From “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four Privet Drive,” to ten years and seven books later with “All was well,” the Harry Potter series has given children, adults and muggles all over the world the soaring journey of a lifetime. Then, years after the first book hit the world with the force of a literary meteorite, Harry Potter came to the world of film.

It’s another version of the beloved story, and it doesn’t even begin with the same sentence. “I should have known that you would be here, Professor Mcgonagall,” is how the series began for a whole legion of loyal Harry Potter fans. Eight movies later, it ended with “Ready?” and two different sets of Harry Potter lore were wholly available to the public.

Why is it then that fans of the books have such mixed feelings about the films? Some love them, some hate them, but at the end of the day they must be held apart to truly love either of them.

Can’t we all just get along?

That’s the thing, they are two different stories at this point. When you change the medium that something is presented in, you are forced to change everything about it. Anything that doesn’t adhere to the rules of that medium is subject to harsh criticism.

Saying that Harry Potter film series is awful because it’s nothing like the book series is like saying that Stephen Spielberg’s upcoming Lincoln movie is going to suck because it’s going to be different from a famous painting of Abraham Lincoln. It’s a medium shift. If it doesn’t change, the adaptation will suffer.

This isn’t, by the way, something that a group of old elders got together and decided on a long time ago and chiseled onto some stone tablets. Movies, by their own nature, are forced to be a certain way because of what they are.

It isn’t as easy as “oh they didn’t want to have the curse rebound off of Harry and kill Voldemort because it isn’t Hollywood enough,” or “It would have been SO EASY to just throw in, like, ten more minutes of Snape into every movie.”

Trust me, more Snape is what everyone wants, but books (ranging anywhere from 320-870 pages) have that luxury. Films don’t.

“Oh yeah, Snape…we’ve cut your whole dream…sequence…thing…whatever. Don’t make that face.”

It’s not a flaw in the film-making of the Harry Potter series (okay, in some cases it is), it’s a flaw of film-making in a general. From the standpoint of a screenwriter, including every single character and giving them enough screen-time to merit the full arcs they are given in the book would turn the thing into a full blown character study instead of a heroic journey.

This especially proves to be challenging when a group of producers decides to adapt a series of films before it’s even finished. How were they to know which characters would be integral? How did they know which moments to lovingly craft and which ones to ditch?

Yes, sometimes Rowling stepped in to lead them in the right direction (DON’T YOU DARE CUT KREACHER), but on more than one occasion we watched as once important characters slipped into the wallpaper once the film-makers realized that their characters weren’t absolutely necessary to the story.

Let’s play a game. It’s called “Who the hell is holding Harry in this clip from Order of the Phoenix.”

If you answered “Percy during his git phase,” then congratulations, you read the books.

All the character development that he receives in the Order of the Phoenix movie (Remember, in the books Percy straight up turns his back on his entire family in Order to further his career) is condensed to Harry’s extended gaze.

Nearly Headless Nick (played by the horrifically underused John Cleese) bailed after the first few installments, Dobby disappeared after Chamber of Secrets only to reappear in Deathly Hallows-Part 1 to work up sympathy from the audience and to remind us of who he was right before he died.

In the film series, you can almost guess who’s going to die by keeping track of who is suddenly getting all sorts of attention (See: Sirius Black). To be honest, given exactly how many characters exist in the Harry Potter series (772 names mentioned and 200 characters that can be deemed “important”), it’s a wonder that the film-makers were able to manage them this well.

Think about it, even in the last film (which only covers 259 pages, the least out of any in the entire series) we found ourselves wanting more of EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER.

Where was Tonks? Why didn’t we spend more time with Aberforth? Why didn’t the character who was holding Harry in the video above (a character who my cousin [who has only seen the movies] was unable to identify) come back for his spectacular return?

Frankly, it’s because it would have just been an Easter Egg scene for the fans of the book. While this isn’t a bad thing (I particularly loved Dumbledore’s “It’s a very long name” joke in Prisoner of Azkaban in light of the discovery of his full name in the similarly timed release of the Order of the Phoenix novel), it harms the logic of a film in general if you assume that your audience has read the books. It becomes an inside joke, and while inside jokes are funny their specialty is leaving people out. This is something that no good film wants to do.

When it comes down to it, if we spend the majority of the film worrying about who was kept in and who was left out, we’re not leaving room for the most important part: J.K. Rowling’s story.

I mean think about it, what environments set up the character development in the Harry Potter books?

It’s classes, detentions, random time spent in the common room, random time meandering around the Hogwarts grounds, Quidditch matches and sudden random acts of horrendous importance that keep the Harry Potter books churning.

From a film standpoint, keeping a steady roster of over 200 important characters over the span of eight films and having most of their exposure be contained in the same dozen or so locations is just not possible without turning it into…well…a television show.


What were the film-makers really supposed to do? We’ve seen classes in session done very well in some of the films, (Prisoner of Azkaban being an excellent example), but in order for things to not seem repetitive the films are limited to only a few classroom scenes per film. Otherwise it would feel less like a Harry Potter movie and more like a day at school.

As a matter of a fact, with the exception of the first film, it’s usually a Defense Against the Dark Arts class that we sit in on, isn’t it? It’s probably because a class that teaches defense against the dark arts has the most relevance in a movie where the main action is the protagonist defending himself from the dark arts.

Classes also prove to be useful when there are specific things that we need to know about in order for the plot to move forward (The Unforgiveable Curses in Goblet of Fire, or the Felix Filicis potion in Half Blood Prince), or if there’s a new teacher that we need an introduction too. It’s especially useful if you can do both of these things in the same scene.

The funny thing is, if anyone happened to miss Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire they missed the entire classroom scene above where the three most important curses in the mythos of Harry Potter are introduced. In the very next film, Sirius is killed by Avada Kadavra, and if you happened to miss Professor Moody’s lecture on the Unforgiveable curses, you might have not understood what had happened.

The scene however, brings up another point. Did it bother anyone else that the Imperius Curse, a spell that has the utmost importance in the septology, was basically turned into a simple forced movement spell in the scene above?

The redesign of the spell in Deathly Hallow-Part 2 turned it into a gassy catnip, which I suppose works better visually, but it still doesn’t pack the punch that the book was able to provide. The scariest aspect of the Imperius Curse was that it invaded your mind and made you WANT to do the things the caster was making you do.

In the book, the spider was bending to Professor Moody’s will, not struggling against it. How though, was something like that supposed to be put on film? I suppose if they had included a scene where Harry fights against Professor Moody’s will like he does in the book, it would have been made more clear.

However, this was Goblet of Fire. We didn’t have time because there were dragons to fight and kidnapping plots to not explain.

In this particular case, an explanation would have been nice, but in a book you can drop in a chapter that is JUST Barty Crouch Jr. revealing all. Because film is a different medium, it becomes difficult to explain something as twisted and complex as the life and times of Barty Crouch Jr. after the climax has already peaked.

In the case of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, the entire novel is a balancing act. In light of Voldemort’s return and the subsequent crapping out of Fudge’s political career, the school still soldiers on and we find balance in the fact that the school is operating as usual.

I mean hell, they are resilient enough to still host a Quidditch tournament while students were receiving owls from loved ones about the rise of the greatest evil their world has ever known. That’s strength. That’s also the power of what a book can do.

In a book, the power of the text lies in your ability to know what people are thinking. Actions aren’t just seen, they are exhumed. That’s the biggest difference between a film and a novel. In a novel, if someone is sitting in their house alone at night the novel will choose to focus on the inner monologue.

Julie sat in the middle of the room, the stuffed friends of her youth surrounding her as the storm raged outside.
There’s nothing there, she thought. That’s the wind howling it can’t be-
Then something unimaginable broke her train of thought. A knock pounded at the door. The rain pattered on the window panes around her as she stared at the handle.
I just imagined that knock, thought Julie, there’s no way that it could-
The doorknob began to turn. She tightened the stranglehold on Wilfred, her old stuffed rabbit.
Suddenly she was struck by a thought.
Maybe it’s mom. Mom has the key!
She looked up from her huddle of cuddly animals hopefully. The door burst open and a massive shadowy figure with a hook for a hand stepped into her home.

Forgive the hastily thrown together story. In a narrative like this though, it’s clear that we follow Julie’s train of thought through the events. First we have fear, then we have hope. In a screenplay, her emotions would be impossible to follow so we would instead focus on the images.


Suddenly there is a BOOMING KNOCK at the door. Julie OPENS HER EYES suddenly and turns her head toward the door. Her voice BREAKS with fear.


CLOSE ON THE DOORKNOB as it begins to TURN. JULIE SCREAMS as the lightning CRACKS OUTSIDE. The door BURSTS open and A SHADOWY FIGURE with a HOOK for a hand steps into the house.

You see, because Julie’s inner monologue has been cut in favor of enhanced visuals it wouldn’t make sense to include that tiny fragment of hope. Some directors will choose to have some type of voice-over narration when adapting a book specifically so that they can do stuff like this.

In the case of Harry Potter, a voice-over narration would have seemed even more out of place (unless I’m completely wrong and it would have made the series legendary). Anyway, without a voiceover telling you what Julie is thinking, a look of hope would come across as out of place in the face of all of these scary elements.

Compare that to…say… Molly Weasley’s creepy smile after she kills Bellatrix Lestrange.

Yes, we know that Molly is happy that she finally killed the bitch (especially since in the movie universe, Bellatrix and Greyback destroyed The Burrow), but her son JUST DIED.

In a book, you might be able to say something like “and as Bellatrix burst into ashes, Molly smiled knowing that Fred would have gotten a real kick out of it,” but in the movie (unless Fred explicitly mentioned earlier in the film that he would find an exploding Bellatrix to be HYSTERICAL) it sticks a wrench into the entire emotional buildup.

You see where I’m going with this? In a film, if something doesn’t fit into the visual narrative it must be cut. If not, we end up having moments where viewers (especially those that have not read the books) are very confused about what’s going on.

Of course, problems, inaccuracies and massive gaps in logic still exist in the film series.

Where did Harry’s Looking Glass come from? Did anyone ever explain why we found Mr.Crouch dead in the woods? Who were the marauders? WHERE THE **** DID HARRY’S LOOKING GLASS COME FROM?

“WHAT IS THIS MAGIC?!” -Professor Quirrell

When you’re adapting a series of books that is keeping hundreds of balls in the air for the majority of the series, it might be easy to lose track of certain things. The screenwriters very well may have explained every loose end in their screenplays, but if the editor and director decide that such scenes effect the flow of the movie, these important pieces of information sometimes get left on the cutting room floor.

Then, even if an essential piece of information is kept in the film, it ends up sounding like a trip to the screenwriting convenience store. In the books, J.K. Rowling could just copy and paste a Daily Prophet article or a page out of Magick Moste Evile to explain to the audience what’s going on. When you try to do it in a film, it becomes nearly impossible (unless they hire Aaron Sorkin to write the screenplay) for something like that to not sound like exposition.

I mean, think of all of the phrases that you’ve heard in the Harry Potter films that JUST function as exposition. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone is one of the only possible exceptions to this rule since Harry is obviously new to the wizarding world, but even still, there are better ways to introduce an idea than by awkwardly working it into a sentence.

From Sorceror’s Stone:

Hagrid: And I suppose a great big muggle like yourself is goin’ to stop him, are yeh?
Harry: Muggle?
Hagrid: Nonmagic folk. This boy’s had his name down ever since he were born!

You see, something like this can work in a book where you are looking at the words side by side. Muggle. Non-magic folk. Gotcha.

The book even afforded a few more words to get the full message across. Whereas the film devoted LITERALLY one second and two words to the introduction of an integral plotpoint, the book says this: “It’s what we call non-magic folk like them. An’ it’s your bad luck you grew up in a family o’ the biggest Muggles I ever laid eyes on.”

Aside from adding this to my collection of evidence that Hagrid was straight up HAMMERED when he went to get Harry from the hut on the rock, it also:
A) Explains what Muggles are.
B) Explains what Muggles are in relation to Wizards.
C) Gives an example of what muggles are.

In a movie, something a little more pronounced than an awkward shoe-in is needed, especially when muggles are something you plan on talking about for the next seven movies.

Hagrid does this again in Chamber of Secrets:

Hagrid: Take me to where? Not Azkaban prison!

You see, adding the word “prison” at the end makes the whole thing seem fake. It makes it seem like it was worded that way so that the audience could understand what Azkaban was. In a room with Lucius Malfoy and Albus Dumbledore, Hagrid said what was basically the equivalent of “Take me to where? Not Disneyland Amusement Park!”

Want an example of how to successfully impart the fear that Azkaban has to offer? Skip to 2:10.

Right? He didn’t even use the word “prison” and we still got the idea. Sure, the movie is called The Prisoner of Azkaban, but that’s besides the point.

Now there is just one more thing to discuss.

Not only does the medium that a work of art is presented in effect the work of art itself, but the medium that a work of art chooses explicitly designs how you experience the material.

Like we mentioned above, when you’re reading a book, the book is giving you a VIP pass into the protagonists mind. You have a direct connection with them, similar to the one that Harry shares with Voldemort. That’s right, now when you read the Harry Potter books, you’re gonna freak yourself out by thinking that you’re Voldemort because you can read Harry’s thoughts.

Not only that, but you are forced to interpret the characters yourself. Aside from the charming illustrations by Mary GrandPré, the descriptions provided by J.K. Rowling were all you had. YOU make the choices about the details that are never mentioned, or maybe you change the ones that have been mentioned anyway. It doesn’t matter. The book is a script and your imagination is the stage.

In a film, all of these choices are made for you. It’s a big “User Terms Agreement” put forward by Warner Brothers, and by giving them money and watching the movie you’re hitting “agree” (or at least “proceed with cautious trepidation”).

Whatever Dumbledore you had imagined (for whatever reason, mine was a balding Asian monk regardless of what the book told me) was replaced by Richard Harris. Then he was replaced by Michael Gambon. Anyone who’s anyone in British cinema (with a few notable exceptions) seems to have made an appearance in Harry Potter, and so the characters that we’ve pictured in our minds for over a decade have become a reality.

This is a vast departure from the realm of books, so to expect a film to be able to capture all of that magic (for lack of a better word) that you’ve created in your head is to expect a production crew to not only read your mind, but the collective minds of every Harry Potter fan in the world. They’re going off the same source material that we are, and they had the task of living up to the imaginations of over a billion people worldwide.

Some forget that it’s not like they had the luxury of time to produce these things. They were on a tight schedule, producing eight films in just under ten years (completing five of them before the series was even completed) and somehow getting them out before Daniel Radcliffe was old enough to play Dumbledore. They had child protection laws to work around, actors to keep interested and, most important of all, fans that were as rabid as Remus Lupin during a full moon.

To attempt to adapt the relatively quiet and introspective Harry Potter series to film (as opposed to a much more visual property like Lord of the Rings) was a gargantuan feat, and somehow they managed to keep it (mostly) together.

They became popcorn films, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The books were able to delve to levels that only books are truly able to do, and the movies, while being very well done in their own right, explored the feasibility of transferring Harry’s journey to the silver screen.

It all comes down to the idea that certain stories simply work best in certain mediums, and a transfer to a different medium will require certain changes that might anger fans. The tricky part is that every story is different. There’s no way of knowing how suitable something would be for film until you at least give it a try.

I mean, imagine if someone tried to adapt The Giver to the screen. it wouldn’t work because of the limitations of the medium. Peter Jackson was able to adapt The Lord of the Rings series of books into the Lord of the Rings film series that millions of fans worldwide fell in love with, but I would argue that Lord of the Rings works better as a film series just because of the story that’s being told.

There have been flaws in the film-making and flaws in the entire notion of adapting it, but Harry Potter still proves to be an example of how powerful literature can be and how loyal a readership can be to the books that they love. All things considered, the conversion of Harry Potter into a workable film series seems to have been a complete success.

I can’t wait to compare it to the remake.

A new Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 trailer debuted Tuesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live and is sure to please anyone who’s even remotely excited for this sequel.

“I’m your dad, Peter.” Yes, it’s true, Star-Lord’s dad has a role in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, and he’s played by Kurt Russell. He appears briefly at the end of the trailer, following a couple minutes of great dialogue, fighting, and Baby Groot adorableness. Yep, they’re about to become two-time galaxy savers.

Watch the trailer below:

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A new Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 trailer debuted Tuesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live and is sure to please anyone who’s even remotely excited for this sequel.

“I’m your dad, Peter.” Yes, it’s true, Star-Lord’s dad has a role in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, and he’s played by Kurt Russell. He appears briefly at the end of the trailer, following a couple minutes of great dialogue, fighting, and Baby Groot adorableness. Yep, they’re about to become two-time galaxy savers.

Watch the trailer below:

There’s more to Star-Lord’s dad than meets the eye: He’s actually an entire sentient planet called Ego.

A new poster was also unveiled today. It’s so colorful… it’s so beautiful.

The movie hits theaters May 5, 2017.

At least one main character is slated to die in the series finale of The Vampire Diaries. Should it be one of our beloved Salvatore brothers?

These brothers have been at the heart of The Vampire Diaries since the very beginning. Even though we began the series with Elena Gilbert, the story really began in 1864, with Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Their mutual love for Katherine and Elena, and their relationship with each other, has kept us coming back for eight seasons. They are the true main characters of the show.

Related: The Vampire Diaries: Every ship sucks, except one

Read full article

At least one main character is slated to die in the series finale of The Vampire Diaries. Should it be one of our beloved Salvatore brothers?

These brothers have been at the heart of The Vampire Diaries since the very beginning. Even though we began the series with Elena Gilbert, the story really began in 1864, with Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Their mutual love for Katherine and Elena, and their relationship with each other, has kept us coming back for eight seasons. They are the true main characters of the show.

Related: The Vampire Diaries: Every ship sucks, except one

Now that the show is coming to an end, it’s possible that we could lose one, or even both, of the Salvatore brothers! Even though that’s almost too painful to consider, we’ve put together some thoughts on why that should, or shouldn’t be the case. Read our thoughts, and let us know what you think in the poll and comments.

Yes, one of the Salvatore brothers should die – Tariq Kyle

the vampire diaries 8x14, stefan salvatore

Alright, before you start hating me, hear me out here. I love the brothers as much as anyone but it’s kind of insane how they have been able to survive everything. They had a hard enough time not killing each other that it would have been easy for any of their enemies to convince one of them to kill family. Whenever I think about whether or not a character should die I look at the mortality rate of the show and what the chances are that these characters would have survived. I’m pretty sure if the characters weren’t all Mary Sues then one of them would be dead.

Now, of course, the question becomes: Which brother?

I think the answer is pretty clear. We’re all waiting for Elena to wake up and finally reunite with Damon, and Stefan’s a human so obviously it would be the latter. I love Stefan. In fact, Stefan Salvatore was my favorite character right from the beginning. But if one of the two brothers had to die I’d rather it be the one whose relationship hasn’t been hinging on the entire frigin’ season.

It’d be very easy to kill Stefan. Given that he’s taken the cure, and Damon still has to take it to be with Elena for the rest of their natural lives, Damon would have to take it from his brother. And we all know what happens when you take the cure for vampirism out of a vampire that’s lived well beyond the age limit of a natural human: They age super rapidly and end up becoming nothing but a pile of ex-vampire dust. Obviously.

Some say that Bonnie could use the ascendant to find the other version of the cure that exists in the prison world, but I say that’s a bunch of crock. Honestly it was just way, way too convenient for Bonnie to be able to make another ascendant so quickly. It’s like they’re going out of their way for the fan service so they end up not killing Stefan, because we know that if this happens everyone will go mad.

I don’t think the show should keep Stefan if it doesn’t fit the story, and without that exceedingly stupid ascendant plot it wouldn’t. I’m really hoping they’re about to psych everyone out with the ascendant and really need to use Stefan to give Damon the cure, because that would actually be entertaining, and not predictable.

No, they both need to live through the finale – Kendra Cleary

the vampire diaries 8x14, stefan and damon salvatore

Of course I want to see Stefan and Damon Salvatore live through the finale of The Vampire Diaries because I can’t bear to lose either one of them, but there’s a bigger reason why I think they should both make it through. Simply put, a death just wouldn’t serve either of their stories in the best way.

The argument can be made that Stefan has to die in The Vampire Diaries finale, since he’s human, and Damon needs to take the cure from him. However, it’s looking like Elena’s going to be waking up sooner than we imagined, so unless the finale fast forwards into the future for some other reason, there’s no need for that to happen before The Vampire Diaries ends. Also, now that the Ascendant is back on the table, there’s another cure waiting in a 1903 prison world for Damon to take.

Yes, it’s pretty evident that Stefan sucks at being a human, despite wishing for it for so long. He’s come very close to death in exactly every episode that he’s been mortal. Now that he’s decided that he kind of wants to live, though, I have hope that he can stay away from future near death experiences.

Stefan has been wrestling with guilt for his entire vampiric life. It began with him forcing Damon to turn, but his guilt has escalated with each body that his ripper alter-ego has added to his tally. There have been times over the course of The Vampire Diaries series when he’s allowed himself to be happy, but more and more mistakes have finally caused his guilt to break him, in season 8.

Whereas Damon sometimes relished being the bad guy, Stefan has always tried to be the best man possible, for the people he loves. Therefore, forgiveness has always been readily available for Stefan, when it comes to his friends (although Bonnie Bennett might say differently, right now). Stefan’s journey has always been about forgiving himself, which he finally took a step towards, in The Vampire Diaries season 8, episode 14.

the vampire diaries 8x13, stefan salvatore

When Stefan re-proposed to Caroline, that was his first step toward the self-forgiveness and redemption that he needs. That was him saying, “I’ve made mistakes, but damn it, I’ve decided that I’m worth saving.”

We all know that Stefan would gladly die for the majority of characters on The Vampire Diaries, if only to escape his own guilt. For him to commit some sort of grand sacrifice in the finale would only feed into his martyr complex. The better move for Stefan’s story arc is for him to push through his guilt, and his past crimes, and live a happy life. His death would only serve as a tragedy, and that would just be too much to handle.

As for the elder Salvatore, ever since Damon gained his freedom from Sybil’s control, he’s been working towards redemption. Given the crimes he’s committed against countless innocent strangers and the people he loves most, I didn’t even know if it was possible for him to be redeemed. However, throughout The Vampire Diaries season 8, I think he’s actually achieved it!

It began with the “Nostalgia’s a Bitch” episode, when Damon was trapped in a subconscious hell of his own making, because that’s what he thought he deserved. Over the course of one of the best episodes of the entire series, he realized he needed forgiveness from the people in his life, earned it, and accepted it. Simultaneously, he realized that he still needed to forgive Stefan, letting go of the last pieces of the 150+ year grudge he was holding against his brother. It was glorious.

That was the beginning of Damon’s redemption, but it didn’t end there. We’ve seen Damon preach about how he’s going to “try to be better” in the past, while continuing to make the same mistakes. When he read that letter to Bonnie and promised to be there for her, it could’ve just been the same thing. Damon trying to do good, and failing, as usual.

the vampire diaries 8x13, damon salvatore

However, that’s absolutely not what we’ve seen. Ever since that episode, he’s been noticeably different. He’s fully devoted himself to protecting his brother, he’s been supportive of Bonnie in her time of need, and he’s even treating people like Caroline and Matt, who he previously would’ve had no time for, with much more respect and kindness.

His final step toward redemption occurred in The Vampire Diaries season 8, episode 14. Given the ultimate choice between saving Stefan or saving Elena, he chose to take the bullet for both of them. After living in fear of hell all season, he willingly moved to send himself there, to protect the people he loves. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bamon lovers also got a nod when he got to sacrifice himself again so that his best friend, Bonnie, wouldn’t hurt herself to save him!

Related: The Vampire Diaries 8×14 recap: Literal mic drop

Damon’s attempted sacrifice satisfied any need for him to die in the series finale of The Vampire Diaries. Of course, it would be impossible to say that Damon’s atoned for all of his past sins, but as far as his story arc goes, he’s redeemed. The only way for him to continue to make up for his past, is to do better going forward.

This man has spent most of his extraordinarily long life waiting for the person he loves. His challenge, now, and the only way for his story arc to progress, is for him to actually live a happy life with the woman, the brother, and the friends that he loves. It’s never something he’s allowed himself to do, in the past, but he’s ready now, so let him have it!

Now that you’ve heard our arguments, have your say!

Why do you think the Salvatores should/shouldn’t die in the series finale of ‘The Vampire Diaries’?

Can’t remember all the secrets from the beginning of Pretty Little Liars? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with our ultimate guide to season 1.

The #PLLEndGame is drawing ever nearer, and we’re getting ready for the end of Pretty Little Liars by taking a look back at the past seasons. Obviously, we’re starting with season 1! We want to go back through every message the Liars received from A, the beginning of our favorite ships, every crazy theory, and even every seemingly meaningless moment, so we’re fully ready for the final 10 episodes.

We’ll be posting one of these “ultimate guides” once a week, until season 7B premieres on Tuesday, April 18, so keep your eyes on Hypable in the coming weeks. If you’ve never watched Pretty Little Liars before, we won’t spoil anything beyond the season that we’re talking about, so feel free to watch/read along with us! Let’s dive into all of the texts, flashbacks, kisses, and secrets that made up Pretty Little Liars season 1!

Read full article

Can’t remember all the secrets from the beginning of Pretty Little Liars? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with our ultimate guide to season 1.

The #PLLEndGame is drawing ever nearer, and we’re getting ready for the end of Pretty Little Liars by taking a look back at the past seasons. Obviously, we’re starting with season 1! We want to go back through every message the Liars received from A, the beginning of our favorite ships, every crazy theory, and even every seemingly meaningless moment, so we’re fully ready for the final 10 episodes.

We’ll be posting one of these “ultimate guides” once a week, until season 7B premieres on Tuesday, April 18, so keep your eyes on Hypable in the coming weeks. If you’ve never watched Pretty Little Liars before, we won’t spoil anything beyond the season that we’re talking about, so feel free to watch/read along with us! Let’s dive into all of the texts, flashbacks, kisses, and secrets that made up Pretty Little Liars season 1!

Major storylines

Pretty Little Liars season 1 began on the one year anniversary of Alison DiLaurentis’ disappearance. Her four best friends grew apart in that year, but Aria’s return from Iceland, the anniversary, and the fact that they started receiving mysterious texts, brought them back together. Trying to find out who was sending the texts, uncovering what happened to Alison, and of course, the Jenna thing, were just some of the big issues that plagued the Liars throughout Pretty Little Liars season 1.

Who is A?

pretty little liars season 1, first text

The Liars start receiving their first texts from A in the very first episode of Pretty Little Liars. The subject matter of each girl’s first text has something to do with their friendship with Alison.

For Aria, it’s about her dad’s affair, which only Alison knew about. For Emily, it’s about her sexuality, which she hid from everyone but Ali, whom she loved. For Spencer, it’s about her relationship with Ian, which Ali threatened to tell Melissa about. For Hanna, it’s about her being overweight, which everyone knew about, but Alison helped her overcome (and also teased her about, relentlessly so…).

The girls initially keep quiet about the fact that they’re receiving messages, since the subjects are so secret, but eventually come clean. At Alison’s funeral, they all receive the same text: “I’m still here bitches, and I know everything.”

For every havoc wreaking message that A sent to the Liars, go to the “Every A message” section of this guide, on page 3!

The messages are, at least originally, made to seem like Alison is sending them, but the Liars quickly abandon that theory and begin searching for new suspects. They actually believe, at first, that A is the person who killed Alison. Because of “the Jenna thing,” Jenna and Toby are the first to be accused.

Jenna takes a backseat, at the beginning, since the girls assume she wouldn’t be ideally suited to A’s style of surveillance. Other than Emily, who develops a friendship with Toby after he stands up to Ben, everyone pretty much stays on the Toby train until after Homecoming. At Homecoming, Toby ends up hurting Emily while he’s trying to explain “the Jenna thing,” and disappears after taking her to the hospital.

pretty little liars season 1, toby cavanaugh

Emily panics when she passes Toby’s house the next day and sees his beat up motorcycle, with Toby nowhere in sight. Spencer is just starting to relish the fact that A is gone when they get a text from A saying, “Thanks for getting Toby out of my way,” basically confirming his innocence. Whoops. Back to the drawing board.

The next big suspect comes from Camp Mona. Hanna was uninvited from the party, because Mona received a text from A saying that Hanna got liposuction, so she bravely hides out in the woods to try to catch A in the act. She sees Noel writing, “I See You,” on Ezra’s car while he’s making out with Aria, so she assumes he’s A. He was apparently just being a creep and following Aria, but Hanna still gets hit by a car for “knowing too much.”

Camp Mona also helps the girls realize that A and Ali’s killer aren’t the same person. A leads the girls to Wright’s playground, where the “Ali + Ian” tree is standing. However, when they go back, the tree is cut down, presumably by someone different than A.

A quickly nips Hanna’s Noel theory in the bud by planting stolen test answers in his locker and texting, “A is for Alison not amateur.” This move actually ends up saving Aria and Ezra from Noel’s threats, and just adds to the confusion of who A is, and what their motives are.

After Noel’s name gets crossed off the suspect list, the Liars’ focus shifts to trying to find out who killed Alison, with A actually helping them in that pursuit, in some cases. Noel is their last, serious suspect in Pretty Little Liars season 1.

Who killed Alison?

pretty little liars season 1, alison dilaurentis missing poster

As soon as Alison’s body is found, Detective Wilden is hot on the case. From day one, he’s just as corrupt and shady as you remember him! He wastes no time before starting to sketchily show up at the high school to question the girls, without lawyers present, exploiting Hanna’s mom’s love for her daughter, and making grand accusations.

Luckily, the FBI eventually take over the case. They come into the school after receiving a piece of the infamous, “I know you wanna kiss me,” video. This video leads to the first murder suspect, as Ali is wearing Toby’s sweater in the video, which surprises all of the Liars. Things only get worse for Toby when the girls discover his “901: Free at Last” tattoo, since that’s the day that Alison went missing.

Toby eventually explains to Emily that 09/01 is the day that he ended things with Jenna, and that he went to see Ali that night to thank her for freeing him from her clutches. He plans to run away but hopes to meet Emily to explain further, first. The police find him as he’s waiting for her, outside of the church, and arrest him.

Toby is soon released because the blood evidence on his sweater was “corrupted”, and from then on out, after the Liars receive the full “I know you wanna kiss me” video from A and realize that Alison was seeing Ian Thomas, the suspect list for Ali’s killer is basically whittled down to one.

The evidence against Ian begins piling up. They find out that he was at the Hilton Head resort the same weekend that Alison lied about being there, he and Melissa elope and Spencer begins to believe that the marriage has been forced, and Spencer’s laptop gets stolen from the school gym, where Ian works, and is returned with the video deleted.

Because of all the evidence, the Liars don’t hesitate to act when they find an old trophy of Ian’s with blood on it in a props box, at school. They turn it into the police and begin to feel like they finally have closure. Of course, closure doesn’t exist in Rosewood, so the next day, the police show up to the school and inform the girls that the trophy had rat’s blood on it, and accuse them of lying.

pretty little liars season 1, ian thomas

Since Spencer was the one who turned in the trophy, and the one who called the Hilton Head to get the information, the police take a special interest in her. They find out that she lied about seeing Ian the summer that Ali went missing. They get a search warrant against her, and begin to treat her like a suspect! Spencer’s mom tells her that the search warrant is just a scare tactic, but they end up finding threads from Toby’s sweater in Spencer’s friendship bracelet. Ian, pleased by the new suspect in the case, tells Spencer to run away, but our girl Spence sees right through him, knowing that would make her look more guilty.

Things look pretty dire after the trophy incident, but when Emily finds a key that Ali surreptitiously hid under the snowglobe she gave her, everything changes. The key leads the Liars to a storage locker which holds a flash drive with more of Ian’s videos. The videos incriminate almost everyone in the town, in one way or another, especially Ian for taking them all.

They text Ian to tell him that they have the videos in an attempt to trap him. Emily, Hanna and Aria invite Garrett (Emily’s former friend/neighbour, now Rosewood PD) to come along to the park where they told Ian to meet them, as they believe he’s on their side, and wait for Ian to show up. Unfortunately, someone else shows up to retrieve the flash drive, because Ian is at the church, with Spencer.

Ian was supposed to take Melissa to the church, but didn’t show up, so Spencer had to take her. On the way, they get in a car accident, and since Melissa’s pregnant, they rush her to the hospital. Melissa was also pregnant the weekend that she, Ian, and Alison were all at the Hilton Head. Melissa and Ian were there to get an abortion.

Spencer goes to the church to get Melissa’s phone, and Ian is there waiting for her. He’s extremely angry about the videos, and actually tries to kill Spencer in the bell tower! He doesn’t confess to killing Alison, but says that “she just hit her head and she never woke up.” A hooded figure pushes Ian off the platform, and he gets caught up in the ropes. Spencer thinks he’s dead, but when the police go into the tower, he’s gone, leaving everyone thinking that the Liars are, well, liars.

The Jenna thing

pretty little liars season 1, jenna marshall

We first hear of “the Jenna thing” when Jenna arrives at Alison’s funeral. The Liars were surprised to see her, as she had been away at a school for the blind in Philadelphia, but she returns to Rosewood High, after the funeral.

We quickly find out that “the Jenna thing” happened when Alison was still around. Ali claimed that Toby was spying on the girls through her bedroom window, and although the other girls were hesitant, she threw a “stink bomb” into his garage.

She said she knew nobody was inside, but it turns out, Toby and Jenna were both inside, and whatever Alison threw in there caused a huge fire. Jenna went blind from the accident, and Alison blackmailed Toby into taking the blame. Alison knew that Jenna and Toby, who were step siblings, were in a romantic/physical relationship (we later found out that Jenna was forcing him into it), and threatened to expose him. Toby went to juvi and didn’t return until after the funeral.

Jenna, for good reason, is not the biggest fan of the Liars, and makes her contempt for them pretty evident. The girls spend a lot of Pretty Little Liars season 1 being nervous when Jenna enters a room, and also wondering if she’s actually blind, or just pretending.

The Liars find out about Jenna and Toby’s relationship when Hanna steals Toby’s file from their psychiatrist’s office. Jenna finds out about the file, and even though she doesn’t like that Toby and Emily are friends, she begs Emily to keep the contents secret. She states that “Toby is troubled,” and that she wouldn’t want the truth about him getting out. Aria had already thrown the file into the river, so Emily tells her that it’s been destroyed.

Because of Jenna’s dislike of the Liars and Alison, the girls are shocked when Jason DiLaurentis informs them that Jenna wishes to speak at Alison’s memorial dedication. Jenna also told Jason that Spencer was the one who threw the stink bomb into the garage, the night that she lost her sight.

pretty little liars season 1, toby cavanaugh, jenna marshall

During her speech, she reveals that Alison came to visit her in the hospital after the accident. She talks about how everyone misunderstood Alison, but that she was the strongest person she knew. At the end of Pretty Little Liars season 1, we find out that Alison actually went to blackmail Jenna with Ian’s videos, and to determine if she was A, so unless Jenna was still afraid of Alison, we’re not really sure what she was talking about.

When Toby tries to escape, to avoid arrest, it’s Jenna that turns him in. She says that she wanted to avoid him looking guilty, but when she comes on to him, it looks like she just wanted to keep him close by. Toby rejects her, and tells her that he’ll never touch her like that again.

Toby was never exactly on “Team Jenna,” but after this, and after Spencer begins tutoring him, he fully joins the Liars’ side. He finds a braille message printed out of Jenna’s computer and gives it to Spencer to decode. The message contains the number 214. He overheard her talking on the phone about Spencer, when he found it.

214 turns out to be Caleb’s locker combination! Jenna paid Caleb to “make himself available” to Hanna, to try to find out where Ali had hidden a key. Hanna slaps Jenna when she finds out, and it’s pretty amazing, because nobody messes with our Haleb! The key that Jenna was looking for, which the Liars eventually found, was for the storage locker that held Ian’s videos.

Following the discovery of the videos, the true reason for Alison’s visit to Jenna is revealed to the Liars. Jenna came back to Rosewood, once Ali’s body was found, because she could. Ali made her promise to stay away because she was jealous that Ian also made videos of her.

In the Pretty Little Liars season 1 finale, we find out that Garrett and Jenna are in a relationship, and they talk about how they’ll “lose everything if this video gets out.”

Who is Alison?

pretty little liars season 1, alison dilaurentis

We meet the Liars on the night that Alison disappears, and then promptly fast forward one year. We don’t get to spend much time with Ali, in real time, but we learn about her through flashbacks of that night, as well as through other memories the Liars shared with her.

The night that Ali disappeared, she showed up to Spencer’s barn full of life and mischief. She pranked the girls upon her arrival, made slight jabs at their weak spots (telling Emily that she loved the new Beyoncé video “a little too much”), and encouraged the girls to tell their secrets. “It keeps us close,” she said, famously.

Once the Liars were asleep, Ali slipped out. We know she met with Toby and he saw her get in a car with “some guy,” and we know she met with Ian. That’s about as far as we get in Pretty Little Liars season 1. Hanna, Aria and Emily wake up to Spencer returning to the barn, saying she heard Alison scream. We also know that Ali and Spencer fought, earlier that night, about telling Melissa the truth about Ian. Spencer was, apparently, the only one that stood up to Alison, and she was a little bit afraid of her, for it.

pretty little liars season 1, loser mona

In other flashbacks, we see Alison making fun of “Loser Mona,” right before discovering Byron’s affair alongside Aria, kissing Emily in the library and then later rejecting her, pressuring Spencer to tell Melissa about her and Ian, and encouraging Hanna to purge after binge eating.

We also see flashbacks of all five girls, together. It’s clear that Ali is the ringleader of the group, and that the rest of them admire and adore her. Despite knowing how forceful and manipulative she could be, they all still feel that way until they remember the night when Alison took them all to a frat party. They thought Ian had pushed a girl down the stairs, but begin to wonder if it was actually Alison who did it, because she was jealous that she was spending time with Ian.

In Pretty Little Liars season 1, we do see Alison in one scene that’s not a flashback. When Hanna’s in the hospital after getting hit by A’s car, she sees Alison in the middle of the night. Alison tells her that together, the Liars already know who A is. She also says that “telling the truth to the wrong person at the wrong time is how I ended up where I am. Take it from me, you’re always better off with a really good lie.”

For a refresher on the friendships and relationships in Pretty Little Liars season 1, go to page 2. To catch up on every message from A, every A scene, and more, go to page 3!

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