Why Omitting Voldemort’s History in the “Harry Potter” Films Was a Mistake
On the whole, we believe that the filmmakers did a great job of adapting the books into the movies. However, in order to fit all the books’ content into eight films, a lot had to be cut. One bit of this was the majority of the Pensieve scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince showing Voldemort’s history. Omitting these scenes was a mistake because of how they would have filled out Voldemort’s background, how this influenced who he became, and his history with the Horcruxes.
J.K. Rowling revealed that because Voldemort was conceived while his father was under the influence of the love potion, he is unable to experience real love. This means that one of the reasons Voldemort went on to become the villain he was is because he was unable to develop relationships built on bonds of love. It was hard for him to empathize with those who felt this, and therefore, he felt no remorse for the murders he went on to commit.
A few of the Pensieve scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince demonstrated that both of Voldemort’s parents chose to leave him, resulting him in being raised in the orphanage.
Of course, it is also possible that her unrequited love and the attendant despair sapped her of her powers; that can happen. In any case, as you are about to see, Merope refused to raise her wand even to save her own life. (HBP 262)
Voldemort Stupefied his uncle, took his wand, and proceeded across the valley to “the big house over the way.” There he murdered the Muggle man who had abandoned his witch mother, and, for good measure, his Muggle grandparents, thus obliterating the last of the unworthy Riddle line and revenging himself upon the father who never wanted him. (HBP 367)
Even from the brief flashes we see in the books, we know that his upbringing wasn’t a happy or loving one. However, perhaps if he had experienced some of that in his formative years, that might have changed him, and he might have ended up differently.
His viciousness toward Muggles can also be gleaned from these memories. After all, he had a Muggle father who abandoned his mother before he was born, as well as Muggle grandparents who looked down on his magical relatives. As in the other memories, this piece of information is useful in understanding how Voldemort came to be.
In addition to Voldemort’s familial relationships, the Pensieve also reveals his history with Hogwarts. Like Harry, Voldemort had a great attachment to Hogwarts. It was the first place he felt like he belonged and even excelled. It was several of the Hogwarts founders’ objects that he chose to become Horcruxes. The omission of the exact origin of these objects and Voldemort’s reason for choosing them feels wrong, given the importance they play in the last book and movie.
“I hope you will understand in due course exactly what those objects meant to him, Harry, but you must admit that it is not difficult to imagine that he saw the locket, at least, as rightfully his.”
“The locket maybe,” said Harry, “but why take the cup as well?”
“It had belonged to another of Hogwarts’s founders,” said Dumbledore.
“I think he still felt a great pull toward the school and that he could not resist an object so steeped in Hogwarts history. There were other reasons, I think.” (HBP 440)
For a moment, Harry thought Gaunt was making an obscene hand gesture, but then realized that he was showing Ogden the ugly, black-stoned ring he was wearing on his middle finger, waving it before Ogden’s eyes. “See this? See this? Know what it is? Know where it came from? Centuries it’s been in our family, that’s how far back we go, and pure-blood all the way! Know how much I’ve been offered for this, with the Peverell coat of arms engraved on the stone?” (HBP 207)
For Voldemort, the ring was symbolic for several reasons. Firstly, it was a trophy for the killing of his Muggle grandparents. The ring would also have symbolized his family’s connection to his own Hogwarts House, Slytherin, confirming his powerful place in the wizarding world.
These cut scenes were incredibly important to understanding both how Tom Riddle became Voldemort and the reasons behind his actions. Not only were these crucial for understanding the character, but it would also have been fascinating to see Voldemort’s family. Let us know which of these scenes you missed the most in the comments below.