Why Eliminating the Riddle Family Flashbacks in ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ Was a Mistake

What’s the best way to respond to fans’ burning questions? Avada Kedavra

When a book is adapted for the screen, there will be changes, though it can be difficult to accept when it’s a popular product like the Harry Potter series. The majority of the parts are over 600 pages long. Thus each of the seven volumes is quite large. The films do an excellent job of combining the primary characters and plot points from the books, while some are cut to the disadvantage of the story. In the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, this is especially true. One of the most egregious flaws in the film adaptation is the deletion of several of the book’s flashback sections involving Tom Riddle (the Dark Lord himself) and his family.

It’s incomprehensible to any self-respecting Harry Potter fan that these moments were deleted. After all, they’re undoubtedly the most intriguing aspect of the sixth novel, especially given that fans have been waiting years for information about Tom Riddle’s family and past. They are vital to the film’s and series’ understanding of Riddle’s mind and the riddles surrounding his darker tendencies. While it’s understandable that the book’s lengthy flashback chapters were cut to save time (the film is 153 minutes long), drastically doing so was a mistake.

The film leaves out a vital aspect of the novel and comprehends Tom’s hatred. His hatred for his ancestors, parents, and even himself. Tom’s mother was a witch, and his father was a muggle, as revealed in one of the book’s flashbacks, implying that he is only a half-blooded wizard. As we learn that Voldemort’s loathing and disdain for his half-blood status are what drives him to hate other half-bloods, a piece of the Voldemort puzzle begins to fall into place. He tries to destroy in others the aspect of himself that he despises. However, because we aren’t given this context in the movie, the two brief memories of Tom as a child don’t have the same impact.

However, readers will learn from the book’s view into the past that Voldemort’s anger and insatiable ambition for power did not develop suddenly; instead, it grew steadily throughout his youth and adolescence. Tom had suffered a great deal of stress due to his muggle father abandoning his mother. After all, how could someone as ordinary as a muggle voluntarily abandon someone as extraordinary as a member of the wizarding world? Tom’s wrath rises to the point where he murders his father and grandmother. It’s a kind of retaliation for his father’s abandonment and a means of achieving Tom’s objective of eradicating the tainted Riddle bloodline for good.

Aside from the murder itself, this flashback is crucial because it demonstrates Tom’s psychopathic nature, which isn’t immediately apparent in the film. He not only murders his family, but he also frames his Uncle Morfin for the crime by stealing his wand and implanting a fake memory of the event in his mind. The manipulative Tom not only defies the law and displays a complete disregard for other people’s safety and well-being, but he also confirms his dominating personality qualities of antagonism and deception.

Voldemort is a dreadful adversary. Understanding what makes him tick, on the other hand, makes him terrifying. Especially since he’s a lot more human than we thought, that film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince had the potential to explore his three-dimensionality to make him more than a generically nasty Big Bad, but it chose not to do so. Instead of providing viewers with insight into his background — the how and why of his transformation into one of history’s most potent wizards — the film settles for a pair of brief flashbacks that detract from the picture’s narrative juiciness. Yes, the plot has been reduced, but does it matter if the menace that hangs over Harry and his pals no longer appears to be so threatening? The film would have provided a richer context for comprehending Voldemort and the rationale for his acts if the book’s meaty flashbacks had been included.

While Hermione’s time-turner would be required to bring these events back into the film, those seeking answers regarding Lord Voldemort’s past may always turn to the books. And that’s something muggles and wizards both can appreciate.

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