Book vs Film Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets

Like many people my age Harry Potter was something i grew up reading and watching.  In all honestly for years the only books I ever read were Harry Potter.  It was such a lovely place to ensconce yourself in that I found it difficult to pick up other things to read. I have already written about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, so I thought I would share my thoughts on this film in comparison to the book. 

1. Dobby

Dobby is a well loved character who we see through out the series.  His eccentricity and blind loyalty to Harry endear him to the reader and watcher alike.  However the Dobby that we see in the film is a lot less exuberant than the one we read about.  In the book he is literally jumping up and down on the bed at meeting Harry Potter,  he is overexcited about everything about Harry. In the film Dobby is more subdued.  Another way that Dobby is more subdued is his ability to disapperate without a large  noise accompanying him.  

These changes do not make Dobby any less of a loved character.  His hyperactiveness is soemthing that I love as I can be a very high energy person and seeing a chracter who refelcts those traits in an endearing way makes me feel like it is not only me to becomes very animated when discussing something that I am passionate about. 

2. Borgin & Burke’s

Harry spends a little more time in Borgin and Burke’s and overhears the business that Lucius Malfoy completes. He also overhears about the cellar that the Malfoys have under the dinning room and tips Ron’s dad off which supports Arthur’s career. there is however a link to the plot which occurs in later books, such as the Vanishing Cabinet and the Hand of Glory, both of which are used in the Half-blood Prince, with much less backstory that there is in the book. 

I personally feel that this change was to the detriment of the depth of the series.  I do know that this film was either being filmed or was finalised as the books was being written and therefore all the plot intricacies were not yet known.  For those people who have only watched the films, I feel that this scene could have been so much more and allowed a deeper understanding  of the developing story. 

3. Fight, Fight, Fight

I was looking forward to the fight that Lucius and Arthur had in Florish and Blotts.  As readers we are never told why the Malfoy’s and Weasley’s hate each other, there are a number of potential reasons and even some fanfictions have some interesting thoughts on it.  But this rivalry was shown in the first book by Malfoy’s reaction to Harry becoming friends with Ron, seeing this reflected within their parents’ helps to show that it is probably not a simply childhood rivalry.

Not only does this give some additional background to Draco Malfoy’s reaction to Ron it also allows some lightness to rivalry which only becomes more entrenched as the families find themselves on opposite sides of the war.  

4. Lockhart & Harry’s relationship 

Throughout the book Harry is singled out by Lockhart for various reasons.  From the outside looking in, it is clear that  Lockhart was doing so to increase his own popularity.  This singling out gives Harry more of a reason to be exasperated by his useless Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher it also allows Harry and Ron to become a little closer at the blind love of him that a lot of thw females in thier lives have.  

This relationship helps the audience to see that it is very unlikely that Harry will ever become obsessed with his own celebrity and fame as he has seen how this can become your down fall. 

The Deathday Party for Nearly-Headless Nick is an entire chapter in the book where the reader learns more about the Ghosts of Hogwarts Castle.  We learn all about Nearly-Headless Nick’s constant irritation about not being able to join the headless hunt (who are briefly seen in the third film). We also learn about the way that Ghosts ‘eat’ which is very interesting for those who like to knwo all the small details about the world.

5. Deathday Party 

This also changes the timeline of the book as the Golden trio find the petrified Cat on Halloween, as all significant end of Act 1 moments happen on Halloween for Harry, and thus also changes the reason that Ron and Hermione are with Harry, when they were all invited to the Party which is why they are found together.  I feel that while this has a limited impact on the story it does make the film feel less complete.  Especially given how important the Hogwarts ghosts become later in the books. 

6. Not Stealing from Snape

Hermione took breaking the rules to a new level when she thought that brewing a Polyjuice Potion in the second floor girls bathroom.  When doing so in the book the Golden Trio needed additional ingredients which they has not bought as they were only used by the older years.  As such, Hermione who had certainly learnt to break the rules by this point volunteered to break into Snape’s personal ingredients cupboard to acquire the ingredients needed. 

This moment helps the reader to see that while Hermione was completely against rule breaking, there are times that she not only advocates it, but is happy to be the ‘fall guy’ as her schooling record is much more positive and will therefore most likely end up in less trouble.  It also helps to show the resourcefulness of the characters which certainly comes in useful in later books. 

There are more significant changes to this film than there was in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the significance of these changes continue to escalate through out the films.  This is most likely as the books get longer and more in depth, whereas in films a lot of the information is shared through the music being used rather than the language used. 

Let me know if you have noticed any changes that you thought were important to the film in the comments below.  

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