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Adaptational Attractiveness / Harry Potter

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Many characters are given intentionally unattractive descriptions in the books, but are played by considerably more good-looking actors:


  • The title character himself is regularly described as scrawny and messy-haired, compounded by ill-fitting clothes in the earlier books. Harry also never gets any She Cleans Up Nicely moments like Hermione (below) does. His actor, Daniel Radcliffe, grew up to be very conventionally attractive.
  • Hermione is described as being rather plain in the earlier books, having large buck teeth, until she had them magically shrunk in Goblet of Fire; she is only portrayed as attractive from the Yule Ball (in that book) henceforth (see She Is All Grown Up and She Cleans Up Nicely). Most characters are awed when they finally notice how beautiful she is at the dance. In the films, this did not quite work out that way (Rowling actually said that she was glad she spoke to Emma Watson on the phone before meeting her in person, or she would have felt Watson was too pretty to play Hermione. As it stands, Rowling decided that Emma was the perfect Hermione when the girl talked on the phone for over a minute without taking a breath. In her words, "It's a film, get over it.").
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  • Snape in the books has sallow skin and greasy hair. The movies conceded defeat in trying to make Alan Rickman unattractive and so threw a black wig on him and called it a day. Some of the illustrations for the earlier books also give him a very ugly beard, and others give him unsightly stubble, neither of which he has in the movies. At least he makes up for it by being excellent at delivering Snape's attitude.
  • Averted with Neville. In the books he's a meek, chubby foil to Dudley, and while his actor Matthew Lewis became, in the words of Emperor Kuzco, a "hottie hot hottie!", losing his baby fat and gaining about three feet in height, in the films he wore false teeth as well as a fat suit, and his ears were made to stick out.
  • Bellatrix, who in the books had lost her beauty after years in Azkaban prison, is played by Helena Bonham-Carter in the movies, and looks pretty damn good... except for her teeth.
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  • Dolores Umbridge, in the book, is described as being short, squat, and toad-like in features, which gives her an appearance as hideous as her personality. In the movie, she's portrayed by Imelda Staunton, who at worst looks like your average grandmother... but absolutely nails Umbridge's "poisoned honey" personality, an effect enhanced by her soft looks.
  • Luna transitions from somewhat plain and having slightly bugged-out eyes in the books to quite attractive in the films.
  • Dudley, while quite tubby in the first few films (he's actually the largest he ever gets in the third one), seems to be merely stocky by the time the fifth movie rolls around (admittedly this happens in the book as well, as Dudley takes up boxing and becomes more muscular than fat). Harry Melling, the actor who portrays him, actually lost a great deal of weight in between the shooting of the fifth and seventh films (the Dursleys were left out of the sixth film entirely). According to interviews with the actor, the producers nearly died of shock when he showed up for filming a good seventy pounds lighter (likely more than they were envisioning for Dudley). Fortunately for him, instead of recasting, they stuffed him into a fat suit. Unfortunately, the effect wasn't quite what they wanted, and ultimately his scene with Harry at the beginning of Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was cut.
  • Pansy Parkinson, in the books, is described as having "a face like a pug", but in the movies she's been played (through multiple re-castings) by attractive actresses (one of whom, Scarlett Byrne, was gorgeous enough to do a Playboy nude spread later in her career). Then again, she's being described by Gryffindors, so maybe that's a jaundiced account.
  • In a downplayed example in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Kreacher is described as having a distinct pig-like snout. While his movie counterpart isn't exactly beautiful even for a House Elf, his nose is pointed similar to Dobby's, just very hooked.
  • While Mad-Eye Moody is not attractive by any means, he is certainly not nearly as ugly as he is in the books. Somewhat more (meta) justified than many of the other examples, as his appearance in the books was the result of a lot of scars, which would have been, at the very least, expensive and time-consuming to portray on film.
  • Bill Weasley, in Half-Blood Prince, is scarred to the point of being described as only slightly less mangled-looking than Mad-Eye Moody, but in the film he only has slight scratches on his face. (Mad-Eye Moody and Bill Weasley are played respectively by father and son Brendan Gleeson and Domhnall Gleeson, so the comparison comes as appropriate.)
  • Even regarding animal characters: Mrs. Norris is described in the books and by Rowling herself as an ugly, skeletal and unpleasant cat, whilst in the movies the cat is a very much healthy and cute Maine Coon.
  • Once again with cats, Crookshanks is described as flat-faced and bowlegged]] in the books, and is played by a very pretty cat.
  • Arthur Weasley is described as being thin, balding, and wearing glasses in the books. In the films he's played by Mark Williams, who is of average weight, has a full head of hair and does not wear glasses.
  • Viktor Krum is described as ugly and socially awkward along with being unusually uncoordinated on the ground in the books, none of which is true for the film version.
  • Rita Skeeter is described as unattractive in the books; she most definitely isn't in the films.
  • In the books, Nymphadora Tonks is described as "okay-looking" but unable to hold a candle to someone like Fleur. Natalia Tena, on the other hand, is a beautiful woman. That said, the aforementioned account is coming from a biased source, namely someone who has a huge crush on Fleur Delacour, and Fleur Delacour is already pretty stiff competition due to being descended from a race of unfathomably beautiful seductresses.
  • Remus Lupin, in the books, is described having a pale face with premature lines, and light brown hair that is flecked with grey that both progress as his life continues. In the films, David Thewlis keeps his hair is brown and does not have lines anywhere on his face.
  • While it's more her relentless Abhorrent Admirer personality that is the main turn off to Harry and his friends, Romilda Vane's appearance is still described in rather unflattering terms in the books. Being played by Anna Shaffer in the films, however, has Harry not minding so much that she may be after him so intensely.
  • Amos Diggory. In the book, he has a scrubby brown beard, but in the movie version he is clean-shaven.
  • Voldemort himself is significantly less monstrous-looking than in the book, to invoke the invoked Uncanny Valley as per the filmmakers: as they said in the DVD extras for Goblet of Fire, "if you don't leave in a huge part of the human in him, he's not going to scare you." He looks more like his past self Harry encountered in a Pensieve Flashback- the handsome Mr. Riddle is gone, but still a far cry from the snake-faced red-eyed stuff of Harry's nightmares.
  • In the books, Draco isn't described as being particularly handsome. In the movies, he's played by Tom Felton.
  • Peeves the Poltergeist of all beings got this in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, where he looks like this. A far cry from the squat, pig-faced, wide mouthed trickster he was in the books.
  • Horace Slughorn is described as being hugely fat with a belly that seems to enter a room seconds before he does, and very walrus like in appearance, balding and a pair of sideburns that go into his mustache. In the movies, he's portrayed by a clean-shaven Jim Broadbent with a full head of hair. While he does make a comment on being overweight in his first appearance, at the most, he's Hollywood Pudgy.

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