The storyline in the book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling is consistent with its namesake movie; yet the movie loses a bit of magic that comes with reading this masterpiece. Understandably, changes were necessary to morph this lengthy book into a film of reasonable length. The movie was thoughtfully created and directed to maintain the integrity of the original story. Slight alterations within the movie from scene to scene or character to character were added and details were deleted to shorten the film to a reasonable length.
Still, the theme of good always prevailing over evil and procuring the ending is found in both pieces. Although many small changes were made, I will focus on the few major differences that contrast the book versus the film. The major contrasting evidences proving the book is better than the movie are the subplot of Norbert the Dragon which segway into the difference of a handful of students serving in the Forbidden Forrest under detention and two aspects to reach the final stage to be able to receive the Sorcerer’s Stone, the troll and the potions riddle.
The biggest subplot deprived from the movie was the dealings of the dragon, Norbert, and Hagrid. In the world of wizardy, breeding dragons is illegal without a specific license. During this part of the book and movie, Draco Malfoy is mischievous and looking to get the trio in trouble. In contrast, the movie shows only a little snippet and the dragon does not show up again the film. Whereas in the book, Norbert, whom Hagrid names him, grows and is becoming large. Harry and Hermione Granger figure out a way to rid Hagrid of the dragon through Ron Weasley’s brother, Charlie Weasley.
He lives in Romania and is legally taking care of dragons. They set up a rendezvous on top of the Astronomy tower where Charlie’s buddies will pick up Norbert and transport him to Romania. As the exchange takes place, Malfoy tries to disrupt the trio, Harry, Ron and Hermione, and get them in a heap of trouble for being out of their dormitories after hours. He eventually gets caught trying to set them up, Harry and Hermione use the invisibility cloak he received for Christmas to sneak around Hogwarts without being detected.
In the excitement of successfully sneaking a dragon under the professors’ noses, they leave the cloak on the tower half way through their operation and is discovered in addition. Neville tried to warn them of Malfoy’s schemes but in his attempts he is caught also and they are all assigned detention. Filch one of the castle’s caretakers, eventually run into the trio and take them to Professor McGonagall for ensuing punishment. During the movie, Ron takes the place of Neville; however, in the book Ron is in the Hospital Wing due to a previous dragon bite.
They are all punished to serve with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forrest to fulfill their prescribed detention. The detention in the movie is differential from the book with regards to lack of introduction to additional characters that are eventually incorporated into the series, as well as a shortening of events and scenes. For starters, Ron takes the place of Neville in the movie. There are four people in detention plus Hagrid and his dog fang. Their purpose in the Forbidden Forrest is to find out the cause of the unnatural death of the unicorn population.
They split up into two groups, in the book they end up regrouping; whereas, in the film Draco and Harry begin together before they find the suspicious character sucking on the unicorns neck and eventually turning to kill Harry. In the book Malfoy and Neville begin searching together, along with Fang. When Malfoy starts pestering Neville again, Hagrid teams up Harry and Malfoy instead. In the setting of the Forbidden Forrest, the film entirely leaves out Ronan and Bane, two centaurs, and their interaction and argument with Firenze a fellow centaur.
In the book their interaction explains the culture of the centaur population of astrology and lack of interference within the human domain. They rebuke and chastised Firenze for saving Harry from the individual partaking of the unicorn blood. J. K. Rowling adds key information with this interaction that was left out of the movie, “…. we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens…. Centaurs are concerned with what has been foretold! It is not our business to run around like donkeys after stray humans in our forest! ” (257).
Like I stated earlier, this statement and interaction with the centaurs is significant into the centaur realm and their culture. Firenze adds a key foreshadowing statement that helps the reader realize who the unicorn killer is and ultimately the rogue who is trying to obtain the stone. My greatest disappointment from the movie is the discrepancy of the final stages and challenges to reach the coveted the stone. Harry, Ron and Hermione figured out eh puzzle piece by and piece and knew they need to reach and obtain the Sorcerer’s Stone.
They needed to get past certain challenges before they could reach the stone. The film cut two of the stages from the challenge to gain the stone. The fourth and sixth challenge the filmmaker left out. The fourth was a troll; however, the troll was knocked out previously from another wizard recently proceeding through the challenges (284). In the book, Ron was injured in the game of wizards chess game but Hermione proceeded with Harry to the next stage (283). In the movie, Hermione stayed with Ron and Harry went on to find the stone.
In the book, the sixth challenge was Serveus Snapes’ puzzle of logic comprised of seven potions (285). There was a billowing fire impeding the doorway and the appropriate potion would allow Harry safe passage through the fire unscathed and there was a second potion allowing safe passage back into the preceding room. Hermione heads back into the wizards chess room through the use of the second potion. and Harry goes into the next stage to the Mirror of Erised and defeats Professor Quirrel and Lord Voldermort. This stage would add another edge of anticipation and action.
I wish the film included this exciting edge. The film is fairly true and loyal to book despite few different arrangements of characters and scenes. Overall however, the book is ultimately better than the film. J. K. Rowling engages the reader to actively read and imagine the action packed adventures. The filmmaker tried to captivate the book and did well in that aspect; however, the book is definitely better as it gives full details and sets up and adds for the upcoming events to the following books in the series.