There are a lot of things to love about the Harry Potter movies, but as any avid book reader knows, there are always a few things that can get lost in the transition from the page to the screen. To put it bluntly, the book versions are always better — mainly because they provide a ton of extra details that the films frankly don’t always have time for (even though some fans would definitely be perfectly happy to sit through an eight-hour movie if it meant fitting everything in). But alas, some moments need to be cut due to time constraints in any adaptation, be it a Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter installment. But there is one particular Harry Potter book scene that was left out of the movies and, for some reason, I just can’t seem to get over it even to this day.
Granted, I’m certainly not the first person out there to complain about the various book moments that deserved to be in the movies, but among the many examples (the lack of Peeves and Winky, Hermione’s creation of S.P.E.W.), there’s one part that rarely ever gets talked about. There is a specific scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Harry is working his way through the maze in the Triwizard Tournament that is tends to be forgotten about when fans discuss what parts of the books they’d wish had made it to the big screen.
At one point in the book, Harry comes across a sphinx, who tells him that he needs to solve a riddle in order to pass by without harm. For those who are in need of a refresher, here’s how the riddle goes, in full:
Harry proceeds to tackle each section separately — spy, d, er — which results in him realizing that the creature he’d be unwilling to kiss was a spider, the very thing he’d be expected to battle before reaching the Triwizard Cup.
I remember, back when I read the book for the very first time, having so much fun trying to answer the riddle along with Harry. Yet, when the movie came out, there was no riddle in sight. Now, to be fair, this wasn’t exactly a pivotal plot point that greatly impacted the over-arching storyline of the franchise, but still. It was a standout moment in the book. One that helped to prove that, while Harry may have been illegally selected for the Triwizard Tournament, he could still hold his own when push came to shove. In fact, that’s one of the few things Barty Crouch Jr. (aka Fake Moody) didn’t help him with during the competition. So, if you think about it, it was actually a disservice to Harry not to include his big, shining moment of glory.
So the next time you sit down to watch Goblet of Fire, take a moment to think about this scene and how great it would’ve been to see it play out on the big screen. The reason for it being cut is truly the biggest riddle of all.