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Top 10 Shocking Differences Between the Harry Potter Movies and Books

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Allen-Michael Harber

Fans of the Harry Potter books who saw the movie adaptations found that there were a few plot points that the films either didn't explain, didn't capture fully or just flat out ignored. WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Biggest differences between the Harry Potter books and their movie counterparts. But what will take the top spot on our list? The story behind Voldemort's Parents, missing characters like Charlie Weasely, Teddy Lupin and Peeves, or the complete absence of St. Mungo's hospital? Watch to find out!

Big magical thanks to MikeMJPMUNCH for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+Ten+Differences+Between+The+Harry+Potter+Movies+and+Books


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Script written by Allen-Michael Harber

Top 10 Shocking Differences Between the Harry Potter Movies and Books

J.K. Rowling’s epic book series is so magical; it’d be impossible to include it all onscreen. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 differences between the Harry Potter novels and movies.

For this list, we’re looking at characters, stories or pretty much anything else that was left out when the “Harry Potter” books became movies. Since we’re talking about major plot points and characters, you might want to put your Extendable Ears away and do some “light” reading and watching. Ex-spoiler-ramus! And by that we mean, SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Book: There’s a Sphinx in the Maze
Movie: No Sphinx

The “Harry Potter” novels offer some great riddle solving that unfortunately didn’t make the final cut. For example, in “The Philosopher’s Stone,” Hermione has to solve a potions riddle to help Harry confront Professor Quirrell. J.K. Rowling once again threw a puzzle at her characters in “the Goblet of Fire,” but here Harry has no help, trapped alone in a hedge maze during the Triwizard Tournament. While the movie version only has Harry escaping from some scary shrubbery, the book’s maze houses menacing creatures. One such creature is a Sphinx that will only let Harry pass if he correctly answers a riddle. This character inclusion reminded readers of Rowling’s background in mythology, while also suggesting that maybe Hermione rubbed off on Harry!

#9: Book: Animagi Are Explained
Movie: Animagi Are Not Really Explained

Do you know the difference between a werewolf and an animagus? If you’ve only seen the third “Harry Potter” movie, Hermione’s explanation is all you get. However, the books go into greater detail about the process of turning into an animal and the laws surrounding it. We also learn that James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew became unregistered Animagi to accompany Remus Lupin whenever he transformed into a werewolf, and that they created the Marauder’s Map to help sneak out of Hogwarts. So if you didn’t read the books, it might’ve been confusing when Pettigrew became a rat, Sirius a dog and even McGonagall a cat – though you KNOW she did it legally. Understanding what an Animagus is even gives significance to the Potter family’s Patronuses, since James became a stag.

#8: Book: Peter Pettigrew Is Strangled to Death by His Silver Hand
Movie: Peter Pettigrew Does Not Die

Remember when Voldemort gives Peter Pettigrew a shiny new hand after he sacrifices his real one to revive his master? The books prove that this wasn’t just a gift: as Harry and company try to escape from Malfoy manor in “The Deathly Hallows,” Pettigrew is all that stands in their way. He briefly stops himself from killing the son of his best friend, but this proves to be his downfall, as he’s then strangled to death by his own hand since he defied his master, Voldemort. In the movie, Pettigrew is easily put out of commission by Dobby, who only disarms him, but does not kill him. Guess some things are too dark for the silver screen, huh?

#7: Book: Harry Replaces the Elder Wand in Dumbledore’s Tomb
Movie: Harry Breaks the Elder Wand and Throws It Away

Here’s a moment that made all Potter fans gasp. In both the book and film, Harry is revealed as the Elder Wand’s true master after he disarms its previous master, Draco Malfoy. It’s what he does with it in the movie that irks Potterheads to this day. After the Battle of Hogwarts in the final film, Harry does what probably no one with an all-powerful wand would do: he snaps it in two and throws it off a bridge. In the book, however, Harry uses it to fix his own wand – which he always preferred – then returns it to Dumbledore’s grave so that when Harry finally dies, the wand will have no allegiance to anyone else. Well… that makes more sense.

#6: Book: House-elves Are Mistreated, But Play Vital Roles
Movie: House-elves Are Mostly Unimportant, Unseen

“Harry Potter” deals with many issues, but one that’s glossed over in the movies is the mistreatment of house-elves. We do see Dobby as a slave to the Malfoys, but he has much more purpose than the movies let on: for example, he’s the one who gives Harry the Gillyweed in “The Goblet of Fire,” not Neville. Something else the movies don’t show is that Dobby and other house-elves are given proper employment in the Hogwarts kitchens. Plus, the films don’t include the female House-elf Winky, who cares for Barty Crouch Jr., gets fired, and is then employed at Hogwarts. Man, house-elves deserve more credit! Just ask the creator of the S.P.E.W., the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare: Hermione Granger!

#5: Book: Harry & Hermione Miss Ron Separately
Movie: Harry & Hermione Slow Dance to Cheer Up
When Harry, Ron and Hermione search for the Deathly Hallows, their relationship slowly becomes strained. Ron in particular is affected, as he has to wear the Horcrux locket which forces his most negative feelings to surface. Ron soon can’t deal with it, and leaves his two friends alone. In “The Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” Harry and Hermione are wallowing in despair while listening to the radio, when a soothing song pops on. The two then begin to dance with each other, sharing a brief moment of cheerfulness they hadn’t felt for quite some time. But as the song finishes, it’s back to reality. This scene doesn’t appear at all in the books, but is a nice moment between friends.

#4: Book: Voldemort Dies Like a Human
Movie: Voldemort Dies Like a Supernatural Creature

In both the books and movies, Harry and Voldemort are having their final duel and their wands connect as they’d done in the “Goblet of Fire.” Voldemort uses the Elder Wand, even though it doesn’t have allegiance to him, but doesn’t realize that he’s actually fighting its real master. The Elder Wand refuses to harm Harry and rebounds Voldemort’s killing curse back towards him. The book does not afford Voldemort the grandiose death he wanted; instead, he dies like a human in a purposefully anticlimactic way. In the movie, however, Voldemort just sort of breaks apart and fades away, which is visually stunning, but doesn’t have that same finality and affords him more power than he deserves.

#3: Book: Peeves, Ludo Bagman, Charlie Weasley & Teddy Lupin All Exist
Movie: Peeves, Ludo Bagman, Charlie Weasley & Teddy Lupin Don’t Appear

When any book series is given the film treatment, some characters don’t make the cut because they interfere with the pace, but we missed a few! Peeves the Poltergeist, a pesky ghoul who pulls pranks on staff and students at Hogwarts, is a fan favorite. The Ministry of Magic’s head of the Division for Magical Games – Ludo Bagman – appears in “The Goblet of Fire” book, but not the film. Onscreen, the Weasley family’s second eldest, Charlie, is only mentioned and shown in pictures. But an especially upsetting omission is Teddy Lupin, son of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. This book character represents the tragic cyclical nature of the series, as he’s orphaned in the Battle of Hogwarts and essentially becomes his generation’s Harry. They even cast the character!

#2: Book: Various Characters visit St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies
Movie: St. Mungo’s Never Appears

Yep, even the wizarding world needs a hospital. In the books, several wizards are injured enough to be sent to St. Mungo’s, including Arthur Weasley after he’s attacked by Nagini. Some patients are there permanently, like Gilderoy Lockhart who suffers from a backfired Memory charm; bet you FORGOT about him! Other long-term residents are Neville’s parents, who were tortured into insanity with the Cruciatus Curse by Voldemort’s minions. This scene not only shows the terrible effects of the First Wizarding War, it also fleshes out Neville’s tragic backstory, highlighting the fact that the Longbottoms’ history of defying the Dark Lord may’ve made Neville the Chosen One instead of Harry. It may’ve just been too hard to watch when the Longbottoms don’t recognize their own son.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Book: Nearly Headless Nick Has a Deathday Party
Movie: No Deathday Party

- Book: Harry Gets His Firebolt Anonymously for Christmas; It’s Then Confiscated
Movie: Harry Gets His Firebolt from Sirius At the End

- Book: Aunt Petunia Gets a Howler from Dumbledore
Movie: No Howler

#1: Book: Half-Blood Tom Riddle Was Conceived Thanks to a Love Potion
Movie: Voldemort’s Parentage Is Largely Glossed Over

When Dumbledore takes Harry through Voldemort’s past in the movies, we learn a little about how he went from orphan boy to the Dark Lord. The books, however, tell the full story: Voldemort is the son of the witch Merope Gaunt and the Muggle Tom Riddle. Merope fell in love with Tom Riddle, and with the help of a love potion, she married him and became pregnant. Rowling has said it’s important that Voldemort was conceived as a result of force rather than real love, as it explains why He cannot feel love. Merope eventually stopped using the potion, hoping Riddle actually loved her. Unfortunately, he abandoned both Merope and their unborn son. This explains Voldemort’s hatred of Muggles, as well as Half-Bloods, as he himself is one.

Do you agree with our list? Were we put under a Confundus Charm when we made this? For more magical Top 10s be sure to subscribe to

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