Hello fellow Harry Potter fans! It’s Harry Potter week, and that means getting ready for HP movie marathons and re-reading the series! When I entered the world of Harry Potter, you could say I entered in reverse. I actually watched the movies before I read all of the books. This is very unusual for me, since I always try to read the book before the movie adaptation comes out. However, when I was younger I just couldn’t seem to pick up the books and read them. I like to think of it as something that was meant to be. With that being said, there are some pros and cons to experiencing Harry Potter in “reverse.”
I was always very surprised while watching the movies. I wasn’t aware of what was going to happen before it actually did. I had no idea who opened the Chamber of Secrets, that Professor Quirrell and Voldemort shared a body, that Scabbers was really Peter Pettigrew the entire time, and so much more. I had those jaw dropping moments from 2001 through 2011.
In addition, I didn’t have to worry about comparing the movie to the book constantly. I always find myself being very critical throughout a movie if it isn’t close to the book. As a book lover, this is only second nature while watching a movie adaptation of a book series you love. However, it can ruin an entire movie experience. It can even make you leave the theater in a rush to read the book again to force the bad movie memory out.
My favorite aspect of movies are the leitmotifs throughout, otherwise known as a musical theme for a person or place. When I’m reading I miss out on that piece – I don’t get the emotional reaction and connection that those leitmotifs induce. How else will I know to jump for joy when Hedwig is around the corner, or to tremble with worry when Lord Voldemort is close by?
It’s not news to say you miss out on some key, important, and fun details when watching the movies before reading the books. I knew that the world of Harry Potter was HUGE, but I didn’t know it was so big that I would miss out on some pretty rad details. For example, one of the biggest things I missed out on was Ginny Weasley. She was definitely in the movies, but I felt like half of her was missing after reading the books. I was able to see how fierce she truly was after reading, and how much more credit she deserved than she got in the movies. I also understood how her and Harry’s relationship developed, whereas in the movie I was a tad confused on how it came to be. Another thing I missed out on while watching the movies was S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare). That was a big part of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and reoccurred throughout the series. Also, I loved following Hermione’s campaign in the books. The last, most upsetting occurrence that wasn’t included in the movies was the bonding between Ron, Hermione, Harry and Kreacher. This by far was probably my favorite moment in the books. Kreacher was much easier to understand in the books and it hurt my heart to hear of his past history with Crystal Cave. However, it was heartwarming to see his character development in regards to treating Hermione better, even though he had a strong dislike for her since, he thought of her as only a “Mudblood.”
Throughout the movies I would sometimes be confused about the plot, or at times completely lost. I couldn’t understand why one event had happened with seemingly no specific cause. At times I felt as if I had missed a piece of information right before a big reveal, only to rewind and realize I hadn’t. This was frustrating as a viewer because I could sense the small inconsistencies. However, as a reader I understood the plot and characters way better. For example, during the movies I always saw Snape as the bad guy, even down to his last breath I was confused as to which side he was on. Once I read the books I was able to have that “ah ha” moment and see that Snape was truly not as evil as everyone thought he was in the end. I enjoyed the storyline and the characters on a deeper and more enjoyable level while reading rather than watching the movies.
Overall, I wouldn’t change my “backwards” Harry Potter experience. I still love both the movies and the books and can appreciate them in two different ways. I know how to separate the two, and find the beauty in each. Last, but not least…
Let us know if you read the books first, or watched the movies first down in the comments below!