Many things were cut from the Harry Potter movies, but do you know about all the characters and stories that J.K. Rowling cut from the books?
Back in 2001, children in painted t-shirts would drag their long-suffering parents out to the movies in the middle of the night to see the Elementary School Event of the season — the annual (or nearly) Harry Potter movie.
At the end, there would inevitably be a gaggle of massive fans complaining loudly on the walk out of the theater about which scenes, characters, and plotlines from the books had been completely cut from the movie. Peeves the Poltergeist fell victim to this culling, as did Mundungus Fletcher, S.P.E.W., Winky the House Elf, Harry and Malfoy’s midnight duel, and much of poor Ginny Weasley’s personality.
However, it's one thing to talk about things cut from the movies, and quite another to talk about things that J.K. Rowling completely cut from the books -- only true fans know about such things. These are things that even J.K. Rowling herself has mostly forgotten about and only divulged in select, weirdly specific interviews throughout the years.
With that said, here are the 15 Bizarre Things J.K. Rowling Cut From The Harry Potter Books.
The Weasleys are known for their red hair and jovial dispositions, but there was almost a distant relation included in the Goblet of Fire who single-handedly gave the Weasely clan a bad name.
We are, of course, talking about Mafalda, the forgotten Weasley cousin, lost to time and good taste. Mafalda was the daughter of Molly’s second cousin — a squib — and a Muggle. She is notable for being the most disagreeable child that Mrs. Weasley had ever met-- and that’s saying something.
Mafalda liked to show off and impress others and had a habit of eavesdropping. She even had a nasty academic rivalry with Hermione. Sorted into Slytherin house, she was originally supposed to be featured in the fourth book as a “match for Hermione.”
Rowling said on her site that she was very fond of Mafalda and didn’t want to cut her from the book. She would have overheard conversations between the children of Death Eaters from her house, only to tell the Golden Trio in an attempt to impress them. She was eventually replaced by Rita Skeeter to fill her role of busybody fact-finder/general annoyance.
Rowling told the BBC in a 2004 interview that, from the very beginning, Hermione was going to have a younger sister who showed up at Hogwarts a few years after she did. To the detriment of all fanfic writers the world over and for all time, Rowling forgot to stick this supposed sister in the first couple of books. To be fair, the woman had a lot going on with her books and the movies.
After the first few books, however, Rowling realized her mistake but by then she thought it was too late in the game to introduce such an important character. Besides, it made it easier for Hermione in the end-- at worst the sister would have probably been a casualty of the Battle of Hogwarts and at best she would have been obliviated along with her parents.
Arthur Weasley — the affable and goofy father to the Weasley clan — would have died from the snake attack in book five if Rowling hadn’t changed her mind at the last minute. However, such a thing wouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise.
After all, there was a major character death in that book-- Harry’s godfather Sirius Black. Harry had to have a father figure die so he could lose more of his innocence, but Sirius was far more influential to Harry than poor Mr. Weasley.
What wouldn’t have made much sense-- and would have gotten the fans in an indignant uproar-- would have been the culling of lovable friend to Harry and love interest to Hermione, Ron Weasley.
When pressed on the matter, Rowling confessed it all: “I planned from the start that none of them would die... [but] then midway through, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I wasn’t in a very happy place, I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite. ‘There, now you definitely can’t have him any more.’ But I think in my absolute heart of heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider killing Ron, [I wouldn’t have done it].”
Draco Malfoy has one of the best names in the whole series. There’s just something so cool and striking about it. “Draco” comes from the Latin of Draconus, meaning dragon.
“Malfoy” was taken from the French "mal foi" which translates to "bad faith." A worthy name for Harry’s childhood foe, Draco Malfoy strikes terror in the heart and the hard palatte alike.
Draco’s original name wasn’t so fabulous, however. His last name was meant to be "Spungen". Draco Spungen doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, though. It’s even worse than Hermione’s original “Puckle.”
Spungen is almost in the same category as “moist” as far as unpleasant-sounding words go. It evokes disgust instead of terror. Rowling went through a few more iterations — Draco “Smart,” Draco “Spinks” — until she settled on “Malfoy."
Florean Fortescue, the ice cream shop owner who was killed by Voldemort, was originally supposed to be the one to give the golden trio crucial clues about the Elder Wand and the Ravenclaw diadem.
He was originally going to get kidnapped and then saved by the trio. However, his role was replaced by Dumbledore, Aberforth, Xenofilus Lovegood, Griphook, Phineas Nigellus Black, and the Grey Lady. We can’t say that we blame Rowling for this change — he wasn’t a memorable character in the third book, so it wouldn’t have been much of a callback.
If you forgot his role in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he was the jolly but forgettable owner of Florean Forescue’s Ice Cream Shop in Diagon Alley, above which 13-year-old Harry made his lodgings the summer that he was forced to flee from his aunt and uncle’s neighborhood and a mysterious black dog aboard the Knight Bus.
Mr. Fortescue became another tragic victim of Voldemort’s evil reign.
Vampires are mentioned in Harry Potter — some even think that Snape is secretly a member of their ranks — but are never canonically shown. Meanwhile, the students of Hogwarts wouldn’t be averse to an inhuman teacher — Professor Remus Lupin was a werewolf and the divination teacher was a centaur.
Surely a vampire wouldn’t be unwelcome, if only to properly introduce the creatures to the Harry Potter universe. Originally, this was Rowling’s plan. Rowling wanted to have a vampiric professor who would be called Professor Trocar.
Unfortunately, as Rowling explained on Pottermore: “The vampire myth is so rich, and has been exploited so many times in literature and on film, I felt there was little I could add to the tradition.”
She hadn’t fleshed Trocar out much by the time he was cut. However, she’d spent some time picking his name — a trocar is a sharp tool used to drain bodily fluids in medical situations.
Dean Thomas played Quidditch with Harry and joined Dumbledore’s Army in the fifth book. He was a half-blood— the son of a wizard and a Muggle — but his father died before he could tell his mother of his abilities, and thus Dean was raised believing that he was a full Muggle-born. His mother re-married another Muggle and he was raised with several other half-siblings.
There was a cut chapter from Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets which explained al of this. Apparently he was supposed to be a much more integral character. J.K. Rowling had very specific notes on exactly what he should look like in the movie-- his character was extremely detailed.
“My editor thought that chapter was too long and pruned everything that he thought was surplus to requirements,” she explained. “When it came to the casting on the film version of ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, however, I told the director, Chris, that Dean was a black Londoner. In fact, I think Chris was slightly taken aback by the amount of information I had on this peripheral character.”
Hermione’s parents didn't show up very often in the books. The Grangers are Muggles who are proud of their daughter’s magical abilities. Besides this, the Grangers’ only notable role is in the last book, when Hermione obliviates their memories of her to protect them from Voldemort.
This causes them to move to Australia until Hermione can find them and restore their memories of her. Originally, however, J.K. Rowling had much more planned for Hermione’s parents-- specifically her father.
Hermione’s dad was originally going to be a big part of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In first drafts, Lily and James Potter lived on an island and the Grangers lived on the shore close to them.
In the draft, the Grangers would have heard the screams during the night that the Potters died. Mr Granger would have then gone over to the island to investigate. He would have therefore been the one to find baby Harry in the wreckage of the house. As we know, Hagrid filled that role easily enough and conveyed him to number 4 Privet Drive on Sirius Black’s flying motorcycle.
Who could forget the memorable Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost who had his head “nearly” cut all the way off. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but to Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington, the distinction made the difference between being able to join the Headless Hunt with the rest of the headless ghosts on all hallow’s eve and being isolated. This was a very sore subject of conversation for poor Sir Nicholas, and the nickname did not save his fragile feelings.
To add insult to injury, Sir Nick was cut from Chamber of Secrets where he explained his execution in grisly yet opulent detail. Rowling admitted that it was a “wrench” to cut the song, but that it was “superfluous to requirements.”
A version of it has appeared online, which may or may not have been leaked by Rowling herself. It went: “'This may sting a bit' said the cack-handed twit, as he swung the axe up in the air, but oh the blunt blade! No difference it made, my head was still definitely there.”
Animal lovers are a common breed in the Harry Potter books — Hagrid, Mrs. Figg, Newt Scamandar, and Hermione Granger all have a fervent love for their furry friends. Thus, it is a tragedy indeed that we were never introduced to Mopsy, the deranged dog-loving witch who was cut from the events of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
According to Rowling, Mopsy “kept a pack of ill-assorted dogs” and “was on constant bad terms with her neighbors because of the barking and mess.”
She was created in order to offer shelter and care in Hogsmeade to Sirius Black after she’d spotted him in animagal form and mistaken him for a stray. With her redaction, poor Sirius was relegated to cave life instead. Mopsy added next to nothing to the plot, Rowling has admitted.
As any Harry Potter fan worth their mettle knows, Voldemort’s seven horcruxes were stowed away in items of supreme significance to their creator. Having grown up as a neglected orphan throughout his whole unhappy childhood, Tom Riddle eventually found refuge in the magical world at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Accordingly, all things Hogwarts-related interested young Riddle, especially the founders of the school — Rowena Ravenclaw, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff, and Goderick Gryffindor.
Since he couldn’t get ahold of the sword of Gryffindor (only a true Gryffindor can summon and wield it), Riddle had to settle for three Horcruxes in the form of Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, Salazar Slytherin’s locket, and Helga Hufflepuff’s golden chalice.
Originally, J.K. Rowling had the idea that Hufflepuff’s item would instead be a cauldron, but that would have been significantly harder to destroy, so the goblet was provided as a replacement.
Not to be confused with the crazy dog lady Mopsy, Mopsus was written in earlier drafts of Sorcerer’s Stone to be a blind wizard adept at divination and predicting the future. His name came from Greek mythology, and his skills would have been so great that his very existence kind of ruined the plot.
In a 2005 press conference, Rowling admitted that “If there was somebody who really could do divination at the time that Harry was alive, it greatly diminished the drama of the story because someone out there knew what was going to happen.”
Mopsus found a plot replacement in the talented but incompetent Professor Sybil Trelawney, who only gave accurate predictions by accident and very rarely. However, all of the character development for Mopsus didn’t go to waste — Rowling gave many of his traits to Mad-Eye Moody in the fourth book.
Dudley Dursley is the hulking behemoth of a cousin who bullied and just generally made Harry’s life miserable for years. J.K. Rowling, ever the trickster, would have given Dudley his just deserts for years of wizard-themed harassment in the form of a magical son via the epilogue of the final book in the series. She would have gone through with it, too, if Rowling hadn’t overthought the science of it all.
Rowling wrote on her site that “a short period of reflection convinced me that any latent wizarding genes would never survive contact with Uncle Vernon’s DNA.” Either way, she did mention that Dudley and Harry are on “Christmas Card” terms in their adulthood if nothing else, so that's something.
Draco Malfoy loves bossing people around, thus he was given two henchmen — er, friends — by the names of Crab and Goyle. However, these boys were perhaps a bit too dim witted for Draco. One would imagine that Draco would have preferred friends who could stimulate him intellectually. It appears that Rowling put some serious thought into this specific matter.
Rowling has divulged that Draco almost had a pureblood bestie named Theodore Nott. “Theodore is just as pure-blooded as he is, and somewhat cleverer,” Rowling said. “Together these two Death Eaters’ sons discuss Dumbledore’s regime at Hogwarts.”
However, unfortunately this was never to be, as Theodore was inevitably cut out of the books. Draco was forced to be content with Crab and Goyle.
Since the beginning , J.K. Rowling was entirely set on the last word of the entire series being “scar.” Of course, we know the last words ended up being “all is well” — which is certainly more cheerful. Though one has to wonder: why did she change her mind?
As the last few chapters were coming together, Rowling realized that she “wanted a very concrete statement that Harry won and that the scar, although it’s still there, is now just a scar,” she said in an interview.
“I wanted to say it’s over [and] done... maybe a tiny bit of that was to say we’re not going to have Part Two [because] Harry’s job is done,” she said. Though she may have initially been open to writing more about Harry and co., she definitely changed her mind later on.