Today’s prompt for the 30-Day Book Challenge is a book turned into a movie and completely desecrated. Of course, the first thing that comes to my mind is Harry Potter (sorry for the redundancy). I enjoyed a few of the films, but I was really disappointed in the last one (Deathly Hallows Part II). I thought that Part I was done really well, so I was surprised at how much Part II deviated from the book.
Sometimes I can see why changes are necessary when turning a book into a film. Especially with long and complex novels like Harry Potter, there are things that might not make sense to everyone, or elements that don’t translate well into visual form. But it really annoys me when there are changes that twist the message of the book for entertainment’s sake. Here are some of those changes in Deathly Hallows Part II:
1. In the book, Harry does not dramatically reveal himself in front of all of Hogwarts before the final battle. Harry is trying to save the world. He is trying to find all of the horcruxes without Voldemort knowing. Why would he reveal himself to all of the students and Death Eaters at Hogwarts? So Voldemort would know his precise location and come kill all of the students? The action was purely there for drama and audience gasps; it was not sensible at all. Harry learned a lot throughout the last books, and one of those things was to not draw attention to himself.
2. Harry never told Hermione and Ron he was giving himself up to Voldemort in the book. First of all, it would have been too hard for him. He would have never been able to do it if he saw the looks on their faces. And they would never have let him. Hermione would have tried to come up with another plan, and Ron would have at least gone with him and tried to fight. In the movie, they don’t even explore these options. Ron doesn’t even say goodbye to Harry, his best friend for the past 7 years. I’m not sure why they decided to include this scene, but it was ridiculous and out of character. I found the book version to be much more dramatic and heart-wrenching: Harry walking past his friends in his Invisibility Cloak, knowing it was the last time he was going to be seeing them, and knowing he couldn’t say goodbye.
3. Two words: Voldemort’s death. Firstly, there should not have been a huge Hollywood battle between Harry and Voldemort. The point of the end of the book was that Voldemort defeated himself. Harry did not fight him, he talked to him. He gave him a chance to realize his wrongdoings and feel remorse. Voldemort could not do it, and so Harry had no choice but to bounce back his killing curse. And in the end, Voldemort was just a dead body. He was shoved aside into a broom closet, and that was it. No dramatic disintegration of his body, with pieces flying off with the wind. After he had kept parts of himself in so many places and came back to life, it was important that Voldemort’s dead body was seen. He was, after all, human like the rest of them. But the movie made him into some kind of creature with a chronic skin condition, and took away that necessary closure and humility.
I could go on and on about the Harry Potter films, but these are just some points that really bother me about the last film (there was also Ron and Hermione’s kiss, but let’s not get into that). If you have any counter arguments to these points, please let me know! Maybe I’m just a book purist, but I would probably enjoy the film more if there were solid reasons behind those changes.