13 Reasons To Finally Read Harry Potter

by Charlotte Ahlin

So. You've never read the Harry Potter books. But you like the Harry Potter movies. That's fine. No, really. There is no judgment here. I support your alternative lifestyle. I mean... I don't know why you haven't read Harry Potter, or what happened during your childhood that brought you to this place devoid of all magic, but... fine. Lucky for you, it's never too late to enroll in Hogwarts for the first time. And your time has come: here are a few reasons why you should FINALLY read the Harry Potter books.

I mean, look, dude, you liked the movies, right? You had a crush on grown up Neville, too. What's stopping you from going full Potterhead and reading the books? It's not even cool and edgy to not read the Harry Potter books anymore (news flash: it is also no longer cool and edgy to not be on Facebook, stop talking to people about how you're not on Facebook). You might even find that you like the books more than the movies, in the end.

So just give them a try. I promise that no one will make you read Cursed Child. If you're a Harry Potter movie fan, here are a few solid reasons to finally, at long last, read the books:


The books are better

Let's get this one out of the way right off the bat. Just about everyone says that the books are better than the movies. Sure, they could all be wrong... but you won't know that until you read the books, now, will you? It's not that the movies are bad, but the books have more developed characters, more in-depth plots, and more detailed world-building than the films. At least give the audiobooks a try. Please. For me?


The movies cut out a LOT

Entire subplots were slashed for time. That's understandable when you need to cram an 800 page book into a two-hour film. But you're missing out on so much! Winky the house elf, Voldy's backstory, Dumbledore's backstory, all the ghost drama, PEEVES, most of the good jokes, Neville as the chosen one... the movies only scratch the surface of the Wizarding World.


The books are not just for kids

A lot of people seem to think that they "missed the window" to read the Harry Potter books. They're embarrassed to read books about a boy wizard as tax-paying adults. C'mon guys... that's silly. Harry Potter is already being taught in college classes as a modern classic. The chiastic plot structure is on par with most epic poems. It really is never too late to read Harry Potter. Find a child and read it to them if you're too insecure to read a "kids" book by yourself.


Everyone will love you

I guarantee that you have at least one friend who's been begging you to read Harry Potter. They're probably the same friend who dragged you to all the movies. And you liked the movies! Why are you letting your friend down? And let's be real: not reading Harry Potter is a deal breaker for self respecting people on every dating app.


Movie Ron sucks

Movie Ron and book Ron are pretty much two different characters—and movie Ron sucks. I have nothing against Rupert Grint, but a lot of Ron's lines were changed for the films. In the books he still undergoes a lot of character development, but he's much smarter, braver, and actually funny. He also stands up for Hermione in the book, while he frequently insults her in the movie.


Movie Dumbledore is... different

I just... why? In the books, Dumbledore is consistently seen as calm and fatherly. We only start to see his anger and his weakness towards the end of the book series, to parallel Harry's departure from the easy black and white morality of childhood. In the movies... he runs screaming at Harry in year four. It's... not quite as elegant.


That one movie wasn’t even very good

Look, it's fine if you love the movies. But I think we can be honest here: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is not the greatest movie ever. Umbridge is well done, but in general... eh. The fifth book of the series is packed with so much roiling teenage emotion, and the movie just kind of plods through the major plot points without much nuance.


The romance is less cringe-worthy in the books

The actors were cast as children, so you can't really blame them or the directors for the lack of chemistry onscreen. But still. Yikes. What was happening with the Harry and Ginny kisses? Did they hate each other, or had they just never seen a human kiss before? The books have their fair share of delightfully awkward teen romance, but the kisses that are supposed to be beautiful and romantic come across as beautiful and romantic.


The books are far more political

The movies don't even come close to the social commentary of the books. The books are much more adult when it comes to discussing civil rights, bigotry, and fascism. From Hermione's crusade for house elf rights, to Cornelius Fudge's censorship of the news, to Voldemort's message of ethnic purity, it's all explored far more on the page than on the screen.


The book characters can look however you want

You can read the books and picture the characters as Daniel Radcliff, Rubert Grint, and Emma Watson if you like. But you don't have to. Your mental image can be a black Hermione and a mixed race Harry. Maybe Harry's scar isn't a cute little lightening bolt emoji. Maybe it looks like a realistic fork of lightening across his face. When you're reading, you're in charge of the character design.


It’s an easy read

Seriously. Don't let the high page count scare you. It's such a fast read. You can tear through the first two books in a day. The audiobook is pretty great, too. You really have no excuse not to read it.


The books have a pretty similar vibe to the movies

OK, so maybe the reason you're staying away from the books is that you really like the movies. Maybe you don't want the books to *ruin* the movies for you. Well, as much as I like the books... the movies do a pretty good job of capturing the feel of Harry Potter. The books definitely aren't going to change your vision of Hogwarts so drastically that you can never enjoy the films again.


Look, it’s Harry Potter

There's a reason it's the most popular book in the world (well, it's right behind the Koran and the Bible and quotes from Chairman Mao). People aren't just reading it to fit in. It's a story that resonates with hundreds of millions. I know it's hard to imagine anything living up to all that hype, but just give it a chance. You might discover that you've been missing out all these years.