You know when you’ve watched a movie a thousand times and you can literally act out the entire thing from start to finish like a terribly under-funded one man show? That’s how I am with the Harry Potter movies. If I wasn’t already aware of what a pathetic nerd I am, I might actually be a bit embarrassed.
The thing is, when you’ve seen any movie that many times, you start to notice teeny tiny insignificant little errors or narrative choices that drive you absolutely up the wall. Sometimes these things are actual plot holes, but most of the time they are minuscule oversights that only exist to inform you that you have no life since you clearly have nothing better to do than notice them. I would love to share some of the things that annoy me the most when I watch the Harry Potter films so that you too can experience the delightful sensation of an unconscious, aggravated eye twitch every time you see them.
BOOK ONE: THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE
HARRY CAN’T CATCH ONE SINGLE GODDAMN LETTER.
Honestly, I think this scene was done really well. In the books, we really get to experience the building tension in the Dursley house as mysterious letters for Harry arrive day after day. Despite Harry’s increasingly desperate attempts to snatch one, Vernon thwarts him every time. The movie obviously has more strenuous time constraints and I think they managed to capture the feeling of frustration Harry experiences really well. If you can watch this scene without feeling frustrated I think something might actually be wrong with you.
MADAME HOOCH NEEDS TO WORK ON HER LESSON PLANS
Okay, so Madam Hooch teaches a bunch of noobs how to fly year after year and you’re trying to tell me that she doesn’t have some sort of contingency plan in case a student gets a little out of hand? Her current method of problem-solving seems to be scolding them, as if anyone as useless as first year Neville Longbottom is trying to piss her off as opposed to having an aerial panic attack. In the books, this scene is much less aggravating as Neville pops off like a cork very quickly and slips off his broom almost immediately, before anyone really has a chance to react. I understand the filmmakers’ decision to tweak this scene as it emphasizes Neville’s hopelessly klutzy nature and strengthens the audiences understanding of Harry’s impressive flying prowess by comparison. REGARDLESS, IT DRIVES ME INSANE.
BOOK TWO: THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
HERMIONE’S CUPCAKES FUCKING SUCK
In case you don’t watch these films once a month like any respectable HP fan, you might have forgotten that Hermione drugs Crabbe and Goyle with sleeping draught infused cupcakes so that Harry and Ron can transform into them and interrogate Draco Malfoy. Perfectly normal behaviour for a bunch of 12-year olds, am I right? When Hermione presents her roofied cupcakes to Harry and Ron they are so fake it actually drives me insane. This is such a small, insignificant detail but for some reason I cannot let it go. It’s actually pretty funny because we later learn that Hermione sucks at cooking (Book 7), but I don’t think that’s really what the director was going for.
SOMEWHAT RELATED FUN FACT: Tom Felton (Malfoy) forgot one of his lines during the Slytherin common room scene and improvised this iconic moment:
HAGRID WINS MISS CONGENIALITY
So, the end of the year feast rolls around and apparently Harry Potter saved the school once again and everyone is pumped or whatever. Personally, if I went to Hogwarts I probably wouldn’t be clapping for the reunion of the Golden Trio. I’d be thinking wistfully of the chill times before Potter arrived and wondering if I was ever going to get to actually eat. Things get even more out of hand when Hagrid arrives back from Azkaban and gets a standing ovation from the students. First of all, what are they clapping about? Congrats, you’re not a murderous lunatic? Secondly, pretty much no one even knows who Hagrid is at this point. They might have some vague ideas about him being the groundskeeper, but he hasn’t even started teaching lessons yet! The idea that everyone in the school (minus Malfoy & co.) would be so pumped to see him is, frankly, ridddikulus.
BOOK THREE: THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
LUMOS, MORE LIKE LUM-NOOOOOOOOOOS
The beginning of this movie opens with the scene that literally drives me crazier than probably anything else in the entire series, including everyone dropping dead in the eighth film. The film opens on a scene of Harry doing some blatant spell casting outside of school, underage, and in a muggle household. Is there some sort of rule that says ‘lumos maxima’ is the one spell you can cast with no consequences? No. There is not. That was a rhetorical question.
If the flagrant disregard for canon wasn’t bad enough on its own, the fact that Harry isn’t allowed to do magic is brought up two seconds later, when Harry ‘accidentally’ blows up that bitch Aunt Marge. Vernon, the Minister for Magic, and Harry himself all refer to the fact that underage wizardry is forbidden. They talk about this Very Important Rule so much throughout both the books and the movies that I cannot fathom how they came to the decision that Harry clandestinely practicing magic was great idea for an opening scene. Seriously, if anyone has a reasonable explanation for this I would love to hear it.
PETER PETTIGREW AND THE LINGERING TROUSERS
Peter Pettigrew is such a piece of shit. Like, what a cowardly disgusting scumbag. Ugh. Not only is he the worst person ever, but he also creates a bit of a problem when he morphs back into a rat after Lupin goes all diva and wolfs out towards the end of the third film. Whenever we see wizards transform into their animagus forms they always manage to retain their clothing somehow. Professor McGonagall’s cat form even has markings around the eyes that mimic the glasses she wears. Peter Pettigrew was a rat for twelve years, and when he is forced to return to his human shape he is fully clothed. Yet when he transforms back into a rat in order to slink away into the night like the vile rodent that he is, he leaves his clothes behind. I mean, his get-up was pretty ratty (haha, I’m hilarious), but I just can’t see him prostrating himself before Voldy in the nude, despite his complete and utter spinelessness. In fact, I don’t think he would have the balls to be a nudist.
It also drives me crazy that Sirius tries to talk Remus into maybe not becoming a werewolf for once, as if he hadn’t spent years with him during full moons and wasn’t intimately familiar with the process.
BOOK FOUR: THE GOBLET OF FIRE
HARRY POTTER IS OBVIOUSLY A VIP
Draco is his normal douchelord self at the Quidditch World Cup when he taunts Harry and the Weasleys for their shit seats at the game, but in the book they actually share the same box. The Weasleys get their tickets from Ludo Bagman, a character who was completely cut from the books so I can understand why they were seated elsewhere as the Weasleys definitely wouldn’t be able to afford box seats. Pretty sure that if the Wizarding World Cup is anything like the regular, boring muggle World Cup, they wouldn’t have been able to afford tickets at all, but whatever. So many important things happen during the Cup that they completely changed for the movie. I won’t even bother to go into them because if you’ve read the books you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t then you’re basically dead to me anyways so I don’t care. Either way, Malfoy’s malicious taunting grates at my every time.
SUPER LAME, SUPER GENDERED SCHOOL INTRODUCTIONS
For those of you whole haven’t read the books and haven’t already been told a million times by your more magically inclined friends, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons are both co-ed schools. I don’t know why the decided to change them into a school for boys and a school for girls but I think it’s stupid and I hate it. I suppose the change was meant to emphasize the different characteristics of the schools and their headmasters in comparison to each other and to Hogwarts, but I still thing it comes off quite silly.
They also cut out the Hogwarts intro which was just the students singing the rather dorky Hogwarts song which would have been horrible and amazing.
THE TRI-WIZARD TOURNEMANT WOULD HAVE BEEN HELLA DULL
If you weren’t one of the champions, watching the tournament would have been incredibly boring. The first task would have been alright for the most part as watching the three legit tournament champions get past a dragon would certainly be thrilling. Harry Potter spoils everything as usual for this one when his dragon breaks free and chases him around the castle, leaving the spectators to twiddle their thumbs. The second and third tasks don’t even pretend to be entertaining since one takes place at the bottom of a lake and the other in an overgrown hedge maze.
BOOK 5: THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
INTERNATIONAL STATUtE OF SECRECY?? PFFFFFFTTTTTT
The Order of the Phoenix is full of badasses looking to take down the Dark Lord and his jerk death eaters, and at this point in the books they are very much a secret society. I find it hard to believe that the absolutely paranoid Mad-Eye Moody and his gang of elite Chosen One bodyguards would pull out a bunch of brooms in the middle of a muggle street and then proceed to fly past some of the biggest muggle tourist traps in London to get to their secret headquarters. In the books they at least use a disillusionment charm to blend into the background, but I guess movie Moody gives literally zero fucks. I kind of feel as though the filmmakers just wanted to make it very clear that Harry Potter is British as can be and 12 Grimmauld Place is super duper in London. Also Harry’s own broom, his trunk and his owl are all mysteriously absent during this scene.
AND SINCE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT GRIMMAULD PLACE ANYWAYS…
The importance of the Fidelius Charm is a central pillar in the Harry Potter universe. It is the reason that Harry’s parents are killed, the reason everyone believes Sirius is the only one who could have possibly betrayed them, and the reason that Grimmauld Place becomes dangerous following Dumbledore’s death. For you weirdos who haven’t read the books, the Fidelius Charm is used in order to hide a secret inside of a person, usually the location of a safehouse. The charm creates a Secret Keeper who is the only person that can reveal the location to others. Without learning of the location from the secret keeper directly, you could be standing right in front the protected location and not see it. I just don’t understand why they left this out! It’s really important and would take two seconds to explain, like, I literally just did it. The third film would probably have been the best time to explain it since revealing that Pettigrew, and not Sirius, was the Potter’s secret keeper is the big ‘DUN DUN DUUUUUUNNNNN’ moment of that book, so I’ll just shake my fist in the general direction of Alfonso Cuarón, though David Yates also had plenty of opportunities.
BOOK 6: THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
I DON’T KNOW WHAT HARRY WON, BUT IT WASN’T FELIX FELICIS
Felix Felicis is fucking gold. Slughorn was obviously trying to slip someone Veritaserum, because that is the only potion we really hear about that is both colourless and tasteless. Liquid luck should have been as gold as Harry Potter’s friggin heart. I just don’t understand why they would change this because it’s not like it hard to make a golden liquid. Just get me some glitter glue and I’ll do it for you right now.
HARRY WOULD HAVE FUCKED MALFOY’S SHIT UP
When Harry and Dumbledore return to the Astronomy Tower from the terrifying cave of zombies, the headmaster asks Harry to hide down below while he attempts to talk Draco Malfoy out of, you know, murdering him. In the movies, Harry actually listens to the headmaster and stays put even when Malfoy busts out his wand. Snape appears to ‘help’ Dumbledore, and Harry still doesn’t move even though he hates the slimy git with every fiber of his being. There’s no fucking way this would ever happen in a million years. The only reason that Harry stays out of the way in the books is because Dumbledore casts a freezing charm on him while he is under the invisibility cloak. Are you seriously trying to tell me that The Boy Who Lived to Ignore All the Rules and Act Impulsively is going to stand aside while his idol faces down two of his sworn enemies!? No. He would have expelliarmused that blonde ferret the second he stepped out onto the Astronomy Tower and nobody can convince me otherwise.
PART 7: THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
The Deathly Hallows begins with the Golden Trio preparing the leave their friends, families, and childhood homes behind in order to embark on a Very Important Quest for Voldy’s Horcruxes. This isn’t really a big deal for Harry who is like ‘peace out you muggle fuckers’ to the Dursley’s, but it is a bit harder for his two friends, and Hermione in particular. Ron is forced to leave rather suddenly and is therefore spared the heartbreaking ordeal of saying goodbye. Hermione, however, has to remove the fact that she ever existed from the minds of her own parents without knowing for certain if she will be able to restore them after the war. This is quite an excruciating moment in the movies, and really emphasizes the sacrafices these children are making to protect the people and the world they love. Having said that, I can’t help but thinking the entire time that the Grangers are going to look around one day and wonder ‘Why the fuck did we frame all these pictures of literally nothing for the mantlepiece?’
JUST FUCKING HOLD HANDS, GODDAMNIT
Besides the fact that J.K. Rowling really kicks things up a notch on the killing everyone you’ve ever loved front in this book, the only thing that really drives me crazy about the Battle of Hogwarts on film is the way Tonks and Lupin refuse to budge over just an inch in order to hold hands in the face of impending doom. I’m sure this is supposed to have some kind of metaphorical significance, maybe to demonstrate just how close they came to living happily ever after, or how dark forces always got in the way of their relationship. Considering the fact that they basically cut out the whole Tonks/Lupin storyline anyways (they had a child who was Harry’s godson for christ’s sake!), this annoying little gesture seems unnecessary to me. This would just never happen in real life, AND YES I KNOW THAT HOWARTS ISN’T REAL THANK YOU, but two lovers about to fight for their lives would definitely be doing some semi-desperate making out at least so I think the lack of hand-holding is just sad and infuriating.
That’s it! Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your biggest pet peeves about the movies so I can cringe at even more things when I watch them over and over and over again. I hope nothing I’ve pointed out here drives you too crazy and if it does well…