I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was just 8 years old, and by the time the first movie was released, I’d already read up to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I always devoured new books as soon as they were released, and I grew up reading them repeatedly.
At one point I could literally remember the entirety of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. My mom would test me by picking a random page and reading a sentence, and I’d be able to finish the paragraph.
Suffice it to say, I knew the books inside out, and I was excited to see my favorite scenes and characters on the big screen when the movies came out. I won’t say that I was disappointed, I think that for the most part, the films really captured the essence of Harry Potter. However, there were certainly several moments where I was like “Wait, where’s X?” and I felt like I’d missed out.
I know a lot of fans have only watched the movies and never read the books, so I made this article to help give them a taste of just some of what they’re missing.
Although the books contain a lot of side characters who aren’t in the movie, very few of them are integral to the plot. Several of them are just there to populate the world a bit, and in movies, they have extras for that. Heck, maybe some of the extras were supposed to represent specific characters, but they just weren’t named out loud.
However, several characters don’t make any appearances at all in the movies despite having relevance in the books. Below are the excluded book characters who made the most impact on me. Hopefully, you’ll get an idea of how fun they are, too!
- First Introduced – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat
- Best Moment – When he salutes Fred and George as they leave Hogwarts.
Not including Peeves in the movies was just criminal. Movie-only fans were ROBBED, I tell you. For those of you unaware, Peeves is a poltergeist, which is essentially a mischievous ghost. He’s also Mr. Filch’s sworn enemy. The hijinks that Peeves gets up to in the books are utterly unhinged. Seriously, we missed out on so many hilarious scenes.
He gets up to so many crazy antics throughout the books, but some of the most notable are:
- Pelting water balloons at students’ heads – He wasn’t invited to the welcome feast in Harry’s 4th year, as the other ghosts were worried he’d start throwing food. In retaliation for this slight, Peeves took it upon himself to come anyway. He launched water balloons at the students, hitting several of them in the head, including Ron Weasley.
- Terrorizing Dolores Umbridge – A lot of his pranks were at the expense of innocents, but nobody could feel sorry for someone as nasty as Umbridge. As such, it was super satisfying to read about how he messed with her after the Weasley twins left Hogwarts. He would follow her around blowing raspberries, topple over statues and tables, and just generally damage everything in sight.
- Throwing moldy peanuts at Moaning Myrtle – So, this one’s more mean than funny, but it does kinda encapsulate who Peeves was. Because although he was a joker, he was also a bully, and Myrtle was often on the receiving end of his ‘jokes’. At Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday party (I’ll cover that later), Peeves took it upon himself to throw moldy peanuts at Myrtle to make her cry.
- Tried to strangle Ron Weasley – Again demonstrating a terrible lack of judgment, Peeves tried to strangle Ron with tinsel in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The trio were putting up Christmas decorations, and Peeves wanted to make it as challenging and frustrating an experience as possible.
As well as pulling several pranks such as the ones above, Peeves also enjoyed making cruel rhymes. As soon as he got a whiff of drama, he’d make up a song about it. He had no respect for boundaries, and not even professors were immune. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Peeves starts singing “Loony loopy Lupin” to Professor Lupin. He also comes up with several rhymes about Harry.
Despite his proclivity for trouble, Peeves was not without redemption. During the Battle of Hogwarts, he antagonized the Death Eaters by dropping things on their heads and distracting them. Once the battle was one, he came up with a victory song.
It’s a shame that Peeves wasn’t in the movies because he lends himself so well to visual media. He does show up in some of the Harry Potter games, though. I remember playing the original series on the PS1, and Peeves was always a highlight for me.
- First Introduced – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 8: The Potions Master
- Best Moment – When he tells the class about the legend of the Chamber of Secrets.
Alright, so Professor Cuthbert Binns isn’t exactly ‘fun’, but that’s my point. He’s so incredibly boring that the students are constantly complaining about him, and that in itself helps set the scene. Hogwarts is so exciting compared to regular school, so it’s nice to be reminded that it’s not all fun and games.
Professor Binns teaches History of Magic, a lesson for which there’s no practical magic component. Except for Hermione, nobody else seems to find the class even remotely interesting.
I expect Hermione is just so fascinated by magical lore seeing as she grew up in a muggle world. However, Professor Binns teaches it in the most monotonous way possible, hence the other students hating the subject so much.
Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention something… Professor Binns is a ghost! Seriously, a ghost teacher, I can’t believe the movie directors robbed us of the chance to see that on screen. It’s something so unique and unexpected, even in a building where we know ghosts exist.
Can you imagine dying, but then still having to continue with your job anyway? No wonder Professor Binns is always so grumpy.
However, there was one moment in the books where the students were hanging on his every word. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the students are desperately trying to figure out what on Earth the ‘Chamber of Secrets’ is, but none of the adults will tell them. In the movie, they have Professor McGonagall reluctantly give in and tell them that it’s home to a monster.
But in the books, they actually find out during a History of Magic class. Professor Binns is just so surprised to have the students paying attention to him for once, that he relents and tells them all about the Chamber of Secrets.
- First Introduced – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 8: The Quidditch World Cup
- Best Moment – When Dobby takes her to the Room of Requirement to detox her from her butterbeer addiction.
Like most people, I love the house elves, so I was gutted that Winky wasn’t in the movies. She had belonged to the Crouch family and took her role as their servant (slave) very seriously. Winky had been with Barty Crouch Jr (who’d been hiding under an invisibility cloak) at the Quidditch World Cup, but he’d managed to escape her.
Winky found Barty Crouch Jr and tried to lead him away from trouble, but he cast the Dark Mark. The Ministry found both of them at the scene of the crime and stunned them, but because Barty Crouch Jr was concealed by the invisibility cloak, they thought Winky had cast the spell.
Barty Crouch Sr then dismissed Winky by presenting her with clothes, as he didn’t want to be associated with a suspect. She was devastated and begged him to take her back, but he refused. After that, she fell into a deep depression and alcoholism (through Butterbeer). Dobby found her and got her a job at Hogwarts, but she was still very depressed as she missed her old home.
Winky never liked being a free elf and continued to drink her sorrows away. However, with Dobby’s persistent efforts, she did form a genuine friendship with him. She also participated in the Battle of Hogwarts to try and thwart the Death Eaters.
- First Introduced – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 25: Shell Cottage
- Best Moment – He was dating Victoire Weasley (Bill and Fleur’s daughter) and got teased about it on the train platform.
A minor character, but an important one. Teddy is the son of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, and although he’s mentioned in the movies, we never see him on screen. Besides, even if we had seen him, it’s not really the baby version that’s most interesting.
In the books, Teddy appears in the epilogue, and he represents an emotional role. In a way, he’s a mirror for Harry Potter. Or, more specifically, who Harry could’ve been had he not been stuck with the Dursleys. Like Harry, Teddy also lost both of his parents to Voldemort when he was just a baby. He’s had to grow up never knowing that special bond.
However, unlike Harry, Teddy grew up surrounded by love and support. He was raised by Andromeda Tonks (Nymphadora’s mother) who showered him with care and affection. He was also lucky enough to have Harry Potter as his godfather, and Harry and the other members of the Order of the Phoenix would regularly visit him and invite him over. So although he didn’t grow up with his parents, he did still experience a family.
Prior to the birth, Remus had been worried that he’d pass on his werewolf nature to his son. However, thankfully, that was not the case, and Teddy showed no signs of lycanthropy. He did, however, inherit his mother’s metamorphmagus abilities, and was able to change his hair and facial features at will.
In the epilogue, Teddy is shown to be close friends with the Potter and Weasley children, and he plays around with them on the platform. He’s especially close with Lily Luna, Harry and Ginny’s youngest daughter. It would have been nice to see him in the movies just so fans could see Remus and Nymphadora’s son thriving despite their tragedy.
Plots and Scenes
Believe me, this is by no means an exhaustive list. I’ve tried to include the plots and scenes that made the most impact on me in the books and were notably absent in the movies.
You’re never going to get the full experience of Harry Potter from just the movies, but hopefully, this section will give you a better idea of some of the book plots/ scenes that you’re missing out on.
Crookshanks Befriending Sirius
- Best Moment – Crookshanks repeatedly attempting to kill Scabbers as he knew it was really Peter Pettigrew.
Overall, I’d say that Prisoner of Azkaban was the best book-to-movie adaptation of the series. It kept most of the story beats and the vibe stayed very similar. However, it did miss out on a few key facets. One of these omissions was the fact that Crookshanks (Hermione’s cat) was actually the one helping Sirius get around.
They’d befriended each other whilst Sirius was in dog form, and throughout the book, Crookshanks wanders off a lot. In fact, Crookshanks was the one who had stolen Neville’s list of passwords and given it to Sirius so that he could get into the Gryffindor common room.
This is also the reason that Crookshanks had it out for Scabbers. The trio had assumed it was just a standard case of a cat chasing a rat, but it was more than that. Crookshanks knew full well that Scabbers was really an animagus, and was trying to help Sirius catch Peter Pettigrew.
In the books, Crookshanks is also present for the final confrontation in the Whomping Willow. At first, he tries to steal Harry’s wand to prevent him from attacking Sirius. When that fails, Crookshanks bravely puts himself between Harry and Sirius, refusing to leave the latter unguarded.
As interesting as this plot was to read about, I do understand why they cut it. I think it would’ve been harder to convey through a movie than it is through words on a page.
Neville Longbottom Visiting His Parents
- Best quote – “Neville looked around at the others, his expression defiant, as though daring them to laugh, but Harry did not think he’d ever found anything less funny in his life.”
This is the most heinous exclusion of all. I remember reading this scene in the books and crying my eyes out, it was such a punch to the gut. I couldn’t wait to see it acted on screen when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released, but to my dismay, they cut this scene out!
The movies make us aware that Neville’s parents, Frank and Alice Longbottom, were tortured whilst standing up against Voldemort. However, it’s barely mentioned, and we don’t get to understand the full horrors of what they experience.
Other than the fact that Neville now lives with his gran, there’s precious little information on what happened to his parents afterward.
In the books, however, this is addressed in vivid detail. After Arthur Weasley is attacked in the Ministry of Magic, Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny visit him in St. Mungo’s hospital. Whilst there, they spot Neville Longbottom, who has been visiting his parents.
Neville seems awkward about seeing them, which his gran admonishes him for, as she thinks it implies Neville is embarrassed by his parents when he should be proud. “They didn’t give their health and their sanity so their only son would be ashamed of them, you know!”
We then see Neville’s mother hobble out, and it becomes clear just how badly she was tortured. Her mind is completely addled, and she seems to have no real sense of self-awareness. But despite that, some part of her still loves her son.
She presents him with a ‘gift’, a shiny chewing gum wrapper, which is the only item she really has to give him. Neville accepts it gratefully, despite his gran mentioning how he has enough of them “to paper [his] room”.
Clearly, this is a regular occurrence, and it’s devastating to think of all the visits that Neville must have taken to see his parents in such bad shape, where all they can give him is a chewing gum wrapper. You know that had they not lost their minds, they’d have wanted to give Neville everything.
Even just writing about it makes me tear up. It’s one of the best scenes in the series, and I wish it had been included in the films.
Rita Skeeter Is an Animagus
- Best Quote – “Hermione took the glass jar back from Ron and smiled at the beetle, which buzzed angrily against the glass.”
Although the movies emphasize Hermione’s intelligence, they exclude the darker side of that intelligence. Honestly, much as I love movie-Hermione, book-Hermione just has so much more depth to her. One example that combines her genius and her scariness is when she figures out that Rita Skeeter is an animagus.
Throughout Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rita Skeeter continuously posts personal and inflammatory articles about Harry, and nobody can figure out how she’s getting her information. She often posts snippets from private conversations he’s had, despite her having been nowhere near him at the time.
Eventually, however, Hermione figures it out. She realizes that Rita Skeeter is an animagus, and has been transforming into a beetle to sneak around without anybody noticing her. That was how she’d been able to be so close to Harry and listen to his conversations undetected.
But what does Hermione do with this information? Does she report Rita to the ministry for being an unregistered animagus? Nope. Does she tell Dumbledore and let him deal with the situation? Nuh-uh. Hermione takes it upon herself to deal with Rita Skeeter personally… By trapping her in a jar! Not just that, but Hermione makes the jar unbreakable so that if Rita were to try and transform back into a human, she would literally implode. Terrifying.
Hermione then proceeds to just keep Rita in a jar, holding threats over her head. She only lets Rita out after Rita promises to not write any more damning articles about Harry and the others. No more character assassination for her!
- Best Moment – Hermione refusing to eat the Hogwarts feast after she realized it was prepared by house elves as she didn’t want to be complicit in slavery.
Speaking of character assassination, the movies do Hermione a huge disservice by not including the S.P.E.W storyline. One side of Hermione that we rarely see on screen is her compassion. It’s always about her brains, her logic, her loyalty. But the films neglect to show just what a kind soul she has alongside her other traits.
Aside from Dobby and occasionally Kreacher, we don’t really see house elves in the movies. But in the books, they feature much more prominently.
You know the giant feasts that Hogwarts students are greeted to? Well, these don’t just magically appear out of thin air, they’re prepared in the kitchens by house elves. The house elves are also the ones who do the bulk of the cleaning around Hogwarts Castle.
When Hermione finds out about this, she’s horrified. She can’t believe that Dumbledore is okay with essentially using slave labor to run his school. Aside from Dobby (who’s a free elf who helps out because he wants to), the rest of the house elves are owned by Hogwarts. Even though the house elves insist they’re happy with their ‘jobs’, Hermione is having none of it. So, she creates S.P.E.W., which stands for ‘The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare’.
She’s belligerent about getting it off the ground and creates badges that she practically forces the other Gryffindor students to wear. She passionately discusses the situation with anyone who’ll listen (and even those who don’t want to listen).
She also decides to try and free the elves herself by hiding clothes around the Gryffindor Common Room. It’s adorable because she makes the clothes herself despite having very poor crafting skills.
The house elves eventually decide to stop coming to clean, because they’re afraid of getting freed. Most of them aren’t as brave as Dobby and don’t like the idea of not having a master. After all, it’s all they’ve ever known. But Hermione is insistent that freedom is best for them, and she never gives up on her cause.
The Weasleys Visit the Dursleys
- Best Quote – “Aunt Petunia shrieked and fell backward over the coffee table;”
I have no idea why this scene was excluded, it would have looked epic on the big screen. My only guess is that budget might’ve been an issue, but I still feel it would’ve been worth it.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Weasleys decide they want to visit the Dursleys so they can meet the family raising Harry. They want to collect Harry and take him back to the Burrow for the rest of the summer holidays.
It had all been arranged over the phone since the Dursleys were perfectly happy to be rid of Harry for a while. The phone calls themselves were also very funny, as the Weasleys were mystified at how they could communicate over such a long distance, and were shouting at the top of their lungs over the phone.
When the day came for Harry to be collected, however, there was a momentous misunderstanding. You see, they’d never discussed what method would be used to collect Harry. You’d assume they’d go with a car since that’s a normal method of transportation that you’d expect to see in a muggle neighborhood. However, for some inexplicable reason, they decide to travel by Floo Powder.
It doesn’t go to plan, since the Dursleys have an electric fireplace. This leads to a hilarious scene where the Weasleys all end up trapped behind the fireplace, and they talk to Harry through the wall. Eventually, they decide to use magic to literally blow the fireplace apart and escape, much to the shock and horror of the Dursleys.
Whilst they’re there, Fred also deliberately drops one of the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes’ early products, the Ton-Tongue Toffee.
Dudley picks it up and eats it, thinking it’s just a normal sweet. Pretty soon, his tongue starts swelling up and turning purple, protruding from his mouth in a way that nearly chokes him. As a reader, it’s pretty cathartic seeing Dudley get his just desserts, literally.
Fred and George’s Giant Mess
- Best Quote – “Eventually the area was roped off and Filch, gnashing his teeth furiously, was given the task of punting students across it to their classrooms.”
One of my favorite scenes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is when Fred and George leave. The way they send that firework dragon after Umbridge is brilliant. As such, I won’t complain about the differences between the book and the movie here.
I think the books did it slightly better, as in the book, Fred and George don’t disrupt any exams. I always feel a bit bad for the students in the movie who had worked hard for their O.W.L.s only to have them disrupted.
However, aside from their dramatic exit, Fred and George also leave a parting gift. There are several scenes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which show Fred and George developing their Skiving Snackboxes. However, they’ve also been hard at work on other products for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. One such product was their Portable Swamp.
The Portable Swamp does exactly what you’d expect. You set it up, and it creates a swamp there and then. The Weasleys decided to put one in the corridor outside Umbridge’s office, and it remained there for months.
Neither Umbridge nor Filch were able to clear it, and the other teachers claimed they weren’t able to either. However, it’s implied that the other teachers deliberately left it there because they hated Umbridge.
Seeing as it was impossible to traverse, Filch had to transport students across the corridor by rowing them over the swamp in a boat. After Umbridge left Hogwarts, Professor Flitwick cleaned the majority of the swamp. However, he left a tiny bit remaining in one of the corners as a tribute to a “good bit of magic”.
Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday Party
- Best Moment – Peeves chasing Moaning Myrtle and throwing moldy peanuts at her.
Plot-wise, it’s not that relevant, but lore-wise, it’s fascinating. Nearly Headless Nick was one of the friendlier ghosts around the Hogwarts castle and he got along well with the students. In Chamber of Secrets, he invites Harry, Ron, and Hermione to a special event – his Deathday party. It’s his 500th one, so he considers it an exciting milestone. Normally, only the deceased are invited to Deathday events, so Harry and the others were very lucky to be invited.
It happens on the same night as the Halloween feast, which is the night that the Basilisk petrifies its first victim. In the movies, they replace this event with Harry doing detention with Gilderoy Lockhart. I can only assume it was a budget issue, as the Deathday party might have been tricky to film.
Ghosts from all over the country had been invited, as well as the Headless Hunt. This was an organization that Nick really wanted to join, but that he was constantly denied entry to. Nick was very proud of the turnout as he saw this party as a momentous occasion.
The food there was all moldy and incredibly pungent. This was because ghosts can’t taste regular food, but when it’s really stinky, they can experience a feeling akin to taste by floating through the rotten food. I found this to be such an interesting detail, as I’d always wondered whether ghosts could eat in any capacity.
Cleaning the House of Black
- Best Quote – “Snape might refer to their work as “cleaning,” but in Harry’s opinion they were really waging war on the house, which was putting up a very good fight, aided and abetted by Kreacher.”
I sort of understand why they cut this one. There’s not much action or character development, so it might not have worked as well on screen as it did on the page. But honestly, these are some of my favorite scenes in the books. I love learning more about magical lore, and seeing mundane things done impressively.
Before school starts in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry joins the others at number 12 Grimmauld Place, aka, the House of Black. This is where Sirius grew up, and it’s full of clutter, magical creatures, and dark objects. As a group, they decide to get cleaning, and I just love reading the details of it.
We see them face a horde of pixies, shooting them down one by one. They find all kinds of weird objects and magical creatures. Fred and George start harvesting things like doxies to use in their Skiving Snackboxes. It’s fun reading their sneaky behavior and it made me feel so excited to see what Fred and George would get up to next.
Even though I accept that these scenes may not have translated very well into a movie, I’m still so glad that they were included in the book.
Answer: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published in June 1997. The rest of them were released steadily over the following years. The final book to be published was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in July 2007.
Answer: Across all its variants, Harry Potter is the best-selling book series of all time. As of April 2023, the series had sold 500 million book copies, and that number rises constantly.
Answer: There are 8 movies (as the films split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into 2 parts). To watch all of them would take a total of 19 hours and 40 minutes. The shortest is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, at 2 hours and 10 minutes. The longest is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at 2 hours and 41 minutes.
Harry Potter Plots and Characters That Are in the Books But Not the Movies: Conclusion
As you can see, the books are a wealth of extra detail, be it about characters, plots, or individual scenes. Whilst you can definitely have a fun experience just by watching the movies, you end up missing out on a lot of the magical world of Harry Potter. I’m really glad that I got introduced to the books at such a young age, as it really shaped my love of the series.
For those of you who’ve only watched the movies, hopefully, this article was able to give you a better appreciation of some of the characters. Perhaps you might even feel inspired to revisit the movies with your knowledge of the missing scenes. You can think “Aha, this is when X scene could’ve happened”.