Harry Potter: Book Vs. Film, Part 3 - Mania.com

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. Snape is eager to make the unbreakable vow in the book; I prefer his slight hesitation in the film.
  3. 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.
  4. The scene involving Katie Bell and the cursed necklace arrives verbatim from the book, and in an appropriately terrifying manner.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. I like the break-up scene of Ron and Lavender more in the film. It’s juicier.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?
  11. 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:

  1. Harry now owns Grimauld Place and the Black’s charming house elf, Kreacher (who is omitted from the film, sigh).
  2. 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.
  3. Dumbledore gives Harry private lessons all year in the book.
  4. Bill and Fleur are absent from the movie. Notable, since their marriage forms a key scene in the last book.
  5. I have said it before and I hope I won’t need to say it again, but where is Dobby?! Oh and Kreacher too.
  6. The kids anxiously await the arrival of their O.W.L. scores in the book. It’s a funny moment worth reading.
  7. Harry’s Triwizard Prize winnings served as the funding for the Weasley Twins store.
  8. Tonks is barely present again, as is the burgeoning love affair between her and Lupin. It is suggested in the film, but barely.
  9. 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.
  10. A very important fact left out of the film: Tom Riddle enjoyed torturing his peers at the cave where Dumbledore finds the horcrux.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. We see no sign of Moaning Myrtle to comfort Draco.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.



Showing items 1 - 9 of 9
SarcasticCaveman 11/19/2010 1:08:13 AM

I don't think it was a matter of Dumbledore not knowing what Horcruxes were in the book (after all, he'd already destroyed the ring)...the reason he needed the complete memory was because he needed to know what Slughorn told him and how many horcruxes there might be...that was not in Slughorn's altered memory...in the altered memory, Slughorn yells at Riddle and tells him he'll end up to no good.

Tonebone 11/19/2010 6:59:47 AM

The omission of many of the Pensieve scenes was a strange decision, IMO. I felt alot of the teenage angst could have been cut for more of those scenes.

And to me, the development of whether Snape is on the side of good or evil was of the most importance as it comes into play huge in DH

ddiaz28 11/19/2010 7:22:01 AM

I think out of all the films, the ommissions and changes made in this one bothered me the most. 

Tonebone makes a good point about the pensieve ommissions.  Especially the Guant house.  That scene really gives such great background to Voldemort's origins and it becomes so important in the 7th book when talking about the hallows, notably, the resurrection stone.  I also disliked the ommission of the small battle that takes place in Hogwarts while Harry chases down Snape.  It showed that Dumbledore's Army was still around and that other student's other than the trio, are willing to risk their lives to fight the Death Eater's.  I for one did miss the funeral.  I thought they would have it in the seventh, but now that I know it's not there, it is a very stupid ommission.  

After repeat viewings I have learned to not worry about those so much I guess, but no matter how many times I watch it, I can't get over my hate for what they did with Ginny and Harry's relationship.  Especially since they handled Ron and Hermione's so well in comparison.  I'm surprised you didn't mention it in the article. The cutesy moments between them like tying his shoe for him and the lame little kiss along with her stupid line just irk me to no end.  That's not how teenagers act or talk to eachother.  The way they get together in the book after Ginny wins the Quidditch Cup is so much more epic.  I remember being so excited at that moment when I first read it.  In the film, it comes and goes with no gravity to it.  And in the book they actually have a relationship whereas as nothing else happens in the film.  Harry falls in love with this girl but we don't get any of that in the movie.  Such a missed opportunity.  I will forever hate how that was written in the film.  I wonder how they'll reconcile that in the 7th film?

Tonebone 11/19/2010 7:45:45 AM

I agree ddiaz. I won't say there isn't some annoyance there. But for the most part, I enjoy the movies (with Order of the Phoenix being the only one I walked away more disappointed with). Gotta keep reminding yourself that unless they went with 3-4 hour movies or two parts for each, then there was just no way to include it all. I think that's the beauty in the books in that the most mundane and seemingly not important threads, at the end, feel very important or hold some significance to the overall story. At least IMO.

ddiaz28 11/19/2010 11:25:53 AM

Oh I'm totally with you there Tonebone, it's just a slight annoyance.  I think I enjoy the films so much because I try not to let the omissions taint my opinions.  I guess the changes in HBP were just harder to ignore for some reason than any of the other films. 

And you are dead right on your last comment.  Little thinks like Gaunt's ring, finding the locket in OOTP and trashing it, putting the diadem on a manquin head while hiding the HBP book.  All those would have been so easy to include and would have been great little winks to the fans and would have shown that they knew how important those things would be at the end. 

I've read in some reviews already that non-readers have been confused by some things in Deathly Hallows, such as the piece of mirror Harry has, because they were never introduced or fully explained when they should have been.  It's too bad because it probably lessens the effect the film should have on the audience.

animefanjared 11/20/2010 7:27:52 AM

Of all the films, I was most disappointed in this one initially because I found it so radically different from the book.  However, I will give the filmmakers some slack as I do feel the book is almost entirely exposition and set up from the final book, and we all know exposition isn't the most interesting thing to watch.  Upon rewatching the film recently, I've come to appreciate it a lot more, and think it is a very good piece of filmmaking.

However, the one thing I cannot forgive is the omission of the funeral.  It is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing Rowling has ever done, and so inherently cinematic, I can't understand why it was cut.  I suspect this may be the one time in the film series' history where the producers said "We're not giving you the money to do that."

Oh, and one more slight complaint:  the necessity of having an actor actually speak Dumbledore's last words robs them of their ambivilance, because the intention behind them is much clearer.  This was unavoidable, but also robbed fans who hadn't read the book of one of the most heated Potter debates ever (do you remember how passionately people argued about Snape's true motives in the years between the sixth and seventh books?).

LocoLobo73 11/20/2010 8:27:13 AM

I agree with what everyone is saying up there but there are a few omissions that I felt where unexcusible, One the the pensives memories, left out , the visit by the new Minister of Magic, The handling of Ginny and Harry, hated the whole Christmas and Attack of the Burrough, wtf, was that anyway. Oh yeah and the entire Ending of the Movie sucked ass, they completely ruined one of the best scenes written the emotional impact of hHarry frozen the battle in the castle and Harry also worried about his friends. Bill being hurt and funeral and the Phoniex's lament, Oh yeah and the reason behind Harry not just taking off on the search and the wedding.  The book has so much info that is important to the overall story as well as it answers lingering plot points from the other novels that its almost criminal what they did to that movie.  That being said I do agree that after not reading the book for over a yera , it is not quite that insulting but still really really not good.  

halfbloodprincess 11/20/2010 7:52:59 PM

 I have to completely agree with sarcasticcaveman. Dumbledore knew exactly what a horcrux was. He was one of the most brilliant wizards ever. He was keeping the library books about Horcuxes in his office,we find that out because Hermione accios the books out of this office in the Deathly hallows book. Dumbledore needed the memory to know exactly what Slughorn told Tom. To know how many Horcruxes Tom made.

ddiaz28 11/21/2010 3:05:34 PM

I happened to catch the last half of the film last night.  Jared, I think Gambon did a pretty good job of delivering that last line and keeping it fairly ambivalent.  I'd like to know what someone who doesn't know if Snape is truly bad or good thinks about it.  Since readers know what happens, I think we put that knowledge into the way we hear his last words.  Snape also does a pretty good job of knocking Harry on his ass at the end to keep everyone guessing.  And remember, he also tells Voldy when the Order is moving him at the begining of 7. 

I completely agree about the funeral being sorely missed and how wonderfully it was written in the book.  I always pictured the film ending with a slow motion shot of Harry determinedly walking towards the camera with the funeral ending behind him and all we hear is the pheonix lament.



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