While Star Wars and the MCU may dominate the movie landscape now, it can’t be ignored how huge a deal the Harry Potter movies were. They only lasted eight films, but they were massive box office hits and inspired a smash theme park at Universal Studios. The series is still going with the Fantastic Beasts films while fans love the original movies. Yet, like many great franchises, there’s a dark side to the Potter world.
For a “kids' book” series, the novels have a lot of dark stuff in them and that only increases as the characters mature. There’s also the very disturbing aspects of this wizarding world and the dangers that abound. The movies themselves have a few facts that can throw people off and make viewing them feel very different. Here are 20 facts about the Harry Potter world that robbed us of the magic.
20 Actors Were Cut For Pay Raises
The movies boast a huge cast of characters, many of which only pop up in a few scenes. A key issue was that as the budget grew, so did the need to pay the lead actors more money. This led to several characters being cut simply so the studio wouldn’t have to pay out more. A key example is Madame Hooch, who would have a large role in the second film. Actress Zoe Wannamker’s request for a raise led the studio to just let her go and give her lines to someone else. It’s just one case of characters being dumped to save money.
19 It Was This Close to Being Animated...and American
A major concern of Potter fans would be Hollywood ruining the books. It came close to happening. Originally, Steven Spielberg was approached to direct, but not for a live-action version. Instead, it would be animated with Haley Joel Osment voicing Harry. There was also a concern that U.S. audiences wouldn’t respond to such a British setting. So one early script had Hogwarts as a modern American school set in the U.S. complete with cheerleaders. Thankfully, it never came to pass, but it shows how the movies could have been a disaster.
18 No Peeves
A lot of changes had to be made from the books to the movies, which fans can understand. But what they have never forgiven was the movies completely cutting out Peeves. The character was beloved in the books as a goofy ghost who loved to cause mischief. A major highlight was him pranking Dolores Umbridge. Rik Mayall did have a scene as Peeves in the first movie but they cut it out. Fans remain upset that one of the book’s best and most loved characters never got his due on the big screen for reasons no one has explained.
17 Why Crabbe Was Written Out
Vincent Crabbe was a supporting character who was one of Draco Malfoy’s toadies. He had bit scenes in the movies, such as when he’s the victim of Harry's prank, and his fate in the novels is wild as he ends up taking himself out during the Battle of Hogwarts. But the movies never showed, keeping Crabbe absent. That’s because actor Jamie Waylett was arrested for drug possession. The filmmakers thus cut Crabbe out completely.
16 The Deleted Scenes Are So Much Better
Obviously, a lot of stuff had to be cut to keep the movies at a reasonable run time. Sadly, that includes some great stuff like Ron becoming more of a hero and other key character bits. Some really great stuff ended up on the cutting room floor. The best is a scene from the start of Deathly Hollows where Dursley apologizes to Harry for his bad treatment over the years and they shake hands. That should have been in the movie and it's a reminder of how much good stuff was left out.
15 Grindelwald Was Actually Right
Fantastic Beasts paints Grindelwald as being a twisted madman organizing an army to conquer the world. He’s clearly insane and very manipulative as he’s willing to sacrifice anyone for his cause. Yet the fact is, in many ways, Grindelwald raises some good points. As he related to his followers, World War II can ravage the entire planet, including wizards, but their leaders will do nothing to stop it.
Also, their desire for secrecy keeps them from correcting the muggle world’s mistakes and keeps them from grasping technology as it's passing them by. He may be the bad guy, but Grindelwald is right on how the wizarding world's leadership is hopelessly outdated for the modern world.
14 Harry Was Hitting The Butterbeer
Playing the most famous 11-year-old on the planet was a challenging move for Daniel Radcliffe. As he grew with the movies, Radcliffe did often feel burdened by the pressures of the part. It got to him as he became a teenager, to the point of going on nightly drinking binges while filming the third and fourth movies. Few knew of it and assumed Radcliffe was just tired from the long hours. Thankfully, Radcliffe realized how bad it was and has been sober since 2010. Still, it paints a much different view watching the Boy Who Lived hungover in some scenes.
13 Polyjuice Potion is Just...Wrong
One would expect wizards to use spells to look like someone. Instead, polyjuice allows them to physically transform into that person for a brief time. Oddly, no one seems to feel pain over a full physical transformation and the implications of being able to look like someone else are very disturbing. The whole polyjuice thing isn’t right on multiple levels.
12 One Race Controls All The Banking
It’s already established how the wizarding world segregates various types of magical creatures. However, the fact that all the banking is being done by goblins is seriously off-putting for many readers. It's uncomfortable that the only people to trust with money are short, misshapen, and rather conniving creatures who suspicious of others. The real-world implications are hard to miss and one would think such a detail wouldn't go unanalyzed.
11 The Living Paintings
At first, it sounds nice that if a wizard dies, they can come back as a living painting. But when you think about it, it sounds much worse. Instead of passing on to some eternal reward, these spirits are stuck in the paintings and are barely able to leave them at all. They’re also used to pass messages or bar entry to doors with no consideration how they may feel about the whole thing. Spending eternity trapped inside a canvas may be a fate far worse than death. What's worse, these spirits aren't even the real deal.
10 Ignoring Muggles
To be fair, it’s likely that if the wizarding world were to reveal itself to muggle society, the result would be literal witch hunts . Still, this ignores how much good the wizards could to the planet. They can fix droughts and famine, help in the search for cures to diseases, and maybe even settle a few conflicts. The environment alone should be a big deal as wizards live on the planet too and would want to help. It’s really just old mentalities that keep them from helping muggles more.
9 Hogwarts Doesn’t Help Students
Let’s be blunt: As an actual school, Hogwarts sucks. First, it appears wizarding parents don’t bother letting their kids do any schooling before Hogwarts will accept them. All the classes are focused on spells and magic, there's no history or mathematics outside of the magical world. Also, there’s no science and it’s been shown many students have little to no understanding of the modern world. The blunt fact is that Hogwarts actually gives the worst education imaginable for anyone who doesn’t want to be a full wizard.
8 They Just Hand Out Time Machines
The Cursed Child play has Harry’s son, Albus, using a Time-Tuner to go back in time which, of course, caused a huge mess. McGonagall speaks for everyone when she snaps at Hermione: “you kept this on a bookcase.” Allowing a teenager access to a time machine is crazy and it’s a good thing Hermione just uses it to take more classes. This means that these time devices are commonplace enough where any wizard can go back in time and alter the entire history of the world if they wanted to. Is there no oversight in this community?
7 Boggarts Could Wipe Out Thousands
The boggart is a creature that manifests itself as a person’s deepest fears. Naturally, Hogwarts uses it to test students in the classroom. It’s said to only be as powerful as the fear itself and thus turns into huge spiders or other creatures. But what if someone’s greatest fear is, say, a volcano erupting, a deadly virus, or a meteor hitting Earth? While it wouldn’t have the full effect, the Boggart could still cause a disaster on a large scale and using them as classroom aids is just insane.
6 The Trials Are Kangaroo Courts
One would think a wizarding trial would be easy as they have access to veritaserum, a truth serum. Instead, the trials are utter shams. They never actually use veritaserum, but rely on lame evidence and have been known to put innocent people into Azkaban. It’s obvious how just reading someone’s memories could prove guilt or innocence, but they never do it. The trials exist just for show to put the public at ease and to quietly bury things like Voldemort’s return while they ignore true justice.
5 Ghosts Go Anywhere
A popular recurring character in the novels is Moaning Myrtle, the ghost of a student who’s been haunting Hogwarts for years. The girl makes no secret of how she’s basically been a peeping tom for the students of Hogwarts, and Harry is freaked out about that as anyone should be. Hogwarts has ghosts just wandering the halls like normal and no one seems concerned about how they can go anywhere and obviously can’t be stopped. There seems to be no such thing as privacy at this school.
4 The Ban On Modern Tech
Hogwarts seems charming by cutting out things like cell phones or the Internet, but then comes the disturbing notion that any modern tech is banned completely. One scene has Ron, a 15 year old, not understanding how a wall-based phone works. Think about how out of touch that makes most wizards. They think they're superior because of their powers, not grasping how modern weaponry is far more powerful than any magical wand. Cutting off any knowledge of modern tech just puts the wizarding world at a serious disadvantage today.
3 Hogwarts Is A Death Trap
Thanks to the Universal theme parks, Hogwarts looks like a truly magical place. Who wouldn’t want to go to a lavish castle filled with magic? Yet the movies and books showcase that this place is nothing but a massive death trap with Dumbledore openly warning that going to some places can prove fatal. There’s a three-headed dog roaming the halls, the forests are filled with giant spiders and other creatures, and the statues can become warriors. One OSHA inspection would have this place shut down in five minutes flat.
2 Love Potions Can Be Bought Easily
In the real world, the mere idea of putting something in someone’s drink can have you arrested. In the wizarding world, love potions aren’t just available, they’re sold in stores where kids can buy them. Seriously? No one thinks it’s a bad idea letting teenagers have the ability to douse someone with a potion that makes them a loving slave? Most kids that age barely understand what love even is, so handing them this potion is a disaster just waiting to happen. Let’s not even get into what adults can do with a dark power like this.
1 Open Slavery
The movies touch on it a bit, but the novels bring up a sad and brutal truth of the wizarding world: House elves are basically slaves. It’s one thing for them to be treated badly by Deatheaters, but another that even good and respectable wizards treat them as nothing but labor with no rights or even clothing. A major plot cut from the films saw Hermione trying to lead an “elves rights” movement only to find that most in the wizarding world are perfectly okay with this status quo. It’s very troubling how this community uses the elves this way.
Sources: TVTropes, Vulture.com, ranker.com