So frequently we say and hear “I liked the movie, but the book better.” Here’s a case where I think the movie was different to the book – neither better than the other… just different. And it really works.
Book and movie spoiler alert!
In the book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows…
Hermione reveals to Harry that she has obliviated her parents (from ever knowing her) at a strategic story moment. A moment where it rings home to Harry that she is indeed an equal partner in the team against Voldemort. It’s a powerful moment because we learn this fact at the same time as Harry, and understand – with the same shock that Harry feels – how much Hermione has chosen to lose to pursue their goal of pursuing Voldemort. She, too, has experienced great loss of family.
But in the movie…
We don’t have this reveal. We are not as tightly aligned to Harry’s point of view as we are in the book. The movie is more of an ensemble of characters and the POV therefore a bit looser, (1) allowing us in on scenes and secrets that Harry may never learn, and (2) letting us identify with – and journey through the story with – other characters who may be closer to our own personality, and (3) permitting the film to “show, don’t tell” scenes that are in the book.
So back to the movie itself…
At the start of the film, we see Hermione’s preparation for the weighty task ahead (pursuing Voldemort with Harry and Ron). She obliviates her parents before our eyes and we can see and feel her pain as she does so. Now a highly-skilled witch, we see her image melt away from picture frame after picture frame and we know the spell is working. Her parents are losing any memory of her, past and present. It’s powerful and painful to watch, and we know there is no other way. So now, along with Hermione, we share her secret from Harry – for does he really need to be told of this moment to know in his heart that Hermione is a solid and reliable part of the team? She’ll prove it in many ways anyway.
So there you have it. A beautiful example of two portrayals of the same scene, told differently in book and movie, yet both just as powerful… just different.
Cheers and a good shoot… or book to you,