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A Comparison of the Harry Potter Books and Movies
Harry Potter takes over the world
Have you heard of Harry Potter? No? Then where have you been! Harry Potter is a phenomenon; from simple beginnings as a children's book, Harry Potter has engulfed the world with extravagant movies, merchandise to fill your basement, video and board games and soon will have its very own theme park in Florida.
Harry Potter has become a multi-billion dollar industry in itself and has made its author, J K Rowling a very rich woman - in fact she is richer than the Queen of England.
So what is it about Harry Potter that enchants a whole world of children (and adults)? Is it the writing? The storytelling? The plot? The characters? The adventure?
There's something indefinable about Harry Potter; perhaps it's the little hero inside us all wanting to cheer Harry on, or the underdog element? The enchantment of the books takes us into a world that is not real but is hauntingly familiar; it takes us to dark places where our own fear's lies. Only in our imagination does the boundary lie. This is the Magic of Harry Potter.
Harry Potter is a children's book, however there are adult themes in it. Many will say that a book about magic, potions and dragons cannot be taken serious in the adult world, but isn't Lord of the Rings full of the same?
While many will argue that the writing style is aimed at children, I am a firm believer that a decently written book, that challenges the reader with moralistic questions, infuses the mind with passion and honor and enables the reader to enter a world that is very believable can be read by any.
I started reading the books to my children when they first came out, and I was amazed how quickly we all became embroiled in the characters and how we all tried to guess the outcome of each of the books, and even go as far as trying to discern what would happen in the future books.
The key for me was that the books brought us together as a family, gave us a common interest that went beyond TV. It renewed my children's interest in reading, and even today, as they embark on college and life, it is something they treasure and will continue with their children.
I am glad Harry Potter entered my life, and as an adult I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the books, not just because it became a family passion, but because I sincerely loved the books, and was very sad when it all ended.
There are 7 books that were made into 8 movies. The titles of the books are:
- The Sorcerer's Stone
- The Chamber of Secrets
- The Prisoner of Azkaban
- The Goblet of Fire
- The Order of the Phoenix
- The Half Blood Prince
- The Deathly Hallows (made into two movies)
The World of Harry Potter
Deep within the hidden recesses of our world, in dark corners and down dark alleyways is a strange and subtly different world. Inhabited by strange mythical creatures, full of magic and alchemy and imbued with strange and wondrous characters, this land is not dissimilar to our own, but at the same time is very different.
Harry Potter's world has much in common with ours; the schools are similar, yet the subjects taught are profoundly different. Whereas we are taught English and Math, Harry attends classes on potion making and herbology. While we play cricket and rugby, or baseball and football, they play Quiddich. As we got to a red bricked building, he goes to a castle.
The people and animals are different too; we may encounter different races, colors and nationalities, Harry may encounter dwarves, goblins and trolls. While we may be scared of wolves, foxes and alligators, Harry may run from ghouls, dragons and giant spiders.
Harry Potter's world is a world full of danger, intrigue and adventure; a world where magic is used for good and evil, and the fate of the world is decided by the swish of a wand. Harry Potter's world takes you beyond the mundane into the fantastic.
Simply put, Harry Potter is a story about the classic struggle between good and evil; the timeless battle the pervades human history.
In this case, the good is Harry Potter, an orphaned boy who possesses magical abilities, but aside from that has a sense of honor, a feel for what is right and a dedication to his cause.
Evil comes in the form of Voldemort, a sinister man who cares little for right and wrong, but sees the world as one in which those with power succeed.
In some ways the two are alike, with similar backgrounds and a link that goes deeper than similarities. Their strange kinship ensures that they are destined to continually meet and battle throughout Harry's tenure at Hogwarts school.
When we first meet Harry Potter living at his Uncle's house in a cupboard under the stairs, we do not yet realize what the future has in store for Harry. All we see is a weak and bullied young boy seeking for an escape from his horrifying world.
When Hagrid, the half giant grounds-keeper of Hogwarts school, rescues Harry, we begin to see a glimpse into the world that Harry now belongs.
As Harry meets his friends, Hermione and Ron, and begins to forge a friendship that will help him achieve his goals, we realize that the foundations of success are being planted.
As Harry embarks on small quests and adventures, and somehow succeeds where many would fail, against odds that seem insurmountable, we get a sense of destiny building. As Harry faces Voldemort for the first time, like a lamb waiting for slaughter, we cannot help but feel that there is something strong within Harry that will help him face his challenges.
Harry's friends - Hermoine and Ron
"After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." Albus Dumbledore
It’s not often that a book transfers to a movie well. With much input from J K Rowling, this movie only has minor alterations to the plots, with only a couple of minor characters missing.
Immediately, as the wonderful music starts, and you view Hogwarts for the first time, you are enchanted by the movie; such care has been taken to adapt the characters and places that you find that the magic of the book has been transferred to the cinema screen.
With a little bit of movie magic, such as Quidditch, riding on brooms, chocolate frogs, the moving stairs, and the pictures that are alive.
Harry has been living in the cupboard under the stairs for as long as he can remember. The Dursleys (his uncle and aunt) have tried to suppress his past, but cannot hide the truth when Hagrid, a half-giant from Hogwarts school, arrives on Harry's birthday and announces that Harry has been accepted into Hogwarts school, the school for wizards and witches.
Harry enters a new world when he arrives at the school, and immediately is embroiled in intrigue, danger and adventure. Not only is Harry a wizard, be he is also the most famous wizard in the world; as a baby, he survived an attack by Voldemort, the most evil and dangerous wizard in the world, and Voldemort isn't happy about it!
This book tells the tale of how Harry enters Hogwarts school, begins to meet some great friends (and enemies) and embarks on a quest to find a magical stone that he believes Severus Snape (a sinister professor at the school) is trying to steal to give to Lord Voldermort.
One of the great aspects of the book and movie is Rowling's humor, as it is this humor that helps to bridge the difficult and often moralistic themes that are inherent in the books.
As an introduction into Harry's world, this book is excellent. It introduces all the main characters, delves into the magical world and fills our eyes with high adventure and intrigue - it is a must read for all kids, and most adults will be surprised how quickly they become hooked.
Harry Potter Movie Trailers
"Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain." Arthur Weasley
Yet again the movie stays pretty true to the movie, and the continuity of having the same cast members really enhances the feeling of visiting the same world. Learning from the first move, you’ll find the CGI much improved and the young actors are beginning to show their talents.
This movie is a little darker than the first, and is a lot faster paced. Even though you may have read the book, you’ll find the movie will get your heart beating a little faster as the atmosphere it builds is superb.
The combination of comedy and terror works very well; the ending is done particularly well, and you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat.
This is one of the best Harry Potter Movies.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)
After an arduous summer with his horrible Aunt and Uncle Dursley, Harry Potter has troubles trying to get back to school, thanks to a house elf named Doby; luckily his trusty friend Ron comes to save him and together they fly to school in a magical car – unluckily they crash land in a very angry ‘whomping willow’.
This really sets the scene for Harry’s second year at Hogwarts; as Harry begins to hear voices from the walls, sinister events begin to happen in the school as the ‘Chamber of Secrets has been opened’. The intrepid trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione Granger attempt to solve the 50 year old mystery despite the dangers they end up facing.
Have you read the Harry Potter books?
"Nothing like a night time stroll to give you ideas." Mad-Eye Moody
No time to read the book? See the movie..
This is my favorite movie so far. With a change of director came new ideas. The whole movie had a more sinister feel to it, and while the CGI was very good in the first two movies, it seemed to step up a level in this movie.
The emphasis on the action was evident, even though the director did a pretty good job in building the characters. I think it was the way in which the movie was filmed that set this up to be a great movie; from the way in which the perspective was changed to give it more depth, to the way in which the director seemed to concentrate more on the emotions of the characters.
The movie just seemed more intense and really captured the mood of the book very well.
For more information click the picture.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3)
This book starts with a humorous incident in which Harry accidentally causes his Aunt Marge to be turned into a large balloon. Unfortunately as student wizards are not allowed to use magic outside of school, Harry fears he will be expelled from Hogwarts.
Harry decides to leave the Dursley’s house and venture out into the world on his own. However, as Sirius Black has escaped from the wizarding prison Azkaban, and seems intent on murdering Harry, the Minisitry of Magic turn a blind eye to his transgression and send the sinister Dementors (the prison guards of Azkeban) to protect him.
Rowlings has continued on where she left off, combining subtle humor with terror. Yet again this book is full of high intrigue and has many twists and turns. Now that you are comfortable with Harry and his friends, Rowlings begins to explore the adventure more and begins to build a subtle back story that will become more important as the series moves towards its culmination.
Harry Potter - is it evil? Should it be banned?
Harry Potter brings up themes that are often thought of as evil. Wizards and witches are often cast in an evil light, and any book that portrays these non-catholic (or Christian) beliefs is often seen as evil. Many see Harry Potter as portraying pagan ideas that go above and beyond what is acceptable in a children's book.
During my time in school, I read many books. Some focused on the evil of communism (Animal Farm) and some focused on the evil of the 'machine' of government and large corporations (Brave New World). No one mentioned the fact that these books were passing on a point of view that the educational and religious society wanted me to believe.
This is the worry about Harry Potter; this young man is delving into 'evil' wizardry, disobeying rules but generally succeeding. Is this the message we really want our children to learn in school?
Had the same stereotypical thoughts been around when I was in school, then I also would not have read 'The Hobbit' which also has magic in it; I would not have entered the wonderful world of reading, and I really do not know what that would have done to my life; I certainly wouldn't possess the same 'talents' I have for writing, or for reading.
I think, that as long as our children are bought up with values that benefit society, it doesn't really matter what they read as long as they can place it in its correct context.
Harry Potter isn't evil, it's the way it's used and the context it's used in that makes it good or bad!
Should Harry Potter be banned?
"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." Sirius Black
No time to read the book? See the movie..
This is another very good movie that uses spectacular CGI (especially with the dragons) to enhance the story telling. The plot stays true to the book and continues to focus on the characters emotions. The pace of the movie is excellent and mostly this movie keeps you on the edge of your seats.
Of all of the movies, this one is perhaps the most exciting; both in action and danger, the movie really steps up the pace. You can feel the danger building as the movie moves along, and while the movie does feature much of Rowling’s humor, you do get a sense of the darkness that is becoming more prevalent in the books.
For more information click the picture.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4)
We start out quietly as Harry attend the Quiddich world cup; however things take a sinister twist when the Death Eaters (Voldemorts army of dark wizards) disrupt the celebrations attacking the campgrounds where the world cup is being held. Rowlings is starting to show the ascendance of Voldemort in this book and the whole book has a darker feel to it.
The book concentrates on a tri-wizard tournament between three of Europes wizarding schools. Normally one wizard from each school competes in a tournament to crow the best wizard. However, mysteriously Harry Potter is entered into the tournament to make it a four way contest.
The contest features three events, each testing the wizards skills in different ways. From an underwater rescue, to a dragon fighting contest and culminating with a race through a dastardly maze, each event is full of intrigue, excitement and danger.
This book is decidedly darker than the first three and bring up a lot of adult themes. As you read on you get a sense of the danger building, and see a larger picture developing. While the overall plot is not really linked to Harry’s battle with Voldemort, the underlying plot is beginning to build and there’s no doubt that the final books will be exiting and dangerous!For more information click the picture.
"The Dark Arts are many, varied, ever-changing and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible." Severus Snape
No time to read the book? See the movie..
This is the most satisfying movie for me (so far). It’s the one movie that really does a good job of exploring all the emotions, anger and changes that are occurring. It has some great characters, especially Professor Umbridge, and really concentrates on building each character and highlighting the strengths and floors of each.
The pace of the movie was incredible; even though the book was a little slow, the movie was paced just right. The quiet moments compliment the excitement and danger very well, and as the movie builds towards its climax you can feel the tension building very well.
It’s amazing to see the transformation of the actors; from the first movie where they were almost wooden, you are now seeing some very accomplished young actors coming through.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable movie.
For more information click the picture.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)
Rowlings begins to tackle some more adult themes in this book, including teenage angst and love. This book delves into the ‘resistance movement’ formed to combat Voldemort’s ever growing power. The Order of the Phoenix, is a movement run by Professor Dumbledore.
As we follow Harry through this difficult year, we begin to realize the pressure the young wizard is under; being the one who is supposed to defeat Voldemort is terrifying for Harry and he struggles to cope with the expectations.
This book focuses more on the school, as a particularly vile new teacher takes control and institutes many dangerous and sinister regulations that seem to hamper Harry and his friends in their quest to thwart Voldemort.
This book really looks deeply at Harry’s character, following his move into the adult world and exploring his realization that adults are not perfect, and perhaps there are no answers to some of the difficult questions he will face into the future.
The book is slower than the first four, but is an essential read as it really begins to pull together all of the puzzle pieces that will be needed when the series culminates.
This is a very good book; it’s different from the first four, darker, more sinister and perhaps more retrospective – out of all that have gone before, this is the one that will probably be more pleasing for the adults.
For more information click the picture.
"Ah, shut up, Dursley, yeh great prune." Rubeus Hagrid
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, in my view, was the worst of the books from the Harry Potter series. Therefore, even though it is our family tradition to go and see the movies the minute they appear in the movie theater, I wasn't as enthusiastic as normal about viewing the movie.
Well after watching the two and a half hour movie I am glad I did!
David Yates has done a great job in transferring a mediocre book onto the big screen and filling it with humor, excitement and adventure. It's amazing how far the young actors have come; Daniel Radcliffe, perhaps benefiting from his stint in Equus is showing the signs of being a classic actor who will have a long and illustrious career (my tip is for him to star in a James Bond movie in a few years!). Emma Watson is improving, her subtle beauty beginning to shine through, while Rupert Gint continues to have a sparkle that is very alluring.
Well to the movie; Albus Dumbledore, intent on preparing Harry for the ultimate showdown with Voldemort, persuades an ex teacher in returning to Hogwarts as Potions teacher. Professor Slughorn holds the key to a clue to unlock a weakness in Voldemort. Meanwhile, Harry, Ron and Hermione find out about a legendary Half Blood Prince, and decide to do some sleuthing to find out who this could be.
The movie does a great job in dealing with several difficult issues. Firstly it tackles the burgeoning loves and jealousy one associates with teenagers in a very mature and subtle way. Secondly, it tackles with much tragedy. And finally, and perhaps most importantly it infuses just the right amount of comedy and action; the action sequences are especially well done, and the CGI is almost flawless.
While this movie is really only for Harry Potter fans, as new viewers will be thoroughly confused and lost, it is probably one of the best movies. It does drag a little at the beginning and end, but it follows the book pretty closely. It infuses a passion and energy that seemed a little lacking in the early days of the Harry Potter movies.
If you love Harry Potter, then you'll be pleasantly surprised at how good the movie is; if you're not a huge fan, then it's worth it just to see the comedic moments and the action, as well as the burgeoning talents of the young actors.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Book 6)
In my opinion this is the worst book of the Harry Potter series. It seemed to be written to fill in all the gaps in the plot so that Rowlings could concentrate on making the final book excellent. Many people love this book, but for me it was a little contrite and while it does answer many questions, it really didn’t seem to be a logical progression from the previous books.
This book seemed to be more like a Sherlock Holmes book as Dumbledore and Harry Potter delved into the background of Voldemort, seeking clues along the way. Interspersed with this was a quest for Harry to find out who the Half Blood Prince was – this was one of the hottest topics on the web when the title of the book was announces, and for once I was able to predict who it was!
Rowlings concentrated on character development in this book, and did a great job of that. The book is a lot darker than the previous books, and really begins to setup the battle that is coming in the final book.
The book ends with a ‘stunner’ (even though it was a highly predicted stunner), and left the reader trying to work out how Rowlings would tie all the subtle plots together in the final book.
For more information click the picture.
"I don't go looking for trouble. Trouble usually finds me." Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
J K Rowling saved the best until last. There's no doubt that out of all the Harry Potter books I have read, this one is the most exciting, the most dangerous and yet at times the most humorous. This book highlights Rowling's writing style; it shows her ability to tackle exceptionally tough subjects while combining wit and humor, and building great characters and relationships.
As Ron, Hermione and Harry set out on a quest to find out about the Deathly Hallows, for once leaving the sanctuary of Hogwarts well behind, we see the strong bond that has formed between the three. This bond has built over the course of six books, and is an important aspect of Rowling's writing.
This book is the darkest of them all as Voldemort does everything in his power to thwart Harry. Despite obvious dangers Harry forges ahead, often putting himself in danger unduly. As we move through the book, and see the subtleties of the previous books emerging, we are often stunned by twist in plots that are both intense and sad.
You realize the attachment you have to major characters as tragedy occurs, and you begin to feel the desperation of Harry as things turn dark and sinister. As the book moves forward towards the tumultuous battle that Harry has known must occur, you get a sense of loss and sadness as you begin to realize that one way or another it will soon end.
The plot to this book is exceptional; for once Harry seems to stray from Dumbledore's advice and seeks out the Deathly Hallow, which we find out became a fatal flaw in Dumbledore's character. Harry seems to blindly follow his instincts despite the misgivings of his friends.
As we finally come to the end of the book, and most of the unanswered questions are explained, we feel a great sadness that we will no longer have Harry in our life; for me this is what made the books so good, you really felt that Harry was part of you and it's very hard to let go!
Rowling did a great job with this book; there were plenty of twists in the plot, and the action was exceptional - the story ends in a very good way, and despite the losses that occur, including the death of a few major characters, you feel that the overall ending was justified and satisfying!
For more information click the pictures below.
Harry Potter Bio - **SPOILER ALERT - there are some minor spoilers in the BIO below.**
Birthday: July 31st, 1980.
Parents: James Potter and Lilly Evans.
God Father: Sirius Black (RIP)
Foster 'Parents': Petunia and Vernon Dursley
Place of Birth: Godric's Hollow
Grew up at: Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey
Married: Ginner Weasley
Children: James, Albus and Lily
Mentor: Albus Dumbledore(RIP)
Best Friends: Hermion Granger, Ron Weasley
Enemies: Lord Voldemort, Draco Malfoy
Brief History: Lord Voldemort killed Harry's parents when he was 15 months old. He went to live with his uncle and aunt and became known as 'The Boy who lived' as he is the only known survivor of the 'Avada Kedavra' curse. Harry attended Hogwarts school of Wizardry after turning eleven, and joined Gryffindor house. He became the seeker for the Gryffindor Quiddich team and was a very accomplished player.
(Read all seven books for Harry's exploits at Hogwartz)
Career: Harry joined the Auror Department at 17 and became head of the department at 27.
Hermione Granger Bio - (**SPOILER ALERT - there are some minor spoilers in the BIO below.**)
Birthday: September 19th, 1979.
Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Granger.
Pets:: Crookshanks (RIP)
Place of Birth: England.
Married: Ron Weasley
Children: Rose and Hugo
Best Friends: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley
Enemies: Lord Voldemort, Draco Malfoy, Pansy Parkison.
Brief History: Hermione is the brightest student of her year, and is proud to be part of Gryffyndor. She is considered straight-laced and constantly tried to get Ron and Harry to obey school rules. As she grows up in Hogwarts, she begins to rebel a little and join in 'the fun'.
She excels in all school subjects and has a bright future. She is very loyal to her friends.
(Read all seven books for Hermione's exploits at Hogwarts)
Career: Hermione finished school and joined the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and worked on improving the lot for House Elves. She moved up to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and worked on removing pro-trueblood laws.
Harry Potter Books on Tape - The Audio Collection
If you have plenty of time to spare I heartily advice you to buy the books on tape. While the British version is good, if you can get your hands on the American version, narrated by Jim Dale you'll find that they are exceptional.
I remember Jim Dale from the old Carry On movies, and it is amazing how his ability to add life to the characters really enhances the narration. This is exceptional reading of an exceptional series.
Harry Potter Theme Park
- Official site for the Harry Potter Theme Park
The Harry Potter Theme Park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is a unique experience. Universal first built the Hogwarts castle in 2010 and in 2014 has opened a replica of Diagon Alley.