So I finished the first book (Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone) yesterday, and of course a lot of things in the book are not in the movie, including the the potion puzzle created by Snape as part of the challenges leading to the philosopher's stone.

Is there a reason why the puzzle never appears in the movie? My first guess is movie budget and movie time, are there any other reasons?

It wouldn't be much MORE relevant to the story, but it would be a nice addition and give a more sense of completion since a lot of things lead to it. As @Ghoti and Chips said, Hagrid says: "Snape is one of the teachers protecting the Stone. He won't steal it.". At the time I tought it was just a general protection, like if someone tried to steal the stone he would be there to help. But now I know that there was a challenge that each teacher prepared.

Also during the challenges each of the main characters shined. Ron in the chess challenge, Harry in the broom scene and Hermione was supposed to shine in the potions one but it didn't happen...

  • I remember it from the old PC game adaptation of the movie! Dec 13, 2016 at 12:52
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    One funny consequence of this scene being excluded is that Hagrid's line "Snape is one of the teachers protecting the Stone. He won't steal it." doesn't make much sense in the movie! Dec 13, 2016 at 12:59
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    I imagine because it's just not a particularly interesting scene. Hermione herself says (in the book) that it's logic, not magic at all, so there's nothing to watch happen. Dec 13, 2016 at 13:05
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    Other than that it's irrelevant to the story and not worth spending minutes of your precious 2 hours on it? Could you please try to elaborate a little more what makes that specific part so much more relevant for the whole film, its story and themes compared to the millions of other things that didn't make it into the movie (or is this one of a bunch of questions yet to come)?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 13, 2016 at 13:40
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    Thanks, with those additions the question makes much more sense, especially since it's part of the actual stone challenges and not just some random incident in potions class as it first sounded.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 13, 2016 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


I would wager that it was a combination of factors.

  • Money/time constraints - the budget on a movie that already has a lot of special fx does not stretch endlessly. Plus, the scene would take some time, having to show the fires at the doors, reading (maybe more than once) the poem, showing the potions, having the characters take time to figure it out, etc
  • Story relevance - as you said, each character could shine in each situation. Hermione did on the Herbology challenge, by remembering how to counter the plant
  • Kids & Poison - despite the movie having several allusions to death and such, it is intended for a kids audience, where magic can always be used for good and love trumps all. References to poison do not have the 'magic' feel to it and the fear of burning alive may not also be appropriate
  • Scene value - While in all other challenges, there is some obvious act from the actors (standing still/not panicking, flying, commanding chess pieces), in this one, Harry and Hermione would just stand still as she cracked the puzzle
  • Timing - its a very slow scene if you think about it. Just characters looking at a poem and thinking about it. The director might have thought it didn't fit well in the final race against time as Harry tried to stop good ol' Voldy
  • Great answer :) +1 for good ol' Voldy (Uncle Voldy for close friends) Dec 13, 2016 at 15:47

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