Thursday, October 29, 2015

Top 10 Parts of the Harry Potter Books That Should Have Been In The Movies

I often find myself caught up in arguments with people who claim that why should they read a novel, no matter how good it is, when there is a movie adaptation in the making. As a book lover, naturally I would disagree with the motion. I often cite the Harry Potter saga as a good example. Yes, the movies are incredible but it is the books that truly give the whole Harry Potter universe its magic. For instance, there are crucial parts from the book that are left out in the movies. The inclusion of these parts would have made the movies much darker and interesting, in my humble opinion of course. There are times where I wish the books were instead adapted into an HBO or Netlflix original TV series, where each season explores each book with much more depth. But I am getting ahead of myself. So, here is my list of Top 10 Parts of the Harry Potter Books That Should Have Been In The Movies in no particular order.

1. Professor Trelawney's First Prophecy 

In the movies, Neville is only given much importance in the final one. However, in the fifth book, we learn of a prophecy that led to Voldermort attempting to kill Harry. Professor Trelawney predicts that the only one who would have the ability to destroy the Dark Lord will be born at the end of July, 1980 to a set of parents who had thrice defied Voldemort and survived. This description fits both Harry and Neville. Since there were two babies who could fulfill the prophecy, Voldemort tried to eliminate both Neville and Harry at once. Fun fact: It was Snape, a loyal Death Eater at the time, who overheard the prophecy being made to Dumbledore at the Hog’s Head Inn and relayed this incomplete information to Voldemort. Only when he realized that he had unintentionally set his Dark Lord upon the Potters did he volunteer to become Dumbledore's double agent. For some reason, Voldemort saw his fellow half-blood as the bigger threat and chose to go after Harry himself while sending a group of Death Eaters after the pure blooded Neville.

2. Neville's Parents

Neville's backstory is just as tragic as Harry's. Around the same time Voldemort went after the Potters, he sent the Lestranges and Barty Crouch Jr to attack the Longbottoms. Neville's parents were tortured with the Cruciatus Curse and were eventually driven insane. Since then, Frank and Alice Longbottom have been institutionalized at St. Mungo's wizarding hospital, and Neville was raised by his grandmother. Although not as wicked as the Dursleys, Neville's grandmother keeps chiding him for not living up to his parents' legacy, partly becoming the reason for his lack of self-confidence during his early years at Hogwarts. Neville visits his parents regularly although they do not recognize their son.

3. Winky, The Crouch Family's House Elf

If there is a character that can truly capture the hardship elves face better than Dobby, it is the Crouch house elf, Winky. In the fourth book, she is sacked by Barty Crouch Sr. after he finds out that she failed to guard his fugitive son, Barty Jr. as instructed. Unlike Dobby who cherishes his freedom, Winky undergoes depression and turns to drinking when she relocates to Hogwarts. For years, she served the Crouch family loyally, even going so far as to care for the dangerous Barty Crouch Jr. who was put under his father's Imperius Curse to prevent him from rejoining the Death Eaters. Out of love for her young master, Winky successfully persuaded Barty Sr. to reward his son's good behaviour by taking him to the World Cup, which led to his escape and rejoining Voldemort. Despite Winky's screams and pleas, Barty Sr. coldly dismissed her. Barty Sr. mistreatment of the elf whose family loyally served his for generations led to Hermione setting up the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (S.P.E.W.) to fight for elves' freedom. Winky's depression worsens when she learns her older master had been murdered by her young one.

4. Peter Pettigrew's Death

Throughout the book and movie series, Pettigrew a.k.a Wormtail is portrayed as nothing more than a cowardly traitor. Despite being their friend since Hogwarts, he was the one responsible for leading Voldemort to the Potters' location and then left Sirius Black to take the blame. After being exposed to have been hiding as Ron's pet rat for years, he escapes once again after Harry stopped Sirius and Remus from killing him. In the following book, Wormtail sacrifices his own hand in a ritual to resurrect Voldermort, and the Dark Lord would replace his hand with a beautiful silver one. All these are in the movies. However, what they left out was the part where Wormtail tries to prevent Harry from fleeing Malfoy Manor by strangling him. Only when Harry reminds him of the life debt he owes him does Wormtail stop. Then, that magical artificial arm of his strangles him to death for doing something right for once in his life and betraying Voldermort.

5. The Gaunts

It would have been interesting to see more of Voldemort's origin story since it is his family history that triggers his villainy. As revealed in the second book, Voldemort is a direct descendant of racist Salazar Slytherin. Only in the sixth book do we learn that his maternal family is the result of generations of inbreeding, which explains the mental instability that runs in the family. Merope, his mother, lived a horrible life under her racist father, Marvolo and psychopathic brother, Morfin. Desperate for human affection, Merope used a love potion on the handsome muggle, Tom Riddle Senior, who then left her after her spell weakened. Not wanting to return to her family who would kill her for eloping with a Muggle, the heartbroken Merope eventually succumbed to death at the orphanage that took a young Tom Riddle Jr. in. No wonder even Harry felt a bit of pity for Voldemort. A vengeful, teenage Voldemort would later return to the birthplace of his parents to murder his father's muggle family and frame his maternal uncle for the crime.

6. Petunia's Yearning For The Wizarding World

Petunia might have disliked her sister for having magical powers, but it was fueled more by jealousy rather than fear of the unknown. In the last book, it is revealed she even wrote to Dumbledore to accept her into Hogwarts, but he kindly turned her down. She also knows more about the Wizarding World than she cares to expose. She knows about Azkaban, Dementors and who knows what more. But that is not the end of their correspondence. Years later, after the Dementor attack on Dudley, Dumbledore sends Petunia a Howler to remind her that Harry must stay with her in order to remain protected by Lily’s bloodline.

7. Percy’s Feud and Reconciliation With His Family 

It appears that the Weasley brothers only have red hair in common. In other ways, they cannot be more different. Take Percy for instance. He is worlds apart from Fred and George. Just like his eldest brother, Bill, Percy was both a prefect and Head Boy during his time at Hogwarts. However, unlike Percy, he was very ambitious and chose his career over his family. His father did not take his quick rise through the Ministry of Magic lightly, as he saw it as a way for the Minister to keep a watch on the members of Dumbledore's Army. Percy ever wrote to Ron to congratulate him on becoming a prefect and advised him to keep away from Harry since he no longer sees eye to eye with the Ministry. Percy only sees the error of his ways after the fall of the Ministry and came to join his family during the Battle of Hogwarts. However, he did not have time to reconcile with his brother, Fred who dies during the fight.

8. Any Chance For Sirius?

Sirius' death in the fifth book marks the lost of the closest person to a loving family member Harry has after only two years of knowing him. In the last few chapters, we see how desperate he is to still keep Sirius in his life by looking at the magic mirror he has been given. He even goes to Nearly Headless Nick to ask if there is any chance Sirius would return to the human world as a ghost. Nick explains that only wizards who fear death might choose to return as ghosts, and such a fearless person like Sirius would unlikely do something like that despite his love for Harry. After apologising to Harry for not being of much help, Nick leaves for the End-of-Term Feast, leaving Harry further distraught.

9. The Marauders 

The Marauders are more than the inventors of the Marauder's Map. The movies ignored an entire backstory about James, Sirius, Lupin and Pettigrew's a.k.a The Marauders' school days. I mean sure there was that few-seconds flashback during Harry's Occlumency class which showed the four friends tormenting Snape, but that was it. There is a whole chapter on this in the fifth book. Since their best friend was a werewolf, James, Sirius and Pettigrew became unregistered Animagi just to keep him company. We know how things end for all four Marauders, but they were merely a bunch of really naughty and borderline mean students at school. Sirius almost caused Snape's death by luring him into the Shrieking Shack where Lupin was going through his werewolf transformation. It would have been interesting if the movies explored this a bit so viewers can see where Snape's mixed feelings for Harry comes from. 

10. The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore

Another backstory that was left out of the movies, it would have been interesting to learn that the all-perfect Dumbledore was actually very much human. He is considered the most powerful wizard to have ever lived and was the only person Voldemort ever feared. There was a reason Dumbledore hardly mentions his family throughout the series. His early years were very much troubled. His father, Percival was sentenced to Azkaban where he later died after attacking a group of Muggle boys who harassed his daughter, Ariana when they witnessed her performing magic. His first few years at Hogwarts were met with rumours of him being as violent as his father. Despite this, Dumbledore grew to become an exceptionally excellent student, becoming Head Boy and making many other achievements. It was only after his mother's accidental death at the hands of his traumatized sister did his life take a turn for the worst. Back at his hometown, Dumbledore became friends with the overly ambitious Gellert Grindelwald who influenced him on world domination by wizards for the betterment of society. An eventual falling out between the two led to a violent duel, in which Ariana was caught between the crossfire and died. Grindelwald fled, leaving behind a devastated Dumbledore, who swore to never trust himself in matters of power. This is probably why he rejected offers on becoming Minister of Magic countless times. While Dumbledore became a professor at Hogwarts, Grindelwald went on to wreck havoc across the world. Dumbledore tracked his old friend down and defeated him in a duel, despite the latter possessing the all-powerful Elder Wand. Dumbledore kept the Elder Wand for himself while Grindelwald was imprisoned in Nurmengard. Years later,  Dumbledore managed to track down one of Voldemort's Horcruxes in the form of Marvolo Gaunt's ancestral ring, which was made up of the Resurrection Stone, which could allow anyone to communicate with the dead. Desperate to see his family again, Dumbledore forgot that the ring was cursed and put it on. Despite his great powers, the curse spread throughout his body. Knowing that he would die anyway, Dumbledore orchestrated his own death to save Harry and the rest of the wizarding world from Voldemort.