Book to Movie Comparison
Let me start by saying that I am a HUGE Ron/Hermione shipper and I have loved the idea of them as a couple since Philosopher’s Stone! I do not think there is any other woman for Ron Weasley and there certainly is not any other man for Hermione Granger. It has always been obvious to me that they want and love each other. However, I think the most important thing to happen to their relationship and a major reason why they got so close by the beginning of Deathly Hallows is Lavender Brown.
Lavender Brown was not only Ron’s girlfriend. She was a catalyst for Hermione to admit her feelings. Lavender finally made Hermione realise that Ron could easily be taken away from her and that if she didn’t change her ways a bit and act on her feelings he would leave. Lavender brought out Hermione’s deepest and truest feelings for Ron.
Similarly, Lavender also made Ron figure out what he wanted in a woman. He has always wanted Hermione but he never knew what she thought of him; in his eyes, Hermione wanted a bloke more like Harry. Therefore, when he noticed that Lavender was interested, he took her as a comfort. However, he quickly learned that he needed more than a girl who would simply worship him and snog him. He needed substance and someone who could push him. Lavender finally made Ron realise that Hermione was the only woman who really made him want to be a better man and care for himself.
In short, Lavender is a very important character in the sixth Harry Potter book, not only for the Ron/Hermione relationship, but also just the comedy in general. So, when I went to the cinemas to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince I was optimistic for the Ron/Lavander/Hermione triangle. All the promotion, teaser trailers, and interviews with the cast and crew focused on the infamous love triangle and it was built up to be golden.
However, the R/L/Hr concept was lost in the movie and was lacklustre. It all started with the toothpaste scene. It was buffed to be a great new addition for the R/Hr storyline, however, Ron simply pointing and telling Hermione she had a spot of toothpaste on her chin and Hermione laughing a bit hysterically didn’t do much. He never touched her. They did not even share eye contact. It was an overhyped scene.
A bright side was Ron’s first encounter with Lavender at the joke shop. The simple look she gave him after a quiet “Hi Ron,” was a great teaser. I assumed great things were to come.
I was sadly mistaken. The entire R/Hr storyline, which was supposed to include awkward yet cute moments between them, was reduced to just a few scenes of them before Ron got a girlfriend. The first one was Hermione slapping his arm with a book. While it did show her frustration on his cool demeanour and provided a funny moment when Ron called her a lunatic, it didn’t really prove anything other than Hermione being annoyed that Ron ate when he should have cared for Harry’s safety.
Next, the scene when Ron comes to potions class didn’t really enforce anything R/Hr. Although Hermione did say that one of the smells she was attracted to was Spearmint toothpaste, it was said so fast and the actual toothpaste scene was so stale that hardly anyone who didn’t know about R/Hr love before would have got it. However, it did show a great deal of Lavender’s lust for Ron. When he stood by her, she stared at him and wavered a bit. It was perfect! It was obvious that she wanted him.
So, by the time Ron tried out for quidditch, it was established in the film that Lavender had a thing for Ron and that maybe Hermione had feelings for Ron too. Ron on the other hand was not seen to liking either of them. It was another nice dose of Lavender when she came to their table and offered Ron luck. She practically oozed with admiration. It was a pleasant moment for both Hermione and Lavender showing their feelings for Ron. Hermione gently waving at Ron as he looked up at her was very awe-worthy. Her jinxing Cormac so Ron would get the keeper position was nice as well: it was the first real action to show what she was willing to do to help Ron and it showed that she cared a great deal for him. The actual act itself is something Hermione would frown upon in any other situation. However, in the battle for Ron’s affection, Lavender was brilliant! Anytime Ron made a save, she bounced and squealed. She clapped and clutched her tissue. She was so keen on Ron and it was obvious. It was extremely canon!
Yet, for Ron it didn’t establish much. Yes, when Cormac asked him to help him with Hermione he looked to her and frowned but that was about it. Afterwards didn’t help us learn how Ron felt for Hermione either. He was completely calm when telling Hermione that Cormac liked her. Book!Ron would have never been so casual about it and he probably would have hounded her about it. However, it was another great Ron/Lavender moment. The small wave and smile she gave him when he looked over at her was very cute.
The next scene for the triangle was the Three Broomsticks. Another let down. The “splash of ginger” did not mean anything. Hermione said it in barely a whisper and we didn’t even get to see Ron’s or Hermione’s faces when she said it. There was a good moment when Hermione asked Ron what he would do if Ginny saw them snogging. It was great how Hermione said it so matter-of-factly and how Ron was so confused by her statement. It showed a bit more on Hermione’s part of her liking Ron but all it did in Ron’s case was show us how confused he was by her words. Except for the, “Did you hear what she said about her and I snogging, as if,” comment he gave to Harry on their way back to Hogwarts. It rather gave the impression that he couldn’t get it out of his mind since she said it.
The first and perfect moment for Ron showing his feelings for Hermione was during his chat with Harry, when he said Hermione had nice skin. It was terribly needed. In the book Half Blood Prince, it was plain obvious Ron fancied Hermione – there were so many moments which proved his feelings. But in the movie, up to this moment, he never really showed emotion towards her. So, the skin comment was a breath of fresh air.
When the game day finally came, I was ready for some good triangle action! However, it was ruined when Ron and Hermione talked about the Christmas party. In the book, this is such an intense and crucial moment for them. Ron is angry and extremely jealous about the situation. He hassles Hermione about the Slug Club and accuses her of bringing Cormac so she could hook up with him. Hermione is upset with his accusations and blurts that she wanted to bring him. Embarrassment takes over for both of them and Ron is taken aback. He softly asks, “You were going to ask me?” Hermione follows it with “Yes! But if you’d rather I hooked up with McLaggen…” when Ron says, “No, I wouldn’t,” very quietly. They stare at each other until Harry interrupts.
This moment is one of the best moments in Half-Blood Prince for R/Hr because Harry tells us that he knew they would get together eventually and that he always knew they liked each other. It really established there was real magic between them. However, in the movie it was reduced to Ron saying causally, “I assume you’ll be taking McLaggen,” and Hermione rushes, “Actually I was going to ask you.” They do not look at each other. They just go back to reading and eating. It was a disappointment.
The actual game was brilliant at showing how different Hermione and Lavender were. Lavender was bouncy and cheery while Hermione smirked and clapped. It made us curious as to how Ron would choose between them.
The kiss after the win was perfect! I loved how Lavender pulled Ron to her and snogged his face off. I also loved how surprised Hermione looked after seeing it. The entire moment with Harry and the birds was lovely. Hermione crying and asking Harry what it’s like seeing Ginny with Dean really showed us for the first time that her feelings for Ron were real. It was her turn in a sense to feel the pain like Ron had to in Goblet of Fire when she was with Krum. I loved watching her cry and shake. Hermione loves Ron and it really hurt her when he ended up with Lavender. I was absolutely gobsmacked.
Ron and Lavender storming in made me tense up. I loved how giggly Lavender was and how she did not care for Hermione. Ron, on the other hand, took it like how Book!Ron would have. All his excitement vanished and he seemed so scared but tried to cover it up with, “What’s with the birds?” I’m sure he was not only confused about seeing Hermione crying but also seeing her close with Harry. I loved how he snatched his arm back when Lavender tried to pull him away. It was a good gesture in showing us that he cared more about her than having fun with Lavender.
I think the best R/Hr moment in the film happened when Hermione set the birds on him and he ducked out of the way. Before he left, Ron gave Hermione this terribly moving expression of confusion and a bit of guilt and rejection. Hermione’s eyes were full of tears but she stared him down. It told him that he had hurt her and I think it really sank in for Ron. It was so beautiful. It was the most canon Ron and Hermione in the movie thus far.
Everything after that was bland. Lavender in the book is less of a stalker and more of just a girl in love/lust over Ron. She really brought completion to Hermione. She was a real character and a real girl. I really did feel sorry for her and I enjoyed her character. But Lavender in the movie was hard to feel for. Her fogging the window and writing R+L was good for showing her crazy side but that’s it. Showing Lavender as a creeper does not help the R/Hr ship. It has to be shown why Hermione was so scared and worried. Also, Ron explaining that what he and Lav had was chemical and then “will it last, how knows?” and “There’s no stopping it,” – it’s so not Ron. In the book, he was not that casual and cool with his new girlfriend. Sure, he wanted to move on but he was not at all confident and comfortable with it. In the film, this scene didn’t help the R/L/Hr triangle or R/Hr ship, or build angst. It just made Ron look like a jerk.
There was a nice scene though when Hermione passed by their compartment and Ron looked after her longingly. However, the scene with the necklace was underdone and Hermione shouting how she did not care if Ron snogged Lavender in the library was less impressive that it should have been. While it was nice that she tried to be strong and act like she didn’t care, there should have been more sorrow in her voice and not anger. The “I have to go vomit,” line was a bad choice as well. It made for good comedy but it wasn’t great for Hermione’s character. It showed more annoyance of Lavender and less her being upset that Ron was with someone else.
So, it all led up to the important poisoning scene. Lavender was great when she rushed at Ron’s side and fussed over him. Her face and body language was incredibly canon. Hermione, on the other hand, was a disappointment. In the book she is quiet and pale and terribly upset. In the movie, she simply looked at him. It did not show her deep emotion for him or how she was scared that after weeks without speaking to him, she might never get a chance to speak to him again.
The argument between Lavender and Hermione was great. I loved how Hermione called her a daft dimbo and Lavender said now she found Ron interesting. When Ron stirred and moaned Hermione’s name three times I almost cried. It was spectacular. I loved Hermione face when she recognized what he had said and how Lavender ran off crying. I gushed when she took his hand and he moved. Hermione could not stop smiling and I couldn’t either. It was a great moment and was the only book moment that didn’t disappoint me. The additional, “It’s about time, isn’t it?” from Ginny was a pleasant surprise and I think it demolished some of the H/Hr love when Harry smiled at her and Hermione whispered, “Oh shut up,” after taking Ron’s hand. Dumbledore adding, “Mr. Weasley is in good care,” was a total shot out to Hermione. I squeed at that!
However, the break up with Lavender scene was terrible. I don’t like how Ron had nothing to do with it. It gives the impression that he would not have left her if Lavender hadn’t heard him say Hermione’s name. Even though he said, “I’m glad to get rid of her” it would have had more of an impact on how he felt nothing for Lavender if they had broken up as they did in the book. The “Ron you’re making it snow” line might as well have been cut out. It is one of my favourite moments in the book. Hermione takes Ron’s hand and guides his wand down and then he brushes snow off her shoulder. Lavender bursts into tears afterwards. It’s very good for displaying the sexual tension between Ron and Hermione. However, in the movie it was five seconds of Hermione making the statement, touching Ron’s wrist, and Harry brushing snow off the table. It is as if Ron and Hermione aren’t allowed to touch each other at all. I don’t like how Lavender was glaring at them and digging her fork into the table. She was supposed to be crying. Movie!Lavender is a stocker, but I wish her character were more sensitive and human. It would have complicated and added more drama to the triangle.
Well, that was the last of the R/L/Hr triangle. After that, it was as if nothing happened. Ron and Hermione went back to never really talking or giving each other eye contact and Lavender was never seen again.
As a whole, the entire R/L/Hr triangle and the building of Ron and Hermione’s love for each other was a bust. While there were a few cute moments, it was too hyped up and did not deliver. There wasn’t enough Lavender for one. Her character was completely butchered. There wasn’t a lot of indication that Ron wanted Hermione, there was not enough of him with Lavender, and there wasn’t any real dialogue of Ron expressing his frustration and annoyance with Lavender like there was in the book. Hermione wasn’t nearly as upset over things and didn’t show her anger as she did in the book. The book Half-Blood Prince really focused on Ron’s and Hermione’s mutual feelings, but in the movie it was sped through and watered down.
Of course, the stars behind the characters of Ron, Lavender, and Hermione had magic or lack thereof of their own.
Rupert Grint and Jessie Cave made an excellent team. Jessie showed Lavender’s passion, lust, excitement, and cattiness perfectly! She and Rupert on screen together were gold! The scene where she kisses him on the staircase was extremely sexy and I loved the spark between them right before she kissed him after the win. Though both actors said it was a bit scary, they nailed the scane and it is obvious they were comfortable with each other.
Another great moment was one that I’m not sure was actually meant to be. After they come back from Christmas break Lavender gives Ron the necklace and jumps on his back. Jessie and Rupert both laughed as he tightened his grip on her and helped her push higher on his back. I don’t know if they – or at least Rupert – was supposed to laugh at that, but it showed how much fun they had working together. Jessie has said herself that she is very keen on Rupert; and he has said nothing but good things about her as well. He has called her a good kisser, a great actress, and sweet and funny person. It showed on screen. My only complaint is that they did not get more screen time together! I was expecting Jessie to be in the majority of the movie but her screen time was terribly short. It is a shame, because she and Rupert are so funny and have natural chemistry. They presented their characters and their relationship well. I could not get enough of them!
Rupert and Emma Watson usually have great chemistry on screen, but in Half-Blood Prince, it was lost. Their usual spark and fire was absent. First, they hardly had any screen time together talking. Surprisingly, both Ron AND Hermione were not in Half-Blood Prince as much as I thought they would be. They took a back seat to Dumbledore and Draco. Besides, anytime they were together and they were talking, Ron was looking at Harry. He seemed to talk to Harry and then had Hermione looking at him. Rupert and Emma did not have a single moment where I was blown away. They usually share beautiful looks like in Order of the Phoenix or have great bickering like in Prisoner of Azkaban, but none of it was present in Half-Blood Prince. I think the biggest reason is that Rupert and Dan stole the show. Ron and Harry’s friendship was amplified ten times the normal. They were blokes and worked so well together.
I should add that Rupert was amazing overall. He did everything he could do melt the ice between him and Emma and he was fantastic as Ron.
To conclude, the love triangle was not what it could have been, and we should have seen more of Rupert’s interactions with his two female co-stars. While the entire teenage angst plot line made for good comedy and even some serious moments, when it comes to delivering the best from the book Half-Blood Prince, the movie failed. Steve Kloves should have wiped off his glasses and re-read the book before embarking on writing a script.
All images courtesy of Warner Bros. via Oclumencia