They hold a special place in our hearts, but there are a lot of things the Harry Potter movies left out.
We have reread the Harry Potter books so many times that their spines have cracked. We love the wizarding world and will never get enough of this fantastic world that J.K. Rowling crafted for us. So when the movies came out, we were stoked, and we love them. BUT. They left a LOT out. Sure that happens when you make a movie adaptation. Books have a lot more time to weave a story; a movie only gets two hours to tell their tales.
Yet, there are some things we wish they had taken the time to show us. There are some things that we wish they hadn’t left out. So here are the ten things that the Harry Potter movies left out.
One of the most substantial oversights in the movies was the omission of S.P.E.W., The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. Hermione started S.P.E.W. after she learned of the abuses to house elves, both Dobby and Winky– who probably hardly remember if you didn’t read the books. See, Winky was Barty Crouch Sr’s house elf. She had been tasked with watching his son and was sacked after being found with a wand under suspicious circumstances (not her fault– but who listens to elves). She ended up with a terrible drinking habit for the disgrace of being dismissed. Winky, was a sharp contrast to Dobby. Back to S.P.E.W.
A considerable part of Hermione’s character was her activism. While her goals were narrow (free all house elves), she tried to help better their lives. Not every house-elf wanted her help, but some did, her goals would have been better to increase opportunity and stop abuse– but that is a conversation for another time. S.P.E.W. showed that not everyone took elves for granted and in the end, the House Elves, lead by Kreacher– Harry’s inherited elf (we feel weird writing that), joined in the battle of Hogwarts.
S.P.E.W. gave Hermione a way to change the wizarding world (which in some ways shunned her for her bloodline). It showed that just like the muggle world there were things that needed to be changed, to be rethought, and fixed. S.P.E.W. gave the trio a way to act that wasn’t directly combating the dark lord. But the movies never touched upon this. The omission meant the camaraderie between the trio and Dobby (and every other house-elf) was lessened for it.
There was one detail we wished they had included in the movies that still breaks our hearts. See the movies make it feel like Harry Potter was the only logical choice for the Prophecy; only the thing is– he wasn’t the only possible answer. Neville was the other boy who correctly matched the Prophecy, he was an exact match, but Voldemort decided it was Harry, which made him the subject, not Neville. But Neville did not escape unscathed. Bellatrix tortured his parents until they broke.
She took them from him not by killing them, but by destroying their minds when they tortured them for information. This was mentioned in the movies, but the result was never shown, not like it was in the books. Harry’s parents may be dead, but he knows they died loving him. Neville gets no such reprieve. His parents were broken so badly that they can’t even remember who he is. While Harry lives with the knowledge his parents loved him so much it defeated Voldemort, Neville must live with the fact that in protecting him, his parents will never remember who he is. They will live out their days in St. Mungo’s, a mental hospital for the magically inclined.
The poltergeist of Hogwarts was not the most crucial character in the books, but Peeves was always there, always causing trouble, and it’s not Hogwarts without him. There were countless times when Harry, Hermione, and Ron ran into the wayward spirit, but you wouldn’t know it watching the movies. He spent the books roaming the halls of Hogwarts harassing students and teachers alike.
He particularly fond of harassing Filch, but enjoys getting students in trouble almost as much– which makes him anything but trustworthy. While we know this is small in the grand scheme of things, we wish he hadn’t been left out. He was a delightful character and always good for a laugh (usually).
Percy’s Betrayal was mentioned in passing in the movies, but it was so quick and so inconsequential by comparison to the books if you had blinked you might have missed it. There is one thing everyone knows, and that is that the Weasleys are a tight-knit clan who stick together through and through. They rely on each other and always have each other’s backs at the end of the day. But Percy goes against that. Percy sides with the Ministry of Magic over his family and betrays them in doing so.
The betrayal in the movie is forgotten quickly, and when he returns to help them fight the dark lord, his change loses its significance. When he returns in the books, it is a massive moment of character growth and one that isn’t soon forgotten.
Marauder’s Map Backstory/ The Marauders
Something you probably didn’t know, James Potter helped to make the Marauder’s map. As did Sirius, Lupin, and Peter. The Marauders are mentioned, in a roundabout way. Lupin explains that James, Peter, and Sirius became animagus so that they could spend time with him while he was in werewolf form. He does not reveal that they named themselves the Marauders or that they made the map so they could travel around Hogwarts to meet him unnoticed.
Making such a map was no easy feat and one that became crucial to Harry Potter throughout his time at Hogwarts. The magics included are very advanced and would have required a lot of study on behalf of the Marauders to finish it. The nicknames they chose for their animal selves were Moony (Lupin), Wormtail (Peter), Padfoot (Sirius), and Prongs (James), greet anyone who figures out how to use the map, and
Peter Pettigrew’s Death
It seems strange, for a character so important to the story, that they glossed over this critical death. It was a moment in which all of his schemings finally came back to haunt Peter. There was no tragedy in Peter Pettigrew’s death; he made his bed long before the moment arrived. But there was irony in it. Peter sacrificed his hand to bring back Voldemort, and in return, he was given a silver hand for his loyalty. But when he has the opportunity to kill Harry– he is reminded that he owes the boy his life. When he hesitates to kill the boy who lived, that same hand given in loyalty betrays him.
The silver hand strangles the life out of him showing that Voldemort accepts no weakness– even from those closest to him. This moment is critical in the books because the betrayer is too betrayed. It also gives closure to the long-standing plot that Peter set in motion. If only they had given us the satisfaction of seeing him die.
Again a small thing left out from the books, but it lends some empathy to a character who is awarded none (and perhaps deserves none). Squibs need a little explanation; they are people who should have been born with magic but just weren’t. They are from magical families or have at least one magical parent, and for some reason never develop the gift. Squibs also differ from Muggles in that they know about the wizarding world, and can often see magical things that are hidden from Muggles.
Argus Filch is a squib. He developed a wizard-like relationship with his cat, but outside of that, he has no magical talent. His cruelty stems from resentment of the students. They have an ability he covets, but will never have. While it does not excuse his blatant cruelty and abuse to students, it does lend some understanding to who he is. It changes little in the grand scheme of the movies, but we would love to have seen it discussed at least a little.
Okay, how do you leave out a Weasley? Honestly. He is mentioned like, once in the movies as the cool brother who works with dragons, but Charlie was way more than that. He was the second oldest sibling of Ron, and he was charming, funny, and an outdoorsy sort of guy. He never married, he was too interested in studying dragons (our kind of guy). We have to imagine that having so many siblings would make you long for some peace and quiet– and after dealing with Molly Weasley angry growing up, it’s no wonder dragons don’t make him nervous!
Sure he wasn’t a huge part of the books, but he was a Weasley, and a good one at that.
The Deathday Party
Another detail lost to the movies was the relationship the trio developed with Nearly Headless Nick. He was so fond of them that he invited them to his 500th Deathday Party. Now to those who never read the books it may seem strange that the dead celebrate their Deathday. It may seem even more unusual that they fill the room with rotting foods that are so pungent that it would choke any living creature (even a troll probably), but they can nearly taste it when they float through this nasty mess, and that is enough for them to almost taste it. That grossness aside, the dead practically never have anyone living at these parties, and Nick invites the trio.
This moment is touching and makes Nick very popular among his ghostly friends– none of them had anyone living attend their Deathday parties. While it’s small, we would have loved to see more from the ghosts, they were a massive part of Hogwarts, and Nick was always the closest to Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
Godric’s Hollow Messages
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a moment. In the books, Godric’s Hollow, and the still standing ruins of Harry’s childhood home is a monument to the defeat of Voldemort. Set into the ground, near the gate, is a sign that is is peppered with encouragement in everlasting ink. It seems so small in the grand scheme of things that were forgotten. When these messages appear in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when the book is at its darkest. Things seem dim and hopeless– but these messages, these simple words of encouragement scrawled in everlasting ink on the sign outside his very first home, remind us there is hope even in the darkest times.
These words remind us that people are on our side, even when we feel lost and alone. It’s hope that keeps us going with Harry Potter on his quest, and this little sign reminds us that we are not the only ones rooting for him. It’s small, but oh so important, and we wish that they had given it even just a moment in the films.