Book vs Film: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This Harry Potter film is one of my favourite films.  In fact I was watching this film dubbed in to Turkish and it took me five minutes to realise as I knew the film so well!  I don’t know if it is a good thing or not! On the other hand there ae a number of differences between the film and book and thought I would share a few of them with you. 

1. Harry’s time in Diagon Alley

In the book after Harry blows up his aunt he spends two weeks in Diagon Alley which allows Harry to spend some time in the wizarding world unaccompanied by an adult.  This allows Harry to have a little independence from those that constantly surround him, and actually finish his homework in the open. 

I understand why it was decided to cut this from the film as it would be a rather slow section of the film. However I also think this section is key for Harry’s character development as he not only spends time by himself he also gets to see some of the world that he is slowly learning to be a  part of. 

2.  Transfiguration after the first Divination lesson.

In the book Harry is told that he will die during their first Divination lesson.  This leads to the class being worried about Harry during the following lesson, something which McGonagall picks up on and looks down upon the lesson choice dismissively.

This moment allows us to see McGonagall’s slightly more humorous and sarcastic side. Until this point we only ever see her in an authoritative role despite apparently being a motherly figure for the house.  It helps the reader to see other sides to McGonagall that are slowly revealed in the future books.

3. Buckbeak

We see a few other new lessons including Care of Magical Creatures, taught by Hargid.  In the book Harry is much more reluctant to meet Buckbeak or even ride him.

The film was a little different, Harry was slightly less reluctant to meet Buckbeak, and the flight that Harry goes on is longer plus he seems to enjoy the ride much more than his broom.  This is a tiny change which makes much more cinematic sense and doesn’t really affect the character development or timings of the book.

4. Harry and Remus’ Relationship

Harry spends his first Hogsmeade weekend with Remus,  as all of his friends are in the wizarding village and he doesn’t quite know what to do with himself.  This means that him and Remus become friendly and even allows him to find out what the next defence against the dark arts lesson is about.  This friendship is important as it is one of the reasons why Remus decides to help Harry to learn the Patronus and when he later finds out that his favorite teacher has been best friends with his Dad that only solidifies the relationship.  

As such I feel that this distinction is important as it explains the relationship that the characters develop rather than if you haven’t read the book it is a little odd that Harry and Remus know each other so well by the end of the film. 

5.  Quidditch

The Quidditch House Cup plays a much more important role in the book than the film. Oliver Wood is obsessed with winning the Cup and this becomes a stress point in Harry’s year,  other than knowing that his godfather is attempting to kill him.  Harry is clearly a very skilled flyer, and it is part of his make up which most likely develops his determinedness to win at all costs.  not having the key moment of the Gryffindor team winning the Quidditch house Cup does impact a little on the character development. 

I feel that this change impacts on the character development at this point in the series, this is especially important as Harry is a teen and this point in a person’s life is when they are mostly shaped into who they will become. 

6.  The Firebolt

This links in with the above item, the timing of the Firebolt is not right. In the book this is delivered at Christmas and causes tension and arguments between Hermione and the boys as she reports it to ensure that it is safe.  In the film it is delivered at the end of the school year, and therefore doesn’t impact on the quidditch season.  

I have noticed the further through the series we go the more significant the changes in the comparison of the book and film.  This is probably why there were two films for the final book as everythign was neastly ties up and the plot was intricate enough that any change couple have impacted on the final scenes.  

What do you think is the most significant change in this book and film comparison, have I missed any that you think are important, let me know in the comments below.  

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