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Harry Potter: Book Vs. Film, Part 3
By Alexandria Kaplan
November 19, 2010
Harry Potter: Book Vs. Film, Part 3
© Warner Bros/Bob Trate
Here at last is the finale to our comparison of the Harry Potter books vs. the films, covering Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Before we get to it, let’s put it to you Maniacs out there: would you like to see a similar treatment for the two parts of The Deathly Hallows? Let us know!
The Half-Blood Prince
U.S. Book Release: 16 July 2005
U.S. Theater Release: 15 July 2009
Number of Theatrical Viewings: 3
Book vs. Movie: Tie
What the Movie Did Right:
- The brief scene of Harry in the Surbiton station is not in the book. It does offer a nice glimpse of how Harry lives so much in the Muggle world in a very subtle manner.
- Snape is eager to make the unbreakable vow in the book; I prefer his slight hesitation in the film.
- Horace Slughorn is played by the bombastic and heartwarming Jim Broadbent. He does not look like a walrus, and he is not enormously fat, but again, they we cast for performanceand the essence of the characters. He was so perfect.
- The scene involving Katie Bell and the cursed necklace arrives verbatim from the book, and in an appropriately terrifying manner.
- The Christmas attack on the burrow doesn’t exist in the book. I’m not sure why they created it here, but I liked it.
- In the book, the word “Horcrux” is clearly heard in Slughorn’s memory, but Dumbledore doesn’t know what it is, which seems strange. I prefer the film’s handling of the tampered memory, and Dumbledore’s grasp of the dark magic.
- Draco really becomes important in this film. As with so many cast members Tom Felton does an incredible job with the limited amount of screen time to show the descent into terror, and a real fear for his life that this character is experiencing. It is a pleasure to see this talented actor finally flex his significant muscles.
- I like the break-up scene of Ron and Lavender more in the film. It’s juicier.
- The addition of Lily’s gift to Slughorn adds a wonderful glimpse into the gentle and kind talent of Harry’s mother. It is a charming addition that did not occur in the book.
- Once you discover that Snape is the Half-Blood Prince, it makes sense that Snape doesn’t give Harry detention for using a possibly illegal curse on Draco. Snape couldn’t be discovered right?
- No burial takes place in the movie; I am not sure where this should go, but after rewatching the film, I think the decision was a good one, with the simple caveat that the wand remains in Dumbledore’s office, and it is imperative that it lays in Dumbledore’s tomb, on the school grounds. I’m suspecting (ok, hoping) that the funeral might take place at the beginning of the Deathly Hallows film.
What the Book Did Better:
- Harry now owns Grimauld Place and the Black’s charming house elf, Kreacher (who is omitted from the film, sigh).
- No one talks about the safety measures now in place due to the marauding Death Eaters. This causes a bit of a problem later when the Inferi appear.
- Dumbledore gives Harry private lessons all year in the book.
- Bill and Fleur are absent from the movie. Notable, since their marriage forms a key scene in the last book.
- I have said it before and I hope I won’t need to say it again, but where is Dobby?! Oh and Kreacher too.
- The kids anxiously await the arrival of their O.W.L. scores in the book. It’s a funny moment worth reading.
- Harry’s Triwizard Prize winnings served as the funding for the Weasley Twins store.
- Tonks is barely present again, as is the burgeoning love affair between her and Lupin. It is suggested in the film, but barely.
- The pensieve is so much more important in the books. It doesn’t work so well on film, but I highly recommend reading this book because the backstory provided by these moments is very involved.
- A very important fact left out of the film: Tom Riddle enjoyed torturing his peers at the cave where Dumbledore finds the horcrux.
- The ring that destroyed Dumbledore’s hand is barely mentioned in the film, and Harry doesn’t try to discover what happened. In the book Harry asks so often, and so insistently, he almost loses the privilege of working with Dumbledore altogether.
- The interactions between Snape and Malfoy also play a very small role the film; I think they are necessary to draw Snape’s allegiances into question more overtly.
- Lupin does not actively try to convince Harry that Snape is trustworthy in the movie. Actually, all of Harry’s appeals to the adults in the book fall on completely deaf ears, and this doesn’t appear appropriately in the film.
- We see no sign of Moaning Myrtle to comfort Draco.
- Scrimgeour, the new Minister of Magic is omitted entirely, so the film never reveals Harry’s integrity in refusing to ally himself with the Ministry.
- The discussions between Harry and Dumbledore about what needs to be done, and other possible Horcruxs’ are left out of the film entirely. There is also no mention of Voldemort’s actual character. In the book Dumbledore works to remove the fear of an undefeatable super wizard by making him human to Harry.
- You know how the Defense Against The Dark Arts position seems cursed? Well, in the books we learn that no one has managed to hold the position for more than a year since Dumbledore refused the job to Tom Riddle. Sounds like the Chicago Cubs’ curse of the goat to me.
- I have some issues with the film’s climax in relation to the book. In the book Dumbledore becomes weakened by the events in the cave, and when they arrive at the tower Harry is hidden and frozen by Dumbledore. The impact of Dumbledore’s death when the freezing spell breaks is very palpable in the book. The film loses Harry’s wish that he had drank the potion, and his utter inability to act in any way, as well as him having to watch, right in the same room, the horrible murder of his mentor by the man he had warned everyone about for several years. By removing Harry’s misplaced guilt and appropriate anger, the film omits an important taste of the truths about human mortality and how we face it. I think Dumbledore’s death means more to the readers of the book, and it should.
- An entire storyline is introduced concerning some interesting wizard lineage. It acts as a set-up for the Deathly Hallows themselves. I am curious as to how they're going to deal with this omission in the final films.
The Deathly Hallows
U.S. Book Release: 21 July 2007
Part 1 U.S. Theater Release: 19 November 2010
Part 2 U.S. Theater Release: 15 July 2011
If you have seen the movies first, do not be tempted to read this one before the film. I am anxious to see what the filmmakers do. I was elated when they announced two movies, in hopes that the meat would not be stripped down to its core in an attempt to trim a very involved plot into a two-hour summary.
Note: Again to those who wish to leave comments, one thing I do ask, please be respectful and do not spoil the end for people who have yet to discover it.