Themes and Analysis

Harry potter and the philosopher’s stone, by j.k. rowling.

J.K. Rowling explores some essential themes within Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. An analysis of this book sheds light on how well structured and carefully planned most of the plot points of this book are.

Mohandas Alva

Article written by Mohandas Alva

M.A. Degree in English Literature from Manipal University, India.

‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ‘  is a children’s book, but it has a lot of essential life lessons for readers of all ages . The world-building for this novel hooks the readers into staying engaged , and the third-person narration adds to the detailed storytelling ability of the book. Several themes that are crucial to a child’s development are tackled in this book. Themes like love, friendship, and life lessons to tell apart absolute good and evil form a major part of the wide roster of themes that reside in this book.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone  Themes

Love and family.

One of the ‘standout’ themes of ‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, ‘ and by extension, the whole book series, is love. The very premise of Harry Potter surviving the killing curse of Lord Voldemort is based on the protection offered by Harry’s mother, Lily. By sacrificing herself to protect her son, she builds a strong magical shield around Harry, and Voldemort is destroyed by his very own curse as it rebounds.

Love is a recurring theme in the entire novel, and it dictates the dynamic of the plot. For instance, the lack of love from Harry’s foster family and his hatred towards them is in clear contrast to his desire to see his parents in the Mirror of Erised , which is fueled by love.

Although similar in many respects to love, friendship has a more nuanced role in ‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. ‘ Starting with Hagrid, who is Harry’s first friend in the book, Harry goes on to make several friends, including Ron and Hermione. Furthermore, the idea of making friends is also of major importance in ‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. ‘ 

When Harry meets Draco Malfoy for the first time in Madam Malkin’s shop, Harry has already formed an opinion of Draco, and during their second meeting, Harry rejects Draco’s hand at the friendship and remains loyal to the humble and kind-natured Ron. Harry says, “I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself, thanks.” which illustrates his confidence in making clear choices very early in this world he recently discovered. 

Another major theme in ‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ‘ is sacrifice. Harry Potter’s mother, Lily Potter, sacrifices her life to save him. Although Ron is partially responsible for Hermione being locked in with a mountain troll , Harry and Ron sacrifice their safety by choosing to save her from the troll and run towards danger knowingly. Hermione sacrifices her place in Hogwarts by saving both Harry and Ron from possible expulsion from Hogwarts and risking her own expulsion.

Finally, Ron sacrifices himself in the game of Wizard chess to facilitate safe passage for Harry and Hermione to protect the Philosopher’s Stone. While this being a children’s book allows for most of them to be unhurt despite sacrifice, all these choices to sacrifice themselves, made by the characters, involve accepting the possibility of death.

Courage and Bravery

An essential theme of ‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, ‘ bravery plays a major role throughout the narrative. For example, Neville Longbottom is scared and nervous in most parts of the book. He gets bullied severely, especially by Malfoy and his friends, Crabbe and Goyle. However, taking Ron’s word of ‘having to stand up for himself’, Neville gathers enough courage to fight Malfoy during the Quidditch match. He goes on to even stand up against his very friends, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, when they are on the verge of breaking school rules.

Bravery is also portrayed by Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they persevere amidst challenges and keep their goal to prevent the stealing of the Philosopher’s Stone always.

Although an obvious theme, magic is an essential theme and is crucial in the details that build the story world. The major fascination in this book comes from a wide array of magical nuances that would be helpful to have in the real world. Spells, enchantments, potions, magical beings, artifacts, and several other aspects that make the story of ‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ‘ a great read for children play an important role in building the imagination of the reader.

Spells like  Wingardium Leviosa , flying broomsticks, or Madam McGonagall’s transfiguration into a cat are all impossibilities in the real world but add to the fascinating attraction that makes this book a memorable one. It caters to the escapism and fantastical requirement of the reader, thereby creating a sort of ‘magic’ of its own.


Another minor yet important theme in ‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ‘ is intelligence. It is illustrated several times, starting with Hermione’s continuous application of her knowledge resourcefully with the spell Alohomora to open the door and her impressive application of logic amidst a stressful situation.

Ron’s intelligence in winning the game of Wizard Chess is another good illustration. Furthermore, the headmaster Dumbledore also plays a very clever role in showing Harry the mirror of Erised beforehand and using the subtle distinction between greed and need as a basis of his puzzle to retrieve the Philosopher’s stone.

Analysis of Key Moments in  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

  • Harry Potter is safely brought to his Aunt’s House from the wreckage in Godric’s Hollow by Hagrid, and Dumbledore and Madam McGonagall place him on the doorstep.
  • Harry Potter grows up to be eleven but is bullied by his cousin Dudley and ill-treated by his Aunt and Uncle.
  • Harry encounters Hagrid, who conveys that Harry is a wizard and has been admitted to Hogwarts, to the dismay of his aunt and uncle.
  • Harry buys all his things and visits Gringotts bank with Hagrid, who picks up a small package from there.
  • Harry meets Ron and Hermione on the train to Hogwarts. Harry and Ron become friends.
  • Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, is sorted into Gryffindor’s house.
  • Harry learns how to fly and is selected as a seeker in his Quidditch house team.
  • Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville encounter a huge three-headed dog in a corridor that is forbidden for students.
  • Harry and Ron fight a mountain troll and save Hermione. They all become friends.
  • Harry wins the Quidditch match by catching the snitch but is almost knocked off his broom during the match. Hermione and Ron suspect Professor Snape.
  • Harry is presented with the invisibility cloak . He also encounters the Mirror of Erised.
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione find out about Nicholas Flamel and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  • Hagrid tries to tame a dragon and is unsuccessful. He is forced to send it to Romania with Ron’s brother’s friends.
  • Harry, Hermione, Neville and Malfoy are sent with Hagrid for detention in the Forbidden forest. Harry comes across a cloaked figure who turns out to be Lord Voldemort.
  • Harry, Ron and Hermione decide to go to the Philosopher’s Stone and protect it from Professor Snape, who they suspect are behind it.
  • They make it through all the obstacles, and Harry alone enters the last room, where he finds out Professor Quirrell was the culprit. Further, Lord Voldemort resides in Quirrell’s head and is controlling him. Harry fights them and is victorious.
  • Harry tells Professor Dumbledore about everything that happened. Later in the school feast, Dumbledore awards extra points to Gryffindor for their heroic actions. Gryffindor wins the House Cup.

Writing Style and Tone

‘ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ‘ is written with simple language and is easy to follow especially as it is a children’s book. The writing style is primarily in the basic third person without any evident experimental styles.

The tone of the novel is sometimes funny and even engaging. J. K. Rowling evokes humorous situations within the text by alluding to certain characters of the book whom Harry dislikes. Examples include Aunt Petunia, who is written as a nosy neighbor, Uncle Vernon as a rude, rule-following, and boring man, and his cousin Dudley as a spoilt brat who is pampered beyond repair by his parents.  

Analysis of Key Symbols in  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Mirror of erised.

The Mirror of Erised is where Harry first sees the reflection of his parents and the rest of his family. It is revealed to show the deepest desires of the viewer. It works as an important literary tool in portraying Harry’s deep desire to be reunited with his parents, whom he never had the chance to know. It also does the same with Ron, who is revealed to want to be more successful than all his elder brothers, shedding light on his plight as a young sibling overshadowed by successful elder brothers.

The Philosopher’s Stone

Being an extremely valuable magical artifact, the Philosopher’s stone can create the Elixir of Life , which would make its drinker immortal. This symbolizes absolute power and demonstrates Lord Voldemort’s drive to attain dominion over others with this power. Furthermore, the fact that Harry could get it out of the Mirror of Erised illustrates his pure and incorruptible intentions and cements Dumbledore’s faith in him further.

What does the Sorcerer’s Stone symbolize?

The Sorcerer’s Stone, in its essence, symbolizes power in this book. However, it is an essential plot device and helps differentiate good from evil. Voldemort seeks the Sorcerer’s Stone for his selfish purpose of coming back to life as the tyrant he always was. On the other hand, Harry frantically attempts to prevent Voldemort from getting it, as he wants the collective good and peace of the magical world to remain.

What is the message of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ?

There are several messages in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. However, the most important message in Harry Potter is that love and friendship triumph over anything, no matter how fear-inducing the obstacles may be. Another message in this book is also that taking action in the face of adversity despite fear is the true sign of bravery.

What is written on top of the Mirror of Erised?

The engraving on the top of the Mirror of Erised reads, “Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.” When one reads this backward, the sentence becomes more apparent – “I show you not your face, but your heart’s desire.” This is the very purpose of the mirror, and the engraving works as a clever stylistic device to create mystery in the reader’s mind till it becomes apparent.

about harry potter book essay

Summon your wit and wisdom—our Harry Potter Trivia Quiz awaits you! Do you have the knowledge to claim the title of Master Witch or Wizard? Take the challenge now!

1) What form does Hermione Granger's Patronus take?

2) What is the core ingredient of the wand owned by Harry Potter?

3) What animal represents Hufflepuff house?

4) What is the name of Harry Potter's pet owl?

5) What are the dying words of Severus Snape in both the book and the film "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"?

6) What specific type of dragon does Harry face during the Triwizard Tournament?

7) What is Dumbledore's full name?

8) What does the Mirror of Erised show?

9) Who teaches Herbology at Hogwarts?

10) What does the incantation "Obliviate" do?

11) Which spell is used to open the Marauder's Map?

12) What is the name of the goblin-made object that is supposed to bring its owner prosperity, but also brings them into conflict with goblins?

13) In which Harry Potter book does Harry first speak Parseltongue?

14) What is the name of the train that takes students to Hogwarts?

15) What is the name of the book Hermione gives to Harry before his first ever Quidditch match?

16) What creature is Aragog?

17) What was the last Horcrux to be destroyed?

18) What is the effect of the Cheering Charm?

19) Who was the Peverell brother that owned the invisibility cloak?

20) What is the name of the goblin who helps Harry, Ron, and Hermione break into Gringotts?

21) Which object is NOT one of the Deathly Hallows?

22) What potion is known as "Liquid Luck"?

23) Which character is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange in the Battle of Hogwarts?

24) Who is the Half-Blood Prince?

25) Who originally owned the Elder Wand before Dumbledore won it?

26) Which potion did Hermione brew in her second year that allowed her, Ron, and Harry to assume the identities of Slytherins?

27) In the "Order of the Phoenix," who is NOT a member of the original Order of the Phoenix shown in the old photograph that Moody shows Harry?

28) Which creature can transform into a person's worst fear?

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Mohandas Alva

About Mohandas Alva

Mohandas is very passionate about deciphering the nature of language and its role as a sole medium of storytelling in literature. His interests sometimes digress from literature to philosophy and the sciences but eventually, the art and craft of narrating a significant story never fail to thrill him.


About the Book

The Harry Potter section of Book Analysis analyzes and explorers the Harry Potter series. The characters, names, terminology, and all related indicia are trademarks of Warner Bros ©. The content on Book Analysis was created by Harry Potter fans, with the aim of providing a thorough in-depth analysis and commentary to complement and provide an additional perspective to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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about harry potter book essay

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

By j.k. rowling, harry potter and the philosopher's stone essay questions.

How does the death of his parents influence Harry's character and the decisions that he makes over the course of the book?

The death of Harry's parents is the catalyst that shapes the entire course of Rowling's narrative. Without their death, Harry would not have spent his childhood with the neglectful Dursleys nor would have entered Hogwarts with little knowledge of his background or importance in the wizarding world. More importantly, the death of his parents gives Harry an impetus for his hatred of Voldemort and ensures that, despite his similarities to the Dark Lord, he will never be seduced by the power of the Dark Arts. The absence of his parents in Harry's life also distinguishes him from the other students: he has endured a loss that none of them can understand, and this sense of isolation and martyrdom will become crucial aspects of later books.

Was Professor Dumbledore correct to leave the infant Harry with the Dursley family instead of keeping him in the wizarding world?

By leaving Harry with the Dursleys, Professor Dumbledore doomed Harry to spend his childhood being neglected and mistreated by Muggles who would never understand or love him. However, Professor Dumbledore also ensured that Harry would be protected from all of the elements of the wizarding world that might ruin him. Not only was Harry safe from the threat of dark wizards determined to avenge the fallen Voldemort, but he was safe from the heavy burden and unavoidable attention given to the boy-who-lived. Because of Professor Dumbledore's decision, Harry grows to be a kind, modest, and unassuming young man who is not forced to learn of the horrific murder of his parents until he is emotionally mature.

Why is Harry's insistence on being placed in Gryffindor House instead of Slytherin House so significant in terms of his development as a character?

Throughout the novel, Rowling emphasizes the importance of choice in determining an individual's character and direction in life. It is the choices that we make that establish what kind of person we will become. With that in mind, Harry's refusal to be placed in Slytherin House, despite his many similarities with Voldemort, is crucial in terms of his characterization. Harry could have remained passive during the Sorting and would have ultimately been sorted into Slytherin. Yet, by taking an active role in his Sorting and choosing to be placed in Gryffindor, Harry demonstrates his determination to choose his own direction in life and not adhere to anyone else's perception of his nature.

Is there a clear sense of good and evil in the book?

At the beginning of the book, it seems as if there are clear distinctions between good and evil: Professor Dumbledore and Harry are wholly good, while Voldemort and his Death Eaters are wholly evil. Yet, over the course of the narrative, Rowling complicates the issue and creates a sort of moral ambiguity, particularly in the character of Professor Snape. From the start, Professor Snape is presented to be a malignant follower of Lord Voldemort, and Harry is only too ready to believe that his Potions teacher is completely evil. In actuality, though, it is the seemingly benevolent Professor Quirrell who is doing the bidding of Lord Voldemort. The concepts of good and evil are too complex to be expressed in black-and-white terms, and every character has some element of good and evil in their nature. The problem is, Rowling suggests, how a battle can be fought between good and evil when the lines between the two are so blurry.

What primary difference between Harry and Voldemort does Rowling choose to highlight in the book? Why is this difference so important?

The primary difference between Harry and Voldemort is Harry's capacity to understand and feel love. Although Harry does not have his parents, he is still able to love their memory and develop close relationships with other characters, including Ron, Hermione, and Professor Dumbledore. Voldemort, on the other hand, views love as a weakness and so chooses to isolate himself from those around him. Professor Quirrell does not love Voldemort but rather fears him, so his loyalty is far weaker than the bonds of friendship forged between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Moreover, because Lord Voldemort did not comprehend the power of Lily Potter's love when he attempted to kill her son, Voldemort nearly destroyed himself with the killing curse meant for Harry. Voldemort will never be able to understand the strength of love and, though he will always be more powerful than Harry, Harry has the support and strength of the people he loves to help him defeat the Dark Lord.

How does Rowling present the difference between the wizarding world and the Muggle world? Why does she choose to highlight these differences?

The Dursley family serves as the primary example of the Muggle world in the first part of the novel: ignorant, selfish, close-minded, and not equipped to understand the wonders of the wizarding world. One of the reasons why Harry is left with the Dursley family is precisely because of their "Muggleness," which allows him to grow up without the burden of the wizarding world. However, when Harry goes to Hogwarts and meets Hermione and other Muggle-born wizards, he learns that the Dursleys are not representative of the Muggle world, but rather the worst part of it. Moreover, Rowling reveals that people in the wizarding world can be just as cruel and close-minded as Muggles. Although the two worlds seem to be completely different, good and evil are present in both, and both worlds are worth saving from Lord Voldemort's reign of terror.

Throughout the novel, Harry and his friends break numerous rules at Hogwarts. How does Rowling create a balance between the importance of maintaining authority and the importance of rebelling against it?

Rowling does not argue in favor of ignoring all rules and regulations. Many of the rules at Hogwarts are instituted in order to protect the students; for example, the rule that prohibits students from going to the forbidden third-floor corridor ensures that students are not attacked by the three-headed dog. At the same time, however, Rowling realizes that rules must be broken in certain situations for the sake of the bigger picture. Harry does not break the rules at Hogwarts simply for the sake of breaking them; he rebells because he knows that his actions serve a greater purpose: protecting the Sorcerer's Stone, defeating Voldemort, and ultimately, protecting a way of life. No one can make a difference, good or bad, if they always adhere to the rules, and part of Harry's appeal is that he is willing to risk the consequences in order to do what he believes is right.

What larger theme does Rowling express in her discussion of the Mirror of Erised and Harry's fascination with it?

In her discussion of the Mirror of Erised, Rowling explores the issue of desire and the way that it can hinder a person from taking action in his or her life. When Harry looks into the Mirror of Erised, he sees the family that he will never know. As Professor Dumbledore tells him, the vision of Harry's parents is not truth or knowledge: Lily and James Potter are dead and never coming back. Yet, Harry's desire for his family is so strong that he could easily lose himself in the visions of the mirror and waste away, never to move forward. Desire can be an important catalyst for action (as in Ron's case, in which he sees himself as Head Boy and Quidditch captain), but with Harry, his desire forces him always to look backwards. In order for Harry to live his own life and fulfill his other desires, he cannot lose himself in the desire for something that he can never have.

What is the significance of Dumbledore's relationship with Harry?

Professor Dumbledore is the first real father figure that Harry has in his life at this point. Lacking the presence of his true parents, Harry had to raise himself more or less on his own, rather than follow the example of the warped parental figures: Vernon and Petunia Dursley. Although Professor Dumbledore does not seem to take an active role in Harry's life until half-way through the novel, he is always watching over Harry and seems to care for him a great deal. It is not coincidental that Dumbledore is the one who takes Harry after his parents' death and determines where he should be raised. Harry's conversations with Dumbledore shape his belief system, as well as providing him with a stable figure of authority that he can model himself upon.

Many conservative critics claim that the Harry Potter series promotes witchcraft and is therefore unsuitable for children. Do you agree or disagree with this claim?

In the Harry Potter series, Rowling creates a magical world in which the forces of good are pitted against the forces of evil. Yet, the themes that Rowling promotes in her books--the importance of choice, friendship, love, determination--are themes that are important in the everyday world and that any young children should strive to learn. Rowling's decision to express these themes through a magical and exciting fantasy world is not a promotion of witchcraft, but rather a way to connect and speak to children in a manner that excited their imagination, creativity, and desire to read. A close examination of the Harry Potter books also reveals that Rowling is very clear about which kinds of magic belong to the Dark Arts and are thus associated with cruelty, tyranny, fear, and other negative elements of the everyday world. When conservative critics denounce Rowling for promoting witchcraft in her novels, it seems likely that, not only have they not read any of the Harry Potter books, but they have missed the important lessons that Rowling instills in her work.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Who is the only person Voldemort is afraid of?

Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, is Voldemort's only feared enemy.

What does Hagrid bring for Harry when he first time meet?

When Hagrid first meets Harry Potter he brings him a cake and a letter inviting him to attend Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.The cake is a special treat for Harry's eleventh birthday,and the letter explains that Harry is a Wizard and...

Harry Potter Short Questions

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Study Guide for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (also Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) study guide contains a biography of J.K. Rowling, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Summary
  • Character List

Essays for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (also Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

  • Progressive Heroines: Jane Eyre to Hermione Granger
  • Cinderella and Harry Potter: The Role Models for Youth
  • Magic and the Supernatural
  • Harry Potter and The Last Unicorn: Can the Supporting Characters be the Hero?
  • The Terrifying Traits Keeping Harry Potter from Being a Positive Influence in a Children's Curriculum

Wikipedia Entries for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

  • Introduction
  • Development, publication and reception
  • Style and themes

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Harry Potter and the Adaptation from Novel to Film

Submitted by: Robyn Joffe

Harry Potter and the Adaptation from Novel to Film  

By Robyn Joffe

For as long as people have been making movies, people have been making movies based on books. Films have also been adapted from several other forms such as television shows, theatrical plays and even other movies. More recently, entire book series have been adapted, such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the still in progress Harry Potter series . With six of the seven books written, and five films finished (four of them released), the Harry Potter franchise has a lot to offer scholars interested in the how-to's and the results of adapting books to film.

The Harry Potter films, which started with the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the year 2001, depict the events covered in the books in a more filmic fashion. The films bring Rowling's words to life; however, as is nearly always the case in adapting work of one form to another, the transitions can be less than smooth. As Deborah Cartmell, senior lecturer in English writes, "An adaptation is undeniably an appropriation of the text, and although the plot remains the same, the telling ’ or the interpreting of it ’ radically changes from one generation to the next." 1

From time constraints to a director's need for artistic expression to casting choices to how a film is promoted, the process of transforming a book to a film can be fraught with peril. Other such issues surrounding direction, characterization, pacing and chosen content (among others) can also contribute to a film's eventual success or failure. Though the resulting movie may in fact be a good film, the question that must be asked is whether it is a good film version of the book . Though most published academic works covering the adaptation of a book to a film focus on classic novels, such as those by Shakespeare or Jane Austen, adaptations are not made merely from acclaimed literary masterpieces. What the Harry Potter series lacks in academic acknowledgment, it more than makes up for in mass popular appeal.

For this reason, this essay will dissect the Harry Potter books and their resulting films, paying particular attention to what issues in the process of adaptation were most relevant to each, and see what, if any, perils were encountered in the making of them. In doing so, this essay will make use of both scholarly and amateur sources, because while authoritative texts are more often relied upon (and with good reason) in essays such as this, the opinions fueled by the unquestionable knowledge of the Harry Potter fan base (in regards to the content of both the books and films), are not necessarily any less valid than their more academically informed counterparts.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

Graham Greene, one of the first major literary talents to show an interest in writing for films (and one who often adapted his own short stories) once described the screenwriter as "a ˜forgotten man' once the film went into production, since after that point other hands might make alterations to the screenplay." 2 In a much more recent book, the same sentiment was expressed: "Despite the excellent compensation, a Hollywood scriptwriter is a low man on the totem pole, and much of his work ’ sometimes all of his work ’ is not used." 3 However, for Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, working with director Christopher Columbus was an experience in the opposite. In fact, Columbus described their collaboration ’ which went from script development through production ’ as "something of a dream situation' 4 and Kloves further explained that "Chris has been willing to listen to any idea, and he doesn't think it's right until we both agree it's right, which is great." 5

Columbus also went a step further in welcoming the continued involvement of not just the screenwriter ’ but the original novelist as well; "My desire was to remain faithful to the story, the characters and the integrity of those characters ... I realized that I had found a solid collaborator [in Rowling]. And it was important because she knows this world better than anyone else." 6

Producer David Heyman also noted that Rowling "has been given the freedom to exert perhaps more influence on the Potter films than is usual when a book is adapted for the screen." 7 This is no doubt due to the fact that the book series is not yet completed, or as Kloves himself put it; "It's the only time I've ever been involved in a story without an ending ... And you would think [Rowling] would tell me something [about it], since I am writing it. But she won't." 8 Along with script approval, author J.K. Rowling had one other demand: that the actors playing the British characters actually be British. Thus, casting began.

Casting a film that is being adapted from a book can often become very controversial, especially if fans get wind of which actors are being considered beforehand. Because many novels that are made into films are not illustrated, the reader has created a picture of each character in their mind, according to any descriptions from the book, and accepting an actor who may not entirely fit that description or picture is something that many fans find hard to do. On the other hand, it is not always only a matter of a fan being unable to let go of his/her own interpretation of a character. At times, the decision to cast a certain actor in a certain role can be questionable no matter how good they might be.

An example of this would be the casting of Alan Rickman in the role of Professor Severus Snape. Though Rickman is a very talented actor, he was also fifty-five years old when the first movie was released, whereas at the start of the series Snape is supposedly only thirty-two years old. 9 While one might think that the age difference does not matter so long as the appearance is appropriate, the difference ’ particularly as it's more than twenty years ’ has an effect on that as well. In the book, part of Harry's perception of Snape is that "his eyes were black like Hagrid's, but they had none of Hagrid's warmth. They were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels." 10 Snape's youth, coupled with his demeanor, present a more tragic juxtaposition in the book than they do in the film because in the film that juxtaposition does not even exist. How can it when the embittered contempt that emanates from the character is easily understandable, rather than jarring, in the lined face of an older actor?

The choice to cast Rickman has also lead to another unforeseen side effect among Harry Potter fans: Lust.

The newfound Snapemania was sparked in part by the casting of actor Alan Rickman ’ well-established as "the thinking woman's sex symbol" ’ in the role. Rickman's feline movements and mellifluous voice give the Potions Master a sensuality absent from the page. And beyond the shoulder-length black wig and black contact lenses Rickman wears, no attempt is made to ugly him up. 11

This has even led to Rowling herself questioning whether those who profess their love of the character are talking about Snape, or Alan Rickman, and (as the same thing has occurred in the case of Harry's nemesis, Draco Malfoy) lamenting the humanizing effect that an attractive actor tends to have on the villainous characters he portrays; "Isn't this life, though? I make this hero ’ Harry, obviously ’ and there he is on screen ... but who does every girl under the age of fifteen fall in love with? Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy." 12

Aside from these and other slight deviations, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States 13 ), is remarkably faithful to its source text. In fact, BBC film reviewer Adrian Hennigan wrote that Columbus treated "J.K. Rowling's debut novel with a reverence that wasn't even accorded to the Bible." 14

However, not all deemed such devotion praise-worthy, and the film "was criticized by many as being too faithful to the book." 15 One summed the film up as "an adaptation which paradoxically undermines itself by aiming at a faithful replication of the source text' 16 while others merely declared that "a commitment to fidelity (in response to the perceived demands of readers/viewers) compromises the processes of adaptation." 17 However, on the other side of the spectrum, respected critic Roger Ebert wrote that the film had succeeded in doing "full justice to a story that was a daunting challenge ... During [the film] I was pretty sure I was watching a classic." 18

There are a couple of issues that help explain this broad range of reactions ’ aside from the obvious reality of people having different opinions. One of these issues is that this book and film are the first of a series, and so while the actual plot is one of mystery, it doesn't appear until rather late in the actual story ’ the time up to that point being taken up by Harry's introduction to (and the setting up of) the wizarding world. In fact, in the shooting script for the film, the titular Stone is only very obliquely referred to for the first time on the twenty-second page; "Hogwarts business. Very secret' 19 and once more on the forty-third; "the third floor corridor ... is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a most painful death' 20 before the characters are confronted with the actual mystery on page fifty-five:

HERMIONE Didn't you see what it was standing on? [...] It was standing on a trapdoor, which means it's not there by accident. It's-

HARRY Guarding something. 21

This means that the actual plot of the first film doesn't start until fifty-five pages into the script, completely ignoring a rule that is not just for "adaptation, it's a rule of screenwriting in general. You've only got about thirty pages to set everything up. Establish your main characters ... ground the audience in the world where your story takes place, introduce the dramatic problem, and move into the second act." 22 Lagging with the opening could add to any pacing problems that might develop, as well as become the source of accusations of too much fidelity by critics. And yet, because this introduction is not just for this film but for the entire series, it's (arguably) necessary, because the plotline revolving around the Philosopher's Stone might be the focus of the first film, but Harry's place in the wizarding world remains a focus of each of the films that follow. To breeze through it would be inexcusable, making the resulting ambling movement towards the main plot of the film all but unavoidable. However, it is worth it to remember that that introduction is part of what the audience is there to see.

The other issue that must be highlighted when discussing the expectations of both fans and critics is the overwhelming, ever-growing Harry Potter phenomenon that accompanies the release of every single bit of news even remotely relating to the series. As Suman Gupta wrote in a chapter of his book entitled Movie Magic : "Very seldom have films been so preordained to be blockbusters, received so much media attention before they appeared ... been anticipated with so much informed readiness." 23

Perhaps Professor Philip Nel put it best when he wrote that "the film does no violence to readers' imagined versions of characters and events, but it does not offer its own creative vision." 24

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

This film, like the first, was directed by Christopher Columbus and written for the screen by Steve Kloves. Because most of the creative team was the same, most of the commentary towards the process of creating this film is similar as well. However, there are some significant differences and additional issues unexplored in the topic for the previous film that warrant its own ’ albeit shorter ’ discussion.

Structurally, the second film is quite different from the first, as the introduction to the entire Harry Potter universe isn't necessary this time around. As Rowling put it; "The first one is episodic ... And Chamber is a more linear structure so it was easier to translate to screen." 25 However, it is also the longest Harry Potter film (though, to be fair, it only beats Goblet of Fire by four minutes), and the pacing suffers for it. As one critic wrote, "You get the sense that its makers have tried to film a novel instead of make a movie' 26 while another pointed out that "watching the film, I mostly felt sensory overload as one special effect was piled atop another. In fact director Chris Columbus has scrupulously avoided anything like genuine emotion." 27

To be fair, he was worrying about other things - namely, his young stars.

Casting these kids at the beginning of Sorcerer's Stone was, in a way, horrifying. I spent the first two weeks on that film trying to get them to look away from the camera, stop smiling and be able to utter one line so I could cut around it. 28

The experience (or lack of same) of his actors contributed in a large way to how Columbus was able to shoot both of the Harry Potter movies he filmed. As none of the child actors had ever done anything professional before ’ aside from Daniel Radcliffe, who had only had a few small roles ’ the movie had to be shot and edited around them. The first two Harry Potter films owe their less-than-sophisticated look to the fact that prolonged camera shots and wide angles were simply not possible in most cases involving the young stars ’ and neither was the endless repetition that can otherwise be associated with film-making. In fact, Columbus "rehearsed very little with the children since ... he didn't want to lose their spontaneity." 29

In Columbus' words; "When we wrapped on Chamber of Secrets , their performances had improved immensely, and they had become seasoned professionals. I felt my job was complete' 30 and with his job complete, so was the second film.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

It is in the discussion of the third film in the Harry Potter series that a more intricate and varied discussion on the pros and cons of the adaptation process can truly commence. This is not to say that discussing the first two films is without merit, but that as the books get longer (indeed, the third one is the first of the series to break 300 pages), and the plots grow more complex, the resulting portrayals on film offer more topics to debate.

Another reason that this progression reflected so obviously on the film series was that Christopher Columbus, director of the first two films, stepped back into the role of co-producer (with David Heyman and others) on this film, leading to Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón being hired to direct. Having previously brought his unique visual style to films like A Little Princess (and consequently proving he could work with children), Cuarón was drafted to lead the Harry Potter series in a new direction: "My approach was that I wanted to do a character driven piece, with cool visual effects, rather than a visual effects movie with some characters running around." 31

At the same time, Cuarón was conscious of the fact that he was stepping into an already-established universe, admitting that "it was one of [his] hesitations" before accepting the position. 32 He solved that dilemma by resolving to serve the material: "and the material meant before anything else the book, and then secondly the position of this film in the franchise of Harry Potter." 33

His overall success may be debatable, but what cannot be questioned is the dramatic change made in the look of this third film. As Columbus remembers: "Most of our sets were already built, but Alfonso had a desire ’ as did our production designer Stuart Craig ’ to open up the picture." 34 Using more wide-angle and tracking shots to heighten the sense of drama, 35 Cuarón was intent on facilitating the overall flow of the film, as well as creating lasting visual connections throughout. 36 Particular focus was paid to images relating to time (Harry spends several scenes in and around a large clock tower at Hogwarts), and identity (there are numerous scenes that start or end on a close up of a character's eye), in keeping with the themes Cuarón had chosen to highlight. The use of darker colours, more haunting music and dramatic lighting ("high contrast, more shadows") also contributed to the "very different look and feel from the previous films." 37

Perhaps the most important decision made to create this result, however, was one that was more philosophical than technical: "One of the things we decided was that in order for the magic to spring forward more naturally, it had to come from a real and honest place ... What we sought to create was a sense of reality in which the characters interact with each other." 38

Cuarón felt that choosing Michael Seresin for the film's cinematography would help to achieve that goal:

One thing that I felt was perfect for Michael was that we have this magical universe that he could really ground. Because he has got that grittiness, and that grittiness comes from the fact that he is a single-source light cinematographer. He's very naturalistic in that sense. I felt it would be a good marriage with the material. 39

And he seems to have succeeded. As Sloan de Forest, editor and contributor to Scribbulus , writes: "[In] the third film, I saw an immense, imposing Hogwarts drained of its warmth but injected with a unique style and grainy realism not present in the first two films." 40 The film was lauded by both critics and fans as being "the closest any of the films has gotten to capturing the enormously pleasing essence of the Potter books' 41 and there seemed to be a tentative collective agreement that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was a truly great movie. But that does not mean it was a great movie of the book , and as this is the difference that this essay seeks to highlight, more in depth examination is necessary.

The unique thing about the book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , is that it is arguably not a story in and of itself ’ but the story of a story, which gradually unfolds throughout the book, finally leading to its climactic reveal and the ensuing repercussions. The book covering Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts is not about Harry Potter's third year at all, but about the events leading up to his parents' deaths twelve years before.

It is fitting, then, that with this book comes the introduction of several new characters, including two of particular importance: Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Remus Lupin, and the escaped titular Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black. One interviewer notes that their "connection with ... Harry's parents is a major factor in Azkaban's back-story' 42 but though most of that quotation is true, it is the use of the word "back-story" that is the problem.

As Amy Z wrote in her essay An Elegantly Woven Tapestry: Plotlines in Prisoner of Azkaban , "it's true that there is no single central plot in [the story], because one candidate (Quidditch) lacks gravitas, and another (Sirius [versus] Harry) proves to be an illusion." 43 Instead, in the absence of an obvious main storyline, it is the so-called "back-story" that takes centre stage; "while Harry is going about his life ... there is another drama mostly invisible to him (and to us, until the second reading): that of Lupin, Black, Snape, and, if you think about it, Pettigrew." 44 In Prisoner of Azkaban the back-story becomes the main plot, as even though the events transpired twelve years previous, they are unfolding to Harry in the present and the story's climax happens when the truth is finally revealed to all. In that way, there was no conclusion to the events in the past, instead, it was as if those involved were put on hold, held in stasis until Harry's third year at Hogwarts when they were at last able to play it out:

"Everyone thought Sirius killed Peter' said Lupin, nodding. "I believed it myself ” until I saw the map tonight. Because the Marauder's Map never lies... Peter's alive. Ron's holding him, Harry."

"If you're going to tell them the story, get a move on, Remus' said Black, who was still watching Scabbers's every desperate move. "I've waited twelve years, I'm not going to wait much longer."

"Harry' said Lupin hurriedly, "don't you see? All this time we've thought Sirius betrayed your parents, and Peter tracked him down ” but it was the other way around, don't you see? Peter betrayed your mother and father ” Sirius tracked Peter down ”" 45

As Amy Z writes: "We think the story is about Black trying to kill Harry, so the plot seems focused on that; but that's not what the story is about. It's about Sirius in a whole different way, and it's as much about Pettigrew." 46 With the misunderstandings cleared up and the truth of the events of twelve years before revealed, the climax of their story becomes the climax of the book itself ’ one which ultimately ends in near disaster, allowing the fallout to finally occur.

In discussing how she has conceptualized the third book, Harry Potter fan Kelly Parker writes:

I think the third book is more about setting up the series for later on and dealing more with the past and how it is affecting Harry and the entire wizarding world now. It's not so much about his schooling ... his schooling takes a back seat to finding out about his godfather and dealing with all of that. I personally think this is one of the most pivotal books in the series. 47

Unfortunately, Alfonso Cuarón apparently did not see it in exactly the same way: "This film is concerned with confronting [the characters'] innermost fears ... It's [also] a journey of a character's seeking his identity and accepting who he is. To step out of the shadow of his father, for instance, is one of the themes." 48 Putting aside the question of whether or not this is true, the difference of opinion as to the main focus of the story obviously resulted in the exclusion of certain things.

One of the most often cited examples of such an exclusion is the actual back-story of Harry's parents and their friends. Included in this example are several key pieces of information that are either missing from the film entirely, or mentioned in vague generalities that are easily glossed over. The most important piece of information that is introduced in this story is the betrayal of Harry's parents that led to their deaths. It is in this book that we learn that Voldemort could not just go and attack the Potters, and that they would have been safe had they not trusted the wrong person, because of the preparations they had taken before going into hiding:

"Dumbledore told them that their best chance was the Fidelius Charm."

"How does that work?" said Madam Rosmerta, breathless with interest. Professor Flitwick cleared his throat.

"An immensely complex spell' he said squeakily, "involving the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The information is hidden inside the chosen person, or Secret-Keeper, and is henceforth impossible to find ” unless, of course, the Secret-Keeper chooses to divulge it. As long as the Secret-Keeper refused to speak, You-Know-Who could search the village where Lily and James were staying for years and never find them, not even if he had his nose pressed against their sitting room window!" 49

The fact that Sirius Black was thought to be the Potters' Secret-Keeper, and therefore the only person capable of betraying them, is rather central to how he became the titular Prisoner , having been sent to Azkaban without a trial. The fact that Peter Pettigrew was the actual Secret-Keeper, and therefore the only possible betrayer of the Potters: " ˜ Lily and James only made you Secret-Keeper because I suggested it,' Black hissed ... ˜I thought it was the perfect plan... a bluff... Voldemort would be sure to come after me ... It must have been the finest moment of your miserable life, telling Voldemort you could hand him the Potters,' " 50 is also central to understanding the story. However, interestingly enough, the word "Secret-Keeper" is never spoken even once during the entire film, and the importance of the role is instead glossed over, when it is referred to at all: "Well, now, years ago, when Harry Potter's parents realized that they were marked for death ’ do you remember? ’ they went into hiding. Few knew where they were. One who did, was Sirius Black ’ and he told You-Know-Who!" 51

Aside from being factually wrong, as it was Harry and not his parents who was marked for death, the use of the word "few" and the phrase "one who did" instead of " the one who did" would imply that more than one person knew where the Potters were hiding. This would, in turn, mean that more than one person would have been able to betray them, rendering Sirius Black's immediate condemnation inexplicable ’ and potentially Peter Pettigrew's later one as well.

Although it minimizes the betrayal of the Potters, the vagueness that resulted from the absence of the word "Secret-Keeper" could still have been explained had another piece of information been included:

Sirius here played a trick on [Snape] which nearly killed him ... [he] thought it would be ’ er ’ amusing, to tell Snape all he had to do was prod the knot on the tree-trunk with a long stick, and he'd be able to get in after me ... if he'd got as far as this house, he'd have met a fully grown werewolf. 52

The knowledge that Sirius Black, at sixteen, sent a fellow classmate to his death without remorse (later saying it was just a prank), would have gone a long way to explaining why of the "few" who "knew where [the Potters] were", he was the most likely suspect: " ˜ Sirius Black showed he was capable of murder at the age of sixteen,' [Snape] breathed. ˜You haven't forgotten that, Headmaster? You haven't forgotten that he once tried to kill me ?' " 53 And although this might be considered a deviation from the central plot, or potentially slow exposition in a genre where showing is prized above telling , film as a visual medium allows for both to happen at once. This enlightening bit of back-story could easily have been accompanied by either a flashback or a montage of images, illustrating what was being said. However, this did not happen, and unfortunately, it is not the most important piece of information left out of the final film, by far.

The fact that Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black, and James Potter are the same Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs who created the map Harry is coincidentally given by his friends is never mentioned, even when ample opportunity arises ’ as seen in the following comparative examples:

Prisoner of Azkaban (the book):

"I happen to know that this map was confiscated by Mr. Filch many years ago. Yes, I know it's a map' [Lupin] said, as Harry and Ron looked amazed. 54

Prisoner of Azkaban (the film):

PROFESSOR LUPIN I don't know how this map came to be in your possession, Harry, but I'm astounded that you didn't turn it in....

Harry walks silently. 55

While this might seem a small, relatively unimportant piece of information, it would only be considered so in isolation. However, this is not so. The connection of each man to his nickname not only solidifies the reality of their once close friendship, but it also connects each to his animal form and the fact that three became Animagi for the fourth: "My three friends could hardly fail to notice that I disappeared once a month ... I was terrified they would desert me ... [but] they didn't desert me at all. ... They became Animagi ... They couldn't keep me company as humans, so they kept me company as animals. A werewolf is only a danger to people." 56

The connection to Animagi is important because of the role that each man's form plays in the overall story. Peter Pettigrew is able to fake his own death and hide for twelve years as Ron's pet rat; Sirius Black is able to both keep his sanity while in and finally escape from Azkaban as a large dog; and Harry is able to discover and reclaim a part of his father, which he finds within himself, when his Patronus takes on the form of his father's stag. And while the first two are obvious in the film without the nickname connection, the fact that James Potter was an Animagus is not, and therefore the significance of Harry's Patronus is lost. This is particularly ironic considering that it is James Potter as Prongs who is arguably the link between the opinions of the fans already stated as to the main storyline of the book, and director Alfonso Cuarón's interpretation: "It has to do with Harry coming to terms with his male energy, his father and what his father is." 57

The absence of this information is notable not only because it details exactly "what his father is", but also because the information was there in the shooting script, but still didn't make it to the final cut:

PROFESSOR LUPIN Before I go, tell me about your Patronus.

HARRY Well. At first I thought it was a horse, or perhaps a unicorn, but I think it was ’


PROFESSOR LUPIN Your father used to transform into one. That's how he was able to keep me company when I became... sick. ... There are stories about him and your mother, you know. Some are even true. But I think it's safe to say, in the end you'll know them best by getting to know yourself. 58

As the final cut of the film is decided on by the director (and the editor, at his direction), it is particularly peculiar that none of the dialogue in this excerpt ’ all of which would go towards emphasizing Cuarón's apparent vision ’ appears in the finished version. This would not be a problem were it not for the fact that in losing these aspects of the story, the viewer is treated to a film that is incomplete ’ not only in and of itself, but also as a part of the ongoing series.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

As with the third film, the fourth in the Harry Potter series invites a more detailed discussion on the difficulties and competing interests involved in adapting a book to a film. Fortunately for this essay, most of the issues raised in this discussion differ significantly from those presented in each previous film. One reason for this difference was the inclusion of a new director, filmmaker Mike Newell of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame, who, in his own words, had "never made a film like this before and [had] never made a film even a quarter as big as this before." 59 Unlike the other films in the series thus far, this film presented a directorial challenge even before shooting began. At 636 pages, Goblet of Fire is more than double the size of Prisoner of Azkaban (the longest of the previous three), and Warner Bros. Studio originally intended to split the story in half, shooting the two films back to back, and releasing them close together ’ similar to what had been done for the second and third films of the Matrix trilogy. 60 Mike Newell, however, thought this unnecessary: "As far as I'm concerned it's absolutely possible to do it in one. I think it would be slightly embarrassing to do it in two." 61

Aiming to avoid this, Newell pitched his conception of the story to the producers; "I said to them, I said, I can only make this if you will agree that what we're making is a thriller and we will ruthlessly take out stuff that doesn't go to that' 62 later adding that the whole point of the story was that the villain "needs one tiny, tiny little thing from the boy: three drops of blood." 63 As the first British director in the series, Mike Newell felt that he had the insider expertise necessary to bring an authenticity to the films that they were previously lacking ’ particularly in regards to the British school system: "It wasn't possible for them to get that right. They'd never been to such a school' 64 Newell said, further explaining:

I went through this sort of education. ... I wasn't at a boarding school ... but there's an enormous body of literature books ... and I had read all of those, and I'd been to a school just like it where you were beaten with a cane. I remember some of the teachers being really quite violent ... and it had a headmaster of whom one was likely terrified and then a descending order of authority figures, and then there was... and then there was us. ... I don't see how anybody who hadn't gone through that, who wasn't English, could possibly have suspected that. 65

There are two facets of this quote that require further examination, the first being Newell's view of Hogwarts as being just like all of the typical British boarding schools he never attended. Shaun Hately, author of the essay Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Context of the British Public Schools , writes that "Hogwarts is not a perfect exemplar of the Public School tradition ’ while there is a substantial influence, it cannot be assumed that Hogwarts always follows Public School traditions." 66 Further on in the paper, in discussing corporal punishment, Hately demonstrates that "At Hogwarts, such methods seem to have fallen into disuse' 67 citing a quotation from the first book in the Harry Potter series; "Oh yes... Hard work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me... It's just a pity they let the old punishments die out." 68

Additional evidence presents itself in the book from which Newell made his own adaptation, when Professor Moody transfigures a student into a ferret and proceeds to bounce him up and down, catching the attention of Professor McGonagall:

"Moody, we never use Transfiguration as a punishment!" said Professor McGonagall weakly. "Surely Professor Dumbledore told you that?"

"He might've mentioned it, yeah' said Moody, scratching his chin unconcernedly, "but I thought a good sharp shock ”"

"We give detentions, Moody! Or speak to the offender's Head of House!" 69

To J.K. Rowling, the "worst, shabbiest thing you can do" as a teacher "[is] bully children' 70 and corporal punishment has no place in Harry's world. And yet Newell, who admits that even real English schools have changed now, still felt the need to "[rewrite] a scene to add a glint of schoolboy mischievousness and the corporal punishment it provokes, in which dour Professor Snape ... bonks Harry and Ron in the head with a book for goofing off during a study period." 71 Snape does not appear at all in the scene in the shooting script for the film, 72 so it is obvious that this was a directorial decision. His selection is also unfortunate for the fact that his character is not one to be considered slapstick, nor is his hatred of Harry something in which to find comic relief. However, this twisted characterization appears to be a sort of specialty of Newell's, which is the second facet of the previous long quotation in need of examination.

As with the school he runs, Newell has also assigned headmaster Albus Dumbledore to a role in the film that is not in keeping with any other information readily available about him. His idea of Dumbledore as "a headmaster of whom one [is] likely terrified' 73 is directly at odds with J.K. Rowling's assertion that Dumbledore is instead "the epitome of goodness." 74 Indeed, Hately's essay specifies how the character "as presented in the Harry Potter books seems to fit neatly into the mould of the great benevolent public school Headmaster' 75 and as James A. Morone wrote in his article Cultural Phenomena: Dumbledore's Message , "[he] practically awards bonus points for breaking the rules' 76 citing this quotation from Chamber of Secrets as proof: "I seem to remember telling you both that I would have to expel you if you broke any more school rules ... Which goes to show that the best of us must sometimes eat our words." 77

The issue of the character and characterization of Dumbledore is a difficult one for numerous reasons. The choice of actor to play the role is very much tied up in that ’ especially because it was made twice. Richard Harris, a veteran of over seventy films, was initially cast in the role, which he played for the first two films. Critics wrote that his selection "was perfection; he had that twinkle in his eye and he conveyed that Dumbledore was as solid as a rock and as wise as readers of J.K. Rowling knew him to be. There was a certainty about him." 78

However, when Richard Harris passed away shortly before principal photography was to begin on the third film, a new Dumbledore had to be found. Michael Gambon made his Dumbledore debut in Prisoner of Azkaban , and his performance in both it and Goblet of Fire has garnered several comments ’ though, unfortunately, few have been complimentary: "I have to say that I thought Gambon's performance lacked some of the warmth and humour that Harris provided." 79 Newell, on the other hand, thought he was perfect:

I think that he had not wanted to be the same figure that Richard Harris had been, a figure of enormous Olympian authority who's never caught on the hop. He wanted something to do, simply because he isn't Richard Harris, and what he found in this one is that Dumbledore is fallible, not omnipotent, and indeed is behind the game. A great deal of what he does is about being inadequate rather than super-adequate, which is obviously much more interesting to play. 80

More interesting to play, perhaps, but woefully inaccurate. Even leaving aside the fact that if Gambon did not want to be the same figure Richard Harris had been, his decision to take over the role seems suspect; Dumbledore has been known throughout the series for being the only one Voldemort has ever feared. However, as de Forest points out:

for this fear to be plausible, Dumbledore needs to appear sharp-witted and not cross the line from affable eccentric to preposterous crackpot. ... How can [Newell] expect us to believe that anyone in the wizarding world reveres a panicky, absentminded grump who ... impulsively attacks his favourite student, throttling little Harry about the shoulders and neck? 81

And to Newell's argument that a fallible, inadequate, and behind-the-game Dumbledore creates a more interesting and more humanized mentor for Harry, M.Y. Simms asks in her essay Action! Harry Potter from the Page to the Screen :

Why would the greatest wizard in the world suddenly appear to suffer from chronic anxiety? I understand that things got serious in Goblet of Fire, but consider this: would Yoda, Merlin, Gandalf or Obi-Wan have freaked out when things got serious and danger loomed? ... I think not. ... Where did the ˜magic' of Dumbledore go? 82

In fact, far from being behind-the-game, J.K. Rowling's Dumbledore continues to run steadily ahead, even at the end of Goblet of Fire , after Harry's confrontation with Voldemort has already taken place:

"He said that my blood would make him stronger than if he'd used someone else's' Harry told Dumbledore. "... And he was right ” he could touch me without hurting himself, he touched my face."

For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore's eyes. 83

Unfortunately, one repercussion from Newell's decision to have Gambon portray Dumbledore in this mistaken manner ’ a decision that is proved to be directorial rather than scriptural, due to the calmer version of the character evidenced in the shooting script 84 ’ is more detrimental than having raised the ire of fans; that being the effect it will have on the next installment of the franchise.

One of the main issues that Harry must deal with in the fifth book is his relationship with Dumbledore and how it has, inexplicably (to him), become estranged. This separation, or distance, that Harry feels causes him great distress as he wonders why the headmaster doesn't seem to care about him anymore. This leads to continued misunderstandings which result in the death of a main character and the discovery of a prophecy. Unfortunately, due to the portrayal of these relationships in the fourth movie, Harry would be unlikely to wonder if the headmaster cared about him in the first place, nor would it really matter to him either way. And the revelation given to Harry at the end, that Dumbledore "cared about [him] too much" and did all he had done because he "acted exactly as Voldemort expects [the] fools who love to act' 85 would scarce be believable from Gambon's discredited caricature. Of course, as Newell has not even read the fifth book, his failure to set it up properly is unfortunately explained.

What's not as easily explained is his failure in setting up even his own film, as he did read the fourth book in preparation. 86 As one critic wrote:

If the film version of [Prisoner of Azkaban] was missing some major plot points, and therefore felt like it was missing a vital organ or two, this one was like finding a skeleton that had been stripped of every conceivable scrap of flesh, leaving only the bare bones behind. Many character motivations were fuzzy at best; my mother, who hadn't read the book, had a million questions for me after we left the theatre. 87

But perhaps this weakness can be understood in reading Newell's approach to creating the film, in his own words: "What you do is you pack it with references and suggestions and so forth which, of course, you have taken from the book. So that a reader coming to the film goes, "Oh, I see. I get it. They did it that way." 88 The idea that fans would be appeased by a few references to aspects of the book, no matter what the quality of storytelling, is problematic at best, insulting at worst, and condescending either way. "The movie ticks through critical plot points like it's checking them off a list' 89 writes Anita Burkam in the article From Page to Screen: Mike Newell's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ; "All that's missing is reasonably paced and plotted moviemaking." 90 That, and the so-called "human truth" that Newell apparently prized above all else: "You become more interested in [Harry's] interior processes, his emotions, than just what goes on' Newell asserts, 91 though it is difficult to understand why he is convinced of this when he, as director, seems more interested in what he can do with Harry's external world than in how to express the character's internal one. "It's one of the most powerful and dramatic scenes' 92 producer David Heyman says, in praise of Newell's work. And which scene is he talking about? The maze in the third task, which, as Dumbledore mysteriously informs each champion, changes people? The graveyard where Harry watches Voldemort's rebirth, duels with him, and comes face to face with the ghost-like shades of his long-dead parents?

No, of course not, that would make sense . Instead, as Heyman clarifies, "We departed from the book a little bit in the sense that the dragon breaks free of the chain that ties him and it leads to a dramatic chase through Hogwarts. Let's just say it doesn't necessarily meet the happiest of ends." 93 Never mind the fact that, as no one dies and Harry completes the task successfully, it does actually meet the happiest of ends, Heyman is talking about a scene in which Harry faces off with the dragon during the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. This is a scene which takes exactly two pages in the book (which includes the detailed description necessary of the medium), but in the film, it clocks in at nearly three minutes ’ a ridiculously long length of time on screen, particularly for Newell, who has said that "all of [these effects] would count for nothing if [audiences] simply didn't feel it." 94

Yet, as de Forest notes, "when a film jumps wildly from scene to scene, frantically flinging in new characters and situations willy-nilly, the seeds of authentic emotional reaction don't have time to be sown and flourish naturally ... the natural rhythm of reaction is massacred." 95 All of this leads to an ending of equal ruination, in what de Forest terms "a thrown-together mess of a conclusion. It seems unsure whether to end on a hopeful note, a tragic note, a portentous note, a humorous note or a poignant note, so it compromises by fizzling out with a flat uncertainty. ˜Everything's going to change now, isn't it?' asks Hermione. Yup. Sure is. Well. Will you sign my yearbook?" 96

While several critics enjoyed the film ’ and several film audiences, too ’ the question of whether or not Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was a good film is not the one that is asked in this essay. Instead, the question of whether or not it was a good film of the book must be considered, and while Mike Newell's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire might be considered a fun, and even wild ride of a film, it remains on the surface, granting only a superficial and distorted glimpse into the story of Harry's fourth year. J.K. Rowling's Dumbledore warned; "You have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy." 97 It is unfortunate that Mike Newell did not heed this advice.

Harry Potter and the End of This Essay (2007)

"Books have one of the highest ratios of conversion from development to film of any source, including original screenplays' 98 and yet the process of adapting the Harry Potter book series into films is unique in many ways. Perhaps the most important cause of its uniqueness is the fact that the seven book series is being adapted one novel after the other, and yet the seven book series is not yet complete. With the intense secrecy surrounding the story and revelations still to come from the original author, filmmakers must attempt to adapt each of these films from an incomplete overall source text. This only heightens the difficulty and the scrutiny that are already present in the adaptation process. That is why the question of fidelity, though it "cannot be considered a valid yardstick with which to judge any adaptation' 99 must figure in more heavily than it might otherwise. John Tibbetts and James Welsh wrote that "movies do not ˜ruin' books, but merely misrepresent them' 100 as "the accumulation of minor details can create a markedly different experience between a book and a film' 101 and while usually that may not create any problems, Mike Newell's Dumbledore aptly demonstrates that in an ongoing ’ and unfinished ’ series, certain changes have far-reaching effects.

Still, while fidelity holds more importance in this case than in others, "changes made by the screenwriter and director might not necessarily destroy the original. In the best adaptations, narratives are translated and effectively transformed into the medium of film." 102 With the seventh, and last, Harry Potter novel being released this summer, perhaps the remaining films will have a better chance of achieving this transformation.

Mireia Aragay writes in Reflection to Refraction: Adaptation Studies Then and Now , that the real aim of adaptation is

to trade upon the memory of the novel, a memory that can derive from actual reading, or, as is more likely with a classic of literature, a generally circulated cultural memory. The adaptation consumes this memory, aiming to efface it with the presence of its own images. The successful adaptation is the one that is able to replace the memory of the novel. 103

Although Harry Potter is not widely considered a classic of literature, the same philosophy can apply. An adaptation must be more than a filmed novel, without compromising the text it is meant to represent. A good film does not make a good adaptation, and though the Harry Potter film series had a promising start, future directors would do well to keep those words in mind. Notes 1. Cartmell, "Shakespeare on Screen' 33.

2. Tibbetts and Welsh, Novels Into Film , 279.

3. Havens, Genius Behind Buffy , 24.

4. Elrick, "Chris Columbus talks¦."

5. McNamara, "When Steve Met Harry."

6. Elrick, "Chris Columbus talks¦."

7. Hopkins, "Behind the Scenes¦."

8. McNamara, "When Steve Met Harry."

9. Vander Ark, "The Ages of Snape and the Marauders."

10. Rowling, Philosopher's Stone , 102.

11. Millman, "To Sir, With Love' 43.

12. Rowling, "Edinburgh Book Festival."

13. Scholastic editor Arthur Levine, suggested that Rowling change the title of the book for its American release as he felt it was "too esoteric' and the change would convey "more immediately the sense of magic that's in the book" (Heiberger). This, despite the fact that the Philosopher's Stone is an object of legend, often found in myth and folklore (Anderson), and referred to in many areas of study, including religion, alchemy, the occult ¦ while the Sorcerer's Stone means nothing.

14. Hennigan, "Films ¦ Philosopher's Stone ."

15. Krevolin, How to Adapt¦ , 52.

16. Aragay, "Reflection to Refraction' 20.

17. Cartmell and Whelehan, "Fidelity Debate' 37.

18. Ebert, "Sorcerer's Stone."

19. Kloves, Sorcerer's Stone, 22.

20. Ibid., 43.

21. Ibid., 55-56.

22. Krevolin, How to Adapt¦ , 54.

23. Gupta, Re-Reading Harry Potter , 143.

24. Nel, "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bored."

25. Mzimba, "Conversation with¦."

26. Nel, "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bored."

27. Butler, " Potter has the stuff¦."

28. Spelling, "Leaving School' 44.

29. Elrick, "Chris Columbus talks¦."

30. Spelling, "Leaving School' 44.

31. "Y tu Harry¦' 22.

32. Ibid, 19.

34. Spelling, "Leaving School' 44.

35. Puig, "Harry hits his teens."

36. Nazarro, "The New Magician' 39.

37. Puig, "Harry hits his teens."

38. Nazarro, "The New Magician' 38.

39. Trout, "Alfonso Cuarón Interview."

40. de Forest, "Fractured Fairy Tale."

41. Turan, "Prisoner of Azkaban."

42. Nazarro, "Alfonso Cuarón Interview."

43. Z, "Elegantly Woven Tapestry."

45. Rowling, Prisoner of Azkaban , 257-68.

46. Z, "Elegantly Woven Tapestry."

47. Kelly Parker, e-mail message to author, 12 April 2007.

48. Puig, "Harry hits his teens."

49. Rowling, Prisoner of Azkaban , 152.

50. Ibid., 271.

51. Kloves, Prisoner of Azkaban .

52. Rowling, Prisoner of Azkaban , 261.

53. Ibid., 286.

54. Ibid., 213.

55. Kloves, Prisoner of Azkaban , 80.

56. Rowling, Prisoner of Azkaban , 259-60.

57. Nazarro, "The New Magician' 38.

58. Kloves, Prisoner of Azkaban , 125.

59. Fischer, "Exclusive Interview."

61. Geri, "News: Mike Newell¦."

62. Fischer, "Exclusive Interview."

63. Ibid., "Interview: Mike Newell."

64. Associated Press, "Newell puts the Brit¦."

65. Fischer, "Exclusive Interview."

66. Hately, "Hogwarts School of¦."

68. Rowling, Philosopher's Stone , 181.

69. Ibid., Goblet of Fire , 182.

70. Fraser, Conversations with J.K. Rowling , 21.

71. Associated Press, "Newell puts the Brit¦."

72. Kloves, Goblet of Fire , 66-67.

73. Fischer, "Exclusive Interview."

74. Solomon, "J.K. Rowling Interview."

75. Hately, "Hogwarts School of¦."

76. Morone, "Cultural Phenomena."

77. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets , 243.

78. Simms, "Action! Harry Potter¦."

79. Aloi, "Grown Up Magic."

80. Whitehead, "Interview: Mike Newell¦."

81. Witherwings, "Fractured Fairy Tale."

82. Simms, "Action! Harry Potter¦."

83. Rowling, Goblet of Fire , 604.

84. Kloves, Goblet of Fire , 32.

85. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix , 739.

86. Fischer, "Exclusive Interview."

87. Moondaughter, "Under the Microscope."

88. Geri, "Newell discusses¦."

89. Burkam, "From Page to Screen."

92. Geri, "Update: Heyman talks¦."

94. Nathan, "This boy¦' 90.

95. Witherwings, "Fractured Fairy Tale."

97. Rowling, Goblet of Fire , 628.

98. Hopkins, "Behind the Scenes¦."

99. Aragay, "Reflection to Refraction' 20.

100. Tibbetts and Welsh, Novels Into Film , xvii.

101. Nel, "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bored."

102. Tibbetts and Welsh, Novels Into Film , xx.

103. Aragay, "Reflection to Refraction' 20.


Aloi, Peg. "Grown Up Magic." Witch Cinema 19, 5 June 2004. .

Anderson, Hans Christian. "The Philosopher's Stone (1859)." Hans Christian Anderson: Fairy Tales and Stories . 25 September 2006: .

Aragay, Mireia. "Reflection to Refraction: Adaptation Studies Then and Now." Books in Motion: Adaptation, Intertextuality, Authorship . Ed. Mireia Aragay. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005. 11-34.

Associated Press. "Newell puts the Brit back in Harry Potter ." MSNBC , 21 November 2005. .

Burkam, Anita L. "From Page to Screen: Mike Newell's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." The Horn Book, Inc . .

Butler, Robert W. " Potter has the stuff but not the spirit." The Kansas City Star . 23 November 2001.

Cartmell, Deborah. "The Shakespeare On Screen Industry." Adaptations: From Text to Screen, Screen to Text . Eds. Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan. London: Routledge, 1999. 29-37.

Cartmell, Deborah and Whelehan, Imelda. "Harry Potter and the Fidelity Debate." Books in Motion: Adaptation, Intertextuality, Authorship . Ed. Mireia Aragay. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005. 37-49.

Ebert, Roger. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Movie Reviews , 16 November 2001. .

Elrick, Ted. "Chris Columbus talks about directing Harry Potter ." DGA Magazine: Directors Guild of America 27:5, January 2003. .

Fischer, Paul. "Exclusive Interview: Mike Newell for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ." Dark Horizons 24, October 2005). .

”””. "Interview: Mike Newell for Mona Lisa Smile and Harry Potter 4 ." Dark Horizons 9, December 2003. .

Fraser, Lindsey. Conversations with J.K. Rowling . New York: Scholastic Press, 2001.

Geri. "Newell discusses the challenges of ˜ Harry Potter '." HPANA , 30 November 2004. .

”””. "News: Mike Newell won't split ˜ Goblet of Fire '." HPANA , 30 January 2004. .

”””. "Update: Heyman talks about first task and Fiennes." HPANA , 11 Oct. 2005. .

Gupta, Suman. Re-Reading Harry Potter . New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets . Directed by Christopher Columbus. Burbank: Warner Bros. Pictures, 2002.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire . Directed by Mike Newell. Burbank: Warner Bros. Pictures, 2005.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone . Directed by Chris Columbus. Burbank: Warner Bros. Pictures, 2001.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban . Directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Burbank: Warner Bros. Pictures, 2004.

Hately, Shaun. "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Context of the British Public Schools." HP InkPot , 13 December 2005. .

Havens, Candace. Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy . Dallas: BenBella Books, 2003.

Heiberger, Sara. "Harry Potter and the Editor's Pen." Brown Alumni Magazine Online , November/December 2001. .

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling - review

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

One of my favourite books is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling. It is a story about Harry Potter, an orphan brought up by his aunt and uncle because his parents were killed when he was a baby. Harry is unloved by his uncle and aunt but everything changes when he is invited to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and he finds out he's a wizard. At Hogwarts Harry realises he's special and his adventures begin when he and his new friends Ron and Hermione attempt to unravel the mystery of the Philosopher's Stone. I can read this book over and over again. From the very beginning until the end J.K. Rowling has me gripped! There is never a dull moment, whether it's battling with trolls, a three-headed dog, or Harry facing Lord Voldermort. I would definitely recommend this book because it keeps you reading without ever wanting to put the book down. By the end of the book you come to love the characters and you want to read more. You won't be disappointed because the second book in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is just as great! If you haven't read any of the Harry Potter books you are missing out on the best series ever!

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Short Essay And Paragraph On Harry Potter For Students

Here you can read a five-paragraph essay about the Harry Potter books in serious terms. The following selected paragraphs are valuable for learning purposes, especially for young students.

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A Paragraph About Harry Potter

1. Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels by J.K. Rowling. The series tells the adventures of the young wizard Harry Potter and his friends Ron Wesley and Hermione Granger, who are all students of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and want to conquer the world.

3. They have also been criticized for their negative portrayal of certain groups, such as the Slithery, and for promoting witchcraft and wizardry. Even so, the series has become one of the most popular in history, and its influence on popular culture is undeniable.

4. So here’s a quick rundown of the Harry Potter franchise: Whether you’re a fan or not, there is no denying that these books have had a huge impact on the world. Did you know? The final book in the Harry Potter franchise, Deathly Hallows, was published in 2007 and became the fastest-selling book in history. In the first 24 hours of its publication, 11 million copies were sold.

5. The Harry Potter series has been translated into over 60 languages and made into eight blockbuster films. Rowling said she got the idea for the series while on a train ride from Manchester to London. Soon after, she began writing the first book. Harry Potter is often credited with reviving the children’s book genre , which made reading popular among young people again. Research has shown that it encourages children to buy books by other British authors, such as Roald Dahl and Diana Wynne Jones.

500 Words Essay On Harry Potter

Harry Potter is a series of fantasy novels written by British author J.K. Rowling. The series chronicles the life of a young orphan boy named Harry Potter, who discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is a wizard. He is taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a magical boarding school in Scotland, where he makes friends and enemies, and learns about magic and the magical world.

The series is made up of seven books, with the first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” being published in 1997 and the final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” being published in 2007. The books were later adapted into eight successful films, with the final film being released in 2011.

The Harry Potter series has become one of the most popular and successful book and movie franchises of all time. It has been translated into over 80 languages and has sold over 500 million copies worldwide. The series has also been credited with revitalizing interest in reading among young people and has been used as a tool for teaching reading and critical thinking skills in schools.

One of the reasons for the series’ success is its relatable and well-developed characters. Harry Potter, the protagonist of the series, is an orphan who is forced to grow up too quickly, and the series follows his journey from a neglected and mistreated child to a brave and confident young man. His friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are also well-developed characters, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. The series also features a wide variety of memorable and dynamic villains, such as Lord Voldemort, the main antagonist of the series, and his followers, the Death Eaters.

Another aspect of the series that has contributed to its success is its rich and detailed magical world. Rowling’s imagination and creativity are on full display in the series, as she creates a world filled with a wide variety of magical creatures, spells, and magical objects. The series also features a complex and intricate plot, with many subplots and twists that keep readers engaged and guessing until the end.

In conclusion, the Harry Potter series is a masterpiece of modern literature that has captured the hearts and minds of millions of readers and viewers around the world. It has become one of the most popular and successful book and movie franchises of all time, and its relatable characters, rich magical world, and complex plot are just a few of the reasons why it has stood the test of time. It is a story of friendship, love, and the power of good to triumph over evil that will continue to be enjoyed by people of all ages for years to come.

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Essay On Harry Potter - My Favorite Movie

Harry Potter Books and Movies Compare & Contrast Essay

One of things that make life fascinating is the diversity and variance that different people and things exhibit. These differences may be obvious or deeply disguised requiring one to take a critical look at the item in order to notice them.

In this paper, I shall set out to compare two items; J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” the Book and its movie adaptation. By so doing, I shall demonstrate that there do exist significant differences as well as similarities between the two items despite them appearing to be wholly similar.

A Comparative Analysis

Both the book and its film adaptation share the character set. The lead character is the hero Harry Potter, a famous wizard whose adventures are the central focus of the book and the movie. In the wizard world, Harry Potter is engaged in a prolonged fight to defeat the immensely powerful and evil wizard Lord Voldemort. Harry potter is assisted in his noble quest by his two best friends Ron and Hermione. These two characters play significant roles in the plot development of both the movie and the book.

The magical school that Harry and his friends attend so as to learn about wizardry is represented in an identical manner in both the book and the movie. The school building is a gigantic and daunting castle which is inaccessible to non-magical people. According to the book, the castle has a lake, extensive grounds and a forest.

The Movie properly depicts this as a lake can be seen as the students arrive at the school by use of a train. The imposing nature of the castle is evident and in many scenes from the movie, Harry Potter and his friends venture out into the fields and forests that are part of the school grounds.

However, the representation of one of the lead characters Hermione in the movie is not a true depiction of what she is in the book. In the book, Hermione is described as a brightest girl in the school. Her know-it-all attitude alienates her from the rest of the students.

Nothing to the book indicates that Hermione is an attractive girl and she is in fact describe as having large protruding teach and bushy brown hair. However, the movie presents Hermione as a physically attractive and likable character. This is inconsistent with the image that one builds form reading the novel.

In the book, the prisoner of Azkaban, the character Sirius Black who is Harry’s godfather, plays a minor role despite him being central to the plot of the book. His appearances in the book are relatively few considering that he is the focal point of the book.

The book instead focuses on developing the story around Sirius and therefore, despite his not being mentioned every now and then, one can sense his involvement throughout the book. In the movie, Sirius plays a more predominant role and he is afforded relatively more screen time than one would expect from the book.

The movie adaptation contains numerous omissions of events that are recorded in the book. This is to be expected considering the relatively small length of the movie compared to the size of the book. Harry Potter’s exchanges with his uncle’s family are left out and one can therefore not correctly gauge the nature of the relationship from watching the film. From the book, it is clear that Harry Potter hates staying with his relatives who despise him.

In this paper, I set out to compare two items so as to highlight their similarities and differences. From my comparison of the book “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and its movie adaptation, it is clear that there are a lot of similarities and differences between the two. Nevertheless, both the movie and the book prove to be equally entertaining despite their differences.

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IvyPanda. (2018, June 27). Harry Potter Books and Movies.

"Harry Potter Books and Movies." IvyPanda , 27 June 2018,

IvyPanda . (2018) 'Harry Potter Books and Movies'. 27 June.

IvyPanda . 2018. "Harry Potter Books and Movies." June 27, 2018.

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Essay on My Favourite Book for Students and Children

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500+ Words Essay on My Favourite Book

Essay on My Favourite Book: Books are friends who never leave your side. I find this saying to be very true as books have always been there for me. I enjoy reading books . They have the power to help us travel through worlds without moving from our places. In addition, books also enhance our imagination. Growing up, my parents and teachers always encouraged me to read. They taught me the importance of reading. Subsequently, I have read several books. However, one boom that will always be my favourite is Harry Potter. It is one of the most intriguing reads of my life. I have read all the books of this series, yet I read them again as I never get bored of it.

essay on my favourite book

Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter was a series of books authored by one of the most eminent writers of our generation, J.K. Rowling. These books showcase the wizarding world and its workings. J.K. Rowling has been so successful at weaving a picture of this world, that it feels real. Although the series contains seven books, I have a particular favourite. My favourite book from the series is The Goblet of fire.

When I started reading the book, it caught my attention instantly. Even though I had read all the previous parts, none of the books caught my attention as this one did. It gave a larger perspective into the wizarding world. One of the things which excite me the most about this book is the introduction of the other wizard schools. The concept of the Tri-wizard tournament is one of the most brilliant pieces I have come across in the Harry Potter series.

In addition, this book also contains some of my favourite characters. The moment I read about Victor Krum’s entry, I was star struck. The aura and personality of that character described by Rowling are simply brilliant. Further, it made me become a greater fan of the series.

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What Harry Potter Series Taught Me?

Even though the books are about the world of wizards and magic, the Harry Potter series contains a lot of lessons for young people to learn. Firstly, it teaches us the importance of friendship. I have read many books but never come across a friendship like that of Harry, Hermoine, and Ron. These three musketeers stuck together throughout the books and never gave up. It taught me the value of a good friend.

Further, the series of Harry Potter taught me that no one is perfect. Everyone has good and evil inside them. We are the ones who choose what we wish to be. This helped me in making better choices and becoming a better human being. We see how the most flawed characters like Snape had goodness inside them. Similarly, how the nicest ones like Dumbledore had some bad traits. This changed my perspective towards people and made me more considerate.

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Finally, these books gave me hope. They taught me the meaning of hope and how there is light at the end of the tunnel. It gave me the strength to cling on to hope in the most desperate times just like Harry did all his life. These are some of the most essential things I learned from Harry Potter.

In conclusion, while there were many movies made in the books. Nothing beats the essence and originality of the books. The details and inclusiveness of books cannot be replaced by any form of media. Therefore, the Goblet of Fire remains to be my favourite book.

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Every Harry Potter In Order (And & How Long Their Runtime Is)

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  • The Harry Potter books faced accusations of promoting witchcraft, leading to bans in some places.
  • The series was criticized for being anti-family and containing references to the occult.
  • The Wizarding World continues to face controversies, now mostly due to J.K. Rowling's views.

The Harry Potter book series is one of the most popular and beloved ones, but it has faced various controversies over the years, to the point where the books were banned in some parts of the world. Back in 1997, readers all over the world traveled to the Wizarding World in the novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone , the first entry in what would become a series of seven novels chronicling Harry’s time at Hogwarts and his battle against Lord Voldemort. The Harry Potter books became a worldwide phenomenon, making way for a media franchise.

The world of Harry Potter came to life between 2001 and 2011 with the film adaptations of the books, expanding its already extensive fanbase. Despite the massive success of the books and their film adaptations, the universe of Harry Potter hasn’t been safe from controversies and backlash, some more serious than others. Among the first controversies surrounding the Harry Potte r series were the attempts to ban the books for different reasons, though that didn’t stop their increasing popularity and success.

While the story of Harry Potterhas ended, it seems like the end is nowhere in sight yet for The Wizarding World. Let's look at every movie so far.

The Harry Potter Book Series Was Accused Of Promoting Witchcraft

The themes in the harry potter books led to different accusations.

Different religious groups accused the Harry Potter books of promoting witchcraft and religions such as Wicca, which, to them, made them unsuitable for children.

The main theme in the Harry Potter books is, obviously, magic , an element found in many other fantasy novels, most notably J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings universe. However, mixing magic and fantasy in books aimed at a young audience didn’t sit well with some groups. Different religious groups accused the Harry Potter books of promoting witchcraft and religions such as Wicca, which, to them, made them unsuitable for children. The Harry Potter books are some of the most challenged in the United States , and according to the American Library Association , this has happened in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2019.

The Harry Potter novels were also accused of being anti-family and anti-authority due to Harry’s relationship with the Dursleys.

The Harry Potter books have also been accused of referencing the occult , Satanism, violence, and containing real spells and curses, with supporters of the books explaining they have little resemblance to occultism and the “witchcraft” in it is merely fictional, though it does seem to have some Christian subtext. The Harry Potter novels were also accused of being anti-family and anti-authority due to Harry’s relationship with the Dursleys, completely ignoring how the latter were abusive to Harry and that the novels have other, healthier representations of family (though not in the traditional way, which can be controversial to some).

All these led to many efforts in different parts of the world to ban the Harry Potter novels, and in the case of the United States, these led to legal challenges, such as allowing the books to be held in public schools violating the separation of church and state. Various schools (mostly religious ones) banned the Harry Potter books at some point , while others tried but ultimately failed.

The World of Harry Potter Has Faced Other Controversies Over The Years

The harry potter universe continues to be controversial for different reasons.

In addition to the above-mentioned controversies, the Harry Potter world has also faced other issues. J.K. Rowling has been accused of plagiarism and has also been plagiarized on many occasions, but the Wizarding World currently faces other, different, and more serious controversies. Rowling’s comments on transgender people have sparked a lot of debate from both sides, to the point where many actors from the Harry Potter books have stepped in to show their support for transgender people and the LGBT community, while others have supported Rowling and her opinions.

The legacy of Harry Potter is a complex one, as it’s not just its massive success in literature and film but also the many debates, bans, and controversies it has faced over the years. As the world of Harry Potter keeps expanding, its legacy grows, and, unfortunately, it’s unlikely it will be safe from more controversies.

Source: American Library Association.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter is a multimedia franchise about an orphaned boy who enrolls at Hogwarts School of Wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family, and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world. Adapted from the novels, Harry Potter is an eight-episode film saga that follows the journey of Harry Potter and his friends, Hermoine Granger and Ron Weasley, as they navigate the tricky world of growing up, school life, and magic. Starting from year one and moving to their seventh year, the films chronicle the students' time at Hogwarts while unfurling a sinister plot that centers around the unsuspecting Harry. With the return of the dark wizard, Voldemort, the students and professors at Hogwarts will fight to carry on as the world around them may change forever. Harry Potter has expanded beyond the world of its films and novels with several video games, a spin-off film series titled Fantastic Beasts, and even attractions at Universal Studios.

Harry Potter

‘Harry Potter’ set at an HBCU? LaDarrion Williams wrote the book he always wanted to read

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On the Shelf

Blood at the Root

By LaDarrion Williams Labyrinth Road: 432 pages, $21 If you buy books linked on our site, The Times may earn a commission from , whose fees support independent bookstores.

LaDarrion Williams’ dream-come-true tale sounds like a Hollywood rags-to-riches film, about a kid from a small town who packs up and moves to Los Angeles to make his fantasy a reality, struggles and suffers but defies the odds and then some.

In Williams’ case, success has finally arrived with “Blood at the Root,” his first novel in a three-book deal, a series that centers on a Black boy in a young-adult fantasy saga — the kind of fiction he wishes had existed when he was a kid.

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Williams grew up in Helena, Ala., a small town, but also a small world. And the world of publishing didn’t help much — he devoured the “Twilight,” “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” series but says, “I connected to the characters because it’s still a human experience, but I didn’t feel seen by those stories. And if somebody that looked like me was there, they were relegated to the side or killed to help propel the main white character’s story forward. Eventually, I fell out of love with reading.”

While attending a small Christian university in Tennessee, Williams double majored in writing and theater, but “there weren’t a lot of opportunities for people like me there — I was a 6-foot 3-inch, 250-pound Black kid and the only role I got was as a slave in ‘Big River.’”

Frustrated, he dropped out and returned home. But working at a Taco Bell drive-thru left him lost and depressed. Williams wanted to write plays or screenplays with strong Black roles, but there were no classes or other guidance at home. He knew he couldn’t afford a school like UCLA, so he looked up the syllabus for a writing class, bought the books and taught himself.

"Blood at the Root" by LaDarrion Williams

“I wrote my first pilot script, and people say to become a TV writer, you have to move to L.A.,” he recalls. On May 9, 2015, he was stuck at Taco Bell, dealing with rude customers, when his paycheck landed via direct deposit. “I had never been on a plane before but I looked up how to buy a plane ticket and bought one for $181, one-way, on Southwest. I packed up three suitcases and a dream and just moved to L.A.”

On the one hand, Williams felt tremendous freedom. On the other hand, there was culture shock, and he was quickly in over his head. “I got a job at Universal, thought, ‘Ooh, I’m going to be working on a movie set,’ but it was the theme park, and I was taking out trash,” he says with a wry chuckle. “My dream was right there, but it was a million miles away.”

He was naïve enough to think that he could still get a job as a TV writer.

“I thought it was kind of like applying to Taco Bell — you send in your stuff and then you just get hired,” he says. “I’ve definitely been humbled.”

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Still, lonely and frustrated, he plugged away, writing, submitting scripts to contests, working for Lyft and Uber to fund short films and produce his own plays.

“I couldn’t get an agent or anyone to look at my scripts, but I was very hungry and kept hustling,” he says, even when he was without a home, sleeping in the same car he was driving around in all day. “I was doing it to pay for my films and plays.”

At one point, he wrote and produced a 25-minute pilot of “Blood at the Root,” hoping to make it into a TV series. While he says he got a strong response on social media, Hollywood once again paid no heed.

Although he had been passionate about writing plays with roles for young Black men, “Blood” struck a different chord for him, bringing him back to his teen years when he yearned for a fantasy story in which he could see himself. That feeling was especially acute in 2020 after George Floyd was murdered, prompting marches and protests across America.

“Now, I had the fire back in me,” he recalls. So he went to the Barnes & Noble in Burbank and asked the clerk for a YA fantasy book with a Black boy lead but without racial trauma or police brutality — one that could provide escape for readers. The clerk brought him to the YA section and together they searched. “And she looked at me and I looked at her and she said, ‘Oh, we really don’t have anything.’”

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That sparked a “righteous rage” in Williams, and he locked himself in his apartment for 12 days to crank out the first draft. “The main character, Malik, wouldn’t leave me alone,” he says, “and I saw my book cover in my dreams.”

“Blood” tells the story of Malik, a 17-year-old who has been in foster care for a decade since his mom’s death. He was 7 when his mother was attacked, and he used magic he didn’t know he possessed, unsuccessfully, to try to save her. Malik later harnesses his powers to rescue his foster brother Taye from an abusive situation. They run away together. (Malik’s experiences and language skew toward the older end of a YA audience, while wide-eyed Taye, at 12, provides a more innocent character.) Malik meets a grandmother he didn’t know he had, and she uses her clout to enroll him at Caiman University, an HBCU for kids with magic — essentially a Black collegiate version of Hogwarts.

“This is a coming-of-age story,” Williams says, adding that he stuck to his plan to not play up racial trauma or police brutality. Instead, you’ll find Malik hugging Taye and expressing his love. “We don’t really get to see young Black boys be tender with each other, and it’s so beautiful because Malik never received that type of tenderness when he was a child. It’s something I’m just learning now in my 30s.”

Originally, Williams planned to self-publish but was persuaded to seek a bigger audience. After plenty of rejections, he found an agent. After another round of “nos,” on Jan. 19, 2023 (he remembers each important date), while he was driving for Lyft, he got the call from his agent that they had landed a publishing deal.

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“The main theme of the book is that the magic of resilience is in the blood, and I had that magic inside of me,” Willams says, adding that he had to come to L.A. to find it. “I wouldn’t have made it back home. I was so depressed. It even came to a point where I didn’t want to exist anymore because I wasn’t feeding myself artistically or creatively.”

Before he signed the contract, Williams had one demand. “My one non-negotiable was that there be a Black boy on the cover,” Williams says. “I want young Black boys in Alabama, Mississippi or Kentucky to walk into that bookstore and see that cover and say, ‘Yo, that kid looks like me.’”

They’re not going to be the only ones excited to see it on a shelf. “I’m going back to that Barnes & Noble in Burbank,” he says. “I took a picture of myself in the bookstore that day but I was depressed and forcing myself to smile. Now I’m going back there to take a picture of myself with my book.”

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The Later Harry Potter Movies Get This Part of the Books All Wrong

The Harry Potter movies get a lot right, just not this.

The Big Picture

  • The Harry Potter novels used detailed spells to create a unique fantasy world, but the films failed to capture the same level of detail.
  • The spells used in the books had important meanings and contributed to character development, but this was lost in the films.
  • The later Harry Potter films had impressive action sequences but lacked specificity, resulting in a loss of individual fighting styles and becoming empty spectacles.

The legacy of the Harry Potter novel series and the film franchise that inspired it are very different. While the Harry Potter books have become overshadowed by the transphobic comments of their author, J.K. Rowling , the Wizarding World films served as an appropriate coming-of-age story for many young fans who grew up on the adventures of Daniel Radcliffe , Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson . Even so, the films do fall short when it comes to the use of spells and magic .

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

Harry, Ron, and Hermione search for Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord as the final battle rages on at Hogwarts.

Why Spells Are So Important in Harry Potter

In the Harry Potter novels, each spell, charm, and curse is explained in implicit detail. Their descriptions are important parts of the world-building that helped establish Harry Potter's unique place amongst fantasy sagas. In the books, characters can't simply just wave their wands and expect to see a result; they need to put effort into channeling a specific phrase to produce the desired effect. Many of the most entertaining scenes in the first few novels come from Harry and his friends trying to master spells that are considered challenging. Learning how Harry and the students of Hogwarts develop their skills makes the novels feel like coming-of-age stories and not just fantasy adventures.

This attention to detail when it comes to specific spells is also a hallmark in the first few films. One of the most important scenes in 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is when Harry and Draco Malfoy ( Tom Felton ) are learning how to duel from their new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor , Gilderoy Lockhart ( Sir Kenneth Branagh ). Lockhart teaches Harry how to use the disarming spell “Expelliarmus.” Although Harry is more interested in wounding Malfoy than disarming him, the “Expelliarmus” spell comes to his advantage more than a few times within the series.

Harry Potter Wasn't in One of the Movies’ Bravest Moments

“Expelliarmus” is the same spell that Draco uses to disarm Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince . It’s important to know that Draco is the one to disarm Albus Dumbledore (the late great Michael Gambon ) , and not Severus Snape ( Alan Rickman ) . Since Dumbledore possesses “The Elder Wand,” ownership of the seemingly undefeatable wand passes to Malfoy; it in turn passes to Harry when he successfully disarms Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1 . The “Expelliarmus” spell may be harmless, but it changes the course of Harry Potter mythology due to the nature of wand ownership.

There’s also a tremendous amount of time in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire spent on defining the three “Unforgivable curses.” The Cruciatus Curse (“Crucio”) generates intolerable pain for its victim, the Imperius Curse gives a user power over their victim’s actions (“Imperio”), and the Killing Curse (“Avada Kedavra”) does exactly what it suggests. Harry’s latest Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher, Mad-Eye Moody ( Brendan Gleeson ), explains exactly what these curses do, and why they are considered to be “unforgivable” by most witches and wizards.

Beyond being a cool piece of trivia for Harry Potter experts, the meaning of these spells provides important pieces of backstory . It’s important that as an infant, Harry is the only wizard to survive the Killing Curse; this is why he is known as “The Boy Who Lived.” It’s also mentioned that Bellatrix Lestrange ( Helena Bonham Carter ) forced several victims to go insane because of her repeated use of the Cruciatus Curse. Knowing that Bellatrix chose to torture, and not simply kill her victims, is why she is one of the better-written villains in the Harry Potter saga .

The Later Harry Potter Movies Get the Magic All Wrong

The early Harry Potter films had the benefit of having time to spend on detailing each spell and what they meant. Unfortunately, this changed once director David Yates took over the franchise with his adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix . The films got denser and had to introduce more characters, leading to bigger action sequences with many more flashing lights and spells. While Yates created a lot of impressive action sequences, it became impossible to determine which spells were being uttered .

In The Goblet of Fire , it’s important that Harry uses the “Expelliarmus” spell to ward off Voldemort ( Ralph Fiennes ) after surviving the Triwizard tournament . While neither of the spells produces the desired effect because Harry is able to escape back to Hogwarts, both Harry and Voldemort use the same spells when they reunite for their final duel. While the books make it clear that it’s Voldemort’s rebounded killing curse that costs him his life , Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 features the two simply screaming at each other as they cast seemingly indistinguishable flashes of light.

The spells that Harry and Voldemort use say something about them as characters. Voldemort is so intent on killing that he neglects to give himself a defense, and Harry is ultimately unwilling to use one of the “Unforgivable Curses.” Although Harry is tempted to use the Cruciatus Curse a few times in the previous films as he questions his own heroism, he ultimately matures and chooses to leave these darker attributes behind him.

It became harder to appreciate each character’s individual fighting style without knowing which spells they were using. Order of the Phoenix ends with a show-stopping magical duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort, but it's impossible to determine what the two wizards are saying. Instead of feeling like the ultimate face-off between good and evil in the Harry Potter universe, the battle just feels like an empty bit of spectacle .

David Yates’ Harry Potter films certainly did not lack spectacle, but they may be an example of too much of a good thing. The Star Wars franchise had its “lightsaber fatigue,” and in turn, the Harry Potter universe has its “magic fatigue.” The later sequels lacked the specificity that had made the early Harry Potter films feel so unique.

All the Harry Potter films are available to stream on Max in the U.S.

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8 most powerful spells from Harry Potter, ranked

M uch like Star Wars or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Harry Potter series remains one of the most interesting and beloved franchises out there. Thanks to Max and J.K. Rowling’s partnership, a new series will soon come out on the streaming service, giving new life to the books and a fresh new take for fans. Of course, everyone will look forward to the coolest magic done on the small screen, as it was also done in the eight films shown in theaters. We take a look below at some of the most powerful spells in the Harry Potter universe, those that fans will want to see when the Max series comes to life.

8. Expecto Patronum

Dementors rank among the nastiest beings in Harry Potter. Their description in Prisoner of Azkaban, and their subsequent appearance in the film version solidifies the fear these floating joy-sucking monsters generate. That’s why the corresponding spell to combat these Dementors must be equally powerful to repel them effectively.

This is where the Patronus charm comes in. First introduced by Remus Lupin to Harry Potter in the third book, it is a complex spell that few wizards have ever mastered. What it does is to conjure concentrated light and happiness in the caster’s animal form to drive Dementors away. One can also summon this spirit-looking animal to perform certain feats, like When Severus Snape sent his Doe Patronus to aid Harry and his friends in their time of need.

7. Sectumsempra

Speaking of Snape, fans were surprised to learn that the former Death Eater had it in him to create a spell as deadly as Sectumsempra. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the titular character stumbles upon a Potions book with several spells scribbled on it. The one that sticks the most to Harry is Sectumsempra due to the added note that it must be used on enemies.

During a fight between Harry and Draco Malfoy, the former remembers the said spell and uses it to repel his Slytherin rival. What follows is an unseen blade slashing across Draco’s body, rendering him incapable of fighting. Even if he uttered several healing spells, Sectumsempra is designed to resist them, lowering the victim’s chance of survival and serving as a testament to the offensive spell’s deadly nature. Fortunately, Snape arrived on the scene and uttered the appropriate healing spell, saving Draco in the process. In any case, Sectumsempra serves as a symbol of Snape’s ingenuity and power, especially during times of battle.

6. Fidelius

No matter how powerful Lord Voldemort is, the greatest dark wizard of his age is certainly no match for the Fidelius charm. In essence, the spell is considered one of the strongest protections out there as it can hide the caster or anyone he or she chooses completely. The catch here is that there must be a secret keeper to make the spell work, which in the case of Lily and James Potter, was Peter Pettigrew. Although his betrayal ultimately undermined the power of Fidelius and led to the death of Harry’s parents, the sheer absoluteness of the spell makes it a handy protection solution, especially against the likes of Voldemort and other powerful wizards.

Back during You-Know-Who’s first rise to power, his forces used Imperio to its fullest potential. Basically, this Unforgivable curse gives absolute control of a person’s will to the spell’s caster. The Death Eaters made good use of this spell by using it on key individuals inside the Ministry of Magic during his first run and after he returned to life. With such potential that can be easily attained, the possibilities of Crucio in the Harry Potter universe is vast, a detail that must be emphasized when the new series plays out on Max in the future.

The second of the three Unforgivable curses is more blunt and direct than the previous entry. Crucio, at its very core, is a spell dark wizards love to use as it essentially tortures their target. Once cast, the curse imbues unimaginable pain in the person, causing him or her to succumb to it. While once or twice is more than enough, using Crucio more than that displays the spell’s lethality, as it can be seen in the case of Neville Longbottom’s parents. After Bellatrix Lestrange used the curse endlessly on them, their minds broke long after the battle was done. In any case, Crucio is one spell that spreads fear faster than most spells in the Harry Potter universe.

3. Gubraithian Fire

While Fiendfyre got more screen time in Deathly Hallows, there’s one fire-related spell that’s better and more powerful – Gubraithian Fire. Basically, the wizard casts this spell and it conjures a fire that will never go out, even in the most dire of circumstances. This means it can’t be extinguished by water, wind, or any other means out there.

Casting a Gubraithian Fire is also harder than most spells in the Harry Potter universe. As it stands, J.K. Rowling designed the spell to be cast by only Albus Dumbledore in the books, which serves as a testament to his ability as one of the greatest wizards to have ever lived. With that kind of difficulty and all the benefits it can provide, there’s no doubt that Gubaithian Fire is a lot more powerful than the earlier entries of this list.

2. Horcruxes

While most spells here are used for defense or offense, the one used to create a Horcrux can be seen as more powerful as it delivers eternal life to its caster. And unlike all the other spells in this list, J.K. Rowling never wrote the exact incantation, leaving fans to speculate how the exact process is done, apart from killing a victim to tear a portion of the soul apart.

Even as the basic concept of the spell is gruesome enough, the benefit it yields is something that can be more in the hands of a powerful and ambitious wizard, like Voldemort. And while it’s evil down to the very core, the spell used to make Horcruxes is as powerful as it gets in the Wizarding World.

1. Avada Kedavra

Topping the list for the most powerful spells in the Harry Potter universe is no other than Avada Kedavra, Voldemort’s favorite to instill his will and fear onto others. The spell itself is a play on Abra Kadabra and is easy to cast by just about anyone in the Wizarding World. Its effect, though, is a different matter as it can kill the target quickly and efficiently. Avada Kedavra’s ease of use and lethality makes it the ideal spell to gain power, though the mean is very questionable.

With these spells in hand, one would almost be the master of death in any circumstance. Fans would have to wait and see whether J.K. Rowling and Max’s partnership in the new Harry Potter series will make the most out of these spells and captivate fans all over again in the coming years.

The post 8 most powerful spells from Harry Potter, ranked appeared first on ClutchPoints .


Prince Harry's Spare Ghostwriter Speaks Out About Working on the Explosive Memoir

J.R. Moehringer talks working with the prince, living with Meghan and Harry, and finding Harry's story "relatable."

preview for Shocking Rules Royals Need to Follow

In a new essay published by the New Yorker , J. R. Moehringer—also the author of The Tender Bar —opened up about writing the book with the Duke of Sussex for two years. The essay illuminates his close relationship with the royal, from the fight that almost ended their professional relationship to what it was like to temporarily live with Harry and Duchess Meghan in their California home .

Moehringer recalls a late night Zoom session with Harry to go over the book's edits. The two reached an impasse over a specific section in the book, in which Harry is in the midst of a brutal military training that simulates the experience of being kidnapped and tortured by terrorists. He is beaten, starved, stripped, and—at one point—the pretend captors hurl insults at him, one of which is a "vile dig" at his late mother, Princess Diana.

Harry insisted that this part of the book end with a witty comeback he hurled back at the captor, but Moehringer disagreed.

Although this wasn’t the first time that Harry and I had argued, it felt different; it felt as if we were hurtling toward some kind of decisive rupture, in part because Harry was no longer saying anything. He was just glaring into the camera. Finally, he exhaled and calmly explained that, all his life, people had belittled his intellectual capabilities, and this flash of cleverness proved that, even after being kicked and punched and deprived of sleep and food, he had his wits about him.

In the end, Moehringer convinced the royal to exclude the witticism from the passage, arguing that it unnecessarily detracts from the story's narrative power. Harry relented, then cheekily joked to the writer afterwards, "I really enjoy getting you worked up like that."

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Despite the occasional editorial disagreements with Harry, Moehringer wrote that his impression of the prince was generally a positive one.

"I just liked the dude. I called him dude right away; it made him chuckle," he said. "I found his story, as he outlined it in broad strokes, relatable and infuriating. The way he’d been treated, by both strangers and intimates, was grotesque."

The author added that the two bonded in their shared grief over their mothers; Moehringer's mom had recently died when he and Harry first met.

"I wondered if we’d have any chemistry. We did, and there was, I think, a surprising reason. Princess Diana had died twenty-three years before our first conversation, and my mother, Dorothy Moehringer, had just died, and our griefs felt equally fresh," he wrote.

He later added, "In retrospect, though, I think I selfishly welcomed the idea of being able to speak with someone, an expert, about that never-ending feeling of wishing you could call your mom."

Moehringer stayed with Harry and Meghan at their Montecito home multiple times over the course of writing the book—once accompanied by his wife and children, and twice by himself.

He noted that "Harry won the heart of my daughter, Gracie, with his vast Moana scholarship; his favorite scene, he told her, is when Heihei, the silly chicken, finds himself lost at sea."

Moehringer stayed in the couple's guesthouse, "where Meghan and Archie would visit me on their afternoon walks. Meghan, knowing I was missing my family, was forever bringing trays of food and sweets." The Duchess of Sussex also gifted toys to Moehringer's children.

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When someone leaked the news that Harry would be releasing a memoir and that Moehringer was ghostwriting it, the author and his family were quickly hounded by the press. He described the terrifying experience of paparazzi following him and his wife as they dropped their son off at preschool, and of the endless false headlines published about him that he felt powerless to correct. To express his frustration over the public scrutiny, Moehringer called up Harry.

It was like telling Taylor Swift about a bad breakup. It was like singing “Hallelujah” to Leonard Cohen. Harry was all heart. He asked if my family was O.K., asked for physical descriptions of the people harassing us, promised to make some calls, see if anything could be done. We both knew nothing could be done, but still. I felt gratitude, and some regret. I’d worked hard to understand the ordeals of Harry Windsor, and now I saw that I understood nothing. Empathy is thin gruel compared with the marrow of experience. One morning of what Harry had endured since birth made me desperate to take another crack at the pages in “Spare” that talk about the media.

Moehringer also reflected on Harry's true intention for publishing Spare .

" While I always emphasized storytelling and scenes, Harry couldn’t escape the wish that Spare might be a rebuttal to every lie ever published about him," he said. "He knew, of course, that some people would be aghast at first. 'Why on earth would Harry talk about that?' But he had faith that they would soon see: because someone else already talked about it, and got it wrong."

their majesties king charles iii and queen camilla coronation day previously reported that the royal family felt "rattled" following the book's January release.

"There was a feeling that whatever Harry said in his book would just be news today, gone tomorrow," a palace insider told BAZAAR at the time. "However, the level of detail given in the book about specific relationships with the media has put it all under the microscope now."

A source additionally said that Prince William—who faces several damning allegations in Spare , including instigating a physical fight with Harry after a fight about Meghan—felt " devastated ."

"He's not ignoring the things his brother has shared," the source shared. "The dust needs to settle, but … this has been food for thought."

Harry was recently in London for the coronation of his father, King Charles III. Meghan and the couple's two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, did not join him .

Headshot of Chelsey Sanchez

As an associate editor at, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse on all things celeb news. She also writes on social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight on workers' rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, rewatching Emma (the 2020 version, of course), or buying yet another corset. 

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