Books vs. Movies
I'm not far into The Sorcerer's Stone yet. In fact, Harry has only just learned of his past from Hagrid, since those darn Dursleys (just thinking about them makes my blood pressure rise) failed to inform him that he is a wizard.
However, one thing is eminently clear - the Harry Potter movies are incapable of creating proper pathos for Harry.
[Pathos (n) - an emotion of sympathetic pity]
Surprisingly, since I sometimes sport the memory of a goldfish, I remember the first time I watched The Sorcerer's Stone. I recall that the Dursleys were annoying, and that Dudley was ugly. Honestly, though, the only thing I remember about Harry Potter is that he was smiling gleefully when his letters from Hogwarts came pouring through the fireplace. I had no sense of compassion or hurt for the fact that he was basically being abused by his family.
Reading the book, on the other hand, makes me want to cry for the kid. Shut up in the cupboard under the stairs, thinking a good day is a trip to the zoo where he is practically ignored...awful stuff.
You might be thinking, "The books is always better than the movie." While I cannot substantiate that statement, based on the principle delineated in the following scene in Napoleon Dynamite...
Napoleon: This is pretty much the worst video ever made.
Kip: Napoleon, like any one can even know that.
...I can say that I already see how seriously lacking my conception of HP characters is having only seen the movies. Some movies are able to communicate a depth of character that does the book some justice, but the HP series probably isn't among them. The story may be much too complex for that, or the movie making just not quite thoughtful enough.
I'll read on, and we shall see!