In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Hogwarts erupted into elation when it was revealed that the Basilisk had been defeated, the Petrified students had been cured and Hagrid had returned to the castle, after being wrongly sent to Azkaban. Both book and film reflected this momentous scene of relief rather similarly, although we were treated to a moment of amusing awkwardness between Ron and Hermione, not wanting to hug when she returned to the throng. Instead, the pair settled for... a handshake. Bless.
Beloved Nigel, an innocent young Gryffindor boy who popped up in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), wasn’t actually in the books, but seemed to take a Colin Creevey-esque role in the films. Such a helpful young lad with a lovely smile. Nigel, we hardly knew ye.
In their fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry and co. were introduced to the Yule Ball, an opportunity to ‘let our hair down’ as McGonagall begrudgingly told the students in the book. In the film, however, Minerva was feeling a bit more in the party mood, even engaging in a little ballroom number with a mortified Ron. We always had a hunch McGonagall had some secret dancefloor moves, and we were right.
Now for a moment that definitely wasn’t funny – but was subtly devastating. During the battle in the Department of Mysteries at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2005), the tragic loss of Sirius cut even deeper, when Sirius said ‘Nice one, James’ to Harry mid-battle. In the books, there had always been the insinuation that Sirius saw his late best friend in Harry – which led to a blazing row between himself and Mrs Weasley, with Molly telling him outright: ‘he’s not James’.
This came to a head in the film adaptation, when Sirius mistook Harry – for a split-second – for his late best friend, before he was callously killed moments later. Just three small words, but they were incredibly loaded.
Harry had always been a reluctant celebrity, but a cheeky moment in the library in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) showed he could still have a sense of humour about it. After learning fellow student Romilda Vane had her eye on him, Hermione warned Harry ‘she thinks he’s the chosen one’.
‘But I am the chosen one’, was Harry’s sassy reply. Good to know being targeted by Lord Voldemort came with its perks.
Although Harry taking the Felix Felicis to entice a memory out of Professor Slughorn was a key scene in both book and film, we were amused by Daniel Radcliffe’s portrayal of Harry under the influence of the lucky potion, which provided a bit of comic relief. A rogue moment when he started doing an impression of a giant spider with pincers was particularly inspired – especially as this was supposed to be the very sombre occasion of Aragog the Acromantula’s funeral...
Another emotional one, now. After Dumbledore’s death, the students and staff of Hogwarts mourned in a unique way, by holding their lit wands aloft in the sky. In the books, we were privy to Dumbledore’s whole funeral, but this simple gesture in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince had us weeping in our cinema seats.
During the Horcrux hunt in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010), Harry and Hermione were left in a rather unique position – being alone without Ron. In the book, this period was often very sombre, with the pair quietly devastated after the third member of their group left them. It was all summed up really poignantly with a scene in the film adaptation, when Harry and Hermione engaged in a melancholic dance in their tent, while the song ‘O Children’ by Nick Cave played in the background.
It was a short scene loaded with meaning – firstly, it examined the platonic friendship of Harry and Hermione – especially apt as we learn that Ron was worried about something going on between them. Secondly, it reflected the layered emotions and exhaustion the pair must have been feeling – so deflated from losing Ron, the frustration of the task at hand, and the shared hopelessness of finding their way out of the seemingly endless Horcrux hunt. It was simple, yet very effective.
When Draco began to get further embroiled in the work of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, it provided some challenging moments for the character, with him spending most of his sixth year in a rather dark place. In the film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011), things got even weirder for Draco when Lord Voldemort... shared a hug with him. The look on Tom Felton’s face said it all.
Did we miss your favourite film moment? Let us know!