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Every Time A Harry Potter Character Received A Howler In The Movies (& Why)


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Summary

  • Howlers were a common feature in the Harry Potter books but only appeared once in the movies, making them seem less prevalent in the wizarding world.
  • Petunia Dursley received a Howler from Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, an important moment the movies missed.
  • The Ministry of Magic received numerous Howlers after the Quidditch World Cup incident, highlighting the anger within the wizarding community.

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The Harry Potter movies only saw one character receive a Howler, but these explosive letters were a far more prominent feature of the books. One of the many quirky artifacts of the magical world, Howlers were special letters typically used when a witch or wizard wanted to express outrage to a recipient. This looked different from the Harry Potter books to the movies. In the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie, Mrs. Weasley’s Howler comes to life and yells its message to Ron, the envelope contorting itself into a floating mouth with teeth. In the several instances in which Howlers appeared in the books, on the other hand, the letters physically exploded if not immediately opened.

Howlers were seen or discussed repeatedly in the Harry Potter books, and though the majority of these cases weren’t pivotal to the plot, the presence of these letters throughout Harry’s story emphasized how common they were in the wizarding world. The Harry Potter movies only featured a Howler once, in Chamber of Secrets, though a talking letter (not technically considered a Howler since it didn’t “howl“) was sent by the Ministry of Magic’s Mafalda Hopkirk in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Aside from this, the Warner Bros films made it easy to forget that Howlers were something most witches and wizards would have experienced (even secondhand) at one point or another.

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5 Mrs. Weasley Sent Ron A Howler For Stealing The Flying Car

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The single instance in which a Howler was seen or mentioned in the Harry Potter movies was much the same as in the books. This was when Harry and the audience were first introduced to these explosive, magical letters, and they left quite an impact. Harry and Ron stole Mr. Weasley’s flying car when they couldn’t get past the barrier to Platform 9¾ and the Hogwarts Express and obviously got themselves into a lot of trouble in the process. Ultimately, Mrs. Weasley thought public humiliation was the best punishment.

In the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book, Molly’s letter to Ron was a little longer than in the movie. She mentioned how terrified she had been when they left King’s Cross and found the car gone and that she thought Ron’s father would “die of shame” when he read the letter from Dumbledore. Aside from this and the fact that the Howler didn’t come to life, the scene was fairly similar from book to film.

4 Neville’s Gran Sent Him A Howler For Losing The Common Room Passwords

Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban

Matthew Lewis as Neville in Front of the Hogwarts Library

The second time a character in Harry Potter received a Howler was in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and this is a moment that was, of course, not included in the movie. Neville was notorious for forgetting the password to the Gryffindor common room, so he decided in his third year at Hogwarts that he would simply start writing them all down. He thought this was clever, but since he lost the list and Sirius Black subsequently used it to break in, he realized he had actually been foolish. Professor McGonagall made sure he recognized what a ridiculous blunder this had been, but no one was harsher than Neville’s own grandmother.

Neville’s Gran, Augusta Longbottom, sent a Howler to Hogwarts, and though the boy tried to rush it out of the Great Hall before it exploded, he only made it as far as the Entrance Hall. The Prisoner of Azkaban book never said precisely what the letter had said, only that Gran’s shrill voice could be heard through the Great Hall and other parts of the castle. This was apparently the second time Augusta sent Neville a Howler since he had mentioned trying to ignore one from her back in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (“It was horrible!“).

3 The Ministry Of Magic Received Howlers After The Quidditch World Cup

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Death Eaters at the Quidditch World Cup

The Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie never discussed the repercussions of the Quidditch World Cup, but the book explained that the Ministry of Magic was heavily blamed when Voldemort’s Death Eaters turned up and terrorized the camp. Unlike the movie, Lucius Malfoy and the rest captured a family of Muggles and paraded through camp with the terrified parents and children dangling in the air above them. Ministry officials wiped the memories of the Muggles, but terror runs deeper than recollection, and the effects on the poor family would have been profound.

The wizarding community was so enraged that this had been allowed to happen that they began sending dozens of Howlers to the Ministry of Magic, notably to the Department of International Magical Co-operation, which was partly responsible for putting on the Quidditch World Cup. This was where Percy Weasley worked, and he told Harry that there were so many Howlers that the explosions had caused immense damage to the offices.

2 Hermione Received Howlers After Rita Skeeter Wrote A Scathing Article

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry-Potter-Hermione-Rita-Skeeter

After Rita Skeeter wrote her article in Witch Weekly claiming that Hermione was in a love triangle with Harry Potter and Viktor Krum, things got pretty rough. Though the movies left out of the worst of it, there was a period in which the witches of the British wizarding world all seemed to despise Hermione. Even Mrs. Weasley believed what Skeeter wrote and treated her future daughter-in-law far more coldly than was typical for her character. Things got so bad that Hermione even started receiving Howlers from her biggest haters.

We never get to see what sorts of things these angry witches were saying in their Howlers—Goblet of Fire only stated that the letters would explode at the Gryffindor table and scream loud enough for everyone to hear. However, it ultimately gets bad enough that Hermione decides to do whatever it takes to figure out how Rita Skeeter was getting her scoops and put an end to it. When she discovered that the journalist was an unregistered animagus who could turn into a beetle at will, Hermione caught her in a jar and blackmailed her into silence.

1 Dumbledore Sent Petunia Dursley A Howler When She Nearly Kicked Harry Out

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley in Harry Potter

Most of the Howlers left out of the Harry Potter movies were negligible regarding the plot—but the one received by Petunia Dursley in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix really should have made it to the film. It mysteriously arrived at Privet Drive after the Dementors attacked Dudley and Harry, and Vernon was about to kick his nephew out of the house for good. Petunia, terrified of what had happened to her son, was all for abandoning her promise to keep Harry safe. That is until a Howler arrived and screamed, “Remember my last, Petunia!

The Howler caused Petunia to change her mind about Harry leaving, and this was the only time in the Harry Potter books that she went against her husband’s word. It wasn’t until the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that Harry learned that Dumbledore had sent the Howler and that by “my last,” he had been referencing the last letter he had sent, which explained that by keeping Harry, Petunia ensured that the boy would be residing with someone who shared Lily’s blood, thus keeping her protection alive. Dumbledore described this as a “pact,” something the Howler successfully reminded Petunia she had committed herself to in Harry Potter.

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