How Harry Potter’s Final Battle Is Different In The Books


Here are all the ways the final battle in Harry Potter differs from the books. The eight-movie saga ends with the Battle of Hogwarts, where Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) teams up with the Order of Phoenix, his Hogwarts colleagues, and fellow creatures to defeat Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) once and for all. But the movie version of the Battle of Hogwarts is quite different from that of J.K. Rowling’s book, and there are several reasons behind that.

The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book is over 600 pages long and almost every scene is essential to wrapping up the very complex story of Harry Potter. Director David Yates split The Deathly Hallows movie into two parts, doing justice to Rowling’s story, but the movies still ended up cutting some scenes from the book. However, The Deathly Hallows Part 2 also added some scenes that weren’t in the book, and other scenes were simply rethought from a stylistic or aesthetic point of view.


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Perhaps the biggest difference between the movie and book version of the Battle of Hogwarts is that in the movie, Harry fights Voldemort in the schoolyard, whereas in the book, their final fight is in the Great Hall, with everyone who had survived watching. The Harry Potter final battle is a long one, both in terms of written pages and screen time, and in terms of timespan. It thus comes as no surprise that there are several differences between the book and movie version of the Battle of Hogwarts.

1. Voldemort’s Ultimatum: Midnight In The Book, One Hour In The Movie

Lord Voldemort Harry Potter

The Battle of Hogwarts begins as Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) orders students to evacuate the school so that the Order of Phoenix and the Hogwarts teachers can fight Voldemort. However, Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort urges the students to hand him Harry and join him, as fighting him is futile. The movie scene is pretty loyal to the book, except in the book, Voldemort gives everyone until midnight. In the movie, Voldemort gives them one hour.

In the novel, Voldemort also says, “I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill any blood.”  In the movie, this is the moment McGonagall showcases her Transfiguration skills and casts Piertotum Locomotor, summoning a huge army of giant statues to their aid. However, in the written version, McGonagall does this before she fights Snape (Alan Rickman).

2. The Gray Lady And The Story Of The Ravenclaw Diadem

Helena Ravenclaw aka Grey Lady

While everyone else is preparing for battle, Harry must find Voldemort’s last Horcruxes and destroy them before he can fight him. These are the Ravenclaw diadem, Nagini, and himself (which he doesn’t realize until later). In the book, Harry realizes it’s the diadem through a telepathic moment with Voldemort, then finds the Gray Lady (Helena Ravenclaw’s ghost) via Nearly Headless Nick. In the film, it’s Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) who both thinks of the diadem and points Harry toward the Gray Lady.

Related: Harry Potter: Every Character Lord Voldemort Personally Killed

The movie also changed and streamlined the story of the diadem itself. In the book, Helena explains to Harry that she stole the diadem from her mother, Rowena Ravenclaw, and that when her mother was fatally ill, she wanted to see her one last time, so she sent the Bloody Baron (before he was a Hogwarts ghost) to get her. Helena hid the diadem in a forest, and when she refused the Baron’s advances, he killed Helena, then killed himself out of guilt. Centuries later, a charming student named Tom Riddle convinced Helena to give him the location of the diadem and later, Harry figures out the diadem must be in the Room of Requirement. In The Deathly Hallows Part 2, however, Harry convinces Helena to tell him where the diadem is because he wants to destroy it.

3. In The Movie, Seamus Blows Up The Bridge (& Other Added Scenes)

In the Harry Potter movies, there’s a recurring gag that Seamus Finnigan (Devon Murray) accidentally sets things (or himself) on fire. McGonagall gives movie Seamus Finnigan permission to blow up the Hogwarts bridge when the Death Eaters step on it in the final battle. This never happens in the books, as Seamus doesn’t have the same “particular proclivity for pyrotechnics.” Also, very importantly, the book tells the story from Harry’s perspective, so there are several scenes which the film adds: Lupin (David Thewlis) and Tonks (Natalia Tena) as well as Fred (James Phelps) and George (Oliver Phelps) connecting one last time before the battle, and Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) finding the Basilisk fang in the Chamber of Secrets and having their first kiss. In the book, Ron and Hermione do go to the chamber, but Harry learns about this when they all meet at the Room of Requirement (also the location of Ron and Hermione’s first kiss).

Another scene the movie added was Voldemort taking down Hogwarts’ protection shield and breaking the Elder Wand in the process. Scabior (Nick Moran) is also a central Death Eater to the Battle of Hogwarts in the movie, whereas in the novel, he is not present at Hogwarts at all. And in the book, the only thing preventing the Death Eaters from entering the school grounds is Voldemort’s orders (not a magical barrier).

4. The Room Of Requirement Scene

The Room of Requirement

In both versions of The Deathly Hallows, Harry must go to the Room of Requirement to get the Ravenclaw diadem and destroy it. But in the book, he doesn’t go alone. He reunites with Ron and Hermione before entering the room, and inside, they find Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Tonks, and Neville’s grandmother. In Rowling’s story, Crabbe tells Draco he doesn’t take his orders anymore: “You an’ your dad are finished.” As a fight ensues, Crabbe casts an incredibly powerful curse (Fiendfyre, as Hermione figures out later) that he can’t control and ends up setting the Room of Requirement on fire. Harry summons two broomsticks: one for himself, one for Ron and Hermione. Harry saves Draco and retrieves the diadem, and Ron saves Goyle, but Crabbe dies in the fire.

Related: Harry Potter: The Death Of Bill Nighy’s Rufus Scrimgeour Explained

In the movie, however, Harry Potter goes in alone and faces Draco Malfoy, Blaise, and Goyle. Rather than being Crabbe, like in the books, it’s Goyle who casts the curse and dies in the fire, and Harry summons three broomsticks. He already had the diadem before the fire, and he just throws it into the flames, as Fiendfyre can destroy Horcruxes.

5. In The Book, Fred’s Death Is A Big Moment

Harry Potter changed Fred Weasley death

In the movie, Fred’s death happens offscreen, whereas the book describes the awful explosion caused by Rookwood and the gut-wrenching moment when Percy (Chris Rankin in the movie) and Ron realize what has happened. Percy refuses to leave Fred’s body (after they had just bonded for the first time in years), and he has to be dragged away. He then pursues Rookwood, and Hermione stops Ron from doing the same, as they have to find Nagini. While Fred’s death is still tragic in the movie, it doesn’t have the emotional impact that it does in the books.

6. Voldemort, Lucius Malfoy, And Snape: The Shrieking Shack In The Book, The Boathouse In The Movie

voldemort snape death

When Harry searches Voldemort’s mind to find Nagini (whose tragic story is explored in Fantastic Beasts) in the books, he’s in the Shrieking Shack, but in the movie, this scene occurs in the boathouse. In the novel, Harry, Ron, and Hermione put the Invisibility Cloak on and go together to the Shrieking Shack. On the way, they save Draco again and see Hagrid dragged away by his beloved Acromantulas. Luna and Seamus also help Harry and his friends cast a Patronus charm to fend off the Dementors. The movie shows the trio without the cloak, and the scene skips ahead to the Patronus, which is cast by Aberforth Dumbledore (Ciaran Hinds).

Then there’s the heartbreaking scene of Voldemort killing Snape. In the book, Snape picks up on the danger and lifts his wand before Voldemort has Nagini bite his throat. In The Deathly Hallows Part 2, Snape doesn’t attempt to defend himself, and Voldemort slits his throat with a spell before Nagini bites him. Harry goes into the house alone in the movie, and retrieves Snape’s tears for the Pensieve, whereas in the book, he retrieves his memory wisps, much like Dumbledore is seen doing earlier in the saga. The movie also added Snape’s final line, “You have your mother’s eyes,” hinting at his undying love for Lily Potter.

Related: Why Alan Rickman Was The Only Actor To Get Harry Potter Spoilers

7. Snape’s Memories Of Lily

As the trio is trying to recover from the shock of Snape’s death in the movie, they hear Voldemort’s voice bellow over Hogwarts and challenge Harry to meet him. Before facing Voldemort, Harry goes to Dumbledore’s Pensieve and watches Snape’s memories, learning about his devotion to Dumbledore and his love for Lily. In the movie version, Lily doesn’t seem to be quite as close to Snape, but she’s friendly to him and stops others from bullying him. However, they grow apart as Snape befriends pureblood-loving Slytherins. The distance continues as Lily grows very close to James after them both being sorted into Gryffindor. Despite that, he always loved Lily and in the movie version, Snape goes to Godric’s Hollow and mourns Lily’s death.

The book version of their story plays out differently, however. Surprisingly, early in their friendship, Snape tells Lily that he believes there is no difference between a Muggle-born and a pureblood when it comes to skill. The two seem to be very close until Lily’s first train ride to Hogwarts, where she befriends James Potter and Sirius Black. But the book shows that Snape goes as far as calling Lily a Mudblood, and that is the final straw in their strained friendship. Snape begs Dumbledore to protect Lily from Voldemort, as he seeks to kill baby Harry following Trelawney’s prophecy, but in the Harry Potter book, Albus Dumbledore is far harsher with Snape. He tells Snape “You disgust me,” as Snape doesn’t care about saving James or Harry, only Lily. Likewise, in the novel, Dumbledore gives him the news of Lily’s death in his office. The film also cuts a few other scenes from Snape’s memories, such as Snape accidentally hitting George’s ear during The Battle of the Seven Potters as he was trying to save Lupin’s life.

8. The Forbidden Forest

In both book and movie, Harry knows he must face Voldemort and die, and he must do it on his own. In the forest, he tells the Golden Snitch he is ready to die, and the Snitch opens to reveal the Resurrection Stone, letting Harry meet his parents, Sirius (Gary Oldman), and Lupin. The book adds that Harry apologizes to Lupin for letting him die with a baby at home. David Yates, on the other hand, created a scene where Harry tries to touch Lily’s hand but it goes through it.

The book and film somewhat differ after Harry’s “death,” too. After Harry dies, he meets Dumbledore in King’s Cross. In the book, Dumbledore’s spirit talks to him about the Deathly Hallows, Grindelwald, and the dark mystery of Ariana Dumbledore. It’s revealed that Grindelwald died protecting Dumbledore and the Elder Wand, offering some redemption for the dark wizard, but the movie offers no such redemption, as Grindelwald sells the location of the wand to Voldemort.

Related: Harry Potter Theory: Neville’s Wrong Wand Is Why He’s A Bad Wizard

Back in the forest, Narcissa Malfoy (Helen McCrory) checks if Harry is dead and chooses to cover for him after she asks him if Draco is alive and Harry says yes. The book version of Voldemort casts Crucio on Harry’s presumed dead body to defile him and Harry struggles to stay limp. The film glosses over this torture, simply skipping to the part where Hagrid carries Harry to Hogwarts.

9. Voldemort Brings Harry Back To Hogwarts

After they return to Hogwarts with Harry’s body, both the film and book give Neville Longbottom a couple of big moments, but they differ. In the book, Voldemort announces that Harry died while running away, then Neville charges at him. Voldemort casts a Binding Curse on him then summons the Sorting Hat, placing it on Neville’s head and setting it on fire. Grawp and the centaurs then arrive, charging at the Death Eaters and giving Neville the momentum to kill Nagini with Godric Gryffindor’s sword.

The movie also gives him a few hero scenes. Neville has the addition of giving a moving speech in front of everyone before Voldemort sends him flying, and his killing Nagini plays out differently. In the film, Ron and Hermione struggle to kill Nagini inside the castle, and Matthew Lewis’ Neville arrives at the last moment, slicing the snake with the sword. Harry then jumps out of Hagrid’s arms, only in the novel, he does so by putting the Invisibility Cloak on and disappearing from the crowd.

10. The Final Duel: Great Hall In The Book, Schoolyard In The Movie

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Voldemort

Rowling’s original story has Harry duel Voldemort in front of everyone else, in the Great Hall, but the movie’s final showdown happens outside, as director David Yates commented he wanted a Western aesthetic to it. Harry goes into the Great Hall in the books and witnesses several fights: Ron and Neville vs. Fenrir Greyback, McGonagall, Slughorn, and Kingsley vs. Voldemort, and Hermione, Ginny, and Luna fighting Bellatrix Lestrange. When Bellatrix almost kills Ginny, Molly Weasley (in one of her best scenes) delivers her famous “Not my daughter, you bitch!” and kills the dark witch.

Related: Fantastic Beasts 3: Every New Magical Creature Confirmed (So Far)

Apart from Molly’s scene, the movie changed this moment entirely, as Harry and Voldemort duel each other around the castle while everyone else fights in the Great Hall. Harry grabs Voldemort and calls him “Tom,” throwing themselves off the castle and morphing in the air, before hitting the ground outside the castle and starting the final duel. The book duel has a lot of tension build-up: Harry belittles “Tom Riddle” in front of everyone. He tells him Dumbledore orchestrated his own death and that Snape had always been loyal to Dumbledore. He goes on to explain that the Elder Wand never belonged to Snape, so it doesn’t belong to Voldemort either, but to Harry himself, as he disarmed Draco after he disarmed Dumbledore. When Voldemort finally casts Avada Kedavra on Harry, the spell rebounds and Tom Riddle hits the floor “with a mundane finality.” The movie not only cuts the complex dialogue, but has Voldemort die with great dramatic effect, and with no witnesses. Among the spectators who cheered over Harry’s victory in the novel was the Malfoy family, who, in the film, runs off before the last duel.

In the Harry Potter book version of the aftermath, Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to Dumbledore’s office and are applauded by all the portraits, including a teary Dumbledore. Harry uses the Elder Wand to repair his old wand, then returns it to Dumbledore’s grave. In the movie, however, the friends share a peaceful moment on the stone bridge, and Harry snaps the Elder Wand in half, throwing it over the bridge.

Next: Hidden Fantastic Beasts 3 Detail Links Grindelwald To Voldemort

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)Release date: Apr 15, 2022

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