The Harry Potter movies were just as successful as the core material, with JK Rowling's creation flawlessly transitioning from the books to the big screen. Millions of people from all over the globe were enchanted by the story of the teenage wizard learning at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, fighting off Voldemort's efforts to take over the wizarding world. And they do an impressive job of keeping as true to Rowling's original tale as possible.
However, with that in mind, they were never going to be able to cram over a MILLION words into just 1,179 minutes of screen time. So we take a look at the best moments from the books that failed to make it into the movies and reveal why they should have been included.
10 Snape's Puzzle - Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
The first Harry Potter film does a spellbinding job of telling the story of the youngster's first steps into the world of magic. During the finale, we see Harry, Ron and Hermione all set out to prevent who they think is Severus Snape from stealing the Sorcerer's Stone, overcoming numerous obstacles along the way. It begins with Fluffy the three-headed dog before they avoid Devil's Snare, catch a flying key, and battle on a giant chess board. Harry then proceeds alone to a confrontation with the unexpected Professor Quirrell, who is acting on Voldemort's behalf.
But, in the book, there's another puzzle after the chess set. Harry and Hermione find themselves having to think their way out of a potion puzzle set up by Snape. One of the seven vials allows one of them to pass, while another lets them return the way they came. It would have been another good example of Hermione's intelligence and added another spectacular scene to the story had they included it—even if the end result works just as well.
9 The Quidditch World Cup Final - Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is rated as one of the best films of the entire franchise, and rightly so. Like the Prisoner of Azkaban before it, the dark and gritty tone it adopts allows it to develop the story and nail the emotional elements in a way previously unseen before.
However, it would have been great to see the Quidditch World Cup final. The movie shows us the stadium and the game commencing before then flashing forward to Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the Weasley clan celebrating wildly in a tent. In the book, we're told tales of Omnioculars—like binoculars for us but able to watch the showpiece at different speeds—and Veeda. Veeda are the mascots for the Bulgarian team and they amusingly manage to persuade everybody inside to fall for their charms. Viktor Krum on a broomstick, too, would have been a nice touch. It certainly would have been some light relief amid a tense blockbuster.
8 Dumbledore's Howler - Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix
Given that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the biggest book the series, with a huge 257,045 words inside it, the film was always going to miss a few scenes. And at the beginning, they had the perfect chance to explain why the Dursleys keep Harry despite loathing his parents and doing everything they can to make his life a living hell.
In the book, just as it looks like Uncle Vernon will succeed in ousting his nephew following the Dementor's attack on Dudley, Aunt Petunia receives a Howler. The words 'Remember my last Petunia' are spoken and she ends up intervening, telling her husband that Harry will have to stay. We later find out it was Dumbledore, who had informed her of the importance Harry remains there until he comes of age in order to protect him from Voldemort.
7 Sirius Giving Harry The Mirror - Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix
Sirius Black and Harry ultimately do not get as much screen time as they do in the books, even though the former's emotional death is magnificently handled. Whereas Order of the Phoenix has the former Azkaban inmate hand Harry a two-way mirror where they can communicate, the film chooses not to show that. And it makes for a big unanswered question and the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, too.
The mirror is used as a symbol of Harry's remorse when he realizes he could have prevented Sirius' death by using it to contact his godfather when he feared him to be held captive at the Ministry of Magic. Aberforth in the Deathly Hallows movie uses it to spy on the boy and prevent him from coming to harm, but that is never answered on screen. Sure, we know he sends Dobby, but we never get an explanation as to how he knows where they are. Only true fans know.
6 St Mungo's Hospital Visit - Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix
We did say the Order of the Phoenix missed out a lot, although certainly not through any fault of their own. In that film, there was so much going on, with Harry battling his demons, Arthur Weasley being attacked, and the death of Sirius Black. All of those things meant there was barely any time to add anything else in, but a touching scene involving Neville Longbottom's family would have been a welcome inclusion.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione are visiting Arthur in St Mungo's hospital when they stumble across their Hogwarts classmate, who is with his family. Neville's parents act childlike due to mental injuries sustained via the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, Barty Crouch Jr, and other Death Eaters. Being the shy and nervous boy he is, Neville keeps it to himself. Harry had found out via the Pensieve but his friends react surprised and sympathetic.
5 Dumbledore Visiting The Dursleys - Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Professor Dumbledore is a rather unusual being, even for wizard’s standards. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, it is said how everything about him would not please the residents of Private Drive—and one certain household in particular. Therefore, when he tells Harry he will be visiting him in the early stages of Half-Blood Prince, the young wizard finds it hard to believe.
But, lo and behold, Dumbledore makes an appearance. And the Dursleys are left reeling when he turns up out of the blue with Harry failing to give them any notice. He teases them by allowing glasses of mead to nudge against their heads and lectures them on their manners when they fail to take them. The Hogwarts legend also takes great pleasure in summoning Kreacher, the dirty house creature whose very appearance makes Aunt Petunia go pale.
4 Voldemort’s Horcrux Journey - Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince does do a good job with two flashbacks involving young Voldemort, AKA Tom Riddle. We see him as a child at an orphanage, where he is told by Professor Dumbledore that he will be attending Hogwarts and he is also warned that cruelty toward his peers is unacceptable. We also get a glimpse of him trying to charm Professor Slughorn into letting slip about Horcruxes.
However, director David Yates missed a trick by not including more flashbacks of Riddle’s life. In the books, we learn more about his family. How his Grandfather, Marvolo, treated his mother with disdain due to her love of a muggle boy. How his uncle, Morphin, maimed his father and tried to attack a Ministry of Magic official. We also see Voldemort start off in his journey for Horcruxes, cursing Morphin for his grandfather’s ring as a teenager while then killing Hepzibah Smith for her Hufflepuff cup.
3 Dumbledore’s Funeral - Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Half-Blood Prince certainly had cinema-goers tearing up by the end of the film. Who can forget the beautiful score playing in the background as each as every Hogwarts student paid tribute to Dumbledore after the headmaster was slain by Professor Snape?
However, the film should have included the scene from the book where everybody gathers on the grounds of the school to pay tribute to the fallen wizard. With the film being Harry, Ron and Hermione’s final year actually attending the place, it would have been a great chance to get some of the faces we’ve seen in the past back together for one hard-hitting piece. In the book, that includes former Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge; Beuxbatons' giant headmistress Madame Maxime; Tom, the landlord of the Leaky Cauldron; Knight Bus driver Ernie Prang; and much more. Given we never seen these people again—including in the finale—it would have made sense to give both Dumbledore and their respective characters one big, great, final send-off.
2 Fred’s Death - Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 does a brilliant job at delivering a satisfying conclusion to the series. It is a cinematic masterpiece as they nail all the elements of the Battle of Hogwarts, from Harry’s emotional final talk with his parents to Voldemort’s death in the school grounds. However, when it comes to death, the movie does somewhat gloss over some of the other casualties from the book.
Take Fred Weasley, for example. In the book, Harry is present as he watches the 20-year-old die right in front of his eyes, later consoling his brothers Percy, Ron, and George as they mourn their loss. In the film, though, we get no such scene. We see him screaming before watching his family gather around his corpse. Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks’ passing is also washed over, merely showing a picture of their lifeless bodies. And there’s no mention of Colin Creevey, who also perishes, having snuck back into battle despite being underage.
1 Applause - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
One complaint of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is that the film ends rather abruptly when Voldemort’s time in the story is over. There’s a poignant scene of Harry in the Great Hall, having a nice chat with Hagrid, and then he snaps the Elder Wand in half in front a shocked Ron and Hermione. However, despite their best attempts, the film missed out on a brilliant scene from the books.
After defeating Voldemort, Harry returns to Dumbledore’s office—only to be greeted by a right royal racket. Scared the Dark Lord is back from the dead, he panics before realizing that it is merely the portraits of every single headmaster and headmistress applauding him. Sat among them is Dumbledore, who has a single tear rolling down his crooked nose. It would have been an emotional final scene between the duo and another touching celebration of Harry’s stunning achievement.