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Harry Potter
and the Prisoner of Azkaban

film adaptation

Changes from the Book

Deletrius!
major characters and events from the book not included in the film:

  • The arrival of Harry's birthday presents. In fact, the clipping from the Daily Prophet was never sent to Harry in the film; see below under Serpensortia.

  • Molly's pride in Percy's becoming Head Boy is never mentioned.

  • Ginny and Neville don't enter HRH's compartment on the train; neither does Malfoy.

  • McGonagall isn't shown taking Harry or Hermione aside before the Feast.

  • Although Warwick Davis is in the film, he is not credited with playing Flitwick, and the appearance of the character he is shown playing looks quite different (much too young, for one thing). He and Hagrid have both been eliminated from the teachers' conversation with Rosmerta and Fudge at the Three Broomsticks about Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew.

  • Sir Cadogan. (Was filmed and is included in the extras on the DVD, but was cut from the theatrical release.)

  • Care of Magical Creatures is shown directly following Divination on the first day of classes, without Transfiguration in between, and consequently without McGonagall's lecture on Animagi. (See also Serpensortia - this information was moved to Snape's afternoon of substituting for Lupin in Defence Against the Dark Arts.)

  • The other eleven hippogriffs in the first Care of Magical Creatures lesson.

  • All the Potions lessons of the year are omitted.

  • Dean's and Seamus' boggarts.

  • The Quidditch season is omitted, apart from the first match.

  • Peeves - still no film appearance.

  • The elderly member of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures has been eliminated. The executioner is still present, but he isn't identified as Macnair.

  • Lupin's explanation of how he became friends with Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail, the purpose of the Shrieking Shack, and how the four friends came to write the Map.

  • Ron's and Harry's feud with Hermione over the Firebolt has been eliminated. Ron's long quarrel with her over Scabbers has been cut back to one quarrel in Diagon Alley and an almost casual reference to Scabbers' disappearance in the spring (much later than in the book).

Serpensortia!
plotlines that were twisted in the transition to the screen:

  • Harry is shown practicing actual spellwork over the summer holidays (the Lumos Maxima scene). In the books, this would merit an official warning from the Improper Use of Magic Office.

  • Curiously, although the TV is shown running at the Dursleys' meal with Marge, the Muggle news about Sirius Black isn't included. Harry's first sight of Sirius is on the cover of the Prophet on the Knight Bus.

  • Aunt Marge's week-long visit to Privet Drive. The two scenes where Marge's wineglass explodes and where Harry finally loses control and blows her up are combined and compressed into a single scene in the film.

  • In the book, Marge is trapped against the ceiling of the room when she is blown up; in the film, she drifts out an open bay window and out into the open air.

  • Harry's first sight of Padfoot has been moved from an alleyway in Magnolia Crescent to just outside the playpark near Privet Drive.

  • Stan is shown reading his speech off a card instead of reeling it off from memory as in the book.

  • Tom refers to Hedwig as "he" in the film, although in the book the innkeeper doesn't make that error.

  • In the film as in the book, Harry is startled at not being punished for using underage magic, and indicates that he knows it is illegal, but he was shown deliberately casting a spell in the first scene of the film (whereas in the book he used an ordinary flashlight).

  • Harry appears to be restricted to the Leaky Cauldron itself during his stay there, rather than having the freedom of Diagon Alley. Instead of purchasing his schoolbooks over the following week, Harry is shown receiving his schoolbooks directly from Fudge during their conversation.

  • Harry's first encounter with the Monster Book is shown taking place at the Leaky Cauldron, not on Privet Drive, and it appears to have come with restraints instead of Harry having to use one of his own belts after finding out about it.

  • Hermione and Ron have already visited the Magical Menagerie before meeting Harry; Hermione already has Crookshanks before Harry sees the two of them. In fact, there is no mention of Crookshanks' status as Hermione's brand-new pet.

  • Harry's first sight of the clipping is during his first meeting with Ron in Diagon Alley.

  • Instead of the twins picking on Percy to deflate his ego over his Head Boy status, they pick on Ron about showing the Daily Prophet clipping around.

  • Harry doesn't overhear Arthur and Molly; Arthur tells him about Sirius straightaway.

  • Malfoy's remark about fainting doesn't take place before the Feast as in the book, but during the feast. With the removal of Neville and Ginny from the train scene, how he found out about the fainting spell is unexplained.

  • Dumbledore pronounces Hagrid's given name as "RU-bee-us" not "Ru-BAY-us" in the film.

  • Snape the poisons expert is sitting next to Lupin at the Welcoming Feast instead of down the table (that would tend to kill the appetite...)

  • Trelawney's classroom is shown connecting directly with North Tower's staircase, rather than having a trapdoor and a rope as in the books.

  • Harry gets volunteered to ride first by his classmates, instead of doing so out of friendship for Hagrid.

  • Malfoy in the film deliberately walks up to Buckbeak instead of just saying the wrong thing while patting him.

  • The boggart lesson takes place in the DADA classroom instead of the staffroom as in the book. Consequently, the real Snape doesn't belittle Neville just before Neville's experience with the boggart, as in the book.

  • Lupin whispers part of his instructions to Neville instead of delivering them for the entire class; he stops Neville from describing his grandmother's clothes verbally before tackling the boggart (for maximum comic effect, presumably).

  • Ron puts roller skates on the boggart-acromantula rather than making its legs fall off.

  • Parvati's boggart is shown to be a cobra rather than a mummy, and thus has a completely different Riddikulus effect.

  • Harry gets a chance at the boggart and it actually changes into a Dementor in class before Lupin drives it off. This makes nonsense of Lupin's remarks in his later conversation with Harry about why he didn't let Harry 'tackle the Dementor'. (Also, the why-didn't-I-get-a-chance conversation takes place in Lupin's office in the book, but elsewhere in the film.)

  • Lupin's boggart is clearly the full moon, and cannot be mistaken for a crystal ball as in the book. His Riddikulus charm turns it into a balloon in the film rather than cracking it as in the book.

  • The boggart lesson in the film is ended prematurely, before the boggart is destroyed (unlike that in the book).

  • When substitute-teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, Snape discusses the difference between an Animagus and a werewolf, not between a werewolf and a true wolf as in the book.

  • Malfoy passes Harry an animated note in Defence Against the Dark Arts rather than speaking to him directly in Potions before the first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson of term or in the Great Hall, as in the book.

  • After Sirius' break-in on Hallowe'en, the Fat Lady is only frightened; she has not been injured as in the book. She herself rather than Peeves tells Dumbledore what happened.

  • Various details of the match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff were altered in translation to the screen. Harry is shown wearing goggles over his glasses, rather than Hermione casting an Impervius spell for him as in the book. Some of the players are apparently struck by lightning in the film during play. Rather than gathering on the ground inside the Quidditch pitch as in the book, the Dementors in the film actually fly at Harry, and apparently go so far as to attempt to administer the Kiss during the match. Finally, in the film Harry falls much further than the 50 feet he fell in the book.

  • Harry's conversation with Lupin about his destroyed broomstick takes place on the grounds in the film, rather than in the DADA classroom as in the book.

  • Dumbledore didn't warn the students during the Welcoming Feast about Dementors' indifference to invisibility cloaks, as in the book. Consequently, Harry tries to sneak out wearing his cloak on the Christmas visit, only to be caught by the twins.

  • When Harry is first given the Marauder's Map by the twins, the name "Moony" is misspelled deliberately as "Mooney". This was a deliberate error made as a joke, and refers to Karl Mooney, the film's visual effects supervisor.

  • In the film, Harry takes his invisibility cloak along on his first trip to Hogsmeade, rather than only on the second trip, leading to a combination of scenes that in the book take place during separate visits to Hogsmeade: Harry's invisible harassment of Malfoy (from "Snape's Grudge" in the book) and his eavesdropping on the teachers' conversation at Christmastime (from "The Marauder's Map" in the book). Furthermore, in the film Malfoy never sees Harry in Hogsmeade, eliminating the original reason that Snape cornered Harry and ordered him to turn out his pockets later on.

  • The elimination of Ron and Hermione from the eavesdropping scene at the Three Broomsticks (and the shrunken heads' comment that underage wizards aren't allowed inside today).

  • The description of a Patronus in terms of a Dementor feeding on its energy in place of that of the wizard.

  • Harry's choice of a happy thought for his second attempt at a Patronus has been changed from the day he first learned he was a wizard to a kind of dream of his parents talking to him (not a memory of the Mirror of Erised, either).

  • Scabbers disappears in spring in the film rather than at Christmastime.

  • Harry spots Pettigrew on the Marauder's Map; the "Snape's Grudge" scene then takes place, instead of happening after Harry's invisible harassment of Malfoy outside the Shrieking Shack, as in the book.

  • Rather than dropping Divination weeks before Buckbeak's scheduled execution, Hermione walks out only that day.

  • Harry actually sees something in the crystal ball during the final Divination lesson, rather than making it up as in the book. The content of the vision is also different.

  • The wording of Trelawney's second prediction has been changed for the film.

  • Rather than punching Malfoy in the tense run-up to the Quidditch final (which is omitted from the film), Hermione does so on the day of Buckbeak's scheduled execution.

  • Macnair is much less subtle in the film than in the book, actually being shown wearing a hood and sharpening his axe.

  • Hagrid found Scabbers before the kids dropped by, instead of Hermione finding him accidentally in the hut while fetching tea things.

  • Crookshanks has been eliminated from the scene at the Whomping Willow. Instead, the tree accidentally tosses Harry and Hermione into the tunnel.

  • Hermione gets Ron's line about Sirius having to kill both of them to get to Harry.

  • Pettigrew's attempts to talk his way out of trouble are cut way back, and Sirius' responses are in the film distributed between Sirius and Remus.

  • Lupin makes little effort to stop Sirius from killing Pettigrew straightaway.

  • Hermione and Ron don't cast Disarming Spells at Snape when Harry does so, which rather changes the effect of Hermione's next remark about attacking a teacher.

  • Rather than breaking Ron's leg, Sirius in the film bites Ron while trying to get at Scabbers.

  • Instead of Ron and Lupin being shackled to Pettigrew to get him out of the willow's tunnel, Sirius and Harry support Ron out of the tunnel while Lupin holds Pettigrew at wandpoint.

  • Pettigrew's terror at being turned over to the Dementors. In the book, he was thankful at being allowed to live rather than being particularly frightened.

  • Pettigrew's pleading with Ron and Hermione in the film occurs after he is taken out of the willow, rather than before he pleads with Harry as in the book.

  • Pettigrew's clothes were left behind after his Transfiguration back into rat shape, although his forced Transfiguration into a human showed him fully dressed.

  • Snape is conscious after Lupin's werewolf transformation, not just after the Dementors' attack upon Sirius.

  • The Firebolt is received at the end of the year, after Sirius' departure with Buckbeak, instead of as a Christmas present in the book.

Switching Spells

  • See Film 1 Switching Spells regarding the cast.

  • Tom the innkeeper at the Leaky Cauldron is a bald hunchback in the film, not fitting Tom's description as given in the books.

  • The Fat Lady isn't wearing a pink silk dress in her portrait (and is played by a different actress than the performer in PS/f).

Conjuring spells
additions to the film without direct canon backing:

  • The shrunken heads (that aboard the Knight Bus and those inside the Three Broomsticks).

  • The man inside the Leaky Cauldron reading A Brief History of Time. Incidentally, he is shown reading the first paperback U.S. edition with its distinctive cover photograph of the author, not the U.K. edition.

  • Dumbledore's trick with extinguishing and re-lighting a candle, along with the remark that "But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."

  • The Fat Lady's pretensions to being a singer. The whole glass-breaking scene after the Welcoming Feast is an addition for the film; the Gryffindor boys' remarks that she's been doing this for the last three years are an attempt at retroactive continuity.

  • The Gryffindor boys' animal-imitation game in their dormitory.

  • An extra Gryffindor boy is shown in Divination who isn't one of Harry's four dorm mates (he's the boy who reads the description of a Grim aloud in class). We know he's intended to be a Gryffindor because he's shown seated at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall, next to Harry, just before the first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson of the year.

  • Judging by the House badges on the students' robes, all four Houses' worth of students in Harry's year are present in the boggart lesson in Defence Against the Dark Arts.

  • Lupin puts on a grammophone record to accompany the boggart lesson in Defence Against the Dark Arts, at the point where Ron tackles the boggart.

  • Lupin's remarks about being particularly close to Harry's mother.

  • Snape uses a slide projector when substitute-teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts.

  • Sirius' tattoos.

  • Remarks about werewolves not attacking one another.

  • The ghostly horsemen who occasionally pass through the Great Hall. (Note that the Headless Hunt was omitted from CS/f).

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