I remember when I first read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Well, I didn’t read them myself, at first. My mother read the Socerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone for those outside the United States) to me, with I think a few passages being read by my sister but I can’t be positive on that. While my mother always encouraged the reading of books, being able to read several herself during vacation drives to the Mall of America or to Mount Rushmore, she purchased books two through four on audio tape for me to listen to. (For those too young to know what audio tapes are, I weep for you.) I quickly put Chamber of Secrets into the cassette player, followed by Prisoner of Askaban, then Goblet of Fire, and when I finished the fourth book, I took the first tape of Goblet back out and started it all over again. I proceeded to listen to that book so many times I eventually ruined four of the 12 tapes. The reason for those many listenings was because the fifth book came out three years after the fourth, which is an eternity for a nine year-old. Recently, while driving to Kentucky for a friend of mine’s graduation, I listened to what I could of my Goblet of Fire tapes just on a mere whim; it was the first time I read/listened to any of the books since the seventh book came out.
But let’s back track a bit. Shortly after having Sorcerer’s Stone read to me, my mother told me she had read an article in the paper about how the books were going to be made into films. She showed me a picture of the three actors who would play Harry, Ron, and Hermione. “Will they have the giant chess game in it?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she replied.
I got extremely excited about the upcoming films, wanting to see my favorite scenes acted out on screen. Years later, I have been mostly satisfied with the film versions (I can’t speak for Deathly Hallows: Part II, though, since I haven’t been able to see it yet). True, the movies had to cut out a lot of material from the books, lots of sections being readers’ favorite moments, but such is the medium of film. You simply can’t fit that much into a movie, though, the films did, after all, get the bulk of the main story into the eight installments. Upon listening to most of book four again, however, I realized what two elements of the books, for me, were truly, if not understandably, lost in translation when the books were adapted. Continue reading