…and why you should start reading the books.
Listen, I love the movies as much as anyone. And I know I’m an English major and I will always advocate for reading books over film (with a few exceptions…which I might explore in a future post!), but I strongly feel that this is more the case with Harry Potter than most anything else.
They’re adventurous,they’re witty, funny, magical, wonderful. Above all, J. K. Rowling adds a quirkiness to them that you just can’t see replicated in film. It’s what I love most.
But is that enough to get you to embark on a journey to read seven fairly thick books? Maybe. But for others, you might say that you’ve already invested your time into seeing 8 fairly long films. Surely, those films covered the basics, right?
Sure, they covered the basics. But if you’re a die-hard fan, that’s not enough. There are so many characters, plots, and elements that simply did not find their way into the movies.
I’ve decided to make a list over things that were in the books that I missed most in the movies. Perhaps it might convince some people (*cough* my fiancé *cough*) to actually read the books someday.
Oh, and if you have any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to comment!
Okay, I realize a lot of people might not care about this little subplot, certainly not enough to have it top of the list, but I find myself really attached to it and when it’s gone from the story, everything just feels wrong. This is an organization that Hermione tries desperately to get up and running and it stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare. Not only do I miss the comical moments of Ron calling it “spew” and Hermione leaving articles of clothing around so that a house-elf might accidentally become free, this subplot also shows that most wizards—not just purebloods like the Malfoys—treat the elves like they are lower creatures. We learn that Hogwarts has hundreds of them enslaved and working in the kitchens, which is where Dobby goes after he is free (though Dumbledore agrees to pay him). Also, the treatment of the elves is what really spawns Ron and Hermione’s first kiss in Deathly Hallows—it’s only after Ron remembers the elves in the kitchen and how they should get them out that Hermione runs to him and kisses him. So yeah, it’s a pretty big part of the story.
Oh, Peeves. Not a ghost—rather,the poltergeist of Hogwarts. Really, Peeves is a part of the mystical and quirkiness of Hogwarts. He’s always playing pranks on the students and calling people names. I think he takes the edge of a lot of tense parts throughout the books. I would have like to have seen more of him and Fred and George’s prankster sides come out. Otherwise, Hogwarts just seems much too orderly.
3. Dudley Serving Harry Tea
Or at least, trying to. He leaves it outside of Harry’s door near the end of the series and Harry accidentally tramples upon it and thinks it’s just another one of Dudley’s pranks. It’s not, though—it was a sincere gesture. At that point, Dudley is beginning come around. He realizes that Harry saves his life from the dementors and he wants to thank him. We also miss his last words to Harry, which was cut from the film—“I don’t think you’re a waste of space.” Dudley also agrees to accept protection from the Order, unlike his parents. He really has a change of heart towards Harry in the end, but this is lost in the films.
4. The Sphinx in the Third Task
I appreciate how the movie turns the Maze itself into a shifting and dangerous creature, but I really miss how it is in the books, where all sorts of monsters and creatures are present in the Maze. For some reason, I really like the Harry comes upon this sphinx and has to answer her riddle or else she would attack. It really serves no greater purpose in the story, but I love it.
Oh, Teddy. Who is Teddy, you might ask? A fair question, as his name is completely omitted from the films .He is only briefly alluded to in Deathly Hallows when Harry mentions to Lupin about his son having to grow up without him. So Teddy is Lupin and Tonk’s son. He is a Metamorphmagus, like Tonks. And after the battle of Hogwarts, he is an orphan, like Harry. And Harry becomes his godfather, like Sirius. See what Rowling did there? She shows that history repeats itself. She shows the consequences of war. She shows the new generation.
Okay, so while we’re on the subject…let’s talk about Tonks. That short, spiky bubble-gum pink haired lady.Wait—what? Oh yeah, I mean shoulder-length purple hair. And then brown. And then straggly dishwater blonde…is this still the same character? Is this the same spunky, totally cool and totally quirky Auror that we meet in Order of the Phoenix? I’ll admit, she’s fine in OotP. I can get over the purple hair. But in every movie we see her in after that? No. She’s no longer Tonks. Now, I understand in Half-Blood Prince that she’s supposed to be depressed over Lupin.Her hair is brown then and her Patronus changes into a werewolf. But after they finally get together? She goes back to her bubbly personality, pink hair and all. Okay, let me put it plainly: this girl is tough as nails. She’s a fighter. She’s the one that rescues Harry from the awful Malfoy attack on the train in HBP. She gives birth and then goes to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts because she knows they need her. She can change her appearance. She has a tendency to trip over everything. AND she’s like, the one person that Hufflepuffs can turn to as proof that their house doesn’t stink. Because she’s one of them….and she’s still totally and completely awesome. Where is THAT character? Because we all love her and miss her and want her back.
7. Tom Riddle & Defense Against the Dark Arts
I love the scene where we see a young, 20-something Tom Riddle applying for the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position. At this point, he has already begun his task of creating the Horcruxes and you can see his appearance shifting from the handsome boy to that fierce, snake-like villain. In short, Dumbledore does not give him the position. So what does Riddle do? He puts a curse on the job…which is why nobody is able to hold the position for more than a year. Mystery: solved.
Except if you don’t read the books. Then it’s still a mystery.
When I first read Half-Blood Prince, I hated it. But now, it is my favorite of all the books. Why? Many reasons, but one of them is the background we get on Voldemort while Dumbledore meets one-on-one with Harry about Horcruxes. We get to see who Voldemort’s parents were and how he’s the heir of Slytherin, yet an unwanted orphan. Merope is a witch, but she’s not one to use magic very often and is mistreated by her father and brother. The lot of them live in poor conditions as it is…the only thing that Merope really had was her crush on Tom Riddle, a handsome man who lived in the town nearby, though he was a muggle. (Oh yeah…Voldemort, who wasthe leader of the purebloods, wasn’t actually one himself.) So what does she do? She gives him a love potion and then conceives a son. She manages to stumble into an orphanage and give birth before dying. The importance of the love potion conception? Being conceived under the effects of a love potion is the main reason why Voldemort isn’t able to feel or understand love. Merope’s story is pretty awful and tragic and I think provides essential information in order to truly understand Voldemort and his past.
9. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Ah, the Marauders. Otherwise known as Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black, and James Potter. I think the film implies that they are the writers of the map, and you might be able to guess how they each got their nickname, but it totally skips over the reason why. Why are these four boys so bonded? Why are these four boys able to morph their appearances? Actually, if you just watch the movies, you might suppose that Anamagi are quite common. And you would be wrong. Because only a very select few possess that ability—and if they do, they have to be registered. But these boys were not. So why did they develop the skills? Because Sirius, Peter,and James wanted to be with their friend Remus when he morphed into a werewolf…and in their animal form, they were immune to his bites. This is also how they were able to create the map, find all the secret passageways out of the castle, and get up to a lot of mischief.
10. Sirius’s Two-Way Mirror
I’ll admit it—I’m not overly attached to Sirius Black. I know I should be, and I don’t really know why I’mnot. Even so, this part in the book physically hurts, it’s so emotional. Sirius gives Harry a mirror so that they may communicate with each other secretly,which Harry only finds after Sirius has passed away. He then smashes it. He still keeps a small shard of it, though, because he sees a familiar blue eye in it—the eye of Dumbledore. At this point, though, Dumbledore is dead. Harry keeps the shard of glass anyway, and later finds out that it was Albus’s brother, who uses the mirror to keep an eye on Harry during his search for Horcruxes. But hardly any of this is explained in the movies.
11. The Potion Riddle in Sorcerer’s Stone
This has always been my favorite part of the first book. There’s really no essential reason it should be in the movie, like the sphinx in GoF, but it’s a really neat part. Basically, there are more obstacles that the trio have to go through in the end of Sorcerer’sStone that is not portrayed in the movie, and Snape’s potion riddle is the coolest of them all.
12. Harry’s Talk with Sir Nicholas
When Sirius dies, Harry goes to talk to Nearly Headless Nick to see if he might come back as a ghost. It’s a short scene, but it’s pretty powerful and makes you realize how desperately Harry wants to just see Sirius again.
–Sidenote: I also wish they would have included his deathday party.
A lot of things get seen at St. Mungo’s. Mr. Weasley is there due to the snake attack. Lockhart is there—still without his memory from what happened in Chamber of Secrets. And, most importantly, we finally get to see Neville with his parents. Oh—surprise! Neville’s parents are still alive. Didn’t you know? They’ve been driven into insanity and stay at St.Mungo’s. The scene has Neville and his grandmother and you really get to see the relationship between the two and how much Neville loves his parents.
14. Ginny’s Slutty and Spunky Sides
Ginny is Ron’s little sister that is not part of the trio but is always just kind of…there. Then somehow her and Harry fall in love and get married? As a movie-watcher, it hardly makes any sense at all. That’s because (and don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against the actress at all) in the movie, Ginny is dull. She flavorless. In the book…well, you either absolutely hate her or you absolutely love her. The point is, you feel strongly about her character because of her personality. Yeah, she gets around with a lot of guys. But she’s also a really strong female character, like Tonks. She’s an awesome Quidditch player and even grows up to play professionally. She’s part of the “cool” crowd, but she still hangs out with the weird kids like Luna and Neville. And she’s pretty talented with magic, too. Plus she’s the spitting image of Lily, and as Harry is the spitting image of James, they’re obviously just meant to be. Like what I said before…history repeats itself.
Go listen to The Human Hosepipe by Harry and the Potters.
You see him in the first movie. But did you know that later in the books, Firenze comes to teach at Hogwarts? Yup. And all the female characters fall head-over-heels for him. You see, Firenze thinks that centaurs and humans can live in harmony. He wants to help.The rest of the centaurs ostracize him because of this and make him leave the Dark Forest. So Dumbledore, that sweet old man, offers him a job in Divination after Umbridge fires Trelawney. And, unlike dear Sybill, he’s actually good atit.
17. Rita Skeeter as a Beetle
Haha. Ever wonder how Rita Skeeter was so talented at getting the inside-scoop? Well, there you have it: she is an unregistered animagus. Hermione is the one that discovers her secret and later uses it to force Skeeter into writing a truthful article about Harry in the Quibbler.
18. Other Redemption Stories: Percy and Peter
So why is Percy suddenly on theside of the Ministry in the 5th movie? Oh yeah—because he completely turns his back on them for three books. During the time when the Ministry is completely corrupted and after Harry. Can you imagine what that felt like to his parents?When he comes back to them at the end of Deathly Hallows, it’s a huge moment.Well, it should have been a huge moment. You completely miss out on it in the movies.
And what happens to Peter Pettigrew? Does he go to Azkaban after Voldemort dies? Does he turn back into a rat and live in hiding for the rest ofhis life? And what if I told you that he was actually killed by his own hand in the middle of Deathly Hallows? Yeah, that’s right. When they have Ron and Harry imprisoned in the Malfoy Manner, Wormtail has just a second of hesitation. He has just a second of pity for them. And because of this, the magical hand that Voldemort gave him latches around his neck and strangles him.
19. The Department of Mysteries
This place is so much.cooler. in the books. It’s also weirder. And Ron gets attacked by brains. And the way the movie portrays it is nothing like how I picture it.
Truthfully, I don’t exactly miss these in the movies. It just seems to me that they were everywhere in the books…the kids watching them grow, then references to them later on…that they should have been in there somewhere. If anything, they give more evidence to the fact that dear ol’ Hagrid is a little obsessed with dangerous creatures. We love him anyway, though.
21. Albus Dumbledore + Gellert Grindelwald Backstory
I don’t want to go into all the detail about this, but it’s a pretty awesome and interesting back story about Albus as a young lad and how his belief system about peace and the “greater good”was much different back then. Oh, and all this hype about Dumbledore being gay…did you ever wonder who the man of his dreams was? And do you realize that Dumbledore ended up killing him in a duel, thus winning the Elder wand?Update: Thanks, Brittany, for correcting me on this! I was mistaken in saying that Dumbledore kills Gindelwald. He actually disarms and imprisons him. What was I thinking?
and Luna’s announcing during Quidditch. And heck, Quidditch in general.
You’ve gotta admit—through most of the series, Ron is kind of just a sidekick.I’m not saying that he’s a bad character–he’s actually probably my favorite. But to everyone else, he’s nothing compared to Harry Potter. He’s got five older brothers. There’s really nothing too special about him. This song is originally sung by the Slytherins to taunt him. But in this moment, he’s a Quidditch hero. The lyrics are changed. The game is won—the Quidditch Cup is won. All thanks to him. It’s what he’s always wanted…even if Harry wasn’tthere to see it.
23. Lily’s Letter
Apparently this letter is in the movie, which I had completely forgotten about until I just looked it up. But regardless, the best part of the whole letter thing is cut from the movie. When Harry finds it, the second page is missing, and the photograph has been torn and now only contains him riding his toy broomstick. In the books, we learn that Snape had stolen the second page of the letter, because it had Lily’s signature on it, and he took the part of the picture that contained her.
24. Ron & Hermione as Prefects
Mostly, I just miss this line…
Mrs. Weasely: “You’re a prefect? Oh Ronnie! That’s everyone in the family!”
George: “What are Fred and I? Next door neighbors?”
25. The Sorting Hat Songs
When I was a kid, I adored the Sorting Hat songs. Every year, it gives out a warning about troubles that might lie ahead and how the four houses should come together in order to overcome them. There are actually only just a few songs included in the books because Harry has quite the talent of missing the opening feast.
26. Petunia’s Letter to Dumbledore
Did you ever wonder what Petunia had against magic? The truth is, she desperately wanted to go to Hogwarts. She was totally jealous of Lily. Apparently, she wrote to Dumbledore begging to be a witch and for him to let her go to Hogwarts.
27. Trelawney’s Predictions
Okay, so earlier I was kind of harsher towards Trelawney that I should have been. As a teacher, she’s kind of awful. She has a warped sense of her own abilities. The truth is that she is a gifted seer…she’s the one who gives the Prophecy about Harry and Voldemort. She also gives another prophecy in PoA. The catch is that she doesn’t remember giving them.
But there’s more. We learn in the books that she is the great-great granddaughter of a celebrated and gifted seer name Cassandra. Now, if you’re familiar with Greek mythology, you know that Cassandra had the power of prophecy, but was cursed so that no one ever believed her. This describes Trelawney’s predicament pretty perfectly. You find her making ridiculous predictions about Harry and others during her scenes, which Harry and anyone who is seen as having any sense doesn’t believe. But if you pay close attention…the things she says actually tends to come true. One of the most notable examples is “…when thirteen dine, the first to rise will be the first to die.” This comes true on three occasions. First at a table when Dumbledore rises first (here, you must count Scabbers as a member), then when the members of the Order were dining and Sirius rises first, and then again in Deathly Hallows at the Burrow, when Moody rises first.
J.K. Rowling is a master of planting little things like this all over the series, all of which is lost when one only watches the films.
28. Buckbeak à Witherwings
In case anyone was wondering, Buckbeak is fine. Sirius takes him back to Grimmauld Place with him. They have to change his name to Witherwings as a disguise, though.
29. Harry’s Ban from Quidditch
Why wasn’t Harry there when Ron became the Quidditch hero? Oh right—Umbridge banned him and the Weasley twins from Quidditch. For life.
30. The Death of Colin Creevey
Sadly, Collin and his brother die during the Battle of Hogwarts, once again showing the effects of war.
Scenes that Completely Contradict the Books:
Harry breaking the Elder Wand
Cho Chang betraying the DA
People doing magic without wands
Lily and James looking middle-age at the time ofdeath
a. They were both only 21. Guess who will be 21 this year? Me.
Does that put it into perspective for you?
Levicorpus as just another spell
a. Did you know that it’s actually a spell invented by the half-blood Prince?
Setting the Burrow on fire
Padma Patel in Gryffindor
Award for the Worst Scene that Completely Contradicts the Books:
Other questions an illiterate HP fan might have:
So…where did the sword in the pond come from?
How does Harry survive Voldemort’s curse in the woods in DHp2
Why does Snape dub himself the “half-blood Prince?”
What in the world is a Squib?
Where did Bill’s scar come from?
When did Harry suddenly learn to Apparate?
Why did Voldemort hide a piece of his soul in a seemingly random cave?
So…who exactly is Sirius’s brother?
How did Sirius actually escape Azkaban?
10. What was the constant nagging about Harry having his mother’s eyes all about?
What’s the deal with the Whomping Willow leading to the Shrieking Shack?
What the heck is Occlumency?
Where did Dumbledore find the Resurrection Stone?
Why did Dumbledore insist on Harry living with his Aunt and Uncle?
What was so special about the Prophecy?
Why does Harry just stand there and let Snape kill Dumbledore?
Lines that we sorely miss:
“Dumbledore’s man through and through.”
“There’s no need to call me ‘Sir,’ Professor.”
“that awful boy” and the feeling that you get when you realize Petunia was talking about Snape, not James
“Harry, you wonderful boy, you brave, brave man.”
Pretty much anything said by Albus Dumbledore, really.
There’s also a nice list here
In addition to everything said here, there’s also an awesome page called The Little Things on Mugglenet worth checking out. You can find that here
I should also thank the Harry Potter Wiki
page for helping me double check so many of my facts. And if you see anything wrong, please let me know! It’s been a little while since I’ve read the books so I might have remembered something differently.
If anyone ever wants to talk Harry Potter with me sometime, feel free! It’s a subject I’m fairly passionate about. =)
currently listening to: Hedwig’s Theme by Harry Potter Soundtrack
P.S. I’ve been having trouble getting this post to format correctly.
My apologies if there continues to be problems with the spacing between words.