Exactly 20 years ago, J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” hit bookshelves, marking the birth of a massive franchise, both in literature and on the big screen.
The films are lauded by fans by being largely faithful to Rowling’s beloved books, but there are a few key plotpoints that many wish had made it into the movies. In honor of the 20th anniversary milestone, Variety breaks down some of the biggest omissions.
Ask any Hermione Granger fan what the biggest injustice of the “Harry Potter” movies was, and they’ll likely tell you S.P.E.W. Hermione founded S.P.E.W. — Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare — after witnessing the gross treatment of house-elves at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup. While the movement was highlighted briefly in the movies, thanks in large part to Dobby, S.P.E.W. saw Hermione as a champion for equal rights in the books.
Fans differ on this point — while some argue that small differences in Harry’s appearance don’t hinder the overall plot of the films, others disagree. In the books, Harry has green eyes, mostly significant because they match his mother’s. However, Daniel Radcliffe reportedly had issues with colored contact lenses while shooting the films, hence his natural blue eyes. Radcliffe’s hair is also a dark brown; in the books, it’s depicted as jet black.
Weasley is Our King
While Quidditch was mostly left out of the “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” movie, it played a big role in its corresponding book. When Ron, as Keeper, lets several big goals through during a Slytherin v. Gryffindor match, Draco Malfoy and the rest of the winning team compose a song, “Weasley is Our King,” to taunt him. Later, however, Gryffindor reclaims the chant and uses it to encourage Ron.
Depending on who you were at Hogwarts, Peeves was either a delightful purveyor of mischief or a total pain. A fan-favorite poltergeist, Peeves was left out of the films completely. While there was one scene shot with Peeves, played by the late Rik Mayall, in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” it was left on the cutting room floor (you can watch him talk about the role here.)
Celebrations thrown by the ghosts of Hogwarts to celebrate the anniversaries of their deaths? Yes, please. The gloomy affairs are rarely attended by the living, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione went to Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington’s 500th Deathday Party in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” which would have been a delightfully ghoulish scene to behold in the movie.
Alice and Frank Longbottom
There was plenty of Neville love given in the last film of the franchise (that had nothing to do with Matthew Lewis “Longbottoming”), but one big aspect of character was mostly omitted from the movies: the tragic story of his parents, Alice and Frank. Members of the original Order of the Phoenix, they were tortured to the point of insanity and live in St. Mungo’s. Neville goes to visit them frequently, though they, in a heartbreaking detail, never recognize him.
Fans often decry the lack of backstory given to some of J.K. Rowling’s most beloved characters, the Marauders, in the movies. Made up of Mooney (Remus Lupin), Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew), Padfoot (Sirius Black), and Prongs (James Potter), the mischief-making friends enjoyed a lot more detail in the books. It’s worth arguing, however, that the tale of the four boys is even more worthy of a spinoff.
Peter Pettigrew’s Death
Speaking of the Marauders, Peter Pettigrew had a much larger role in the books than the movies. In the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” book, Wormtail goes to strangle Harry with a silver hand given to him by Voldemort, but hesitates after Harry notes that Peter owes him his life. In Peter’s moment of weakness, the hand turns on him, strangling him instead. No such scene is shown in the movies — his fate is only briefly teased after he’s stunned in a chamber.
The Half-Blood Prince
An extremely important part of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is — yup, you guessed it — the Half-Blood Prince himself. Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend a ton of time trying to figure out who the titular prince is in the book, a plotline that’s largely removed from the film. Of course, the mystery is revealed in the film as well (it’s Snape), but a lot of the build-up is missing.
Did we miss your favorite part from the books? Let us know in the comments below!