Harry Potter is a saga that has brought to the fore, during the years in which the books and films have been published, all kinds of controversial issues. And I’m not talking about the debate about whether trans people are not people that JK Rowling defends, but about the different metaphors that have been made in the original work about racism or xenophobia.
Many of these themes, however, could not be properly adapted for the big screen. By making the books longer and longer and bringing all sorts of edges to the magical world, the filmmakers on board the movies had to dispense with a lot of material to focus on the main story.
However, this will not – or should not – happen in the future Max series they are preparing as a complete new adaptation of the Harry Potter books. The idea is to tell one book per season, so there will be many small plots, stories and expansions of the Wizarding World that can be integrated into the series.
Among all these plots, there is one that was almost completely cut out of the movies and is explored much more in the books: the enslavement of the house elves. Although with Dobby we experience a small evolution and metaphor in this regard, in the books it is not just an anecdote, but ends up becoming a vertebral element of great importance.
The most activist Hermione
In Harry Potter, the wizards grow up understanding that house elves enjoyed servitude, so they are fine with being slaves. However, this problem begins to grow during the saga, mostly thanks to Hermion Granger. Coming from the outside world, Hermione doesn’t see this whole species slavery thing so clearly, so she begins to fight against it by becoming an activist.
While it is mentioned, we don’t see all of this in the movies, and there isn’t the intense debate that does appear in the books. In fact, a priori good characters like Ron and Hagrid defend in the books the enslavement of elves, since it is something very normalized in their world. Harry, for a change, knows it’s wrong, but is apathetic about it. And the only one who fights for the cause is Hermione, who ends up assuming the harmful role of “white knight”.
In the books, Hermione founds the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, a union that she uses to protest against the situation of the house elves in the 1994 Quidditch World Cup. The launch of this platform caused many to turn against Hermione, as is the case of Severus Snape -who in the books is not as gray as in the movies, but rather dark-.
Adapting this plot, evidently, was very difficult in the movies, since it goes out of the duality between black and white of the rest of the saga. Also, there was never a big moment where all the characters realized that Hermione was right and the house elves were happily set free. Simply put, the debate continued, although Granger becoming Minister of Magic perhaps ended up changing things.
This is such a big debate in the Wizarding World that it has even been adapted, in part, as the plot of Hogwarts Legacy. In the video game, the enemies are elves who suffer situations similar to those we see in the books, and their complaints are not for nothing.
Be that as it may, the remake of Harry Potter in Max is the perfect opportunity for this plot to be treated as it should be in the audiovisual. Of course, the world created by JK Rowling has a lot of potential, and the series could be the perfect opportunity to explore much more plots like this one and many others that had to be removed from the movies.
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