The Harry Potter film series and novels haven’t divided the fanbase as much as you think. While other young adult series like The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games have deviated away from source material to the extent that there separate fans for the films and the novels, the Harry Potter series has accomplished in bringing all fans together without most people picking sides over which is better. The films all have a very comfortable feel to them – something other young adult series have never been able to accomplish.
As the series progressed, directors started taking liberties with changing stuff up from the novels due to the content of the books being so long that they just couldn’t be translated onto the screen considering the runtime restrictions and the budget. This meant that the stuff that was supposed to be like in the books have now been given a different interpretation to suit the film series’ needs. A lot of them ended up being better than the original events, while a lot didn’t turn out quite as well. For the most part, all the differences were still of good quality, so you didn’t feel as if you hated the change.
Some of these changes still weren’t better than the books, and these could’ve still been brought to the screens as they were in the novels, which makes them worthy of being listed out.
So, with that in mind, here are 15 Things The Harry Potter Movies Did Worse (And 10 It Did Better).
25 Worse: Voldemort’s End
The whole idea behind Voldemort’s perishing in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ novel version was that he went out like any normal human would; this was to show that despite him wanting to escape passing away, he ultimately was a human after all.
The film version disregarded all of this reasoning in order to make it look visually appealing, and came up with a lazy scene where Voldemort slowly disintegrated. Not only was this without reason, it wasn’t fun to watch either as Voldemort took several seconds to vanish. The book version was miles better.
24 Worse: Dumbledore “Attacking” Harry For Putting His Name In The Goblet Of Fire
Some narration in books are open to interpretation and films can show them differently than what the reader might have imagined. But when the novel literally said Dumbledore approached Harry “calmly”, it was an absolute disaster how the film Dumbledore manhandled Harry for seemingly putting his name in the Goblet of Fire.
Michael Gambon hadn’t been sitting too well in fans’ minds, who preferred the more gentle Richard Harris version, and he gave them more reason to not be so attached to him by laying it on extra thick with the hammy in this scene.
23 Better: Climactic Battle With Voldemort
In the novel, Harry and Voldy’s final confrontation only comprised of an exchange of dialogue in the Great Hall followed by both sending a singular spell at each other. Although it made for good reading how Harry confronted Voldemort with all his sinister actions, it wasn’t action-packed.
The film version bettered this by delivering fine entertainment quality to viewers. Having the read the book, we all knew what Harry would’ve said, so it was the right decision to switch it up and make the climactic battle explosive. Harry and Voldemort would battle all around Hogwarts, complete with flying, falling and more destruction.
22 Worse: Harry’s Goodbye To Ron In Deathly Hallows
The novels do a better job at showing how close Harry and Ron are. In the books, Harry and Ron’s dialogue was always geared toward brotherly exchanges and they were much closer according to the narration.
But their goodbye in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was far from close as Harry only spoke to Hermione and embraced her. Ron would languish in the back without offering any consolation and even looked bored of what was happening. The two didn’t speak nor did they hug one more time.
21 Worse: How Ron And Hermione Got Together
The movies cut out Hermione’s S.P.E.W. exploits, which meant we never got the sense Hermione had any sympathy for House-elves in the films. In the books, Hermione was obsessed with giving freedom to House elves and the fact that Ron was the one who thought about protecting them in the Battle of Hogwarts was what finally motivated Hermione to leap into his arms.
It made complete sense according to characterization, but Deathly Hallows – Part 2 instead had Ron and Hermione embrace simply because they destroyed a Horcrux; not because Ron acted noble or anything.
20 Better: Battle With Tom Riddle And The Basilisk
In the novel version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry dukes it out with the basilisk as well, but this was nowhere near as cinematic as the film version. This version bettered the novel by making the pursuit of Harry by the basilisk a heart-pounding ordeal.
It then made Harry’s defeat of the basilisk ever magnanimous as you saw the sheer scale of the basilisk. The scene was then completed by Harry disposing of Tom Riddle in thrilling fashion, which was preceded by a superb exchange of dialogue; it was mad level of chemistry going on here, and the special effects still hold up seventeen years later.
19 Worse: Ending Of Prisoner Of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was the best-reviewed film in the series until Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and for good reason, because the film is the most accurate depiction of Hogwarts, with the castle really coming to life in this interpretation.
What the film didn’t do well, though, was ending on a so-so note. Unlike every other Harry Potter film, this one didn’t end with the heroes saying a heartfelt goodbye, rather it just signed off with a whimsy scene where Harry flies off on the Firebolt. It gave off the feeling that things were left incomplete, which was a shame. The film would've been better off with firm resolution.
18 Worse: Solving the Trapdoor Challenges
The Trapdoor challenges in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were very good, but they weren’t to the level described in the book. If you’re wondering why the picture above is of a troll, seeing that the film didn’t have one in the challenges, it’s because according to the book there was a troll there.
It had been knocked out by Quirrell, but the heroes did encounter it. The best part cut off, however, was the poison and antidote vial sequence which really showed just how smart Hermione was and was a better reason for Harry to proceed to Voldemort alone rather than Hermione simply hanging back with an unconscious Ron.
17 Better: Harry And Hermione’s Time Without Ron In Deathly Hallows
The book and movie are almost around the same level in this regard, but we’ll have to hand it to the film version because it gave us that great dancing scene between Harry and Hermione. While the two were wallowing in despair for Ron’s loss in both versions, it felt lacking in the novels as Harry and Hermione didn’t show us a reason why they could co-exist fine.
The film version proved why they were best friends by having Harry cheer her up with an upbeat track on the radio and then jam to it with her. It was a sweet display of friendship and affection.
16 Worse: Hagrid’s Time With Norbert
In the first book, the dragon Norbert stuck around for a lot longer than just the one scene was shown in the film. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were at their wit’s end due to Norbert, who was so wild to control that Hagrid was close to losing his job if it wasn’t for his three friends constantly covering up for him. In the end, the trio managed to arrange for Norbert’s departure by asking Charlie Weasley’s friends to take him away.
The film only had a throwaway line where Hagrid informed the trio that Dumbledore sent Norbert away. This took away the level of friendship and dedication that the three friends had shown toward Hagrid, which was something that would’ve been better to put in the film.
15 Better: Quidditch Games In Films 1 And 2
Quidditch sequences are a fan favorite now because of their excellent replay value. You get a sense of marvel watching these larger than life matches, complete with the magic that the series brings. The first two films stayed true to the wonder of Quidditch and the games were a sight to behold.
They were portrayed better than the books, which mainly focused on the hijinks going around in the matches rather than the matches themselves. In the films, we got to see the high pace action of the match as well as the story progression.
14 Worse: Quidditch Game in Half-Blood Prince
After a long absence, the Quidditch sequence returned and were a complete disappointment. Rather than showing us the pace of the match, Half-Blood Prince’s movie only had a few cuts that had Ron display his keeping skills.
While that was supposed to convey the story of the matter, there was no investment from the filmmakers or the audience for this scene because there was nothing to set the stage. It was like a highlight reel that lasted for a very short amount of time. It’s a pity because we never got to see another Quidditch match after this.
13 Better: Harry And Sirius’ Relationship
Harry’s distraught state at losing was only touched upon in the film, but preceding that his relationship with Sirius had been bettered at every turn compared to the book. In the films, Harry and Sirius were far closer; their bond was more brotherly in the books, but the films had them as close as father and son.
In the books, Harry never once hugged Sirius while he routinely did so in the movies and their interactions were also far more in-depth. Sirius comforted Harry every opportunity he had and the two would always have heartfelt conversations which touched upon their emotions.
12 Worse: Fred’s Ending
The reaction of the Weasley family toward Fred’s passing was done well in the film, but how he passed away left a lot to be desired. We only saw his implied passing in the film, while he was seen to outright pass away in the novel.
He went out just how you would expect to; by making a joke. The best part was how Fred had reconciled with Percy and we saw them both be like true brothers once more, only for Fred to lose his life in an explosion. It was heart-wrenching but effective; the film missed this chance.
11 Better: Sirius’ Final Moments
Sirius’ exit from the novels really could’ve been done better in a whole lot of ways, but he ended up going out looking like a fool when he was struck by a spell and fell into the mysterious veil. The films did it much better by having Sirius first impart how much he admired Harry, and his last act to be one where he sought to protect his godson.
The crowning moment was when he punched Lucius rather than use magic, which showed just how human his love for Harry was. Sirius was also blindsided by Bellatrix rather than taken by surprise, which was a better way to rip him away from Harry.
10 Worse: The Attack On The Burrow
This is something that wasn’t at all in the novel, but it’s done worse because the scene was just the worst. The only reason the scene was there was to have extra screen time for Bellatrix, who wasn’t in Half-Blood Prince at all following the one appearance she had at the beginning of the book.
The attack was nonsensical because it had no bearing on the plot; it only made everyone look stupid. How could Death Eaters find the Burrow so easily, which was supposed to be the Order’s headquarters? In Deathly Hallows – Part 1, the Burrow is back to normal, so what was the point of it burning down?
9 Better: Ministry Of Magic Duel Between Dumbledore and Voldemort
If you think about it, Dumbledore and Voldemort only had one interaction during the entire series and that was a legendary battle in the ministry. The book’s version was epic in itself, but it held back on the powers of both players.
Dumbledore had assistance from Fawkes while Voldemort cheated. In the film, both wizards went toe to toe in an all-out war which showed their greatest strengths. The battle was highlighted by the awe-inspiring sight of Voldemort destroying every glass shard in the ministry and then possessing Harry. It was a masterclass of cinema.
8 Worse: Confrontation With Lucius Malfoy In Diagon Alley
The interaction between Mr. Weasley and Lucius Malfoy was a lot more hostile than in the movie. What really happened was that Lucius insulted Mr. Weasley to the point that the latter lost his cool and punched Malfoy straight in the face.
The film version only had Mr. Weasley writhe in anger but hold back in order to avoid a scene, but it would’ve been better to show the angry side of Mr. Weasley and what his family meant to him as was shown in the novel. It would've cemented how Mr. Weasley valued his family more than his reputation.
7 Better: All Of The Battle Of Hogwarts
The battle of Hogwarts was superb in both mediums, but its true scale could only have been possible to see in film. The sequence where Harry, Ron, and Hermione race around the castle; the destruction in full display and hostility around every corner is sure to terrify anyone.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was 90-percent about this battle and the film did it true justice as the battle was heart-breaking, vicious and destructive. You couldn’t ask for more from a fantasy movie, which makes it a shame the film wasn’t nominated for an Oscar.
6 Worse: Everything About Ginny
The books had Ginny develop more from the bland sister of Ron with a creepy crush on Harry to a fiery young woman with a lot more skill than met the eye. Yet, the films ignored this and gave us the bland version as Harry’s love interest.
Truth be told, even the book version was hard to like, but at least she had some characterization going her way; the film version always remained boring and without emotion. This Ginny was thrown together with Harry without displaying any chemistry or any reason for Harry to fall for her.
5 Better: The Cave
The Cave scene from the novel is one of the rare Harry Potter moments where the series dived into the horror genre. It was chilling from the start and was made outright horrifying when the Inferi began dragging Harry down, only for Dumbledore to conjure a ring of fire and save him.
All this was bettered on-screen in the film version as the epic music gave the whole thing a sense of grandeur. The relationship between Harry and Dumbledore – how heartbroken Harry was for making Dumbledore drink the potion – was top notch. The music was ultimately what made this scene outclass.
4 Worse: Peter Pettigrew’s Final Scene
Peter Pettigrew’s importance receded with every new part in the series to the point that he didn’t even get his canonical ending from the books. Pettigrew strangled himself in Deathly Hallows, but this was changed to Dobby stunning him from behind in Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
His final scene was a complete copout as it diminished everything about Pettigrew. At least in the book, Pettigrew felt a twinge of regret before he perished, but the movies only made his final scene a joke for the kids.
3 Better: Sirius’ Escape
The novel version of this was fraught with worry and everyone involved was rushing to escape. The film version had a very touching moment for Harry and Sirius where they confessed how much they wish they could be together as a family.
In addition to that, this version made the escape a thing of fun; something both Sirius and Harry shared, adding to how much they were alike and would’ve been perfect for each other had circumstances been right. Watching the film version will always bring a smile to your face as the good guy escapes in a fitting hurrah.
2 Worse: Voldemort’s Extreme Hammy Characterization
The Voldemort in the novels always remained a source of sinister happenings. He was devious, manipulative and charming as a youngster; the older Voldemort was powerful, cunning, and ruthless.
The film Voldemort, while retaining his powers, was quite a comedic character. He had many lines that were delivered in a funny manner, and his overall mannerisms were something you would find in Roger Moore’s James Bond. The film version was made out to be a bit of a joker what with his affinity for awkward hugs and penchant for wide-mouthed grins. He’s not really someone you get afraid of.
1 Better: Ending Of Chamber Of Secrets
The new generation might find this ending to be “cringe”, but back when we had simpler and happier minds, this ending brought a swelling sense of pride in our chests to be Harry Potter fans. Chamber of Secrets ends with the entire Hogwarts faculty and students giving Hagrid a round of applause for having his name cleared fifty years after he was accused of something he didn’t do.
The music sets the stage for tears to fall and everyone to be united in joy; it was everything that the Harry Potter series was about: being accepting of all kinds of people. Meanwhile, the book had ended with Harry asking Hermione if she was mad for thinking he’d enjoy his summer with the Dursleys – you can see why the film version is better.