Despite the Harry Potter movie franchise having a chafing a $6.5 billion to represent its success, there are still diehard fans of the book series that will point out its flaws. The first film came out in 2002, with not only a culminating cast but a tangible view of the wizarding world that readers had grown to imagine. Like most book-to-film adaptations, not all of these details were represented in the film versions. Not even with Harry Potter and the Philosopher' Stone, which is notably thinner than the remainder of J. K. Rowling’s books.
Director Christopher Columbus did a pretty decent job honing in on the important details of the novel (compared to his successors, anyway). Some of these details were left out because it didn’t push the plot forward or because there were more enticing ways to represent certain situations on screen. And with that, here are 10 things they cut from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone book in the movie.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone opens up with Harry in his cupboard, completely ignorant to the journey that lies ahead of him. Readers get a brief introduction of his stocky and menacing family, the Dursleys. Without knowing their full backstory, it becomes known that the Dursleys are aware of the wizarding world and they despise it.
In fact, just before Harry arrives on their doorstep, Vernon has a run-in with some wizards on the street who are rejoicing in Voldemort's demise. He tentatively brings this up to his wife Petunia, only to feel foolish and ashamed to bring up the strange characters he saw on the street.
The Hogwarts Sorting Hat takes center stage in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The Sorting Hat Ceremony in the films is obviously a lot shorter than what goes on in the books but the actual procession that happens every year is drastically altered.
This is mainly because the Sorting Hat doesn’t get to sing its annual song (which changes every year). This is, no doubt, cut from the movie for time's sake.
The opening sequence for the first Harry Potter installment goes like this: Harry releases a python from the zoo, he gets the letter from Hogwarts, the Dursely's take Harry and Dudley to a remote cabin to get away from the letters from Hogwarts, Hagrid finds Harry, Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley to get his supplies, Harry goes to Hogwarts.
But in the book, he actually has to return to the Dursley‘s after his visit to Diagon Alley. Hagrid picks up Harry on his birthday which is July 31 but the train doesn't leave for Hogwarts until September 1. The back-and-forth is probably a strange transition especially because the Dursley‘s are even more infuriated now that Harry knows about the wizarding world.
That’s not all the Dursleys have to endure when it comes to Harry’s new school. His family actually drives him to King's Cross to get onto Platform 9 3/4. In the films, it appears that Hagrid does this seemingly directly after their Diagon Alley venture. The Dursley’s agree to take him to King's Cross because they’re going into London anyway to have Dudley’s tail removed.
So they take him, and Uncle Vernon even wheels Harry's trunk onto the station. But his strange act of kindness stops short once Vernon maliciously points out that there is a Platform nine and ten but no Platform 9 3/4. The Dursley’s drive off laughing, leaving eleven-year-old Harry lost and confused.
Readers of the Harry Potter series are unanimously upset that Peeves the Poltergeist doesn't make it into the films. Apparently, he was cast and scene with him was shot, but it was ultimately removed.
For those who haven’t read the books, Peeves is a mischievous ghost who routinely gets in the way of the students and the professors alike. He causes chaos and his wake and takes joy in harassing anyone in his path. Despite these tedious annoyances, Peeves is actually a really enjoyable character so it’s a shame that he never made it into any of the films.
In the first film, Harry finds the Mirror of Erised. This mirror shows the viewer what they desire the most. In Harry’s reflection, he sees his parents standing side-by-side behind him. In the movies, anyway.
Reading about the Mirror of Erised, you are able to imagine the scene a little bit differently as Harry see his parents flanking one either side of him along with his grandparents and the rest of his extended family. Who knows what actually happened to the rest of Harry’s relatives, and perhaps this question is why it is omitted from the film.
Draco Malfoy starts taunting his peers during a Slytherin versus Gryffindor Quidditch match. In his natural way of bullying, he goes on to further insult Neville personally. It's in this scene from the book that Neville finds it within himself to stand up to Draco and says “I am worth 12 of you."
This starts a fight between Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle with Neville and Ron who has his back. Neville tries to single-handedly take on Crabbe and Goyle, but he gets knocked out and has to be taken to the hospital wing.
There is another scene that isn’t in the films that would have been quite funny to see on screen. During the winter holidays, Fred and George and their usual shenanigans are found jinxing snowballs to continuously hit the back of Professor Quirrell's head.
They probably deemed the professor too fragile and timid to punish them. They aim the snowballs straight at his turban, which is pretty hilarious once you realize that Voldemort lies on the other side of his wrap.
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry seems pretty surprised that he gets Christmas presents. The only thing that the film shows what Harry receives are the sweater from Mrs. Weasley along with the Invisibility Cloak. But in the book, Harry actually gets presents from a handful of people, including his Aunt Petunia (although all she gives him is a £.50 piece).
He also gets a large pack of chocolate frogs from Hermione and a flute from Hagrid. This flute is later used in an order to lull Fluffy to sleep. In the film, Snape (Qurriell) is noted to have left a harp playing, which helps the trio get through the trap door.
Beneath the trap door, Harry, Ron, and Hermione face their first obstacle which is the Devil's Snare. Brilliant Hermione, of course, finds a way to get through the tentacles that are slowly creeping around their necks. After that, Harry must use his Quidditch skills in order to find the key to the next door. Following that is the scene in which the trio have to play a game of wizards chest of literal mass proportions. Because Ron gets hurt, Hermione stays behind to take care of him, leaving Harry to face Quirrell alone.
However, in the book, there are a couple more hurdles in their path. The scene that the film omits is actually Snape‘s defense against anyone who is looking for the Philosopher's Stone. It requires the intruder to solve a potions riddle, which Hermione easily solves. Quirrell actually has his own defenses in there as well which just happens to be another mountain troll. But by the time they must face it, Quirrell has already knocked it out.