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Published:February 13th, 2010 19:10 EST

Why Books are Often Better Than Movies

By Tony Graff

So, I`m watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and looking forward to watching Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and instinctively, before anything else could register in my mind, I knew without a doubt that the books were far more enjoyable than the movie is or will be. 

harry potter
The same is true of almost every book that has become a movie, and it`s almost a grudge-fest, myself and the literary world has had with the movie industry. A great work takes a nose dive from the ugly tree and hits most of the branches on the way down. Especially in the light of movies like The Spiderwick Chronicles, Bridge to Terabithia, Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, and many others. 

My understanding of movie/book relationships has been enhanced by rewatching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The scene created for the movie at the Weasley`s house that doesn`t exist in the movie caught my attention and pointed out that it is a change in medium, not a change in quality, that creates the friction between the cinematic and printed version of a work. 

If the movie had been absolutely true to the book, I figure it would be roughly six hours long, and much less exciting. A paragraph pointing out details of the environment, or a particular object, does not translate across the different mediums. Likewise, there are many details that even the best books cannot completely foresee, which would be much more visible in the movie format. 

In creating Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the directors knew that they would be creating a cinematic version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - rumor has it two movies- and a character that doesn`t hold much place in the sixth movie aside from its introduction, holds much more sway in the seventh book. Fenrir Greyback is barely mentioned in the movie, aside from a poster, and the scene where he is trashing the Weasley`s home, but he`s going to be much more crucial in the Deathly Hallows. 

To the general public, throwing that scene in the movie would be departing from J.K. Rowlings` book, and the story she told. However, just like you can`t get the same detail in an oil painting that you can with a pastel crayon drawing, a movie must make changes if it is to have anything close to the impact that the written book did. 

So, next time you`re watching a movie and thinking it`s crappy compared to the book, I don`t blame you, and would probably agree with you. But, I`m more likely to keep the two separate, and enjoy both.