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Books vs. Films: Let's Talk!


The first time I read the Harry Potter books, I was what- seven? I was so intrigued by this world Jk Rowling created, that to this day, I reread the books often. It never gets old. Anyway, imagine my delight when later on, I found out that there was in fact a film to every Harry Potter book that existed! Upon watching the movies, I was excited to find out that my imagination of the Harry Potter world was almost a hundred percent synonymous with the films, down to what the characters looked like! However, reading the books beforehand exposed me to how inadequate the films were in comparison to the books, and made me wonder if I would love the franchise “harry potter’ as much as I do now if I hadn’t read the books prior.

It is an indisputable fact that films do bring the characters to life in a new way, so whenever a published book gets adapted for the big screen, the inevitable discussion of “who did it better” often springs up. Books like Harry Potter, Game Of Thrones, Hunger Games, Little Fires Everywhere, Gone Girl, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Call Me By Your Name (to mention a few) have become some of the biggest adapted films to be made and I would be using some of these instances in the course of this article. So, which is better, Books or films?

One advantage books have over films is the fact that we get to know these characters in-depth and are able to follow their inner motives throughout the story. For a book like Harry Potter (my favorite book, in case you haven’t clocked yet ;), the story of the characters' struggle with school, friendship, love, sacrifice and war was told in such a way that the film could not hope to match.. I’ve seen a lot of takes on Twitter from people who have watched the movies without reading a single line of the book (which the movie is based on), and let’s just say I wish they would. I mean, I’ve seen someone go as far as calling Ron abusive! Anyway, my point is, books allow us to get to know these characters on a deeper level than the movies could ever show us.


Another way in which books triumph over films is comprehensiveness. Films do not have the same grace books have in terms of length. An average feature film would last about an hour and a half. Thus, they have to edit a lot and leave in only the most important aspects of the film or sometimes even change a lot from the book. This is usually fine if it’s an original movie, but when it is adapted, book lovers like me tend to get a little uncomfortable.

A very good instance of this is the miniseries Little Fires Everywhere. So, I heard of the series first and actually enjoyed it. Although, I must admit I felt a bit confused with some parts of the plot. Mind you, I never knew its book existed. Now, fast forward to me finishing the movie and stalking the movie actors and crew (like I always do, after finishing a book/movie I like), I find out that it was in fact based on a book by Celeste Ng. I immediately got the book and I kid you not, it’s actually one of the best books I’ve read, and trust me I’ve read a lot. The book cleared all the confusion I had regarding the plot and made much more sense. I wouldn’t go into too many details so as not to spoil it (don’t worry we don’t spoil things over here), but if you would like to grasp what I mean, I would implore you to watch the miniseries first and then read the book.


Call me by your name and Gone Girl are two of the few movies I would admit to being as good as and even slightly better than their books. Films are very useful in bringing out the beauty in stories. This particularly struck me in the call me by your name film. While reading, the book made me imagine the setting to be so ancient, and in my opinion failed to lay emphasis on the beauty of the culture of the characters, which I feel was important to the story.

The film however came through in both aspects. The film also followed through on the plot of the book and even expanded on it beautifully with the limited time it had. In essence, the film felt like a refreshed version of the book, and it’s no wonder it is so well-received. I must say, however, that the book depicts the reality of the characters much better, while the film romanticizes it. The same goes for ‘Gone Girl. Both works (book & film) are masterpieces but to be honest, I slightly prefer the film because of the added drama and twists; I mean, who doesn’t love a bit more drama?

I would have loved to compare the game of thrones books & films, but honestly, I never had any interest in watching the films (I know. I’m among the 2 percent who hasn’t) however, I did try to read the books but never completed them either, so...

Well, there you have it! It might have been obvious from the start of this article that I take a preference to books more than their films, and the truth is, I do. I just feel like books give you the total experience of a work of art than the films do, and I would encourage you to read the books of your favorite adapted films. That way you enjoy the film better, but that’s just me. So, do you prefer books or films and why? Let me know in the comment section and also let me know your favorite films and books. Thanks for reading!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Oshinowo Sherif

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