The Surprising Movie Death Harry Potter Fans Wish They Could Change

Killing off an iconic character can't be easy, especially when fan expectations are somewhere in the upper stratosphere. For a generation of bright-eyed nerds and Scholastic executives, the Harry Potter universe was lightning in a bottle, an experience that remains impossible to recapture. It's been more than a decade since Deathly Hallows hit bookshelves and, not coincidentally, the same amount of time since kids begged their parents to let them spend the night waiting in line at a Barnes & Noble.

That said, it was a bold move for Warner Bros. to start work on the film adaptations before the series was done being written. For all the studio knew at the time, series author J.K. Rowling might have let the pressure get the best of her in the wake of her earlier novels' success. She could have gone off the deep end around book six, suddenly deciding that Peeves the Poltergeist was the lynchpin of the whole series when he'd already been cut from the films, or turned the whole franchise into a Doctor Who crossover fanfiction, and the studio would be on the hook to try and make it work on screen.

In the end, everything worked out well enough. The movies, painting with broad strokes, hit most of the plot points from the books: Unicorns got eaten, Sirius fell into a hole in the universe, and a cherished Hogwarts pet turned out to be beloved British character actor Timothy Spall. But the cinematic ending of one particular character arc, discussed in great detail on the /r/HarryPotter Reddit forum, left fans of the books disappointed — and it was sort of a big one.

Harry Potter and the Eczema of Detent

At the end of the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Tom Riddle faces off with his bespectacled nemesis one last time. Expository goading commenced, the ownership of the Elder Wand is discussed, and in the end, the powerful magical artifact refuses to kill Harry, backfiring on Lord Voldemort with all the ferocious vengeance of an Elmer Fudd gun with a carrot stuck in the barrel. The Dark Lord's body is shuffled off to another part of the castle, and the day is generally considered saved.

That's sort of what fans hoped to see when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was released in July of 2011. Some, however, were disappointed to witness a smokey flying hug-down between Harry and Voldemort, followed by the nefarious ne'er-do-well's transformation into terribly dramatic dandruff. "Not only did they make his death less human than it is in the book, but in the book they explained something that the readers didn't yet know and Harry publicly triumphed over Voldemort with his words before very simply ending it, rather than chasing him around with no one watching and then him exploding into a million pieces," one Reddit user wrote. "I feel like in the book it is more humiliating, humanizing, and just was more badass than in the movie! Maybe they tried too hard to make it a big ending?"

But hey, no multi-billion dollar franchise is truly complete until the bad guy has come back to life one too many times, and Voldemort has a habit of wobbling but not truly falling down. Maybe Harry will get another shot at fighting his big bad again someday. Maybe Peeves will help. Or maybe not.