How Harry Potter Characters Were Portrayed In The Film Versus How They Were Written In The Books

Written by , BA Hons Indrani Karmakar BA Hons linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
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The debate between which is better – book or movie, is age-long. If you are an ardent bookworm and you finished reading the book before you got your hands on the CD, you must have had a little difficulty shifting from the Harry of your imagination to the one in the book. Of course, we are not taking sides, and both the books and the movie have done a marvelous job on their own; but the character interpretations did give us a little OCD at first. From Harry’s green eyes changing to blue to Narcissa’s two-tone hairdo, here are some of the most striking differences between the characters in the novel and the movies:

1. Harry Potter

Harry Potter
Image: Twitter
  • How He Is Described In The Books

When you flip through the first book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry’s description comes with a thin face, black hair, green eyes, and knobby knees. His round glasses are held by rolls of sellotape because of Dudley’s bullying. He is fond of his lightning bolt scar and was curious about how he received it.

  • How He Looks In The Films
How He Looks In The Films
Image: Twitter

We don’t deny the fact that Daniel Radcliffe does look like Harry, but – with a minor exception. We are disappointed that the fact that he had his mother’s green eyes is mentioned in almost every movie, but his blue eyes come in the way. One would wonder why he did not put on contacts or have CGI fix the issue. He is allergic to lenses and was a bit underage to use them, back then. In the book, he is quite frail and weak, but that essence is not caught in the movie even though he is bullied by his foster family. Another thing was the placement of his scar. Why would a scar be placed neatly at the side, which is very evident that it is drawn, instead of a rough scar that has been inflicted by someone as dangerous as Voldemort?

2. Hermione Granger

Hermione Granger
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  • How She Is Described In The Books

Hermione is almost two different people in the book and the movie. In the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, she is characterized with large incisors, bushy brown hair, and a bossy voice.

  • How She Looks In The Films
How She Looks In The Films
Image: Twitter

Before shortening her teeth with the help of Madam Pomfrey and using Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion, Hermione in the earlier Harry Potter books flaunted bushy hair and big teeth. In the films, Emma Watson has a slightly different spin. Her hair was more wavy than bushy, and her teeth were quite normal-sized. Christopher Columbus, the director, and Watson did suggest fake teeth, but they turned out to be impractical as it was difficult for her to enunciate her lines more clearly. The practical problem made her look more confident and sassy than a nerdy girl who likes to boss around.

3. Narcissa Malfoy

Narcissa Malfoy
Image: Twitter
  • How She’s Described In The Books

In the book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Narcissa is described as a woman with blonde hair, like all other Malfoys. She has an expression like she is always getting a foul stench. The image portrayed here was more ill-tempered and rude.

  • How She Looks In The Films
How She Looks In The Films
Image: Twitter

Narcissa’s unique trait of having half blonde and half black hair was a special adaptation in the movie. It was to give her a part of her sister, Bellatrix’s look. But honestly, we can’t complain much as she looked ravishing in her hair, and nothing could have suited her better. The movie glamorized her a bit more than the book. She had much more personality in the film than described in the book.

4. Nymphadora Tonks

Nymphadora Tonks
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  • How She Is Described In The Books

In the book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, she is described as a young pale heart-shaped face with dark twinkling eyes and violet hair. She serves as the side character conveniently in the book. The reader would not vouch much for her presence but the viewer of the film would definitely do. It is all because of a proper glow-up.

  • How She Looks In The Films

Tonk’s hair was definitely pink rather than being violet. Costume designer Jany Temime honored the punky look and added a few extras to complete her appearance. She is dressed as if ready for battle and has boots to accompany her clumsiness. The outfit also reflects the role of a powerful Auror. Nevertheless, we think she is really cool!

5. Dumbledore

Dumbledore
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  • How He Is Described In The Books

Along with all other peculiarities, Dumbledore is described as a blue-eyed man with a long beard and hair and has half-moon glasses. The book was definitely more descriptive when it comes to his looks and personality but overall, this iconic character was pretty similar either way.

  • How He Looks In The Film
How He Looks In The Film
Image: Twitter

Honestly, we feel the first two movies did justice to the looks described in the film, and then Dumbledore just misplaced his glasses and got more active. Even his personality development throughout the Harry Potter series was quite accurate.

6. Minerva McGonagall

Minerva McGonagall
Image: Twitter
  • How She Is Described In The Books

The book showcased Minerva as a much younger woman than the character cast in the movie adaptation. That automatically changes the character in terms of personality, the way she is perceived by other characters in the movie as well as the book.

  • How She Looks In The Movie
How She Looks In The Movie
Image: Twitter

We have no complaints from the character other than being portrayed as a 56-year-old woman. Minerva was as sassy but without the fine lines. Probably the director or the scriptwriter wanted someone close to an old lady to maintain her authority and sassy nature.

7. Kingsley Shacklebolt

Kingsley Shacklebolt
Image: Twitter
  • How He’s Described In The Books

In the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Kingsley Shacklebolt is described as a bald professor with shiny earrings. Honestly, the book did not have much about the tolerant Auror’s appearance at all. All we derived is he’s tall, bald, dark, and wears an earring – and the rest is the doing of our imagination. The book pretty much did not add much to his personality apart from the fact that he is calm and composed.

  • How He Looks In The Films
How He Looks In The Films
Image: Twitter

Kingsley Shacklebolt in The Order of the Phoenix is shown in colorful robes. George Harris decided to add an African flair to Kingsley’s appearance. The costume designer Jany Temime was inspired by Harris’s traditional Nigerian ceremony gown and cap and decided to use it for Kingsley’s look. The film definitely made him look much more fashionable and funky.

So now that you know how different the characters are in the book and the movie, which one do you follow more? Let us know which character you thought has the most unique personality, and which character you wished was not changed in the movie. See you soon. Mischief Managed!

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Indrani Karmakar

Indrani KarmakarSenior Social Writer

Indrani is a writer and artist who likes to add a dash of humor to everything she does. She has two years of experience in writing articles across beauty, health, and lifestyle genres. After graduating in Political Science from Calcutta University, she took a detour into the world of creativity and discovered her knack for social writing, advertising, designing, and doodling.
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