The Harry Potter films weren't always so careful to cast according to the physical descriptions in the books.

Sometimes the movies have actually directly contradicted the character descriptions in the books, for example, Daniel Radcliffe has the wrong eye color.

In which cases do the Harry Potter movies portray the characters with different features to those described in the books?

  • I don't think eye color is a miscasting. A miscasting would be more like snape being the head of hufflepuff or Hagrid being prof trelawney.
    – Escoce
    Feb 9, 2016 at 14:24
  • @Escoce I'm asking specifically about contradicting the character description (i.e. the appearance)
    – ibid
    Feb 9, 2016 at 14:26
  • I modified your title to reflect that your question is on appearance. "Miscast" is a bit of an opinion / pejorative word.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 9, 2016 at 14:45
  • 2
    There are quite a few. Both Dumbledore and Ron are repeatedly described as tall and spindly, but the actors didn't fit that description at all. And Emma Watson didn't have Hermione's big teeth. Feb 9, 2016 at 14:49
  • 3
    A shorter list would be who wasn't different.
    – user31178
    Feb 11, 2016 at 1:19

3 Answers 3


Seems like a solicitation for a very long and quite pedantic list, so I won't aim for completeness, but I'll add a few until I get bored (some are referred to in the comments, but I won't duplicate any points that are made in the other answer, of course).

  • Aunt Petunia.

    Mrs Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.7 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 1, The Boy Who Lived

    In the films, of course, she is a brunette and not particularly long-necked.

  • Arthur Weasley wore glasses in the books and is described as not having much hair, which doesn't really fit with the actor, who I don't remember ever wearing glasses in the film, and who has a very respectable amount of hair for a middle-aged man. He's also supposed to be thin (no disrespect to Mark Williams)

    Mr Weasley was slumped in a kitchen chair with his glasses off and his eyes closed. He was a thin man, going bald, but the little hair he had was as red as any of his children's.

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - p.33 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 3, The Burrow

  • Harry Potter famously has bright green eyes, while Daniel Radcliffe's are blue, which apparently caused a bit of stress. He's also supposed to be remarkably skinny, which isn't how I'd describe Radcliffe. Oh and his hair's famously untameably messy.

    Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear were old clothes of Dudley's and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair and bright-green eyes.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.20 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 2, The Vanishing Glass

  • Albus Dumbledore.

    He was tall, thin and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak which swept the ground and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.12 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 1, The Boy Who Lived

    I can't honestly say either Harris or Gambon fits this description. Harris is not nearly skinny enough, Gambon just isn't Dumbledore and has none of his twinklyness. It's up to you how harsh you wanna be. If you set aside costume and the nose (I wouldn't say Harris's nose looks overlong, or like it's been broken twice) it's a pretty fair effort, but neither of them look like the Merlin-esque figure I picture.

  • Dudley is blond, as CHEESE points out, not brown-haired.

    He had a large, pink face, not much neck, small, watery blue eyes and thick, blond hair that lay smoothly on his thick, fat head.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.21 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 2, The Vanishing Glass

  • Hagrid's a half-giant and in the books he is impossibly large, whereas the Robbie Coltraine version is just ... a bit big, really.

    If the motorbike was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild - long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of dustbin lids and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.16 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 1, The Boy Who Lived

    Of course, this cannot be a truly accurate description. I don't think Rowling necessarily intended this to be taken metaphorically, but there's no way he could have fitted on a tube train, or even through the barriers at this size.

  • Barty Crouch Jr was also blond, as our tasty friend who seems to have something of a thing for blonds points out.

    [...] and a boy in his late teens, who looked nothing short of petrified. He was shivering, his straw-coloured hair all over his face, his freckled skin milk-white.

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - p.516 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 30, The Pensieve

    David Tennant is another brown-haired actor. Also, if you'll accept this, they give him a tick as a defining feature, which even transfers to his Moody, where he has none in the books.

  • Mad-Eye Moody is much wilder in the books. His hair is dark grey and described as a mane, unlike the film version's fairly well-tamed ginger hair. His face is ruined, much more scarred than the film version's seems to be, and he has some of his nose missing.

    He lowered his hood, shook out a long mane of grizzled, dark grey hair, then began to walk up towards the teachers' table.


    The lightning had thrown the man's face into sharp relief, and it was a face unlike any Harry had ever seen. It looked as though it had been carved out of weathered wood by someone who had only the vaguest idea of what human faces were supposed to look like, and was none too skilled with a chisel. Every inch of skin seemed to be scarred. The mouth looked like a diagonal gash, and a large chunk of the nose was missing.


    He stretched out a hand that was as badly scarred as his face, and Dumbledore shook it, muttering words Harry couldn't hear.

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - pp.163-4 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 12, The Triwizard Tournament

  • Voldemort is supposed to have red eyes with slit-like pupils, where in the films, he doesn't seem to. Also his fingers are very distinctive.

    His hands were like large, pale spiders; his long white fingers caressed his own chest, his arms, his face; the red eyes, whose pupils were slits, like a cat's, gleamed still more brightly through the darkness.

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - p.559 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 33, The Death Eaters

  • The reimagined Flitwick who appears from The Prisoner of Azkaban onwards is far too young.

    Hedwig was still angry with Harry about the disastrous car journey and Ron's wand was still malfunctioning, surpassing itself hitting tiny old Professor Flitwick squarely between the eyes, creating a large, throbbing green boil where it had struck.

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - p.81 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 7, Mudbloods and Murmurs

  • JKR herself on Matthew Lewis as Neville:

    And there's another example, you know, they cast what they think is this plain-looking kid and he grows up to be this kind-of rock god.

    I don't know about you, but I can't see Neville Longbottom doing photo shoots in his underpants.

  • Finally, JKR on the trio:

    But, you know, to be honest, you and Rupert and Emma are all too good-looking. Frankly. You are. You know, the characters were geeky and you ...

    And on Hermione in particular:

    And then when I met her and she was this very beautiful - which she still is, of course - beautiful girl. I just kind of had to go [sighs] 'okay, okay, it's film, d'you know - deal with it. I'm gonna still see my gawky, geeky, ugly duckling Hermione in my mind, but -'


    Not that Hermione in the books is ever ugly, but it was quite a big deal for me that I had written, you know, a strong female character who was primarily about brain, and that she chose to become a little more groomed and glamorous, as, you know, us geeks do, at a certain point in our lives.

  • And Viktor Krum
    – user68762
    Sep 7, 2016 at 17:14
  • @Neeshka You might as well write it up with a quotation, there are so many, with varying degrees of importance (both in terms of the differences and in terms of the prominence of the character), I just fancied putting together an answer with some of the ones that came to mind when I saw this question on the front page :)
    – Au101
    Sep 7, 2016 at 17:16

Some which I can think of are:

  1. Ronald Weasley: He was supposed to be very tall and freckly. But, he was portrayed a medium height in the movies.
  2. Dudley: I imagined him to be far more fatter than in the movies. In the books, he was literally drooping from either side of his chair. However, he was portrayed mildly obese in the movies.
  3. Hermione Granger: As Daniel puts nicely in the comments above, Hermione in the movies don't have those big teeth which she was supposed to have.
  4. Wormtail: I imagined him to be the same age as of Black (late 30 - 40ish), but he appeared very old as compared to both Black and Lupin. (But, this might just be my own mis-perception)
  • 2
    Dudley was also supposed to have blond hair, I think
    – CHEESE
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:13
  • 2
    Also, Barty Crouch Jr. was supposed to have sandy hair, I think
    – CHEESE
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:15
  • 1
    And was Sirius supposed to have a beard?
    – CHEESE
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:18
  • 2
    @ibid. Okay. I have one more: In this picture, Vernon has a neck: google.com/…
    – CHEESE
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:28
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    About Dudley’s weight, it is obviously caricatured in the books. In one of the books (PoA? GoF?), he is said to have finally done what he'd been threatening to do for years and become wider than he is tall. That is something that is exceedingly rare and incredibly hazardous to your health. It would put him probably at 300+ kg, and obesity on that scale would not have gone unnoticed for so long by the authorities. Indeed, he would hardly have been able to walk, and he would be out of breath just going from the kitchen to the couch. Hardly gang-leader material. Feb 9, 2016 at 19:26

Some additional more relevant things about the trio's physical appearence as described in the books: Well, you mentioned Daniel Radcliffe's blue eyes,and the hair messyness but you didn't mention that his hair also differs from Harry Potter's in color: HP's was supposed to be jet black, not a lighter brown like Daniel's (it even has a gingerish undertone)... Second, Hermione's hair is supposed to be brown, but it's a brassy dark blonde in the movies (in the first two movies natural,bleached already in the Prisoner of Azkaban, especially prominent that it's bleached from the Goblet of Fire onwards)... Third Ron Weasley was veery freckled and very tall and thin in the books, with a big hooked nose. In the movie he is average height, without a single freckle, not thin, and doesn't have a hooked nose...

  • 2
    Can you add the relevant quotes from the books describing the characters and also images from the movies. If you do so this would be a great answer!
    – vap78
    Jul 25, 2017 at 7:53

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