5 Reasons Why I Like the Harry Potter Books More Than the Movies

E! Online recently published an article called “Five Reasons the Harry Potter Movies Are (Gasp!) Better Than the Books!” I gasped all right. The Harry Potter movies are better than the books? No freaking way! I mean, I like the movies and I’ll definitely see Deathly Hallows Part 1 this weekend, but the books have a special place in my heart.

Their list is all in good fun, but I couldn’t just leave it alone. So here are five reasons why I like the Harry Potter books better than the movies:

1. Characters have more depth in the books – After reading seven books, I feel like readers really got to know the characters in Harry Potter, including many details that never made it into the movies. For instance, after watching Goblet of Fire, you might think Hermione spent all her time studying and romancing Viktor Krum. However, in the book she organized the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW) and put a lot of energy into harassing her friends to join the cause, but that didn’t make it into the movie (they also minimized Dobby and Kreacher’s movie roles). There are lots of other examples too: no Peeves the Poltergeist, we don’t see Neville visiting his parents in St. Mungo’s in Order of the Phoenix, and I didn’t think the relationship between Sirius and Harry was fully developed. And I can’t even tell you how disappointed I was that Dumbledore’s funeral wasn’t in the Half-Blood Prince movie. He deserved better than that.

2. Incredibly detailed subplots – When condensing a 700 page book into a 2-3 hour movie, a lot of material has to be cut–there’s just no avoiding it. But it’s all those little details that I love. Like the elaborate back story of the giants, details about the origins of the Marauders and their map, the Quidditch World Cup, Tom Riddle’s history, etc. It’s those details that make the world Rowling created so special.

3. No limit on my imagination – The thing I like about reading the books is that there is no limit on my imagination and what I visualize while reading them. Overall, I think the movies did a wonderful job of recreating the wizarding world, but on certain things I prefer my mental image. I always imagine Dumbledore looking more like Richard Harris than Michael Gambon, and Gary Oldman isn’t quite my image of Sirius Black. But I can imagine them any way I want when reading the books.

4. Humor – The overall story of Harry Potter is quite dark, but Rowling tempers that with humor sprinkled throughout the books. I’ve always felt that the movies never quite captured that wit and humor as well as the books. The movies seem really dark and when they do try to be funny, they go for the obvious joke, like in Half-Blood Prince when Cormac McLaggen pukes Dragonballs all over Snape’s shoes. Lame.

5. More bang for your buck – I’ve spent countless hours reading the books, and I’ve had so much more fun reading than watching the movies. I have great memories of reading the books along with Jose, trading the book on and off, and having great conversations about what we had read. I can’t really say the same for the movies.

One thing I do think the movies do better is Quidditch. Yeah, the movies cut out a lot of the Quidditch scenes that were in the book, but I found watching Quidditch was WAY more interesting than reading about it.

So do you like the Harry Potter books better than the movies? Or are you more of a movie person? Let me know in the comments!

Follow me on Twitter @kristendaemons

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  • http://www.daemonsbooks.com/author/sandie/ Sandie

    I think like you Kristen, I do enjoy the books more than the movies, because like you mentioned they include so many more details from the Harry Potter world, which I never get tired of reading about.

    That said I adore the movies and have watched all of them multiple times. To me it’s not an either or situation, but more of an additional way for me to enjoy the world of Harry Potter. Plus, I think they did a wonderful adaptation of the books. Sure there are lots of details left out, and moments I really loved in the books, but overall I think they did a great job in the sense that someone who hasn’t read the books, would still enjoy and understand the story.

    And also to be honest, I don’t totally agree with #3 “No limit on my imagination” because I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really remember character descriptions when I read books, or even sometimes end up imagining something completely different than what the author described (I know, weird). So the movies actually helped me put a clearer face on the characters, which I love, because now when I re-read them, it’s like I’m watching a movie while reading. Of course the fact that I like the actors picked for the roles, doesn’t hurt either.

    As for #5 More bang for your buck, well I actually think I have spent more time re-watching the movies and discussing them than I have reading the books. Plus in order to discuss the books you need to know someone who has read them all, and unfortunately not all my friends have, so talking about the movies is sometimes more frequent.

    But that said, do I people who have seen the movies should read the books, absolutely. If you love the universe, you’ll love the books because they give you an even deeper look at it.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing Kristen, I loved reading about the reasons you love the books more, and you also reminded me of a lot of great moments in the books that are not in the movies. I think it’s time to read the books again!

    • http://www.daemonsbooks.com/author/kristen Kristen

      Sandie – Thanks for your comments! I wrote this because I felt the need to profess my love for the books, but I agree with you that it’s not an either or situation. With the exception of the things I pointed out above, I think the movies are incredibly well done. I love the actors that play the trio and I love Alan Rickman as Snape. Plus, the movies bring more attention to the books, which is always a good thing :)

  • http://www.takaiguchi.com Taka Iguchi

    Interesting. I was just thinking about reading the books. How long are they? Are all the books made into movies now?