Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

This book was a quick read, an easy attention grabbing novel that helped me get out of my Potter phase without too much to-do. You know when you pick up a Judy Blume, you’re going to get a little emotional, but this one was quick paced enough that there was no need for the tissue box. Fair warning, I’d say the content is definitely PG-13. But Blume knows how to hit the sweet spot “coming of age” stories.

This novel takes place around two main characters- Victoria (Vix) and Caitlin- from Victoria’s point of view. Vix meets popular new girl Caitlin, at the tender age of 12, and surprisingly, Caitlin invited Vix to spend the summer with her in Martha’s Vineyard. Excited and nervous at the invitation, Vix is ready to see what life is like beyond Santa Fe. Though uncomfortable at first, Vix and Caitlin become close friends, dubbing themselves “summer sisters”. As the years go by and the girls continue to return to the Vineyard, they find themselves exploring the boundaries of summer love, the difficulties of family heartbreak, and the growing pains of life.

Overall, I think this is a good, fast paced book with plot twists that I definitely wasn’t expecting. Character development is excellent, and the Blume life lesson is obvious- true sisterhood and friendship means loving the best and the worst of a person. It’s perfect for beach or pool-side reading, and it’ll make you want to call your best friend and tell them how much you appreciate their friendship. ♥

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (Part 2 of 2)

Part 2- Let’s continue the differences of the book verses the movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (DHP2). Again, this will be long and I apologize, but bear with me!

  1. In the DHP2 movie, during the robbery of Gringotts, the trio are attempting to escape the vault and Hermione comes up with the plan to hop on the dragon and ride the thing out of the ceiling. While I love Emma Watson as much as every other fangirl, I feel that because of her fame and the portrayal of the brain in the trio, many of the brilliant schemes and reasoning were produced and changed to come from her instead of who the book originally attributed them to. This is one of the best examples, because in the novel, this is all Harry. And even if you didn’t read the book, you could deduce from the movies that Hermione doesn’t like flying, so more than likely, this wouldn’t have been her go-to plan.
  2. Thanks to the deleted scenes feature, I know that DHP2 producers attempted to give more detail when the trio make it to safety in Hogsmeade, thanks to Aberforth. However, the final cut showed Harry telling Aberforth that they were hunting Horcruxes, and Aberforth never relaying the truth about what happened between him and Albus. Then, when Neville comes through the portrait passageway and takes the trio into the Room of Requirement, he didn’t give as much detail as the book about why there were hammocks in the Room of Requirement. The book clearly states that nobody but the trio knows about the Horcruxes, and the extra details from Neville help the trio later on in the book.
  3. In the novel, Luna shows Harry to the Ravenclaw common room to see what the lost diadem looks like. They go under the invisibility cloak, look at the diadem, and run into Death Eater and “Professor” Alecto Carrow. Luna stuns her, and as they are trying to leave the common room, they run into Alecto’s Death Eater and “Professor” twin, Amycus and Professor McGonagall. As the two argue, Amycus spits at McGonagall and sets Harry off, and he attacks the Carrow twin and knocks him out. This is when McGonagall realizes that Harry is back, and starts making preparations to protect the school. She ties up the unconscious Carrows and sends Patronus messages to the other heads of houses. Making their way down from the Ravenclaw tower, Harry and Luna back under the cloak , they run into Snape. This is when McGonagall duels him and makes him leave the castle. Then, everyone gathers into the Great Hall, and all underage students (and almost all Slytherins) are organized to leave the castle for their safety. In DHP2, everyone begins in the Room of Requirement, and then heads to the Great Hall. Harry appears out of the students, calls out Snape, and McGonagall makes Harry step aside and drives out Snape. Then, students start running everywhere and Harry heads for the Ravenclaw tower. Luna stops Harry from going to the tower and sends him, sans cloak, to talk with the Grey Lady.
  4. Ron and Hermione’s kiss. Either version- book or movie- still makes me want to cheer because FINALLY. But I’m being picky here, and the book version is better in my opinion. Ron and Hermione have just come back from the Chamber of Secrets with an armful of basilisk fangs after successfully killing the Hufflepuff cup, and are relaying the story to Harry. As he’s clearing out the Room of Requirement so he can get it to change to the room where the diadem is hidden, Ron suddenly remembers that they should evacuate the house-elves for their safety. Hermione, front-runner of SPEW, drops her armful of fangs and leaps at Ron and kisses him. In my opinion, this would make a better scene than the typical Hollywood “in case we die” kiss. And while we’re on this topic, Harry and Ginny’s movie kiss didn’t happen either. That kiss happened before Harry left the Burrow, on his birthday.
  5. After Harry comes back from the Pensieve with Snape’s memories and learns of his fate, so many things differ from book to movie. Immediately apparent, his trip out of the castle is very different. In DHP2, he sees Ron and Hermione, reminds them that the snake is the last horcrux (something they’ve know since before they started hunting horcruxes in the book, but only recently found out in the movie), and as a way of explaining how he knows he must die, says “there’s a reason I can hear the horcruxes”. None of this happens in the novel. He can’t hear the horcruxes (nor can Voldemort feel them for that matter). He doesn’t even know where Ron and Hermione are as he’s leaving the castle, but he also doesn’t want to see they because it would hurt to say goodbye. He’s under the invisibility cloak, and the only person he stops to talk to is Neville, to tell him (just in case) that Voldemort’s snake must be killed. **Plot hole (maybe)- he doesn’t mention how it has to be killed (with something that will kill a Horcrux.)**.
  6. The Resurrection Stone. In the movie, it’s this shiny geometric rock, which Harry seems to immediately recognize as the stone, though he didn’t guess in the movies that this is what was hidden in the Snitch. In the book, it’s the cracked stone from the ring horcrux, which Harry knew it would be as he guess it back before he got brought to Malfoy Manor. And while I’m being particular about that scene, I also dislike how movie Lily has brown eyes. I get it, it’s the movies. But that drives me nuts that the producers would think the audience would forgive this. End Lily rant.
  7. EVERYTHING DURING THE KINGS CROSS SCENE WITH DUMBLEDORE. After rereading the novel and then rewatching the movie, I can’t believe how so much was left out of this scene. Yes, we see the dying part of Voldermort’s soul, and a few dialogue lines were the same, but nearly all the detailed information about WHY Harry is still alive and HOW he’ll manage to defeat Voldemort and the truth about Dumbledore and the Deathly Hallows is JUST NOT THERE IN THE MOVIE.
  8. When Harry returns to the castle, movie Harry jumps down from Hagrid’s arms after Neville kills the snake, and start dueling with Voldemort, and the final battle of the Battle of Hogwarts commences. This isn’t how the novel goes. First, Harry is laid down on the ground. Then, war cries ring out from creatures from the Dark Forest and Grawp (“HAGGAR!”), creating a distraction from poor Neville, who’s in a body-bind curse with the Sorting Hat aflame on his head. As Death Eaters and Voldemort move from the attack of the creatures, Neville breaks free of the curse, gets the Gryffindor sword from the hat, and kills the snake. Harry, using the distraction, throws his cloak over his and comes back to life, and seeks out Voldemort, who no longer has the horcruxes to protect him.
  9. In DHP2, Harry duels with Voldemort, and it’s a long dragged out scene with no observers. In the book, Harry catches up to Voldemort, calls him out, brings attention onto them, and they circle as Harry explains how his sacrifice protects all those fighting alongside him, just as his mother’s protected him while he was a baby. He also explains how he survived, how Voldemort was (for lack of a better word) stupid enough to use his blood to bring himself back to life. And finally, just before they break into the duel, Harry explains how HE is the one that the Elder Wand responds to, and how it will not hurt it’s master. As the Harry and Voldemort’s curses hit, Harry’s easily causes Voldemort’s killing curse to rebound, causing Voldemort to finally parish once and for all, dying a human’s death (none of the Hollywood flaking apart and turning to dust.)
  10. And finally, Harry’s wand. In the movie, apparently he just keeps Draco’s wand since he breaks and tosses the Elder Wand into wreckage. In the novel however, he makes a very sane (and humble) decision to mend his old wand that Hermione accidentally broke, and returns the wand to Dumbledore’s grave, where as long as Harry dies a natural death, the power of the Elder Wand will die as well.

So there you have it, all the comparisons that to me were important enough to point out. For those who just watched the Harry Potter movies, do yourself a favor and read the books. You’ll love Harry Potter even more. If you only read the books, go ahead and watch the movies- it won’t ruin the books for you, it’ll just make you even more attached to them, as something you can return to for more Potter.
Now, I’m going to need a little time to come down from my Potter high before I ready to read another book, but again, thank you to my followers for sticking with me through the series!

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (Part 1 of 2)

This is my favorite book of the HP series because of the amazing skills of the author, who managed to weave the entire series together, explain it all, and still leave the wonderful Wizarding World open to her readers in this novel. So much comes together in Deathly Hallows- so many complex story lines and foreshadowing events are finally understood, and it blows me away to think that JK Rowling had this story inside of her for years. Of course, as I’ve been pointing out along the way as I’ve reviewed the series in comparison to the movies, so many of these intricate details have been left out for the sake of screen time. I understand this- time is money- and as I’m sure you know, the final book was split into two movies to help preserve as much detail as possible, but it just makes me appreciate the books even more because I could spend hours (days!) lost in them. So please forgive me as I’ve noted a bunch of discrepancies from both movies, so this will be a long one. Here we go:

  1. In the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (DHP1) movie, the Dursleys pack up and leave rather quickly, without a word to Harry. In the book however, Dudley actually shows some respect to Harry by saying “I don’t think you’re a waste of space” and “You saved my life.” It’s not much, but the readers know just how much of an impact that made. Dudley Dursley everybody- not a complete jerk! (Also, I’ve been doing some post-Hallows research; Harry and Dudley do keep in contact after the Battle of Hogwarts.)
  2. In DHP1, the Battle of Seven Potters (as I heard it called) does a decent job of relaying the action scene, but a few details made it even better in the books. The most important detail left out of the movie was how the Death Eaters knew which Potter was the real one. In the movie, Harry claims it was Hedwig trying to protect him, but in the book, Hedwig is stuck and hit by the killing curse in her cage. What really gave him away was that instead of attacking Stan Shunpike (Prisoner of Azkaban knight bus conductor turned Death Eater) he tries to disarm him with Expelliarmus, which as pointed out by Lupin, seems like Harry’s trademark spell. Also unnoticed in the movie battle- Harry is still underage, and the Trace wasn’t broken yet, so all the spells he cast during the fight technically illegal underage magic. However, as pointed out later on in the book, the Ministry probably didn’t want to tell the public that Voldemort attacked Harry again. And one more thing- the seven Potters were all to go to a different safe location and then take a port key to the Burrow in the book. This is where we are introduced to the Tonks’, Ted and Andromeda, who are unmentioned in the movie. This is why the concern about timing in the movie about who was supposed to be back first doesn’t make much sense.
  3. In the book, Hermione manages to Accio a pile of books about Horcruxes from Dumbledore’s office before they left Hogwarts. So, they (Harry, Ron, and Hermione) actually knew quite a bit about them before they set off hunting them, such as how to kill them- though they didn’t figure out the Sword and basilisk venom connection at first. In the movie, they appeared unenlightened and catch on much later, figuring things out as they go.
  4. Harry attends Bill and Fleur’s wedding disguised via polyjuice potion in the book. This protects both him and the wedding guests if any interrogation were to occur. There at the wedding, he runs into unsuspecting Viktor Krum, who points out the deathly hallows symbol on Xeno Lovegood, which aids in trio in the future. In the movie, Harry goes as himself, doesn’t see Krum, and again, the ignorance goes on. Oh, and while on this subject, the wedding occurs AFTER Harry’s birthday in the book, not on the same day as noted in the movie. The birthday actually takes place on the same day they receive the contents of Dumbledore’s will. And while on the topic, Scrimgeour is more overly suspicious in the book than in the movie, and gives the trio a hard time as he relays the will contents, thinking they know more about the reasoning behind the items than they do. The only thing they figure out faster in the book than in the movie is the Snitch’s flesh memory.
  5. Kreacher, again. DHP1 does show the importance of the interaction with Kreacher, but the details of how they knew for sure that Sirius’s brother Regulus was indeed the RAB from the note in the fake locket was overlooked. In the book Kreacher told them the whole story, and they started to respect Kreacher and elf magic. When they gave Kreacher the fake locket, it changed the relationship between him and Harry as his new master for the better. And because this was left out of the movie, the audience never got to witness what the readers did during the Battle of Hogwarts: “The house-elves of Hogwarts swarmed into the entrance hall, screaming and waving carving knives and cleavers, and at their head, the locket of Regulus Black bouncing on his chest, was Kreacher…”Fight! Fight! Fight for my Master, defender of house-elves! Fight the Dark Lord, in the name of brave Regulus! Fight!”
  6. Lupin tried to persuade Harry to allow him to assist in the hunt for horcurxes,  ditch Tonks in the books. We learn that he is regretting their marriage, worried about her pregnancy and thinks that Tonks and the baby would be better off without him, but Harry harshly reminds him that this isn’t true. Eventually, the harsh words are forgiven and Lupin is proud of his family, despite the werewolf stigma, and honors Harry by making him Teddy’s godfather. In the movie, we can tell their is some discomfort but Lupin never made the offer, and only at the end of the movie do we learn that Tonks and Remus even had a son, let alone that they named him after Tonks’ father.
  7. The break-in to the Ministry of Magic in DHP1 differs from the book in a few ways, but I’m willing to let most of them pass. What bothers me the most is the way the escape happens. In the movie, the polyjuice potion is wearing off on Harry, he attacks Umbridge, Hermione gets the locket, the trio and Mrs. Cattermole run into the elevator, Harry fends off the dementors, and then they fight off Yaxley as they apparate out the ministry in the Floo Network grates. That’s fine for the movie audience, but as a reader, I wish I had seen the book version. Harry sneaks into the courtroom under the invisibility cloak as Runcorn, stuns Umbridge and Yaxley out cold, unchains Mrs. Cattermole, and he and Hermione aide the muggle-borns awaiting trial escape the courtrooms. They run into Ron by the elevators, who tells them that the ministry is aware of intruders. Harry does some quick thinking, everyone makes it to the Atrium, and as Runcorn he intimidates the ministry workers into keeping the Floo Network grates open. As confusion takes over, Yaxley catches up, and then he apparates with the trio.
  8. In DHP1, they use the radio as the source of information from day one while on the hunt for the horcruxes- again, probably due to time restrictions. In the novel, the radio comes later on, after Ron comes back to Harry and Hermione, and information is gathered by other means including those traveling as they go into hiding (ie. Ted Tonks, Dean Thomas, and Griphook) and the photo of old Hogwarts headmaster Phineas Nigellus Black (who helped Snape to pass on the sword). When Ron does come back, that’s how they learn about Potterwatch and who hosts the show, what ‘snatchers’ are, and how they learn about the Taboo of using Voldemort’s name. When Harry accidentally says ‘Voldemort’, that’s how they end up surrounded by snatchers and hauled off to Malfoy Manor.

Again, sorry this is so long. I got this far and decided it would probably be more reader-friendly if I myself broke the comparison review up into two parts as well. I’ll get the rest of it to you tomorrow, my followers!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling

Welcome to 2017! New year, same resolution- to keep on blogging and reading! Since I’m still working my way through the Harry Potter series, here’s where we’ve left off- the Half-Blood Prince.

As always, the novel is better than the movie version, but I feel that the movie was a very good interpretation. Here are the differences that I noted:

  1. Right in the beginning of the novel, we learn that the muggle Prime Minister and the Minister of Magic work together in necessary times, and that both are just recently new to the position, as the old Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, has been fired and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour. This transfer wasn’t noted in the movie.
  2. Harry did not ride the trains all summer, nor did some chick in a coffee shop try to pick him up. He was still at the Dursley’s, and waiting for Dumbledore to meet him there (though in disbelief that he would.)
  3. Harry returns to the Burrow after visiting Slughorn with Dumbledore, and learns of Fleur and Bill’s engagement since Fleur was at the Burrow. And, while there, the new Minister of Magic tries to persuade Harry to make like he supports what the ministry is doing. Harry denied him as they denied him and stands by Dumbledore.
  4. There are quite a few pensieve memories that we don’t get to see that help with understanding the horcruxes. Without them, the movie audience is left to guess what Harry is searching for.
  5. Learning the Levicorpus spell from the Half-Blood Prince’s potion book, Harry tries it out on Ron. Without this background knowledge, the flashback of James tormenting Snape with the spell he created makes less of an impact to the movie audience. Also, it’s a pretty funny moment in the book!
  6. Harry and Hermione gossiping about Filch and Madam Pince. The movie audience wouldn’t have a clue she’s the librarian.
  7. Hermione taking McLaggen to the Slug Club Christmas party. The movie makes it to be a slight dig to Ron, but book Hermione made sure Ron got SEVERELY burned by telling Parvati about the date in front of Ron while adding that she only likes “really good Quidditch players”. Harsh book Hermione, harsh.
  8. Scrimgeour tries a second time to get Harry to join forces with the Ministry, and is denied again.
  9. Apparition lessons! They just left this completely out of the movie. Of course, Hermione is the quickest learner.
  10. Right before Harry leaves with Dumbledore on the horcrux hunt, he runs to the dormitories to grab his invisibility cloak and warns Ron and Hermione that Malfoy is going to act tonight. He tells them and Ginny to drink the leftover Felix Felicis potion, and to warn the other members of Dumbledore’s Army for backup. Had he not done this, they could’ve died that night as Death Eaters did make it into the castle with Malfoy. This was left out of the movie.
  11. Snape finds out that Harry has his old potions book before he kills Dumbledore. In the book, this costs Harry to miss the last Quidditch match and several Saturday detentions.
  12. Ginny. Finally, Harry notices Ginny as more than Ron’s sister, and is jealous of her current boyfriend. The movie makes it out like Ginny just couldn’t stay away from him, but really Harry made the push for her. The movie kissing scene in the Room of Requirement never happened. Then, almost as soon as they are official, Harry breaks it off before he goes hunting for horcruxes because he doesn’t want her to be used or hunted by Voldemort for information.
  13. Bill and Greyback. Bill was attacked in the fight pre/post Dumbledore’s death on the tower while fighting with Greyback. The scar on his face left him with cursed marks from a werewolf unchanged, leaving him with some wolfish tenancies. In the movie series, Bill and Harry don’t even meet until the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Ok, that’s all. Thirteen differences on Friday the 13th… coincidence?