There is a difference between being a fan and a loyalist. One is no better than the other (be as you please, Potterheads), but there are surefire differences. For example, where loyalists will mostly accept everything that they are given, fans can be unforgiving. Loyalists will stay true to their fandom through thick and thin, whereas bona fide fans will scrutinize. In fact, when they do scrutinize, they tend to believe they’re doing it for the good of the original content. In this case, they’re doing it for the good of Harry Potter.
When the Harry Potter series was adapted to film, material was bound to get cut. That just goes without saying. And in this case, even fans can be reasonable. However, when a film franchise makes certain cuts and certain changes — the kind that radically modify the original material — there is only so much forgiveness that a fan can muster. So, if you can relate (unless you’re one of those loyalists who simply can’t be budged), keep reading to check out 15 times Harry Potter was RUINED by the movies.
15. Nixing Voldemort’s Past
Yes, Voldemort is a bad guy. And yes, sometimes over-explaining a villain’s backstory can take away from what makes him or her so scary to begin with. However, with Voldemort, that isn’t the case at all. In fact, once you find out what made young Tom Riddle turn into Voldemort in the first place, it all starts to make sense…
Sadly, hardly any of this was included in the adaptations. The Half-Blood Prince reveals Young Tom during his time at the orphanage, but that’s about it. The filmmakers failed to delve into his family’s backstory (inbreds and all), and explore what made him tick.
14. Misinterpreting “Calmly”
Directors ought to be allowed creative control. Too often, studios will get so deeply involved in a project that the final outcome feels like something that may as well have come off a conveyer belt — just a replica of other successful movies that have been released in the past. That said, maybe Warner Bros should have stepped in when Mike Newell was directing The Goblet of Fire. Especially during the actual “goblet of fire scene.”
Albus Dumbledore is, above anything else, really, a calm old man. That’s where his power lies, in his ability to keep his composure where others might lose theirs. But when he asks Harry if he put his name in the goblet of fire, the movie version hardly mirrors the book version.
13. Ridding Dudley’s Redemption
Nobody likes Dudley Dursley. Well, not until the end of the series, at least.
For all of Harry Potter’s life, his cousin, Dudley, made everything a living Hell. He was a spoiled and needy little monster who seemed to only find pleasure in beating up anyone who was physically smaller than himself. Like Harry. So, in this case, filmmakers did a fine job in bringing him to the big screen. Where they failed, however, was leaving out his own redemptive moment in the series.
In the end of the The Deathly Hallows, Dudley seems genuinely worried about Harry’s safety. He suddenly lets reality sink in, and realizes that this may be the end of his cousin. WB went so far as to film the scene, but it was ultimately cut. So… Dudley, as far as the film’s go, you’re still a d–k.
12. Epilogue? More Like Ep-parently WB Can’t Do Endings
Even some readers are split on the epilogue in The Deathly Hallows, but taste is subjective, so of course that’ll be the case. The thing is, though, how it was ultimately adapted to the silver screen does not do it justice in the slightest.
For one, the makeup looks ridiculous (but not nearly as ridiculous as it originally did before filmmakers agreed that making the characters look like 80-year-olds didn’t make any sense). Also, everything feels rushed. Even more rushed than it was in the actual book. There’s a thick generic air wafting through the set, and everything feels very tacked on. To make things worse, audiences never even get to meet Harry’s godson, Teddy Lupin, who neatly helps tie up Harry’s emotional arc throughout the entire series. WTH WB?
11. Ginny + Books = Yay, Ginny + Movies = Nay
Ginny Weasley is a cool character. Now, anyone who’s never read the books and has only seen the movies is likely shaking their head, and rightly so. On screen, Ginny Weasley is a waste. She lacks depth, a personality, and everything that made her so captivating in the books. In fact, by the time Harry ends up falling for her in the movies, it doesn’t make any sense. Why, Harry? Aside from knowing her because she’s your best friend’s sister, why?
J.K. Rowling wrote an independent and daring character in Ginny Weasley, but the translation from book to screen is a hot mess. No offense to actress Bonnie Wright, but just a few changes could have done wonders. Recasting would have made for a solid start, but Steve Kloves, the screenwriter, should have simply done her justice through the writing. #Shame
10. Movie Maze? More Like “Mistake Maze”
J.K. Rowling made a living character when she created the maze at the end of The Goblet of Fire. It was filled with puzzles and magical creatures; everything that Harry and the other champions had to have prepared for. However, in the movie, the maze is quite different. It’s creepy, mind you, but different.
In the movie, the maze is nothing more than overgrown shrubbery that moves. The character are just racing to the finish line, fighting each other in the process, but that’s about it. Every so often, some roots will spring up and grab someone’s leg, but that’s pretty much it.
9. “You Have Your Mother’s Ey- Oh. Never Mind.”
One of the most significant elements in the Harry Potter series is the fact that Harry has his mother’s eyes. It’s repeated over and over again, and ends up playing a significant role in Snape’s relationship with Harry. Sadly, though, the filmmakers didn’t think it was important at first, and ended up screwing themselves over in the end.
Now, you can forgive the fact that movie Harry didn’t have green eyes because Daniel Radcliffe was having issues with the colored contact lenses. It’s a change from the book, but as long as you show that the actress playing Lily at least has the same eye color as Radcliffe, then it’s all good.
But even that doesn’t happen!
The actors still have different colored eyes. So, Harry doesn’t have his mother’s eyes. Which means nothing makes sense. Which means you may as well have written the whole eye color angle out of the films entirely. Yes, it would have pissed everyone off, but the filmmakers are already half-assing it as it is, so what difference would it have really made?
8. Abandoning S.P.E.W.
Hermione Granger is not just “Throwaway Smart Female Character.” She does more than bury her nose in books, and Jo Rowling shows readers this in the books time and time again — especially when she embarks on S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare). Having learned about the borderline-slavery that is Elf “employment,” Hermione becomes the series’ activist, and it sticks throughout the rest of the series.
In the movies, there’s no mention of S.P.E.W. at all. There’s no mention of how Hogwarts may not be quite as perfect as everyone hoped it would be. In keeping this element in the movies, Dobby could have maintained a stronger presence, which would have made his death in The Deathly Hallows Part 1 seem more impactful than it already was. It would have felt earned.
7. MISSING: The Marauders
They created the Marauders Map, they’re some of the most influential men in Harry Potter’s life, and they set the stage for so much of what happens in the entire Potter series, but are they given any recognition in the movies? Hardly.
There are some references to James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew when they were younger, but hardly enough to warrant any actual interest, let alone necessity. Their nicknames refer to their animagi/lycanthropy, Lupin being a werewolf is what gave the Shrieking Shack its name… They’re some of the most interesting characters in the entire series, but are they given the attention they deserve? Not in the damned slightest.
6. The Minister/Minister Meeting
The Half-Blood Prince has one of the best/most unique openings to any of the Harry Potter books. Titled “The Other Minister,” it informs readers that wizards and muggles actually do, in fact, keep in touch. It’s discovered that the Prime Minister and the Minster for Magic actually keep each other in the know on certain things, which is something that few readers could have seen coming.
In short, it’s a brilliant chapter. And it’s a horrible shame that it was omitted from the film adaptations.
What audiences get instead is an admittedly exciting opening, flying through London mid-apparation and setting the pace of the film with a considerably high dose of energy. Even though it was solid, it would have still be great to get the original opening. Hell, even if filmmakers wanted to move it around to a different point in the movie, that still would have been fine. Anything beats ridding it completely.
5. Peace Out, Peeves
There are plenty of ghosts and magical creatures lurking the halls of Hogwarts in the adaptations, but there is something missing. In fact, there is something noticeably missing, considering the level of energy this character has…
Peeves the Poltergeist was originally intended to show up in the films, but he was ultimately cut. This is a character who may be a bit of a pest, but he’s still very much part of the Harry Potter recipe. He’s threaded into the stories so tightly that it’s anyone’s guess what filmmakers thought it would be a good idea to not include him.
Peter Pettigrew never stood a chance for survival, but his death at least deserved some more significance in the film adaptation. Instead, all audiences really get is him falling over after getting hit with a wand. Not only does it almost seem comical, there’s never really any confirmation that the dude actually even dies. But in the books, things are quite different.
Remember in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry spares Peter’s life in the Shrieking Shack? Well, in doing so, Peter was bound by a life debt; a debt which would be owed somewhere down the line. In The Deathly Hallows, it happens when Harry is imprisoned, and the silver hand that Voldemort gave Peter ultimately grabs him by the throat, strangling him to death. It’s tragic, it’s intense, but it’s most of all a major part of the story.
3. Rita The Beetle
How the hell does Rita Skeeter get the scoop on everyone? There’s “good reporting,” and then there is “suspiciously perfect reporting.” Could it be that she’s just been doing this so long that news just literally gravitates toward her? Based on the movies, that how it seems. But there is actually a logical explanation for this — you know, if you read the books.
Turns out Rita Skeeter is actually an unregistered animagus. To get the scoop on breaking news, she simply transforms herself into a beetle and becomes the next best thing to a fly on the wall. Ultimately, Skeeter is underused, so revealing that she is anything more than a professional opportunist didn’t seem to interest filmmakers.
2. Snape’s Contribution In ‘The Sorcerer’s Stone’
By the end of The Sorcerer’s Stone (the movie), the trio has to complete a series of tasks in order to reach the actual Sorcerer’s Stone. The same happens in the books, but there is an exception. In both mediums, different Hogwarts professors create various challenges specific to the classes they teach, but in the movies, one teacher is left out: Severus Snape. In the book, he creates a potions puzzle that requires some serious brain activity. In the movie, though, it’s nowhere to be seen.
Maybe the filmmakers didn’t include this task because it may not have been cinematic enough, but that’s hardly an excuse. Some tonal shifts could have done that finale perfect justice — especially when you consider the fact that it was already such an important part of the first book.
1. The Dumbledore’s
There was a serious injustice done to entire Harry Potter series by the time The Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2 were released. Though they touched upon Albus Dumbledore and his complicated past in both parts, the material was vague at best. There’s a mention here and there, but nothing to truly do justice to the tragedy that was the entire Dumbledore family.
Now, Jo is rectifying this by saving the material for the Fantastic Beasts sequels, but it’s a bit late for that. Dumbledore’s backstory — with his sister, with Grindelwald, etc. — was ridiculously vital to Harry’s own journey. It painted his hero in an honest (albeit darker) light, and it toyed with Harry’s head. Was Dumbledore the man he believed him to be?
It’s a solid question, but it’s wasted in the movies because it’s never given enough time or attention.
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