As I write this, I have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone playing in the background. Normally, this would not be important, but I have now read the book (I know, I'm way behind the times, but I saw the movie first and wanted to wait until closer to the end of the series to start reading the books). Having read it, I've noticed a few differences.
First, there is the opening. I like the build-up following Vernon Dursley around on the day the Potters died. Having him see all the curious witch and wizarding folk around town in celebration over the defeat of "He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named" would have been an interesting opening for the movie, but it was apparently decided to just start with Professor McGonagal watching the house at night and Dumbledore showing up.
Now as a filmmaker, I certainly understand why there must be a difference from book to screen because not every bit of information can be translated into a movie. However, there are a few moments I can't understand why they changed.
First, the longer moment with the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest would have been great. We barely see any of them in the movie, in fact there is just the one, Firenze. He is not portrayed at all like he is in the book, and the prophetic way of the centaurs is completely written out. Personally, I would have liked to see Harry riding Firenze. That feels like an important moment because it is something that centaurs consider extremely taboo.
Then there is the ending. In the movie we are left without the second troll, which is fine because he's already knocked out when Harry and Hermione get there, but the potions portion is definitely missing. Also, why was it necessary to change Devil's Snare's weakness to sunlight instead of fire? Maybe just a chance to show off some more magic spells.
But, back to the potions. This is a very important moment between Hermione and Harry. First, it is the moment in which Hermione really gets a chance to shine because of her quick mind. It is also a touching moment and the fire effect would have looked amazing on film. Harry and Hermione do have their moment (with the exact same dialogue from the potions scene I notice), but it doesn't feel quite as strong as it could have been.
The reason I am talking about this is because when I saw the movies I didn't get the fervor in which some fans (many who I consider good friends at this point) seemed drawn into the world. Now that I've read the book, it completely makes sense. I'm just glad I know so many of these people even without having read the book first, and I look forward to discussing things with them now that I am reading the series.
Also, the skill level between J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer is so remarkably sharp that it makes Meyer look like a teen girl writing her own masturbatory materials (wait...)
William the Bloody Magical Redd