As with all of the Harry Potter movies before it, Harry Potter 7 part one (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) was riddled (pun intended) with differences from the novel of the same name. Of course, some of the differences were obviously the director’s interpretation of the novel or necessary to adapt the novel to film. Other differences were not so necessary. Here are a few things that were different or missing entirely.
*Warning: The following article contains spoilers for both the Harry Potter 7 part one film and the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows novel.
Before we start with all of the differences and omissions, there was a nice addition to the Harry Potter 7 part one film that was not in the novel. Hermione tells Ron and Harry that she erased her parents’ memories for their safety, in the book. In the film, there is an emotional scene where Hermione walks into her living room and erases her parents’ memories. After she does it, her image in all the family pictures begin disappearing. It was a touching moment.
Near the start of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book, Harry says goodbye to the Dursleys. Petunia and Vernon are predictably aloof, but Dudley Dursley surprises Harry by appearing concerned for Harry’s future well-being. They never got along well, but Harry Potter saved Dudley’s life when he was attacked by dementors. Dudley had not forgotten. In the movie, the Dursleys leave without so much as looking back – all of them. It is a small difference, but it was a poignant moment in the book. It would have been nice to see the interaction in the film.
After Harry escapes from Privet Drive, he goes to Tonks’ parents’ house before going to the Burrow. He goes straight to the Burrow in the film, but this is obviously a timesaving change. Speaking of Tonks, she also tells Harry that she and Lupin are married when the pair shows up to escort the Harrys from Privet Drive. This is absent from the movie. It would have only taken a moment and was an important part of the novel. It seems like the director has stripped much of the novel’s emotionally meaningful moments from the film. (More on Tonks and Lupin later.)
The start of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows novel has the Burrow crowded and busy in preparation for the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour. The pair does get married, but the preparations and Harry’s birthday party are missing from the movie. In fact, much of the wedding is missing as well. Harry took polyjuice potion to be incognito at the wedding the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book. This was not in the movie. There were other changes as well. All were apparently necessary to leave room for more important events in the plot.
After Harry, Ron and Hermione escape the Burrow and head out to find horcruxes, they go to Grimmauld Place. This happens in both the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie and the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book. Once they get there, the film leaves out several pieces of the book. Firstly, Harry, Ron and Hermione hear an interesting story from Kreacher the house elf that is left out of the film. After this, Kreacher becomes much kinder to the three young wizards. This story includes some relevant information about Sirius’ brother. Secondly, Lupin appears at Grimmauld Place in the book and tells Harry that Tonks is pregnant. Lupin is devastated about the pregnancy because of his condition. Harry is angry at Lupin for leaving Tonks to come to him. He insults Lupin, but in the end, his anger was well directed and Lupin sees the error of his ways. Lastly, Hermione removes a picture of a former Hogwarts’ headmaster from Grimmauld Place so that they may communicate with it on the road. The picture has a twin in the headmaster’s office in Hogwarts. The painting does not even appear in the Harry Potter 7 part one film.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the book, while Harry, Ron and Hermione are on the road (after Ron’s return), Ron tells Harry and Hermione about a radio show that is hosted by Lee Jordan. He calls it Potterwatch. The radio show covers everything about the resistance against Voldemort. The radio show is missing from the film, but Ron does have a habit of listening to the radio in Harry Potter 7 part one.
Part of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s quest is discovering the meaning of some objects Dumbledore left them in his will. One of them is a book of children’s’ stories that he gave to Hermione. In the book is a symbol that she saw on Xenophilius Lovegood’s necklace at Bill’s wedding. They decide to visit Xenophilius. In the book, Harry wanders into Luna (Xenophilius’ daughter) and sees a large mural of himself and Luna’s other friends. This is absent from the film. Another interesting item that appears in Xenophilius’ house in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows novel that is missing from the film is an erumpent horn. It explodes in the novel, to the benefit of our protagonists. They manage to blow up the house without it in the movie.
There is a long story about Dumbledore’s youth in the book. It should have appeared in Harry Potter 7 part one. However, it may still appear in the second part of the film. In this story (in the book), Harry learns that Dumbledore was friends with the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald before he defeated him. Later, Voldemort goes to Gellert in prison and asks him the location of the elder wand. Gellert refuses to give up its location. In the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie, Gellert gives up its location without hesitating.
There are many other small differences between the Harry Potter 7 part one film and the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows novel. Hopefully, some of it will be made up for in part two. The story of Grindelwald and Dumbledore must be there (albeit, late), but surely some things will simply stay different or omitted. Such is the nature of adapting books for film.