In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince the film, there is a scene where Bellatrix Lestrange suddenly appears in front of the Burrow and ignites a pretty big ring of fire around it. She then runs amok in a reedy, muddy ditch, torments Harry and Ginny, and periodically announces -- in case it wasn't clear the first twenty times -- that she killed Sirius Black. The Burrow ends up engulfed in flames and presumably the Weasleys' home burns down.

I have Googled and searched for David Yates and David Heyman interviews addressing this, but I cannot find a sound explanation as to why this non-canonical scene was inserted into the Half-Blood Prince film. What scene from the novel Half-Blood Prince was the Burrow burning in the film meant to represent or replace? Is there a theme based in canon that the made-up Burrow scene represents, that doesn't appear in canon itself? It just feels like a gratuitous scene (YMMV); I've wondered over the years if it had a deeper meaning.

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    I really thought it was to add some action to a slow part of the movie...
    – TGnat
    May 31, 2012 at 14:38
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    Oy -- I asked this months ago: movies.stackexchange.com/q/312/202 :-P (and you answered it!)
    – Naftali
    May 31, 2012 at 16:06
  • Not only did I read this question believing Slytherincess had already answered it (which she had), but then we find that in the next movie the Burrow has been rebuilt exactly as it was: scifi.blogoverflow.com/2012/05/… May 31, 2012 at 16:34
  • As @TheDoctor pointed out you have already answered this exact question: Why is the Weasly house destroyed in the sixth Harry Potter film?. Are you asking something different here?
    – NominSim
    May 31, 2012 at 19:10
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    There's nothing nefarious going on. I made a mistake. I would never intentionally make a double post or ask the same question twice. It was entirely accidental that this has happened. I hadn't remembered answering it for The Doctor -- but I clearly made an error. I'll move to close the question and anyone who feels strongly about it can do the same. I apologize for any inconvenience and hope people will enjoy my future questions much more than this one. :) Jun 2, 2012 at 1:56

2 Answers 2


Film and literature are two completely different art forms. One of the best examples I've ever seen of this is from comparing the book Fahrenheit 451 with the movie. Both are quite different, but they tell the same story. (It's said that Ray Bradbury was involved to some extent in the making of the film.) There are scenes that work well in the film that wouldn't work in the book and vice versa.

Adapting any written work to film often includes many issues, such as finding ways to visually show on film what can be written about characters' thoughts, or dealing with issues of pacing.

Film is a visceral medium and literature is more of an intellectual medium. Film engages us in ways the printed word sometimes doesn't.

Blowing up the Burrow wasn't intended as much as a replacement of a scene in the book as it was a way to shock the audience (especially those who read the books and knew it didn't happen) and to make the point that, yes, these people are not only evil, but there is no place to hide from them. Throughout the stories, the Burrow is set up as a safe place. It's about the only place characters aren't hurt or threatened (other than the wedding, and that's outside the building).

The trope is known as The Worf Effect (Warning: TVTropes link - go there and you'll lose an hour of your life following endless links!) If you're telling a story that takes place on the Enterprise-D and you want to establish from the start that your alien is tough, you have Worf go up against him from the start and lose. (Another example in Star Trek of this same trope is in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Jem'Hadar where they bring in a Galaxy Class ship to beat the Jem'Hadar, and it gets blown to pieces almost immediately. The only purpose was to tell us, "This enemy is deadly and powerful.")

The only two reasons for this in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince were shock value and to make the point emotionally that no place was safe and that the enemy was quite lethal.


Nope!! The film had the Burrow burning probably for action, as in the book, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the others meet in the Burrow, instead of the Grimmauld Place.

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    Welcome to the site! :) I'm not sure this particularly answers the question, or why you brought Grimmauld Place into it. I feel like this was probably more intended as a comment or perhaps as part of a discussion, but that's not really how we work here. Don't worry! Stackexchange is weird. But it's important to learn early that we're not really a forum and that the answers down here have to be original and provide a full answer to the question (or as full an answer as possible) - ideally with quotes and references :)
    – Au101
    Mar 15, 2017 at 15:58
  • Um, I'm pretty sure they meet at the Burrow because Harry doesn't to Grimmauld Place till Deathly Hallows after Sirius's death. Also, if you remember, Dumbledore takes him to Ron's place and that's where he finds out about his OWLS results, and about him becoming Quidditch captain.
    – Reya
    May 4, 2017 at 15:19
  • Also, on this occasion, Hermione was not present, most probably, due to a recent fight with Ron.
    – CCCC
    Aug 26, 2019 at 8:52

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