The Harry Potter movies are great adaptations of the books that we’ll always cherish, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t room for improvement.
One of the most popular and beloved book series, spawned an equally popular and beloved movie franchise. The Harry Potter movies did an admirable job condensing all seven books into eight movies. Of course, they weren’t perfect; it’s impossible to do that many adaptations and make everybody happy. There are, however, 10 things the movies did that are hard to understand, and even harder to forgive.
Harry Potter movies’ sins: The Ridiculous
The long hairstyle sported by many of the boys in the Goblet of Fire movie is unforgivable. Some of those mullet-type mops are questionable at best, and it makes you wonder if maybe they were like that just to make Robert Pattinson’s Cedric Diggory look that much better.
To be fair, many preteen and teen boys around 2005 had that haircut, but that doesn’t make it okay. The story takes place in the 90s after all, so time period accuracy probably would have been a better choice in this case.
Though completely inconsequential to the story, plot, or character development of any kind, the Harry Potter films decided to make the Ravenclaw house color scheme blue and silver instead of blue and bronze, like it is in the books. The Harry Potter movies also have a tendency to use a raven on the house crest instead of the true mascot that’s in the books, which is an eagle.
It’s probably a safe assumption that these decisions were made for marketing reasons. Many people assumed the Ravenclaw crest would have a raven on it given the name, and the eagle could confuse people (even though it’s rare to hear anyone question the absence of a griffin on Gryffindor’s crest).
The choice of silver instead of bronze could have been because they felt bronze would be less appealing to a mass audience, whereas silver is more neutral. Again, these choices have no bearing on the actual story, but that’s also exactly why it’s a frustrating change.
Gender exclusive schools
In the Goblet of Fire movie, Durmstrang is a boys-only school and Beauxbatons is a girls-only school. In the book, however, both schools are mixed. This wholly unnecessary change was likely done just to hyper-masculinize and hyper-feminize both schools because puberty and hormones became a thing in this film.
By extension, this undermines Fleur’s character. It appears as though she’s the only girl chosen because Beauxbatons is an all-girls school and there were no other choices. In reality, Fleur wasn’t just the best girl from her school, she was the best student.
Aside from the glaring gender stereotypes, segregating each school by gender also just doesn’t make sense. If the only French magic school is all girls, where do the other French wizards go? Hogwarts? Likewise for Durmstrang, if it’s an all-boys school, where do witches in the far North of Europe go to school?
As far as we know, there aren’t that many magic schools around the world, and it doesn’t make sense to force certain genders to travel further to get their education. Of course, JK Rowling knew that didn’t make sense, which is why these schools are mixed in the Goblet of Fire book.
An interesting deviation from the Deathly Hallows book is how the Death Eaters die during the final battle. In the Deathly Hallows book, Death Eaters die like everybody else: they just drop dead. The Deathly Hallows Part 2 film, however, depicts Death Eater death rather differently. Instead of their bodies just collapsing in a lifeless heap, they disintegrate in flakey pieces.
Given these films are meant to be watched by children, perhaps the filmmakers thought that watching so many people just drop dead would be too graphic for kids. It’s less severe watching somebody disintegrate, rather than seeing a bunch of bodies pile up.
But when it comes to Voldemort, the flakey deterioration is doing him a favor he doesn’t deserve. The point in the book is, after all his Horcruxes are destroyed, he’s just a man like anyone else. Watching him fall and seeing his lifeless body, reiterates just how pathetic he was and despite all his efforts, shows how not special he truly was.
It was an uncomfortableness felt in packed theatres across the world. Nobody knew whether to laugh, cringe in awkwardness, shrink in fear, or some combination of all three. The moment in question is of course, when Voldemort hugs Draco in the Deathly Hallows Part 2 movie.
It’s still unclear why the Harry Potter movies felt like this was a good scene to add. Maybe it was meant to be disconcerting, evoke a sense of tense calm where you’re not sure if Voldemort is about to snap his neck or not. Regardless of the intention, the result was clunky and awkward, and ultimately, it was just weird to see Voldemort hugging somebody.
Harry Potter movies’ sins: The Unforgivable
Prisoner of Azkaban is a very controversial film. Most either love it or hate it; there’s no middle ground for this one. A large reason why people hate the film adaptation is because the entire backstory of the Marauders doesn’t make it into the film.
Harry gets the Marauder’s map from Fred and George, but Sirius and Lupin never reveal that the map was created by them, along with James and Pettigrew. It is also never explained why the map was created, making no mention of the Marauders’ Animagus abilities, and the backstory of the Shrieking Shack.
In some ways it’s understandable why the Marauders’ backstory doesn’t make it into the Prisoner of Azkaban film. Who the Marauders are and why the map was made is not necessary to the overall plot of the story.
What matters is that Harry gets the map and understands how the map works. That’s a tough pill to swallow for most Harry Potter fans though, since the Marauders’ past is one of, if not the most, popular backstory of the Harry Potter series.
Half-Blood Prince who?
In both the Half-Blood Prince book and movie, Harry spends his entire sixth year using an old potions book previously owned by a “Half-Blood Prince.” This unknown “Prince” had left countless notes in the margins and corrections on the textbook instructions. Harry blindly follows these notes, and while he does end up excelling in potions because of them, he also almost kills Draco.
While this mystery “Prince” is clearly very talented, they also very clearly have a dangerous side. The mystery of this former student’s identity may have a larger focus in the Half-Blood Prince book than the movie, but it’s still an integral reveal, given that it’s the title of the story.
Strangely though, there is no explanation in the movie. There is a moment towards the end of the film where Snape reveals he’s the Half-Blood Prince, but we never actually find out what that means. Sure, the “half-blood” part is probably self-explanatory, but movie-goers will never know that Prince is actually Snape’s mother’s maiden name, and is not meant to just be a moniker of a pompous teenaged boy.
It’s not a huge deal to the overall series story to know this piece of information about Snape, but it does add something more to his character that would be beneficial for the final film.
By choosing his mother’s maiden name, it shows that Snape must have had a decent relationship with his mother, or at the very least that he respected her more than his father, which is clear in the books when Harry sees Snape’s memories in the pensieve at the end of Dealthy Hallows. Either way, it’s a piece of information that gives more insight into Harry Potter’s most complex character.
In the Deathly Hallows book, Harry and Hermione get in a nearly fatal altercation at Godric’s Hollow with Nagini. During the fight, Harry’s wand gets broken and is irreparably damaged. At least, we think it can’t be fixed. At the end of the book when all is said and done, Harry uses the Elder Wand to fix his wand before disposing of it. A small but important moment, since without it, Harry would be left without a wand.
The Deathly Hallows movie, however, elects not to include this moment. Harry’s wand breaks in the same way it does in the books, but the part in between where he fixes his wand, is noticeably absent.
It wouldn’t have been a difficult moment to include. No extra scene is required, nor is much extra time needed. All Harry had to do was pull the pieces of his wand out of his pocket, repair his wand, then get rid of the Elder Wand as the film already has. It’s such a small thing to neglect, but it’s nevertheless a noticeable oversight.
It was hugely controversial when the first Harry Potter movie came out and Daniel Radcliffe had blue eyes, instead of Harry’s green. As you probably already know, Daniel Radcliffe was unable to wear the colored contacts because he was allergic to them.
Understandable, and for most fans, acceptable, as long as the actress who played Lily had the same eye color as Radcliffe. Of course that did not happen, otherwise this wouldn’t be on this list.
During the revelatory scene in the Deathly Hallows movie where Snape’s true allegiance is confirmed, we see a young Lily Potter (or Evans, at the time), and her friendship with Snape. Lo and behold, Lily’s eyes are brown, and if we really want to go there, not even close to the same shape as Daniel’s eyes.
The whole reason for Snape’s true allegiance to the good side is because he sees Lily’s eyes when he looks at Harry. His true love lived on in the boy he hates. Without the direct comparison, the sentiment falls flat, and the reveal of an eight film mystery is kind of a dud.
It should be no surprise what the number one sin is that the Harry Potter movies committed. In the Goblet of Fire book, after Harry’s name is chosen by the Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore pulls Harry aside and asks him if he put his name in the Goblet, “‘Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?’ he asked calmly.” The emphasis here is, of course, on the “calmly.”
For whatever reason, the Goblet of Fire movie took a very different approach to this moment. Instead of Dumbledore’s usually composed demeanor during stressful situations, instead of Dumbledore speaking calmly, the movie version depicts Dumbledore completely lose his cool and attacking Harry, shoving him into the table behind him and yelling at him. It was a totally out of character portrayal, and one that Harry Potter fans have not, and will not, ever forgive or forget.