Hey everyone! I bought the box set a couple of years ago of this entire series and, now that I’ve read all of the illustrated versions releases so far, I’ve started in on these. And I must say, I’m digging the covers.
So we’re approaching the point where I start forgetting what happened in the books. (I think Order of the Phoenix may be the last.) I’m getting very interested to see what I remember vs. what actually happens vs. the movie.
There were definitely some differences between the movie and the book here. Some that I even wish the movie had done differently.
Let’s talk about the Quidditch World Cup. First of all, this is such an awesome cultural moment for Harry, to be able to see this many witches and wizards in one place–families, teenagers, middle-aged men and women, etc.–and to really be able to compare his life to what someone like Ron grew up with. I love that he’s able to experience this. Not to mention it’s a great game and our one moment of Quidditch for this book.
Of course, it’s the aftermath that stands out the most in my head. It was a scene I was looking forward to reading. And I kind of wish the movie had drawn that out more. It’s definitely creepy in the movie that these people are walking around wearing masks and all, but the book is so much scarier. You really need that disgust factor of watching the Death Eaters levitating the Muggle family to understand just how demonic they are. You need to understand how fearful everyone is of anything to do with Voldemort to truly appreciate the amount of trouble Harry nearly got into for his wand being used to conjure the Dark Mark.
Which leads me to my current gripe against the movies: they do a horrible job portraying the fear the wizarding world has of Voldemort.
In the books, every time Harry says “Voldemort,” someone flinches or shrieks or gasps. Everyone refers to him as You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. How long does that last in the movies? Not very long. They eventually seem to drop it, which means characters who would faint before uttering “Volde–” are now saying it calmly in the movies. It’s kind of irking me now. Like, that’s the entire undertone of the whole series.
And I know he’s a character I’m supposed to dislike, but I can’t help but actually like Barty Crouch’s turn as Moody. Ok, yes, there is the tiny fact that he’s been sowing the seeds of Harry’s demise from the very beginning, but he’s also kind of…helpful. Despite all of his flaws, he does actually help prepare Harry for so much of what he later encounters. By teaching him to throw of the Imperius Curse, he actually aids Harry in his battle against Voldemort. (I’m sure that was unintentional on Crouch’s part.) By helping him with the first task, he forced Harry to learn how to do the Summoning charm, a charm Harry has extreme need of throughout the rest of the series. By aiding Harry throughout all of the tasks, he ensures Harry’s survival and helps his confidence.
Also, he’s one of Harry’s few professors who has ever treated him and his classmates as adults. Lupin was another, to an extent. Both of them actually taught the kids things they need to know to survive. And even though he had horrible intentions in the end, Crouch did actually teach them a lot. Even if his methods were probably a bit unethical at times. He protected Harry 9 times out of 10, and for whatever reason, I like him for that.
I also think the movie should have made the maze as creepy as it was in the book. It’s already somewhat creepy in the movie, but the danger isn’t there in quite the same way. What Cedric in particular goes through in the maze should have received a little more attention.
Which brings me to my final point. I have a deep love/respect/appreciation for Cedric. He was a truly good guy who wanted to do the right thing. He was just as brave as Harry, or maybe even braver because he volunteered for the Tournament. With a strong sense of justice and a charming personality, Cedric truly could have made a difference in the world if his life hadn’t been cut short. And I think he would have been one of the few to believe Harry when he said Voldemort was back, even if he hadn’t been there. Unfortunately, his life was snuffed out too soon, another of the innocent who got caught in the cross-hairs of Voldemort’s ambitions.
This book is quite good. And while I’m looking forward to reading the next book, I’m also dreading it. Two words: Dolores Umbridge.