It took author J.K. Rowling seven books to tell the story of the Boy Who Lived. Seven books to unfurl his years at Hogwarts, where the normal trials of growing up were placed on the backburner in favor of that minor task of doing battle with He Who Must Not Be Named. And from those seven books, it took Warner Bros. eight movies with a combined runtime of over 19-and-a-half hours to bring Harry Potter‘s epic tale to the big screen.
But what if instead of eight films you tried to adapt all of those novels into one single, coherent story? What few, precious plot points and characters would make the cut if you were trying to keep all the magic and emotional resonance of the stories by means of only the main plot—that of a young wizard forced to confront the most dangerous Dark Lord in history?
It turns out, you could manage a surprisingly compelling film with only the most basic exposition and a focus on Harry’s later years at Hogwarts, during which time he spent his days trying to find and destroy Voldermort’s Horcruxes.
This succinct retelling, found via Buzzfeed, was put together by Tim Stiefler and shared on Vimeo. In a nod to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which also covered many years of a young boy’s life into one movie, Stiefler dubbed his adaptation Wizardhood. You can watch the entire film right here, and we highly recommend that all Harry Potter fanatics do.
What makes this great is that it isn’t just a fun, fast-paced chopping down of all the movies into a montage, but an actual attempt at crafting a story with a beginning, middle, and end. So while it might have seemed surprising at first that something with a runtime of less than 80 minutes devoted such a large chunk of that to the beginning of The Sorcerer’s Stone, imagine seeing this as a standalone story, where you didn’t know anything about the world you were entering. You would need a way into a world of magic and flying brooms, as well as an idea of the school environment serving as the foundation for the story, and the conflicts that Harry would face.
Obviously, a lot (juuuust a minor understatement) didn’t make the cut… like almost all of two through five (imagine how much moaning Myrtle would do knowing the entire Chamber of Secrets story was edited out). Instead, the first act established the pressures building on the famous wizard and the growing fear that his parents’ murderer was coming back. Even that didn’t take up much of this version, though. By the 30-minute mark, Professor Dumbledore was already explaining Horcruxes to Harry; the two even set out to destroy one. Instead of Voldemort’s return to a body being the turning point of the story, it was Dumbledore’s death at the hands of Snape.
Although this shortened version means no Sirius, no (my personal favorite) Dobby, no Order of the Phoenix, no Tonks or Remus, no Arthur and Molly Weasley, no Cedric Diggory being straight-up murdered, no Mad-Eye Moody, no a lot of things that we as Harry Potter fans hold dear in our hearts, they were all omitted in the name of focusing on the core story: that of a courageous young wizard forced to save the world and his friends from evil. That is what Harry’s story is really all about.
Although we definitely would have been okay without the Ron and Hermione love story.
But what did you think of this condensed adaptation? What did it get right and what did it get wrong? Tell us what changes you would make in the comments section below.
Images: Warner Bros. Studios
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