I’m not a Harry Potter evangelist. If your conscience won’t allow you to read or watch Harry Potter, I have nothing against you. But if it means anything, I can honestly say that at no point in reading the books or watching the movies was I actually tempted to try to ride a broom, free any house elves, wield a wand or change my appearance using polyjuice potion. Instead, I was uplifted by a great and gripping story, the center of which lifts up sacrificial love.
If you’ve read the books you know they are good and why they are (unless you are Ron, who is weird). If you haven’t read the books due to your convictions, I understand and appreciate your stance. That’s all I’ll say about that.
What I really want to use this post for is to propogate my foolproof method of enjoying books that have been made into movies. The secret? ALWAYS watch the movie FIRST. It is a well known fact that however great a movie is, the book will always surpass it. The Harry Potter movies are great movies and have been impressively and adequately adapted from the books. But there is simply no way that 800+ page books can be translated into a 2 hour movie. More importantly, the details of relationships, thoughts, emotions…etc that make a book so enrapturing cannot ever be as effectively communicated on screen. I always left the HP movies with a smile but a slightly confused smile. I enjoyed getting from Point A to Point B to Point C, but often was confused on how I got there. Many times there seemed to be holes in the plot or logic of the film. However, once I read the books, Rowling made the journey from Point A to Point C (with a few side jaunts to points i and ii) entirely logical and smooth.
Bottom line: if you read the book then watch the movie (and i am talking about any book to movie, not just HP) 9 times out of 10 you will be disappointed with the movie. If you watch the movie then read the book, you will be able to appreciate the movie and the appreciation of the story can only grow as you then read the book.
The world of literature and film is better because of J.K. Rowling’s imaginative story and it has been a fun journey watching and reading it.