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Is it wrong to admit you want to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" even more than you wanted to read the final adventure? Not here it isn't.
Being confirmed contrarians, we asked lovers of J.K. Rowling's text to give us instances where the Potter movies are actually better than the books. And, probably against their better judgment, they did.
1. Alfonso Cuarón! To literature professor Annette Wannamaker, who designed Eastern Michigan University's course on the Potter books, the Cuarón-directed "Prisoner of Azakaban" is a welcome reinterpretation of the novel. "That initial scene depicting Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) secretly waving his, um, wand under his bed covers adds a whole other dimension to his depiction as a stormy adolescent," Wannamaker told us in an email.
2. Movie magic! "Some scenes from the book are just so exciting when you see them," confessed Steve Vander Ark, author of a reader's guide to the Potter books, "The Lexicon." "Think of the end of the sixth film ("Half-Blood Prince") — Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) [have] this huge battle. It's stunning and so thrilling, and this is nothing against the book, but this is movie magic at its best."
3. Quidditch! At first this may seem like a repeat of the last point, but, please, Quidditch is its own cool thing. "[The] World Cup scene in Goblet of Fire brings the speed and thrill of the game to life in a way the books don't," offered Allan Kronzek, coauthor of the Potter guidebook, "The Sorcerer's Companion."
4. Brevity! And not just for brevity's sake. "Especially by the end, [Rowling] needed better editors to keep her from being longwinded," Wannamaker said. "And the movies don't have that problem."
Melissa Anelli, author of the Potter phenomenon-examining, "Harry, a History," cited a scene from "Order of the Phoenix" in which Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) recounts the story of the giants. In the book, an entire chapter is required for the tale. In the movie? "It was two lines," Anelli told us. "It made me laugh, it was so short." And, for the film, it worked.
5. Robert Pattinson! On the page, Cedric Diggory is the big man on the Hogwarts campus. In 2005's "Goblet of Fire," he's R.Pattz! OMG!!!
OK, to be honest, Pattinson wasn't yet worthy of breathless abbreviations when the film came out. To be more honest, none of our Potter experts cited Pattinson (which doesn't mean he's not worthy; it just means we're in the tank for him).
And to be even more honest, not one of our Potter experts — not one — preferred the movies to the books. Said Anelli: "The thing about it is, your imagination is always better."
And who can argue that? Read 'em, and weep.