Adapting JK Rowling’s 7-part Harry Potter series of novels would have been an arduous task for any filmmaker. A film is much more confined with time than a novel. Fans have had to go without classic Harry Potter characters and scenes. This also includes moments that took place in the books, now somewhat non-existent in the movie canon.
Particularly affected were the characters. Each of Rowling’s Harry Potter characters were unique and many had their own sub-storylines, away from Harry in the main plot. Unfortunately, films can only focus on one clear protagonist, that of course being Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe).
Listed below are 10 characters who got the short end of the stick. They were either not featured as much as shown in the books and in some cases, not certain films at all.
10. Angelina Johnson
As a Chaser and later captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Angelina Johnson is a regular supporting character in the novels. She appears in the first 5 books and also Deathly Hallows, only missing Half-Blood Prince. If not considered Harry’s friend, she is at least a friendly schoolmate and joins Dumbledore’s Army (DA) while in her final year at Hogwarts.
Angelina appears as a minor character in the first two films – Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, shown during the Quidditch matches. For this stint, she was potrayed by Danielle Tabor. However, while Angelina returns in Goblet of Fire, she is portrayed by a different actress, Tiana Benjamin.
Benjamin, then a star of the BBC soap opera EastEnders, was unable to reprise her role in the subsequent films due to clashes with the show. Considering that Angelina was a much more relevant character in the books, it is disappointing to see her so under utilised.
9. Colin Creevey
Thanks to his distinctive trademark camera, Colin Creevey is one of the more recognisable Harry Potter characters. In the novels, Colin first appears in Chamber of Secrets, much like in the film. One commonality between both mediums is Colin’s idolisation towards Harry during this story. Colin appears through to Deathly Hallows, where he dies in the Battle of Hogwarts.
However, actor Hugh Mitchell did not reprise the role of Colin after the second film. Instead, Nigel (William Melling), a composite character also including aspects of the entirely absent Dennis Creevey, was created as a substitute. Whether or not it was Mitchell’s decision not to return, it was disappointing to not see Colin again in the later films.
8. Fleur Delacour
In both the books and films, Fleur Delacour makes her first appearance in Goblet of Fire. She is a member of the Beauxbatons delegation of students that arrive at Hogwarts to take part in the Triwizard Tournament, with Fleur being chosen to represent her school, under the tutelege of Madame Maxime.
Fleur later returns in Half Blood Prince, where she is revealed to now be in a relationship with Ron’s older brother Bill Weasley, whom she later marries, thus becoming one of many Harry Potter characters to be related to the Weasleys. She also fights alongside the Order of the Phoenix in Deathly Hallows.
Although Poesy reprises her role as Fleur for the final two films, she does not appear in Half Blood Prince, where her presence would have been explained. Of course, Bill also does not appear, so perhaps it would not have made sense in this instance.
7. Charlie Weasley
Charles ‘Charlie’ Weasley is the second oldest Weasley sibling, appearing less frequently due to having already graduated Hogwarts before Harry started. He is mentioned frequently, however, as being a skilled Quidditch player and by Hagrid as having a fondness for magical creatures. From the Goblet of Fire novel, Charlie becomes a recurring character when he meets Harry for the first time. He makes intermittent appearances up until Deathly Hallows.
In the films, Charlie is the only Weasley family member to not truly appear. His only involvement is through a magical photograph in Prisoner of Azkaban, where Alex Crockford briefly portrays the character. Other than that, the character of Charlie was completely omitted.
6. Dean Thomas
Although future How To Get Away With Murder star Alfred Enoch played Gryffindor Dean Thomas in 7 Harry Potter films, his role was very small. Compared to other characters such as Neville (Matthew Lewis) or Seamus (Devon Murray), he has very few lines and can usually be found in the background of larger group scenes.
In the books, Dean arguably has the most impact on the story in Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows, dating Ginny Weasley in the former and crossing paths with Harry on his horcrux quest in the latter. Due to timing constraints in the films, Dean’s side of his relationship with Ginny is not shown and unlike the books, he actually remains at Hogwarts during his seventh year, rather than being captured at Malfoy Manor alongside the Trio.
Dobby, a faultlessly loyal House Elf, makes his first appearance in Chamber of Secrets, where he makes Harry Potter aware of dangers at Hogwarts ahead of his second year at the school. Dobby then becomes a recurring character in the books, returning in Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.
On the film side, Dobby (voiced by actor Toby Jones), appears in Chamber of Secrets and is absent from the franchise until Deathly Hallows Part 1. He was effectively brought back just to die. While Dobby’s death was tragic regardless, it lacked the emotional impact of the character having been more present in the films.
4. Nymphadora Tonks
In the Harry Potter novels, Ministry of Magic Auror Nymphadora Tonks becomes a major supporting character in the latter half of the series. Preferring to be known by her last name, Tonks is a member of the Order of the Phoenix. She is also a lot younger than some of her more experienced allies, bridging the gap between them and the children – Harry Potter and his friends. Overall, Tonks appears in the final three books and dies in Deathly Hallows at the hand of her aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange, during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Actress Natalia Tena (also known as Osha, the Wildling in Game of Thrones) potrayed Tonks for the final four films. However, unlike the books, she is not explored in great depth due to lacking the ability to show multiple storylines, which a novel has freedom to do. Although still a likable character, Tonks is much less connected to the overall storyline.
3. Dudley Dursley
As any ardent Harry Potter fan would know, Dudley Dursley is the protagonist’s spoiled Muggle cousin who Harry was raised alongside following his parents’ deaths. However, much like his parents, Dudley is cruel and abusive towards his smaller cousin and makes his life a misery before Harry initially leaves for Hogwarts in 1991.
In the books, Dudley undergoes a slow character transition after Harry saves his life from Dementors in Order of the Phoenix, to the point where he expressed concern for his cousin’s safety in Deathly Hallows after learning he would be parting ways with the Dursley family. This short scene was ultimately filmed but not used in Deathly Hallows Part 2, removing Dudley’s redemptive moment.
2. Remus Lupin
Introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin is a layered character that serves multiple purposes to Harry’s story. Initially meeting the Boy Who Lived as his Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, Lupin is later revealed to have been a close friend of Harry’s father, James Potter, with whom, among others, he co-created the Marauder’s Map. Additionally, Lupin is a werewolf and his condition is used to showcase discrimination in the Wizarding World, as a metaphor for real-world racism.
David Thewlis played Lupin in the films, going on to appear in a total of 5 movies between 2004-2011. While he was a significant character in Prisoner of Azkaban, his role is drastically reduced in later films. This is unlike the books, where Lupin remains a significant part of Harry’s life. In comparison to the books, the character is under utilised and less involved directly with Harry.
1. Ginny Weasley
Although Ginny Weasley is introduced in the first Harry Potter story, Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, she gradually becomes more relevant throughout the books. Ginny began as a shy, awkward young girl with a crush on Harry and matures into a confident, mature and athletic young woman. As such, Ginny’s more outgoing and at times brave personality does win Harry’s affections, leading to their marriage some time after 1998.
Bonnie Wright portrays Ginny in all 8 films, her first acting role. However, the execution of Ginny’s evolution is not as polished in this medium compared to the novels. Personally speaking, the writers waited too long to bring Ginny to the forefront of the action when comparing to the books. Although her storyline in the later films more or less correlate with the books, there was a missed opportunity for Ginny in Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire to develop more of a friendship with Harry, so their relationship would seem more organic later on.
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