Differences Between the Book and the Movie: "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince"

Fans of the Harry Potter novels will notice several differences between "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" the novel and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" the film. We all know that film adaptations of popular novels rarely come out exactly the same as the novel. Changes often have to be made to fit time constraints or to help the story make sense on film. However, there are some changes and omissions in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" that will leave fans confused. Some of these changes make little to no sense at all. Listed here are some of those changes and omissions minus the changes that were made for obvious reasons.

Warning: Spoilers for both the book and the film ahead.

Near the beginning of the film "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" there is a scene in a train station that makes no sense for fans of the novel. Harry Potter is just hanging out at a train station in London when Dumbledore shows up to take him on a small journey and then off to the Burrow. The journey is an important part of the novel, but it certainly does not happen this way. The fact that Harry is just sitting at a train station undermines the supposed threat that the Death Eaters are posing. There is supposed to be a sense of imminent danger and Harry is supposed to be hiding out at the Dursleys' home. It seems like the scene would have been just as easy to film at the Dursleys' home, as it occurred in the novel.

One of the most nonsensical scenes in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" occurs at the home of the Weasley family, otherwise known as the Burrow. In this scene, Death Eaters appear in the fields outside of the Burrow and do battle with Harry and a few others. Then, Bellatrix Lestrange sets fire to the Burrow. This is most definitely not part of the book. Not only that, but its addition makes no sense at all. The movie makes it seem like the Burrow is vulnerable, when in the books this is not so. Nothing happens at the Burrow until the next book. In which the Burrow plays an important role, but probably won’t in the next film since it has been destroyed. What the . . . ? From the following, you will also see that important scenes from the book were removed from the film. Why would they add this scene and leave out the other more important ones?

Near the end of the novel, during the scene where Dumbledore is killed, there is a battle between the Death Eaters and the good guys at Hogwarts. This is not so in the film. The film makes it look like the heroes are a bunch of wimps who couldn’t even be bothered to fight off the Death Eaters. Another aspect of this scene that was important was the mangling of Bill Weasley at the hands of Fenrir Greyback. This was symbolic of the fact that a war had begun in the world of Harry Potter and that no one was safe. This was a change from the previous books that was important. The fighting was no longer directed at just a select few, it was happening on a larger scale. This is not so in the film.

During the scene in the film where Dumbledore is murdered there is a significant change. In the novel, Harry Potter is under his invisibility cloak and has been petrified by Dumbledore. Therefore, he cannot fight the Death Eaters and Snape to save Dumbledore. This was omitted in the film and Harry was left hiding nearby. This was a little silly to leave out. Harry Potter is described as a brave boy who rarely follows the rules. Why would he just stand there while Dumbledore is murdered? He has fought the Death Eaters several times before. Dumbledore did order him not to reveal himself. However, in the book, Harry tried with all of his might to disobey him and free himself of the spell that Dumbledore had cast on him.

Following that scene, Harry chases Snape onto the grounds where Harry learns that Snape is the Half-Blood Prince. This scene is very true to the novel, but after that, the film takes complete leave of the novel. The faculty and the students gather around Dumbledore’s dead body and in a very weak scene that should have been emotional they raise their wands to clear the Dark Mark that is hovering above the castle. Not only is this scene a little lame, it is filmed in lieu of the very poignant funeral scene that is in the novel. At the end of the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book, there is a funeral held for the revered headmaster on the grounds at Hogwarts. It may very well have been one of the best scenes in all of the Harry Potter novels. However, it is just not there in the film.

Fans of the Harry Potter novels can only hope that these omissions and changes will not affect the quality of the next two films. Unfortunately, some of the aspects of the book "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" will almost certainly not be present in the film because of the omissions that were made in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." Hopefully, at the very least, the Burrow will be repaired (in yet another unnecessary scene), so that the opening of the Deathly Hallows will remain the same.

Shelly Barclay

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