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Movie vs. Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. II

By Alyssa Henry

SPOILER ALERT: This post is a comparison of major plot points in the movie and book versions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. II. There are spoilers of major scenes, events and deaths.

When I was 11, I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time. I was the same age as Harry when he first received his Hogwarts letter. (Unfortunately, it seems that mine got lost in the mail.)  Since then, there have been 7 books, 8 movies, and one epic adventure.  Here are some of my favorite moments that were true to the book, and some that were changed for the big screen.

True to the book: One moment the movie does well is the quasi dream-sequence after Harry lets Voldemort kill him in the Forbidden Forrest. The movie stays true to the scenery and imagery from the book. Kings Cross station is a surreal, stark white place, hovering between life and death. The dialogue between Harry and Dumbledore is the same as in the novel, and ends with one of my favorite quotes of the series: “Of course this is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth must that mean that it is not real?”.

There are other key scenes that fans love from the books, and the movie does not disappoint. First is when Neville kills Nagini, Voldemort’s snake. This is his defining moment in the series, as Neville has been underestimated his whole life by his grandmother, his teachers, and even his friends. In Deathly Hallows Pt. II, he leads the student revolt at Hogwarts and stands up to Voldemort when he believes Harry is dead. Destroying the final Horcruxes cements him as a hero, and the fans in the theater loved it.

And another defining moment: when Mrs. Weasley kills Bellaxtrix Lestrange after she attacks her daughter, Ginny. The loudest applause in the theater happened when Mrs. Weasley shouts, “Not my daughter, you bitch!” and hits her with the killing curse.

And finally — the long-awaited kiss between Ron and Hermione. It was a perfect moment of love, amidst the death and destruction happening in the final battle of Hogwarts.

Altered for the big screen: While those moments came to life on the big screen, there were some that strayed from J.K. Rowling’s novel. Fred Weasley’s death in the book takes place in a hectic battle with Death Eaters, as Harry and Ron look on. In the movie, his death feels marginalized. Instead of watching him get killed in action, we see his family mourning over his body in the Great Hall. It’s one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the books, but without seeing him killed in the movie, it loses its effectiveness.

Another small, but notable, difference is the location of Snape’s death. In the book, he’s killed by Voldemort in the Shrieking Shack. In the movie, it takes place in the never-before-seen-or-mentioned Hogwarts “boat house”. The scene and memories are the same, and Snape is still a tragic hero of sorts. It’s just a minor annoyance that this location has never previously existed in the books or movies.

While Harry’s fight with Voldemort is a thrilling chase through Hogwart’s castle, Voldemort’s actual death is anti-climactic. In the book, the final duel between Harry and Voldemort takes place in the Great Hall in front of the entire crowd of Hogwarts students, teachers and Death Eaters, and a cheer erupts when he’s finally defeated. In the movie, however, Harry and Voldemort fight alone in the courtyard and when Voldemort is killed, he explodes into a million tiny pieces with a strange visual effect of dust floating in the air. He dissolves into the atmosphere with no one around to witness it.

And there is one more important plot point that was altered for the movie: Harry doesn’t repair his wand at the end of the film. As true HP fans know, in the books, Harry loves his wand because it’s one of the first things he receives that ties him to the wizarding world. So when it breaks in the novel, he spends much of his time mourning it. He then uses the elder wand to repair, before disposing of the elder wand itself.  In the film, however, he breaks the elder wand in two and throws it away without ever fixing his own wand.

Final Thoughts
Overall, Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Pt. II is an excellent adaptation of the book, as it captures the essence of the entire series. It’s a battle of good and evil, dark and light, and life and death, with the story of friendship at its core. It’s true to the characters and the plot and paints a vibrant picture of the final battle of Hogwarts.

So, my fellow Harry Potter fans, let us raise a glass to Harry Potter… the boy who lived.

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Review: The Hunger Games

Recap: In a post-apocalyptic world, the only way for people to survive is to fight to the death. And so begins the story of The Hunger Games. The country of Panem is divided into 12 districts. Two 12 to 18-year-olds from each district must fight each other in the Hunger Games until only one remains. It’s a sporting event that takes place every year. Teens must fight for their survival, and win not only recognition for his/her district, but a lifetime of food, wealth, shelter, and fame.

Katniss Everdeen offers to play as one of the District 12 representatives in the Games after her younger sister, Prim, is chosen. Katniss simply can’t allow her 12-year-old sister to play. And so Katniss begins training and preparing to enter the arena. She must learn the ways of the Games, the importance of getting sponsors, and at the same time, she must do it alongside her opponent from the same district, Peeta.

The Games go on for a number of weeks. Together and apart, Katniss and Peeta must combat starvation, tracker jacker attacks, fire, and beasts – in addition to the 22 other tributes (as they’re called) trying to kill them. But the relationship between Katniss and Peeta never stays completely professional. Unbeknownst to Katniss, she falls for Peeta, and he does the same.

Analysis: I could not put this book down. Much like J.K. Rowling does with the Harry Potter series, Suzanne Collins creates an entirely different and unfamiliar world with The Hunger Games. The intrigue of the foreign setting pulls the reader in. It then develops further as the actual games begin. One assumes Katniss will win, but then other characters begin to develop. We start to think “No! If Katniss wins, that means Peeta must die! And what about so-and-so and so-and-so?” It becomes too much.

And of course, there’s the love story. No action thriller would be complete without it, right? But it’s the atypical love story – one in which the reader questions whether or not Katniss and Peeta find true love or make it up for show, for the games.

Every plot point consumed me, forcing me to turn the pages, until the final page left me breathless and in desperate and immediate need of the sequel.

MVP: Peeta. Yes, Katniss is the heroine here – a strong, resilient, and humble fighter. But it’s Peeta for whom one feels sympathy. He’s the one holding out for and protecting his love, the one who’s a bit weak physically but has a strong heart. As much as Katniss refuses to admit it, she falls in love with Peeta. And the reader can’t help but do the same.

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Movie vs. Book: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

In a series that not only focuses on the love between a human and a vampire, but also the hatred between vampires and werewolves, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse breaks the rules.

In the third installment of the successful young adult, fantasy series, Eclipse brings the werewolves and vampires together in order protect their common interest: Bella, of course. Bella’s vampire boyfriend Edward and werewolf best friend Jacob must learn to get over the mythical hatred between their two species to save Bella from the vengeful vampire Victoria. Because Edward killed Victoria’s lover in an earlier book, Victoria wants to inflict the same kind of pain on Edward by killing Bella. So Victoria builds an army of young – and difficult to control – vampires to feast on the beautiful human girl.

With Edward and Jacob working together, the love triangle between Bella and her two loves reaches its breaking point. Bella and Jacob finally kiss, as she admits her love for him.

The Eclipse movie stays true to the novel in terms of plot, and the action scenes are gripping. Chalk it up to good cinematography, soundtrack, and effects. But there’s one flaw in Eclipse that holds true for the other Twilight movies as well. Whereas the movie follows the plot correctly, it doesn’t produce the same emotions about the two male love interests.

In regards to the novel, the reader is immediately smitten with Edward. Like Bella, that initial attraction remains strong throughout the series. We understand the inexplicable connection that binds the two and why she is willing to sacrifice a human life for him. When reading the first novel in particular, I was brought back to my high school days, reminiscing about the boy I would have done anything for. Jacob, in turn, becomes a nuisance in Eclipse.

But in the movie, Edward comes across as controlling, intense, and creepy. Jacob repeatedly explains to Bella that Edward can’t offer her the life of normalcy he would be able to give her. And we, the viewers, find ourselves nodding along with him.

I realized this when I discussed the movie with a friend who had not read the books, but had seen the movies. She was Team Jacob, and I was Team Edward. When I watched Eclipse through her eyes, I understood why she disliked Edward. And that’s the problem with the movie; the viewer should love Edward as much as Bella does – just like in the books.

Eclipse is full of bad acting, and therein lies the problem. Robert Pattison is mediocre; Taylor Lautner is good; but Kristin Stewart is awful. If she emoted her character’s feelings better, we would understand them more.

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Movie vs. Book: Never Let Me Go

What would the world be like if genetic cloning was a common occurrence? If people were genetically designed to donate organs to those who were sick? If these donors weren’t even considered humans, but just clones? That’s the world that Never Let Me Go aims to explore.

A science fiction novel set in modern times, Never Let Me Go follows the lives of Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth, who are students at Hailsham boarding school in England. Initially the reader learns Hailsham is not your average boarding school, but we don’t understand why until later. We learn that the students are all genetically designed to make organ donations to the ill until they “complete,” or die. This is never said outright, but the reader learns it from context clues. Suddenly, the dynamic of the relationships in the book become much more engaging.

The story sounds weird, but in actuality, it’s tragic. Tommy and Kathy have always been in love, but Tommy dates Kathy’s frenemy Ruth instead. After their schooling, the three friends join society and start their work. Ruth and Tommy become donors, spending their time preparing for surgery, undergoing surgery, and recovering from it. Kathy, in turn, becomes a carer – taking care of donors for years until she decides she is ready to become a donor herself.

After 10 years of not seeing each other, the three reunite. Ruth apologizes for keeping Tommy and Kathy away from each other and urges them to try to get a deferral. A deferral, they’ve heard, is a 3-year delay for donations, granted to donors who can prove they’re in love.

As mentioned, this is a story of tragedy. And surprisingly, that’s felt both in the book and the movie. Though the movie leaves out a few minor plotlines (like Kathy’s exploration into sex), it follows the story pretty closely. The movie is more blunt about their purpose as donors than the book. Whereas the reader has to figure it out for him or herself in the book, the movie outright tells the audience what the situation is. The bluntness forces the movie to lose some of the story’s mystique, but it’s necessary to keep it moving.

Overall, the story translates quite well to screen. The acting is solid (with Carey Mulligan as Kathy, Andrew Garfield as Tommy, and Kiera Knightley as Ruth), the cinematography is beautiful and the story flows well. It didn’t do well in theaters, but I think that’s because the story is unusual when compared to your average love triangle. I would still recommend the movie, as well as the book.

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