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Top 10 Worst Changes the Harry Potter Movies Made

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Derick McDuff
Trust me, that scene made way more sense in the book. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Worst Changes the Harry Potter Movies Made. For this list, we’ll be looking at moments from the Harry Potter films that were altered, removed, or added from the original source material, and discussing the negative effect they had on the film adaptation. Since we will be discussing major plot points from both mediums, be advised that there are spoilers ahead.
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Top 10 Worst Changes the Harry Potter Movies Made

Trust me, that scene made way more sense in the book. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Worst Changes the Harry Potter Movies Made.

For this list, we’ll be looking at moments from the Harry Potter films that were altered, removed, or added from the original source material, and discussing the negative effect they had on the film adaptation. Since we will be discussing major plot points from both mediums, be advised that there are spoilers ahead.


#10: Dumbledore Yelling at Harry
‘’Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’’ (2005)

Known for being soft-spoken and contemplative, the novels describe Dumbledore calmly asking Harry if he had put his name into the Goblet of Fire. However, when that slip of paper with Harry’s name on it emerged from the goblet in the film, Dumbledore screamed at Harry while sprinting across the room to grab and practically shake the poor boy. The scene not only became a meme, but came to represent a change in tone many fans of the books were unhappy with. This much angrier Dumbledore, played by Michael Gambon, was in stark contrast to the perfectly cast Richard Harris, who died after playing Dumbledore in the first two films.

#9: The Maze
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005)

The final challenge of the Triwizard Tournament was a daunting maze filled with creatures that would not only test the champions’ magical and physical abilities, but also their intellect. Well, at least that’s what happened in the book, as the only true obstacle of that part of the challenge in the film is the maze itself. The movie also removes a number of noteworthy creatures, including a Boggart, a Blast-Ended Skrewt, and a giant spider, the most interesting one of all is the sphinx. The beast gave Harry a choice of answering his riddle or walking away – and had he answered it wrong, he would have been on the wrong end of the sphinx’s claws.

#8: Cutting Dudley’s Character Growth
‘’Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’’ (2010)

An important theme in the Harry Potter novels was that everyone possessed the ability to change, even those who were raised learning hatred and bigotry. A perfect example of this was Harry’s cousin and childhood bully Dudley Dursley. After years of tormenting Harry, Dudley experienced a major change of heart, standing up for him as they finally parted ways in the final book and expressing gratitude for Harry saving him from a dementor. This moment was even shot for the film, but the emotional goodbye ended up as a deleted scene.

#7: Fewer House Elf Subplots
Various

Throughout the series, author J.K. Rowling featured a large amount of social commentary on how wizards treated other magical races, with perhaps the most prominent example being the treatment of house elves. In the films, however, most of the subplots surrounding house elves and their treatment were completely cut. Winky and SPEW were totally absent, while Kreacher’s role was drastically reduced as well. That said, no elf got a worse deal than Dobby. While he appears in almost every novel, and was a significant part of the second film, he didn’t reappear until just before his death in the seventh movie. The house elf subplots also directly affected Ron and Hermione’s first kiss in the final book.

#6: Cutting the Potions Challenge
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)

The first Harry Potter movie, directed by Chris Columbus, was notable for adapting the book largely beat for beat, so it’s very strange that this pivotal part of the first book’s climax is one of the few things omitted from the first adaptation. One of the challenges protecting the Philosopher’s Stone was a potion puzzle set up by Snape and solved by Hermione. This change not only made Hermione not following Harry into the final room nonsensical, but it robbed viewers of seeing the creative and interesting puzzle that prioritized intellect and logic above magical ability.

#5: Not Explaining the Marauders
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2003)
In the third book, readers were introduced to the backstory of the Marauders and the mysterious map they created. The Marauders were credited on the map as Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs in both mediums, but their true identities were never revealed in the film. In the book, however, readers discovered that the Marauders were in fact Harry’s father James and his best friends Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. The loss of this context lessens the impact of “Prisoner of Azkaban”’s ending, and makes Lupin and Sirius later becoming father figures for Harry less emotionally rewarding.

#4: Omitting St. Mungo’s and Neville’s Parents
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)

While “Order of the Phoenix” was the longest book in the series, it was one of the shortest movies, ultimately cutting many important events. The attack on Arthur Weasley is confusingly sped through, and Harry’s visit to the wizard hospital St. Mungo’s is completely absent. While at the hospital, Harry and his friends run into Neville Longbottom and his parents, who are permanent residents after being tortured into insanity. The tragic look into Neville’s backstory was crucial to understanding his character and his growth into a true hero in the final book. The omission also robbed viewers of a hilarious Gilderoy Lockhart cameo that was a fitting final fate for the charlatan.

#3: Leaving Out Key Characters
Various

Winky and Neville’s parents weren’t the only characters who didn’t make it to the big screen. The Hogwarts poltergeist Peeves and the ghost Professor Binns were both missing, as were Rodolphus Lestrange and a number of other Death Eaters. Even Ludo Bagman was never even mentioned! Many family members are cut as well, such as Tonks’ parents and Voldemort’s ancestors, the Gaunts. Dumbledore’s sister Ariana and her tragic backstory are missing as well, aside from a brief cameo in a painting. Similarly, Charlie Weasley was only seen for a fleeting moment, but he was far from the only Weasley to be shortchanged in the films.

#2: Lessening Ron’s Importance
Various

Though she was fierce, hilarious, and smart in the books, Ginny Weasley became rather boring and one-dimensional in the films. However, things were even worse for her brother Ron. Despite being one of the three central characters, Ron was largely relegated on-screen to being the comic relief. More importantly, he could connect with both Harry and Hermione in a way they never could with each other, and was the glue holding the group together. By losing these elements of both Ron and Ginny’s characters, Harry and Hermione are inadvertently made into possibly the most interesting couple of the film adaptations. A scene added to the seventh film where they share a dance would further fan their shippers’ flames.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Cutting the Sorting Hat’s Song
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)

Harry Breaking the Elder Wand
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” (2011)

Cutting Peter Pettigrew’s Death
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” (2010)

#1: Voldemort’s Death
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” (2011)


Voldemort was obsessed with seeking power and attaining immortality. However, he consistently failed to realize that true power lies not within oneself, but in the love we give and receive from others. His final battle was altered considerably for an ending that sacrificed this important message for something more visually stimulating. During Voldemort’s final moments in the film, he was slowly destroyed and faded away gradually, making him seem like an divine being. However, the books emphasize that he died like a human, and rather unremarkably. Voldemort’s death in the book proved that, in the end, he was just a man.
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