When pages become scenes: Reading it first

Sarah Rochford

It was during that three or so seconds of silence, when the screen turns black after the coming attractions, and the movie is about to start. This was the moment when some guy in the theater of the “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” midnight premiere shouted out, “Snape kills Dumbledore!”

That was when the two kinds of Harry Potter fans were most obviously divided: the people who laughed at the exclamation because they had already read Dumbledore’s fate in the book, and the people who were unbelievably furious that some random stranger had just ruined the movie for them.

Being a proud member of the first group, I have absolutely no pity for the latter. Why on earth everybody didn’t jump at the chance to devour all seven Harry Potter books the day they came out is a complete mystery to me. Doesn’t everybody want to experience the magic of Harry Potter in as many ways as possible?

I must admit, though, I am a bit of an extremist when it comes to reading the book before I see the movie. I have yet to see “War of the Worlds,” “The Other Boleyn Girl” or any of the “Chronicles of Narnia” films, only because I need to read it before I see it.

It’s almost a matter of respect to the author. The author’s writing has to be pretty amazing if someone wants to spend millions of dollars and months of working just to get 120 minutes of film. I feel like we should respect the author’s hard work, creativity and undoubtedly the months or years they spent working on their book, by taking a week or so out of our lives to read what they wrote, before we just stare at a screen for two hours.

Oh dear, I think I feel my inner English major coming out.

On a lighter note, I think it’s just fun to read the book and have all of these ideas and images in your head, then get to see the story on a screen and see how some other person interpreted the exact same thing. If you see the movie before you read the book, you already have solid images of the characters, settings and emotions in your head, so you lose the opportunity to explore this new world on your own.

I’m sure director Tate Taylor did a fabulous job creating his vision of “The Help.” But you know who saw it first? Kathryn Stockett. So before you pay $10 to see the movie, take a stroll over to the library and crack open the book first.

Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” doesn’t come out until March 23, 2012. That gives you plenty of time to read the book, think about it, and get extremely excited to go to the midnight premiere where you can experience the magic for a second time. I completely support the decision to shout out who wins the Hunger Games during that opportune three seconds of black-screened silence, if only to find out who read it first.