Harry Potter film No. 6: How true to the book?

Fans have had to wait an extra eight months for its release (due to a delay, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," set to debut this Wednesday, July 15,  was originally scheduled to hit theaters last November) and so there's been that much more time to wonder.

How much will Harry Potter film No. 6 resemble the J.K. Rowling book from which it comes?

It has been more than 10 years since the first Harry Potter book was released in the United States, and that means that there's now a whole generation of 20-something readers who literally grew up with the books. So perhaps it's not surprising that much of the speculation over the film is taking place on the blogs of college students.

On DNOnline (the Ball State University online news daily), Aly Brumback interviews students planning to attend that first midnight showing. Senior photojournalism major Cassandra Adamson predicts film No. 6 will be darker than the earlier films. And that's a good thing, says Adamson.

"I think the movies are getting better and better each time around. As they get darker, they're getting better," she told Brumback.

But Adamson sees the movies changing along with the books.

Holly Pierson, writing for The Exponent, Purdue University's daily student newspaper, also says the films are getting darker and better – but she sees them moving further away from the books.  And she thinks that's a good thing.

Pierson says she began to lose her enthusiasm for the books after No. 4 ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"), but in her opinion the films are getting richer as they move away from the books. "It’s harder to write endings than beginnings, I’ll give [J.K. Rowling] that," she writes. "But when Rowlings upped the angst and started churning out more pages than plot with each successive book, I began to doubt her early claims that she knew where the series was headed from the beginning."

"On the other hand," she opines, "the movies have only been getting better."

If  you want to see a point-by-point analysis of the ways in which the movie version of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" will differ from the book, take a look at today's New York Post. Or you can just wait and see for yourself.

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