I’ve just finished reading the entire Harry Potter series for the second time and I must say, my recent reading experience now is totally different from when I first read the books 10 years ago. Back then, I was an impatient bookworm who likes to read fast without really understanding everything that’s going on. This time, I really took a moment of liberation to soak everything in.
I immersed myself deep into the story, tried to understand each of the characters, what makes them who they are, where are they coming from, why such things are happening at this point in the story. I tried to dissect even the tiniest details that it felt like I was reading the books for the first time. I laughed, cried, gasped, shrieked, cringed, and cursed throughout the entire series, even to the point of almost throwing one book (Order of the Phoenix! haha!) out of frustration. Nonetheless, it was an experience that’s truly moving and I would say, life changing.
Now that I’ve put these babies down (for now), I realized just how different the books are from the movies. The books are so detailed that it’s impossible to translate everything into the big screen. It’s unfortunate that some of the juiciest details didn’t make the final cut, but then again, we all know that screen time is always limited.
Certified Potterheads will agree with me when I say that if you haven’t read the books, you’re surely missing out a big chunk of what the Wizarding World is truly all about.
Fair warning, this post contains a lot of spoilers. Unless you have no plans of reading the books, you might as well stop here and exit. =)
For all of you Harry Potter fans who haven’t read the books, but want to know more about the Potterverse, I got you covered!
Here are 7 important details that we’re left out of the movies.
1. Peeves the Poltergeist
Ghosts are prominent characters in Hogwarts as evidenced by the noble Nearly Headless Nick and Moaning Myrtle. But aside from these two, there is another ghost lurking around the corridors of Hogwarts throughout the series, but was completely left out in all of the films.
Peeves the Poltergeist is a disruptive and notorious troublemaker who loves bullying the students and teachers. He is described as:
A little man with wickedly slanted, orange eyes, dressed in loud, outlandish clothes including a bell-covered hat and an orange bow tie.
The character (played by Rik Mayall) was supposed to be included in the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. However, all his scenes were deleted and did not make any more appearances in the succeeding films. He would’ve been a nice comic relief, but hey, at least we still got the Weasley twins.
2. The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare
One huge detail from the book that was not even mentioned in the movies is The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (S.P.E.W) – a movement started by Hermoine Granger upon learning about the enslavement of house elves. The idea that the house elves are treated poorly by their masters without getting salary or any form of benefit made her furious. She got Harry and Ron to sign up for the movement unwillingly, especially Ron who believes that house elves enjoy serving their masters and that relieving them of their duties would make them miserable (with the exception of Dobby, of course).
During their fifth year, Hermoine started knitting hats and socks and left them concealed around the Gryffindor common room, hoping that the elves working at Hogwarts would accidentally pick them up and be freed.
As we learned from Dobby, house elves are freed when they are presented with clothes. She was so happy that her knitted garments started disappearing. However, Harry Potter soon discovered that Dobby was the only one collecting all the clothes. He didn’t have the heart to tell Hermoine. Such a good friend, Harry was.
3. Winky the House Elf
Winky is a house elf who served the House of Crouch, a pure-blood Wizarding family.
During the Quidditch World Cup (4th book, Goblet of Fire), Winky accompanied Barty Crouch Jr. – a Death Eater who escaped from Azkaban and was bewitched by his father via the Imperius Curse (control curse) to prevent him from rejoining the Dark Lord.
After the games, Death Eaters attacked the grounds and Winky was found holding a wand. She was accused of conjuring the Dark Mark (Lord Voldermort’s Sign), even though it was actually Barty Crouch Jr. who conjured it.
She was sacked by Bartemius Crouch Sr., after which, she fell into depression and became a drunkard thinking that she failed as a loyal servant to the Crouch Family.
Ronald Weasley was right. 10 points to Gryffinfor!
4. St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries
Throughout the movies, we only hear about Madam Pomfrey and the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts. However, in the books, we learn about St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, a place where witches and wizards get advanced treatments for serious injuries.
In the fifth book, Order of the Phoenix, the Weasley family, along with Hermione and Harry visited Mr. Arthur Weasley at the hospital. He obtained a serious injury following a vicious attack by Nagini while doing guard duties at the Department of Mysteries. Here they bumped into Neville, whose parents became permanent residents at the hospital after they were tortured to insanity via the Cruciatus Curse by Bellatrix Lestrange, Lord Voldemort’s most loyal follower.
Another permanent resident at the hospital is Gilderoy Lockhart – a “celebrity” and ex-Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. He lost all his memories after his Memory Charm backfired while using Ron’s broken wand in the Chamber of Secrets.
5. Lord Voldermort’s Back Story
The movies left the viewers in the dark by not telling the true origins of Lord Voldemort, although there was a brief explanation in the movie as to how Albus Dumbledore found young Tom Riddle and invited him to come to Hogwarts. Thankfully, Tom’s back story was explained in the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The Gaunts are proud descendants of Salazar Slytherin – a pure blood Wizarding family who detest muggles practicing witchcraft and wizardry. Marvolo Gaunt, Lord Voldemort’s grandfather, was an abusive man. He despised his daughter, Merope, thinking that she was a squib (a pure or half-blood witch or wizard who is unable to perform magic).
When Marvolo was sent to Azkaban, Merope took the chance to escape and run away from home. She bewitched a wealthy muggle named Tom Riddle (senior). They got married and soon she gave birth to a baby boy who would later become the darkest known wizard in magical history.
It is said that the reason why Voldemort doesn’t have love in his heart is because he was conceived only through the enchantment of a very powerful love potion, and that his muggle father didn’t truly love his mother.
Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring (a gold ring inset with the resurrection stone) is a family heirloom stolen by Lord Voldermort and was turned into one of his horcruxes.
6. Dudley and Harry’s Handshake
During of the Second Wizarding War (7th book, Deathly Hollows), the Dursleys was forced to leave Privet Drive to protect them from becoming the next victims of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
In his early years, Dudley, like his parents, has always been rude to Harry. However, before leaving Privet Drive, he extended a handshake to Harry and thanked him for saving his life when the Dementors attacked them one summer in Little Whinging, before Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts. He was apprehensive leaving his cousin behind, even asking his father why he is not coming with them. It would have been really nice to see Dudley’s character redemption in the film and to have a glimpse of that brief moment when Harry felt a true connection to the only real family he’s ever known.
Apparently, the handshake scene was actually filmed, but did not make it to the big screen. Check out this rather emotional deleted scene.
I got teary eyed when he said “I don’t think you’re a waste of space.’”. Aw the feels!
7. The Prophecy and The Chosen One
Harry Potter was clearly The Chosen One, but did you know that it could have also been Neville Longbottom? The prophecy states:
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.
So how does this involve Neville? Let me break it down for you.
“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… Born to those who have thrice defied him,
Both Harry’s and Neville’s parents are members of the original Order of the Phoenix during the First Wizarding War, hence both couples have defied the Dark Lord more than three times. This is the reason why Neville’s parents were tortured to insanity and earned a permanent residency at St. Mungos Hospital.
…born as the seventh month dies…
Neville was born on July 30, while Harry was born on July 31 – both born at the end of the seventh month. Although if you think of it, Harry was clearly the one who was born at the end of the seventh month, quite literally.
…the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal…
In the end, Lord Voldemort decided to go after the Potters, unknowingly marking Harry as his equal, setting the prophecy in stone and making Harry the chosen one.
Just imagine, it could have been Neville Longbottom and the Philosopher’s Stone or Neville Longbottom and the Deathly Hollows all along!
Did you know that 7 is a significant number in the entire series? Let’s see:
- 7 books in the series
- 7 obstacles guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone (The potions obstacle that 11-year old Hermoine had to solve was not included in the first movie)
- 7 Quidditch players for each team
- 7 Weasley children (Charlie, Bill, Fred, George, Percy, Ron, and Ginny)
- 7 floors at Hogwarts
- 7 hidden passageways seen in the Marauder’s Map
- 7 years before students finish studying at Hogwarts
- 7 Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers in the entire series
- 7 key holes in Mad Eye Moody’s trunk
- 7 O.W.L.S (passing grade) for both Harry and Ron
- 7 Horcruxes of Tom Riddle/Lord Voldmort (can you name them all?)
Mindblown yet? These are just some of the things I wish were included in the movies, and there’s still more! If you’re curious, now is the best time start reading the books. I promise you won’t regret it. Yes, it’s going to take a while to finish reading all 7 of them, but it’s definitely worth it. What do you reckon? 🙂