Harry Potter: 5 major differences between the books and the movies

Having 8 movies adapted from the Harry Potter books, there are of course dozens of differences in the movies than from their original materials, but here are the 5 most significant ones!

The origin of Voldemort

There is way less coverage regarding the origin of Voldemort in the theater than in the books. In the movies, Dumbledore showed Harry very briefly how the young orphan Tom Marvelo Riddle became the Dark Lord.

Voldemort’s origin is well explained in the books. He was a half-blood conceived purely under the influence of his mother’s love potion, making him forced linkage between Merope Gaunt the witch and Tom Riddle the muggle. But his mother decided to stop the love potion, Tom abandoned his wife and his son. It explained Voldemort’s hatred towards the muggles and the half-bloods.

The broken Elder Wand

There’s a difference that makes the purists grind their teeth. In the book, Harry placed the Elder wand back in Dumbledore’s tomb while in the movie Harry simply broke it into two, and threw it away… 

Peter Pettigrew’s death

Voldemort’s servant sacrificed his hand to save his Master, who offered him a silver hand in return. When Pettigrew was trying to stop Harry and his friends from escaping from the Malfoy Manor, he had a brief hesitation when strangling Harry with this silver hand.

This brief hesitation was seen as a betrayal by Voldemort, and hence was punished. In the movie, however, Pettigrew was simply disarmed by Dobby.

The importance of house elves

The house elves play a more important role in the books whereas they are way less important in the movies. Like Dobby, they are often maltreated. It was just briefly skimmed in the movies, but had a larger importance in the books. For example, the book mentioned Hermione’s foundation of the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.

In the books, some of them were employed in Hogwarts’ kitchen. As for Dobby, it was him who gave Harry Gillyweed for him to breath under water for the Triwizard Tournament’s second task, but not Neville as shown in the movie.

Fewer puzzles

J.K. Rowling wrote books filled with puzzles and enigmas. But the movies contain way fewer of them, privileging action to reflexion. One of the most elaborate puzzles in the books that did not make its way to the big screen, was the scene in the Philosopher's Stone where Hermione solved Snape’s puzzle and find the potion for Harry Potter to advance and to confront Quirrell.

In the third task of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry Potter was roaming an empty maze in the movie, while he was facing a Sphinx in the book. The only way Harry Potter could pass and continue his journey was to solve the Sphinx’s riddle.

Lavender Cheung

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