Essential Seven Good Harry Potter Film Differences From the Books

Harry Potter Book vs. Film

The biggest complaint that most Harry Potter fans have with the Harry Potter films is how they reduce scenes, concepts, and characters for a smoother transition from page to screen. The early Chris Columbus Potter films included “everything but the kitchen sink” creating a more faithful approach to the books. Starting with Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, the films took on a more stylized approach. What ever approach you prefer, every Potter fan has complained about a scene from the book or character did not make the film.

I’m all for the stylized approach in certain circumstances. The later films work better because they are streamlined. Chris Columbus’s films had a tendency to drag when they didn’t focus on the main story. Fans of the more faithful film adaptions should be happy that a few parts of the books were never included.  Here is a list of the Essential Seven GOOD Harry Potter Film Differences From the Books

(NOTE:. this list does not include anything from the new film Half-Blood Prince)

7) Snape’s Potion Riddle Task


The Sorcerer’s Stone film was the most true to the books. Very few sequences were cut from the film. One good decision was not to show all of the seven tasks that Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to tackle to get to the stone. One task in particular that was not very interesting to read about was Snape’s Potion Riddle Task. Snape created a riddle to get past either the doorway blocked by a purple flame or the doorway blocked with a black flame to get to the Sorcerer’s Stone.  A table of seven bottles contained poison, nettle wine, with the last two containing a potion that allowed them to pass through the doorways. By answering the riddle, the trio would be able to determine what bottle contained the safe drink to allow them to proceed. Did you get all that? This would have been very hard to pull off without spending at least a few minutes explaining, and you know Hermione would have done it! Chris Columbus agreed and decided to focus more time on Ron riding chess pieces.

6) No Dobby in Goblet of Fire

Dobby the House Elf

I’m not a Dobby hater, but as The Goblet of Fire film proved, he wasn’t needed. In fact removing Dobby improved the character development of Neville. In the book Dobby gives Harry the Gillyweed to survive the second Triwizard Task. The film version has Neville Longbottom supplying the Gillyweed to Harry instead. Why is this better? Because it streamlined the story eliminating the entire Dobby subplot of needing a job. It also foreshadows Neville’s destiny to become herbology professor at Hogwarts.

5) Norbert Cut Back

Norbert the Dragon

Another smaller subplot that needed to be streamlined was Hagrid’s baby dragon Norbert. A small section of the book have the trio focusing how to help Hagrid get rid of Norbert before anybody discovers him. They eventually decide to send Norbert to Ron’s brother, Charlie Weasley in Romania. In the middle of the night they meet Charley in the North Tower where they are caught and given detention. The film removes the entire trek up to the North Tower, and just has Malfoy tell Professor McGonagall.

I don’t care for this sequence for a few reasons. First, how does Charlie and his friends fly to the school, and get around the numerous enchantments that protect the school? Second, This sequence really makes Hagrid look stupid. He may not be the brightest, but I would bet he would know how to get rid of Norbert. Lastly, what kind of mentor / teacher would allow students to risk getting caught?

4) Downplaying Rita Skeeter

Rita Skeeter

I wasn’t a fan of the character of Rita Skeeter in the book. I felt she had to big of a presence. However, I was a huge fan of Miranda Richardson’s portrayal of the nosy reporter. The film streamlined her part to focus on how much the Wizarding world is interested in Harry Potter. The subplot of her being an Animagus, and later in Order of the Phoenix helping Harry tell his story really isn’t needed. In a strange way, the fourth book made her more of a villain. This took away from the mystery of what the hell was going on!

3) Cho Chang

Cho Chang

How simple was it to remove the character of Marietta Edgecombe, and use Harry’s love interest as the girl who betrayed the DA? I remember reading the book thinking to myself, who the hell is Marietta Edgecombe? Where did she come from? The one flaw the film made was not having Harry confront Cho. Also, I would have liked to seen boils erupt on her face because she did squeal. In the end we learn that Cho didn’t deliberately tell. She was given Veritaserum, a truth serum that forces the drinker to answer any questions put to them.

2) The Sorting Hat’s song

The Sorting Hat

If there is one thing I hated in both the books and the film was the portrayal of the sorting hat. I love the idea that a magical hat determines which of the four Houses each new student should be part of. The film gives the hat this weird goofy voice that just doesn’t work. The CGI effects are also very strange. However, nothing is more boring that having to read the songs that the hat sings. Thankfully, these never made it into the films. I don’t know about you, but I always skipped over the pages and pages of the Sorting Hat’s song. If you don’t believe me, here is a sample of the song from Harry’s first year.

Oh you may not think me pretty,
But don’t judge on what you see,
I’ll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.

You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,….


1) The Darker Side of Harry

The Darker Side of Harry Potter

When I saw the film Prisoner of Azkaban, for the first time I saw a darker side of Harry. Maybe it was Daniel Radcliffe’s performance, but this film really helped me see the darker side of Harry Potter. As I read the remaining books, I began to really grasp what Harry was going for. I’m not saying that J.K. Rowling did a bad job of flushing out who Harry was, I just think that Daniel’s portrayal of the young wizard really helped bring the character to life.

As I was wrapping up my list I came up with something that I really hated in both the films and the books. That was the House Cup competition. As the books and films went along the discussion on which team wins the House Cup was eventually scrapped. I never cared about hearing how many points a person lost or gained. The points were always small amounts!

Be sure to read the companion article Essential Seven Bad Harry Potter Film Differences From the Books

The Essential Seven is a weekly list of seven items that we at believe needs to be identified. Want our opinion on a topic for a future list? Email Lando Da Pimp. Don’t agree with our list? Then leave a comment. We will promise not to laugh at your dumb opinion! 😉

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