Riddikulus with Elise and Sydney: What the movies leave out
Seniors Elise Porter, left, and Sydney Carlson are avid fans of the Harry Potter series. Their column, "Riddikulus with Elise & Sydney," presents their musings on the famous books.
"Riddikulus with Elise & Sydney" is a column about the Harry Potter series. A new column is posted every other Wednesday. Columns may contain spoilers.
With any novel-to-movie transition comes mistakes and disappointed fans. Harry Potter is no exception. Although the films cover most of the major plot bases, fans often have seemingly unending lists of complaints regarding details that were left out of the movies.
The movie with the most holes in it is probably the third installment, The Prisoner of Azkaban. So much of the Marauders' backstory (a group of friends including James Potter, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew) was left out.
First of all, the Marauder's Map is never explained, so it makes absolutely no sense when Lupin knows exactly how to use it -- when he actually helped to create it.
In addition to this, the movie also fails to explain that, because Lupin is a werewolf, his friends had decided to become animagi in order to keep him company on full moons.
Instead of including this explanation, Sirius just becomes a dog a few times. There is no mention of the fact that James becomes a stag, explaining Harry's patronus.
The first time I (Elise) watched the third movie, I had not read the books and was extremely confused. I distinctly remember asking Sydney "Why does Harry think the silver moose is his dad?" Because there is no explanation provided regarding patronuses or animagi, I was left perplexed.
While those aspects are fairly major plot devices that were left out, some of the apparently minute details left out can also hold importance.
"Although the films cover most of the major plot bases, fans often have seemingly unending lists of complaints regarding details that were left out of the movies." --Elise Porter and Sydney Carlson, both '11
In The Order of the Phoenix, the book starts with Harry and the Weaselys living at Sirius Black's home and cleaning it up (since it has not been lived in for many years). In their cleaning efforts, they are supposed to discover a locket that none of them can open.
In the movie, there is no such locket found. While it may have seemed extremely insignificant, the locket should provide an important connection for viewers when they watch The Half-Blood Prince and realize that the locket is actually a horcrux containing a piece of Voldemort's soul.
Little details like Lupin's awful mustache, movie Harry having blue eyes instead of green and Harry not finding Lily's letter in Sirius' room are small things that would have been quick fixes as simple as shaving. These little errors often upset us the most.
But, for the most part, the writers did a pretty good job translating the books onto the screen. The later movies are definitely better than the earlier ones in this regard. Fans should be grateful that the films have come out as good as they have, and not ended up like Eragon (the movie version is basically the antithesis of the novel).
In the end, even though S.P.E.W, Peeves, Voldemort's life story and Dudley's redeeming moment are left out the movies, viewers who have not read the book can still get the essence of the original story. But, obviously, the experience will never be complete without reading the books as well.
For the previous installment, read the April 6 column, Riddikulus with Elise & Sydney: Brewing butterbeer.