For several years after Deathly Hallows came out, I re-read the entire Harry Potter series every summer. I stopped doing that a few years back when I got serious about being an author, but every now and then I return to the series. Most of the time it’s for pleasure, but this time it was related to my writing.

The latest novel I’ve queried was written in first-person present tense. I’m in the process of re-writing it in close third-person past tense. The Harry Potter novels are often given as examples of book written in this POV, so I decided to read it to help identify some techniques I could use in my own writing.

The problem with doing this is that the stories are so fun and engaging, it’s easy to slip out of critical reader mode and into recreational reader mode without realizing it. Fortunately, I was able to make the observations I needed to make within the first 100 pages before I flipped over to reading it for pleasure.

Now, just for fun, here are three areas where the movie version deviated from the book. If you noticed others, feel free to post them in the comments.

  1. Peeves does not appear in the movies. Despite casting Rik Mayall for the role, everyone’s favorite poltergeist was cut from the first movie (presumably to reduce costs). I think that was an unfortunate decision, because Peeves was involved in some of my favorite scenes of the series — Fred and George Weasley’s departure from Hogwarts in particular.
  2. In the book, Harry and Hermione accompany Hagrid into the dark forest for detention, while Neville and Malfoy go with Fang. In the movie, Harry and Malfoy are together, and Hermione and Neville are with Hagrid.
  3. In the book there are two additional obstacles to reaching the sorcerer’s stone – Quirrell contributed a troll to the safeguards, and Snape provided a logic puzzle with clues that Hermione figured out rather easily.

photo credit: The Marauders and Lily (new) via photopin (license)