Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Harry Potter - Books vs. the Movies

My family and I finally got around to seeing the Harry Potter movie this weekend. Previous commitments, conflicting schedules, and a desire to view it in 3D at the IMAX theater conspired to push our viewing date back well into August.

But it was worth the wait.

I enjoyed this movie much more than the last, in part because it felt more like a Harry Potter movie. The previous one had felt as though the director had decided to “Twilight” it up a bit.

But I have another reason for mentioning the movie. Back when the movie was first released, I ran across several websites (on writing, of course) that mentioned how Snape had loved Harry at the end. Now this struck me as odd, since I didn’t recall Snape as being anything but disdainful about Harry, even at the end, but since it had been a while since I’d read the book, I just chalked it up to a poor memory.

But during the movie, they played up Snape’s seeming anguish over Harry’s requisite death so much; I couldn’t believe I had been that far off. I asked some other people at the movie whether they remembered Snape being that concerned about Harry in the book and they didn’t recall it being that way either. So I went back and checked the book, and sure enough, Snape didn’t strike me as all that worried about Harry. Indeed, he appeared far more worried that all the time he had spent protecting Harry (for Lily’s sake and at Dumbledore’s insistence) was going to be wasted. Now I don’t care why the decision was made to play the scene that way – it’s not the first time the movies have veered away from the books. My point is that it’s easy to confuse what’s in the movie with what’s in the book.

And this whole idea of confusing books and their movies is important to me. A year and a half ago, I made the decision to write my Hogwarts book as if it were to be THE eighth book. To match Rowling’s style, imagination, and sense of humor so closely and to stay so consistent with her universe, that if she put her name on the book and released it to the public, no one would think twice about it. (Whether I can actually pull this off is another question, of course, but that’s part of the fun.) But to do this, my book has to be based solely on what’s in Rowling’s books. Not the movies.

Turns out this is more difficult than I expected. Thanks to DVDs, ABC, and the ABC Family channel, I’ve seen the movies so many times that the line between the books and movies has become very blurred. (The LEGO Harry Potter games haven’t helped either.) When I reread the books in preparation for my book, I was shocked at how many facts I thought I remembered from the books were actually scenes from the movies and not in the book at all.

And based on the various Harry Potter sites I’ve visited for the purposes of research, I’m not the only one confusing the two.

Only time will tell if I get my book right or not.


  1. Hi there! Stopping by from the campaign.

    I have to be honest, I stopped going to see the movies. I'm planning to catch up now that they're all done, but I was forgetting so many details between. I need to reread the books, too :)

  2. Howdy from a fellow campaigner! :-)

  3. Hello, fellow campaigner here, it's good to meet you!

    PS Harry Potter is great!

  4. Just thought I'd pop in and say hi. Your banner is awesome :-)

  5. Fellow campaigner/Harry Potter fan here! That sounds like quite the project - I've written short stories starring other writers' characters/worlds I fell in love with and it's great fun. Best of luck with your work! :-)

  6. Thanks for all the greetings. If any of you would like to be a critique partner for fan fiction (which I'm using to learn to write fiction properly), be sure to let me know.