Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Controversial Harry Potter Scene Fans Wish They Had Never Filmed

J.K. Rowling's fantasy book series "Harry Potter" broke barriers when it was first released in the '90s. Since then, it has become one of the most popular children's book series, with special first editions selling for almost half a million dollars. The adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermione have spawned a myriad of fans as well as one of the most lucrative film deals to date — but with extreme popularity also comes criticism. The "Harry Potter" film series may be beloved by fans, but adapting large amounts of text for the screen is never perfect. Books can delve into deep character nuances, while screen adaptations only have so long to get the point across.

Many storylines in the "Harry Potter" films were embellished, such as the final battle between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Other storylines seemed to have just disappeared completely. Such decisions can be expected from a lore-heavy book series needing to fit a two-hour window. Even so, not all changes will be appreciated. One particular scene from the sixth installment is still remembered as one of the strangest changes in the film series.

The fire at the Burrow never occurred in the books

With "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" clocking in at over 600 pages, it's no surprise there were some changes when adapting it for the screen. But there was one scene added to the film that rubbed fans on Reddit the wrong way. While Harry is celebrating Christmas with the Weasleys, a group of Death Eaters descend upon the family home and set it ablaze. Fans understand that changes need to be made, but many hated this inclusion that was not in the book.

"[I]t's one thing to say that it's an adaptation of a large book to a short movie, there has to be cuts. This is true," posted u/IBlazeMyOwnPath. "But to add a scene that makes no sense, messes with continuity, and is also not in the books, Really wrecks that argument." Not only was the scene not in the book, but fans took issue with the lack of stakes. Though it was a terrifying moment for Harry and the Weasleys, it had no impact on the rest of the series.

"What bothers me too is it's not mentioned again," pointed out u/themedievalsnowman. "Next scene is Harry and Ron just chilling on the Hogwarts Express and then the Burrow is in the next movie."

For the record, the next scene actually features Harry and Hermione walking down a hallway at Hogwarts, but this Redditor's point still stands. It also stands to reason that the Weasleys could have fixed the house with magic. But if it was such an easy fix, what was the point in putting it in the movie in the first place? The inclusion grows stranger considering that while the Death Eater attack is never mentioned again on-screen, it had a less-than-favorable impact on the rest of the film.

Much of the main plot from the book was missing from the movie

The inclusion of the Death Eater attack scene was senseless in its execution. The Burrow was one of the only places that ever truly felt like home for Harry, and without any lasting repercussions within the story, the attack seems like it was only added for flair. But the precious time spent on the fire also took away from other scenes that were needed for the film to feel satisfying. 

The only explanation for the identity of the Half-Blood Prince — a point so significant that it's in the title of the story — occurs at the end when Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) announces it with little preamble. In the book, the identity of the Half-Blood Prince holds more emotional weight and gives context to who Snape is as a person, yet it has little consequence in the film. Fans also noted that if the attack on the Burrow hadn't been added, more time could have been devoted to the mystery surrounding the Horcruxes.

"I definitely think they should have had much more of the Dumbledore/Harry conversations and Voldemort backstory, I think that would fill in the gaps," said u/perhapsinawayyed. "Overall direction of the film was all wrong imo, they focused on the wrong stuff." 

Taking away Harry's conversations with Dumbledore has another cost as well — it makes the ending of the film less impactful. Without establishing the relationship between the two characters and showing how much time they spent together, Dumbledore's death and Harry leaving school don't pack the same punch as they should have. But theirs isn't the only on-screen relationship that was cut short.

Harry and Ginny's relationship paid the ultimate price

Perhaps the most egregious oversight in "Half-Blood Prince" was the depiction of relationships, which suffered from a lack of screen time. Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) take up much of the romantic drama during the film. But even then, their storyline was still only a shadow of its former self in the book. Because there was not enough time to explore the interplay between characters, many emotional beats were missing as well as individual character development.

"The fire at the burrow is the worst [inclusion] for me. Why would they cut out so much of the stuff between Ron and Hermione, the whole quidditch thing with Ginny, malfoy's explanation at the end, or any of the other stuff, just to add some scene that makes zero sense whatsoever," commented u/the-willow-witch, lamenting the loss of character exploration in favor of the Burrow fire. Even Entertainment Weekly called out the film for its treatment of Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) — which reduced her to a one-note love interest with minimal screen time.

In the book, Ginny is fierce, loyal, and — above all else — confident. She doesn't wait around for Harry to make the first move and is startlingly accomplished at hexes. But her film portrayal is perhaps one of the worst casualties in the adaptation. Despite Harry's affection for her, Ginny is almost a non-character — fans just get a watered-down version who is barely even in the film. While it's safe to say not every slighted character or plot point could have been put back into the movie if the Burrow attack hadn't been added, it's no surprise, given the considerable list of omissions, that fans are wondering why the Burrow scene was even filmed at all.