Wronged Women in the “Harry Potter” Films
We’ve previously looked at how filmmakers deleted many wonderful key scenes in the movies. However, deleting scenes wasn’t the only thing they did to pack as much of the books’ contents into the films; they also changed a lot of the way the characters were depicted. Since MuggleNet’s theme for March is feminism, we’d thought we’d examine a few of the female characters that were reduced.
The character that was probably changed the most was Ginny Weasley. In the books, Ginny is a fiery and feisty character. She is likable because she is witty and smart, and she stands up for those who perhaps can’t stand up for themselves.
‘I told her it’s [a tattoo] a Hungarian Horntail,’ said Ginny, turning a page of the newspaper idly. ‘Much more macho.’
‘Thanks,’ said Harry, grinning. ‘And what did you tell her Ron’s got?’
‘A Pygmy Puff, but I didn’t say where’” (HBP 536).
However, in the movie, her screen time is drastically reduced so that she becomes a background character who is defined more by her relationship with Harry than by her own actions and personality.
In the same way, Ginny became defined by her relationship with Harry; the same thing happened to Cho Chang with her relationships with both Harry and Cedric. She popped up briefly in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film but is better known as the morose and weeping character in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The books give a great explanation of why she was feeling the way she was:
Well, obviously, she’s feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she’s feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can’t work out who she likes best. Then she’ll be feeling guilty, thinking it’s an insult to Cedric’s memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she’ll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can’t work out what her feelings towards Harry are, anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that’s all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she’s afraid she’s going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she’s been flying so badly.” (OotP 459).
Another disservice the filmmakers did to Cho was making her the one that ratted out the DA to Umbridge instead of her friend. True, the films did show that she was under the influence of Veritaserum, but that did not endear her to the audience.
Another character that was dramatically reduced was Nymphadora Tonks. Like Ginny, book Tonks is a lot more vivid and fun compared to the muted movie version. Instead of a bubbly competent member of the Order of the Phoenix, we get someone who helps rescue Harry before she becomes the one-dimensional wife of Remus Lupin. Even worse, Remus and Tonks’s relationship was incredibly filtered down. The scene at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where she fights for Lupin shows the depth of feelings she had for him and everything she was willing to overcome to be with him.
‘But I don’t care either, I don’t care!’ said Tonks, seizing the front of Lupin’s robes and shaking them. ‘I’ve told you a million times’ (HBP 624).
Unfortunately, this strong woman becomes an overlooked character who barely pops up in the films.
In the same scene where Tonks fought for her relationship with Lupin, Fleur did the same for her engagement to Bill.
‘You thought I would not weesh to marry him? Or per’aps, you hoped?’ said Fleur, her nostrils flaring. ‘What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave” (HBP 623).
Up till this moment, everybody presumed that Fleur was a shallow and petty character. This assumption was not helped by her introduction in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film, which presented Beauxbatons as an all-female school that pranced and flirted when they first entered Hogwarts. People tend to overlook the fact that Fleur beat out both men and women to become the Beauxbaton champion to compete in a historic competition that tests bravery, intelligence, and magical ability.
What other character do you think was dramatically reduced? Let us know in the comments!