Welcome to a new series on my blog! This series is going to be all about comparing movie adaptations to their books and I am going to be reviewing the Harry potter films first. This is an idea I came up with last year during my re-read and I’ve mentioned it several times since then, but I only thought of the idea when I was half way through book 6, which was a tad late. Then of course I had exams, so I had to put that idea on the back burner because it would be a pretty big project, but I’m free from exams now, so I have the time to finally do it!
For now I am just going to be doing all of the Harry Potter books, but I am hoping to do some other movie adaptations in the future as well depending on how well these ones do, so if you like these, then let me know down below or on my Instagram (@theoriginalbookdragon) and I’ll think of some other adaptations I can review. As for how these are going to work, I’m just going to go through the story in order and discuss what I think the movie did well or didn’t do well and whether they missed something out that I think they really shouldn’t have. I’ll also talk about some general movie adaptation things like casting, setting, costumes etc.
I am going to be talking about each section of the movie by the chapter titles in the books, so if there is a specific scene of chapter you want to here me talk about, then you can skip to that chapter title. It is also worth saying that these will of course be full of spoilers, so I can actually talk about the plot, but I think everyone has at least seen Harry Potter at this point, but I thought I’d mention it in case it wasn’t obvious.
A small disclaimer: before we get started I want to make it clear that I am in no way bashing the Harry Potter films. I adore Harry Potter and do think they did a good job with them. This is just a bit of fun and I wanted to take the opportunity to really analyse the story. I’m aware that somethings just aren’t possible to make happen on screen and some things have to be cut out to make the film a watchable length (although I’d happily watch a 10 hour long word for word adaptation, I know most people wouldn’t). I am also by no means a movie expert, this is just a bit of fun.
Chapter 1 – The Boy Who Lived
They started off pretty strong. I think they really managed to capture the strange, magical atmosphere and there was a stark difference between Dumbledore, McGonagall and Hagrid against the Dursely’s very normal street.
My only complaint about the opening scenes was that we didn’t get to see the day before Harry was left on their doorstep and therefore didn’t get to see the Dursley’s go through their usual mundane routine. I understand that wouldn’t have been a very cinematic of captivating beginning for a movie; however, I do think it is an important detail because it immediately foreshadows how cruel they are going to be to Harry and just how much they hate wizards and anything abnormal. As I said, I do understand that this isn’t particularly cinematic and it would have been fine to leave it out if they’d shown more of the Dursley’s in the next scenes before Harry went to Hogwarts, but they didn’t, which I think is a bit of a problem.
Chapter 2 – The Vanishing Glass
We certainly got to see a little more of how cruel the Dursley’s were once he was grown up, but it was 100% downplayed in the film. In the books we are of course reading from Harry’s point of view, which means we get his inner monologue and therefore get to hear about his experiences over the last 10 years, which would have been difficult to do in film when trying to keep it short, but I think it was essential they left some of it in and they really didn’t. We got to see some of it with him living in the cupboard, baggy clothes, the way he’s spoken to etc, but if was so much worse in the books and I don’t like that they downplayed it in the movie both because it is something that should be discussed, but also because it is such a huge part of Harry’s character and the viewer is never going to be able to understand him (especially in later films) if they don’t have that background.
They of course go the zoo as well, which is pretty much the same as in the books except that Dudley’s friend is non-existent and we again saw less of the Dursely’s abuse. They only bought Harry a cheap ice lolly because the lady asked before they could move him on, Dudley threw a tantrum at home to get them to leave Harry at home and they talk about him like he’s not there. I’ve already talked about them downplaying the Dursley’s, but they also left out Dudley’s friend and the fact that they liked to use Harry as a punching bag. Harry had a hard time at home and school, so there was really no where he was really safe and that was never discussed.
Chapter 3 – Letters From No-One
This part was pretty accurate with the owls, the post, Harry not just picking a letter up off the floor and them all leaving for far away, so they did a pretty good job here.
Chapter 4 – The Keeper of the Keys
The also did a pretty good job with this scene. They had Harry celebrating his birthday alone on the floor, which is pretty good summary of his life until that point and then of course Hagrid busted in. He had his pink umbrella, the homemade cake and his letter and it was pretty good. Something I was quite impressed with was that a lot of the dialouge in the first film is word for word like in the book, which is incredibly impressive. They left out some bits of discussion from the book, but nothing that was particularly important. They did also do a great job of showing Petunia’s rage and jealousy of her sister in this scene, which I was really happy with because it is an important part of her character and Harry’s.
The only thing that annoyed me about this part of the film was the line ‘Yer a wizard Harry’, which I’m sure you’re all confused by because it’s such an iconic line, but the reason it annoys me is because that isn’t the actual line in the book. In the book Hagrid says ‘Harry – Yer a wizard’ not the other way around and I feel so lied to! 🤦♀️ Everything I thought was a lie and I can’t believe I only just noticed it! Has anyone else noticed this? Does it make anyone else unreasonably annoyed?
Chapter 5 – Diagon Alley
Honestly this scene was pretty much perfect. The atmosphere is amazing and they just got the vibe so right. The only thing that’s wrong is that of course Harry meets Malfoy in Madam Malkin’s not at Hogwarts, but this is a small detail and I don’t think it matters which way round it is when it comes to the film. It was only that way round in the film to spark Harry asking Hagrid more questions, which wasn’t necessary in the films.
Chapter 6 – The Journey From Platform 9 3/4
This is the first part that is really quite different from the books because in the film, we are led to believe that Harry buys his things and goes to Hogwarts pretty much the same day with Hagrdi dropping him off, but in the books he has to go back to the Dursely’s for a month and then they drop them off and abandon him at the station because they of course don’t think platform 9 3/4 exists. After that is is pretty accurate with him meeting the Weasley’s and him and Ron sitting together on the train, but they do miss out a lot of their conversation and some talk between the Harry and the other Weasley brothers.
We see Percy with his prefect badge, which I’m sad they didn’t include because it’s hilarious 😂, we see the twins help Harry with his case and ask him if he is Harry Potter and there is a lot more talk between Harry and Ron on the train about the wizarding world in general. Day to day wizarding culture that Ron tells Harry about isn’t essential to the storyline, which is why they didn’t include it, but for a die hard fan like me, I would have loved to see that. There is also much more talk about the Weasleys and how poor they are, which is glossed over a lot more in the films just like the Durselys, which I also didn’t like because it is an essential part of Ron’s and all the Weasley’s characters and it was toned down.
Chapter 7 – The Sorting Hat
This part was also pretty accurate, especially with Harry and the hat arguing. The only two things I have to say are that I will never forgive them for not putting peeves in the films and also apparently Seamus is blond!? I honestly don’t remember him every being blond because I often gloss over character descriptions or for some reason they just don’t register and I ignore them and keep imagining them like I was, but he’s blond and the film got it wrong. Please comment below if you knew he was blond and if it was just me that was out of the loop there!?
Chapter 8 – Potions Master
I only have two things to say here: one, Hagrid is amazing because he sent Harry a note in the mail to ask him to come see him just so Harry would get some post, which warms my heart 💕 and two, they yet again seriously downplayed Snape’s cruelty. Their first class with him really didn’t happen like it did in the film at all because they seemed to want to downplay everything that was too cruel.
Chapter 9 – The Midnight Duel
Most of this chapter was just straight up not in the film. Of course we had the iconic part where Neville fell off his broom and Harry got chosen for the Quidditch team because of Malfoy’s meddling, but they completely left out the midnight duel part. The duel doesn’t exactly further the plot in anyway, but it develops the characters a lot more and lets us see more of Hermione before she became friends with the boys.
Also just as a note in general with both the book and the movie, I will never understand why Madam Hooch didn’t just stop Neville from falling with Magic. She’s a professor and is a skilled witch, so surely she could have just done either ‘Aresto Momento‘ or ‘Imobulous‘ to stop his fall? Please tell me if you know why she didn’t because I am still confused!
Chapter 10 – Halloween
For once, I think I have to say that the movie did the beginning of this scene better! Quirell running in and screaming ‘TROLL IN THE DUNGEON’ is so much better than the pathetic way it was described in the book and honestly I think it was more in character too. And of course we were given the classic Malfoy screaming face, which was obviously the best thing to come out of this film. 😂 However, having said that we didn’t get to hear the narration of the story, which gave us the golden line’ Percy was in his element!’, which I’m very sad about because I think Percy is hilarious!
One stark difference I did notice though was how Ron casted Wingardium Leviosa in book. In the film Hermione keeps her cool and directs him, but that wasn’t how it was originally written. Hermione was beside herself most of the time and Ron casted that spell all on his own and thought to do it on his own. It annoys me that they changed this particularly because that small thing completely changes how you see the characters. Hermione might be brilliant, but she panicked and didn’t know how to handle it whereas Ron is much smarter and braver than anyone gives him credit for, which really isn’t shown in the movie. We see this later on as well, but I’ll talk about that later.
Chapter 11 – Quidditch
This scene was pretty much spot on because really it was only the game of Quidditch. We were robbed of Lee Jordon’s excellent commentary because he is far more tame in the films and we didn’t get to see the Weasley twins mock Oliver Wood’s speech 😂
Chapter 12 – The Mirror of Erised
This is where the film starts to fall apart a bit when it comes to accuracy. It starts off well with word for word dialogue and wizard’s chess of course, but then starts to fall apart when it gets to Christmas. We only see Harry get the cloak in the film and Ron mentions that he has a Weasley jumper, but we never see it. This annoyed me in particular because some of the presents he’s given are actually really essential to the plot later on that they then of course had to change because they didn’t include them and it also diminishes the friendships he’s already made. He never got anything at the Dursely’s house and yet already he’s built up his own family of people that care about him and that’s really important.
The other thing they left out was the second half of Dumbledore’s speech to Harry when he found the Mirror of Erised. In the book he explained why Ron saw what he saw, which again expanded on the fact that he is poor and he feels inadequate, which is a huge part of who he is and the conflict he has with Harry in later books. They also left out the part where Harry asks Dumbledore what he sees and he lies and says socks. This isn’t particularly important the plot of the film; however, it is pretty significant now with the new fantastic beasts films out because we of course now know that he sees him and Grindelwald together, so the parallel no longer works in the films because they chose to leave that out.
Chapter 13 – Nicholas Flamel
The chapter is pretty much completely different in the film. The missed out the parts where Harry and Ron are telling Neville to stand up to Malfoy instead of letting himself get pushed around, which is essential to Neville’s character development even just in this book. They also find Nicholas Flamel in a different way because it just skips to Hermione having found him in a book instead of harry remembering it from a chocolate frog card, which is where he read the name originally on the train, which they also left out.
Then there is the Quidditch match against Hufflepuff, which just straight up doesn’t happen in the films. The match again isn’t important to the plot, but is important in Harry’s character development because he catches the snitch in under 5 minutes, which is basically a world record and proves himself to be more than just a famous name. It is also important because he then pretty much immediately loses those points later because of Hagrid’s damn dragon. They then also find out more about what’s guarding the Philosopher’s Stone by Harry following Snape to the forbidden forest on his broom after the match, which was never in the film. They found out all their information from Hagrid in the film, which was completely wrong because while he did tell them some things, despite him not meaning to, they figured most of it out on their own because they are all incredibly talented children.
Chapter 14 – Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback
Yet again, this is completely different in the film. In the film the trio run down to Hagrid’s hut as soon as they’ve found Nicholas Flamel and the dragon egg hatches immediately, but they actually don’t go down until weeks later when Hagrid invites them down. There is also no mention of exams and Hermione’s exam timetables in the films, which is again pretty important to her character. Once they have discovered the dragon egg they make plans to get Charlie Weasley’s friends to collect it and of course it backfires entirely because Ron is injured and can’t help, Malfoy finds out, Neville tries to warn them and gets caught and Harry and Hermione leave the damn invisibility cloak at the top of the tower. None of that happened on the film as it’s just said that Dumbledore sent the dragon to Romania and they get detention because they were at Hagrid’s hut after dark even though that’s not how it happened in the book.
As you can see this chapter is entirely different, including the fact that Ron never got detention. It was Neville not Ron, which was completely different in the film. I reckon they probably changed it because it would have been difficult to CGI a bigger dragon and it would have been more work to stage and film, but I still think it would have been so much better if they’d just put in that effort because I find that when they change things in films like that there are some things you can’t connect with the knowledge they present you with. Everything in a book is written for a reason, so when you leave things out, not all the dots will connect and you sometimes can’t figure things out.
Also everyone hated Harry after this ordeal because between the 3 of them they lost 150 points (almost all the ones they won through Quidditch) and put them back in last place, which would have been tough on Harry mentally after being ignored and hated by the Dursley’s for his whole life, it would have been hard to have his new and only family turn on him too and it just wasn’t shown.
Chapter 15 – The Forbidden Forest
Detention is the Forbidden Forest is pretty similar between books and movie apart from the fact that it was supposed to be Neville not Ron. They did however miss out the part where they meet the other centaurs and they berate Firenze for letting Harry ride him. They also didn’t include Hagrid putting Malfoy in his place. Hagrid doesn’t take any of Malfoy’s nonsense in the books and tells him he’s a cowardly idiot and needs to suck it up or go home and I hate that they missed that out because they portray Hagrid as weaker than he is.
Chapter 16 – Through the Trapdoor
This chapter starts of well in the films with Neville confronting the trio and Hermione body binding him, but then it starts getting more and more inaccurate. The meet peeves on the way to the trapdoor and Harry scares him off by pretending to be the bloody baron, which is so clever of him and shows that he isn’t as stupid is some think he is, but that of course wasn’t included because they never included Peeves. They also use the flute the Hagrid have Harry for Christmas to lull Fluffy to sleep, but that was changed as well because they didn’t include the other Christmas presents.
You remember earlier when I told you we’d come back to the fact that they changed Ron’s character a lot and had him panic instead of being the level-headed one? Well this is where we’re going to come back to it because the scene with the devils snare has always infuriated me. In the movie Ron and Harry panic and Hermione is straight through. Harry follows, but Ron continues to panic like an idiot and Hermione has to save him. However, that is not at all what happened in the book. They all panic in the book, but Hermione knows it is devil snare and that it hates the light, but she doesn’t know what to do. Harry tells her to start a fire (proving his quick thinking and smarts again) and Hermione (who is still panicking and not thinking) says ‘but there’s no wood’. Ron responds to this by yelling ‘ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT’ and then of course Hermione starts a fire like she did to Snape’s cloak at the first Quidditch match. It really is a joint effort with Hermione’s joint knowledge, Harry’s quick thinking and Ron’s common sense that got them out of it, so i don’t think it was fair that Hermione got all the praise in the film and Ron was made to look like a moron.
Then it is the flying keys, which was pretty accurate and the giant chess, which was also good except Ron did actually get hurt in the books (he got knocked round the head) as opposed to just falling a few metres off a horse piece in the film. Then there were the two tasks they missed out. There was the troll, which they didn’t actually have to face because Quirrell had already knocked it out, but then there were the potions. I really wish they had included this because it shows just how intelligent Hermione is and provides a real concrete reason as to why Hermione has to stay behind because in the book they did just leave Ron on the chess board in order to prioritise saving the stone. Hermione did of course go back, but only once faced with no other option.
Chapter 17 – The Man With Two Faces
The part where Harry faces Quirrell/Voldemort is pretty accurate apart from the fact that Quirrell doesn’t actually disintegrate; he is just badly burnt and left to die by Voldemort. It is the hospital wing afterwards that is slightly different. Dumbledore still comes to see him and that is all pretty good word for word dialogue, but they missed the part where Hagrid came to see him. In the film Hagrid gives Harry the book of his parents on the platform, but he actually gives it to him in the hospital wing and he is so torn up about the fact that he was the one that told them how to get past Fluffy. He blames himself for them getting hurt and thinks he deserves to be sacked, which gives us a great insight into his character. Hagrid thinks so low of himself and always strives to do the right thing. He prides himself on his job as being trusted by Dumbledore and cares for Harry and his friends so dearly that he is so torn up about the fact that they could have been hurt and he told Quirrell how to get past Fluffy therefore letting down Dumbledore in his eyes.
The last thing we don’t see in the film is the trio arriving back at platform 9 3/4 and meeting their respective relatives. Mrs Weasley meets the Dursley’s and the trio actually get to see them, which is pretty important because I don’t think they actually ever do in the films except perhaps a glimpse as Ron and the twins save him in the car in book 2.
Other things that were strange about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Movie
- Professer Flitwick was played by someone else in the first film
- The location of the Fat Lady drastically changes in all the other films.
- The classrooms all look completely different in all the other films.
- There is zero wand continuity throughout the entire movie franchise and the wands they sell as merch, which is just really annoying.
And that concludes my first ‘Book vs Movie Comparison’! As I predicted it took a long time to write, but I had loads of fun really analysing the book and seeing what things they didn’t put in the films that I think they should have. As I said at the beginning, this was in no way meant to be me bashing the Harry Potter films because I do really love them and I can honestly say they are the best book to movie adaptations I’ve ever seen in terms of accuracy, casting, overall vibe etc. It was just a bit of fun and I hope all those other Harry Potter fanatics liked analysing the book and movie with me! Did you enjoy my comparison of the two? Would you like me to do more? What do you think of the Harry Potter films? Let me know down below or over on my Instagram (@theoriginalbookdragon)!
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out