Top 10 Differences Between Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Movie & Book



Top 10 Differences Between Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Movie & Book

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
"Harry Potter" readers all caught these differences between "The Philosopher's Stone" book and movie. For this list, we'll be looking at the biggest changes between the first Harry Potter book and its screen adaptation. Our countdown includes priorities, Nicolas Flamel, Peeves, and more!

Top 10 Differences Between Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Book and Movie

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Differences Between Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone Book and Movie.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the biggest changes between the first Harry Potter book and its screen adaptation. We’ll be excluding details like Harry’s eye color, because the filmmakers did try to change Daniel Radcliffe’s eyes from blue to green. He just had a poor reaction to the contacts.

Let us know what changes you love or loathe in the comment.

#10: Priorities

When it comes to Rupert Grint, there’s no one else we could have imagined as Ron Weasley. He’s got the flaming red hair, that crooked grin, and of course his signature humor. In many ways, Ron’s character suffers in the book to movie adaptation, but in the comedy department, he more than shines. Nowhere is that more apparent in the first film than during this perfect exchange with Hermione. After the trio meets Fluffy for the first time, Hermione berates the boys for almost getting her killed, or worse! While Hermione’s line is in the book, Ron’s retort about priorities is new: [“She needs to sort out her priorities.”] It perfectly encapsulates the character’s charm.

#9: Seeker or Chaser?

Everyone in Harry Potter’s orbit is always telling him how much he looks like his father – except for the eyes, of course. As the series goes on, he proves to share some other traits with James as well, including his talent at Quidditch. After Harry lands the Seeker spot, in the film, he learns that his father was also Seeker for the Gryffindor team. But that plays a little bit different in the book. In the book-verse, James was a Chaser, not a Seeker. We’re not sure why the filmmakers made this decision – maybe to make the similarities between Harry and his father more pronounced.

#8: The Mirror of Erised

One of the first film’s most emotional sequences comes when Harry finds the Mirror of Erised, a magical artifact that shows the beholder their deepest desires. In the movie, they smile at him, and his mother puts her hand on his shoulder. It’s a touching moment – but one that plays out slightly differently in the books. In the written version of the scene, Harry sees not only his mother and father, but his entire extended family behind him. The film’s version of events is intimate and bittersweet, but the book’s version really drives home just how lonely Harry feels, and how much he wishes he had family surrounding him.

#7: Nicolas Flamel

This French wizard and alchemist plays a significant role in the first Harry Potter story, mostly for his creation of the titular Philosopher’s Stone. In the film, the trio first hears about Nicolas Flamel when Hagrid accidentally lets his name slip – typical Hagrid, am I right? But in the book, they actually come across his name much earlier. On the train on the way to Hogwarts, Harry reads Nicolas Flamel’s name on the back of Dumbledore’s Chocolate Frog card. This small moment causes Harry to remember Flamel’s name when he hears it later on.

#6: Hagrid & King’s Cross

Hagrid and Harry’s initial meeting in both the book and the film is an absolutely iconic moment. Hagrid picks Harry up on his birthday, which is July 31, and is the person who takes him to Diagon Alley to get all of his school supplies. But – as any committed Potter fan knows – the Hogwarts Express doesn’t leave until September 1. In the book, Harry goes back to the Dursleys, who end up taking him to King’s Cross. But in the film, Hagrid drops Harry off. In this instance, we think the book version makes a bit more sense – Harry ends up getting lost in both cases, and while we can believe the Dursleys would have left him to fend for himself, Hagrid would never.

#5: Peeves

Book fans will remember – with equal parts fondness and disdain – Peeves, the pranking poltergeist who roams the halls at Hogwarts alongside the ghosts. Unfortunately, this character never makes an appearance in the film, but this almost wasn’t the case. Actor Rik Mayall was cast in the role, and even filmed scenes with director Chris Columbus and the rest of the cast. Mayall’s scenes ended up being cut from the movie, but Columbus has reportedly said he would like to release a cut of the movie that includes Peeves. To that, we say… release the Peeves cut!

#4: Professor Quirrell’s Death

Throughout all of the Harry Potter books, Harry has to reckon with death and loss at a far younger age than most, and is forced to grow up really fast. But, we still think this movie change forced him to do something a bit too adult. When Quirrell and Harry face off for the final time in the book, Quirrell realizes he can’t touch Harry, suffering burns when he tries. After Quirrell’s burns become too much, Voldemort leaves his body and essentially kills him. In the movie, things play out a bit differently. Harry realizes the effect his touch has on Quirrell, and then grabs Quirrell’s face and actively tries to hurt him. It’s a dark turn for our hero, to say the least.

#3: Harry & Draco Meet

Harry and Draco’s first meeting in the movie is a memorable one, mostly because of Tom Felton’s delightfully snide portrayal. Malfoy tries to befriend Harry, but ultimately fails after making fun of Ron. In the book, however, the two meet before they ever make it to Hogwarts. While shopping with Hagrid in Diagon Alley, Harry meets Draco at Madam Malkin’s robe shop, where he makes … a similar impression, to say the least. We’re not sure why this moment was changed in the movie, but our father will be hearing about this.

#2: The Welcome Feast

If you’re a huge Potter fan, you probably remember the first time you saw the Great Hall – it was spectacular, a true feat of set design that captured the magic of the book. But while the set may have been exactly what we imagined, the sequence of events was a bit different. In the books, the Sorting Hat sings a welcome song to the waiting first years, who are put into alphabetical order to be sorted – meaning an anxious Harry will go close to last. After the sorting, Dumbledore gives an odd, amusing speech, and the feast begins. The movie cuts out almost all of this – no song, no speech, and no alphabetical order.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Different Snakes
A Boa Constrictor in the Book, a Burmese Python in the Film

A Missing Neville Longbottom

The Saga of the Dragon Was Cut Short on Screen

Hagrid’s Expulsion
In the Films, We Had to Wait Until “Chamber”

Two Non Blondes
Petunia & Dudley, Blonde No More

#1: The Potions Task

Much like the welcome feast, the trio’s adventure to find the philosopher’s stone in the books plays out a bit differently in the films. For one, Ron doesn’t have to remind Hermione that she doesn’t need wood to create a fire to fight Devil’s Snare! But perhaps more importantly, one of the tasks the trio has to overcome is cut out altogether. In the books, the final task that Harry and co. faces is a potions-based one, where they’re asked to figure out what potion they need to drink to move on. This task is completely cut out in the film, moving right from the chess game to the chamber.

Sign in to access this feature