When the first Harry Potter movie was being developed, only four books in the series had been released. In the following years, three massive tomes were added to the series. The brains behind the films were already struggling to fit Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire into one movie. They managed to alleviate this with the final book, by turning it into two movies. But when it came to the rest of the series, a lot of cutting had to be done.
No matter what was cut, the fans were never going to be completely happy. There is always going to be someone out there who is a big fan of one minor scene that would have added nothing to the movie. With that being said, there are a lot of important scenes that most fans agree should have been in the films.
We’re here today to make a case for scenes that should have been in the Harry Potter movies. We’re also here to condemn some of the unnecessary changes to established scenes, as well as the terrible new scenes that took screen time away from something from the books.
Here are the 20 Worst Changes From The Harry Potter Books To The Movies
20. The Arthur & Lucius Fist Fight
In the movie adaption of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry joins the Weasley kids as they go to Flourish & Blotts to buy new books for the school year. It is there that they encounter Draco Malfoy, who is being escorted by his father, Lucius Malfoy. Lucius gets into a very subdued verbal tennis match with Arthur Weasley. Lucius rags on Arthur for his low-paying job, Arthur retorts by saying that Malfoy is a disgrace to the name of wizards. The whole thing comes off like a British version of one of the arguments from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
This scene plays out very differently in the book. When Lucius makes a reference to how the Weasley family has sunk low due to them hanging out with Muggles, Arthur takes Lucius down to the ground like they are in a UFC match. The two actually get into a full-on fist fight in Flourish & Blotts and it takes an intervention from Hagrid to break them up.
19. Harry Not Winning The Quidditch Cup
The game of Quidditch was given a much smaller role in the movie series. This isn’t especially surprising, given how limited the run time of a film is and how much plot they had to cram in there. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that Quidditch was the first thing scrapped from most of the Harry Potter scripts.
While Quidditch is a recurring background element in many of the books, it becomes a major plot point in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. During the previous two school years, Gryffindor did not win the Quidditch Cup. It is never revealed who won it during Sorcerer’s Stone (although it was likely Slytherin). The Quidditch tournament is cancelled during the events of Chamber of Secrets (due to the Basilisk running loose). The third year was going to be the last chance for Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, to win the cup before he left Hogwarts.
Gryffindor’s winning of the Quidditch Cup takes place across three divisive matches. In the movie adaptation of Prisoner of Azkaban, we only see the first Quidditch match. This was only kept in because it had relevance to the overall story, as the Dementors arrive on the pitch and knock Harry unconscious, but Gryffindor winning that final match was one of the most triumphant moments in the entire book series.
18. The Troll & Potion Tests
When it came to organizing the defense of the Philosopher’s Stone, Albus Dumbledore used the Legend of Zelda method of protection. He decided to come up with a series of puzzles involving things that may come up during a Hogwarts student’s first year classes. With any luck, they should also relate to the character traits of the three main characters.
Alright, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone wasn’t the best-written of the books. It can be forgiven, though, by virtue of the fact that it was the first in the series and a lot of the rules of the Harry Potter universe hadn’t been established yet.
In the film adaptation of Sorcerer‘s Stone, two of the tests required to reach the Stone were never filmed. The first involves a Troll that Harry and Hermione have to get past. They end up trapping it within a hole, in order to proceed.
The second test was created by Snape. It was a potion puzzle based around a riddle that needed to be solved. It revolved around using logic, rather than magical knowledge to succeed, and Hermione was able to work it out so that Harry could proceed to his final confrontation with Professor Quirrell.
17. The Other Minister
The sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, opens up in a place that we have never seen before in the series. We see the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in his office at Number 10, Downing Street. He is visited by Cornelius Fudge, who we discover is now the former Minister for Magic. This chapter uses the relationship between Fudge and the Prime Minister to refresh the reader on the events of the previous book and to catch them up on recent happenings in the wizarding world. We are also introduced to Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister for Magic.
This entire sequence was cut from the movies. Instead, we get a sequence of the Death Eaters causing havoc and Harry reading about it in the news. Meeting the Prime Minister in the films would’ve served to contextualize the series within the Muggle world.
Also, assuming the Harry Potter series is using the same political figures as real life, there is a question of who the Muggle Prime Minister actually is? Half-Blood Prince is set in 1997, which was when a general election was held in the UK. Tony Blair and the Labour party won the election. He took over the office of Prime Minister from John Major. The information given in the chapter makes it impossible for either of these men to be the Muggle Prime Minister, meaning it’s likely a new character.
16. Winky & S.P.E.W
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the point where the book series becomes very dark. Voldemort is resurrected, Cedric Diggory is killed, and the Death Eaters begin their new rise to power. We learn about the three Unforgivable Curses and the horrible fate they unleashed upon Neville Longbottom’s parents. The book ends on a somber note, as Harry returns to Privet Drive in a darker world than when he had left.
One of the most underrated storylines in the book involves Winky, the Crouch family’s House-elf, who is blamed for using a Wizard’s wand to set off the Dark Mark at the Quidditch World Cup. Winky is forced to leave the Crouch family,a nd Dumbledore then gives her a job in the Hogwart’s kitchen, where she swiftly descends into alcoholism.
Hermione discovers that wizard society is totally fine with using the House-elves as a form of slave labor. She begins a movement called S.P.E.W (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) and attempts to rally support for the freedom of the House-elves. No one at Hogwarts takes her seriously, including the House-elves.
The S.P.E.W storyline was completely removed from the films, possibly because it never goes anywhere in the books, but it added a lot to Hermione’s character in the books. Not to mention that Ron’s support of her cause brought he and Hermione closer together.
15. The Gaunt Family
The book version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has many flashback sequences. Dumbledore takes Harry on several journeys through the Pensieve, in order to uncover the truth behind the source of Voldemort’s immortality. One of the most powerful memories they look into belongs to Bob Ogden, a Ministry employee who visits the home of the Gaunt family. It is revealed that the Gaunts are kind of like the wizard equivalent of the mutants from The Hills Have Eyes. They were once a proud family, who traced their lineage back to Salazar Slytherin, but years of poverty and inbreeding have turned them foul and violent.
One of the members of the Gaunt family is a young girl named Merope. Harry soon realises that she is Voldemort’s mother. The reason for Dumbledore showing Harry the memory is because Voldemort visited his relatives when he was older. He murdered his Muggle family and put the blame on Morfin Gaunt, his uncle. He stole the ring of House Gaunt and turned it into a Horcrux. Dumbledore eventually discovered the ring and destroyed it with Godric Gryffindor’s sword.
14. Hepzibah Smith
The Gaunt family weren’t the only ones who got screwed out of the Half-Blood Prince movie adaptation. There was another scene involving the Pensieve that showed the origins of another Horcrux.
In the book, Harry witnesses the memories of a House-elf named Hokey, who served a woman named Hepzibah Smith. Hepzibah was a wealthy dowager who possessed many ancient historical artifacts. She used to be visited by a young Tom Riddle, with whom she was smitten. Smith showed him her two greatest treasures, a Cup that was owned by Helga Hufflepuff and a Locket that was owned by Salazar Slytherin. Tom Riddle later killed Smith for these items and placed the blame on her House-elf.
Hufflepuff’s Cup isn’t mentioned at all during the sixth movie. It is discovered based on the information that Bellatrix was afraid that someone had broken into her vault at Gringotts. The scene where they recover the Cup is the same– Harry and his friends break into Gringotts and deal with the replicating curse. Harry only knows that the Cup is a Horcrux due to some new Horcrux version of spider-sense that the movie gave him.
13. Sparing Peter Pettigrew
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it is revealed that Harry’s parents were betrayed by their old friend, Peter Pettigrew. Harry’s parents made Pettigrew their secret keeper, which made them undetectable by magic, so long as the secret of their location is kept. Pettigrew revealed the secret to Voldemort, who found the Potter’s home and killed them. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin want to kill Pettigrew, but Harry convinces them to spare his life, so that he can answer for his crimes.
Peter Pettigrew then escapes and is instrumental in restoring Voldemort’s body in Goblet of Fire, and Voldemort gives Pettigrew an enchanted silver hand for his trouble. During the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pettigrew hesitates in killing Harry when he has the chance, causing the silver hand to choke himself to death. In the movie version of Deathly Hallows, we never see what happens to Pettigrew. He could still be alive for all we know.
12. The Beauxbatons/Durmstrang Dance Sequence
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, students from two other wizarding schools are brought to Hogwarts to compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. The Beauxbatons Academy of Magic sends a magical horse-drawn carriage filled with students to the Hogwarts grounds. The Durmstrang Institute sends students to Hogwarts in a magical ship that can teleport from one body of water into another. All of the students are welcomed into the school and they take dinner in the Great Hall before Dumbledore explains the rules of the Tournament.
The movie version of Goblet of Fire added some scenes to the introduction of the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. The Beauxbatons students enter the Great Hall by making the same noise that a lady in a shampoo commercial makes. Then they expel butterflies from their body like they just cast a Disney Princess spell. They run in formation towards the end of the hall, while one student (who is dressed like Ziggy Stardust taking a Gymnastics class) does backflips towards Dumbledore.
Next, come the Durmstrang students. They enter with large sticks, that they use for a brief percussive introduction song before they all run down the hall and start breakdancing. There is actual breakdancing in a Harry Potter movie. One student blows a giant burning phoenix out of his wand before we can continue with the movie.
11. The Attack On The Burrow
In order to make the Harry Potter films more interesting to the general audience (who may not be as familiar with the books), the movies tended to have more action sequences. Prisoner of Azkaban included a scene where Harry and Hermione get beaten up by the Whomping Willow, even though some of the hits they took should have killed them. These scenes tended to crop up in the film versions of the books that didn’t have many action scenes in the middle. Half-Blood Prince is one such book. This led the creators of the film to add an utterly pointless action scene involving the Weasleys’ home.
On Christmas Day in 1996, the Death Eaters launch an attack on the Burrow. Harry ends up engaged in a running battle with Bellatrix, through the marshland outside the home. The Burrow is burnt down by the Death Eaters, leading the characters to realize that nowhere is safe anymore.
This additional scene is pointless for a lot of reasons. There are no lasting consequences from the battle. No one is hurt or killed and the Death Eaters just run away. The Burrow doesn’t even stay destroyed, as the Weasleys have it rebuilt by the next movie.
10. Harry vs. Scrimgeour
After Cornelius Fudge is chased out of his political office, a new Minister for Magic is needed. Rufus Scrimgeour, a former Head of the Auror Office and a much more imposing figure than Fudge ever was, takes over. When we first see him in “The Other Minister” chapter of Half-Blood Prince, it is obvious that he is a proactive individual and he issn’t going to let Voldemort take the reins of power without a fight.
During Christmas at the Burrow, the Weasley family had Harry over for the holidays (unlike their movie counterparts who were busy fighting off the Death Eaters). Rufus Scrimgeour used Percy Weasley as an excuse to go visit Harry at the Burrow. The two of them go outside for a private chat.
Rufus Scrimgeour asks Harry for his public support of the Ministry and its efforts to counter Voldemort. Harry quickly realies that it would all be for show and that the Ministry hadn’t really changed. He showed Scrimgeour the scar left on his hand by Professor Umbridge during his previous year at Hogwarts and told Scrimgeour that he would not support those who intended to use him for their own ends.
It’s easy to see why this scene would be replaced by the attack on the Burrow for the film, at least from an adaptation standpoint. This is more of a great character moment than an action setpiece. With that being said, it is still a sad loss from the films (and even more so when you consider the bad scene that replaced it).
9. The Maze
When it comes to the three tests from the Tri-Wizard Tournament, the film version of Goblet of Fire actually did a good job adapting the first two. The dragon chase sequence was exciting, though it is a shame we didn’t get to see the other participants facing off against their dragons. The underwater rescue scene was dark and scary, with excellent, high-quality animation of the Merpeople.
The final test is when the movie starts to fall flat. In the book, the four Tri-Wizard champions are sent into a huge garden maze, where they must do battle against numerous magical foes. Harry must face a Boggart (impersonating a Dementor), a Blast-Ended Skrewt, and a mist that turned anything which entered it upside down. Harry then had to answer the riddle of a Sphinx, before teaming up with Cedric to stop an Acromantula.
In the movie version of Goblet of Fire, the Maze is just filled with a creepy mist and sentient plants. It is by far the most boring of the tasks and it takes Cedric dying for the film to become interesting again.
8. The House-Elf Army
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ends on a huge mystery. Harry and Dumbledore manage to recover a locket that they believed was a Horcrux. When Harry took a closer look at the locket, he realised it was a fake. It had a note inside from an individual who claimed to have stolen the original locket. It was signed with the initials R.A.B.
This did not stay a mystery for long, however. Fans discovered that the letter B changed in the foreign language editions of the book and that the new letter would match the surname of the Black family that was used in said editions. It was deduced that R.A.B was actually Regulus Black, the brother of Sirius. This was proven to be true in Deathly Hallows, with a surprisingly touching tale of how Regulus regretted becoming a Death Eater and gave his life in order to weaken Voldemort. It was discovered that the Black family House-Elf, Kreacher, was involved in Regulus’ plan. After the truth is revealed, Harry finally befriends Kreacher.
In the film version of Deathly Hallows, most of this story (along with Kreacher’s character growth) is cut. A scene involving Kreacher leading the House-elves of Hogwarts into battle against the Death Eaters was also cut, much to the chagrin of the fans.
7. Neville Killing Nagini
After suffering from six horrible years of school, Neville Longbottom finally got his chance to shine during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. With Harry, Ron, and Hermione in hiding, it was up to Neville to lead the resistance against the Death Eaters.
After Neville refuses an offer made by Voldemort to join the Death Eaters, he is frozen with a spell and is set upon by Nagini, but due to Harry’s sacrifice, Neville is able to resist Voldemort’s spell. He pulls Godric Gryffindor’s sword from the Sorting Hat and kills Nagini, making Voldemort mortal once more. This scene is considered one of the best moments in the series by the fans.
So how did the film adaptation tackle this monumental scene? By turning it into a Hanna-Barbera cartoon! Hermione and Ron are chasing Nagini around the battlefield like a Scooby Doo villain and are unable to kill it despite having magic wands. Nagini finally turns on them and both Ron and Hermione are unable to curse a giant snake that is a foot away from them. Then Neville just runs up and kills Nagini.
6. “Calm” Dumbledore
When Harry Potter’s name comes out of the Goblet of Fire, he is sent to stand with the other three participants of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. This causes outrage among the faculty of the three assembled schools. Here is a quote from the book as to how Dumbledore approaches Harry:
“Professor Dumbledore was now looking down at Harry, who looked right back at him, trying to discern the expression of the eyes behind the half-moon spectacles.
“Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?” he asked calmly.”
Notice the word “calmly” at the end there. Dumbledore is talking to a boy in his early teens, who has just been yelled at by a bunch of adults and has also been forced to enter a deadly tournament against his will.
So what does movie Dumbledore do?
He grabs Harry by the shoulders and almost pushes him on top of a table full of glass objects. He then yells at Harry, asking him if he put his name in the Goblet of Fire, before sticking his finger in his face and asking if he was sure. Dumbledore is so pissed off that he looks like he is one step away from power-bombing Harry right through the table.
5. The Talking Head
Prisoner of Azkaban doesn’t have many action scenes. This is why several were invented for the movie. The scene where Harry and Hermione engage in a boss battle against the Whomping Willow was added for the film, as well as a scene involving the Knight Bus. Harry has to get thrown around while the Knight Bus does silly looking magical stunts around him. Harry (and the audience) have to sit there and listen to an animated shrunken head make terrible jokes in a borderline racist Jamaican accent throughout the whole scene.
This right here is the single worst thing about the Harry Potter movies. Actually no, the cringe-worthy interview that the three main actors did with the head is the worst thing about the Harry Potter movies. The shrunken head was voiced by comedian Lenny Henry, who is from Worcestershire in England, not Jamaica (though his parents are Jamaican immigrants). He almost killed the movie with his horrible accent and corny jokes.
It may come as a surprise to learn that J.K. Rowling actually loves this scene and has said that she wishes she had come up with it herself. What is she smoking exactly? We’re guessing it was the same stuff that she was smoking when she came up with the plot for Cursed Child.
4. Diminishing The Role Of The Weasleys
The Weasley family make up some of the most important characters in the Harry Potter series. Harry’s future wife and best friend are both Weasleys. They stay by his side throughout the trials and tribulations that he faces throughout the series.
The Harry Potter movie series did a great disservice to the Weasley family as a whole. Both Bill and Charlie Weasley are barely in the films (Charlie only has one cameo appearance in Prisoner of Azkaban). The story about Percy cutting himself off from the family is completely ignored (as well as his tragic farewell to Fred before his death). Ginny Weasley goes from a no-nonsense badass to a glorified love interest with no personality of her own.
Ron Weasley is the character who gets the worst end of the stick. He was essentially turned into the comic relief of the films. The significance of his bravery and friendship is downplayed in favour of lame catchphrases and clowning around. It’s a wonder he ends up with Hermione at all, considering what a doofus he was turned into.
3. The Dursleys Get Their Comeuppance
The story of Harry dealing with the abusive Dursley family is a recurring start point in each book of the series. The movie versions dropped it after Prisoner of Azkaban, with the Dursleys only showing up in a deleted scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. There are two key scenes from the books that fans badly wanted to see, where the Dursley family get some comeuppance for their treatment of Harry.
At the start of Goblet of Fire, Harry is invited to go to the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasleys. They offer to pick him up from Privet Drive. The Weasley family arrive by Floo Powder, but they don’t realise that the Dursleys have a grate in front of their fire. Arthur Weasley ends up blowing up part of the living room in order to escape from the fireplace, and then forces the Dursleys to say goodbye to Harry, before they realize that Fred and George have given Dudley a cursed toffee that makes his tongue grow.
When Dumbledore picks up Harry from Privet Drive at the start of Half-Blood Prince, he gives the Dursleys a Jerry Springer-style dressing down. He calls them out for mistreating Harry, as well as being neglectful and not treating him as a member of the family. Dumbledore finishes them off by saying that Dudley came out way worse than Harry, due to their pampering and coddling. It’s so incredibly satisfying.
2. Sparing Barty Crouch Junior
At the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it was revealed that Mad-Eye Moody was actually Barty Crouch Junior all along. He had been masquerading as Moody all year with the aid of Polyjuice Potion. Once his true identity was revealed, he is coerced into giving all of the information concerning the plan to restore Voldemort’s body. Before he can be brought to the authorities, a Dementor takes Barty Crouch Junior’s soul, turning him into a mindless shell.
Without Crouch’s testimony, there is no way to prove that Voldemort has returned. The next book in the series is all about how everyone thinks Harry Potter is a liar. He is treated as a pariah, who makes up stories for attention.
In the film version of Goblet of Fire, the fate of Barty Crouch Junior is never revealed. He just makes some idle threats… and that’s it. The Dementors never come for him. It is presumed that he is still alive, though his fate is never mentioned. They never even bothered to include a line where someone says “Oh, he died in Azkaban”. If Crouch is alive, then Harry and Dumbledore should have the proof they need that Voldemort has returned.
1. The Loss Of The Marauders
When a creator comes up with a work that becomes popular, they can never predict what exactly the fanbase will latch onto. Who could have guessed that the “Traitor” guy from Star Wars or the Fonz from Happy Days would become so popular?
In the Harry Potter franchise, the fanbase took a special liking to the Marauders. This is the name given to the group composed of James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin, when they were students at Hogwarts. From what we learn during Prison of Azkaban, the boys discovered the truth of Lupin’s lycanthropy and all became Animagi in order to be with him during his time spent as a wolf. Together, they created the Marauder’s Map and discovered many of the secrets that Hogwarts holds.
To the disappointment of many fans, the backstory of the Marauders was barely touched upon in the film version of Prisoner of Azkaban. Apparently, he filmmakers needed more time to include the fight scene with the Whomping Willow. (The shrunken head doesn’t come cheap either.) They are also featured prominently in a flashback chapter from The Half-Blood Prince, but are only seen in brief flashes in the movie. This has prompted many fans to make Marauders fan films, in order to fill in the gaps themselves.
What are your least favorite changes from the Harry Potter books to the movies? Let us know in the comments.