Dissecting seven books and turning them into eight immensely successful movies was possibly one of the biggest stunts the English film industry has pulled off in recent times – even counting the Lord of The Rings series. So it’s natural that there will be discrepancies in the way the books are translated. And equally natural that there are hordes of disgruntled fans, unhappy with the way certain things turned out in the movies.
From missing characters and wrong character traits to tiny niggles in the storyline, fans gave out a long laundry list of things that they were disappointed with in the films. And top of the laundry list was Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of the magic school.
The portrayal of Dumbledore – the ever calm and composed Headmaster with a perpetual twinkle in his eye – was disappointing, “Michael Gambon was the exact opposite of calm and composed in that movie – in one scene, he took Harry by the neck and actually screamed at him, when the book says he was calm at that point. The movies just ruined Dumbledore,” says Mala Rajan who has been a fan of the books since 1997.
For some, Michael Gambon as Dumbledore just didn’t sit well after seeing the late Richard Harris portray him perfectly in the first two movies. Harris, who was already in failing health, passed away just after the release of the second movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
“Dumbledore was supposed to be this wise wizard in control of every situation and they turned him into ‘Grouchy old man who lives across the street’. The battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic was epic in the book and a mess on film. Similarly Ralph just wasn’t menacing enough as Voldemort. He wasn’t physically intimidating. His backstory was horribly butchered in the sixth movie. Nope. Not the villain a story of this magnitude needed,” fumes Rohit P, an Engineering student.
Another irritant for the fans is the sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Though the lead characters have immense pressure and responsibilities, the book was lighter than its predecessors – there was a lot of adolescent romance, angst and of course, Rowling’s humour. But this didn’t translate well on the screen.
“The most infuriating omission probably was excluding Dumbledore’s funeral scene. For me, it was one of the most moving scenes in the series and they just ignored it!” says Shantanu Adhicary, a software engineer.
Fans also unanimously agree that the omission of Dumbledore’s past, which made up such a huge part of book seven, was a grave error. “It explains so many things and ties up so many loose ends. I was so disappointed that it was completely excluded,” says Mala, while Shantanu continues with, “The final battle between Harry and Voldemort is also not filmi enough for my taste. The scene in the book was way better. The action happens in front of almost the whole wizarding world, not in some shady corner of the castle.”
Shady corner of the castle or not, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 was one of the biggest blockbusters in the movie universe, getting to one billion dollars in the shortest of times. And together, the whole franchise earned of $7.7 billion worldwide. How’s that for some change?