I've always been an advocate for reading books before they become movies, but I know it's not always possible. And in the world of Harry Potter, I don't care so much when you read the books or see the movies, as long as you're part of this incredible world and subjected to it in some form. But there are some things the Harry Potter books left out of the movies, leaving the readers just a little more informed than the movie-watchers.
Generally speaking, I think the Harry Potter movies are perfection. But I'd be lying if I said that the things they left out of the movies were unimportant. And I get it, I guess. It's hard enough to adapt an epic novel into a movie, so things would have to be cut, but they totally could've split up more of the movies. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was cut into two parts, but could've easily been three and given all of us just a little more Potter in our life. In fact, books four through seven could've all been made into longer movies by adding some of the most crucial scenes back.
I know, that would never have happened, but a girl can dream, right? There are 19 things us book readers know that movie-watchers don't, and I think they all would've added more to the movies. More backstory, more depth, more motivation for certain characters — they're totally necessary.
1. Hermione Is An Activist For House Elves
Why is S.P.E.W. completely left out of the movies? It's pretty upsetting considering how hard Hermione worked to be an activist for the house elves, but I also think cutting S.P.E.W. leaves out some serious depth to Ron and Hermione's relationship.
2. The Back Story Of Mrs. Figg
In the movie Order of the Phoenix, Mrs. Figg is there to help Harry and Dudley after they are attacked by dementors, but most of her backstory is left out. In the book, you learn that Mrs. Figg is a squib, which means she was born to a wizarding family, but has no powers of her own. When Harry is sent to live with the Dursleys, Dumbledore asks her to keep an eye on Harry and he is often left with her as a babysitter. It's a pretty great way to connect his life on Privet Drive with the wizarding world and I'm so sad it was left out.
3. Peeves The Poltergeist
I mean, not even one mention of him! What the hell? Peeves was such a jerk, but he was totally entertaining and should've been there.
4. Winky The House Elf
Her connection to Barty Crouch, Jr. is never mentioned, nor is it shown that she was blamed for casting the Dark Mark at the Quidditch World Cup. Plus, she had a drinking problem. What made the script writers think she wouldn't be a movie asset?
5. Dumbledore's Howler To Aunt Petunia
Howlers are shown in the movies, but not the one Dumbledore sends to Aunt Petunia in Order of the Phoenix when she tried to kick Harry out of their home. The howler is so important because it gives readers the first glimpse into the fact that the Dursleys are bound by a pact to keep Harry, not out of any sentiment for him.
6. Petunia Asked To Be Accepted To Hogwarts
I'll never, ever understand why we didn't get more back story on Aunt Petunia. In the books, you learn that she was so distraught when her sister Lily was accepted to Hogwarts that she actually wrote a letter to Dumbledore asking him to accept her. Aw.
7. James Saved Snape Once
It's obvious that James and Snape hate each other, but the movies never show the time that James saved Snape's life. When Snape discovered that Lupin was hiding something by disappearing under the Whomping Willow, Sirius tipped him off on how to get in the same passage so he could potentially be mauled by Lupin as a werewolf. James intervened and saved Snape's life, but Snape refused to ever admit it.
8. Barty Crouch Helped His Son Escape From Azkaban
You hear about Barty Crouch sentencing his son, but what you don't know if you're only a movie-watcher is that Barty also helped his son escape from Azkaban by sneaking him poly juice potion.
9. The Phoenix Feathers In Harry & Voldemort's Wand Are From Fawkes
One of my favorite things Rowling included in the series is that Voldemort's and Harry's wands both contain a phoenix feather from the same bird. But the movies left out that the bird? Is Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix.
10. Cho Didn't Rat Out Dumbledore's Army
Nope, this never made any sense either. The movies lead you to believe that Cho is given veritaserum by Umbridge to reveal Dumbledore's Army, but the real culprit is Marietta Edgecombe, a friend of Cho's. She becomes an informant and betrays the group, but our girl Hermione put a spell on the member list that made any one who gave away information on DA break out into hives that spelled SNEAK across their faces. Take that, Marietta.
11. Voldemort's Family History
This is barely mentioned in the movies and it's infuriating. There is so much that's left out about Voldemort's family, his parents, the love his mother had for his muggle father, and I think it's all extremely beneficial to the story. Maybe we should just get a Voldemort prequel?
12. Dumbledore's Family History
Again, barely mentioned. Why? In the movies, you never learn exactly what Dumbledore is seeing after he starts hallucinating in the cave looking for the horcrux, nor do you have any idea the details of his connection with Grindlewald and the fall-out with his brother. The movies even show a portrait of his sister, but no explanation. Again, I ask for a prequel.
13. Harry Gave Fred & George His Triwizard Money
Which is exactly how the Weasley twins are able to start Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
14. Ron & Hermione Became Prefects
Yup. Huge moment for both Ron and Hermione when they become prefects in Order of the Phoenix. It gives so many layers to the relationship between the two of them and Harry, and I hate that it was left out of the movies.
15. Neville's Parents
In the movies, you hear that Neville's parents were tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange and the Cruciatus Curse, but you never get to meet them. In an incredibly heartbreaking moment in Order of the Phoenix, Harry and the gang are at St. Mungo's hospital to visit Arthur Weasley when they run into Neville visiting his parents. There is a moment where Alice, Neville's mom, gives him a gum wrapper, one of thousands she's given him over the years. She can no longer recognize her son, but knows he's someone she loves, and it's incredibly hard to read.
16. Professor Trelawney's Prophecy
Professor Trelawney's prophecy is no big secret in the movie, but you never hear that she gave it to Dumbledore while being interviewed for the position of Divinations professor at Hogwarts. (Which explains why she continues to teach despite not being very good at it.)
17. How Lupin Became A Werewolf
Lupin is a werewolf, but his back story is pretty interesting. Working for the Ministry of Magic, Lupin's father made a derogatory remark about werewolves and really pissed off one werewolf in particular, Fenrir Greyback. Yep, the same one that is a Death Eater in the last movies and participates in the Battle of Hogwarts bit Lupin when he was a little boy as payback for his father's comments.
18. It's Snape's Fault The Potters Die
Snape is the one that overhears the prophecy being told by Trelawney to Dumbledore and is the one to relay the information to Voldemort. However, he doesn't tell the entire prophecy and his gossiping ways is what sets The Dark Lord off on the Potters.
19. Neville Longbottom Could Have Been The Chosen One
Yup. The best book fact of all is that it totally could have been Neville. The prophecy claims that the one to vanquish The Dark Lord will be born at the end of the seventh month to parents that had thrice defied Voldemort. Both Neville and Harry fit this description — Voldemort just chose Harry.