The Harry Potter films are amazing, but there are lots of things they left out from the books, simply because there wasn’t enough time, or because they thought they weren’t needed.
It makes sense that a lot had to be cut. Every Harry Potter movie is a similar length, but the books vary in size – they had the same time for the Chamber of Secrets as they did for the Order of the Pheonix, while the Deathly Hallows was made into two parts to try and fit everything in.
We’re going to look at our top 10 list for things we wish the movies never changed or took out from the books, in no particular order!
Albus Dumbledore’s Background
In the Deathly Hallows book, we learn a lot about the person Albus Dumbledore was, his background, and why he was so scared of power that he took the role of a professor at Hogwarts instead of becoming the Minister of Magic. It discusses in detail his relationship with Gellert Grindelwald, hints at the attraction he felt for him, and how he came to own the Elder Wand.
Unfortunately in the films, a lot of this is only covered in basic detail or not at all. Albus Dumbledore is such an important character in the series, and this kind of context is really missed.
HARRY DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE?!?
This one is a pretty common complaint among Harry Potter fans! In the books, Albus Dumbledore is a very calm, kind and rational person. This is the case in both of the first movies as well, where he was portrayed by Richard Harris who unfortunately passed away, to be replaced by Micheal Gambon.
While Micheal Gambon still did an amazing job acting as an Albus Dumbledore, he notably played the character in a way where he was a lot more forceful and angry, and less reserved and thoughtful. This is shown in the scene in the Goblet of Fire where he confronts Harry about whether he put his name in the Goblet of Fire… calm down a bit!
SPEW – the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. A noble cause spearheaded by Hermione to tackle issues regarding the treatment and welfare of House Elves, and to try and help them gain better rights in their lives and in the workplace.
It takes up a lot of space in the Goblet of Fire book, but was cut completely due to lack of time in the movie, meaning a lot of Harry Potter fans don’t know about it’s existence at all. That means we don’t see all the house elves that live at Hogwarts, how they prepare the food, or Dobby’s and Winky’s employment there and their interactions with the trio.
Character Age Changes
James and Lily had Harry when they were both only 20 years old, meaning that when Harry speaks to them at the end of the Deathly Hallows, they should only look a couple of years older than him.. but instead there’s a very obvious difference.
This extends to other characters as well – keep in mind all of the people who were in the same school year as James and Lily. Severus Snape should be about 31 when Harry starts Hogwarts, and the trio of Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin should be about 34 in the Prisoner of Azkaban. However they all look way older than this in the films.
Where is Peeves?
Ah, Peeves. The poltergeist of Hogwarts who gives Fred and George a run for their money in the antics he gets up to – playing pranks on people, making jokes about them, and being an all round pain to deal with.
He’s such an important part of what makes Hogwarts what it is, yet in the movies he was cut completely. While they did film scenes with Peeves in the Philosopher’s Stone, they ran out of time in the film and had to cut them from the final version.
The Marauders Map Origins
When Harry receives the Marauders Map in the Prisoner of Azkaban, we know that it’s creators are Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs. In the book, after learning about James Potter and his three best friends, and how they were all animagus, it ties in that those were each of their nicknames relating to the animal they turned into, and that the Marauders Map Harry uses was actually created by his Dad and his friends.
As the whole theme of the Prisoner of Azkaban is exploring James Potter’s background, and learning more about the family Harry had, this is all a pretty big deal. Yet in the film, it’s never properly explained that those were the nicknames that his Dad and friends went by, or that they were responsible for creating the Marauders Map.
Tom Riddle’s Family Background
Just like Albus Dumbledore, as the Harry Potter series progresses, we learn more about Tom Riddle as well and his family the Gaunts, through the pensive in Dumbledore’s office in the Half Blood Prince. Dumbledore believes that learning more about Tom’s background, and who he is as a person, is the key to defeating him.
It helps to solve the questions of how Tom can speak parseltongue, how he opened the Chamber of Secrets, whether he was really a pure blood, and also what drove him to become Lord Voldemort. These are all really important plot points, that were skimmed over or didn’t make the cut in the films at all.
Dudley Dursley’s Handshake
Dudley is the character everyone hates – he’s rude, spoilt, and bullies Harry throughout the series. Yet at the end, when the Dursleys have to leave number 4 Privet Drive when Harry comes of age and their home is no longer safe, Dudley has a redeeming moment with Harry where he expresses concern for his welfare and even offers him a handshake.
This is actually one of my favourite moments from the books, and while it was filmed for the first Deathly Hallows film, it ended up only being a deleted scene. You can watch that scene below.
Lord Voldemort’s Death
In the Deathly Hallows book, Lord Voldemort’s death takes place during a duel in the Great Hall with Harry. After he dies, his body remains, which helps to show that without his Horcruxes he was just an ordinary human who was capable of death just like anyone else.
However, in the films, these scenes instead take place outside just between Harry and Voldemort, and get the “Hollywood effect”. They jump from the top of the castle, have dialogue with each other, and after Voldemort is killed.. his body just disintegrates into the air? It’s all a bit weird and I prefer the book version.
Why Break the Elder Wand?
This one doesn’t even make sense to me! Despite his own wand being broken and supposedly beyond repair, Harry never thinks in the movie to use the Elder Wand to repair it. Instead, he decides it’s a better idea to snap the Elder Wand in half, so he now has two broken wands that he can’t use.
Using the Elder Wand to fix his own wand, then placing it in Dumbledore’s tomb so that when Harry dies it will have no master, is what he does in the book. Why was there any need to change that?