Your favorite book is being made into a movie. The excitement you feel is immeasurable. You hope that it is exactly how your imagination envisioned. When it comes to your favorite books vs. the movie adaptions, it is hard to not get even just a little disappointed. Minor changes can seem monumental when in the context of the books they are based off of.
We’ve all been in this moment. I experienced the same feelings when Harry Potter was being made into movies and later on when I read Jane Eyre for a college course. Which, I fell in love with. Jane Eyre is my favorite Victorian Era novel.
Movies are never going to be exactly how you envisioned it, unless you are the one making it. Though, it is a bonus when the screen writers and directors do their best to get the elements as accurate as possible. It is hard to get every detail into a movie, but when there are important details missing it is hard to not get upset.
For me there are major details missing from two Harry Potter movies; The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix. Both movies leave out important details that I feel are important to the overarching story that the world of Harry Potter tells. This comes in terms of Neville Longbottom, his parents, and his potential at being the Chosen One.
In the books it is revealed to Harry by Dumbledore, not a prophecy crystal, that it was foretold of a boy who had the power to vanquish Voldemort. Two boys met the criteria, one being Harry and one being Neville. Voldemort chose Harry as he was a half blood, not pure blood, like Neville was. This information is important in my eyes because it truly shows that Harry was targeted from the start. And just knowing there was someone else that could have had your life must be hard to deal with.
There is also a scene in from the books that I feel is important and that I wish was shown in the movies. The Order of the Phoenix book gives us a moment in the hospital with Neville visiting his parents, who were tortured and left mentally unstable by the Death Eaters. I always found this scene important to Neville and his story, as he is seen as the weird one. His parents story, and in turn his, give a glimpse into some reasons why he is the way he is.
Speaking of Neville, in the movies it is he who lets Harry know about the Gillyweed to use for the second task. In the books, it is Dobby, the free elf. I remember being upset about this change in the details. Dobby has played an important part of keeping Harry safe and I always enjoyed that we got to see his life after Harry gave him freedom.
These may sound nit-picky or going out of my way to find things wrong. There are a lot of things I find wrong in the books themselves. By that, I mean I find them unnecessary and sometimes over the top, but that is a different article. The book remain some of my favorite written works, because they were such a huge part of my tweens to early twenties.
My knack for finding things wrong in the details didn’t stop at Harry Potter. It moved into my college career and my discovery of Jane Eyre though my British Lit class. I absolutely am obsessed with Jane Eyre. So when it came to watching the movie version of the novel in class, I was nervous. We were shown the 2006 BBC version starring Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. Both of whom ended up being perfect manifestations of the people I saw in my head.
Now, unfortunately because I only made it through the first one to five minutes of other versions before turning it off, I cannot give many examples. I just know that I hated how those first few minutes went. They felt so off from the books that I had to click stop. It was not right and so much so that I couldn’t continue. Maybe it was because i saw the BBC version first. Or maybe it was because I felt like Stephens and Wilson embodied Mr. Rochester and Jane so perfectly from what i had pictured in my head, that anything other than that was never going to satisfy me.
In the end the books we love to read will always have a strong hold on us. So any movie that gets adapted from them will never fully meet the expectations. I love the Harry Potter books as their own unit, as I love the movies as their own. And in fairness the movies do get a lot right amongst all the wrong things. The most important elements remain. As for Jane Eyre, well, I simply will never like any other version. Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson are my Jane and Rochester.
These are just two examples of movies that didn’t fully meet all elements to the books they came from. I know there are plenty more. Tell us what yours are!
Happy reading and happy viewing!