I’ve just finished reading Chamber of Secrets last night, which means it is time for another book to movie comparison. I’m really enjoying writing these so far and am loving really analysing the films and the books, so I hope you are too! I’m quite impressed with myself so far by how well I’ve managed to stick to my schedule of finishing the books on time, so I can write the blog post, but then I guess it is Harry potter and I’m never going to turn down an opportunity to read or watch it!
If you didn’t see my first book vs movie post for ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ that went up last week, then I suggest you give it a read as I explain more about what this series is about there and also it would be better to read them chronologically too: https://books.samanthadrage.co.uk/2019/07/05/book-vs-movie-harry-potter-and-the-philosophers-stone/
I am going to be talking about each section of the movie by the chapter titles in the books, so if there is a specific scene of chapter you want to here me talk about, then you can skip to that chapter title. It is also worth saying that these will of course be full of spoilers, so I can actually talk about the plot, but I think everyone has at least seen Harry Potter at this point, but I thought I’d mention it in case it wasn’t obvious.
A small disclaimer: before we get started I want to make it clear that I am in no way bashing the Harry Potter films. I adore Harry Potter and do think they did a good job with them. This is just a bit of fun and I wanted to take the opportunity to really analyse the story. I’m aware that somethings just aren’t possible to make happen on screen and some things have to be cut out to make the film a watchable length (although I’d happily watch a 10 hour long word for word adaptation, I know most people wouldn’t). I am also by no means a movie expert, this is just a bit of fun.
Chapter 1 – The Worst Birthday
As openings go this was a pretty good one. We were back at the Dursley’s during Harry’s summer holiday on his birthday and he was miserable as per usual. The film did a pretty good job representing this with planning for the Masons, them telling Harry he is going to pretend he doesn’t exist and Mr Dursley yelling at Harry. However, yet again I noticed that the movie seemed to downplay some of the Dursley’s cruelty. There were some things they didn’t include, which was probably just to save time, but I think they were important especially as they left so much of it out in the first film (see my 1st book vs movie post for details), so that the audience can understand what horrible people they are and how much growing up with them will affect Harry.
Chapter 2 – Dobby’s Warning
The second chapter however, was represented almost perfectly including word for word dialogue when Harry and Dobby were talking, which was very impressive. I noticed that a lot of the dialogue was taken straight from the book, which I personally like as a reader watching a film adaptation. The only difference I noticed was that in the film Harry didn’t get a letter from the Ministry of Magic blaming him for the magic that Dobby did, but since that letter isn’t important in this book I guess it isn’t the end of the world.
Chapter 3 – The Burrow
Harry’s escape and the arrival at the burrow were representing in the film well in terms of vibe and general aesthetic, but the order of events wasn’t quite the same as in the books. For starters we didn’t get to see Fred and George pick the locks on Harry’s door to get his trunk, which isn’t a huge thing, but I personally would have liked to see it because I love Fred and George as characters. I also think this small scene really helps build them as characters as well as the other little scenes that we are told about throughout the books of them doing silly things, but that are never in the films because they aren’t pivotal to the plot. They show them as being smart in their own way despite not being like their older brothers.
They do miss out a few scenes at the burrow like the de-gnoming and quidditch practice, which is understandable as they are purely domestic scenes and not necassery to include, but they did get the order of events very mixed up at the burrow. The time Arthur Weasley arrives home, Percy comes down, Eroll arrives and Ginny all happen in a very different order, which seems a bit odd to me because I don’t see why they would change it, but it’s not the end of the world.
Chapter 4 – At Flourish and Blotts
This is where things started to get a little inaccurate. They missed a fair few more scenes at the burrow, but they aren’t essential and then of course Harry travels by flu powder and royally messes it up. The part they completely failed to show in the films though is that Harry actually encounters Lucius and Draco Malfoy in Borgin and Burkes as Lucius is trying to sell some dark items to prevent him getting caught by the Ministry of Magic. We also see Draco whining about the trio and not being on the quidditch team, which gets him a lecture from his dad for letting Hermione (a muggle born) beat him in class, but is also clearly what prompted him to buy the Slytherin team new brooms and get Draco on the team.
Neither of these facts are important to the main plot line of The Chamber of Secrets, but they are essential to the sub plots such as the conflict between Harry and Draco both on and off the quidditch pitch and also the conflict between the Malfoys and the Weasleys in general, which I personally find annoying because I think the subplots are just as important and help make the story so much more dynamic, but that doesn’t really seem to be a thing in films. The other thing they didn’t show us was Gringotts. Harry had to go and get some money and so did the Weasleys, which then allows us to see the almost empty Weasley vault that they end up clearing out. This is again downplaying the Weasleys poverty both as a subplot and as a huge part of Ron’s character. From what I’ve read and watched so far, I think this is going to be a recurring theme throughout the 8 films, but it really does grate on me a bit because it is an important part of him that movie watchers don’t get to see.
Chapter 5 – The Whomping Willow
This part was actually very accurate, but then there really wasn’t much to get wrong. Harry and Ron stupidly flew the car to school (which is a ridiculous decision in my opinion), crashed it into the tree, got threatened by Snape and then didn’t get expelled. The only thing they really missed out was eating sandwiches in the Dungeon and there wasn’t a celebration in Gryffindor common room after, but they were hardly important details.
Chapter 6 – Gilderoy Lockhart
The next few chapters are also quite accurate with just a few things left out that weren’t essential to the plot. I agree that they weren’t essential; however, they were quite funny and built the trio’s characters more, so I would have liked to see them. In chapter 6 they missed out Lockhart and his fame lecture he gave Harry about the flying car incident and of course Hermione drawing hearts around her timetabled lessons with Lockhart. They did remember the howler though, which was very funny! 😂 (althought I’m sure Ron will disagree)
Chapter 7 – Mudbloods and Murmurs
This chapter was slightly less accurate, but that is more because of the fact that they missed a few bits out later on (which I will get to later). The few things they did miss out, which I really wish they hadn’t of done was Harry being asked for a signed photo by Colin Creevey and Lockhart making it 10 times worse! I despise Lockhart as much as the next person, but you can’t tell me he isn’t hilarious to watch. They also very much downplayed Oliver Wood’s obsession with Quidditch, which also saddens me because it is also hilarious!
Harry’s detention with Lockhart also takes place in this chapter as well as Harry’s first time hearing the voice, but unlike in the film, Harry then goes back to his dormitary and nothing else happens for a few weeks rather than them discovering Mrs Norris that night like in the film.
Chapter 8 – The Deathday Party
It becomes clear why they decided to skip straight to Mrs Norris in the film in this chapter because this chapter simply doesn’t exist in the film. Harry is not invited to Nick’s Deathday party, although we do hear him moaning about not being allowed to join the headless hunt, which means we also don’t get to see Filch’s office and the Kwickspell letter, which is our first clue to the fact that Filch is in fact a squib. Harry, Ron and Hermione are then meant to find Mrs Norris after the Deathday party, but that was obviously swapped around a bit since they didn’t include that in the film.
I’ve always been a little annoyed about it (and about the severe lack of Peeves in every film), but I suspect they chose to cut it because it may have been too much for them to CGI at the time. The Chamber of Secrets was released in 2002 and they didn’t have the technology we have now, so i think it was likely that they just chose to cut that scene since it wasn’t important and it would have been too much work. I also expect it may have been difficult for the trio to act like they were in a room full of ghosts when they were in fact just in a green box!
Chapter 9 – The Writing on the Wall
A lot happened in this chapter and most of it wasn’t in the film and the bits that were were altered. At this point there were more rumours around Harry as per usual and Hermione was in the library researching The Chamber of Secrets, but then it got to the part where Hermione asked a teacher to tell her about the philosopher’s stone. In the movie she asked Mcgonagall, but she was actually supposed to ask Proffessor Binns, who is the deathly boring (no pun intended 😂) history of magic teacher. I expect they changed this because they didn’t want to add another member to the cast when someone else could easily fill that roll, but still. It is also worth noting that Justin Finch-Fletchly was also avoiding Harry at this point because he let slip that he was a muggleborn and has heard the rumours.
The second half of the chapter, including investigating the scene of the first petrification and Hermione’s decision to try Polyjuice Potion, were both pretty accurate. The only bit they didn’t include was the fact that they needed a book from the restricted section and therefore needed a signed note from a teacher.
Chapter 10 – The Rouge Bludger
The first part of this chapter wasn’t in the film because they glossed over the fact that they would need a signed note to get the recipe, but it essentially just involved poor Harry having to participate sportingly in Lockhart’s many ridiculous performances of his books in order to get him to sign the note.
Then comes the Quidditch match with the rogue bludger. The film got this pretty accurate apart from the fact that they didn’t call for time our and Oliver Wood certainly didn’t get knocked off his broom, so I don’t know why they added that in the film. Lockhart of cause then tried (and failed) to mend Harry’s arm. While in the hospital wing he was visited by Dobby, which was very true to the book and followed the dialogue pretty much word for word before ending with Colin Creevey being brought into the hospital wing.
Chapter 11 – The Duelling Club
Chapter 11 is fairly true to the books except for the parts that wouldn’t make sense since they left out parts in previous chapters. Harry updates Ron and Hermione and they continue brewing the Polyjuice Potion along with planning to disrupt Snape’s class to get the ingredients, which they then execute perfectly. Unfortuneatly actually stealing the ingredients wasn’t in the film, but I guess we got the gyst of what they had to do and there was no point wasting precious movie minutes showing us it.
The dueling club was announced shortly after and it was pretty accurate including Harry talking to the snake. The next part is slightly less accurate because it doesn’t involve Harry actively seeking out Justin to apologise for the mis-understanding, but there is still the general gossip and accusatory stares, which have the same effect. Harry of course then finds Justin and Nearly-Headless Nick petrified and is taken to Dumbledore’s office where he questions the hat about which house he was placed in and watches fawkes burst into flames. (so not a great day for him really!)
Chapter 12 -The Polyjuice Potion
The Polyjuice scene is very accurate. The only thing they didn’t include was the part about Arthur Weasley being fined 50 galleons (which is A LOT for the Weasleys) and Malfoy’s secret compartment under the drawing room floor, which later gets the Malfoys in trouble since Ron passes on the information.
Chapter 13 – The Very Secret Diary
This part of the film was also very accurate because it pretty much only consisted of Harry being taken back into the diary. They made some slight tweaks to what he saw, but that was again so they didn’t have to add any extra speaking cast members. They did also miss out Lockharts valentines day arrangements, which is a shame because they were also pretty hilarious, but it did mean that Ginny didn’t get the chance to see Harry with Riddle’s diary as it fell out his bag, which leaves a bit of plot whole in the film as there is no other way she would have known he had it.
Chapter 14 – Cornelius Fudge
Now we get to the part where Harry hears the voice again and Hermione has her Eureka moment and rushes off to the library. This of course ends in her getting petriffied, Quidditch being cancelled (much to Oliver Wood’s disgust) and new rules being put in place. Harry and Ron use the cloak to talk to Hagrid and they watch the whole Dumblefore, Fudge, Malfoy conversation just like in the film (much of it is word for word too!). The only part that is different here is that Harry and Ron should have gone back to the castle after that rather than going straight into the forbidden forest like the did in the film, but I understand that for cinematic purposes it was easier to just cut that part.
Chapter 15 – Aragog
Technically speaking I have never actually ‘watched’ this part of the film because, if you didn’t know, I am absolutely terrified of spiders, but I did listen to it with my back turned for the purposes of this post (so I hope you all appreciate this! 😁👍). From what I heard though, the dialogue was perfect, the car saved like it was meant to and then Harry later thought of Murtle being the girl who died in the bathroom. Basically they seem to have done the best job on the one part I refuse to watch!
Chapter 16 -The Chamber of Secrets
Chapter 16 starts off differently in the books with Harry and Ron trying to slip away to talk to Murtle between classes, but get caught by Mcgonagall. Harry thinks quickly though and tells them they were trying to sneak off to see Hermione since they hadn’t been allowed for a while to which Mcgonagall lets them go because she’s actually very fond of them. Harry then of course notices the paper in Hermione’s hand, which has all the answers in it. They didn’t include the first part of that in the film for whatever reason, but I do really wish they had because it was another example of Harry being able to think quickly and not being a complete idiot. Harry and Ron are portrayed as pretty stupid in the movie, but the really aren’t supposed to be. Yes Hermione is a genius, but Harry and Ron are no Crabbe and Goyle.
They then of course hear that Ginny has been taken. It is done slightly differently in the films in terms of location, but the effect is identical, so I’m not too bothered by that. They did briefly return to Gryffindor tower in the book since they are meant to be being sent home and then later they decide to tell Lockhart what they know, but they missed that bit out in the films. I’m not mad about that though because I honestly don’t understand why they went back to the common room in the first place. It would have made way more sense for them to go straight to Lockhart like in the film, so I actually think the film did that tiny bit better!
From there on the movie is very accurate. They find Lockhart leaving, take him with them, asks Murtle how she died, opened the chamber of secrets and then Lockhart’s memory charm backfired and caused the cave to collapse. Just your usual Tuesday afternoon! Only joking, but the film did an excellent job here and I really can’t fault them for that.
Chapter 17 – The Heir of Slytherin
Harry’s time in the Chamber of Secrets was also pretty much word perfect for the whole time. They changed a little to make the defeat of the basilisk look a bit more cinematic, but other than that it was great! Well done Warner Bros!
Chapter 18 – Dobby’s Reward
The final scene was also very accurate in terms of dialogue, but not so much in terms of who was present and the location. In the film they are in Dumbledore’s office even though they are meant to be in Mcgonagall’s office, but I guess they did that so they didn’t have to build a whole other set for one scene, which is understandable, so I will forgive them. There is also no Mr and Mrs Weasley present, but there presence wasn’t essential, so I don’t mind. Harry and Dumbledore’s conversation was great and also the part where Harry freed Dobby, which always makes me cry! 😭They of course also missed out the train ride home with Ginny spilling the beans about Percy and Penelope Clearwater, but they miss out quite a lot of Percy related content throughout the franchise if I remember correctly, so I guess that was to be expected.
And there you have it! An in depth comparison of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book vs movie. Like I said at the start, I am really enjoying doing these because it gives me an excuse to re-read some of my favourite books and analyse them in more detail. What is your opinion of the movie for Chamber of Secrets? Do you agree with everything I said? I’d love to know, so tell me everything Harry Potter related below or come chat to me on my Instagram: (@theoriginalbookdragon)
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out