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Harry Potter
and the Philosopher's Stone

film adaptation

Errors

This page lists errors. It doesn't list changes. It is necessary to change things when a story is told using a different medium, in this case when a book is translated into film. The story which fills hundreds of pages of a book must be truncated into a couple of hours and none of the important bits can be left out. It becomes necessary to rearrange events or merge them together in order to move the story along. Also, the reader of a book has the benefit of watching the story unfold from within the mind of the lead character, while in a film the viewer is always outside, watching from a more neutral position. These kinds of changes do create problems, however. Often, people get confused about the real story because they remember the changed version in the film instead of the original, correct version in the books. This confusion is often refered to as "film contamination." A list of some of the most-often confused sections, those the Lexicon gets email about, is included on this page.

Another kind of error that creeps into any film is the continuity error. That's the kind of error when a light stand is visible in the background or a person's hair is parted to the left in a shot and to the right a split second later. Those kinds of errors aren't listed here. They're an unavoidable part of the process of making a film, and while they are mildly interesting, they don't belong in the Lexicon. Other websites have taken the time to list them.

However, all of that is no excuse for some of the errors that do crop up in the Harry Potter films. The errors listed here aren't adjustments which had to be made to accomodate the change of medium. They're errors which go against the "rules" set up in the books or errors which could have easily been avoided. There errors are annoying and should have been avoided.

Errors in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone

  • Quirrell flies twice - Granted he's inhabited by a really powerful Dark Wizard, but according to QA1, no spell will allow a wizard to fly, and that includes the Dark Lord. It's a nice visual effect, I suppose, but it goes against the rules of Rowling's world.

  • "Greek chappie" becomes "Irish chappie"- This is sad, really. This just shows how the folks creating the films don't read much below the surface of the books. Why does it matter what nationality the fellow was who sold Fluffy to Hagrid? Because Fluffy is a three-headed dog, which is straight out of Greek mythology. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to change it, but they did. Steve Kloves said in a Q&A session that he wrote it as "Greek" but it just was spoken differently on the set, but the script says "Irish."

  • Hermione uses a spell which doesn't fit the rules for spells in the books - That lumos solarum spell, shining light as bright as the sun, just doesn't fit. If there was a spell to create light that bright, and simple enough that for a Muggle-born first year to cast besides, what's everyone running around doing pathetic little Lumos spells for all the time? There are plenty of times when a blazingly bright light would have come in real handy, but nope, it's Lumos, which casts about as much light as a flashlight. Even Dumbledore, when searching frantically for Barty Crouch in edge of the Forest, only manages a Lumos spell, and his isn't any brighter than anyone else's. That spell was created for the film because the special effects were cool (and they were!). But it doesn't fit into the real Harry Potter universe.

  • Incorrect pronunciations of Voldemort and Firenze - Rowling herself pronounces Voldemort without sounding the final 't.' It's from French, for goodness' sake. How did this slip through? Now everyone is pronouncing it incorrectly, and we're going to be stuck with it. But it's wrong. That is just plain frustrating. Firenze's name isn't quite so important, that's true, but that final 'e' is supposed to be pronounced and there's no reason why they couldn't have done it right. The word is Italian--it's the Italian name for the city we English-speakers call Florence--and it's pronounced fir-EN-ze, not fir-ENZ. Now would it have killed them to have simply done their homework and pronounced those two names correctly?

Film Contamination

  • In the book, Quirrell shakes hands with Harry when they meet in the Leaky Cauldron, but he doesn't in the film. The reason this is confusing is that in the book, Quirrell isn't wearing his turban yet at that point, so Voldemort isn't inhabiting the back of Quirrell's head. In the film, he is. So people can't figure out why, in the book, Quirrell is able to touch Harry without experiencing pain. By the way, in the book, Quirrell's hands didn't turn to stone when he touched Harry; they were burned.

  • Harry sees Quirrell die in the film, but in the book he doesn't. The confusion comes with book five, when Harry first can see the Thestrals because he's seen Cedric die. Folks assume that he has also seen Quirrell die so he should have seen the Thestrals before book five, but that isn't the case. This error in the films could create an inconsistency when they film book five.

  • Neville went into the forest for detention in the book. In the film, it was Ron. For some reason we get a lot of email about this one, pointing out our "error" in the Lexicon.

  • The film shows James to be a Seeker for Gryffindor. The books do not give his position on the for Quidditch team, although he is referred to as a for Gryffindor Quidditch player in book five. Rowling in an interview has stated that James was a Chaser. It's possible that in the future, Rowling will change her mind and make James a Seeker (or maybe say that he played both positions at one time or another.) But for now, he's a Chaser. This is probably the error we get the most email about.

  • Most classes consist of one house only, but in the film we see all the students of Harry's year in every class. Slytherins are shown in Transfiguration right alongside the Gryffindors in the film. We see this in every class in the films, but that's not the way it happens in the books. We're told in PS9 that the Slytherins and Gryffindors only have Potions and Flying lessons together in their first year.
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