Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ranking Harry Potter Books and Films

Today, Elizabeth from Book YAbber and I are ranking Harry Potter books and films! I've read the Harry Potter books countless of times and watched the movies over and over again. In terms of ranking the books and the movies, it didn't take me a long time to rank my favorites but I spent weeks thinking about the order of the rankings for the rest of them.

For those who haven't read the Harry Potter series, all book discussions WILL HAVE spoilers. If you do not want to read spoilers, please do not read ahead. This includes movie spoilers as well. 


Image from hellogiggles.com
1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a wonderful book and is an important one. Not only do we learn more about Voldemort's past as Tom Marvolo Riddle, but we learn about the Horcruxes. Hogwarts becomes a little bit more interesting with Professor Slughorn and his Slug Club. And of course, I love how Harry falls in love with reading the Advanced Potion Making book only because of the Half-Blood Prince's additional notes. This book sets the foundation for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Also, Draco's character development takes a turn in HBP compared to the first five books in the series.This book is very special to me since my sister and I were number 7 in line to purchase the book at Borders at the midnight release.

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a second favorite due to the action and adventure in the book. I love the Yule Ball, the Triwizard Tournament and the magical foreign relations. This book ceased to bore me and this is the turning point in the series. Harry announces to everyone that Voldemort is back! This is the start of the Second Wizarding War.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is one crazy epic book. I mean it's the freaking last book in the series and I didn't want Harry Potter to end! There is a war a brewing and it's insane how much goes on in this book. No one is safe. At times of despair, there is always a light! What I love is how Rowling doesn't sugarcoat what is happening just because this is marketed as "children's book." She shows all the good and all the bad. Everything is real. It's raw and it's good for everyone to know that life it's full of sunshine. The events that happen in this book are pretty intense and I surprised about some of the deaths.

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is definitely a book where Hermione shines. Hermione's character development is excellent in this novel. I also love the introduction to the Marauders. Lupin is my second favorite character. And that time turner! Brilliant!

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the first book where the action picks up and a great mystery thrown into the mix. The search for the heir of Slytherin is interesting with scenes of Polyjuice Potion, Aragog and the basilisk.

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the book where the magic started. It was very hard for me to get into the book because of the couple of chapters with the Dursleys. Once I got past the Dursleys, I was excited to start the journey of magic with Harry. I wandered Diagon Alley with Harry and took the Hogwarts Express with him to Hogwarts! However, at the young age of 11, I am surprised he gets into so much trouble.

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the book where Umbridge is introduced. I swear she is more vile than Voldemort. Her *hem hems* bother me so much and the way she talks to people makes me gag. However, Luna Lovegood is introduced and she is my favorite character in the entire series. Harry Potter is also suffering from PTSD which isn't covered in too much detail by J.K. Rowling. PTSD along with Harry being a teenager and him being angsty didn't help Harry.

How would you rank the Harry Potter books and why? Did you have a hard time ranking the novels or was it easy for you to figure out your favorites?


Image from nypl.org
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Director Alfonso Cuarón captures the Harry Potter spirit beautifully. PoA is the first book that takes a dark turn and Cuarón takes the direction well. Although the film lacked the magical feeling Christopher Columbus brought us in Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, PoA is visually stunning. I love the color palette Cuarón chose. It sets the mood to be more darker with the escape of Sirius Black, the dementors and with the Buckbeak trial. Since the Dementors suck the happiest memories, it is only fitting that the color palette is less saturated. The gorgeous cinematic shots are nearly perfect.

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This is the film that is very nostalgic for me and very special since this is the only film I saw during a midnight premiere. Mike Newell's direction is very different  from Cuarón's and Columbus'. However, Michael Gambon as Dumbledore yelling at Harry about putting his name in the Goblet of Fire was definitely not the way to go. In the book, Dumbledore calmly asks Harry; he does not grab Harry and yell at him. I miss Richard Harris. He's the perfect Dumbledore and had that whimsical flair. The introduction of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang was definitely magical. However, I wish Beauxbatons isn't portrayed as an only girls school and Durmstrang as an only boys school. Also, the Quidditch Cup and the Triwizard Tournament are both well done and set the mood for the whole movie. The Yule Ball scene definitely brings the happy festive cheer and offsets the darker parts of the film. The direction Newell took for the Yule Ball is on point and is fantastic.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
David Yates' direction with the CGI is excellent! The scene with dragon at Gringotts and the Battle of Hogwarts are definitely highlights of the film. The film is full of action and suspense at the same time. It left people at the end of their seats wanting for more. This film is the last of the series and of course every Potterhead wants to see the the Battle of Hogwarts in action. Maggie Smith does a phenomenal job being Professor McGonagall. She takes charge and shows her loyalty and bravery to protect Hogwarts. And how they portray Neville! Excellent character development! Also, Voldemort whispering is freaking creepy.

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Yates did an incredible job with directing this film. The introduction of Umbridge is perfect. Although OotP is my least favorite book, the scenes with Imelda Staunton as Umbridge parallels with the book and brings Umbridge to life. Umbridge becomes more despised every second I see her on screen. She is fun to hate. Also, Luna is perfectly casted. I am a huge Luna Lovegood fan and the whimsiness is perfection! Evanna Lynch is Luna! The Battle of Mysteries is intense and the camera angle capturing battle in a circular motion is absolutely brilliant. Everyone has a fair share with the spotlight on them during this scene. And Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix! No one could have pulled off the insane and maniacal Bellatrix. However, because the novel is so long, many of the important sections of the novel were not included in this film.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I
The Battle of the Seven Potters is definitely a scene I looked forward to watching. Most part ones of movies who has a book split into two movies are quite slow. It's building up to the climax which is often seen in part two. However, the hunt for horcruxes and Ron separating from the Trio temporarily is important for character development. I love how The Tale of the Three Brothers is portrayed in the film. The cartoon like shadows is a nice way to break from the reality. I applaud Yates for that.

6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Yates definitely adds a lot of humor into this film probably because the Deathly Hallows films were so emotional and more serious. I think the humor could have been toned down. The Unbreakable Vow scene in the beginning of the film is excellent! All though there are slight changes, I enjoyed watching the scene very much. Yates does a good job portraying the struggle Draco is going through. Although Draco has to obey Voldemort, he is scared. Narcissa knows that Draco will not succeed and she is trying to protect him. This love for her child becomes very important for the last book in the series. The Battle of the Astronomy Tower and when Dumbledore dies are both well done. However, that scene with the Death Eaters burning the Burrow was added to the movie. Although the scene was visually appealing, I felt like it wasn't needed in the film since it never happened in the book. I am also disappointed that the film didn't start with Dumbledore visiting the Dursleys.

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Columbus sets the tone of the magical world perfectly. Although there are some scarier moments in film, Columbus steps up his game and CoS is definitely more adventurous than SS. The introduction of the Aragog and the basilisk creates stunning scenes.

8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Columbus did any excellent job adapting SS into a film. The magic is definitely there and it transports the audience into this amazing magical world. He does a wonderful job casting actors for the roles and creating the setting for the wizarding world. However, compared to the other films, SS lacks in complexity and the acting is mediocre overall amongst the children actors.

How would you rank the Harry Potter films and why? Is there a particular director you preferred?

Check the blog back on Thursday, December 17th for the Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix discussion. If you are new to Pottermas 2015, make sure to check out this post. Also, you can follow Pottermas 2015 on social media with the hashtag #Pottermas15.

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