When a huge series like Harry Potter gets adapted from book to film, it's inevitable that some important details will be lost along the way. J.K. Rowling has given us such a deep look into the world of Harry Potter through her novels, so it's understandable that fans were both excited and nervous at the prospect of the Harry Potter movies. From 2001-2011, fans could rely on a Harry Potter movie being released on a yearly basis, extending their love of the wizarding world for three years past when the final book was released.
Of course, with such extensive source material to work with, a lot of cuts had to be made to fit each book into one film - although thankfully the last book was split into two. There are plenty of small details that we can live without, but some scenes the movies left behind are crucial and should have been reconsidered.
Sometimes even the smallest detail can have huge implications. These hidden aspects that only true book fans are aware of are absolute game-changers.
These are 17 Harry Potter Book Details That Change The Movies Forever
17 The Gaunts
The Harry Potter books dive far deeper into Voldemort's backstory than the movies ever do. According to the movies, Voldemort is basically just a messed-up orphan with an appetite for evil. But as the books show us, his story is much more involved and eerie.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore shows Harry a flashback to the Gaunt family home. The house consists of Marvolo Gaunt, direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin and grandfather to Voldemort, and his children. The mentally unstable and completely deranged family must live in poverty after wasting their fortune.
The most important detail that we learn is that Voldemort's father was under a love potion when he was conceived, which is why Voldemort cannot feel love.
The house is also an eventual hiding place for one of Voldemort's horcruxes, which Dumbledore finds. Voldemort's twisted family history sheds a necessary light on his complete madness, but unfortunately it was cut from the film.
16 Dumbledore's Fate
While both the book and the movie do an excellent job at making fans cry their eyes out over Dumbledore's death, one small detail was changed, and the implications are pretty big.
In the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore actually stupefies Harry during the scene. In the movie, Dumbledore simply tells Harry to hide, and Harry obeys. Considering all of Harry's ridiculous and spur of the moment heroics we've seen up until this point, does it really make sense that he would stand by and watch Dumbledore lose his life?
It doesn't, and in the book, Dumbledore knows Harry well enough to know that even if he promises not to intervene, he likely will anyway. It is simply his nature, and Dumbledore is more than aware of it. Harry being stupefied also makes it that much more heartbreaking, knowing he is completely incapable of helping, and wishing that he could.
15 Harry Tries To Reason With Voldemort
During The Battle of Hogwarts, one seemingly small yet important detail that appears in the book is left out of the movie. In a final attempt, Harry Potter tries to reason with Voldemort and appeal to any humanity he may have left. Ultimately Voldemort denies him, making it seem like Harry's last attempt is of no consequence. But with a closer look, there is much more to it.
Harry trying to reconcile with Vodlemort one last time is exactly in line with his character arc. All this time, J.K. Rowling has built Harry's character around the light outweighing the dark, the good outweighing the bad. It can all be summed up in Dumbledore's infamous quote "Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
Harry is constantly battling with both the light and darkness inside of him, but ultimately his goodness and love always wins. The fact that Harry tries one last time to find good in even his worst enemy is probably the most 'Harry Potter" thing to happen in the entire series. Sadly, the movies rob us of this last attempt at forgiveness.
14 Filch Is A Squib
Squibs aren't focused on in the Harry Potter films, and this is probably one detail we can forgive. You can't include everything, right? Even still, squibs are an important part of the wizarding world, and they help explain one character in particular.
Squibs, also known as "wizard-born" are non-magical people who have at least one magical parent, sometimes two. Pure-bloods in particular look down on squibs for their lack of magical abilities.
Probably the most prominent character who is a squib is Argus Filch, the Hogwarts caretaker who wanders the halls trying to catch students breaking the rules. Filch definitely isn't a pleasant guy, he often scares the students and seems to always be assuming the worst of them. When you realize that Filch is a squib, his hatred for the magical students he must watch over makes that much more sense, and is also a bit sad.
13 Dudley's Apology
In yet another edit that takes away from the message of the entire series, Dudley's final apology didn't make it into the movie. The worst part is, the scene was actually filmed but just didn't make the final cut of the film.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, when the Dursley's are departing, Dudley actually tells Harry that he's not a "waste of space." It's about the closest thing Harry ever gets to an apology or any form of sincerity from Dudley after all these years, who is grateful to Harry for saving his life. It's a small but important moment, reflecting the theme of the series.
No matter who you are or how you're raised, everyone has both light and dark inside of them. Even the worst among us can find the good inside and be redeemed.
12 Dumbledore's Family History
Dumbledore's family history is pretty much glossed over in the Harry Potter films. It's understandable that a lot of back stories had to be cut to leave enough room for Harry and his present issues - Voldemort's backstory was arguably more important and the movies cut that as well. Even so, some important plot points were definitely missed by not delving into Dumbledore's past.
We don't get the full effect of Dumbledore's relationship with his brother Aberforth and the implications of prejudice by Dumbledore himself.
The books also give us insight into his sister Ariana's accidental passing at the hands of himself, Aberforth, and Grindelwald. Grindelwald is another important part of Dumbledore's past that the movies do not touch on. These details being included - especially a deeper look into Ariana and Gridewald - would have set up the Fantastic Beasts movies much better.
11 Petunia's Letters To Dumbledore
It seems as though any detail giving the Dursley's an ounce of humanity is left out of the movies. While it's difficult to like the Dursleys in either adaptation, in the books we get to see another side of Petunia, and the reason she is so hateful towards Harry.
When Petunia was younger, she wanted to go to Hogwarts like her sister, so she wrote Dumbledore asking to go. He politely said she could not, and Petunia was so angry that she cut off her sister and began to despise the wizarding world.
While the movies will have us believe Petunia is simply a bad person, the books show us she is in fact heartbroken and is still holding a grudge.
It gives insight into why the Dursleys keep Harry in the first place. At one point the Dursley's toy with the idea of giving Harry away, but Dumbledore sends a Howler that says "remember my last," likely referring to a letter he sent.
10 The Message At Godric's Hollow
A small but influential detail that was left out of the movies happens when Harry and Hermione go to Godric's Hollow. Similar to the books, Harry and Hermione see the remains of Harry's parents house - but something is missing.
In the book, in grafitti, a message is written for Harry. It says, "if you read this Harry, we're all behind you." The message seems like an easy addition that wouldn't have cost much time or money to add to the scene, especially considering what it implies.
At this time Harry was feeling relatively alone, aside from having Ron and Hermione. This message brought him encouragement and confidence that the wizarding world was on his side and fighting the good fight against the Dark Lord, even if just in spirit.
9 Peeves And The Ghosts Of Hogwarts
As annoying as Peeves the ghost is, he's a major character that is present from the very first book of the series. In the movies, we are robbed of this devilish ghoul - along with many of the ghosts and their activities around Hogwarts.
We don't get to see the Death Day Party or the Headless Hunt, and overall ghosts are more of a lingering background prop than anything else. The movies give us a few good Nearly Headless Nick moments, but as compared to the books, the Hogwarts ghosts are almost non-existent.
Although the ghosts and their hi-jinks aren't exactly crucial to the story of Harry Potter, their constant presence and interference adds to the magical atmosphere of Hogwarts, and often adds to the comic relief as well.
8 Winky The Elf
While fans all love Dobby the house elf, those familiar with the books probably remember a less adorable, less likeable, but probably far more relatable house elf named Winky.
Winky is like Dobby's counterpart, not wanting to be free even after she is freed by the Crouch family. She spiralled into a depression and turned to drink. Come on, how did they leave this character out?
Winky actually plays a role in Barty Crouch Jr. getting away, and gets blamed for making the Dark Mark in the sky at the Quidditch World Cup.
Winky's mistreatment after the fact also lead to Hermione forming S.P.E.W. For being such a seemingly minor character, Winky is the cause of quite a few important plot points.
S.P.E.W. otherwise known as the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare was started by Hermione Granger after she saw the mistreatment of house elves on full display at the Quidditch World Cup - specifically Winky.
Since the house elves are basically slaves, it makes sense that some sort of action would be taken by certain groups to try to help them. Hermione is the perfect candidate - adding philanthropist and civil rights activist to her already impressive resume.
Leaving out S.P.E.W. from the movies is understandable, but also makes it seem like people are generally okay with keeping these magical creatures against their will and abusing them.
Of course some owners are kinder than others - the Malfoy's, for example, were terrible. But it would have been nice to have a mention of the elves rights more than just in relation to Dobby.
6 Neville's Parents at St. Mungo's Hospital
In The Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter learns that Neville Longbottom's parents were tortured by Death Eater Bellatrix Lastrange at such incredible lengths that they actually lost their minds. Because of this, Neville's parents Frank and Alice are sent to St. Mungo's Hospital.
In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Ron, and Hermione finally see how bad it is. While going to visit Mr. Weasley, they see Neville with his grandmother. They realize that Neville's parents are actually living in the hospital and that Neville lives with his grandmother.
In another missed moment, Neville's mom gives him a gum wrapper, which he saves against his grandmother's requests.
These details give us all the more reason to see Neville as the hero he truly is - Harry is not the only one whose family was destroyed by Voldemort.
5 Ron's Big Moments
It's not often that Ron gets his time in the spotlight, and two of his biggest moments from the books unfortunately didn't make it into the films.
The first moment is when the Gryffindor Quidditch team sings "Weasley is our King." It was originally a song made by Slytherins to mock Ron, but his team turned the song around and made it positive in order to boost his confidence. Ultimately Ron helps them win the cup.
Ron's second big moment is when both him and Hermione are made prefects - and Harry is not. Harry is actually a bit jealous of Ron, something that usually happens the other way around. Both of these moments took Ron out of Harry's shadow and gave him the credit he deserves. Unfortunately the films didn't find it necessary to give Ron his much needed ego boost.
4 The Carrows
The Carrows are anything but a likable bunch. Had they been included in the film, they may have even given Dolores Umbridge a run for her money as some of the most hated people to walk the halls of Hogwarts. Although, who are we kidding, Umbridge will always wear that crown.
Nevertheless, the Carrows are appointed as Heads of Discipline while Snape is Headmaster at Hogwarts. This is while Voldemort was in control of the Ministry of Magic. The Carrows also taught Defense Against the Dark Arts, where they would let the students use the Cruciatus curse. One of them even hit Neville Longbottom in the face for asking a pointed question.
Overall, the students were terrified of the Carrows, and their presence added to the looming terror of Voldemort's rule over the Ministry. It didn't help make us like Snape's time as Headmaster any more either.
3 Harry's Eyes
If you ask any Harry Potter fan what difference between the books and films annoys them the most, you're likely to get the answer "Harry's green eyes."
For the amount of time Harry and Lily's identical eyes are mentioned, you sure would think they'd at least get actors with the same color eyes to play Harry and his mother. We would have even been fine with color contacts! But instead, Harry's main defining feature that is mentioned by Snape and almost everyone else who knew Lily, is no longer his main defining feature.
Sure, it's about the tiniest detail there is, but fans will always remember it. Apparently Daniel Radcliffe - who plays Harry - had an extreme reaction to the green contacts they tried to use. J.K. Rowling then gave the OK for his eyes not to be green. Sure we didn't get the green eyes, but otherwise Radcliffe is the perfect Harry Potter!
2 Percy Weasley
After Percy Weasley graduated from Hogwarts he pursued a career at the Ministry of Magic. As he worked his way up, and following the return of Voldemort, Percy and the rest of his family started to disagree with his involvement in the Ministry.
His father, Arthur, was convinced that Cornelius Fudge promoted Percy in order to keep tabs on the Weasley family as well as Dumbledore through Percy's connection. Percy continued to deny that Lord Voldemort was back, denouncing his family's ties to Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix.
So where is all of this in the films? Basically non-existent. Percy is clearly away from the family, but his estrangement doesn't have the same implications on his family or the politics surrounding Lord Voldemort's return and the Ministry's denial. The book details make Percy's appearance at The Battle of Hogwarts that much more redemptive.
1 Regulus Black's Backstory
Regulus Black is another important character that would have added a lot of color to the Harry Potter films. Regulus is Sirius Black's brother, and he is famous for once being a Death Easter, as well as his attempt at stealing and destroying one of Voldemort's horcruxes - Salazar Slytherin's locket.
While trying to retrieve Slytherin's locket from the cave to replace it with his own, Regulus is taken out. His house elf Kreacher does manage to switch the lockets, under his master's orders - but he cannot destroy it.
J.K. Rowling has often described Regulus as simlar to Draco Malfoy, his cousin. Both men got involved with Death Eaters and Voldemort at a young age, and eventually wished to defect. Regulus's story would have added many layers for multiple characters.
Are there any details from the Harry Potter books you think should have been in the movies? Let us know in the comments!