Fidelius Charm left out of movies; upgrade or downgrade?

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Fidelius Charm left out of movies; upgrade or downgrade?

Postby stebbinsd » April 29th, 2018, 1:03 am

When a story is re-told across multiple mediums, the adaptation will almost always have "hit or miss" changes. Sometimes, the changes will be seen as an improvement over the source material; other times, a downgrade. The Harry Potter movies, however, are subject to an almost universal consensus that the books are far superior to the movies.

But once in a blue moon, the movies actually make an improvement over the books.

In the books, the Potters, as well as 12 Grimmauld Place and Bill & Fleur's house, are all protected by the Fidelius Charm. In the movies, however, all that was said about the Potters' predicament was that they "went into hiding; few knew where they were. One who did was Sirius Black, and he told You-Know-Who."

I'm going to say that this was actually an improvement over the source material.

Sure, when I first read about the Fidelius Charm, it felt sufficiently magical. I feel like the characters in this franchise should solve their problems using magic, simply because that's the whole draw of this franchise! After all, in Harry's final detentions before Dumbledore's assassination, Snape forbade Harry from using magic, and the whole point of that line was to increase Harry's tediom even more!

But the more I think about it, the more I realize the Fidelius Charm did more harm than good for the franchise. Sure, the fact that it's a world of magic means that Rowling can make up just about anything she wants and it doesn't have to make sense logically. But just because something is exempt from conventional logic or science doesn't mean it is exempt from self-consistency. What I mean by that is ... Rowling's plot devices still have to have a clear set of rules as to what they can and cannot do, and then follow those rules!

Take Alice in Wonderland for example. The Mad Hatter gets a new personality when he puts on a new hat. While that doesn't make sense in our world, it still adheres to its own internal consistency. We never see the Mad Hatter get a new personality by doing anything other than switching hats, nor do we ever see the switching of hats to have any effect other than giving him a new personality. For example, we never see the Mad Hatter put a new hat on and suddenly grow a third arm out his butthole. Meanwhile, Alice grows or shrinks whenever she eats food and drink; she never undergoes any other change when she eats or drinks, nor can she change size by doing anything other than eater or drinking.

As to the Fidelius Charm, the problem there is ... when we're told in no uncertain terms that X is impossible to happen unless Y conditions are met, and we clearly see evidence of X happening without Y conditions being met, the audience is going to feel lied to!

And no ... merely answering with "well yeah, but ... magic" is NOT an explanation! It's a cop-out! Just because the characters in-universe might be exempt from the muggle laws of physics doesn't mean Rowling is exempt from the rules of how to tell a story!

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the existence of the Fidelius Charm has created a buttload of plot holes in the story big enough to land a plane in. Here are just a few of these major plot holes:

Hagrid collecting Harry
How did Hagrid pull Baby Harry from the wreckage of the Potters' Cottage? Rowling could have overcome this plot hole by saying that Sirius went and got Baby Harry and gave him to Hagrid (and since Sirius was clearly there, seeing as he gave Hagrid his flying motorbike, that wouldn't be out of the question), but no, she clearly said that Hagrid was the guy who pulled Baby Harry out of the wreckage!

Snape's inability and/or unwillingness to tell the location of 12 Grimmauld Place
When Dumbledore died, every other member of the Order of the Phoenix should have become Secret-Keepers. So shouldn't Snape have told Voldemort where the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is? Mad-Eye Moody put a tongue-binding curse to keep Snape from talking, you say? Well, in that case, if we can use magic to prevent a secret-keeper from spilling the beans, why don't we do that all the time?!

Harry saw Bill & Fleur's house before Bill showed it to him
When Harry & Company escaped Malfoy Manor, Harry sees a house in the distance and can see somebody walking around in it. However, it is later revealed that this house - Bill and Fluer's house - is protected by the Fidelius Charm with Bill and the Secret-Keeper. So while I can accept that Bill might have given this information to Ron, Luna, Dobby, etc., it's Harry who saw the house on his own, and Harry was never given this information by Bill prior to that moment.

And last but not least ... and this is the big one! This is a plot hole that completely negates the entire story!

Sirius' Innocence
Sirius was implicated in the Potters' assassination because everyone believed that he was the Potters' Secret-Keeper and, thus, the only one who could have told Voldemort where the Potters were. But Dumbledore was the one who cast the charm in the first place! So even if everyone else believed Sirius was the Secret-Keeper, shouldn't Dumbledore have known better?!

This is a big deal, because it completely negates the entire story, and unlike the above example, I honestly can't think of a simple work-around! Why didn't Dumbledore speak the NARGLE-INFESTED AREA up when Sirius was hauled away to Azkaban? Why didn't he tell everyone that Sirius was innocent and it was Wormtail who actually betrayed the Potters?

Maybe Dumbledore knew that Harry needed to live with the Dursleys in order for the Bond of Blood to form (because apparently, godparents aren't considered blood relatives), as well as to keep Harry oblivious to his fame in the Wizarding World. But even then, Sirius could have at least watched over Harry - much like Ms. Figg was tasked with doing - and actually threatened the Durseleys into not abusing Harry!

And yet, Dumbledore spends twelve solid years - from Voldemort's initial downfall all the way to the climax of Prisoner of Azkaban - believing that Sirius had betrayed the Potters. But he should have known better!

So yeah ... if Dumbledore had spoken out that Sirius wasn't the Potters' traitor, there would have been no story!

The movie's take on the Potters' predicament - that they simply "went into hiding," without any magic being involved whatsoever - clears up all of these plotholes right quick! It's completely conceivable that either Sirius or Wormtail could have betrayed the Potters, and Dumbledore isn't a complete idiot for not knowing better. Hagrid could have pulled Baby Harry from the Potters' wreckage without any magical laws being broken. Snape can have the tongue-tying curse preventing him from telling the location of 12 Grimmauld Place, and Harry could have noticed Bill & Fleur's house on his own.

So what do you guys think? Fidelius Charm left out of movies: Was that an upgrade or downgrade?

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