The eight Harry Potter movies are wonderfully exciting, beautifully colorful, gorgeously charming... They just aren't quite good enough — for me, at least. The Harry Potter books are better than the movies in so many ways: the characters are more complex; the back-stories are more filled out; Ginny is less of a total bore; the list goes on. As hard as they tried to magically bring the wizarding world to life, the movies can never quite live up to the legacy J.K. left us.
Once you've lost yourself in the gloriously rich world of the Harry Potter books, it's hard to watch the movies without feeling something's missing. It might be the spark of J.K. Rowling's sharp and hilarious writing; it might be the ability to let your imagination roam free around Hogwarts; or it might be that something is literally missing. Like, some pretty key plot points.
I mean, I get it. Those books are really long. It's hard to cram all of that action into a two hour movie — so I understand that some things had to go. Maaaybe it was OK to say goodbye to some of Peeves' more annoying pranks. And I guess I didn't mind too much that they cut Dumbledore's funeral — because I would have cried too much in the movie theater otherwise.
But some of the changes were less easy to forgive. Here are eight of the most magical Harry Potter scenes that didn't make it to the big screen.
1. Hermione's mental gymnastics to solve Snape's riddle
The sorcerer's stone is protected by a series of magical enchantments, from a giant chess set to a killer plant. But one particular challenge was left out of the movie: Snape's riddle. In the book, Harry and Hermione find a row of bottles full of potions, along with a riddle that offers clues as to which is safe to drink — and which is deadly poisonous. I never quite understood why Snape would bother giving clues when the whole point was to stop people from getting through — but it was pretty impressive watching Hermione solve the puzzle in her head nonetheless.
2. Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday Party
This would have been cool to see on screen. In Chamber of Secrets, Nearly Headless Nick invites Harry, Hermione and Ron to a party to celebrate (or commiserate) the 400th anniversary of his death. It's actually a pretty heartbreaking scene, as it shows Nearly Headless Nick being excluded by the Headless Hunt because his head doesn't come all the way off. They even make fun of him. At his deathday party. Rude.
3. Luna's Quidditch commentary
One of my favorite recurring scenes in the Harry Potter books is every time Lee Jordan is commentating a Quidditch match and Professor McGonagall has to keep telling him off — but even more hilarious is the one time that Luna Lovegood takes the reins. Needless to say, Luna's dreamy observations don't exactly make for a fast-paced running commentary.
4. Peeves saluting Fred and George
The whole character of Peeves was cut from the movies, which some people think was no bad thing. (He was rather annoying, after all.) But there's just one Peeves moment that always brings tears of joy to my eyes in the book: when he salutes Fred and George Weasley on their way out of Hogwarts. It's a significant moment: Peeves doesn't take orders from anyone (except the Bloody Baron), let alone students. But when the twins instruct him to give Umbridge hell — he salutes them, and happily obeys. When it comes to being Hogwarts' chief troublemakers, even the poltergeist has to hand this title over to the Weasleys.
5. Flitwick keeping a piece of the Weasleys' swamp
Not only do the Weasleys get respect from the troublesome poltergeist, they even get respect from the usually-serious Professor Flitwick. When Fred and George fly out of Hogwarts forever, they leave the place in absolute carnage — which should have been a total nightmare for the teachers. But Flitwick deliberately saves a piece of their swamp out of respect for their skills — and it's a particularly lovely moment I'd like to have seen on screen.
6. Dudley says Harry isn't a waste of space
In the movies, Dudley is a wholly unpleasant character. In the books... well, he's also a wholly unpleasant character. But he does get a moment of redemption that was left out of the film adaptation — and it's really rather sweet. As Harry is saying his goodbyes to the Dursleys, Dudley pays him the best compliment he knows how: he says he doesn't think Harry is a waste of space. OK, so this quote isn't going to be read out at weddings any time soon, but coming from Dudley, it's really pretty nice. Especially when Harry thinks back and realizes that the cup of tea outside his bedroom, which he thought was a booby trap, was actually a caring gift from his cousin.
7. Hermione and Ron's first kiss
The kiss in the film is romantic, sure — but the kiss in the book is so much more special. Throughout the books, Hermione has been campaigning for the rights of house-elves (another aspect that was cut from the movies), and Harry and Ron have never really taken her seriously. At the Battle of Hogwarts, however, Ron finally realizes the unfair treatment of house-elves, and argues that they mustn't be allowed to die at the orders of their masters. That's when Hermione kisses him — because he's finally become the compassionate, selfless person that badass witch deserves.
8. Harry's dramatic re-entrance at the Battle of Hogwarts
In the movie, Harry reveals himself still to be alive when he clumsily falls out of Hagrid's arms. This is not as exciting as the book — where Harry dramatically tears off his invisibility cloak in the middle of the Great Hall. I always imagined it like the final scene of Thumbelina where Prince Cornelius, who everybody also thought was dead, appears from behind an icicle. In the absence of a suitable Harry-Potter-dramatically-returning-from-the-dead GIF, I'll have to use a Prince Cornelius one instead:
Wouldn't that be magnificent if it was Harry Potter flinging off his invisibility cloak, wand in hand? Yes, it would. And they should have put that in the movie.