By Cole Parkinson
Ever since 2002, Harry Potter has been my favourite series of all time.
Every year I get the urge to either read the books again or watch all the movies from beginning to end.
Last summer I did both as I would read the book and then watch the corresponding movie right after to compare how they stacked up.
While I do like the books more than the movies, I feel people who have read the books are always stuck on missing scenes, characters or plot points that they are used to reading in the books.
I like to look at both as two different tellings of the same story, with the movie under constraints of shorter runtimes whereas the books have unlimited pages to go into detail on exactly what J.K. Rowling had imagined.
With that in mind, though, some movies would have greatly benefitted by adding more from the adapted book, but we’ll get into that.
While I have favourites for both, I still find all the books and movies to be enjoyable in their own way.
From favourite to least favourite books goes like this – Deathly Hallows, Half-Blood Prince, Goblet of Fire, Prisoner of Azkaban, Chamber of Secrets, Order of the Phoenix and Philosopher’s Stone.
My favourite movie to least favourite is – Deathly Hallows, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Chamber of Secrets, Half-Blood Prince and Philosopher’s Stone.
Now I don’t hate the Philosopher’s Stone by any stretch but it was always my least favourite on both mediums.
It’s a great kickoff to the series that offers plenty of great moments, I just feel every other book/film improved on the first in the series.
While it introduced us to most of the beloved characters that are featured throughout the rest of the series, I always wanted to rush through the book or movie to get into the real meat of the series.
With both Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets movies kicking off my Harry Potter fandom, I always found Chamber of Secrets to be the more enjoyable movie, and book when I eventually went back to read it.
It’s darker, more mysterious and had the basilisk, quite possibly my favourite creature in Harry Potter lore.
The book and movie are fairly similar to each other as the book wasn’t a massive piece of literature like some of the later books which allowed them to fit most of the plot points into the over two-and-a-half hour movie.
Unlike a lot of people, my first Harry Potter book was the Prisoner of Azkaban as I had watched the first two movies before jumping into the books.
Much like it was my first Harry Potter book, Prisoner of Azkaban was also my first Potter movie I got to experience in a movie theatre.
While going to see a movie on the big screen may not always be something people remember as it is fairly common nowadays, I can vividly remember seeing PoA down to the time of day and what I did before and after the movie.
The third movie offered quite a big stylistic change from the first two movies and this was a big reason why I like it so much.
Much like the first two movies, the length of the book allowed to fit a lot into the film adaption and to this day the time turner sequence remains my favourite part of any Harry Potter movie.
The introduction of Sirius Black and Remus Lupin were major reasons why I always liked Prisoner of Azkaban and the book really was the main reason why I continued to read the rest of the books.
Going down the list, Goblet of Fire had always been my favourite book before six and seven came out with the main reason being the Triwizard Tournament chapters.
All three of the tasks to win the Triwizard Cup were exceptionally exciting especially with the final task leading to the reintroduction of Voldemort.
While the movie had to cut back on plot points and characters (S.P.E.W., Quidditch World Cup, Ludo Bagman, Winky and Dobby just to name a few), it would have required two movies to completely tell the entire book story.
While the plenty of workarounds needed were completely fine, a lot of Potter fans don’t rank the fourth movie that high.
Even though I am disappointed they cut out the entire Quidditch World Cup game, it makes sense why it was done.
And while Goblet of Fire had a long page count, Order of the Phoenix is even longer.
While it ranks near the bottom for books, it really comes down to my love for the other books and the fact the book is way too long.
In terms of characters, though, Dolores Umbridge may be my most hated person in all of literature and that really means something considering Lord Voldemort is in these same books.
I really do love the scenes/chapters revolving around Dumbledore’s Army and having Harry be this leader of men when a lot of people don’t believe him.
The movie also does a great job of transitioning to the screen as the movie had the chance to cut out some of the fat that wasn’t all that relevant in the book.
While I miss quidditch in the movie, it makes sense why it was cut as they had a massive story to stuff into a movie.
Even though it may not necessarily be a major story beat, cutting out Ron and Hermione being prefects always bugged me as it was a major reason why Harry felt so alone in his fifth year at Hogwarts but alas, the adaption was fairly consistent.
Now we get to the Half-Blood Prince which is easily interchangeable with book seven as my favourite in the series.
One of the, if not the most important, storylines in the book is Harry learning about Voldemort’s past and every chapter revolving around that was incredibly well-done which is why the movie suffered.
I always felt like they focused on the wrong thing when writing the screenplay for the film adaption which is the main reason why it ranks so low for me.
While the Harry/Ginny/Dean and Ron/Lavender/Hermione love triangles were present in the novel, they were never the main focus of the book while the movie really hones in on that plot point.
The missing Voldemort memories from the book really would have helped flesh out how Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort.
I would argue the sixth book was the most important book in all of Harry Potter as it explains so much about how and why Voldemort is the way he is and the movie really just skims over it even though it is crucial information going into the seventh entry.
Finally, Deathly Hallows has some of my favourite sequences in Harry Potter movies and books, especially the break into Gringotts and the battle of Hogwarts.
Sticking the landing when finishing any series whether it be books, movies or television shows can be tricky but I feel Rowling did a masterful job in wrapping up the journeys of Harry, Ron and Hermione.
While I wish the ending after the Battle of Hogwarts was longer, there really wasn’t a ton of other things I wanted to see in the final book.
Now obviously the movie was split into two in order to fit as much from the book into the movie as possible but I always classify it as one movie due to the fact you need to watch both parts to have an entire movie.
With the added extra time, the movie does a really good job of getting all of the key points into the movie while also cutting things that aren’t totally necessary to the story.
The movie is an incredible spectacle and the Battle of Hogwarts is some of the best film work done in the entire series.
As a major Potter fan, my biggest gripe (though minor) with the movie was always Harry not fixing his own wand with the Elder Wand after the battle.
Either way, every book and movie is incredibly enjoyable and I’m sure I’ll be starting from the beginning in a few months.