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5 Worst Book-to-Film “Harry Potter” Character Adaptations

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Poppy is the author of "A Bard's Lament" and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima, Japan, with her husband and young son.

Are You a Harry Potter Fan?

Harry Potter is an enormously successful movie franchise that has millions of fans all over the world, but perhaps eight blockbuster movies wouldn't have been possible without the loyal fans of the original books by J.K. Rowling.

Those who read the books first no doubt had some idea of how characters appeared in their mind in terms of looks, voice, and mannerisms.

Almost everyone in the world watched the Harry Potter movies.

Almost everyone in the world watched the Harry Potter movies.

There are some fantastic Harry Potter book-to-film characters who researched and played their parts perfectly. However, there were a couple of characters who left fans of the books disappointed.

5. Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Tena)

Though I loved Natalia Tena in About a Boy and she was very likable as Tonks, the character herself was far from what we expected from the books.

Tonks can change her appearance at will and utilizes it many times in the books to disguise herself, greeting our main hero with "Wotcher, Harry" and a wink to clue him in that it was her. In the movie, her pink hair turns red when she's annoyed, and she's a little bit clumsy. That's it.

We didn't find out anything about Tonks in the films and instead of her appearance becoming drab because of her lovesickness for Lupin in The Half-Blood Prince, she vaguely appears once or twice in the later movies, already as Lupin's lover. This left a bad taste in my mouth as her drama really made her memorable in the novels. A fault of the writers more than the actress, though. After all, many disguises would mean lots of different actors, and you can't shove all the background drama into a two-hour movie.



4. Barty Crouch, Jr. (David Tennant)

Although people were excited that David Tennant appeared in a Harry Potter movie, Barty Crouch, Jr.'s character was completely different in The Goblet of Fire from how it was in the book. His character isn't explored, really, and is more talked about than shown, but the few minutes he does get on the screen are quite bizarre.

Barty Crouch Junior.

Barty Crouch Junior.

Barty Crouch, Jr. was sent to Azkaban Prison by his father when found guilty of being a follower of Voldemort. He then broke out of prison (how he did it was explained in the books but skipped over in the movie), disguised himself as an ex-Auror, and taught at Hogwarts for nearly a full year before he was caught. In the book, he is undoubtedly clever, obsessed with Voldemort and obeying his command, and a great actor, as he was able to fool everyone, including Dumbledore himself, that he was Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.

The few minutes he gets on screen, Tennant made Barty Crouch, Jr. look jittery and mad. If this were true, he wouldn't have been able to play Mad-Eye so well. And he has a weird, snake-like twitch in his tongue, which was borderline embarrassing to watch. What's with that?

3. Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon)

Dumbledore is one of the best characters in the Harry Potter series. As well as being an extremely powerful wizard, J.K. Rowling portrayed him as nothing short of lovable. He loves knitting patterns, he wears a bonnet he got from a cracker at a Christmas party, and he cares deeply for Harry.

Albus Dumbledore, played by Richard Harris (left) and Michael Gambon (right).

Albus Dumbledore, played by Richard Harris (left) and Michael Gambon (right).

In the movies, portrayed from the third movie by Michael Gambon, he is given very few lines to portray the eccentric side of Dumbledore's character and is a lot more strict and intimidating than he was supposed to be. I didn't like Dumbledore in the movies half as much as I liked him in the books, and I suspect that Gambon hadn't read the book series.

In the first two movies where Dumbledore was played by Richard Harris before he passed away, he was a lot more likable; he smiled more, and even wore half-moon spectacles as described in the book. I much preferred his version.

2. Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent)

We're first introduced to Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He likes the powerful, the influential, and the talented, and even has a selection of students with these qualities close to him, named the "Slug Club."

In the sixth book, Slughorn collects students again when he resumes his old post of Potions Master. He's extremely important to the story because he has an old memory that's essential to defeating Voldemort.

When Voldemort was a student, Slughorn unknowingly gave him access to terrible dark magic that he later used to make himself almost immortal. Harry is given the task to extract this memory from Slughorn.



In the books, Slughorn is described as portly, with a silvery walrus-like mustache. He often bellows "Harry, m'boy!" when the protagonist is around and has a likable but greedy nature.

Jim Broadbent played Slughorn and honestly looked like he'd wandered onto the set by accident. He looks nothing like Slughorn; he didn't need to grow a mustache for the part, but he doesn't have the portly stomach, the power-loving demeanor, or even a bellowing voice when greeting Harry.

He was a huge disappointment to me, adding to an already poor movie (the Half-Blood Prince is my least favorite of all the films for several reasons, but I won't bore you with them now.) If I was given a role to play, I'd make sure I'd done as much research into the character as possible to know what they were like. There was really no excuse for the character to be so far from accurate when there was a novel to make reference to.

1. Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright)

In the books, Ginny was extremely popular with the boys, fiery, fearless, and talented. She's likable because she gets on well with her mischievous older brothers, Fred and George, she's brave (not putting up with Harry snapping at her in Book 5, and bravely fighting with Dumbledore's Army). In the films, she barely gets any screen time until the director probably thought, "Oh right, Ginny's actually important in the sixth book, we'd better make her relevant."

Ginny Weasley, played by Bonnie Wright.

Ginny Weasley, played by Bonnie Wright.

In the movies, Harry suddenly likes Ginny for almost no reason at all. She doesn't have many lines, and what she does say doesn't strike any particular likableness about her. She doesn't possess any of the fire or personality that she did in the books.

This isn't really the actress' fault, but it was disappointing and made Harry's relationship with Ginny (which, in the book, was a full-blown, official relationship, and in the movie was a quick peck on the lips in the Room of Requirement) quite mundane.

Do you agree with this list? Are there any more characters that you were disappointed with?

Questions & Answers

Question: Why was Winky left out entirely in your "5 Worst Book to Film "Harry Potter" Characters" article? She and Dobby were hilarious together.

Answer: Winky didn’t appear in the movies.

© 2015 Poppy


Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on December 10, 2016:

Hi, there. It's fine to use the pictures as long as you include links to where you got them.

I am korean on December 09, 2016:

Yes I agree with your article.

May i use some of your pictures?

(Sorry about my short comment and awful english)

Rosa Marchisella from Canada on September 12, 2015:

So many of them, but I was most disappointed with Barty, Sirius, and like Amanda said, Tonks - she wasn't even the same character! They really short-changed her :-(

Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on September 04, 2015:

Great comment! I agree that both Lupin and Tonks didn't get nearly enough screen time in the later movies. They also completely ignored Tonks being in love with Lupin in film 6, they just shoved them together in a scene. The sixth movie was terrible in every possible way anyway though.

Amanda from Michigan, United States on September 04, 2015:

I couldn't agree more about your Dumbledore opinion. To add a bit of my own thoughts:

It definitely starts when Michael Gambon had to take over. He's too intense. BUT, we sadly never got to see how Richard Harris might have portrayed Dumbledore in the second half of the series when things become darker so it's hard for me to say "better or worse" when comparing the two versions as they're quite different views of the same character, even in the books. Dumbledore had secrets and he had power that put him in a position of trying to do the best he could for the world and for love, but which sometimes forces him into a somewhat darker (though not "bad guy") role. Naturally he would lose a little of the perfect, kindly grandfather role as this happens so Gambon was intentionally playing a less lighthearted man. But with Harris he had that "twinkle" in his eye, a genuine kindness and the display of what Dumbledore found most important in the world: love. Gambon was always missing that. It made him difficult to like.

If I was making my own list, I'd probably add Lupin and Tonks. I felt none of the sympathy for Lupin that I did in the books; once again I think he was a little too intense when he was supposed to be gentle and/or worn down (depending on the time period).

And don't even get me started on Tonks! Where's our perky, fun, bubblegum-hair girl?! We see a flash of her in the movie version of OotP. But then Half-Blood Prince ignores her romantic troubles from the book yet still makes her appearance rather goth looking (which it wasn't in the books anyway; I believe she was described in a manner that implied her light had gone out, basically - not like she was dressing like an emo teenager). We don't see her clumsiness or her charm or the way the teens all relate to her and have fun with her. There's not enough life in her, but I think this had less to do with the actress and more to do with shortened/changed storylines, dialogue, and wardrobe.

Sorry for rambling, by the way - Harry Potter is an "always" passion of mine. ;-)

Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on July 25, 2015:

Who didn't you like, Rosa? :D

Rosa Marchisella from Canada on July 25, 2015:

Yeah. Sadly, this list could be longer, but you definitely nailed really glaring ones.