10 Harry Potter Characters The Books & Movies Both Failed


  • Character arcs aren’t fully developed in the
    Harry Potter
    books and movies due to time constraints and narrative focus.
  • Supporting characters like Ginny Weasley, Lavender Brown, and Nymphadora Tonks have untapped potential that could enrich the story.
  • Other characters like Barty Crouch Jr., Cho Chang, Regulus Black, and Andromeda Tonks deserve more exploration.

Despite comprising thousands of pages of words, the Harry Potter books fail to delve into certain character arcs just as much as the movies. The focus of the story in both the books and their adaptations is, of course, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) on his quest to end the regime of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). There are an astounding number of major, supporting, and side characters in the series — and sadly, not all of them have full arcs due to the books needing to be a reasonable size, time constraints, or it just not being that important to the story.

Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) don’t have the time to worry about the backstories of every student at Hogwarts or all of the known Death Eaters. However, that does not mean that they do not constitute interesting stories that would add depth to the world. Harry Potter has so many interesting supporting characters, and someone is bound to wish to know more about each one of them. On the other hand, some characters are given a certain amount of focus, but it still seems like they were done wrong by the narrative.


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10 Ginny Weasley

Played By Bonnie Wright

The reduction of Ginny’s role in the story and the absence of her book characterization is one of the biggest flaws of the Harry Potter movies. In the books, Ginny is known for her feisty personality and viciously hexing anyone who gets on her bad side. These traits later make her an excellent offensive Quidditch player. For the sake of time, the movies reduce Ginny to a passive, quiet love interest, with only flashes of her no-nonsense attitude appearing.

Everyone wanted to see some of Ginny’s best scenes make it into the movies. However, even in the books, her character is somewhat relegated to the sidelines. For a long time, Harry never sees Ginny’s fiery side because she has a crush on him and is timid when she’s around him. Then her characterization becomes largely romantic when she and Harry get together. Overall, Ginny deserves more scenes, especially when her relationship with Harry feels underdeveloped because he has has few interactions with her where these aspects of her personality come through.

9 Lavender Brown

Played By Jessie Cave

The books can’t even do Lavender the service of confirming that she is dead — the text mentions that she is still stirring after being attacked by Fenrir Greyback (Dave Legeno), while she appears to be dead in the movie. Lavender is a background classmate in Harry’s year for most of the series until she develops a crush on Ron in Half-Blood Prince, and they start dating. For all of Half-Blood Prince, Lavender is Ron’s clingy, obnoxious, and annoyingly feminine girlfriend.

Lavender in general is an example of the weaker writing surrounding Harry Potter’s female characters. However, even if one sees these things as her flaws — possessiveness, superficiality, obliviousness — she still has a lot of strengths that are not given their due. Lavender chooses to stay and fight at the Battle of Hogwarts and possibly dies for it. In fact, Lavender might be compared to Harry’s father and his friends, who were also self-centered teenagers, but good people at heart.

8 Nymphadora Tonks

Played By Natalia Tena

The Harry Potter books do a lot better by Tonks — who hates her first name and generally goes by her surname — than the movies. She is incredibly friendly and “dead clumsy,” with the unique natural ability to change some features of her appearance. She is a skilled Auror and Mad-Eye Moody’s (Brendan Gleeson) personal protégée. Tonks and Remus’ (David Thewlis) relationship actually has an arc in the books. However, even then, the books skip over some things concerning Tonks. For instance, Harry doesn’t attend Tonks and Remus’ wedding, so the audience doesn’t see it.

Half-Blood Prince has a subplot where Tonks becomes depressed because Remus ended whatever relationship they had at the time, and is struggling with her transformation abilities. This is the point where it might have been good to delve even more into Tonks and Remus’ relationship and what they were before Half-Blood Prince, as a better explanation of why she is having such a hard time. Sirius’ (Gary Oldman) death might have played into these circumstances. Tonks’ husband then temporarily leaves her while she is pregnant, but the effect on her is not discussed either.

7 Barty Crouch Jr.

Played By David Tennant

Barty Crouch Jr. is set up as a terrifying villain but is unceremoniously killed off when Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy) orders his execution (in the book; his death is not mentioned at all in the movie before he disappears from the story). Barty could have been as magnificently evil as Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter); he pulls off posing as Moody for a year and is characterized as one of the most loyal Death Eaters by Voldemort himself. Not to mention the fact that the Goblet of Fire movie got David Tennant to play him.

However, Goblet of Fire mostly uses Barty as a plot device to enable Voldemort’s return. In addition to cutting off his future, Harry Potter doesn’t explore his past either. It is speculated that Barty may have been drawn to Voldemort’s cause because his ambitious father never paid him any attention. The memory Harry sees of Barty’s trial and sentencing also shows him in a completely different light, terrified at the prospect of Azkaban. There was more to unpack about why Barty did the things he did, something some fans would be interested in.

6 Cho Chang

Played By Katie Leung

Cho is affected by one of the most problematic aspects of Harry Potter, with stereotypes and flat characterizations applied to the few characters who are people of color. In addition to this, the narrative glosses over the fact that she has been traumatized in favor of her being Harry’s love interest. Harry never knows what to make of or what to do about Cho constantly being in tears, and his awkwardness is what the books focus on. Harry also has PTSD, but the story takes this more seriously.

Meanwhile, Cho is still grieving her boyfriend Cedric Diggory’s (Robert Pattinson) sudden and violent death. She clings to certain friendships because that is the only support she has when she can’t confide in her family about being a part of Dumbledore’s Army. Cho has a compelling story, but all she is to the narrative is Harry’s weepy first girlfriend, used to signal that he is growing up as the series goes on.


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5 Regulus Black

Played By Tom Moorcroft

Sirius’ younger brother Regulus is one of the clearest points in the series where more chapters from the perspective of characters other than Harry would have been very interesting for the story. Regulus presumably has a similar life experience to Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). Regulus grows up being fed the ideology of blood purity by his parents; he doesn’t question it for a long time and joins the Death Eaters at 16 years old; and at some point, he realizes that what they are doing is wrong.

The implications of inner turmoil and just how intelligent Regulus is are fascinating.

However, this is where Regulus becomes one of the cleverest and bravest characters in the series. He says nothing to anyone about his new misgivings but remains within the Death Eaters’ ranks and deduces the truth about the Horcruxes. Regulus willingly goes to his death to destroy a Horcrux before he is 20. The implications of inner turmoil and just how intelligent Regulus is are fascinating. Sadly, none of the main Harry Potter characters have any way of knowing what this was like for him, so the audience doesn’t get to see it either.

4 Rodolphus Lestrange

Played By Richard Trinder

Rodolphus appears among the crowd of Death Eaters in the movies, although he is more of an extra. Rodolphus is Bellatrix’s husband who was sent to Azkaban with her, his brother Rabastan, and Barty Crouch Jr. He may have also been one of the first Death Eaters, which could serve as an explanation of why Bellatrix married him. She was expected to marry another pure-blood by her family but might have been impressed by Rodolphus’ status, and saw him as a way to get closer to Voldemort.

The Lestranges are another interesting set of villains that could shed light on the nature of evil in this setting. Like the Malfoys, they are an old, pure-blood family who all serve Voldemort. However, the story makes it clear that Lucius (Jason Isaacs) and Narcissa Malfoy (Helen McCrory) will prioritize their son. Rodolphus and his family are even scarier because they would likely give up each other for the cause, making them a potentially valuable exploration of Voldemort’s villainy.

3 Andromeda Tonks

Does Not Appear In The Harry Potter Movies

Andromeda Tonks is frequently lauded as one of the unsung heroes of Harry Potter; Harry only meets her once in the books, so her heartbreaking losses and powerful personal choices are never explored. Andromeda is Sirius’ “favorite” cousin and the sister of Bellatrix and Narcissa. Andromeda’s parents and sisters have not spoken to her since she married a Muggle-born wizard, Ted Tonks. Andromeda’s daughter is killed by her own sister (Bellatrix) during the Battle of Hogwarts, while her husband is also killed by Death Eaters.

At the end of the series, Andromeda is a widow and responsible for raising her grandson Teddy (Harry, as Teddy’s godfather, also plays a role in his upbringing). The story never elaborates upon what it was like for her to leave her old life behind and lose her entire family. Everyone who knows about Andromeda’s life knows she is a noteworthy and tragic character who should have been featured more.

2 James Potter

Played By Adrian Rawlins, Robbie Jarvis, & Alfie McIlwain

Most Harry Potter fans wish they could have seen more of Harry’s parents and their friends. The only flashbacks of James the audience ever sees are of his death and him bullying Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), the latter of which obviously does not put him in the best light. Sirius and Remus insist that James matured as he got older but was a good person, which could have served as an interesting character arc. However, everything James did for his friends and family is glossed over by the movies and only casually recounted second-hand in the books.

The story wants its readers to like James when he is either a vaguely defined hero or a self-obsessed teenager. They are expected to believe that he had a compelling character arc — where events such as Snape almost being killed by one of Sirius’ pranks and Sirius running away from home may have had a profound effect on him — but it must be inferred from the information that is provided. It is yet another case where Harry Potter could have benefited from more flashbacks.


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1 Lily Potter

Played By Geraldine Somerville & Ellie Darcey-Alden

Likewise, there are some gaps in Lily’s story deserving of further development. However, her school years are at least highlighted more by the sequence of Snape’s memories. Lily’s story is still somewhat simplified from what it should be. She begins a toxic friendship with Snape, watches her relationship fall apart with her sister, and eventually marries James. Some things happen in between that the story could have shed some light on.

Like with many other supporting characters in Harry Potter, the books and movies simply didn’t have the time to delve into this.

Lily had a life and friends outside her “friendship” with Snape, as well as her eventual relationship with James. She was a popular, amicable, and talented student. Sirius and Remus also suggest Lily may have liked James all along. Like with many other supporting characters in Harry Potter, the books and movies simply didn’t have the time to delve into this. While it may have been awkward for the overall narrative, these characters are still worth it in their own right.

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