do? I hate it when they embellish unneccessarily.
There was a lot I found fault with but I'm trying very hard not to be too picky. However, I must mention the scene where Snape is filling in for Lupin-never in a million years would Harry ever talk back to Snape when he's given homework. Nor would he try to talk his way out of said homework by telling him he has a Quidditch match the next day. It's completely ludicrous! While we're talking about that lesson, I might as well bring up the nonsense about "the werewolf only responds to the call of its own kind." Huh? Also, they learn about Animagi with Professor McGonagall in Transfiguration. Snape never mentions them in Defense Against the Dark Arts.
On to the Quidditch game. Again, very disappointing. The dementors are not supposed to be in the sky. They are supposed to be on the ground under where Harry is flying. Instead, they're chasing Harry through the sky; but no one else. What kind of sense does that make?In the hospital wing, after the match was also irritating. Harry just fell from a great height and could've died; in the book it says that every part of him hurts. He wakes up smiling in the movie. Again, I say, huh?
Onward to the Three Broomsticks when Harry sneaks into Hogsmeade. I get that they melded the two trips to save time in the movie. I just didn't like it. One thing, the Three Broomsticks is supposed to be cheery and bright. What they showed looked more like what I'd always envisioned the Hog's Head to look like. Secondly, Harry would never plow through a group of people that way, invisible or not. He definitely doesn't cry when he finds out about Sirius' supposed betrayal. He certainly never comes right out and says he wants to kill Sirius Black. They don't seem to really understand the characters in the movie sometimes. Ron, for example, is supposed to have quite the hot temper. In the movie, they make him look weak and cowardly when Malfoy bothers him. In the books, Harry and Hermione are forever having to hold him back to keep him from attacking Malfoy. Also, like I've said before, they've turned Ron into a kind of goofball idiot in the movies. I guess we should be glad they didn't turn him into a complete joke like they have with Neville.
To the next disaster. Harry's completely fabricated midnight wanderings in the castle. I have several issues with this. First, it doesn't happen in the book. Second, if they're going to do it, can't they have it make sense? Harry would not be wandering the corridors in the middle of the night without the Invisibility Cloak. Students aren't supposed to be outside their common rooms after a certain time. Considering who finds him (Snape), he should've been in a LOT of trouble. Harry would not address Snape the way he does, either. When he loses his temper with Snape it's always provoked. He would never say "I'd appreciate it if you'd lower your wand." And furthermore, Snape would never stand for it! Harry would be in detention forever!
I really don't understand why they didn't show Harry getting the Firebolt for Christmas. That leads to Hermione telling McGonagall and Harry and Ron not speaking to her for quite a while. They don't put anything in there about Hermione's struggle to keep up with her impossible course load. The end of the movie had me so upset I had to stop the dvd several timesfor the sake of my sanity. Again, I'll say it. They always make the biggest blunders at the end. Ok, starting with when Harry, Ron and Hermione leave the castle to go and see Hagrid before Buckbeak's set to be executed. They are supposed to be under the Invisibility Cloak! Harry, especially, isn't supposed to be outside the castle at night! Once Lupin gets to the Shrieking Shack, things don't go anything like they're supposed to. You don't get any of the back story on the Marauders and how they became Animagi to help Lupin at the full moon. Again, they don't show the true character of Ron. In the movie he just lays in that chair (even though his leg isn't broken like in the book) and lets Hermione shield Harry from Sirius.
"The taunt about his father rang in Harry's ears as though Black had bellowed it. A boiling hate erupted in Harry's chest, leaving no place for fear. For the first time in his life, he wanted his wand back, not to defend himself, but to attack...to kill. WIthout knowing what he was doing, he started forward, but there was a sudden movement on either side of him and two pairs of hands grabbed him and held him back..."No, Harry!" Hermione gasped in a petrified whisper; Ron, however, spoke to Black.
"If you want to kill Harry, you'll have to kill us too!" he said fiercely, though the effort of standing upright was draining him of still more color, and he swayed slightly as he spoke.
Something flickered in Black's shadowed eyes. "Lie down," he said quietly to Ron. "You will damage that leg even more."
"Did you hear me?" Ron said weakly, though he was still clinging painfully to Harry to stay upright. "You'll have to kill all three of us!" " pg. 339
When Snape gets there, Harry isn't supposed to be the only one who attacks him. Ron and Hermione also try to disarm him. And he's supposed to bind Lupin with ropes from his wand. He's acting quite crazy here, and I was really upset it wasn't in the movie.
I really thought they did a good job with Lupin's transformation. I just wish they'd skipped the inane pleading from Sirius. In the book, they don't have time for all that. Sirius tells Harry and Hermione to run and morphs into the great black dog to save them. Pettigrew hits Ron with a spell that renders him unconscious and Snape is still out of it. Also, Hermione is supposed to be with Harry and Sirius when the dementors come.
There's actually a lot more that I found that made me shake my fist a little but it feels redundant at this point. Suffice to say, they screwed up the end pretty horribly. There were a few scenes that I'd hoped to see that were missing. The Quidditch match when Malfoy and his goons pretend to be dementors and Harry sends his Patronus after them. That was hilarious in the book and I really wanted to see it. Also, we didn't get to see Snape make an absolute ass of himself in front of Fudge. Again, it's always fun to watch Snape have a break down; we were robbed again! Lastly, there's nothing in the movie about Gryffindor finally winning the Quidditch Cup. This was a large omission, in my opinion. It's such a huge deal in the book and that's also the night that Sirius makes his second attempt to get Pettigrew. And, again, it's not in the movie.
As I said, there were tons of other omissions, additions and general awfulness that I didn't mention. Did I miss anything that particularly bothered you? Let me know what you thought of the movie.
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban Trailer
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