As I was rereading Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, I was reminded of an issue that bothered me when reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy: is it acceptable to exclude characters who have relatively lengthy parts in books from the movie productions? Now, I am specifically speaking of Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter and Tom Bombadil from Lord of the Rings. These two characters are far from main characters, but their roles play a vital part in the progression through conflicts and character development that occurs in the novels.
Take Fleur Delacour. She is discussed thoroughly throughout the chapter devoted to Harry’s visit at the Weasley’s. Her role in this portion of the story is not vital because J.K. Rowling is focusing on her character development rather than conflict or action. Her role becomes important at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince . In order for her character to play out her necessary actions, she needs to be introduced into the story at a prior time, that being her character development. Sadly, Fleur is excluded from the movie production, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (2009). Fleur’s character needs to be included in order to reveal the development of Tonks and Lupin’s relationship. Fleur’s love for Bill provides the push Tonks and Lupin need to embrace their feelings for one another. Fleur argues with Mrs. Weasley that she will love Bill regardless of the scars he will have after recovering from werewolf bites and the possibility of him becoming more wolf-like. Tonks and Lupin’s attendance at this incident provides the gateway to their profession of love, regardless of flaws (i.e. half-werewolf). This relationship becomes significant because Rowling builds suspense throughout the text with Tonks’ changing Petronus and moods. The exclusion of Fleur’s character leads to the exclusion of focus on Tonks and Lupin’s relationship. As a result, the movie fails to set up for the next two movies (of the one book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), where Tonks and Lupin are the power couple fighting in the final battle against evil.
Similarly, Tom Bombadil is completely removed from the movie portrayal of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. One of the first encounters that Sam and Frodo experience occurs in the Old Forest, where Tom Bombadil lives. Though this portion of the text may seem of little importance, I beg to differ. The conflicts Sam and Frodo face in the Old Forest demonstrate the naive nature of the hobbits. Continually throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the reader develops an understanding of the innocence of the hobbits and necessity for other characters’ involvement to save them from danger and evil around every corner. Tom Bombadil is one of the first characters to save the hobbits from the dangers of the world. This interaction between the Old Forest, Tom Bombadil, and the hobbits develops the stage for Frodo and Sam’s growth over the course of the trilogy. Excluding Tom Bombadil removes a level of innocence associated with the hobbits. As a result, the growth from scared little hobbits to brave, epic heroes is not as blatant a transformation as it should be. Therefore, Tom Bombadil’s inclusion is of necessity to show the hobbits’ dependence on other characters. Not only that, but Tom Bombadil provides comic relief. His sing-songy rhymes loosen up the stress of saving the world. He reminds the reader that not everything in the world is working against Frodo and Sam. Though this is a completely different level, it is of great importance to the text as well.
Of course, at some level, movies have to exclude parts of books in order to keep everything entertaining and short for the audience. I am simply suggesting that movie producers, scriptwriters, etc. consider specific elements of the texts further before deciding to completely exclude them. Each character should be given some level of recognition, especially if they get entire chapters devoted to them! If the author took the time to write extensively about a particular character, there must be some degree of importance to that character.