For today’s Harry Potter post I decided to compile a list of omissions from the book to movie adaptations that drive me crazy. Usually I try to keep my posts fairly positive, and yet, I am only human and there are things from the adaptations that as a Harry Potter fan I cannot condone. Interested to see what those omissions are? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Peeves
In the books Peeves was a reoccurring poltergeist that was always causing mischief. I mean who didn’t read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and not want to see Peeves chasing Umbridge with McGonagall’s cane?!
For the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone movie, actor Rik Mayall was cast in the role of Peeves. When the final version of the movie was released however, Mayall and Peeves were left on the cutting room floor.
This one I kind of understand, given that Peeves can be grouped as a secondary character within the narrative of Harry Potter, and yet, I still feel a bit sad that he never got his five minutes of fame.
I did get a chuckle every time Peeves appeared, whether it was to convince Neville Longbottom set his pants on fire or drop Snargaluff pods on Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, and I feel the later, darker movies may have aided from just small moments of silliness.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – The Death-day Party
In the book version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Rowling depicts the 500th Death-day celebration of Nearly Headless Nick, much to the delight of both the reader and the trio.
What I don’t get is why the filmmakers would go through the trouble of casting John Cleese’s in the role of Nearly Headless Nick and not go through with staging the Death-day Party.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation of Gilderoy Lockhart, and I don’t mind the scene with Daniel Radliffe in detention with him before the discovery of a petrified Mrs. Norris, but when John Cleese is in your movie you exploit that for everything it is.
I also am fully aware that it would have been a lot of CGI, bringing up costs for the movie, but who doesn’t want to see what Head Hockey actually looks like?
Headless hunt for the win!
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – The Firebolt
While this did make an appearance in the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it once again let the filmmakers slide on not staging a holiday at Hogwarts…
I know this is a minor complaint, but as I think the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film is my least favourite movie adaptation, I don’t want to bore you with all of the other things I find wrong with the film.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – S.P.E.W
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you probably knew going into this list that S.P.E.W was going to make an appearance.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hermione becomes engrossed in the treatment of house-elves at Hogwarts and in response organizes the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (S.P.E.W).
In the film version, not only did we not get to see Emma Watson bring her humanitarian efforts to the big screen, we also didn’t get more time with the house elves.
Bobby, everyone’s favourite free elf, didn’t get the screen time that I think he deserved, and if S.P.E.W was included in the movie version he would have been able to create a deeper relationship with fans of the movies.
Also, due to his appearance only in the second and seventh movies, the impact of his fate in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 I fell flat for those who had only seen the movies.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Department of Mysteries
In the book version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Dumbledore’s Army break in of the Ministry of Magic was by far one of my favourite chapters to read of the entire series.
I couldn’t wait to see visual manifestations of The Brain Room, the Love Chamber, the Space Chamber and the Time Room. Matthew Lewis even confirmed that these rooms were filmed, and yet the filmmakers decided to edit them out of the final film.
Some of the scenes, especially the scene when Ron meets the brains in the Brain Room, are downright hysterical, so it seems odd to me why the Department of Mysteries didn’t make the cut.
This omission also meant that, following the Ministry battle, Madam Pomfrey didn’t get to deliver the ‘thoughts can leave deep scars’ line to Ron. For the amount of quote memorabilia floating around because of Harry Potter, it’s a shame this didn’t make it.
Also, I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with Potter fans over the years that ends in grumblings about how the veil was portrayed during the climax of the film, but if I talked about it we would be here for hours so, on to the next one.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – The Other Minister
At the beginning of the book version of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince readers are treated to a one of chapter that follows the Muggle Prime Minister and his interactions with the wizarding world.
As the chapter progresses the reader sees how the Prime Minister first meets Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, and his successor Rufus Scrimgeour, following the return of Voldemort.
I’m well aware that this omission was probably due to time constraints, but it would have been interesting to see the dynamic played out between the Muggle and wizard ministers.
In my opinion, it also would have made it easier for movie goers to understand why the heck Bill Nighy randomly shows up in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One.
I say this because book fans had an advantage as to understanding why Robert Hardy (Fudge) was replaced by Nighy (Scrimgeour) in later instalments of the Harry Potter series, but as with a lot of details in the Potter movie franchise little was explained for those non-book fans in the movies.
Furthermore, it would have given the filmmakers an excuse to put Hardy and Nighy in a scene together, which would have been pretty rad.
The filmmakers could have also used the opportunity to cast Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen as the muggle Prime Minister, and boom, instant movie adaptation success.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Teddy Lupin
Out of everything on this list the one change from book to screen that I will never forgive the filmmakers for is the omission of Teddy Lupin from either of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film.
In the books Lupin and Tonks, everyone’s favourite power couple, have a son named Teddy. Upon their death, the story of Harry Potter comes full circle when Teddy faces orphanhood, much in the same manner of Harry himself.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 the only mention of Teddy comes when Harry goes to meet Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. When the ghosts of those who loved Harry the most come to ease him into death the ghost of Lupin talks of the son he is going to leave behind.
For movie goers I’m sure this was one big head scratch, given that there is no other mention of Teddy in the previous Harry Potter instalments.
Because of this omission, it also lessens the emotional impact of Lupin and Tonk’s death as movie goers don’t fully comprehend the sacrifice they made in the Battle of Hogwarts.