Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  1950 Words
Date:  2022-06-19


In adaptation of a work of art from one medium to another, the adapter might not entirely replicate the plot exactly as the original work intended. In the adaptation of the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chris Columbus had the intention of replicating the plot and theme of the book entirely into the film (Columbus). However, the film does not precisely replicate the imagination that a reader had while reading the book as when he watches the movie. Despite Columbus and his writers taking their time to set up the characters correctly, developing their friendship and detailing their histories to tell the story right, there are a few areas that do not come out accurately as described by the book. It can be said that adaptation, therefore, can be a controversial art when it comes to preserving a work of art while converting its content from one medium to another.

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The introductory scene from the book was left out in the film as the film began from a later scene from the book. The introduction gave the reader a more vivid elaboration of what to expect in the book. From the book, the beginning chapter introduces the reader to the Dursley's family, comprising of Mr. and Mrs. Dursley earlier in the day. The family, living on Privet drive tried as much as possible to act normal. Later, the author reveals that the Dursleys were hiding the Potter family. It turns out that Mrs. Potter is the sister to Mrs. Dursley. However, the Dursleys playact that the Potters do not exist. The raconteur goes ahead and hints that they, the Dursleys, don't apprehend how strange the day was turning out to become. As Mr. Dursley departs for work, he believes he has seen a cat perusing a map just for a moment. He, however, tries to ignore it but notices strange people along the street, wearing cloaks. At work, though he does not see, a massive group of owls flies about, hinting an unusual day (Rowlings).

In the film, however, the introduction part of the Dursleys is somehow skipped. The film begins with scenes of strangely dressed men walking down the street as Dumbledore comes out of the darkness. He goes ahead and sucks the streetlamps free of their light. At the same time, a cat nearby transforms to reveal Professor McGonagall. The scenes proceed as Hagrid arrives on a flying motorcycle, carrying a baby, as the Dursleys began discussing how mysterious the situation had become. The family receive the baby, Harry Potter, and must now protect and care for him. From the two scenarios, despite the adaptor proceeding with the scenes from the book as could have been imagined by a reader, introductory scenes from the book are left out in the film. Therefore, the book gave more rich insights than did the movie of what was intended (Columbus).


Apart from skipping some mild sections from the book, the film also changes the plot slightly in some sections. At the zoo with the Dursleys, the book gets vivid about the events that transpired. It starts with Mrs. Figg calling to say she cannot watch Harry for the day as he would be going out with the Dursleys to the zoo. Before leaving for the zoo, Harry is warned not to do suspicious things at the zoo by Mr. Dursley. On the way to the zoo, Harry shares his fantasy about the flying motorcycle, which gets him yelled at by Mr. Dursley. At the zoo, Dudley walks away from the largest snake, saying it's boring as it only sleeps, and gives Harry a chance to view it. However, as Harry gets close, the snake warms up to him, and they strike a conversation. Soon somebody shouts for the Dursleys to see the snake. On the dash to get to the glass, Harry gets pushed aside by Dudley to view the snake when suddenly the glass disappears, and the snake escapes (Davy).

In the film, however, there is no mention of Mrs. Figgs. The scene picks up when Harry and the Dursleys go to the zoo to celebrate Dudley's birthday party. They are treated to Mr. Dursleys charm, which gets Harry alone, trying to avoid being disturbed. He finds himself next to the largest snake in the zoo, and they have a conversation. Dudley, however, jams his obnoxious mug into Harry's interaction with the snake. Harry then magically makes the glass disappear, and the snake slithers away. While the snake escaped, Harry traps Dudley in the cage where the snake was once locked. From the two scenarios, some of the parts were left out in the film. Although the left-out portions seemed minor, like and the events that happened on the way to the zoo, and the mention of Mrs. Figgs, the adapter did not succeed entirely at replicating the actual events as depicted in the book (Columbus).


There is also mild representation of the intensity of some of the book sections. The book attempted to describe each section with intensity to appeal to the readers' interest to question why the events were emphasized. The adaptation brought out little emphasis on why Harry was not allowed to view the letters. From the book, as the Dursleys get occupied by the joy of Dudley joining going to school, a letter arrives for Harry. His letter is on a beautiful paper addressed to him in his bedroom and has a great seal of wax. As he delivers the rest of the mails to the Dursleys, Mr. Dursley snatches his letter and refuses to give it back. He sees what is written on it and freaks out and shows it to his wife. They refuse to give the letter back to Harry. Later that night, Mr. Dursley tells Harry that they burnt the letter and told him to occupy Dudley's second bedroom. The next morning, Harry gets up very early hoping to meet the person who sends him the letters. However, he realizes that his uncle got up before him and he is directed to make tea. While he is gone, three letters arrive addressed to Harry, although his uncle tears all of them up. The next day, twelve letters come and the day after that twenty-four more come sent to Harry. Mr. Dursley freaks out, even more, when letters fly into the house through the chimney on Sunday when letters were least expected to be delivered. He, therefore, makes the family move to a different location hoping that the letters will stop coming (Davy).

In the film, however, there is little emphasis on Mr. Dursley's efforts to prevent Harry from receiving the letters addressed to him. In the movie, the Dursleys family returns home from the zoo when suddenly letters begin to appear, and owls start to colonize the Dursleys' lawn. The persistence of the letters drives Mr. Dursley crazy to the point that he decides to move the family away hoping to stop the letters from being delivered. The film, therefore, dilutes the intensity that the book tried to create on Mr. Dursleys prohibition of Harry's receipt of the letters. The film only indicates Mr. Dursley's frustration when the letters came into the house through the chimney, yet the real disappointment came when he got a glimpse of what the letters could have contained and therefore prohibited Harry from receiving them (Columbus).


From the book, when Hagrid arrives, he first wishes Harry a happy birthday and tells him how much he looks like his parents. He goes ahead and gives him a cake for his birthday. He introduces himself as the groundskeeper at Hogwarts and proves he is a wizard by lighting a real fire at the fireplace and producing all the elements for a substantial meal from his pockets. Harry asks more about who he is, and he reveals to him that his parents inhabited a different world where they were famous. Hagrid finds out that Harry has not been receiving his letters. He even admits to Harry that he, Harry, is a wizard. Harry is provided a letter of acceptance from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry deputy headmistress. Hagrid goes on and writes a short letter to Dumbledore stating that he had given Harry his letter, delivered the letter to an owl he pulled from his pocket and released the owl into the storm. When Mr. Dursley tried to stop Hagrid from taking Harry, he calls Mr. Dursley a muggle, which meant people without magic. At the point, Harry realizes that the Dursleys knew all along that he was magic but kept his parent's story from him. Hagrid tells a bit of the story to Harry, telling him about the scar on his head as well. Even though Harry did not understand how he could have been a wizard, Hagrid helps to elaborate on the events that happened to him, which he could not explain, terming them as proof of his talent (Rowlings).

In the film, however, much of the events that transpired during Hagrid's visit is overlooked. In the movie, the Dursleys' night is interrupted by Hagrid, who explains that it was Harry's birthday and that he was a wizard. After a small conversation, where Mr. Dursley revealed that he knew of Harry's talents, Hagrid takes Harry from the Dursleys off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the film, Hagrid does not tell Harry about his parents and the details of his talents until later. The film depicts the events differently as Hagrid left with Harry the same night while in the book, Hagrid spends a night at the Dursleys (Columbus).

In the book, Harry patiently waits for one month while staying with the Dursleys before he could enroll at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Rowlings). While at the Dursleys, he gets ignored most of the time and he spends most of the time with his owl as he prepares for school. On his last day with the family, he requests the Dursleys to take him to the train station in London, a request that they agree to grudgingly. They decide to take him so that they can get Dudley's tail taken off as Hagrid had given him a tail from how he whined a lot. The next morning Harry wakes up early from the excitement to finally leave for Hogwarts School. Once they reach the station, they abandon Harry, laughing at him since there was nothing between platform nine and ten (Rowlings).

However, in the movie, Hagrid leaves Harry at King's Cross train station with instructions to go to platform nine and three quarters. Harry runs into the Weasleys, who assist him to get through the wall between nine and ten where he discovers the Hogwarts Express. The film leaves out the period that Harry stays with the Dursleys to cut out time (Columbus).


In conclusion, while adapting the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chris Columbus' intention to replicate each scene from the book does not happen in entirety. The book readers may have not got the exact replica in the film but a better part of the film depicted the major scenes that made the theme of the book.

Works Cited

Davy, I. Harry Potter and the philosopher stone JK Rowling. 2002. Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone. Dir. Chris Columbus. Perf.

Chris, Steven Kloves, and J. K. Rowling Columbus. 2002. Warner Home Video. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Dir. Chris Columbus. Perf. Harry Potter. 2001. Warner.

Rowlings, J. K. "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.". 1997.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Essay. (2022, Jun 19). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/harry-potter-and-the-philosophers-stone-essay

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