Monday, July 6, 2015

Harry Potter (And Why Books are Always Better)

It's that time of year again. Every summer I re-read the Harry Potter series. I know it seems silly. I've read them before. I've watched all the movies. Why read them again? I know what happens. 
I always read my favorite books more than once. If you have a favorite movie, wouldn't you watch it more than once? 

I love these characters and I love this story. There's something special about reading it over and over again. There's so much more in the books that isn't included in the movies. And just because the story is over, that doesn't mean I can't re-visit whenever I want. That's the beauty of books.

J.K. Rowling has created a world where magic is real, anything is possible, love is a powerful and unbeatable force, and good triumphs over evil. What's not to love? Even though I know these are technically children's books, I can't help but appreciate them more and more as I get older. In a world where lines are always blurred, right and wrong are no longer easily defined, and absolute truths are scoffed at and considered ignorant, it's nice to escape to a place where good and evil are a little bit easier to distinguish.  

I've just completed the series again, and I've lost count of how many times I've read it. (I'm thinking at least 5?) I love the movies almost as much, but the more I read the books the more disappointed I am in the movies. There is so much left out; so much that seems unimportant at first but that is absolutely necessary to understand all the aspects of the story as Rowling intended. It doesn't take away from the acclaim of the movies, I just have to take the two as separate entities. I've seen this photo floating around the internet and I have to agree with it.

It's a good illustration to portray what I mean. It may seem like the screenwriters left out only the parts of the book that the story didn't really need; however, the author puts all that in the book for a reason.

For instance, those of you who haven't read the books, can you explain why Voldemort's body-binding curse on Neville didn't last at the end of the last movie? Why was Neville able to break free so easily? If you didn't read the book then you don't know that when Harry voluntarily sacrificed himself and allowed Voldemort to kill him, he imbibed everyone at Hogwarts with the same protection that his mother gave him when she died to save him. He died to save everyone there and his self-sacrifice protected them from Voldemort. It's a complicated notion that is fully explained in the books, but only hinted at in the movie. Also, if you didn't read the books you were never introduced to Peeves or Winky, and you didn't ever really get to know Kreacher. Also, if you never read the books then you never understood what a total badass Ginny Weasley was. 

I love reading and I love literature, so of course I am going to passionately defend the book over the movie every time (Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Water for Elephants, even Twilight was better as a book - although still not great).  I know not everyone loves to read the way that I do. However, even if you hate it, I would challenge you to find a book that has a movie counterpart and read it. See how much you miss out on by not reading the book. I think you'll be surprised.

As always, when I write a post about a book, here are some of my favorite quotes from the Harry Potter series. Since it's a 7 book series and I don't want to bore you, I narrowed it down to my 2 favorite quotes from each book.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • "After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." - Dumbledore
  • "The trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them." - Dumbledore
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are far more than our abilities." - Dumbledore
  • "Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain!" - Arthur Weasley
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." - The Maurauders
  • "You think the dead we have loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?" - Dumbledore
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." - Sirius Black
  • "It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be." - Dumbledore
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • "Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young." - Dumbledore
  • "Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect." - Luna Lovegood
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
  • ". . . people find it easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right." - Dumbledore
  • "It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more." - Dumbledore
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • "We're all human aren't we? Every human life is the same and worth saving." - Kingsley Shacklebolt
  • ". . . perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it . . . " - Dumbledore

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