Movie vs. Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. II

By Alyssa Henry

SPOILER ALERT: This post is a comparison of major plot points in the movie and book versions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. II. There are spoilers of major scenes, events and deaths.

When I was 11, I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time. I was the same age as Harry when he first received his Hogwarts letter. (Unfortunately, it seems that mine got lost in the mail.)  Since then, there have been 7 books, 8 movies, and one epic adventure.  Here are some of my favorite moments that were true to the book, and some that were changed for the big screen.

True to the book: One moment the movie does well is the quasi dream-sequence after Harry lets Voldemort kill him in the Forbidden Forrest. The movie stays true to the scenery and imagery from the book. Kings Cross station is a surreal, stark white place, hovering between life and death. The dialogue between Harry and Dumbledore is the same as in the novel, and ends with one of my favorite quotes of the series: “Of course this is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth must that mean that it is not real?”.

There are other key scenes that fans love from the books, and the movie does not disappoint. First is when Neville kills Nagini, Voldemort’s snake. This is his defining moment in the series, as Neville has been underestimated his whole life by his grandmother, his teachers, and even his friends. In Deathly Hallows Pt. II, he leads the student revolt at Hogwarts and stands up to Voldemort when he believes Harry is dead. Destroying the final Horcruxes cements him as a hero, and the fans in the theater loved it.

And another defining moment: when Mrs. Weasley kills Bellaxtrix Lestrange after she attacks her daughter, Ginny. The loudest applause in the theater happened when Mrs. Weasley shouts, “Not my daughter, you bitch!” and hits her with the killing curse.

And finally — the long-awaited kiss between Ron and Hermione. It was a perfect moment of love, amidst the death and destruction happening in the final battle of Hogwarts.

Altered for the big screen: While those moments came to life on the big screen, there were some that strayed from J.K. Rowling’s novel. Fred Weasley’s death in the book takes place in a hectic battle with Death Eaters, as Harry and Ron look on. In the movie, his death feels marginalized. Instead of watching him get killed in action, we see his family mourning over his body in the Great Hall. It’s one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the books, but without seeing him killed in the movie, it loses its effectiveness.

Another small, but notable, difference is the location of Snape’s death. In the book, he’s killed by Voldemort in the Shrieking Shack. In the movie, it takes place in the never-before-seen-or-mentioned Hogwarts “boat house”. The scene and memories are the same, and Snape is still a tragic hero of sorts. It’s just a minor annoyance that this location has never previously existed in the books or movies.

While Harry’s fight with Voldemort is a thrilling chase through Hogwart’s castle, Voldemort’s actual death is anti-climactic. In the book, the final duel between Harry and Voldemort takes place in the Great Hall in front of the entire crowd of Hogwarts students, teachers and Death Eaters, and a cheer erupts when he’s finally defeated. In the movie, however, Harry and Voldemort fight alone in the courtyard and when Voldemort is killed, he explodes into a million tiny pieces with a strange visual effect of dust floating in the air. He dissolves into the atmosphere with no one around to witness it.

And there is one more important plot point that was altered for the movie: Harry doesn’t repair his wand at the end of the film. As true HP fans know, in the books, Harry loves his wand because it’s one of the first things he receives that ties him to the wizarding world. So when it breaks in the novel, he spends much of his time mourning it. He then uses the elder wand to repair, before disposing of the elder wand itself.  In the film, however, he breaks the elder wand in two and throws it away without ever fixing his own wand.

Final Thoughts
Overall, Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Pt. II is an excellent adaptation of the book, as it captures the essence of the entire series. It’s a battle of good and evil, dark and light, and life and death, with the story of friendship at its core. It’s true to the characters and the plot and paints a vibrant picture of the final battle of Hogwarts.

So, my fellow Harry Potter fans, let us raise a glass to Harry Potter… the boy who lived.

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12 Comments

Filed under Movie vs. Book, Reviews

12 responses to “Movie vs. Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. II

  1. I disagree about the boat house. While it’s never been mentioned before it’s still a logical location that has to exist because first years arrive at the castle via boats (as established in the books and 1st movie). The fact that Steven Kloves moved the action from the Shrieking Shack to the boat house didn’t bother me as much because it bookends the series and serves as a reminder of their arrival as first years.

  2. Hi Alex, thanks for reading my post! I wasn’t too bothered by the boat house either, as it does make sense for Hogwarts to have one. I was just pointing out that it’s not mentioned in the books or any of the other movies. Also, I like the Shrieking Shack, so was bummed it didn’t get to make another appearance in the movies 🙂

    • Seán

      Just found the blog…I like it a lot! Keep up the good work! Just on the boathouse…it has made fleeting appearances throughout the movies. For example, if you look closely at this still (http://media.photobucket.com/image/hogwarts%20castle/lord54/Hogwarts-Castle.jpg?t=1242106285) of Hogwarts Castle in the first movie, you can see a boathouse just ahead of the first years in a similar location to what was shown in the eighth movie.

      Also if you ever get a chance to play the Harry Potter video games which allow you to explore Hogwarts, you’ll find the boathouse in those too. 🙂

  3. Simmy

    About Harry’s wand. In part one, when Grayback and the snatchers catches them, he finds the broken wand in Harry’s pockets and throws it away… That’s why he couldn’t repair it… He didn’t have it at the time!

  4. Keilya

    Thank you thank you thank you! Someone who FINALLY agrees with me!! Everyone has been going on and on about all of the fantastic parts of the movie, but to me as amazing as it was it fell slightly short. Mainly due to the extremely anti-climactic deaths of Fred and Voldemort (mainly Voldemort obviously haha) That whole ending was just nothing like it should have been, and everyone else that I have mentioned it to just brushes me off and says it was fine and the movie was amazing. I completely agree with everything said here! The only other disappointment was I felt like there was some lacking in the dialogue, a lot of time there was a ‘long meaningful glance’ instead of words, that just added to the anti-climactic aura.

  5. April

    I thought the scene between Harry and Ron (when Ron comes and saves Harry) was NOT done well in the movie. What happened to the part where Harry explains to Ron that Hermonie is like his sister? I just thought that needed to be said. We needed to see it. oh well…

  6. Pingback: Book vs. Movie Review | 2013 AP English Class Blog

  7. Nav T

    I agree on the dealths being anti-climactic in the movie. I was waiting to see people watch Harry and Voldemort in the Great Hall, and then the excitement that gripped everyone at the end. I also felt that the emotion behinf Fred’s death was not captured. In addition, I miss hearing about Teddy Lupin at the end. It was important to know that despite his parents’ sacrifices, he is living a good life.

  8. Ziggy

    In my opinion, from Fred’s Death scene on, nothing should have been changed, I was so waiting to see everything in the book from that point on, on the big screen, especially the final battle in the great hall, and then the return to the Headmaster’s office.

  9. Gisel

    yeah, i am waiting for the scenes wherein Voldemort and Harry is in great hall it should be there in the film. It explains everything from the wand, Dumbledore, Severus a bit disappointed with that because for me it is really the climax.

    Also in the book Lupin ask Harry to be the godfather..

    The use of cloak was not seen in the movie, it is simple thing but i guess that should be adopted in the film.

  10. tomokojoy

    I watched the Deathly Hallows movies within two weeks of having finished reading the book, so the differences and similarities really stood out to me. Unfortunately, I found some of the differences to be unnecessary and detrimental. To be fair, however, the movies did do a great job with many of the scenes. In the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I especially enjoyed these scenes: 1) Breaking in to and out of Gringotts, and 2) the pensieve scenes of Snape’s memories (really powerful!!).

    But. I was extremely disappointed with the movie adaptation of the climactic ending. My biggest (and perhaps most objective–as in, based mostly on reasoning rather than my personal preferences) issue was that the invisibility cloak was, well… invisible in the movie. After Harry finishes looking into the pensieve, he puts on his invisibility cloak so as to hide himself from all who may stop him and not understand what he must do: “There would be no goodbyes and no explanations, he was determined of that. This was a journey they (referring to Ron and Hermione) could not take together, and the attempts they would make to stop him would waste valuable time.” And also, after he puts the invisibility cloak on: “Perhaps some tiny part of him hoped to be sensed, to be seen, to be stopped, but the Cloak was, as ever, impenetrable, perfect, and he reached the front doors easily.” The weight of facing death alone, the ache of knowing he would not see his friends ever again, and the conviction that this was the only way to protect everyone, is emphasized through the use of this invisibility cloak. (And this also serves to create the mix of confusion/shock Ron and Hermione feel when they later believe Harry to be dead!). On his way to the Forbidden Forrest, he sees Neville, and takes off his invisibility cloak to ask him to finish off Nagini, if Ron and Hermione are unable to do it themselves. And that’s why Neville is so set on killing Nagini, even after Harry is believed to be dead. Neville’s defiance and killing of Nagini then serves as the heroic trigger to the rest of the climactic ending. Which brings me to… Harry Potter vs Voldemort. Once Neville kills Nagini, chaos errupts. And that’s when Harry quickly–and secretly–puts on the invisibility cloak, waiting for the perfect moment to reveal himself. When he does, it is an incredibly dramatic moment for Voldemort and for everyone else in the Great Hall.

    So in conclusion, I think there were too many unnecessary changes. It would be wrong of me to be unforgiving of movie changes that are required due to time constraints or inability to do the special graphics well or something along those lines, but the changes that were made here were not of that nature… in fact, doing it true to the book I think would have required less special effects.

    Thanks for letting me jot my thoughts down somewhere. Whew.

  11. johanna

    I really hated that they took away the best part of the end. Where everyone stands and watching they battle and Voldemort get to know the truth about Snape and everyone else aswell AND as said before, everyone hears the explanation about the wand, horrocruxes and everything else that is so important to know! I loved it when Harry just puts everything in his face in front of everyone… To me it’s just such a big mistake of them to cut that, how did they think there.

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