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Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view



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  #21  
Old January 16th, 2012, 8:01 pm
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

The other big difference was that PoA was the first film to enact actively things that Rowling has happen as thoughts in Harry's head. A lot of the "that didn't happen in the books!" moments were cases where they took Harry's thoughts and then had Harry do something (verbal, emoting, whatever).

In the first two films, Harry would just make faces when he was thinking things, which meant that only people who had read (and remembered in detail) the books knew what was happening. However, that meant that the films were told from the perspective of an invisible person standing next to Harry at all times, rather than from Harry's perspective. (This is probably the most obvious way in which "sticking to the book" in one thing demands "deviating from the book" in another: unless you use a narrator, the protagonists' thoughts either become actions or get lost.)

This was not done with the first two films, but when going from book to film, this is the most common way to maintain a subjective protagonist narrative style. (The other option is to simply use a narrator: but that usually is a bad idea.)


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  #22  
Old January 17th, 2012, 3:50 pm
ajna  Undisclosed.gif ajna is offline
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

So, then, Wimsey, in PoA, you feel there is less 'making faces' and more action that would have happened in another way otherwise? I'm not sure, so I will ask you to give an example? I think that would help me to understand you.


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  #23  
Old January 17th, 2012, 4:44 pm
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

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Originally Posted by ajna View Post
So, then, Wimsey, in PoA, you feel there is less 'making faces' and more action that would have happened in another way otherwise? I'm not sure, so I will ask you to give an example? I think that would help me to understand you.
I think what Wimsey means is that in PS/SS and COS instead of showing Harry's thought process, JKR portrayed his thoughts by giving him a pensive facial expression and then he would run off to Hagrid's or over to the girls' bathroom or out into the forbidden forest. PS/SS is written as third-person objective where no character's thoughts are given to the reader whereas Wimsey is saying POA is more third-person limited omniscient where there's more of a transparent thought process where you 'see' Harry thinking 'OMG! That big black dog just grabbed Ron and dragged him into the hole at the base of the whomping willow! I have to help him!" followed by the action of going to help Ron. (I made up that example, I don't recall being witness to Harry's thought process during Ron's abduction but I couldn't think of a canon example from POA that manifested itself into action in that book)

For the most part the books are third person limited omniscient - there are the moments where Harry's POV is dropped and we get Frank Bryce's POV or the Muggle Prime Minister's POV, but the are few and far between and third person limited still applies to most of the books.


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  #24  
Old January 17th, 2012, 5:08 pm
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

I agree with you; That certainly applies if you are talking about the books. But in this thread, I was specifically asking about the movies themselves.

I believe it was this quote by David Heyman, that I was referring to in the OP.
Quote:
The films really took a fundamental turn when Steve working with Alfonso Cuaron made the decision to tell the story from Harry Potter's point of view, as opposed to translating the books to film. At that point, there were sort of necessary omissions along the way so something that we loved, for example something like SPEW, which is Hermione's interest in the house elves, we love that but it is omitted because it wasn't part of Harry's story. It allowed us to create a cinematic structure for the films rather than literally translating the books"
I think I was wanting some discussion about how people felt this happened and in what way.

I dont' think I agree with ArryGrotter who says it's about eliminating subplots.
Quote:
People are taking this too literally. They didn't mean that the film was shot from Harry's point of view, they meant that the subplots that weren't directly relating to Harry were sacrificed.



Last edited by ajna; January 17th, 2012 at 5:19 pm.
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  #25  
Old January 17th, 2012, 11:26 pm
Goddess_Clio  Female.gif Goddess_Clio is offline
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

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Originally Posted by ajna View Post
I agree with you; That certainly applies if you are talking about the books. But in this thread, I was specifically asking about the movies themselves.

I believe it was this quote by David Heyman, that I was referring to in the OP. I think I was wanting some discussion about how people felt this happened and in what way.

I dont' think I agree with ArryGrotter who says it's about eliminating subplots.
Sorry for misunderstanding - teaches me to read the first post in the thread, =^J

As for how the films themselves were shown from Harry's POV, I actually agree partly with ArryGrotter that dumping unnecessary subplots goes a long way in streamlining the story, though in the context of the books those subplots ended up meaning quite a lot. In the grand scheme of things, SPEW was a subplot that expounded the themes of the books (acceptance of others, tolerance) and took those themes one step further. Where they paid off in the end was with Kreacher but in terms of the films having the whole subplot wasn't necessary and allowed the film makers to focus on other things and give screen time to something that was much more important than to a subplot that, frankly, didn't need to be there for the story to work out.

The trick is recognizing which subplots you can lose without doing irreperable damage to the story or destroying charactertization, though depending on dumping subplots to focus the story on Harry can only do so much. The other part of the picture is that, like my previous post says, POA does itself begin to really focus on Harry's personal experiences more since it dealt with such a personal subject as how dementors affect you, begins character arcs like Sirius, and really delves into the guts of the HP series.

POA is also the first book that had a villain with a personal connection to Harry (Harry's Godfather) rather than a random teacher (Quirell) or an unknown Hogwarts tormentor (Ginny by way of the Diary). It was the first time Harry could put a face to the person causing him mortal peril before the last three chapters of the book revealed them causing a much more immediate feel to the story since you knew who to look out for already. It was the book that began the backstory of his father and gave a more tangible feel to his mother's sacrifice. POA, in short, is generally much more personal a story so creating a much more personal film experience is a natural move, I think.


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  #26  
Old January 18th, 2012, 3:58 am
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

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Originally Posted by ajna View Post
So, then, Wimsey, in PoA, you feel there is less 'making faces' and more action that would have happened in another way otherwise? I'm not sure, so I will ask you to give an example? I think that would help me to understand you.
I can think of 3 examples off the top of my head. The biggest is having Harry and Hermione go back and forth about whether Harry's father was going to re-appear. That was the key scene of the story: over and over again, Harry sees that the "hard" truth is the one to accept over the easy (i.e., desirable or convenient) truth, and nothing could have been a more desirable truth than his father returning. Had they stuck to the book (in one sense), then we'd never hear the words that go through Harry's head. (Again, this would be a case where sticking to the book means deviating from the storytelling, as those words are an important part of the story.)

Had Radcliffe just made faces there, then nobody who did not remember the book would have known what was happening.


Example #2 was Harry's shouting about how he wanted to kill Sirius. In the book, Harry quietly fumes: Rowling nicely conveys an anger so deep that Harry basically implodes. Well, implosion is great in literature, but it's invisible on screen. So, on screen, Harry explodes. Again, faces would not have cut it. (Indeed, a strict following of the book would have left the audience wondering if Harry cared: he stonily refuses to show his emotional hand to Ron & Hermione.)

A 3rd example is Harry telling Lupin about what his thoughts would be for a Patronus in a much different tone than done in the books. The example used was particularly piquant: what the book provides works very well within the book, but it also took advantage of the "previously on Harry Potter" recaps that Rowling provided. (Again, this is a good example of things that work well in literature not necessarily working well on screen.) That had other advantages: what was keeping the Dementors (or fake Dementor) away was the memory of his parents, which then connected to Harry casting his Patronus when he realized that Daddy wasn't coming (again, story crux!) and Sirius' line about the ones we love never really leaving us. However, that is theme, not story! Regardless, faces, not cutting it, etc.


It seems to me that there was at least one more example, but I'm blanking on it. I have not watched Prisoner in a while: maybe this is an excuse to do so again!


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Last edited by Wimsey; January 18th, 2012 at 4:01 am.
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  #27  
Old January 18th, 2012, 4:07 am
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
Sorry for misunderstanding - teaches me to read the first post in the thread, =^J

As for how the films themselves were shown from Harry's POV, I actually agree partly with ArryGrotter that dumping unnecessary subplots goes a long way in streamlining the story, though in the context of the books those subplots ended up meaning quite a lot. In the grand scheme of things, SPEW was a subplot that expounded the themes of the books (acceptance of others, tolerance) and took those themes one step further. Where they paid off in the end was with Kreacher but in terms of the films having the whole subplot wasn't necessary and allowed the film makers to focus on other things and give screen time to something that was much more important than to a subplot that, frankly, didn't need to be there for the story to work out.




I don't disagree with this. I guess I just don't see that eliminating subplots is how it is making it from Harry's POV. SS and CoS didn't really have much in the way of subplots so it's not very relevant in my mind. There wasn't much shaving of subplots from PoA either in my opinion other than the mauraders mostly. So, for me, this reasoning doesn't apply much. Other than the details of the Mauraders, I think the film captured the essence and main points of the book quite well. So, again, I ask, what do you think Heyman meant about Cuaron's tweak of the viewpoint of the movie. Based on the quote above?




Oh, and Wimsey, thanks for the examples, I understand you much better now.


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  #28  
Old January 23rd, 2012, 4:43 am
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

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Originally Posted by ajna View Post
There wasn't much shaving of subplots from PoA either in my opinion other than the mauraders mostly. So, for me, this reasoning doesn't apply much. Other than the details of the Mauraders, I think the film captured the essence and main points of the book quite well. So, again, I ask, what do you think Heyman meant about Cuaron's tweak of the viewpoint of the movie. Based on the quote above?
Well, that film probably did the best job of capturing the same story as the book: and even in the book, The Marauders were pretty tangential to the story. (The map was an important plot point, to be certain, but that is different from being an important story point.)

But even in the book, it is all from Harry's point of view: what we learn about the map is what Harry learns, nothing more and nothing less. We do not get, for example, information from Lupin or Black that Harry does not get (a la "Spinner's End" in Prince.) One possible criticism of it is that it would have furthered the story a little bit if Harry had initially misunderstood who made the map and used it effectively only after comprehending the actual truth about it. That is, it would have been nice if there had been some analog of the "That wasn't my dad, it was me!" with "That wasn't <BLANK>, that was my Dad!" that made some storyline zenith.

However, that wouldn't alter the "point of view" issue.


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  #29  
Old January 24th, 2012, 8:28 am
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

well, thank you Wimsey, that does provide a little elucidation on the matter.


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  #30  
Old January 24th, 2012, 6:07 pm
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

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Originally Posted by ajna View Post
well, thank you Wimsey, that does provide a little elucidation on the matter.
I hearby nominate "elucidation" as the vocab word of the week. =^)


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  #31  
Old August 8th, 2012, 10:05 pm
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

You hear more thoughts that he would think in real life.


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  #32  
Old August 8th, 2012, 11:38 pm
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I think the third book and the third film are both turning points in the series - the book because it begins to delve into Harry's past more deeply and the films because Curon brought a maturity to the series that Chris Columbus couldn't because of the youthful and innocent nature of the first two books/screenplays.
This is a wonderful insight. I believe that Curon was attempting (in mimicry of JK Rowling) to give the series momentum - not just plot-wise, but also in terms of the viewer-ship's own growing emotional and social intelligence. There is a noticeable darkness to PoA, with interesting symbolic elements, such as the Dementors, which give rise to Harry's self-awareness and fear. The book and film give Harry room to begin the process of meta-cognition, and self-evaluation. Perhaps this is what Curon meant to convey when he said "Harry's point of view".

13 is a crucial age, and definitely a turning point regards the development of "self". It was important that we begin to see Harry as a person, and not merely a pawn for the plot. We begin to relate more and more with Harry, and in this respect, PoA is vital for our relationship with Harry's character, and thus with our insight into both ourselves, and this fantastical world to which we have committed ourselves.


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  #33  
Old September 6th, 2012, 1:07 am
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Re: Prisoner of Azkaban from Harry's point of view

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Originally Posted by Zaffyra View Post
This is a wonderful insight. I believe that Curon was attempting (in mimicry of JK Rowling) to give the series momentum - not just plot-wise, but also in terms of the viewer-ship's own growing emotional and social intelligence.
There also was the plummeting audience to consider: Chamber sold an average of 20% fewer tickets than Stone did in the major markets, and as the audience response to Chamber was about the same as that to Stone, another big drop was anticipated. The series desperately needed a "reboot" at that point.

But the biggest difference was that Cuaron was trying to emulate Rowling's narrative style - i.e., single protagonist subjective - whereas Columbus simply repeated the narrative (i.e., A said X and then Y happened, etc.) An important part of the Harry Potter stories are Harry's subjective interpretation of events. In the books, Harry thinks them and that's fine: verbal narratives can do that. However, in performed tellings, you need someone to speak and/or act upon those thoughts, unless you want to use a voice-over narrator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaffyra View Post
It was important that we begin to see Harry as a person, and not merely a pawn for the plot.
Well, Harry never is simply a pawn in a plot: it is a very rare protagonist who is completely passive and simply propelled by events. Even in Stone, Harry actively responds to events, although his responses often are a result of misunderstanding. That's actually critical to the Harry Potter plots: after all, they are basically mysteries in which the protagonist is (in part or in entirety) barking up the wrong tree at one point or another.

Centering the audience perceptions around Harry was even more critical with this particular story, which is about Hard vs. Easy choices in what you accept as true. It was particularly important to project Harry's hatred of the man responsible for his parents' deaths and project just how much Harry desired (to the point of nearly fantasizing) his parent's presence. Those two things make the two climaxes (Harry's pardoning of Pettigrew and Harry's acceptance that James was not returning) work. And, of course, that meant not sticking to the book's narrative: otherwise, we would have had to guess it from facial expression that double for constipation or an unsatisfactory love live!


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