Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Book and Movie Comparison

Posted on April 13, 2020

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone originally is the book written by Joanne Rowling in 1997. The story is the first of the seven-book series about the adventures of a young wizard Harry. The novel became extremely popular, so the film adaptation was released in 2001. There are many differences between the book and the movie because the book gives more information about the main characters and events. Nevertheless, the director of the movie, Chris Columbus, managed to present the story that is faithful to the novel. Moreover, the film managed to transmit a general atmosphere of the book despite the omission of some specific details. The comparison of the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and its film adaptation has demonstrated that the movie meets the demands of the readers because it tells the original story about the magic world; accordingly, some slight differences in plot and characters do not influence a general impression.

First of all, the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone tells the story of a young orphan who lives with his uncle and aunt. His life is miserable because his relatives mistreat him. However, suddenly, Harry finds out that his parents were wizards, and he comes to a school of magic, Hogwarts. The boy possesses unique talents and skills that distinguish him from other children. In Hogwarts, Harry meets his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and starts their unforgettable adventures. Harry, Ron, and Hermione demonstrate real friendship and devotion. The teenagers face real challenges, but manage to stay strong. Additionally, Harry Potter’s main enemy is Voldemort, a man who has killed his parents but could not kill him.

The authoress depicts the feelings of the main heroes masterfully, so the readers start sympathizing and cheering for them. Moreover, the book is full of vivid descriptions, bright metaphors, and exciting details. The humor of the story pleases the audience and makes it more memorable. Moreover, J.K. Rowling pays critical attention to details, so reading is engaging. For instance, at the beginning of the book, she underlines that Harry is tragically orphaned, and his uncle and aunt make him feel unwanted, so the audience values the achievement of the protagonist even more intensely (Maslak 12). The characters are deep and complex, and the plot attracts readers’ attention until the end of the book. Accordingly, the story Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has become extremely popular.

The film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone aimed to become as popular as the book. The director devoted considerable efforts to present the story of Harry Potter in a movie version. The film impresses by its sublime atmosphere, which is faithful enough to the novel despite some specific scenes. Directing the story was a challenging task because the book is vivid, dynamic, and full of magic. However, Chris Columbus managed to tell the story about magical adventures, eccentric characters, and memorable events in an appealing way. The use of special effects can be observed from the first scenes in Hogwarts. They help the viewers to understand the peculiarities of a magical world more profoundly. For instance, the Hogwarts building is majestic with its great hall and corridors so that the viewers can experience the atmospheric book illustration.

The film masterfully implies special effects, so the episodes are vivid and faithful to the novel. The use of special effects can be observed during the gravity-defying action scenes. For instance, the game of Quidditch and the chess game with life-size pieces fascinate by their reality and virtuosity. Additionally, convincing special effects can be seen in the scene in the dark forest, when main heroes meet disgusting creatures and a centaur. The effects maintain the atmosphere of the book. For instance, the room with flying keys also perfectly conveys the novel’s mood and completes a magical environment. Moreover, the final scene of the fight perfectly corresponds to the description of Rowling due to the masterful use of special effects and attention to detail.

The audience can observe some differences from the first scenes of the movie. The chronology of the movie is slightly changed and does not fully correspond to the book. For example, the film does not begin with the depiction of Uncle Vernon’s attitude to magic, as the book does. The Dursley family are the last living relatives of Harry, so Vernon Dursley is Harry’s uncle, who raises the boy after the death of his parents. The book depicts Harry and Dursleys’ relationship more thoroughly in comparison to the movie. Accordingly, the readers understand that Harry is mistreated by his relatives, so they sympathize with him deeply. When Hagrid visits Harry to present him a letter from Hogwarts, the film does not display the intensity of the conflict between Hagrid and Uncle Vernon. Moreover, the film makes Hagrid and Harry’s departure from Dursleys’ house more dramatic as they leave in the middle of the night in the storm (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). Additionally, in the book, Hagrid mentions that he borrowed his motorcycle from Sirius Black, who becomes an essential character in the next story. The film lacks such specific details that make the beginning of the story more engaging.

Throughout the book, J.K. Rowling strives to add some specific information that becomes important later. For instance, Harry Potter meets Draco Malfoy in Madam Malkin’s shop, a shop in Diagon Alley, where they both are choosing the first set of school robes, and there is hostility between the boys. Later, they become enemies in Hogwarts. However, the film omits the scene in Madam Malkin’s shop. In the movie, the boys meet on the train to Hogwarts, and their first confrontation is before the sorting ceremony. According to the book, Hagrid explains to Harry the peculiarities of Quidditch and Hogwarts’s houses when they go shopping. At the same time, the film does not include such scenes.

Another critical point is that the book and the movie present some of the characters differently. The actors, in general, correspond to their description in the book. The actors’ play is impressive and memorable. The director chose the actors who meet the audience’s expectations. However, they differ slightly in appearance and do not follow the author’s description strictly. For example, in the book Harry Potter is described as a short boy with green hazel eyes. In the movie, he has blue eyes and is not shorter than his classmates. Concerning Harry’s uncle and aunt, they are blonde, while the film omits such details. In the film adaptation, Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley does not have a long nose. For instance, the personage of Albus Dumbledore, a wise headmaster of Hogwarts, perfectly fits Richard Harris. At the same time, Maggie Smith lends her asperity to Professor McGonagall, the head of Gryffindor House. The role of Professor Snape, one of the negative heroes, is masterfully performed by Alan Rickman. However, in the movie, Snape lacks the anger that was depicted by Rowling. In general, the cast is excellent despite slight differences in appearance or character.

It should be noted that the film presents fewer characters than the book. Moreover, the movie’s description of the characters does not always follow the book. As an example, the film omits Peeves, a poltergeist, who threw water balloons and made rude comments about teachers and students. Some of the scenes were changed because Peeves played an important role there. Accordingly, the movie lacks this personage as he completes a general atmosphere of the episode.

With regard to the episodes about the Hogwarts express and the beginning of the school year, the film slightly changes some of the scenes described in the book. As an example, originally, the first conflict between Harry and Malfoy was in Hogwarts express. Malfoy advises Harry not to make friends with Ron Weasley, and Harry answers that he does not need advice from him (Rowling 109). In the film, the confrontation between boys is in Hogwarts, when first-year students enter the hall. The sorting hat’s song, which explains the peculiarities of each house, also is not added to the film. However, the song is engaging enough, so the film could include it to continue the atmosphere of the first evening in Hogwarts.

The attentive audience can note that in the film, some of the information is omitted or changed. According to the book, in the speech, Dumbledore reminds the students that the forest is forbidden. It becomes evident that the name of the wood is the Forbidden Forest. However, in the movie, this forest is called Dark. Additionally, in Hogwarts, there are many exciting classes such as Herbology, Defense against the Dark Arts, and History of Magic. Rowling describes them in detail, so it is fascinating to learn more about magic subjects. Nevertheless, in the film, they are not included, so viewers do not have an opportunity to find out about education in a magical world as much as possible. Furthermore, in the book, there is Norbert, a baby dragon raised by Hagrid, which is smuggled out of Hogwarts by Harry and Hermione. However, their adventures are not mentioned in the movie. The omission of some scenes can be justified by time restrain, so only the most significant scenes are included.

The most notable scenes of the story are Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s search for the sorcerer’s stone. The friends have to go through diverse challenges in order to reach their aim. There is a room with giant chess pieces where Harry, Ron, and Hermione should play the game to overcome the barrier. However, in the film, only Ron rides the knight’s horse and gets seriously injured (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). In the movie, all the chess pieces are smashed after the game. Additionally, in the book, Harry and Hermione use their logic to fight the next barrier to the Stone. Namely, professor Snape created a riddle of seven potions, so the friends have to choose the right one to move forward (Rowling 312). Accordingly, Hermione manages to solve the problem and find the right potion. However, in the movie, this challenge is not included. The viewers do not have an opportunity to realize Hermione’s logic and wisdom. As a result, Hermione’s presence in the episode is not explained.

The film pays attention to the depiction of the essential facts, while some of the details are omitted. As an example, in the film, the Mirror of Erised demonstrates to Harry only his parents, while in the book, the boy sees all members of his family, including grandparents. It should be noted that the movie’s version of the climax of the story, a confrontation between Harry and Voldemort, corresponds to Rowling’s description. It is a life-and-death, desperate, and heroic struggle. Harry Potter manages to fight the evil represented by Voldemort. Accordingly, final scenes of the film are impressive enough for the audience as they correspond to the story written by J. K. Rowling.

It becomes evident that there are differences in the depiction of Voldemort in the book and his appearance in the movie. According to Rowling, Voldemort’s nose resembles a snake, but in the film, it does not look like a snake. Furthermore, in the movie, Harry is not afraid of Voldemort’s name. However, the book states that the boy feels afraid when someone mentions this name. As a result, the film adaptation does not thoroughly describe the personage of Voldemort’s, but it is still terrifying enough.

The time restraint does not allow the film to present all the scenes mentioned in the book. Some of the episodes lack specific details noted in the story. However, the director managed to convey a general atmosphere of Hogwarts in the film. Significant attention is paid to special effects that bring Hogwarts to life. The film attempts to present the story told by J. K. Rowling, but some events and characters should be altered or omitted due to the time frame. The movie demonstrates the scale of the magical world, but reading the book shows the peculiarities of the story.

It can be concluded that the story of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a prominent work that engages people of different ages. The film adaptation strived to take into account the main peculiarities of the book in order to present a vivid and impressive story. The analysis of the film and the book has demonstrated that there are some differences between them. However, they do not affect the general impression of the story. Chris Columbus presents his vision of the story that follows the novel of J. K. Rowling. The time restraint becomes the main obstacle to include all of the scenes and characters. Nevertheless, the film manages to cover the significant episodes and transmit the main messages of the story.

Works Cited
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Directed by Chris Columbus. Warner Brothers, 2001.

Maslak, Antonia. “The Character Development in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” Diss. Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences., 2017.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Year: 1997.

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