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Settling the Harry Potter Debate

Aicha Ly | Opinion Editor

Harry Potter; this name evokes immediate recognition in what seems to be every organism in the universe. The fame of this series is impressive, reaching an abundance of schools and beyond. It has resulted in costumes, quizzes to determine what house individuals belong in, dreams among children who hope to attend Hogwarts one day, Harry Potter themed merchandise, and more. One of the most important byproducts of this successful book series, however, are the movie adaptations. This leads to a question that every reader inevitably faces somewhere along their journey into the world of books, when they surely end up watching the movie adaptations of the books they hold so dearly: Which is better, the movie or the book?

When it comes to Harry Potter, the books are the clear winner. Why is this? Well, to start off, the books give readers a certain agency to imagine a reality of their own that the movie adaptations essentially take away. The movies assign fixed looks and personalities to the characters. This takes away the special experience readers have of really connecting with the characters by reading their thoughts, feeling their emotions and predicting their actions due to the abundance of details that go more in depth. This unique reading experience allows readers to build up a character of their own in their heads. Secondly, due to the time constraints of the movie adaptations, actions and events were altered or completely left out in many cases. For example, in both the movies and books Neville Longbottom becomes an increasingly relevant character. Some may even argue he went from being a background or side character to becoming one of the most important main characters. In the books, the readers and characters actually learn about the backstory of Neville Longbottom’s parents when Hermonie, Harry Potter and Ron run into Neville at a hospital. It is discovered that Neville’s parents are actually alive; they were tortured to the point of complete insanity by Bellatrix (one of Voldemort’s supporters). The Harry Potter movies, however, imply that Neville Longbottom’s parents are dead. There is very little mention of them at all throughout the movies.

All in all, while both the Harry Potter movies and books are intriguing and impressive, it is clear that the books are superior due to their abundance of detail which adds to a reader’s experience as they explore their imagination. It is exciting to see the visuals that movies offer, especially when presented in 3D. The colors, sounds, and music are all wonderful cinematic elements. However, language is an art in itself. One can paint a plethora of images in their minds with an endless amount of words. This offers a special, individualized experience that the Harry Potter movies—and movies in general, miss out on.


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