The time has come for the 3rd Harry Potter Book vs Movie comparison, which means we are, of course, going to be talking about Prisoner of Azkaban today. This post was meant to go out on Tuesday, but everything seemed to be against be at the time, so that didn’t happen. That’s okay thought because I’m writing it now and I have oh so much to talk about because PoA is where the films start getting less and less accurate, which means there is so much more to talk about!
If you didn’t see my first book vs movie post for ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, 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.
With that all said, let’s just get into it because this is likely to be a veerrryyyyy long post, so maybe go and get your self a nice warm drink and a snack too!
Chapter 1 – Owl Post
Unfortunately we start off the film on an incredibly low note because they messed up in the first scene when Harry was using Lumos to see his homework! It’s made very clear that underage wizards are not allowed to use magic and yet there he is using Lumos. I really don’t understand why they would change this bit because it is such a plot hole and so not what happened! The film also glosses over the presents Harry gets from his friends (including a sneakascope from Ron, a Broom Kit from Hermione and of course the Monsters Book of Monsters from Hagrid). The presents aren’t exactly essential, but the sneakascope is our first big clue to the fact that Scabbers is actually Pettigrew because Ron mentions it going off at Dinner with only his family (and Scabbers of course) in Egypt.
The film also leaves out the disastrous phone call from Ron, which is a terrible shame because that would have been hilarious to see, so we really were robbed there! The chapter in the book then ends on Harry asking Vernon to sign his Hogsmede permission slip, which is shown in the film quite accurately as well.
“Don’t let the muggles get you down” – Ron Weasley
Chapter 2 – Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake
The film had a bad start, but they redeemed themselves a little in this chapter because the dialogue while Aunt Marge was staying was incredibly accurate. That is something I’ve noticed they always tend to do well in the films and they didn’t disappoint here either. The portrayal of Aunt Marge and the Dursley’s in also very accurate in this scene, which I was very impressed with! Harry then of course Blows up Aunt Marge and, like the drama queen he is, runs away to live his life as an outcast! (honestly, even if he wasn’t Harry Potter and they weren’t worried about Sirius Black, they still wouldn’t send a 13 year old to Azkaban for a bit of accidental magic! He really was being a drama queen).
Chapter 3 – The Knight Bus
The film portrayed the scene with the knight bus and Harry seeing Sirius as a black dog really well, but they did change a few things, which I think was completely unnessecary. There was slightly less chatter in the film between Harry and Stan, but it was nothing important, but I don’t understand why they changed some of Harry’s interactions with Fudge. Fudge certainly didn’t buy Harry his school books in the books and Harry is actually staying at the Leaky Cauldron for the rest of the summer, which they didn’t show at all. I know this is a minor detail, but it was one there was no need to change because they simply could have had Fudge say ‘and you’ll need to get your school books from Diagon Alley in the 3 weeks you’re going to be here’ and it all would have been fine, but no. They decided to change it. 🤔 I’ve noticed that this is something they tend to do more and more as the films go on and I think it is really ridiculous when there is no need. Other than that though, this part was very accurate, especially with the characterisation of Stan and Fudge.
Chapter 4 – The Leaky Cauldron
As I already mentioned, Harry’s summer at the Leaky Cauldron isn’t shown at all, which isn’t the end of the world, but they also never showed Hermione buying Crookshanks after he attacked Scabbers, which really annoyed me because that is pretty important. Mostly because Crookshanks is just then there in the films with no explanation as to why or when Hermione got a cat, but it is also yet another clue as to who Scabbers really is. We are also supposed to see Scabbers looking ill in this chapter, which is because Sirius has escaped, but we don’t see that either.
In the books, Harry overhears Mr and Mrs Weasley arguing over telling Harry about Black and that is supposed to be how he found out. Harry is also meant to have seen a book that about omens of death with the black dog on the front. This of course then later relates to Sirius and Trelawny and her nonsense. None of this happens in the film though and while I understand that the compresed all of this, so you get all the essential information, it annoys me because they consistently miss out all the little signs that lead the trio to find out what is happening, which means that the films make less sense. The trio just know things that shouldn’t without the information in the books and they are told almost all the information they need directly in the films rather than the 3 of them figuring most of everything out by themselves. If you read my first book vs movie post of Philosopher’s Stone, then you will know that they did this A LOT in the first film too, which I personally find really annoying because it doesn’t show just how smart all 3 of the trio are and also just how useless 90% of the adults are in the books.
Also I would just like to mention that Harry is far, far more upset about the fact that he can’t go to Hogsmede the wizard village on the weekends, than the fact that he is supposedly seeing death omens everywhere and there is a dangerous mass-murderer looking for him! Hermione was right – Harry needs to sort out his priorities!
“I’m not going to be murdered,” Harry said outloud
“That’s the spirit, dear,” said his mirror sleepily
Chapter 5 – The Dementor
Harry on the train to Hogwarts starts pretty good with Harry telling Ron and Hermione about Black, Lupin being in their carriage and getting rid of the dementor. We also see Malfoy teasing Harry about fainting, but that is where it stops being accurate. It was a very good start and they couldn’t have cast anyone better for the role of Lupin, but what isn’t shown on the train is Malfoy also teasing Ron about winning money to go to Egypt. This is also a recurring theme throughout the films as they constantly downplay the Weasley’s poverty, which is a real shame because it is a HUGE part of Ron’s character as well as all of the Weasleys really and it just isn’t included. It also shows more of what a scumbag Malfoy is, but it isn’t shown.
The other MAJOR thing they didn’t include in the films is Harry and Hermione being taken aside by Mcgonagall when they get to Hogwarts. This is huge because we see Harry being so ashamed of passing out, but this is also the first massive clue to the fact that Hermione is time travelling, but it just isn’t included. There are only 2 points in the film that ever suggest time travel and that is just the boys going ‘when did she get here’, but really given their track record, it is perfectly reasonable to assume the boys just didn’t notice because neither of them are the most observant people are they? This is one of the things that I am really annoyed they left out of the film because, despite what they clearly though, it is really important to the plot and they just didn’t include it.
Chapter 6 – Talons and Tea Leaves
This chapter was a bit of a mixed bag in the films because they did get some stuff right, but also some stuff really wrong. They got Divination class pretty right minus a few of Trelawney’s random predictions, but that isn’t anything big. In the films they then skip straight to Care of Magical Creatures with Hagrid, but they are supposed to go to Transfiguration first, so that Mcgonagall can tell them all that Divination is bollocks and Harry isn’t going to die. This scene isn’t particularly essential, but I would have liked to see Mcgonagall turn into a cat and then get pissed that no-one was impressed because Trelawny has been predicting peoples deaths again!
Care of Magical Creatures class is pretty accurate in the film. The only thing they did change was the way Malfoy got hurt. In the books everything was fine until he made an off hand comment about the Hippogriffs being ugly (despite Hagrid telling them not to insult them), but in the film they had him yelling loudly about going up to touch the Hippogriff and striding at least 15 feet and Hagrid still didn’t notice. One could argue that portraying it like that in the film is kinda irresponsible of Hagrid because he has at least 20 seconds to stop Malfoy where as he couldn’t control Malfoy’s off-hand comments. I’m guessing they changed it in the films because they didn’t want to have to green-screen and animate lots of Hippogriffs at once, but that seems a little lazy to me.
Harry, Ron and Hermione are also supposed to sneak down to see Hagrid only to find him crying because Buckbeak is going to have a trial before it ends in him yelling at them to get away because he knows about Sirius Black and doesn’t think he is worth them risking themselves for. None of this is shown in the films, which isn’t the end of the world because there are plenty other occasions where they are meant to talk about Buckbeak and the trial and such, but I do think it is really sad that Hagrid still thinks so low of himself. 😢😭 Especially when he was so excited to be a teacher and show off his passion and the Hippogriffs really weren’t dangerous as long as you were respectful.
Chapter 7 – The Boggart in the Wardrobe
The film skips straight to DADA with Lupin, but they are supposed to have potions first. Malfoy is laying it on thick with his arm, which means Harry and Ron have to do his potion for him, which isn’t important, but what I am annoyed they missed out was Malfoy teasing Harry about not knowing what Black did because that is yet another clue that leads them to believe what they do and they also left out the part where Snape fully intends to poison Neville’s toad and takes points from Gryffindor because Hermione helped him. The films greatly diminish Snape’s cruelty and this can be seen in PoA especially. The DADA class with the boggart is very accurate however, so they do get points for that at least.
Chapter 8 – Flight of the Fat Lady
For a nice change, this part of the film was incredibly accurate. Harry can’t go to Hogsmede and we all know he is so very upset about that rather than the supposed murder looking for him! Harry goes and talks to Lupin instead, they have the Halloween feast and then the Fat Lady is gone. The only thing they left out here was Snape giving Lupin the Wolfsbane potion, which is yet again annoying because this is another clue to what Lupin is and how the whole story comes together that simply didn’t exist in the film.
Chapter 9 – Grim Defeat
Then comes the fateful quidditch match, which is something the movies always do incredibly well. Harry falls off his broom because of the dementors, his broom gets broken and they loose the game. The only thing not included is the fact that Cedric Diggory is the Hufflepuff seaker and he calls for a re-match because he doesn’t think the game was fair. This isn’t important to the plot of PoA, but it does become a little relevant in the next book where Cedric becomes more of a main character, but it really isn’t the end of the world.
Chapter 10 – The Marauder’s Map
This is the part that we see Harry’s priorities about going to a wizard village over not getting murdered come to light as he sneaks to Hogsmede using the Marauders Map that Fred and George give him! This is also where he finds out exactly what Black ‘apparently’ did, which was what Malfoy was teasing him about and he is, of course, furious. In the book the three of them went in and Harry hid under the table, but it doesn’t really matter that they changed it in the film.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good”
Chapter 11 – The Firebolt
As expected, Harry is furious at the beginning of this chapter and has every intention to go down and yell at Hagrid for never telling him about Sirius, but soon forgets about it as he sees Hagrid is so upset about Buckbeak being sent for a trial at the Ministry, so they agree to help Hagrid look up other cases and help him win. It is then Christmas when Harry gets a Firebolt for christmas from an unamed person, they have the christmas dinner where Trelawny is all ‘No 13 can’t dine together’ and then Hermione tells Mcgonagall about the broom who then confiscates it. None of this happened in the film at all though, so I don’t really know what to say. The one thing I will say though is I don’t understand why Hermione would have jumped to the conclusion that Sirius Black bought Harry the broom because at this point, they think Black is nothing more than a murderer on the run, so he can’t exactly walk into ‘Quality Quidditch Supplies’ and buy a broom stick! I know we find out how and why he sent it later, but there isn’t any reason to think it is from him at that point because it doesn’t make sense for them to think a mad murderer would send a jinxed broom when he has already got into the castle at this point.
Chapter 12 – The Patronus
At this point in the book they are furious with Hermione about the broomstick, but this isn’t shown in the film since none of the broomstick stuff was either. Harry spends a good deal of time in this chapter learning the Patronus charm, but it doesn’t go amazingly well because he wants to hear his parents despite the fact that he hears them being murdered. We do of course see Harry learning the patronus charm in the film, but we don’t know that he wants to hear his parents because that all happens inside his head. This is another recurring theme with the movies because of course we don’t get the protagonists inner dialogue in a film, so we miss out on so much. We miss all of Harry’s painful thoughts and how he feels about himself especially, which is why the books are always better, in my opinion. There isn’t really a way to show inner dialogue in a film, so it is something that you get exclusively with books, which is why I think books are so much more effective at making you care about characters. You get to listen to the thoughts and see their most intimate moments and that is something you can’t replicate on screen.
In the book we also know that Neville wrote the weeks passwords down on a piece of paper that he then promptly lost, but that isn’t shown in the film and neither are the consequences of it that I’ll talk about later. Harry also gets his firebolt back just before the quidditch match despite Oliver Woods attempts to get it back earlier after he was told by Mcgonagall that he seems to care more about winning the quidditch cup than Harry’s life! That wasn’t in the film either because Harry never got the firebolt for Christmas in the film, but I really wish it had been because Oliver Wood’s lines are amazing and I love that he is so obsessed with Quidditch! Ron is also under the impression that Crookshanks has killed Scabbers because he found blood on his bedsheets.
Chapter 13 -Gryffindor vs Ravenclaw
I know you’ll all be shocked at this, but this chapter also wasn’t in the film! They missed out the entire Quidditch match where Harry totally has a crush on Cho Chang (the ravenclaw seeker), who I actually find really annoying because she was tailing him and just getting in the way rather than actually looking for the snitch, which I know is a tactic in itself, but I would knocked her off her broom if she’d got in my way like that. Skipping this chapter also meant we missed the pure gold moment that was Draco Malfoy and co dressing up as dementors to try and sabotage the game that completely backfired as Harry fired a patronus at them and caught the snitch right after!
The Quidditch part of the chapter while really funny, wasn’t essential, but the second half definitly was. Harry and Ron are still angry at Hermione about the broom and Ron is newly angry because he thinks Crookshanks killed Scabbers, which means that Hermione got terribly upset at the party after Quidditch because they are ignoring her and she feels terrible (not to mention she is taking far too many classes to handle!). They also miss out the part where Ron wakes up with Sirius Black standing over him with a knife because Neville wrote the damn password down. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think this part is pretty damn important to the story, especially because he went to Ron’s bed and not Harry’s, which is yet another clue that Sirius is not after Harry.
“Where is Wood?” said Harry, suddenly realizing he wasn’t there.
“Still in the showers,” said Fred. “We think he’s trying to drown himself.”
Chapter 14 – Snape’s Grudge
Most of this chapter also wasn’t in the film! I know, shock horror. There were a few parts that were, but they were completely differnt to how they were supposed to happen. Harry and Ron are supposed to go down to Hagrids where he tells them off for being so mean to Hermione and tells them that he is going to speak at Buckbeaks trial soon, which Harry and Ron had completely forgotten about. Harry also sneaks to Hogsmede again and this is when he is supposed to through mud at Malfoy (the film had him find out about Sirius and through snow in the same visit earlier on), but then the cloak slips and he has to rush back to the castle before Malfoy can tell. Snape catches him of course, but has no proof that he was in Hogsmede. He does however, find the marauders map (which insults him like in the film!), but thankfully Lupin comes to rescue, but still tells him off.
They changed a large chunk of this in the film by having Harry through snow at Malfoy on his first Hogsmede visit with no consequences and then runs into Snape and Lupin with the marauders map because he went wandering around at night looking for Peter Pettigrew. Why they would change this I don’t know, but they did. They are also then supposed to get news that Hagrid lost Buckbeak’s case, which is shown in the film, but not in the same way as the books. There is also no real mention of Buckbeak’s trial prior to this point. We see Malfoy saying that he’ll tell his father and blah blah blah, but that is kinda it in the film. Then the next thing you know Hagrid is telling them Buckbeak has been sentenced to death, which comes very much out of nowhere in the films.
Chapter 15 – The Quidditch Final
Some of this chapter was shown in the film, but in completely the wrong order.🤔😒 In the books she is supposed to smack Malfoy first and then storm out of Divination, but they happen the other way around in the film. There is also no mention of the fact that Gryffindor won the Quidditch cup and Oliver Wood sobbing with joy, which is a shame because we were robbed of that beautiful scene! 😂
Chapter 16 – Professor Trelawney’s Prediction
This chapter is supposed to detail some of the exams they had to take in order to carry on, but there was no mention of exams at all or of Hermione’s boggart and it is during Harry’s Divination exam that Trelawny makes her real prediction. I suppose those details aren’t essential, but I also see no reason to leave them out 🤷♀️. They then get word that Buckbeak is going to be executed, so they sneak down to Hagrids under the invisibility cloak, but they have to run away quickly because Hagrid notices Fudge and co. coming. This did happen fine in the film, but one thing they did change was they had future Hermione through the stones through the window to alert them to leave, which did not happen in the book. This is really essential because time travel is such a complicated thing and by having them do extra things to mess with the timeline in the movie they really screwed it up. I also don’t see any reason for why they would have changed that because there was nothing complicated about it to film; they definitely messed this bit up.
The trio also find Scabbers in Hagrids hut, who then escapes right after Buckbeak has been executed.
Chapter 17 – Cat, Rat and Dog
From this point onwards the movie gets significantly more accurate, which is probably because they spent over half the movie on the last 6 chapters. Yes that’s right. Over half the movie on the last 6 chapters, which is really ridiculous because, while it is nice that this bit is very accurate, the rest of the film makes little sense and everyone seems to draw conclusions out of nowhere because they missed out all of the clues and signs earlier on. As for what happens in this chapter, it is mostly just Ron getting pulled into the tree all the way up until they reveal Pettigrew.
Chapter 18 – Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs
This chapter is all talk: they explain who they are, how everything got mixed up etc and then Snape appears. The only thing they left out was the fact that James saved Snapes life when Sirius tried to trick him while they were at school.
Chapter 19 – The Servant of Lord Voldemort
The trio all then disarm Snape, which is kind of shown, although it was just Harry in the film and then there is yet more explaining and talk. Harry then saves Pettigrew’s life by wanting to hand him to the dementors instead. The fact that he saved Pettigrew’s life will become important in the later books, but it isn’t mentioned in the film, so I think they had to change that later if I remember correctly.
Chapter 20 – The Dementor’s Kiss
Lupin of course then transforms because he didn’t take his potion. We are supposed to find this out from Snape who explains that he went to Lupin’s office to give it to him and found the marauder’s map open, but we don’t in the film. I always thought this was a bit silly though because I truly don’t think Lupin would ever forget the potion because he despise what he is so much and he would NEVER have left the map open for anyone to read. He made the damn thing. That is more of an inconsistency with the plot in general though and not a movie only thing. Pettigrew escapes and Harry and Hermione are supposed to run after Sirius. Ron is knocked out in the books and so is Snape, so they know there is nothing they can do for them and opt to help Sirius. Hermione faints nearly straight away when the dementors swarm the lake, but Harry puts up more of a fight, which is shown in the film.
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Professor Albus Dumbledore
Chapter 21 – Hermione’s Secret
Before we start talking about this chapter, I would like to point out that they spent about 30 minutes on this chapter alone, which is kind of ridiculous, I’m sure you will agree! This part was ALMOST perfect in the films, except for the fact that they felt the need to add in Hermione throwing the stones to alert them in Hagrid’s hut and Hermione howling to draw Lupin away. Neither of those things happened in the books because Hermione was adamant that they musn’t interfere and yet the movie decided to change that. I don’t know who decided that, but whoever it was needs to read the damn book and listen to Hermione.
I also felt the need to mention that they yet again downplayed Snape’s cruelty by not including him cementing Sirius’s terrible fate, telling everyone Lupin is a werewolf and him having a complete temper tantrum and yelling at Harry when he realises Sirius has escaped. He really is despicable and they didn’t include any of it.
Chapter 22 – Owl Post Again
It is then just the end of term, which ends with them passing exams, Hermione dropping Muggle Studies and Divination, so she can have a normal timetable and Lupin resigning, which was shown pretty accurately.
They did however, leave out the letter Harry got from Sirius on the way home telling him that he sent the broom and giving him a hogsmede permission slip. He also lets Ron keep the tiny, crazy owl he sends the letter with because he is kind of the reason that Ron no longer has a pet, which Ron is overjoyed about! We also didn’t get to see Harry telling Uncle Vernon all about his ‘mass-murderer Godfather that likes to keep in touch’, which is a shame because I would have loved to see the look on his face! 😂
WOW! That was one hell of a long post! Congratulations if you made it this far because I know that was an awful lot to read. I did debate splitting these posts in half, but I decided it was better to have the whole thing in one place that people can read at their leisure instead. Needless to say, Prisoner of Azkaban was a far less accurate film then the previous two and, from what i remember, it only gets worse from here, but you will have to wait for the other post to find out!
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Goodbye for now!
Over and Out