“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress adventure.”
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 56

Previously on Adapt or Die: Harry Potter Edition:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Today, we shall be discussing the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This adaptation, while a great improvement over that last one, it is still one of the least faithful in the series. When I read this book originally, it was my least favorite in the series, but I like it a lot more now, much more than the early books. It really went down in page-count from the last, which would make one think that it would be easier to adapt, but that would only be the case if superfluous crap wasn’t added to make it “more exciting.” Anyway, I will do my best to mark spoilers, but I might slip up, so if you haven’t either read the book or seen the movie, this article is probably not for you. For information on grading and spoilers see here.

Basic Story

After spending part of the summer with the Dursleys, Harry is picked up by Dumbledore to help him recruit a new teacher for Hogwarts. They succeed, and Harry is dropped off at the Weasleys, where he spends the rest of the summer. When they return to Hogwarts, the students learn that Horace Slughorn, the teacher Harry helped recruit, will be the new Potions master, while Severus Snape will be made the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. The trio gets all the classes they wanted for the year, and in addition, Harry will be taking private lessons with Dumbledore, where he will learn more about Voldemort’s past. Meanwhile, the trio and friends have various romantic entanglements. And in Harry’s lessons with Dumbledore, he learns why no one has been able to kill Voldemort thus far and how the Dark Lord can finally be destroyed for good. The ending leaves the fate of the Wizarding, as well as Muggle, world up in the air as the Dark Mark hovers over Hogwarts.

As for the biggest flaw, the thing that bugged me most is the ending, so I’ll leave that for the end of the article. There are a few other things I could choose from, but because of the title, I think I’ll go with:

The Underemphasized Half-Blood Prince

Really, if it wasn’t the freaking title of the movie, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but the Half-Blood Prince is barely mentioned in the movie. They do talk about him occasionally, but it’s not the same. In the book, the Prince is like another character; Harry thinks of him as a friend whom he trusts, who helps him with various aspects of his life, especially Potions.

Background Information

There isn’t really any speculation about who the Prince could be in the movie either. In the book, Hermione suggests that “Prince” could be a surname rather than a title, suggesting that the Prince could be a girl, specifically Eileen Prince. This is important, as Ending Spoiler it is later revealed that Severus Snape is the Half-Blood Prince, taking his witch mother’s (Eileen Prince) name (his father was a Muggle). In the reveals that he is the Prince, but I don’t think his half-blood status is ever really revealed, though his chosen name alludes to it, and it is not revealed that he used his mother’s name. It just seems like he decided to call himself a prince. End Spoiler

The Prince’s Spells

Then, of course, there are the spells that the Prince creates. Harry never tries out Levicorpus like he does in the books. I seem to remember movie Luna using it in Order of the Phoenix, though I don’t think it did what it does in the book. Ending Spoiler It also leaves out the sort of cruelty that the source of Snape’s worst memory was a spell that he created being used against him, though Snape’s worst memory is never really explained in the movies anyway. End Spoiler

The other botching occurs with Sectumsempra. Spoiler In the book, Harry uses the spell much later in the story than he does in the movie, and he is horrified by it and feels pretty terrible, but it doesn’t make him completely distrust the Prince. Also in the book, Snape gives Harry detention for using the spell, causing him to miss the House Cup. He also orders Harry to bring him his Potions textbook, implying that Snape knows where he found this spell. Harry takes Ron’s book to Snape and hides his in the Room of Requirement for safe-keeping even though his friends urge him to get rid of it. Hermione has a particular distaste for the Prince. In the movie, Harry just leaves after Snape starts healing Malfoy and receives no punishment. Harry almost kills another student and is not punished at all. And, while initially horrified about what he did to Malfoy, Harry doesn’t seem too bothered by it later on. Also in the movie, Ginny makes Harry get rid of the book, and he agrees rather than wanting to save it. She takes him to the Room of Requirement and has him close his eyes while she hides the book, so he won’t be tempted to go back and get it. While his eyes are closed, Ginny kisses him, their first kiss. In the book, Harry kisses her after he gets back to the common room and finds out that Gryffindor won the House Cup. Ron sees and is okay with it. End Spoiler

Casting


Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter: Daniel gets to be sort of funny in this one, and I think he’s pretty good at it. The liquid luck scene is amusing. He’s improved overall, but he could have shown more emotion in certain scenes.


Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley: Rupert also gets to do a lot more comedy, which he is really good at, particularly in the love potion scene. Sadly, he doesn’t get to be all protective-older-brother to Ginny like he does in the book.


Emma Watson as Hermione Granger: Emma’s a lot better in this one, it seems. Her unrequited love thing with Ron is done very well. She actually gets to do a couple of emotional scenes and does them well. It was also a nice touch that her hair frizzes up in Potions class.


Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore: He is less un-Dumbledore than in past films. The main issue with him this time is the cave scene. He needed to show more desperation and sadness in that scene than he did. That may or may not have been Gambon’s fault.


Alan Rickman as Severus Snape: I put him here because of the ending, which he is excellent in. Alan Rickman is just excellent all the time, despite being much older than Snape, which I didn’t even notice even though logically I should have. His part seemed to be a bit diminished, but he was great in what he was in.

Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn: I thought he did a very nice job as the only decent Slytherin portrayed in the series (with one obvious exception). That’s what’s cool about Slughorn, that he was in Slytherin, but he’s not evil. He’s not even mean. Yet, he still has certain characteristics of Slytherins, like being mostly out for himself and liking power.


Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood: I. Love. Her. Dress. Anyway, Luna has a lot less to do than in Order of the Phoenix, but Evanna is great whenever she does get to do something, like Slughorn’s Christmas party.


Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley: Well, er, hmm…. I mean, after rereading the series, I have come the realization that Ginny Weasley is the most underdeveloped character in the series. She goes from never doing anything but swoon after Harry to being kind of obnoxious (similar to the twins, but it’s not endearing with her like it is with them). She’s also rather mouthy, and that’s really about it. In the movies, she doesn’t even get this meager bit of character development. The semi-cool/in-character things she does are pretty much cut. It’s not Miss Wright’s fault, but it still makes Ginny uninteresting, particularly as the main character’s love interest. For Bonnie’s part, she has red hair. Woo.


Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy: Malfoy gets a lot of depth in six. A lot. And Felton handles it pretty well. You may have noticed that I did not use his mirror picture. This is because I like the one I picked better (it’s from the Astronomy tower), and I think the other one is overused. He has a better expression in the Astronomy tower one. Anyway, Tom did really well with all the drama/emotion he had to do, which was a change from just being an ass to everyone all the time.


Helen McCrory as Narcissa Malfoy: I read that she was originally going to be Bellatrix in the fifth film, but she was pregnant and couldn’t run around screaming and cackling in the Department of Mysteries, so she plays Narcissa instead. Why does she have an ugly brown patch in her hair? No one knows. She does a decent job in her relatively small role. She has more depth than a lot of the “bad guys,” showing concern for her son more than for herself.


Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown: She does a nice job of acting silly and making out with Rupert Grint. That’s basically what Lavender is supposed to do, so….


Dave Legeno as Fenrir Greyback: He’s just kind of there, looking vicious. I guess the acting’s fine. However, he looks too wolfish. He isn’t transformed, so he should look human. I know that Rowling described him as being hair, vicious, and “bestial,” but he should still look like a person rather than like he’s in mid-transformation into one of those atrocities from the third movie.


Hero Fiennes-Tiffin and Frank Dillane as Tom Riddle: I thought that they both did very well, particularly Hero. He was really creepy as little Voldy. Plus, it’s kind of cool that he’s Ralph Fiennes’s (Voldemort) nephew. Dillane did pretty well too, though the way he spoke seemed a little… off. Dillane and Hero look weirdly similar as well. Though, I would have liked to see Coulson from the second film. They say he was too old (thirty-ish), but Myrtle is too old and looks fine (yes, she is a ghost), and he would have only been in the one scene. Plus, he was older in Chamber of Secrets as well. I suppose he may not have aged well. I don’t know.

Missing Plotlines

Tonks’s Depression

In the book, Tonks has a much bigger part than she does in the movie, where her role has been reduced to about one scene where she just sort of sits there. Albeit, it’s not a huge role, but she does pop up quite a few times, and she looks depressed during all of these. She can’t change her appearance (read: hair) anymore because of said depression, so it just stays mousy brown all the time. Her parts are mostly given away to various other characters in the movie. She is the one who finds Harry on the train after Malfoy stomps on his face (not Luna). She is the one who walks Harry to the gates of Hogwarts (I think it’s Hagrid in the movie, but I’m not totally sure). She crops up in Hogsmeade and Hogwarts alike, always looking sad and mopey. Mrs. Weasley practically adopts her, which most of the Weasleys think is because she wants Tonks to end up with Bill (he is engaged to Fleur).

Later, we find out the cause of the depression. Minor Spoiler Tonks and Lupin are having relationship problems. You see, they “like like” each other (there’s a lot of that going around in this installment), but Lupin doesn’t want Tonks to be involved with him because of his werewolf angst, but Tonks doesn’t care about Lupin’s time of the month. She wuvs him. Mrs. Weasley is on Tonks’s side and thinks Lupin is being a jerkass and should get over it and be with her. Lupin also thinks that he is too old for Tonks (they don’t quite pass the dating pool creepiness test). They eventually work things out (off-screen, er, -page). In the movie, they are just randomly together, and no one seems to notice or wonder when or why this happened. At least, they seem to be together at Christmas, which I believe is the only scene Tonks is even in the movie. End Spoiler

Voldemort’s Background

They only kept two background scenes from Voldy’s past (the orphanage and Slughorn’s memory). The main bits of background information that are left out concern the Gaunts. The Gaunts are Voldemort’s mother, uncle, and grandfather. They are a pureblood wizarding family that live in a shack near the house of the Muggle Riddles. Minor Book Spoiler Merope uses a love potion to seduce Tom Riddle, whom she marries, allowing her to escape her abusive father, Marvelo (though she doesn’t seem to hold this abuse against her father, partly naming her child after him). Before she runs off with Riddle, she steals one of the family heirlooms (Slytherin’s locket). After being married for a little while, Merope decides to stop giving Tom the love potion because she believes now he may love her for real. He doesn’t. Tom leaves Merope, who is pregnant with Voldy at the time, and goes back to live with his parents. A desperately poor Merope sells Slytherin’s locket to Borgin and Burkes (she is ripped off and barely given anything for it). Then she goes to the Muggle orphanage, where she dies shortly after giving birth to a son she names Tom Marvelo Riddle after his father and grandfather. She hadn’t used magic since her husband left her, so she didn’t use any to help herself or keep herself alive. End Spoiler

There is extended information about little Tom’s time in the orphanage. He hurts other children (and their pets) if they’re mean to him, or sometimes just because he feels like it. He lures two children to a cave and does unknown things to them there that cause them to never be quite the same. Ending Spoiler This is the same cave that Dumbledore and Harry visit to obtain the locket Horcrux. There is no explanation in the movie about why they visit the cave or why Voldemort would use the locket as a Horcrux other than just because it was Slytherin’s. End Spoiler

There is also information about what Voldemort did after he left Hogwarts. As soon as he graduated, he wanted to stay on as a teacher but was told he was too young and to reapply in a few years. During this time, he worked for Borgin and Burkes, as shown by the memory of a house-elf. By the time he applied for a job at Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore had been made headmaster and refused to hire him. By this time, he already had quite the following and was going by his new name.

A lot of this information was okay to cut for time and pacing reasons, but some of it was pretty important in order to explain later events in this installment and the next.

Learning to Apparate

“I am not worried, Harry. (…) I am with you.”
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 578

When wizards turn seventeen, they can take their Apparition test and get their license (it’s like driving for wizards, but way faster). They have a sort of class for the sixth years to take to learn how to Apparate. There is no class in the movie. There are no tests (Hermione passes; Ron fails the first time). In the seventh movie, everyone can Apparate without ever having learned how to do it. Ending Spoiler At the end of Half-Blood Prince, Harry Apparating Dumbledore back to Hogsmeade is important because he’s not licensed (nor is he or age) and he is very inexperienced with the process. It’s like a fourteen-year-old who just got their learner’s permit driving their dying grandfather to the hospital. Basically. It’s tenser if Harry is not entirely dependable. It also makes the “I am not worried” line that much sadder and sweeter. End Spoiler

Elf Tails

In the book, Harry is way more obsessed with what Malfoy is up to than he is in the movie, to the point of actually annoying Ron and Hermione. He watches his every move on the Marauder’s Map and even enlists Kreacher and Dobby to tail Malfoy and report back to him, which they do, though Kreacher isn’t much help. Ending Spoiler The movie also leaves out how Crabbe and Goyle use Polyjuice Potion to transform into girls in order to guard the Room of Requirement and to give Katie Bell the cursed necklace. Rosmerta is never mentioned to be under the Imperius curse either. End Spoiler

Missing Scenes

I probably missed some, and yes, these are mostly chapter titles.

The Other Minister

At the beginning of the book, there is a scene where the Muggle Prime Minister is visited by Cornelius Fudge, former Minister of Magic, as well as Rufus Scrimgeour, the newly appointed Minister of Magic. They discuss all of the catastrophes that have been happening in the Muggle world and how they are actual being caused by dark wizards. There is also background about how Fudge has visited the Prime Minister several times over the years to let him know about possible dangers to Muggles. In the movie, instead of having this scene, the filmmakers show the Death Eaters flying around destroying things, like the Millennium Bridge. This change was made because the filmmakers thought that showing what the Death Eaters were doing would better illustrate the horrible things going on than just having the ministers talk about it. While that does make a certain amount of sense (show, don’t tell), in this case, they are wrong.

The point of “The Other Minister” was not that the Death Eaters were wreaking havoc and destroying things; it was to show that things were so bad in the Wizarding world that they were affecting the Muggles as well, in quite noticeable ways. Sure, we see Muggle cars fall off the bridge when it’s destroyed, but, for me at least, that didn’t connect the horror and chaos happening to Muggles for reasons unknown to them like the minister conversation did. The conversation focused on a single individual learning that all of this was happening because of a war that Muggle didn’t even know was going on. We see how these events affect a single person, and it helps us to empathize with Muggles in general. The book shows us the specific (the Prime Minster dealing with what’s going on) and asks us to apply it to the general (the Muggle reaction as a whole); the movie shows us the general (the bridge collapsing) and asks us to apply it to the individual (how one Muggle might deal with this), which is much harder to do when it comes to connecting with people. That’s why tragedies that take hundreds of lives don’t seem as real if they happen far away or if none of the people involved are talked about as individuals that we could have known. Showing us a bridge collapsing and saying, “people died” begs the question, “but who were they?” The Prime Minister is one person who we can know. We don’t know those people on the bridge, and therefore, we care less; it seems less real.

Meeting Mrs. Malfoy

“If you attack my son again, I will ensure that it is the last thing you ever do.”
—Narcissa Malfoy, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 113

In the book, the trio meets Narcissa and Draco in the robe shop, where they are very rude to each other. Threats are exchanged, and the trio notices that Draco seems keen to get away from his mother, though she doesn’t want that to happen. It shows more how much Narcissa cares for her son, which is about her only admirable quality. I like that she will do just about anything to keep him safe instead of just being OMGevul! Anyway, this scene leads up to the trio following Draco, after he ditches his mother, to Borgin and Burkes and overhearing him.

These Are My Friends

In the book, Romilda Vane tells Harry he can sit in her compartment instead of with Neville and Luna. He tells her that they are his friends and were with him during the battle in the Department of Mysteries. She leaves. It parallels a scene in the fifth book (that didn’t make it into the fifth movie) where Cho finds Harry with Neville, Luna, and Ginny, and Harry wishes he was with cooler people. He has matured now and knows that Neville and Luna are cool enough.

The Slug Club

On the train, Slughorn recruits students to come and have lunch in his compartment. These students include Harry Potter, Cormac McLaggen, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, and others. Ginny is the only person not related to anyone famous who is invited; Slughorn recruited after seeing her cast the Bat Bogey Hex. Neville does not make it past the initial interview into the Slug Club, nor does another boy who has no contact with his famous relative. There is also no mention in the movie of Harry trying to avoid going to Slughorn’s parties.

Snape Victorious

After Harry is walked to the gates by Tonks (in the novel), Snape comes out to take him up to school, even though Tonks says she had intended Hagrid to come to take Harry. Snape berates Harry on the way up to the castle.

A Loony Commentary

“…but now that big Hufflepuff player’s got the Quaffle from her, I can’t remember his name, it’s something like Bibble—no, Buggins—”
—Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 414

In the book, there are auditions for new Quidditch commentators since the usual commentator, Lee Jordan, has graduated. One of the prospective commentators is Luna Lovegood. She commentates on the game by talking about her personal feelings about the players and by diagnosing them with things like “loser’s lurgy.” McGonagall has to constantly interrupt with actual commentary. Ron seems to be the only one who genuinely enjoyed Luna’s commentary because when he tells her as much, she thinks he’s making fun of her. It’s quite disappointing that her commentary wasn’t included in the film; it was very funny.

Snape’s Detention

During the Quidditch Cup, Harry has detention with Snape and is unable to compete. For his detention, he is organizing disciplinary files. Snape has Harry doing the files from his father’s days at Hogwarts first so that Harry will have to read about all the misdeeds of James and Sirius.

Flight of the Prince (Ending Spoilers)

Yes, the movie does show Harry chasing Snape and calling him a coward. And, yes, it does show Snape telling Harry that he is the Half-Blood Prince. And, yes, it even shows Hagrid’s hut burning (read: exploding) and some of the destruction of Hogwarts. But, the movie does not show that there is any actual fighting going on after Dumbledore’s death. Teachers, students, and Order members are battling Death Eaters in the halls. The filmmakers left this out because they thought it would be “repetitive” to have this fight scene when they were going to have the Battle of Hogwarts in the final film. That’s just stupid. The Battle of Hogwarts is not the same thing as this. This fight was small-scale and helped add to the chaos after Dumbledore’s Death. You wanna use “that’s repetitive” then I could say that the unnecessary Burrow burning scene is repetitive because everyone is always mean to the Weasleys, or better yet, because the Death Eaters come to the Burrow in Deathly Hallows too, so that would make having them come in Half-Blood Prince repetitive. Ugh.

They also completely screw up Dumbledore’s death (okay, not completely). Dumbledore casts the Body-Bind curse on Harry so that Harry won’t try to stop what’s about to happen. This happens right before Malfoy comes in. Better yet, they don’t even show that Harry and Dumbledore go to the Astronomy Tower because they see the Dark Mark. They just go there in there in the movie. Anyway, Harry is under the Body-Bind curse under his Invisibility Cloak. In the movie, he’s under the place where Dumbledore is and just doesn’t help because he was asked not to. Harry wouldn’t do that. In the book, he struggles against the curse. He wants to help. He would if he could. In the movie, he just stands there… and no one notices him. They don’t look for him or anything. Also, Bellatrix Lestrange is not involved in this part of the book. She is not there. She is only there in the movie, I think, because she is played by Helena Bonham Carter, and Helena is so speshul that they had to put her in more scenes than her character is actually in. Not cool.

The Phoenix Lament (Ending Spoilers)

There is no scene in the hospital wing after the battle. We don’t get to see Bill after he’s been attacked by Fenrir Greyback. We don’t get to see that other people were injured. And we don’t get to hear Fawkes’s sad song after Dumbledore’s death, nor do we discover that Fawkes has left Hogwarts after the death of his owner. This scene was mostly important to see the fates of those injured in the battle, which was omitted from the movie anyway.

The White Tomb (Ending Spoilers)

AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS. MADE. ME. SO. MAD. They didn’t show his funeral! How could they do that?!

Ahem, pardon my outburst, but of all the things in this movie, the omission of Dumbledore’s funeral pissed me off the most. All they do in the movie is hold up their wands around his body. They didn’t have his funeral because it didn’t fit the tone of the movie. That’s what they said. I don’t see why having a funeral for a much-beloved character that has just died does not fit with the tone of the movie. I can’t figure out if they mean the light-hearted tone or the dark tone. The light-hearted tone went out the window when they got to the cave, and the dark tone would still be there, maybe a little less intense. I cried during the funeral the first time I read the book. I remember; I was in Best Buy with my parents, reading it and trying not to cry in a public place. I wanted to hear the merpeople sing. I wanted to see the white tomb. I wanted to see everyone’s reactions to his death, to see them mourn. The audience deserved to get to mourn over this. I was robbed of the thing I had most looked forward to seeing in the movie.

Missing Characters:

If I’ve already mentioned a missing character in a past article or in another section of this article, they probably will not be mentioned here.

The Dursleys

“You did not do as I asked. You have never treated Harry as a son. He has known nothing but neglect and often cruelty as your hands. The best that can be said is that he has at least escaped the appalling damage you have inflicted upon the unfortunate boy sitting between you.”
—Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 55

In the book, Dumbledore picks up Harry from the Dursleys. Harry has been waiting for Dumbledore to come and get him, but he hasn’t packed because he isn’t sure if Dumbledore will really come. Dumbledore reprimands the Dursleys for their treatment of Harry while asking them to allow him to return to their home one last time before he turns seventeen, thus resealing the magic that protects Harry because of Lily’s sacrifice, which will be broken the moment Harry turns seventeen, or the moment he can no longer call Privet Drive home. He also offers them drinks that continually poke them in their heads because they refuse to drink them. The Dursleys were removed from the film to “break with the pattern.” In the movie, Dumbledore picks up Harry outside a diner where he was flirting with a Muggle waitress. I did not like this scene.

Dobby and Kreacher

Also at the Dursleys, Dumbledore informs Harry that he has inherited all of Sirius Black’s property, including Kreacher the house-elf. After learning that Kreacher, in fact, will obey Harry’s commands, Harry sends him to work in the kitchens at Hogwarts. Later, Harry calls upon Dobby and Kreacher to tail Draco Malfoy and find out what he’s up to.

Bill Weasley and Phlegm Fleur Delacour

Dumbledore drops off Harry at the Weasleys’, and we learn that Bill is engaged to Fleur Delacour, something that Molly and Ginny are not too happy about (Ginny calls her “Phlegm”). Fleur spends her time irritating (unintentionally) all of the women in the house enchanting Ron with her supermegafoxyawesomehotness. Ending Spoiler Fleur does redeem herself at the end of the novel when she reprimands Molly for thinking she would not want to be with Bill just because he has been disfigured by Greyback. End Spoiler

Rufus Scrimgeour

“Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you, Potter?”
—Rufus Scrimgeour, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 348

In addition to being in “The Other Minister,” Scrimgeour appears a couple of times and attempts to pressure Harry into coming around the Ministry occasionally to make it look like Harry approves of what the Ministry is doing or even that he is a part of it. Harry refuses on both occasions that this offer is made to him because he does not agree with the Ministry, and the Ministry didn’t support him when he originally said that Voldemort had returned. Scrimgeour also wants to know what Dumbledore has been up to. Ending Spoiler The last time Scrimgeour asks Harry to stand by the Ministry and tell him what Dumbledore was up to is at the latter’s funeral, where Harry refuses him for the final time. End Spoiler

Percy Weasley

Percy is dragged along to the Burrow at Christmas by Rufus Scrimgeour, who claims that Percy just had to stop by to see his family. Molly is the only one who is happy to see him, though Percy seems very uncomfortable, and he leaves in a huff after having food flung at him by Fred, George, and Ginny. Ending Spoiler The next time he appears is at Dumbledore’s funeral, along with the likes of Rufus Scrimgeour and Dolores Umbridge, who do not appear in the film either. End Spoiler

Small Changes That May or May Not Really Matter

I’m sure I missed a lot of these.

Muggle clothes, Muggle clothes, MUGGLE CLOTHES!

Death Eaters cannot fly without the aid of brooms, Thestrals, etc. Voldemort can fly. Snape can fly. The other Death Eaters cannot fly. Yet they fly all around London in the opening scene of the film.

The scene at Slughorn’s house is tenser than it is in the book.

Apparently, Harry has forgotten how to use his Invisibility Cloak in the film. Instead, the trio sneaks around without the aid of magic. Harry doesn’t use the Cloak to follow Malfoy in Diagon Alley, and he doesn’t use it on several other occasions.

The train compartments seem to be segregated based on house in the movie. And the compartments are not uniform. Some seem much smaller than others, and quite a few are not enclosed at all.

The ill effects of too much liquid luck are not specified.

In the book, the sixth years are supposed to learn how to cast spells without speaking. This is never mentioned in the film.

It is not mentioned that Mundungus has been stealing Sirius’s stuff.

Ron never catches Ginny making out with Dean in the movie, so she in turn never yells at him about how he’s never had a girlfriend.

Mrs. Weasley’s favorite singer is never mentioned.

I don’t think it was explained that someone overheard Trelawney’s prediction.

Ending Spoiler Dumbledore struggles a lot more when taking the potion in the book than he does in the movie, and it’s a lot sadder also. End Spoiler

Ending Spoiler Harry is able to fill the cup with water in the book, but it disappears when he brings it to Dumbledore’s mouth, but in the movie, he summons the water to the basin and is unable to fill the cup at all. End Spoiler

Ending Spoiler In the cave, the Inferi grab Harry and pull him under the water, whereas in the movie, they just try to pull him under. Why are dead bodies just attacking people not exciting enough? End Spoiler

Ending Spoiler In the book, Harry tries to cast both Levicorpus and Sectumsempra on Snape after Dumbledore’s death. He also tries to cast Crucio. I believe he only tries Sectumsempra in the movie. End Spoiler

What They Did Right

Teenage Problems

Ginny is going out with Dean, but Harry likes her, you know he like likes her. And Hermione likes Ron, but he’s dating Lavender even though he really likes Hermione back.

…Yeah. That stuff. The movie does that stuff well. Emma Watson is particularly good at showing how much it upsets Hermione to see Ron with Lavender. The only thing that could be better was to emphasize Ginny being with Dean more.

Humor

“I feel like [Hagrid’s is] the place to be tonight, you know what I mean?”
—Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 477

This movie has some funny moments, and it has a lot more light-hearted parts than the previous film; the book is that way too. The liquid luck scene is really good for this.

Final Grade: C

This adaptation received a C because it keeps with most of the basic plot points, and even excels at certain things, but it puts style before story, and while style is important, story and things actually making sense is more important. It adds scenes to make things more exciting, while cutting things that would have filled the excitement quotient just fine. They cut important emotional scenes and don’t always explain why things are the way they are. It’s disappointing that they did this yet again, though it’s not as bad as the previous film.

“Aveda Kedavra!”
—Severus Snape, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 596

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Comment

  1. Det on 3 August 2011, 00:32 said:

    This series is both irritatingly pedantic and woefully misnamed. I was excited when I saw that someone was doing a series on book-to-movie adaptations called “Adapt or Die” because I thought it would focus on the necessary changes involved in making a book into a screenplay, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each medium and evaluating the success of the translation. But no, this is yet another “complain about how the movie is not the book” set of reviews, despise the fact that a movie, by its very nature, cannot and should not be a book. It saddens me to see something like this done by someone who doesn’t seem to understand or respect movies as their own medium. That’s not to say that the movies are perfect by any means, but the points you’re dwelling on lead me to believe that you just don’t understand how movies work.

    1. Art is subjective. Both books and movies are going to be seen differently by different people. A scene that you liked is not necessarily the most important scene; a character is not necessarily ‘wrong’ because they don’t look or act the way you imagined them. The filmmakers having a different perspective on characters and events than you do may be upsetting, but it’s not objectively wrong.
    2. Movies are visual. Because movies don’t rely on text the way books do, things have to be shown through scenes of action and dialogue. This means that there should be by necessity far less establishment and exposition than there would be in a book, unless you want a movie full of dull talking-head scenes. This might lead to fewer characters and dropped subplots, which leads nicely into my next point.
    3. Movies are constrained by their running time. Even if there weren’t rules and regs about this stuff, (and there are – it’s not like directors can just do whatever the hell they want) it’s just common sense that an average audience can’t be expected to sit through a movie longer than two and a half hours. Therefore, it’s often better to cut out a few subplots rather than risk damaging the main story. We really didn’t need to see Lupin and Tonk’s relationship drama, and not having Harry in detention doesn’t change our total understanding of the story.
    4. The books are not sacrosanct. It’s entirely possible that the filmmakers changed things because they thought they were better that way, and hard as it may be for you to believe, some people may agree with them. Maybe they toned down Harry and Sirius’s angst in Order of the Phoenix because plenty of people found it tiresome in the book, or maybe they cut out Ginny yelling at Ron for never having a girlfriend because it made her character look pretty bad, at least to some people.
    5. And finally, it’s hard to take you seriously as a reviewer when you say you can’t be bothered to look up a name, or when you talk about people being injured in the batter. It wouldn’t kill you to take some time and edit your own work before you go around bashing other people’s.

  2. Clibanarius on 3 August 2011, 01:06 said:

    Duuuuude!

    Ease off a little, won’t you?

    I for one enjoyed NP’s article and agree with it completely.

  3. NeuroticPlatypus on 3 August 2011, 01:44 said:

    @Det
    I probably should have made it clearer that just because I note something as a change does not mean I think that it was bad. I don’t care that Ginny didn’t yell at Ron. I was just noting that that did not happen. There are things that did really bother me (and you can probably tell what they are), but that’s not one of them. The same goes for Harry not being in detention. I don’t really care that that scene wasn’t there. I was just noting that it wasn’t. Sometimes I even agree with certain changes (and I try to make note of those too).

    5. And finally, it’s hard to take you seriously as a reviewer when you say you can’t be bothered to look up a name, or when you talk about people being injured in the batter. It wouldn’t kill you to take some time and edit your own work before you go around bashing other people’s.

    I usually do proofread very thoroughly and look up names. I only haven’t proofread much on this article and the one on OotP (that one was because it accidentally got published too early, so I was trying to finish it quickly). I should have done so on this article. You are right. I fixed the “batter” mistake. Thank you for pointing that out.

    I’m also not trying to judge the movie as a movie. I’m going by faithfulness because when I go to watch a movie based on a book, I find myself interested in the changes, so I decided to document them; it doesn’t mean I think they were all bad changes. I like all the Harry Potter movies, and I think the later ones are better movies but worse adaptations because they leave out things that make other things make sense later. One example is leaving out Sirius’s mirror in OotP. Harry then just has a random mirror piece in DH, so someone who only watches the movies may not know why he has it (or they may not care).

    I’m sorry this isn’t what you were looking for.

  4. NeuroticPlatypus on 3 August 2011, 01:48 said:

    Ease off a little, won’t you?

    I for one enjoyed NP’s article and agree with it completely.

    Thank you. :)

  5. happycrab91 on 3 August 2011, 02:51 said:

    I think the 6th film is the worst of them all. When I first watched it I thought it was one of the best because it was darker, prettier, more cinematic and most of all had a lot of humour. But on repeated viewings once all the humour was gone I realised how boring the whole thing was.
    They focused way too much on the romance side of the book and not enough on the important things like the book’s namesake. The half-blood prince and his potions book were almost insignificant in the film but so central to the book.
    The tiny bit of action wasn’t very good and the Burrow burning scene was idiotic even if you didn’t know it didn’t happen in the book. They should just kept the action at the end with the Order of the Phoenix and such all fighting the death eaters. Instead it was only Harry chasing Snape.
    Though yeah waiting right till the end for the action might have made it even more boring but since the Burrow scene did nothing for me it wouldn’t have made a difference before it got to the climax.
    Also some of the romance was just so off and laughable. Well only really Harry and Ginny’s. The stuff between Ron and Hermione was pretty good. But yeah Ginny tied Harry’s shoe? WTF?! And her randomly coming with Harry to hide the book in the room of requirement, kissing then she mysteriously vanished and wasn’t seen for the rest of the film. There might have been some small appearance but their relationship needed to be established a bit more with them walking around holding hands and sitting by the lake. Though again that might’ve been boring.
    So yeah this isn’t me being an idiotic fanboy who can’t deal with movies changing things when they need to because they’re a different medium and such. This is me hating them making the wrong decisions.
    Also given the atmosphere of the film and the new comedy style, some of the acting felt so off mostly just from Radcliffe and sometimes others. Radcliffe was alright in the first 4 or 5 films but somehow by 6 he hadn’t evolved enough as an actor to handle the changing material. But no sense complaining about that now.

    I can see why so many people seem to not like books 5, 6 and/or even 7, but I think they are genius and interesting in their own way. But what is interesting in books may not be interesting in films so I don’t think 5 and 6 could have ever been made into adequate films. I didn’t mind 5 though. Except for not focusing on Harry’s dreams enough it handled it well enough.

  6. Det on 3 August 2011, 03:33 said:

    I’m sorry if I came across as a jerk. It’s exam season for me, which tends to make me both verbose and fractious. It’s just frustratingly hard to find analyses like this that look at things from the film perspective without more or less ignoring the source material, which is what most film critics do. I’d love to see something that focused on how well something works at as movie, using film theory and whatnot, while still paying attention to how well it served the spirit of the source material. I might just have to write it myself when I have the time, lol.

    Sorry again if I was too harsh.

  7. Spanman on 3 August 2011, 08:08 said:

    In the cave, the Inferi grab Harry and pull him under the water, whereas in the movie, they just try to pull him under. Why are dead bodies just attacking people not exciting enough?

    I may be remembering this wrongly (or perhaps it only happened in my imagination – that happens sometimes…) but as I recall Harry was pulled into the lake by the Inferi in the film, because there was this really cool faraway shot of him sinking to the bottom with dead pale things all around him. And then he sees fire above the water (Dumbledore’s thing) and fights his way to the surface. I remember it all being very cool.

    Anyway, great article, NP. I’d have to say one of the parts of HBP the film I liked the most was Harry’s odd little moments where he showed how funny he can actually be (contrary to my previous hypothesis that Daniel Radcliffe can show no emotion nor shed any tears).

  8. NeuroticPlatypus on 3 August 2011, 10:53 said:

    They focused way too much on the romance side of the book and not enough on the important things like the book’s namesake. The half- blood prince and his potions book were almost insignificant in the film but so central to the book.

    I agree.

    I may be remembering this wrongly (or perhaps it only happened in my imagination – that happens sometimes…) but as I recall Harry was pulled into the lake by the Inferi in the film

    He was in the film but not in the book.

    . I’d love to see something that focused on how well something works at as movie, using film theory and whatnot, while still paying attention to how well it served the spirit of the source material. I might just have to write it myself when I have the time, lol.

    Well, I don’t anything about film theory, but that would be interesting to read. I’d read it.

    Anyway, great article, NP. I’d have to say one of the parts of HBP the film I liked the most was Harry’s odd little moments where he showed how funny he can actually be

    Thanks, and I liked those moments too.

  9. Sum Mortis on 3 August 2011, 16:34 said:

    I couldnt stand this movie. While I did like that it was definitely darker than the previous films, the ending was just so mangled and different that I hated it.

    I really liked the beginning scenes with death eaters blowing stuff up- I actually thought it would be better for a show not tell approach on the devastation that the Death Eaters are causing in both the Muggle and Wizard worlds.

    My favorite movie was probably #3.

  10. Leliel on 4 August 2011, 03:31 said:

    This was my favorite of the books and I found the movie sort of middling. Two of my favorite scenes in the book (and by extension the series) were /Sectumsempra/ and the cave and for what it’s worth I thought the film nailed them both. I think by this point I had given up on seeing a carbon copy of the printed page because it just wasn’t happening with the time constraints.

  11. TamtheHam on 26 December 2011, 20:34 said:

    nothing annoyed me more than when harry took the liquid luck nowhere in the book did it describe harry as acting like a smug arsehole to slughorn or that it made you act weird it just gave you luck. f*cking daniel radcliffe ruined these films he is such a sh*tty actor he ruined every single film and although he looked similar to the description of harry he acts nothing like him. My imagination of harry was not some little bitch that looks like he has been spoon fed his whole life.

  12. TamtheHam on 26 December 2011, 21:50 said:

    i first watched this film before reading the book and actually thought it was the best so far not knowing what was coming with dumbldore and snape might have had something to do with it. i re-watched after reading the book and now hate this film more than the rest. In my opinion the films are only half decent if you havent read the books as there is far too much left out to the point it actually pisses me off. so many different directors and not one seemed to understand the series. the only exception was the first film. Only daniel ruined it for me but i put that down to age (unfortunately i was wrong). at least the first one stuck to the book missing only minor details.