4. The House of Gaunt, The Half-Blood Prince
What? Dumbledore teaches Harry about Voldemort’s genealogy – his mother, Merope, was the daughter of a strict pureblood family who bewitched a handsome muggle to fall for her, Tom Riddle Sr. It is suggested the loveless circumstances of his birth contributed to Riddle Jr’s evil.
Why? The exploring of Voldemort’s lineage is fascinating as it allows us to see what made the darkest wizard ever who he was. It might seem tangential to the plot, but it actually feeds back into the search for the horcruxes.
3. The Marauders, The Prisoner of Azkaban
What? Harry learns that The Marauder’s Map was created by Lupin (Moony), Pettigrew (Wormtail), Sirius (Padfoot) and his father (Prongs) in their tearaway youth. Three of them also taught themselves to be animagi, inspired by the werewolf Lupin.
Why? Fans might be able to fill in the blanks, but for viewers who haven’t read the books the identity of the Marauders is a complete mystery. How easy would it have been to insert a quick line to explain it?
2. Dumbledore’s Youth, The Deathly Hallows
What? The young Dumbledore and Grindelwald planned to take over the world and subjugate muggles for “the greater good”. Albus’ brother Aberforth opposed them and the ensuing duel killed Ariana Dumbledore, their sister who had previously been assaulted by muggles.
Why? Yet another chunk of backstory the films chucked out. In the Deathly two-parter, Dumbledore’s past is hinted at but never fully-explored, which is a great shame as it gives a lot of colour to the previously whiter-than-white headmaster.
1. Neville Is The Other Chosen One, The Order of the Phoenix
What? The prophecy concerning Voldemort’s death was actually brought about by the Dark Lord himself. It could have concerned Harry or Neville, but by choosing Harry he started a chain reaction of events that led to his eventual downfall.
Why?: The bare bones of the prophecy feature in the films, but in the books it is much more layered and interesting. Poor Neville’s role was really cut down on screen, and they also missed the irony that Voldemort’s obsession with preventing his death is the cause of his destruction.