Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II: Book to Movie Changes that Worked

It’s been a great decade for Harry Potter. Last night we saw the eighth and final movie in the film series, bringing to a close a chapter of the Potter phenomenon that started in 2001 with the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Bravo to the filmmakers for bringing the beloved series to an epic, emotionally satisfying conclusion. Deathly Hallows Part II delivers the punch that fans have been anticipating for over ten years, as the heroic boy wizard faces his destiny and makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect his friends and save the wizarding world.

Since its release, fans have been all abuzz over choices and changes the filmmakers made when presenting the story. As with the previous films, certain aspects of the books have been altered, omitted, or enhanced for the screen. Fans will no doubt enjoy quibbling over these changes for the next several weeks (after all, it’s a way to keep the fandom alive). I for one believe that most of these changes in the final film work; they serve the story as portrayed in the movies and in several cases add something to the characters and plot.

So here’s a breakdown of the differences between the book and movie that I liked (warning, spoilers aplenty):


Voldemort announces his arrival

The students and teachers have gathered in the Great Hall and just ousted Snape from power. They know Voldemort is on his way. Suddenly, from the hushed room comes a high-pitched shrieking. A girl crouches in the corner, hands over her ears, screaming in terror. Another student joins in. Then the ethereal voice of Voldemort echoes through the room. The sound seems to come from every direction, but it also appears to invade their minds. What a way to make an entrance! Not only are the students frightened by Voldemort’s arrival, they experience a very palpable terror and pain, almost like they detect his presence in their minds. It was a truly chilling, eerie scene, adding to the sense of foreboding and dread. Having the students screaming is an effective touch.

Snape's fate in the boathouse

It’s understandable why the filmmakers chose to move Snape’s final scene to the boathouse instead of the Shrieking Shack. Visually, it works better because Harry (and the audience) witnesses the brutality of Nagini’s attack on Snape, but the full horror of it is obscured by the glass-paneled walls. Somehow, imagining what is happening is worse than actually seeing it.

Snape’s dying words are slightly altered, too. He still asks Harry to look at him as he dies, but he also says, “You have your mother’s eyes.” We can see realization dawning on Harry’s face then. This line has been repeated throughout the series, but its significance has never been greater, as Harry learns that Snape, his long-time enemy, is not all that he seems. The subtlety of the line "Look at me" works in the novel because readers can go back after "The Prince's Tale" and understand what Snape wanted to see in Harry's eyes. But in the film, Snape's final words add a gut-wrenching aspect to an already powerful scene.

"I'll go with you"

After Harry views Snape’s memories in the Pensieve and learns that as a horcrux he must die for Voldemort to be defeated, he sees Ron and Hermione comforting each other in the aftermath of the battle. In the novel, Harry slips past wearing his Invisibility Cloak, knowing that his friends would try to dissuade him from going to his death in the forest. He feels utterly alone and numb with fear but accepts his fate.

In the film, Harry stops to talk with Hermione and Ron. He’s suspected the truth for a while, as he knows Hermione has, too—that his being a horcrux explains his strange connection to Voldemort and the other pieces of the Dark Lord’s soul. Ron and Hermione are stricken as they realize that Harry plans to sacrifice himself. Tearfully, Hermione says, “I’ll go with you.” It’s a genuine, heartfelt offer. She would willingly go into the forest with Harry and be with him when he dies, and probably be killed herself.

The line reveals a great deal about her character and the level of love she and Harry share. (Not the romantic kind of love that Harry/Hermione shippers want, though, but the love of a true friend. I’ve always seen Hermione as a motherly and sisterly figure to Harry.) For me, the line adds to the emotional punch of the whole sequence, on par with Harry’s asking the ghost of his mother to stay close to him to the very end.

Who wants a hug?
Who wants a hug? | Source

The hugging type?

When Voldemort faces the Hogwarts crowd with the supposedly dead Harry, he crows triumphantly and invites them to join his side now that their one hope, Harry, is defeated. No one moves. Then Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy call out to their son, Draco, relieved to see him alive. Draco goes to join his parents, but he’s intercepted by Voldemort, who congratulates him on a job well done and wraps him in an awkward embrace. Here the audience laughed and tittered uncomfortably, thrown off by this uncharacteristic show of affection from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. But is it really so unbelievable?

Certainly, Voldemort has never been the cuddly type. At the end of the film Order of the Phoenix, Harry calls him out on his lack of love. Voldemort will never know love or friendship, and for that, Harry pities him. In fact, as a true psychopath, Voldemort is probably incapable of love. All he knows and understands, all that motivates him, are fear and hatred. His hugging Draco has more than one purpose, then. He wants to demonstrate to the crowd that he’s not just a tyrant, that he rewards his followers. (No one buys this, of course—including Draco, who looks petrified.)

Also, Voldemort feels a keen pleasure in thinking he’s defeated Harry, his greatest threat. What a load off his mind! Perhaps carried away by this unfamiliar sensation of happiness (or the closest he can come to happiness), he attempts a show of affection. But it is merely that: an attempt, and a miserable one at that. Voldemort looks as uncomfortable hugging someone as we are watching him hug someone. It only shows the emptiness of his emotions, a fractured soul devoid of any human qualities. I believe the filmmakers put it in not just for unintentional laughs, but to drive home the point that he’s a monster.

A fitting end

Fans knew what they wanted to see in this film, and they got it: the high-stakes break-in at Gringotts, students and teachers defending Hogwarts, McGonagall taking charge, Snape's redemption, Neville's leadership, the much-anticipated kiss, Molly Weasley's showdown with Bellatrix, and the heart-wrenching deaths of beloved characters.

Ultimately, Deathly Hallows Part II fulfilled my expectations and provided a cathartic release for those of us who have been fans of Harry Potter from the beginning. The event brought some sadness, too; this is the end of an era. But with the unwavering devotion and support of the fans, Harry Potter will live on for generations to come.

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Comments 17 comments

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ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

A good hub. A couple scences in the book I missed were Hagrads brother rushing to battle the bad giants. Probubly left out due to cost and having the battle between giants and stone warriors instead. Also when voltomort told the students of Hogwarts he would let them live in exchange for harry when the slythrin girl voiced the opinion to turn him in the book every student in the other three houses pointed their wands at the slythrins. A powerfull moment that should have been left in.

Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA Author

Those were good parts, I agree. Also would have been cool to see the house elf army defending the castle, but they left out that aspect from the movies.

I agree it was a powerful scene when kids from the 3 good houses rose in defense of Harry. It would've been nice if they'd left that in.

McGonagall really shone in this movie for me. It was exciting seeing her oust Snape and take charge of defending the castle. I wish they'd left in her anguished cry when she believed Harry had been killed.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Thank you for writing this review. I have not seen the movie, nor do I intend to do so anytime soon. I read the book once and cried through the whole thing. I vowed not to watch either of the last two movies, but I was very curious. Perhaps one day I will be ready to watch the last movies in the series, but just not yet. Great hub and voted up!

Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA Author

Thanks, Jeannieinabottle. I hope you give the films a chance one day, although I'd understand if it'd be difficult for you, given your reaction to the book. It's my favorite book of the series because it had such an impact on me, and I'm so glad they decided to split it into two movies so they could do justice to the story. Thanks for reading!

Rusty C. Adore profile image

Rusty C. Adore 5 years ago from Michigan

I thought the movie was excellent! Very well done. Satisfying and yet I still left the theater wanting more Harry Potter. It's hard to believe it's over. I got an e-mail message telling me that you wrote this hub hours before I was to go see the movie, so I saved the message to remind myself to come read! I'm so glad I did! Thank you for a thought provoking, well written HP hub! Mischief managed ;)

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Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA Author

Thanks for the kind words, Rusty! I was so excited to see the final film, but at the same time kind of sad knowing it's all officially over. I mentioned seeing the movie to someone at work, and his young daughter (7 or 8) was like, "Who's Harry Potter?" I was stunned. I'm glad I was part of the Potter generation, and I know I'll pass on the books/movies to my kids one day.

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

You have written an excellent hub....very impressive detailed information...and a hub that should have lots of staying power and worthy of a bookmark....voted up...voted useful....voted interesting.....voted beautiful...you have obviously done some great homework in writing this awesome hub.

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Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA Author

Thanks so much, Cogerson! I appreciate the kind words.

M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 5 years ago from United States

Great hub examining the movie's deviations. I also think they made the right choices for the film version. I was particularly surprised to find myself feeling sorry for Voldemort, both when each horcrux is destroyed, and during his last moments. He spent so much time being evil, that you wouldn't think anyone would have compassion for him. But, I give a lot of credit to Ralph Finnes and the director for really making us see the pain in Voldemort's eyes. Great stuff!

Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA Author

Thanks for commenting, M.T. I never would have imagined feeling sorry for Voldemort either (I'm not sure I do, actually), but I agree Ralph Fiennes is amazing in the role. You can see him becoming totally unhinged near the end as his carefully crafted plans fall apart.

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jmartin1344 5 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

Excellent article! I was always a way bigger fan of the books than the movies, I only really started enjoying the movies around the 5th. However, Deathly Hallows part 2 was one of my favourite films ever! What a film. It had it all, action, laughs and some of the most emotional scenes in recent memory. Snapes last scene is unreal.

It was very interesting to hear some of your thoughts on how they presented the material. I am an aspiring filmmaker and therefore found it very interesting!

carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

Great review, this was the best Harry Potter movie of the bunch, really enjoyed it. Every one I know also thought it was better than the rest. Thanks for sharing!

Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA Author

Jmartin, I agree with you on DH2! I was never in love with Snape as a person, but he's such a complex, interesting character, and Alan Rickman's performance in this film especially was amazing. Thanks for reading!

Carcro, glad you enjoyed it too! Thanks for reading!

DVSB100 5 years ago

If you listen carefully, Snape says "I love you" when looking into Harry's eyes; referring to Lily, right before he dies. I wish Snape said it more clearly, because barely anyone noticed him say that

Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA Author

Wow, I never noticed that, DVSB100. I'll have to listen carefully the next time I watch the movie. Thanks!

DVSB100 5 years ago

Painted Seahorse, you can find the scene on YouTube. By the way, great review on the movie!

Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA Author

I will look it up. Plus, I'm about to watch it on the big screen with my mom, who hasn't seen it yet. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

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