In the first six out of the eight movies in the Harry Potter series, Harry and his friends and peers make their trek to Hogwarts aboard the Hogwarts Express. With the exception of Harry and Ron’s highly illegal maneuver they partake in by driving the Weasley family’s flying car to Hogwarts, the Hogwarts Express is shown to be the only method of transportation onto school grounds. For book readers, this was always an opportunity for a fresh introduction, but in the films, many parts were cut out to avoid repetition and save on time.
Here are 8 facts about the train to Hogwarts the movies leave out.
The initial meeting between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy is a bit more long-winded in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They initially meet in Diagon Alley while getting robes, and have a little conversation.
Then, Harry learns about who Draco really is on the Hogwarts Express, finding out about him and his family’s reputation. In the film, however, this meeting was stripped down to a short scene at Hogwarts where Harry quickly decides he’s not interested in befriending him. The film shows no sign of Malfoy, his friends, or any other Slytherins on the train up until that point.
At around the point of the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the sequences on the Hogwarts Express seem to get shortened exponentially. Movie fans have already seen enough of the train to grasp it, and now scenes taking place on it mainly serve a purpose that directly correlates to the main plot.
While this third film has a great scene showcasing the dementors and the first introduction of Remus Lupin into the series, appearances of other characters that were shown in the books such as Ginny, Neville, and Draco Malfoy are all omitted from the Hogwarts Express sequence.
In the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the first introductions to the Triwizard Tournament are given on the Hogwarts Express, by none other than Draco Malfoy. The information is overheard along with other typical Malfoy boasts along the lines of how his father knows all of this top secret information like details of the Triwizard Tournament, or how he originally was supposed to be a student at Durmstrang.
However, in the films, Harry and friends are simply told about the Triwizard Tournament with everybody else in the Great Hall when they arrive at school.
In the fourth Harry Potter movie, there are two huge omissions: there is no detail of any prize money going to whoever wins the Triwizard Tournament, and there is no Hogwarts Express ride home to showcase more of the aftermath after Harry is deemed the victor, even in these odd circumstances.
In the book, this train ride home is where Harry gives up the thousand galleon prize he’s won to Fred and George Weasley, in order for them to start up their business, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Even though this scene on the Hogwarts Express is never shown in the film, Fred and George’s shop is shown opened and running quite well in the sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, with no explanation of how they started up whatsoever.
Another big omission from the movies is in the fifth installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Ron and Hermione, among others in their year, are selected to be prefects. The books then take this opportunity to show that on the Hogwarts Express, prefects have their own carriages, and thus Ron and Hermione now must sit there, away from Harry.
Harry has other friends to sit with, but it’s a noticeable alienation that plays into later themes from the novel. However, this entire plot point was scrapped for the movies, even though they apparently filmed unused scenes contributing to it. In the movie, Harry sits with Ron and Hermione on the train ride to Hogwarts as if nothing has changed.
In another example of the entirety of the return trip home on the Hogwarts Express being cut, the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, showcases an altercation on the train between Harry’s and Draco’s respective cliques, where Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle want revenge against Harry for their dads’ arrests.
In the book this is then intervened by other members of Dumbledore’s Army and no big quarrel ensues, but instead the movie just decided to cut this entire scene out in an attempt to end on a lighter note.
In the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, one of the newest major characters to be introduced is Professor Horace Slughorn. His main motivation is to “collect” students who he believes will grow up to be or already are famous, and take them under his wing so one day he might have a little of their fame reflect on him.
His yearly inner circle of students known as the Slug Club have a meeting on the Hogwarts Express in the books, but this is noticeably removed from the movie. Instead, we are introduced to them at a later dinner meeting Harry gets to partake in, with each perspective offering unique viewpoints from both the book and the movie.
Another subplot of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a short lived romance between Ginny Weasley and Dean Thomas. In the book, Harry initially wants to share a compartment with Ginny on the ride to Hogwarts, but can’t as she already had planned to sit with Dean, so Harry must sit with Neville and Luna instead.
But with the omission of the Prefect plotline in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry now just sits with Ron and Hermione as usual and we get a brief scene introducing Ginny and Dean’s romance much later in the film.