When any beloved book becomes a movie, loyal readers feel something between exhilaration and fear. While it might be incredible to see a favorite book brought to screen, we also cringe at what will be changed, what won’t be included, or worst of all—what kind of irrelevant nonsense might be added.
In the case of the Harry Potter series, this is even more true. A series that has fans of all ages all over the world is bound to inspire debate on whether the films live up to the books they’re based on. While there’s much to be said about what should have made it into the movies that didn’t (Peeves, The Marauders, we could go on and on…), that’s not what we’re here to discuss today. These are the scenes we’re glad didn’t make it into the movies. Scenes that were too disturbing, revealed terrible things about someone we want to like, or were so tragic that we still haven’t gotten over them after all these years.
Here are 16 Scenes We’re Glad Were Cut From The Harry Potter Movies.
Centaurs are among the creatures in the Harry Potter mythos that share a vastly different moral code than wizards and witches. This is also true of goblins to some degree. Centaurs make it a point not to involve themselves in the goings on of muggles or wizardkind. That makes sense, given the kind of shenanigans people get up to. Bane, alpha of the Forbidden Forest centaur herd, is especially vocal in his belief that centaurs are well above two-legged types like us. When Firenze carries a young Harry on his back, he’s scolded by the herd for debasing himself like a common mule.
Eventually, Firenze is banished from his herd. We don’t read the scene directly, but Rowling does tell us that the aftermath of the centaur battle left Professor Firenze with deep purple hoofmarks on his chest. In fact, the centaurs might have actually killed Firenze if Hagrid had not intervened. It might have been cool to see a centaur battle, but we don’t think any fans would want to see anyone beating up on Firenze.
The 6th Harry Potter book was a difficult read for many fans. The death of Albus Dumbledore seemed like an almost insurmountable loss not just for Harry—but for readers everywhere. The circumstances of his death were even more painful and infuriating because we had to wait for the next book to truly understand what happened. Hours before his death, Dumbledore took his favorite pupil on a horcrux hunt that required the headmaster to drink a potion that brought back his worst memories.
In the book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we hear Dumbledore shout things while he’s forced to drink the terrible potion, things that clearly have to do with the death of his mother, his sister’s attack, and his defeat of his best friend and lover. If Ariana Dumbledore does turn out to be an Obscurial, Albus might have had even more horrible memories. Even though we don’t always agree with Dumbledore’s methods, we can agree that seeing him experiencing that much torment isn’t necessary.
There are many characters in the Potterverse that we’ve met, but whose stories have been truncated by the films. Stan Shunpike is one such person. The hapless Knight Bus staffer and guy who can’t resist a pretty Veela, Stan is a regular joe in the wizarding world. His biggest flaw seems to be shooting his mouth off. Sadly, this badly timed mouth-shooting gets Stan Shunpike arrested for being, of all things, a Death Eater. He spends some time in Azkaban, and Harry and the gang don’t like it. We don’t like it either, which is why we’d rather not see it.
Stan doesn’t turn up again until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the book; we don’t see him at all in the movie). During the big ambush scene after the seven Potters and their companions leave Privet Drive, Shunpike is seen alongside the Death Eaters. He appears to be under the Imperius curse, which sucks for him. No one is sure exactly what happened to Shunpike after the war. Here’s hoping he lived, got his senses back, and found the Veela of his dreams.
Writers and readers have long opined on the various flaws of Ron Weasley. Being a best friend in a fantasy book is an uphill climb, especially when you feel obligated to outshine the likes of Samwise Gamgee or Samwell Tarly. Even compared to average friends, Ron comes up a bit lacking in a few key ways. One of these is Ron’s annoying prudishness, which we’re glad we didn’t have to witness in the films. Jealousy? Sure. Rude, even mean behavior? Occasionally. Even Ron’s casual racism comes through in the films—but his many hang-ups about kissing and sex are boiled down to a single scene.
Unlike Ron’s literary counterpart complaining about Hermione kissing Viktor Krum, or Harry kissing Ginny (or Ginny kissing anyone), or Fleur being Bill’s girlfriend, all of this is distilled into one scene where Ron is offended when he sees Ginny and Dean Thomas kissing in Hogsmeade. This omission was a good choice in the end, because Ron doesn’t need any help looking like kind of a jerk.
For adults, reading the Harry Potter books reminds us of how awkward we were as teens. Those unsure feelings of confusion and focusing on our own inner panic so much that we forget to consider other people? Bittersweet memories. There may be a few fans who think they’d have enjoyed seeing Harry’s disastrous date with Cho Chang. If you’re not into romance, this date would be a nightmare--on a school outing, on Valentine’s Day, in some frou-frou tea shop where cherubs throw confetti all over your drink.
Chances are, this scene would have left us hating Cho, being super annoyed with Harry, and wishing there was a communications-proficiency test required before teenagers were allowed to date. Exaggeration? Perhaps. A good idea? For sure. If anything, it would have been cooler to see Marietta Edgecombe with SNEAK spelled out on her face in boils than watch Cho tear up over her jealousy over Harry’s friendship with Hermione.
Adult readers are particularly fond of all the Tom Riddle background information in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Gaunts (we’ll mention them later), Mrs. Cole from the orphanage getting her drink on, Riddle’s early days impressing Horace Slughorn; it’s all gold. But the story of how Tom Riddle became aware of the existence of Slytherin’s locket and Hufflepuff’s cup is almost too tragic for a movie that kids will see.
Hepzibah Smith is described as “enormously fat” and wearing a frilly pink dress that makes her look like a melting iced cake. Slow your role, fellas. She only has eyes for Tom. The scenes where Ms. Smith giggles and flirts with young Riddle is cute—but what follows is another great Potterverse injustice. Her poor house-elf, Hokey, is punished for killing his mistress even though the real murderer was--as always--Tom Riddle. Since we don’t really need to be convinced of Voldemort’s evil by that point, this story would only slow down the pacing of the film.
Most of us have a soft spot for the muggle Frank Bryce. He had what they used to call “a hard war,” which means he came home with a bad injury and severe PTSD. Since failing to take care of soldiers is not an exclusively American problem, Bryce had a difficult life even after that. He was blamed for the murders of the Riddle family, which of course, were actually committed by Lord Voldemort in a heinous act of patricide.
We do see a fair bit of that in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. What we don’t see is Frank cheering Harry on as he fights a freshly reanimated Voldemort in the graveyard in Little Hangleton. When the wands connect and Priori Incantatum begins, Bryce is the first person to appear. He expresses surprise that wizards are real. Frank is over his shock quickly, encouraging Harry to “fight him, boy!” Some fans don’t find Frank Bryce to be particularly relevant to the overall story. Others find his story so tragic and unfair that they’d rather not be reminded of it. Either way, this was a smart omission.
Delores Jane Umbridge engaged in what turned out to be a short-term takeover of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Her aims revolved around order—how to get it, how to maintain it, how to crush anyone with the audacity to challenge it. Things become progressively more tense between Umbridge and her colleagues in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, until it erupts into an all-out brawl.
During this battle in the book, Hagrid is attacked and an attempt is made to evict him from his house. Minerva intervenes, and is given four stunners to the chest for her trouble. That might have killed some people, and permanently disabled others. Minerva McGonagall, though? She’s back to work in a few days, and she goes on to kick butt as headmistress for a further few decades (despite Rowling’s earlier insistence that she would retire long before Harry’s kids matriculated). Nobody wants to see a hero like Hagrid or a distinguished older lady attacked by thugs, so we’re fine with this scene being left out. Besides, their snarky exchanges are awesome.
House-elves have a tough time of it in the wizarding world, as any member of SPEW could tell you. Dobby is the house-elf we know best, but there are many others—Hokey, Kreature (who came from a long line of elves loyal to the Noble House of Black), Hooky, and Winky, the female house-elf who worked for the Crouch family. Loyal, loving, and hardworking, Winky did her best to help the surviving Crouches overcome the many tragedies in their lives.
Winky’s empathy for Barty Crouch Jr. leads to events that ultimately warn the Death Eaters of Voldemort’s return. Then it allows Barty Senior to be murdered, and Voldemort to come back into a physical body. She’s fired by the boss she adores, and she's accused of being in league with dark wizards—which we suppose she technically was. When all this is over, it seems like Winky might find a better life at Hogwarts. But no…she turns into a sad drinker who can barely remember to put on clean clothes.
Plenty of fans were disappointed that not a single member of the Gaunt family appears in the Harry Potter movies. We concur. The scenes that depict the visit from Ministry official Bob Ogden (is he related to the fire whiskey guy?) are depressing to the point of tragedy. The violence, terror, and rampant abuse of Merope would have been horrible to watch. The act of running away with a man she’d enslaved using a love potion places her firmly in the villain category, despite having led a truly wretched life before then.
Normally, we wouldn’t empathize with someone who commits repeated sex crimes like Merope, but it’s difficult not to feel some empathy for her. Seeing her destitute, so sad that she can’t bring herself to do magic, and dejected to the point where it doesn’t seem to occur to her that her child might need her? It’s awful. Even in a movie about killer wizards and state-sponsored genocide, that might have been a little much.
This exchange from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the subject of some debate among fans. Some fans would have loved to see Dudley finally tell the cousin who saved his life (despite 1.5 decades of abuse) that he’s “not a waste of space.” Others think the entire Dursley family can STFU and GTFO. As muggles go, these are some of the worst in the entire series (save maybe the muggle boys who attacked Ariana Dumbledore as a child). So why does anyone want to see Dudley’s non-apology and Petunia’s sappy crying over it?
Petunia, for many fans, is easily the second most juvenile, petty, and mean-spirited muggle in the series. Her long pause before bidding her nephew goodbye does little to mitigate the years of neglect and abuse—that all happened because she never got over a huge disappointment that happened when she was a tween. While we love seeing the Dursleys told off by other wizards, they don’t add much to the story on their own. Rather than seeing this parting of the ways, we’d have preferred the proposed scene where a grown-up Dudley is seen on Platform 9 ¾ with a wizarding child.
Fear and oppression can make the lives of young witches and wizards infinitely more difficult. Ariana Dumbledore, now believed to have been an Obscurial, was attacked by magic-hating muggle boys as a child. Her father quickly avenged this attack, and he subsequently spent the rest of his life in Azkaban for his actions. Sadly, things didn’t go any better for Ariana (or the goat-loving Aberforth, for that matter) after that.
Despite being the beloved sister of one of the best wizards of all-time, Ariana didn’t even go to Hogwarts. The sad girl was relegated to her home and gradually became a pale, frightened recluse. When Dumbledore met and fell in love with the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, Albus’s relationship with his siblings worsened and discord increased. We would hate to have to watch Ariana accidentally murdered by Albus, Gellert, or Aberforth. We’d never want to see any Dumbledores experience such a loss, especially an avoidable one like that.
We all know the blustery Amos Diggory. He was a vital part of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. His pride in his handsome, athletic son bordered on the obnoxious. But Amos was basically an okay guy (until the events of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child anyway). In the book, he also had a loving wife—one who never gets a name beyond “Mrs. Diggory.”
After their son is murdered by Voldemort with an assist by Wormtail Pettigrew, the distraught Diggorys are…well, just as you’d expect. Readers were given a scene of Harry describing his own meeting with Amos Diggory and his wife. Amos gave a speech in which he openly wept, while his wife was unable to speak altogether. When Harry tried to give them the Triwizard winnings, they wouldn’t even consider taking it. All of that is so morosely depressing, and yet not really surprising. So we understand and agree that it should have been left out.
By Harry Potter’s 5th year, it’s become all too clear that there’s more than enough misery to go around the wizarding world. Contrary to what muggles may think, magic does NOT solve all your problems. Sometimes, it can’t even solve your most tragic problems. Many fans wished they could have seen more of Frank and Alice Longbottom despite their tragic history. Tortured into madness by a few of the more hated Death Eaters, the Longbottoms live in a mental hospital from which they will never leave.
We understand the desire to want to meet the Longbottoms. They’re heroes, after all. But when Harry, Ron, and Hermione come upon Neville visiting his parents over Christmas break, a truly upsetting scene emerges. Augusta, Neville’s formidable grandmother, is shocked and angry that Neville’s friends don’t know all about the Longbottoms' tragedy. Rather than from shame or fear, as Augusta presumes, Neville probably found the idea of telling everyone about private family matters distasteful and unnecessary. We wish she hadn’t told him off so severely—she even accused him of being ashamed of his parents! We’re glad we didn’t have to see it on the big screen.
Molly Weasley is an awesome mom and, as it turns out, a great fighter. But as Voldemort implies on many occasions, caring about people can be a weakness. We know Molly is a strong and masterly parent and Order member, so it’s always unnerving when we see Molly truly frightened.
That’s why many fans were not keen on seeing Molly encounter an errant boggart in the Black family home on Grimmauld Place. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Molly encounters a boggart that shifts into her worst fears (as they do). This includes dead Arthur, dead Harry, dead Ron, dead Fred and George (note that even in her worst fears—Molly never dreamed that the twins might be separated). Harry comes upon Molly during her struggle and fetches Remus Lupin to help. We think it’s safe to say that nobody wants to see the best mom in the series feeling that frightened and upset.
Character deaths are always hard, whether it’s The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, or even someone from the Arrowverse that you know will be back to life in a few weeks. There is a small segment of readers for whom the death of vivacious photog Colin Creevey is the worst and saddest in the entire series. Worse than Cedric, or even Sirius. Some might say even worse than Dobby and Dumbledore put together. After all, Dobby and Dumbledore lived long, full lives. Colin didn’t.
When the Battle of Hogwarts begins, the elder Creevey brother is intent on fighting despite being underage. Minerva refuses, but he finds his way back to the battle anyway. The next time we see Colin, former quidditch captain Oliver Wood is carrying his tiny body away. Colin died because he was brave. As a member of Dumbledore’s Army, he believed he had a duty. Some of us wonder how young Dennis coped with his brother’s death. Others of us are just happy Colin was replaced with the more disposable “Nigel” before we had to see him murdered.
We hope you enjoyed this list of scenes we’re glad never made it into the Harry Potter films? Disagree? Did we miss your pick? Tell us all about it in the comments.