Confusing character changes in Goblet of Fire
by David Haber
In the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie, after Harry's success with the first task and his failure to find a date for the Yule Ball, there is a scene in the Gryffindor common room, which starts off with Ron in shock from just having asked Phlegm... uh, sorry, Fleur Delacour to the ball.
As Harry is lamenting that they still don't have dates, the Patil sisters walk by, and in unison they say, "Hi, Harry!" and Harry gets the idea to ask Parvati, and have Padma go with Ron.
But wait! What is Padma Patil doing in the Gryffindor common room?!
As we know, although brothers and sisters are usually in the same house, Parvati Patil is in Gryffindor, but her sister, Padma, is in Ravenclaw (she later becomes a Ravenclaw prefect). She doesn't belong in the Gryffindor common room!
We know that, especially as we move into the much bigger books, the movie makers have to decide to include certain things, combine certain events and leave out others entirely. But so far, there hasn't been anything in a movie that's contradicted a fact in one of the books.
That's an important point. The movies stand alone, but they do not conflict with the books. So, if you love the books, fans can watch and enjoy the movies and fill in from their memories the parts of the book that are missing from the film. If you've read the book, you can sort of imagine the whole eight-hour film.
However, now we have the first instance that I know of in a Harry Potter movie that establishes a fact that is in direct disagreement with facts in the books. In the books, Parvati and Padma are in different houses, but in the movies, they're both in Gryffindor.
This makes the movie jarring to watch, if you're used to believing the sisters are in different houses. And it makes it kind of impossible to reconcile the movie with the book if you're remembering the rest of it in your imagination.
There are no instances in the books of students being allowed in the common room of a house other than their own. Harry and Ron only got into the Slytherin common room by impersonating two Slytherins using Polyjuice potion. Students who have friends from other houses either meet them in the Great Hall, as Ginny does with fellow D.A. member Luna, or outside on the castle grounds.
So, when we get to this point in the movie, our fans' suspension of disbelief is rudely interrupted.
However, this brings up an interesting point about Book 7. Since we know J.K. approves all the changes in the movie scripts, this must mean that J.K. saw this change and said, that's OK, the houses of the Patil twins doesn't make a difference in the story. That means the girls and the fact that they are in separate Hogwarts houses not play an important role in Book 7.
I know this was just a logistical decision on the part of the film makers to make it easier to have both sisters in the same house where they needed them together in the scene, and allowed them to do the cute way they both said, "Hi Harry" together as they passed. But, it's still wrong! Padma isn't a Gryffindor and shouldn't be in their common room!
Where's Sir Cadogan when you need him?
Published September 8, 2006
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