Harry Potter VS. Harry Potter

So as you may know, I’m a high school English teacher.  I’m currently teaching an amazing class called Modern Fiction in which (mostly) seniors get to read novels of their own choosing throughout the semester.  It is a beautiful course because I get to witness firsthand young adults falling in love with reading again.

Interestingly enough, when I finally decided to read the Harry Potter series last spring, I noticed that most of my high school seniors had not read them.  This shocked me, because even five years ago virtually every student I talked with had read part—if not all—of the series if not all.

When I asked my seniors both last year and this year why they hadn’t read the books, they told me they’d seen the movies, they didn’t need to read the books.

Honestly, I really couldn’t get upset by that statement because I’m guilty of it myself in regards to Lord of the Rings.  I saw the movies before I tried to read the books, and I consequently couldn’t get into them.  I think it’s because I already knew the “big beats” and felt impatient to read other books.

Ironically, I finally decided to read the Harry Potter series out of respect to JK Rowling, for she influenced a generation of young people and contributed to their love of literature and I’ll always be thankful to her for that.  Now, though, it seems as though that influence has drifted away due to the movies, and while it’s too bad, it’s understandable.

What do you think?  While we all agree that the books are generally better than the film adaptations, does seeing the movie before reading the book lessen your likelihood to check out the source material?

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4 thoughts on “Harry Potter VS. Harry Potter

  1. Liz Blackburn says:

    Like most things in life, it depends. For me I saw the first Harry Potter movie back in 7th grade and absolutely loved it, so I sought out the books to get even more from the story. I then got the rest of the series and as each movie came out would go and see it, proceeding to be disappointed with all but two. I think if one is interested enough in the story after seeing the movie they would desire to know more and therefore would read the book. I did the same thing after seeing the first Twilight movie and I also saw Animal Farm before reading the book. There needs to be a couriosity to know more or have more I think.

    • Good thoughts, Liz! I agree. I think it’s great when a movie entices someone to go read the source material. For me, though, I’m too impatient to read a book if I already know the ending. I think that’s where I fall short with LOTR. I admit it’s a character flaw 😉

  2. Jeyna Grace says:

    Books are definitely better than films, no doubt there. On top of that, the HP films are not very specific, that viewers who have not read the books tend to get a little confuse. SO how can one actually enjoy the story if they are confuse?

    • Hi Jeyna,

      Thanks for dropping by:) I have to be honest, I saw the first six movies before reading the books, and I honestly didn’t know what the heck was going on most of the time. I always had to ask my wife (who read the books as they were released) what was going on. Now that I’ve read the entire series, things make SOOOOO much more sense!

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