Many authors know how to entice their readers into a fantasy world with the right words and a little imagination, a vivid picture is created in the mind. Among readers, each has a different picture of the fantasy world, and when a book is created into a movie, the majority of its fans are thrilled. That is, until, they realize the picture they see presented before them isn’t the one they imagined — nor does it include every factor from the book, leaving many avid fans disgruntled. What does one do in this case? Do loyal supporters know that the true fantasy world is better represented in the books? Or do others just settle for what they’re given? Any devotee to a novel knows that the true depiction of the fantasy world lies none other than with the reader; in their imagination, which is what the author wants.
The Harry Potter series has had dedicated supporters since it was first published in 1997 (UK; 1998 U.S.). When the first novel became a movie in 2001, fans were ecstatic to see how the movie would make Harry fly; have spells come soaring out of wands; have a dragon breath fire; and of course, to see the likes of the ferocious three-headed dog, Fluffy. Although every reader has a different portrayal of all these scenes in their imagination, the original idea remained intact. However, when the director begins to leave complete scenes or chapters out of the movies, that’s when people start to get mad at the movie.
In the very first novel, our three heroes, Harry, Ron and Hermione, are searching for the sorcerer’s stone so Professor Snape can’t steal it. The trio has to complete many tasks to finally reach the stone. After surviving a murderous plant, flying on a broom to find a key, and playing a treacherous game of wizard chess, Harry and Hermione continue on to find 13 bottles of various potions — only one has what is needed to enable the seeker to pass through a wall of flames to reach the stone. With Hermione’s wit, Harry is able to find the right potion and proceed. But, in the first movie, all of these tasks exist — except the mysterious potion bottle scene. Although this may not be the most crucial of the tasks, the reader learns that Snape clearly isn’t the villain if the potions were his idea.
In the fifth book/movie, The Order of the Phoenix, Harry is expelled from school for performing magic during the summer. His aunt and uncle receive a letter about this and try to kick Harry out of the house. In the next scene, an owl bursts into the Dursely household for Harry’s aunt, Petunia. The letter is from none other than Dumbledore simply stating: “Petunia, remember my last.” This prevents Harry from being kicked out of his home. This scene never happens in the fifth movie. Now, for an average moviegoer who has never read any of the novels, this may seem like a miniscule, trivial bit of information, but for those true, die-hard fans, they know what ran through Petunia’s mind and why she allowed Harry to remain in her home: Dumbledore had explained to Petunia in the beginning Harry must live with blood relatives because the blood that ran through Harry’s mother runs in Petunia, and that blood is the only thing preventing Voldemort from attacking Harry while living at the Durselys.
Another scene that was cut from Order of the Phoenix is when Harry, Hermione and the Weasley family are visiting Mr. Weasley in the wizard hospital. It is there that one learns about Neville Longbottom’s family. The reader learns how Neville’s parents were in the original Order and they were tortured by a Death Eater named Bellatrix Lestrange. Neville doesn’t want to go into the topic, but his grandmother proudly announces how heroic his family is. However, this scene is not in the fifth movie, and the movie barely touches Neville’s past and his parents. Neville says he’d rather “not talk about it.” This may seem quite trite to a non-fan, but this information enables readers to understand the rage Neville has toward Bellatrix later on in the series.
In the seventh installment, The Deathly Hallows, Harry forces his aunt, uncle and cousin to leave their home in order to protect them from being killed because of him. Not understanding the danger, the Durselys are refusing to leave. Harry figures they’ll be happy to get rid of him since he was just a “waste of space” all those years. Dudley then turns to Harry and says, “I don’t think you’re a waste of space.” This exchange in dialogue may seem worthless, but this scene showed that Dudley actually cared for his cousin, as well as a backhanded way of telling Harry thank you for previously saving Dudley’s life. None of this happened in the movie; the Durselys just went along their way to escape, and a moviegoer may not stop to consider the bond Harry has with his makeshift family, and how his aunt and cousin truly love Harry — despite all the misgivings throughout the years.
It is fair to say that the directors of this movie series needed to cut out scenes on a basis of time, but, most fans would rather see the integrity of the storyline stay in tact than cutting out small, vital scenes to wow the audience with special effects. As much as portraying this wizarding world J.K. Rowling created is imperative for the audience to see, learning and understanding the characters and why they act they way they do is just as important to the storyline.
This lack of minor scenes in the movies may not initially affect the storyline, but with more and more gaps and whole scenes being left out of all of the films, some more significant scenes, such as in the upcoming second part of Deathly Hallows when Neville confronts Bellatrix, will not really have a significant impact on the audience, because they don’t know the story behind the reason why this confrontation happens, thus, it just looks like another epic battle scene.
Although having a series, which has impacted generations, come to life has done wonders for the fan base, and created a tangible world for everyone to see, not everything presented is perfect. There are complete scenes not even written into the movies that affect many of the goings-on throughout the series. This complete removal leaves many supporters irritated, however, it just reinforces what J.K. Rowling wanted her fans to do in the first place: use your imagination, and the magic will come alive.