Harry Potter fans are rejoicing after the news that HBO Max and JK Rowling are teaming up to give us a new iteration of the Boy Who Lived via a television series. Blasphemy, you say? Well, Merlin’s beard, this is the best news I’ve heard in a long while.
As a faithful Potterhead who grew up with the novels and returned to them several times (and is currently immersed in the fantastic Hogwarts Legacy video game), I couldn’t be more thrilled. For those who have only partaken in the films — get ready; you’re in for a treat. The movies, while fun, omitted many details due to the limitations of adapting such a long series. They were fun but not as thrilling or immersive as their book counterparts.
What essential details will this Harry Potter TV show adaptation deliver? Let’s cast a revelio charm and go over a few more exciting things we might see during our next adventure at Hogwarts!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II is an acceptable conclusion to the Potter flicks but rushes through some pivotal moments to get to the final battle. Ironic, considering the book was split into two movies. A crucial bit involving Dumbledore’s mysterious past is teased but never fully explained.
The books show that Dumbledore and his pal (and lover) Grindelwald wanted wizards to claim dominion over Muggles. At a certain point, Dumbledore realized this was dumb and tapped out. Grindelwald (as seen in those terrible Fantastic Beasts movies) continued this venture and eventually came to blows with his former accomplishment — an episode that ended up killing Dumbledore’s sister. We see her portrait hanging in the Hog’s Head and learn a few brief details from Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth. Unfortunately, the film leaves viewers hanging and quickly moves into its final act without explaining anything.
Hopefully, the Harry Potter TV show can spend more time expanding Dumbledore’s life, as his past is incredibly significant to Harry’s journey.
The first two Potter movies delivered some ferocious Quidditch action and promised bigger things to come in later entries. The sport vanishes in the following features, popping up only briefly in Prisoner of Azkaban and Half-Blood Prince. Too bad, because each novel (save for Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hollows) covered each Quidditch season in total, leading to some fun character development along the way.
In Half-Blood Prince, Harry, having a bad day, bumps into his mates and learns that Gryffindor won the Quidditch cup. In a split-second decision, Harry grabs Ginny, and the two finally get down to some hardcore snogging. Ron gives Harry a “go for it” look, and everyone cheers. It’s a fun moment in the books that occur precisely because of Quidditch.
The film, by contrast, leaves the sport on the back burner and substitutes the elated kiss with a bizarre scene set in the Room of Requirement. I’m all for condensed storytelling, but in this case, less is definitely not more.
In other words: the more Quidditch, the better.
Harry spends a great deal of time exploring Voldemort’s past in Half-Blood Prince. We see our big bad as the young, troubled Tom Riddle, his sad upbringing, and evolution into a hateful monster. Interestingly, Riddle’s story mirrors Harry’s in that they were brought up by abusive people and robbed of their wizarding abilities. Except where Riddle obviously chose darkness, Harry went the opposite direction, remained humble, and formed powerful friendships.
Riddle’s past is significant to the story, not just because of the Horcruxes. Instead, Harry must see Riddle’s choices to select the right path when presented. Also, these bits allow us (and Harry) to sympathize with Voldemort, turning him into a fascinating, even complex villain.
The stories contain many delightful characters, mostly ignored in the films. I’d love to see characters such as Kingsley Shacklebolt, Remus Lupin, Dean Thomas, Firenze, and even Severus Snape receive more screen time. A whole side story involving Ron’s brother Percy deserves exploration, as does Hermione’s battle for House Elves’ rights (also known as SPEW).
More significantly, the books dive deeper into James and Lily Potter’s backstory. We learn all about the Marauders — James, Lupin, Sirius, and Peter — their conflicts with Severus, and the origins of the famous Marauder’s Map. Tea Order of the Phoenix movie glosses over these details, which is a shame because they’re pretty interesting. Did you know Kreacher was with Regulus Black when he stole Voldemort’s locket? Yeah, that’s pretty important, folks.
Hopefully, the series can flesh out the side characters more so that we care when they bite the dust or save the day.
The First Battle of Hogwarts
As much as I’m excited to see another version of the Battle of Hogwarts, I’m keener on the battle that occurs at the end of Half-Blood Prince. After Snape kills Dumbledore, a vicious fight breaks out at Hogwarts between the Death Eaters and the students. Harry fights a werewolf, Ginny goes toe-to-toe with Amycus Carrow, and Ron stands back-to-back with McGonagall and Lupin—it’s a thrilling piece of action that was surprisingly truncated in the film. We also see Hagrid get in on the violence, during which his hut is destroyed.
Furthermore, this sequence shows just how terrific Harry’s friends have become, which sets the table for the grand finale.
On that same note, while spectacular in the film, the Battle of Hogwarts must be much grander this go-round. I want giants, spiders, Grawp, Death Eaters, and centaurs — not just in brief cameos. This needs to be a Lord of the Rings-sized event, people. And this time, let Harry defeat Voldemort in front of his classmates — I love that moment!
There are obviously plenty of other bits we can look forward to seeing, but these are the ones I’m most excited about seeing in the Harry Potter TV-show. So please don’t screw this up, HBO Max. This time, give us the actual Harry Potter – not just the cliff notes version.