Potterheads tend to come in three flavors: those of us who have read each of the seven books multiple times, those of us who have binge-watched all eight of the movies more than we can count, and those of us who have done both. As diehard fans, we can’t help but compare the two mediums, since, with each book containing over 76,000 words, there were bound to be some elements that were lost in translation. In this article, we’ll look through major differences between each book and its corresponding movie, then finish up with some general ones.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone for US fans)
Harry’s Eyes: Whenever someone met Harry for the first time, they always commented that he had his mother’s green eyes. However, actor Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry in all the movies, couldn’t change his blue eyes since he is allergic to contact lenses.
Character Appearances: Harry isn’t the only one who’s appearance changes from book to movie. In the book, Hermione is described as having extremely bushy hair and large front teeth, but as we can see, Emma Watson did not. Ron is described as tall and lanky, with a long nose and blue eyes. (Actor Rupert Grint has green eyes).
Harry and Draco’s First Meeting: In the novel, Harry met Draco Malfoy and rejected his friendship in Diagon Alley, but in the film, this happens at Hogwarts before the Sorting Hat ceremony. Speaking of the Sorting Hat, did you know that it sings a song before every ceremony in the book—but not in the movie.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Filthy Mudblood: Big screen Hermione is aware of the term “Mudblood,” while in the book both she and Harry need to be taught its meaning by Ron.
No Magic Filch: The movie never clarifies that Mr. Filch is a squib and has no magic, which would go a long way to explaining why the Hogwarts caretaker is so cranky all the time.
Paint A Message: In the film, the heir of Slytherin’s message is written in blood, while in the book, it’s paint.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Going Incognito: Harry pretends to be Neville Longbottom while on the Knight Bus in the novel.
Protective Knight: In the book, Sir Cadogan’s portrait replaces the Fat Lady’s after she’s attacked by Sirius Black.
First of Many: On the big screen, it’s never shown that Harry and Gryffindor wins Hogwarts’ Quidditch Cup.
We Solemnly Swear That We’re Up To No Good: The film doesn’t explain the origin story of The Marauders—James Potter (Prongs), Sirius (Padfoot), Remus Lupin (Moony), and Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail)—or how they became unregistered Animagi and created their Marauder’s Map to help Lupin with his werewolf transformations.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Weasley Rift: Percy Weasley’s job at the ministry and the betrayal of his family isn’t in the film.
Bee in His Bonnet: Dumbledore calmly confronted Harry about putting his name in the Goblet of Fire in the book, whereas in the movie, he was rather angry…and intense. This also makes his actions when confronting Barty Jr. at the end of the movie less impactful, since it is one of the only times in the books that we see a furious Dumbledore – further reinforcing his status as the world’s greatest wizard.
Where’s Bagman: Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, Ludo Bagman was omitted from the film, as his character was combined with Barty Crouch Snr’s. This also closes off his story with Fred and George Weasley, where he cheats the twins on a bet.
Where is She Getting The Scoops: In the books, journalist Rita Skeeter can turn into a beetle and is an unregistered animagus, which is how she is able to listen in on Harry’s conversations and twist his words to sell headlines.
No Love For the Elves: Hermione’s SPEW (The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) wasn’t mentioned in the film. Also, Neville gave Harry the gillyweed for the second Triwizard Tournament task in the movie, but it was actually Dobby in the book.
Funding the Twins: After Harry won the Triwizard Tournament, he gave his 1000 galleon winnings to Fred and George so they could start Weasleys Wizard Wheezes—which isn’t in the film.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Quidditch Woes: Quidditch is not featured at all in the fifth film, but is very much alive in the book, including Ron being named keeper and Professor Umbridge banning Harry, Fred, and George from the sport. Ginny then replaced Harry as seeker.
Creepy Death Horses: Hagrid told Harry about Thestrals in the book, while Luna Lovegood did in the movie.
Snivellus: The film doesn’t show the full extent of Snape’s worst memory, which involved Lily Potter and the Marauders.
Sneak: While Cho Chang spills the beans about Dumbledore’s Army in the film, it’s actually Marietta Edgecombe in the book.
Who’s The Chosen One: It’s revealed in the books, but not the movies, that Professor Trelawney’s prophecy about The Chosen One who will defeat Voldemort—”born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies”—could have also been applied to Neville Longbottom, who was also born in July and whose Auror parents were also part of the original Order of the Phoenix.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Black Home: Harry inherited Grimmauld Place and Kreacher in the book after Sirius Black’s death.
Gaunt History: The story of the pureblood Gaunt family—Voldemort’s ancestors—is cut from the film.
The Curse of DADA: Years earlier, Dumbledore rejected Voldemort’s Defense Against the Dark Arts application, which may be why the position is cursed. This is not addressed in the movie at all.
The Princely Name: It’s not explained in the film that Snape named himself the “Half-Blood Prince” because he’s half wizard, half muggle, and his mother’s maiden name is Prince. There’s also no mention that this is another thing that connected him to Voldemort.
Harry and Ginny: Unlike in the movie, where Harry and Ginny get together towards the end, the pair are in relationship throughout much of the book, but Harry breaks up with her for her own safety once he decides to drop out of Hogwarts and go looking for Horcruxes.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Saying Goodbye: Harry’s farewell with the Dursleys is omitted from the film, including Dudley thanking Harry for saving his life. (But it is a deleted scene in the adaptation.)
Kill Yourself: Peter Pettigrew dies in the books after being compelled to strangle himself with the hand gifted to him by Voldemort.
Dumbledore’s Regret: Dumbledore’s full backstory—from his friendship with Gellert Grindelwald to the tragedy of his sister Ariana—isn’t detailed in the movie.
The True Master of the Wand: Harry breaks the Elder Wand in half at the end of the film. But in the book, he uses it to fix his wand, and then returns it to Dumbledore’s grave.
Other Major Changes:
Older Characters: James and Lily Potter were just 21 when they died, but were portrayed by much older actors. Same with Remus, Sirius, and Peter, who would have been around 32 when they were first introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban.
Perfect Hermione: Potterheads have long complained about how Ron was portrayed in the films. While he largely served as comic relief, many of his (and to a lesser extent, Harry’s) braver and more intelligent moments throughout the books were given to Hermione on the big screen.
Ginny’s Personality: Fans also feel that Ginny was dealt a disservice in the films, as she was much more outgoing, vivacious, and dynamic in the books.
Are there any differences that we’ve missed? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!