11 differences between the Harry Potter books and films

For better or for worse, filmmakers decided to shake things up by making some tweaks

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Harry and Ginny’s relationship is one that fans hold very dearly, so when the directors decided to deviate from the source material, it left some people rather unhappy. In the books, Harry comes into the Gryffindor common room after missing the Quidditch Cup, Ginny runs at him and the two kiss passionately for the first time in front of everyone. In the film, the pair simply share a tender kiss in an attic with no one looking on. It may not have been as flashy as the book, but it was still an effective scene (and a great kiss). 

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While certain fans took issue with Harry and Ginny’s first kiss in the films, some were fuming after seeing Ron and Hermione’s initial smooch. In the last book, Ron advises Hermione to save the house elves during the Battle of Hogwarts. His concern for their welfare leaves her so overcome with happiness that she kisses him. In the film, their kiss comes after the two destroy a Horcrux in the Chamber of Secrets. Sure, it was a lovely kiss, but fans wanted to see the context that was given in the books on the big screen. 

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Neville Longbottom proves his place as a badass wizard in the books during the Battle of Hogwarts. The final instalment in Rowling’s series sees Neville launch himself at Voldemort in an attempt to kill him, only to be stopped and taunted. When Voldemort suggests that he join the Death Eaters, Neville refuses and calls for Dumbledore’s Army to charge against Voldemort. This is replaced in the film by a Hollywood-y speech in which Neville defies Voldemort despite Harry’s apparent death, quickly followed by the boy wizard jumping up and continuing his fight against the Dark Lord. 

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The producers of the last film clearly wanted to take advantage of their visual effects budget. When Bellatrix, Nagini and Voldemort are killed in the movie version, all three explode or disintegrate into thin air. But in the books, it was made very clear that all three of these individuals, especially Voldemort, left their bodies behind. Voldemort’s is actually put into a random room away from the Great Hall, just to show how little he means in death.

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The most powerful wand in all existence meets two separate fates in the book and the movie. In the seventh novel, Harry returns the wand to what he believes to be its rightful resting place — Dumbledore’s tomb, where it was originally stolen by Voldemort. But in the final film, Harry decides that the wand is too powerful to simply leave for someone else to take, so he snaps it in half and throws it off a cliff. While it’s a nice emotional moment in the book, the film’s version makes more sense, logically speaking.

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The novels are very specific about the fate of Peter Pettigrew; when he hesitates over killing Harry during the fight at Malfoy Manor, the silver hand given to him as a reward by Voldemort suddenly turns against him and strangles him to death. But in the film, Pettigrew is simply stunned and left behind. We never find out his exact fate, although based on the fact that he is absent during the Battle of Hogwarts, we can only assume that it’s a rather cruel one. 

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The movies add a bit of flare to the destruction of the diadem that the books didn’t have. In the final novel, Harry doesn’t actually destroy the Horcrux. The fiendfyre created by Crabbe does the job instead and when Harry goes to destroy it, it merely disintegrates. But in the film, Harry uses his basilisk fang to finish the diadem off, adding that extra layer of thrill to the already intense chase sequence.

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Upon his death in the film, Snape looks at Harry and exclaims “You have your mother’s eyes.” But this is inherently incorrect, as the film’s producers decided to cast young Lily as a girl with brown eyes, when Harry’s in the film are blue.

Even so, in the books Harry and Lily’s eyes were neither brown nor blue – they were green, a discrepancy that hasn’t gone unnoticed by fans.

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In a poignant and sad moment in the film version of the Half-Blood Prince, Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback attack the Weasleys’ beloved home, and burn it down. The moment gives weight to the film but also shocked fans, largely because this scene is nowhere to be found in any of the books. The plot twist was inserted by screenwriters to add more emotional heft and action to the film.

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In one of the best sequences in the film adaptation of the Goblet of Fire, Harry evades the Hungarian Horntail as the two fly haphazardly around Hogwarts. The scene almost never existed as, in the book, the entire first task with the dragon takes place entirely within the designated arena, while the beast has a chain attached to it. 

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We had to include this. In the novel version of the Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore asks Harry whether or not he put his name in the Goblet calmly. Calmly. The book even says that he did it “calmly.” But Michael Gambon decided to take a different approach, having his version of Dumbledore get very angry and upset when delivering the same line. While it seems like a small change, it certainly hasn’t escaped the notice of fans.