In case you haven’t heard, this upcoming Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter film. (Don’t worry, we’re feeling very old too. Like, Fred and George crossing the age-line old.) To celebrate the beginning of an era, we’re decided to honor what could have been. Here are five scenes that didn’t make the cut that we’re sincerely thankful made it onto the DVDs.
5. What Are Friends For?
One of the things that solidifies Hermione’s friendship with Harry and Ron is the incident with the mountain troll. The boys risk their lives to save her, and in return, Hermione covers for them with the teachers by pretending she was the one breaking school rules. (Of course, she was only in the girls’ lavatory to begin with because Ron had been making fun of her, but forgive and forget, I suppose!)
In this deleted scene, we see Harry, Ron, and Hermione leaving the restroom after their narrow escape, returning to Gryffindor Tower and joking with each other for the first time. We don’t lose much by cutting it, because in the film, the trio is already well on their way to being friends. (Hermione showing Harry his father’s Quidditch plaque is an act of kindness we don’t see in the book.) Instead, the movie cuts straight from the troll scene to breakfast before the first Quidditch match, where Hermione is urging Harry to take care of himself before the game. That gets the point across just the same.
However, it must be said that in the book, the moments after the troll attack are perhaps my favorite part of the whole book. Harry, Ron, and Hermione all thank each other and awkwardly shuffle to bed, not knowing what to do with the feeling of being friends. That’s where my favorite line in the book comes in: “There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
4. The London Underground
After Harry’s eleventh birthday, Hagrid takes him to London to buy all his school supplies. It’s a drawn out affair in the book, and in the full version on the film, there’s a scene that shows the two together on the London underground. Hagrid draws stares from London commuters because of his size, squeezed into a seat on the tube. Meanwhile, Harry goes over his school letter again and asks Hagrid if his “dragon-hide gloves” are made from real dragons.
Cutting this scene wasn’t detrimental to the plot, but it was definitely noticeable. The way the film is spliced together, Harry leaves the Dursleys on about 1AM on July 31, and ends up boarding the Hogwarts Express the next day. Also, the conversation about how much Hagrid loves dragons is essential to the plot, as he later ends up hatching his own. Harry mentions later in the film that, “Hagrid’s always wanted a dragon. He told me so the first time I ever met him.” Without the scene on the train, this feels more like a hurried explanation than character building–something I hardly even noticed as a child who’d already read the book.
3. The Potions Master
This one isn’t technically a deleted scene, but an extended one. Alan Rickman made an unforgettable entrance when he stormed into the potions dungeon in the black robes of Severus Snape. He gives a lofty speech about how his subject is so much better than the others, how it’s far more difficult than anything else his students will be asked to do, and then starts in terrorizing his least favorite student: Harry.
We all know this scene from the movie: Snape asks a very clueless Harry a bunch of specific potions-making questions while Hermione practically jumps out of her seat in desperation to give the correct answer. In the finished film, the scene ends after a witty remark from Snape and smirk from Malfoy. In the extended version, Harry has time to give his wonderful comeback: “Clearly, Hermione knows. Seems a pity not to ask her.” At which point, Snape takes the first of many points from Gryffindor with a classic death glare.
Plot-wise, this scene doesn’t really add anything to the movie. We already know that Snape is a bully, that he has it out for Harry, and that Hermione is a know-it-all. However, it does show us Harry’s wonderful sense of humor. He’s a very sarcastic boy in the books, with a witty comeback for everything, but that part of his personality never seemed to translate well to the films. I can’t help but wonder if that might have gone different if we’d left this part in!
2. A Dozen Hogwarts Letters
This is a scene that’s straight out of the books, and filmed so incredibly well! In the finished film, Harry receives a few different letters from Hogwarts. His first one is taken, then a few more are delivered again and again, first by post and then by owl. In the novel, Hogwarts’ attempts to get Harry his letters are a little more creative. For instance, in this deleted scene, we see Aunt Petunia cracking open some eggs she’s gotten from the grocery; each one has a rolled up letter inside.
I adore this scene just because of how well it portrayed a fun detail from the books. Chris Columbus did a fantastic job staying book-accurate in this franchise. However, I almost like that they ended up cutting this in the full run. Without it, it doesn’t seem like too much magic is being used to send Harry his letters. That makes the surprise of a hundred letters pouring down the chimney that much more of a shock, and plays great to the audience.
1. The Leg Locker Curse
After Christmas, Harry, Ron and Hermione sit in the Great Hall talking about their upcoming exams. Hermione is quizzing Ron about forgetfulness potions while he and Harry sort through chocolate frog cards. Then Neville enters the hall, hopping along and wobbling dangerously because his legs have been cursed together. While Neville argues with Seamus Finnegan about performing the counter-curse, Harry finds Nicolas Flamel’s name on the back of one of the cards, and the trio runs out to go to the library. Unfortunately, Neville is left behind with his cursed legs, and falls flat on his back to a wave of laughter.
This one is probably my favorite deleted scene of all. There’s nothing big or shocking in it. More than anything, it just shows a normal day at Hogwarts, and gives us a peek into student life that we don’t get otherwise. I love the running gag about Seamus’s spellwork being particularly explosive, something that crops up again later in the franchise. I love Hermione and Ron’s banter as they talk about studying for exams and anti-cheating quills. More than anything, I love the facial expressions Daniel Radcliffe makes as he’s forced to act without having any lines. I love him, truly, but this scene is so incredibly funny. I adore it.