Crucial Moments Absent from the “Half-Blood Prince” Film
As any Harry Potter fan can attest, the biggest anxiety you face is trying to figure out which parts of the book are going to be cut from the movies. Generally, you understand that certain things need to be changed for the screen, but you can almost always assume that the most important moments will be included, partly, or hopefully, in their entirety. This is why Half-Blood Prince was such a huge disappointment for me. Of course, I will always watch it because it’s a Harry Potter movie, and the movie itself is not a bad movie, but there are three aspects that I think should have been included.
Battle of the Astronomy Tower
There was very little action at the end of the movie. When Harry and Dumbledore return from the cave the Dark Mark has appeared over Hogwarts, which in itself would insinuate a confrontation on the grounds. After Dumbledore drops the protective spells, they Apparate to the top of the Astronomy Tower, and he orders Harry to find Snape. They hear footsteps, and Dumbledore paralyzes Harry and leaves him under the Invisibility Cloak (this was not even close to how it was portrayed in the movie).
During this scene, Dumbledore is trying to talk Draco “off the ledge” as other Death Eaters appear, including Amycus and Alecto Carrow, Fenrir Greyback, and one other. Fenrir Greyback also had his part in the series severely reduced in the movies, as did the Carrows, but that’s a topic for another day. Bellatrix was NOT present in this scene as she is the movie. Harry hears the battle raging on below from fellow students with the multitude of Death Eaters. There are more Death Eaters who invade Hogwarts than the movie actually shows. Snape appears, kills Dumbledore, and throws him off the parapet. The Full Body-Bind Curse curse now lifted, Harry stuns the last Death Eater leaving and follows Snape, Draco, and the others down into the castle.
When Harry gets down to the entrance hall, the castle is in shambles. Death Eaters and students are locked in combat. Ginny is fighting Amycus, and Harry jinxes both Carrows. Snape and the other Death Eaters break from the brawl and flee.
The oak front doors had been blasted open, there were smears of blood on the flagstones, and…the giant Gryffindor hourglass had been hit by a curse, and the rubies within were still falling, with a loud rattle, onto the flagstones below… – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
This battle is absent from the movie, and I think it’s crucial because it’s technically the first official battle of the war that we get to see aside from random Death Eater attacks on Muggles and some wizarding families. It’s the first actual battle after the Ministry of Magic break-in from the previous year. It is also significant that the Death Eaters found a way around Hogwarts’s protective spells.
Although not essential to the storyline, it is important in the sense that it is a fitting tribute to one of the most beloved and central characters in the series. Despite differences, despite quarrels, everyone comes together in one final dedication to Dumbledore. Obviously, Scrimgeour was there for his own benefit, but even though it was an awful circumstance, it was a time for everyone to just sit back and mourn, to take a breath. It was the calm before the storm.
There are seven memories that are presented to Harry during the lessons he has with Dumbledore through the course of Book 6. Out of those seven, we see three in the movie: the orphanage, Slughorn’s false memory, and the real one. These memories are essential at revealing Voldemort’s past, why he is the way he is. At the end of the movie journey, we still don’t know that much about Voldemort except for the fact that he hates Muggles, Muggle-borns, and his father, but he doesn’t actually say why. There are four memories the movie missed that are critical to Voldemort’s story.
- Bob Ogden’s Memory– In “The House of Gaunt,” we see the very first memory that Dumbledore shows Harry. Ogden was sent from the Ministry to investigate an attack on a Muggle from the nearby village of Little Hangleton. As he approaches the Gaunt home, Morfin is sitting on the front porch and challenges Ogden in Parseltongue. Mr. Gaunt appears and invites Ogden in where Merope, his daughter, is doing housework. Gaunt flashes his ring and Merope’s locket (both eventual Horcruxes), proud of his Slytherin heritage. Ogden says that Morfin jinxed a Muggle, the boy Merope is in love with, and she drops a pot. Mr. Gaunt retaliates by taunting her viciously and asks her if she is in love with a Muggle. When she doesn’t answer, he attacks her. Ogden tries to help, but Morfin attacks him, and he flees, returning later with Ministry aid. Dumbledore mentions to Harry that she had been giving Tom Riddle, Sr. a love potion, but when she found out she was pregnant, she stopped, hoping he would love her for her. It is deduced that he didn’t, and she most likely pawned her locket at Borgin and Burkes. She gives birth later at an orphanage, where she dies and where Tom is raised. This is vital information to why Voldemort hated his father so much. He abandoned his mother.
- Morfin’s Memory: In this memory, Voldemort goes to the Gaunt home. He speaks with his uncle Morfin in Parseltongue and asks about his parents. Morfin also shows him the Peverell ring but mentions Merope took the locket. Voldemort has started collecting items to make Horcruxes. The memory stops. Morfin is found the next day and confesses to the murder of the Riddles after they are found dead. Voldemort stunned Morfin, committed the murders, and then planted false memories in Morfin’s mind. The ring is gone.
- Hokey’s Memory: Tom is pretending to be a buyer for Borgin and Burkes after his request to teach at Hogwarts was denied by Professor Dippet, saying he lacked experience. He is talking with a woman named Hepzibah Smith, who claims she is a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff. She shows him a few artifacts, including a cup that belonged to Hufflepuff herself and Slytherin’s locket that she bought from Borgin and Burkes. Two days later, Hepzibah is found dead, her things missing. Hokey, her house-elf, confesses to accidentally poisoning her.
- Dumbledore’s Memory: Ten years after Hepzibah’s death, Tom has once again applied to be Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts. Dumbledore notes his facial features have changed, not quite snake-like but not handsome as he once was. Dumbledore asks Tom about his motives and refuses him the job, saying he knows of his new name and his Death Eaters waiting in Hogsmeade. Since Dumbledore refused him the job, no other professor has lasted more than a year.
The items Voldemort chose for his Horcruxes were no doubt inspired by his love for Hogwarts. He eventually obtains Ravenclaw’s diadem and therefore has that, Slytherin’s locket, and Hufflepuff’s cup, along with the ring. He no doubt would have desired an item of Gryffindor’s, but the sword was more or less unattainable.
The movie fails to feature all three of these categories, and as a result, we lose vital parts of Voldemort’s motives and details of the storyline.