The Harry Potter movies were known for leaving out some of the major subplots that made the books so interesting. According to Scholastic, the entire Harry Potter book series is 4,224 pages long and as you can imagine there’s been A LOT left out. All kinds of details and exploits of everyone’s favorite boy wizard and his BFFs, missing entirely from the movies.
Obviously, some of the more waffley bits of J.K. Rowling’s storytelling had to go. However, whoever adapted the books into screenplays didn’t always make the best calls regarding what material should stay and what should remain unseen. In fact, some of the most amazing storylines were needlessly left on the cutting-room floor. Here are the best book subplots that the Harry Potter movie franchise cut out for basically no reason.
16. Hermione’s Social Justice awakening
Badass witch Hermione Granger’s legions of fans were pretty angry about this omission from the movie of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In the book, Hermione’s fourth year at Hogwarts is the beginning of her passion for social justice. She is appalled by the treatment of Hogwarts’ house elves, setting up S.P.E.W. – The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. The movement doesn’t exactly catch on, but that doesn’t stop Hermione. She continues to be committed to her campaign. It’s even the catalyst for Ron and Hermione’s first kiss in Deathly Hallows! Hermione is overcome by passion when Ron notes that someone should evacuate the House-Elves in the Battle of Hogwarts. It was way cuter than the seemingly random film kiss we actually got…
15. Firenze the centaur teaching Divination
Evil Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Dolores Umbridge gives us plenty of reasons to hate her in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Her treatment of Divination Professor Sybill Trelawney is one of her many transgressions. While we saw Emma Thompson‘s character getting sacked in the movie version, the aftermath of this incident is glossed over. In the book, Trelawney’s role is taken over by Firenze, the centaur Harry met in the Forbidden Forest back in Sorcerer’s Stone. Despite not actually being a human, Firenze quickly becomes something of a heartthrob among his students, much to the confusion of Harry and Ron. Professor Umbridge wasn’t as enamored with Firenze as the students, her racist sentiments extending to all non-human magical beings. It’s fairly obvious that Dumbledore hired Firenze just to aggravate Umbridge. What a joker old Albus was.
14. Peeves’s entire existence
Peeves the Poltergeist very nearly appeared in the film version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. British comedy actor Rik Mayall got the part and filmed all of his scenes in The Sorcerer’s Stone. However, producers eventually cut the character and basically erased him from the HP movie universe. It was such a shame: Peeves may have been super annoying, but he was also pretty funny at times. In Order of the Phoenix, the normally establishment-hating poltergeist actually teamed up with Professor McGonagall to enact a campaign of humiliation on Professor Umbridge. While Peeves’s antics didn’t exactly further the plot of any of the books, they added a touch of comic relief that a lot of the films could have used.
13. Ludo Bagman and his gambling problem
Ludo Bagman is another character who got the Peeves treatment: he got totally erased from the films. He first appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at the Quidditch World Cup and proved central to the events of the rest of the book. Bagman was the head of the Ministry for Magic’s Department of Magical Games and Sports, meaning he – along with Barty Crouch – organized the doomed Triwizard Tournament. He appeared at the start of each task to advise the Champions on the task ahead. Bagman was last seen going on the run after some goblins accused him of accruing huge gambling debts. His antics would have been pretty funny to see in the Goblet of Fire movie, but they were deemed unnecessary and eventually cut.
12. The Midnight Duel that never was
Back in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, our young protagonist thought it was a good idea to arrange a Midnight Duel with nemesis Draco Malfoy. It’s a shame this whole escapade got cut out of the movie. Not only was it pretty hilarious, but it also provided a pretty key plot point. Draco challenges Harry to a duel in the Trophy Room, and Ron, Hermione, and Neville all tag along to see the fight. Draco never shows but instead informs Filch that students are out of bed. In their rush to escape the cranky caretaker, the young Gryffindors duck into a mysterious room… And run right into Fluffy the three-headed dog. While Harry and Ron basically stand there screaming, Hermione cleverly notices that Fluffy is guarding a trapdoor. But what’s inside? The trio spend the rest of the book trying to find out.
11. Ron and Hermione becoming Prefects
While the movie version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix included some of Harry’s ~angsty teen phase~, one key incident was cut out. Near the beginning of the book, poor Harry loses his cool when Ron and Hermione reveal they’ve been made prefects and he hasn’t. Everyone’s frankly baffled that Ron got the position ahead of Harry. It turns out that Dumbledore didn’t give Harry the role because he thought he’d have enough on his mind without it. To be fair, Harry did witness someone die at this point. Maybe Dumbledore had the right idea here. Anyway, while this storyline didn’t really add to the plot of the movie, it would have been cool to include it. Plus, we’d get to see more of Harry’s dialogue THAT WAS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS TO SHOW HOW MAD HE WAS. Teenagers, huh?
10. “Weasley is Our King”
Poor Ron Weasley. Pretty much everything good that happens to him in the Harry Potter books is nowhere to be seen in the movies. No wonder he feels so inadequate compared to Harry! First, Ron’s Prefect role was cut out. Then, the producers added insult to injury by passing over the ‘Weasley is Our King’ storyline. For those of you who can’t remember this jaunty song, it first appeared in Order of the Phoenix when Ron was made Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. At first, the tune is basically a bullying tactic. Draco Malfoy writes it, complete with derogatory lyrics to undermine Ron’s confidence in matches. However, when Ron’s form vastly improves, Gryffindor supporters appropriate it as an encouraging, complimentary chant. Ron eventually leads Gryffindor to victory in the Quidditch cup. Didn’t he deserve to get this empowering moment in the movies? Justice for Ron!
9. Peter Pettigrew’s death
To be fair, producers probably cut this scene from the final Harry Potter movie because it’s pretty gruesome. Voldermort’s henchman and general slimeball Peter Pettigrew meets his end in a fairly awful way. Back in Goblet of Fire, Pettigrew cut off his own hand as part of the spell used to resurrect Voldemort. In return, Voldy gave his faithful servant a magical prosthetic hand made of silver. In the end, this ‘gift’ turns out to be Pettigrew’s undoing. The hand turns on its owner, strangling him to death when Pettigrew can’t bring himself to kill Harry. This entire scene was deemed a bit too dark for the Dealthy Hallows movie – wonder why?! On-screen, Pettigrew’s death is merely hinted at in a vague way.
8. Marietta Edgecombe being a massive snake
Just to clarify, this isn’t meant literally: a Hogwarts student is not transformed into an actual snake in book five. Instead, Cho Chang’s friend Marietta Edgecombe is revealed to be a snake in a Taylor-Swift-vs-Kim-Kardashian-style way. Marietta is the one who betrays Dumbledore’s Army, letting evil Professor Umbridge know that the secret society exists. In return, she gets the word “SNEAK” emblazoned on her face in pimples thanks to a curse enacted by Hermione. This incident is actually the death knell for Harry and Cho’s budding relationship. Cho wants Harry to forgive Marietta for her betrayal; Harry refuses and even says that the pimple curse was a great idea. In the movie, it’s Cho who betrays the DA, although it’s implied she was forced to thanks to truth serum. Producers decided against including Marietta in the movie at all.
7. Rita Skeeter’s biggest secret
One of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire‘s main antagonists – aside from actual Voldemort, of course – is journalist Rita Skeeter. Skeeter writes a number of scathing tabloid articles about Harry as he competes in the Triwizard Tournament, including one that implies he’s dating Hermione. Skeeter even manages to get hold of information only disclosed in private conversations, leaving Hermione suspicious. In the movie, Skeeter’s secret method of sourcing scoops is never revealed. However, the book sees Hermione getting the last laugh. She figures out that Skeeter is an Animagus – a wizard who can turn into an animal – who uses her tiny beetle form to spy on people. Hermione keeps Skeeter prisoner in a jar until she agrees to stop publishing lies about Harry. It was a brutal punishment, but we kinda liked it.
6. Voldemort’s family background
In the book version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry learns a lot about Voldemort’s family background. Dumbledore believes that understanding his enemy better will help Harry in the climactic battle to come. While Harry doesn’t exactly beat Voldemort by screaming “your mom tricked your dad into sleeping with her,” learning about Voldy’s past was still pretty interesting. We learned that the reason Voldemort can’t feel love is that he was conceived under the effects of a love potion. Sure, this information didn’t really add to the plot of the series, but it was interesting regardless. Plus, including it in the film would have left less time for the ridiculous Love Actually-eqsue romantic shenanigans that go down. Lavender Brown was just so darn annoying.
5. Lupin and Tonks’ relationship
The Harry Potter movies cut out basically everything about Tonks and Lupin’s relationship. All we see is the two holding hands during the Battle of Hogwarts, then lying dead together in the Great Hall. The fact that their marriage wasn’t explored more on-screen is a source of anger for many Potter fans. For one, how they initially got together was quite sweet. It took all of Half Blood-Prince for Tonks to convince Remus that he should accept her love, but he got there in the end. Their relationship issues in Deathly Hallows were also pretty crucial. Harry proved himself to have truly grown up when he (rightly) berated Lupin for leaving his pregnant wife. All of the backstory to their relationship made their death so much more poignant in the books. In the movies, it’s not even mentioned that the two have a child, Teddy. Not okay, producers. Not okay.
4. Neville potentially being the Chosen One
Just like Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom is done pretty wrong by the Harry Potter movies. In fact, his huge importance in the prophecy involving Harry and Voldemort is totally omitted. The book reveals that Harry became the Chosen One basically by chance. Neville also fit the criteria listed in the now-infamous prophecy. He was born just a day before Harry, meaning he was too “born as the seventh month dies.” Just like Harry, Neville was born to parents who “thrice defied” Voldemort: Alice and Frank Longbottom were famously courageous. The only reason that Harry eventually became the Chosen One over Neville is the fact that Voldemort decided to go after the Potters and not the Longbottoms. Young Neville was so, so close to being The Boy Who Lived, but the films chose to sweep this fact under the rug.
3. The Minister of Magic’s relationship with the Muggle Prime Minister
The opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince dealt with a question that fans had pondered for years. Did each British Prime Minister have any idea that a huge community of wizards was living right under their nose? The answer was yes: they all did! We got to see some of the key events from the previous books from the perspective of an unnamed PM. Of course, a lot of Voldemort’s most destructive actions would surely have had Muggle casualties too. It makes sense that the Muggle Prime Minister would be kept up to speed on magical events. This neat little touch to the sixth book was cut from the movie, despite the fact it would have set the scene really nicely. The producers missed a trick with this one.
2. The full background of Snape being the Half-Blood Prince
The revelation that Snape was the titular Half-Blood Prince was totally watered down in the sixth Harry Potter movie. In the books, Hermione obsessively searches for the identity of this mystery student for months. She eventually surmises that the talented potions student was Severus Snape. His mother, Eileen Prince, was a witch who married a Muggle. Hence, Snape was quite literally a Half-Blood Prince. He wasn’t trying to claim a link to royalty: he was merely making light of his mother’s maiden name. In contrast, the film sees Snape simply announce “lol, I’m the HBP” (basically) before disappearing into the night. None of the explanation or exposition is there. Way to confuse non-book readers, guys.
1. The less-than-great truth about Dumbledore
Isn’t it awful when your childhood hero turns out to be hugely problematic? Poor Harry Potter has to go through this in Deathly Hallows. In the wake of Dumbledore’s death, various exposés were published detailing the more scandalous aspects of the professor’s life. At the end of the book, Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth confirms some of the darker stories about the headmaster’s younger years. We learn in the movie that he’d been tempted by dark magic and that he was implicated in his sister’s death. However, many of the juicier details were omitted. Did the producers want to protect Dumbeldore’s reputation somewhat? Were they wary of ruining the childhoods of a whole new generation of Potterheads? Maybe… But really, this creative choice only served to deprive Dumbledore’s character of most of its depth.
When the time came for these much-loved books to receive the big-screen treatment, a lot of chopping of the source material had to be done. If the producers had adapted every single aspect of every single book for the screen, each movie would have been about five hours long! Choices were made, subplots were cut, and fans inevitably complained.