Adapting a behemoth of a series like Harry Potter is no simple feat. Appealing to the fans, the studio execs, reality… it all comes with a fair amount of pushback. So, in order to make everyone happy, meticulously precise modifications needed to be made. Seeing as all of J.K. Rowling’s 1,084,170 words of which her entire Potter series is made up couldn’t barely translate into eight (roughly) two and a half hour films, the filmmakers had to make some omissions, whether the masses were happy about it or not. And of those omissions — along with plot points, spells, and locations — were a handful of characters.
Even if the series had gotten the Game of Thrones treatment as a series on HBO, there still wouldn’t have been any guarantee that the characters who were cut might have survived. And for proof, look no further than Thrones itself.
However, these cuts aren’t necessarily travesties. In some cases, especially with a few of Rowling’s characters, the cuts served to benefit the adaptations in the long run. And for further proof of this, keep reading to explore 15 Book Characters From Harry Potter Who We’re Glad Were Left Out Of The Movies.
15. Augusta Longbottom
Augusta Longbottom, aka Neville’s Gran, aka the crotchety witch who intimidated her grandson out of leading a perfectly normal young life, was the bane of poor Neville’s existence. Though there’s no doubt that he loved her unconditionally, Augusta existed to A) show the reader that Neville’s parents were out of the picture, B) explain to the reader what happened to Neville’s parents, and C) nag, nag, nag, nag, and so on, and so forth.
Though she definitely makes a significant impact on Neville’s life, and though you can definitely understand where her overprotectiveness stems from, she’s an ultimately stale and unlikable character who would only be fighting for screen time against similar-ish characters like Dolores Umbridge, Argus Filch, and Petunia Dursley (though these characters are admittedly much more hateable).
14. Rodolphus Lestrange
On paper, Rodolphus Lestrange was a captivating enough character. As sadistic as his wife, Bellatrix, and equally as loyal, Rodolphus rounded out Voldemort’s more vicious rank of Death Eaters. However, even though he was the kind of dark wizard who would gladly go down with the ship (as he more than happily proved when placed on trial for his crimes), his translation on screen wouldn’t have added much to the bigger picture.
Firstly, having someone equal to Bellatrix in almost every way would have just taken away from Bellatrix’s overall presence on screen. One psychopath was more than enough. Also, introducing her husband would have also taken away from her relationship with the Dark Lord himself. What’s so fascinating about Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal of the character is how obsessively devout (and almost in love) she is. A husband would have just been a detractor.
13. Ludo Bagman
When it comes to adapting a series like Harry Potter, “consolidation” is always the word of the day. How can a screenwriter (in this case, Steve Kloves) squeeze enough story into a single script without feeling bloated or, in some cases, repetitive? Simply excuse some characters from the final product, of course.
In The Goblet of Fire, there are plenty of new characters on screen as it is. Between Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody, Barty Crouch, Barty Crouch Jr., and Rita Skeeter (just to name a few), trimming the fat became a necessity. So, when it came to betting man Ludo Bagman, his role was the kind that could easily benefit from the cutting room floor. Which is exactly what happened. In the end, he more or less became an amalgamation of Barty Crouch, condensing the amount of newcomers paying Hogwarts a visit on account of the Triwizard Tournament.
As “upsetting characters written by J.K. Rowling” go, Winky the house elf takes the cake. She had spent years happily serving the Crouch family, but was ultimately fired from her position after some questionable circumstances arose (specifically regarding dark magic and public opinions). However, where Dobby couldn’t have been more thrilled to be a free elf, Winky felt differently. In fact, she was so distraught that her primary tool for scrubbing away the pain was drowning herself in alcohol (well, Butterbeer, really) and drinking away her woes.
However, seeing as the movies had already scrapped most of the house elf subplots (S.P.E.W. especially comes to mind), Winky would have just been a throwaway elf lost in the translation. Anything she could have done on screen, Dobby could have easily managed on his own.
11. Dennis Creevey
So, to be fair, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Dennis Creevey. Yes, he’s just as painfully excited about life as his older brother Colin (pictured above), but all in all, he’s harmless. At the end of the day, he’s one of the good guys — and a loyal one at that — so it’s not entirely fair stating that he doesn’t belong.
With that being said…he doesn’t belong.
His brave death aside, Colin Creevey was one of the more irritating characters in the series, and his translation to screen hardly proved otherwise. Full of excitement, this Harry Potter fanboy would himself have been pointless in the adaptations had he not been part of the Basilisk’s reign of terror in The Chamber of Secrets. So, for that, Colin gets a pass.
10. Professor Binns
In all fairness, Professor Cuthbert Binns is sort of fascinating. He’s considered to be a boring character with little to live for (what with him being dead already), and the class that he teaches (History of Magic) is considered to be one of the less impressive entries on the school curriculum. Still, guys, he’s a ghost teacher. Compared to other characters in the Potterverse, his traits may be lacking, but the image of a ghost teaching a classroom isn’t entirely commonplace, so he deserves some brownie points where they’re earned.
That said, even Harry himself can’t stand the mere thought of attending one of Binns’ classes. He’s a man described to be so unapologetically boring that he didn’t even bother to notice that he died in a school fire, and just went on teaching as a ghost as if nothing had even happened…
9. Marietta Edgecombe
Maybe it’s not fair to blame someone who isn’t a Gryffindor for not being brave, but that still doesn’t exempt Marietta Edgecombe from the crap she pulled in Hogwarts. Cho Chang’s best friend Marietta was trouble from the get-go. Not exactly the most pleasant of characters, she ultimately goes so far as to rat out Dumbledore’s Army. And even though she paid the price with a face-full of boils, that still doesn’t change the fact that she put Harry and the rest of the D.A. in danger.
8. Barty Crouch’s Wife
The exclusion of Barty Crouch’s wife is another example of “less is more” in the adaptations. In the books, her role is actually fascinating (if not tragic). More or less on her deathbed, and combined with the fact that she would do anything for her son (even though he was involved with the return of Lord Voldemort), she played an integral role in her son’s escape from Azkaban. The two switched identities by way of Polyjuice Potion, and the rest is history.
On film, this could have made for some fascinating drama, but time posed a problem. Seeing as there was already more than enough plot to cover, an entire backstory regarding Barty Crouch Jr.’s escape would have only taken away from The Goblet of Fire’s pace and structure.
7. Merope Gaunt
It’s fair to say that any respectable Potterhead wouldn’t be caught dead claiming that Merope Gaunt should have been scrapped from the adaptations. She played an integral role in Voldemort’s backstory, and proved that Rowling had an unforgiving dark side. However, vital though Merope might have been, its her very darkness that justified her exclusion from the films.
Though loved by the masses, Harry Potter is just as much for younger audiences as it is for adults. So, seeing as the filmmakers were willing to add a considerable amount of darkness into the movies (especially the later ones), nixing Merope lessened some of the blunt wickedness introduced in The Half-Blood Prince. It might not seem fair to the fans, but the themes, violence, etc. surrounding Merope might have been too much for kids to handle.
6. Snape’s Parents
Rob Zombie’s Halloween failed for several reasons, but one major criticism was the troubled backstory he gave to mass murderer Michael Myers. The same criticism came with Hannibal Rising, and you can even argue that every Batman film (save for The Dark Knight with the Joker) is guilty of this. Exploring a backstory can be useful, but it also risks robbing a character of his or her mystery. In the case of Harry Potter, Snape’s backstory is briefly explored, exposing his father, Tobias Snape, to be a foul excuse of a muggle, and on the page, it works.
However, in the movies, it’s safe to say that Alan Rickman gives enough to his performance to let it speak for itself. A backstory, over-explaining, the reveal of a troubled past… it wouldn’t have been necessary to the version of Snape audiences get on screen, and making it seem as though the only person he ever really connected to was Lily made his tragedy all the more potent.
In a story, it’s better to show, not tell. More often than not, the audience is well aware what a screenwriter is trying to convey, and over-exploring a plot point or character is only going to hurt the flow of the story in the end. Which is exactly why cutting Bane out of The Sorcerer’s Stone was the right way to go.
Though conflict is absolutely necessary in a movie, adding conflict to a character who only has a few minutes of screen time to begin with (re: Firenze) doesn’t really do any justice to the rest o the story. It might work in the novel (especially given the fact that Firenze’s relationship with witches and wizards is expanded upon in the sequels), but in Kloves’ version of Harry’s run-in with the Forbidden Forest’s horse-legged race, the spectacle of simply meeting a centaur is more than enough.
4. Irma Pince
There are plenty of staff members in the Potter movies as it is, and including more would have done nothing more than detract from the story — especially for any non-reader (of whom there are quite a few). Cutting certain supporting staff members (like Madam Pomfrey, for example) would have been a disservice to the series, assuming they offered something more than their presence to the plot. But some were unnecessary. Like Madam Pince, for example.
She was a stiff and uptight librarian, and she wouldn’t have added much to the films had she been included (in more than a wordless cutaway shot, at least). Snape had enough sticks up his behind to spare, so anyone coming even remotely close to the bitterness he was offering paled in comparison and was, by default, invaluable.
3. Sir Cadogan
There’s nothing wrong with some throwaway comic relief. Only, that itself can be a problem. While trying to contain a story into a single film, an illustrated knight who storms atop his steed through various portraits isn’t exactly vital to the plot, so… he’s expendable. And when that character is one whose exposition can easily belong to a character already introduced into the story (in this case, the Fat Lady), there’s no point in adding him in the first place.
He does show up in a deleted scene from The Prisoner of Azkaban, annoying Gryffindor students as he’s wont to do, but in the end, he was ultimately scrapped. Probably because the filmmakers shared this very same sentiment.
But don’t worry, if you miss him all that much, the deleted scene is available for your viewing pleasure.
2. Piers Polkiss
One Dudley Dursley is quite enough, thank you very much.
Along with his cronies, Dudley makes it his childhood goal to make Harry Potter’s life a living Hell (or whatever the witch/wizard equivalent for Hell might be). And in the books, said cronies are more than a few grumpy-looking faces at Dudley’s disposal (though even then, they don’t do much). In fact, one of the more predominant thug-buddies is a kid named Piers Polkiss.
He’s a nasty punk who helped Dudley beat up on his cousin, and adding him to the adaptation wouldn’t have really done anything more than reinforce how Dudley is nothing more than a magnet for morons. The character technically is in The Order of the Phoenix (he’s the one in the polo), but given that he has zero lines, it doesn’t really count.
1. Zacharias Smith
If you’re going to be a coward in the Harry Potter series, then you may as well join the Death Eaters.
During Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts, our hero started Dumbledore’s Army, and he ended up gathering a substantial amount of students to join. Only, among that crew was a Hufflepuff named Zacharias Smith, a boy who really only joined so that he could get the scoop on what exactly happened to Cedric Diggory.
After being nothing more than a judgmental naysayer, Smith ultimately proved his true lack of allegiance to the wizarding community when he jumped ship before the Battle of Hogwarts ever even started. Rowling has created her fair share of punchable characters, and even though some others may be more violent or vicious, Zacharias Smith deserves top billing. He’s wordlessly played by Nick Shirm (who’s actually credited as “Somewhat Doubtful Boy”) in Order of the Phoenix, and even that was more than enough.
Do you agree with these picks? Or do you think some other characters should have made the list? Let us know in the comments!
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