The Differences in Harry's Scar in the 'Harry Potter' Books vs the Movies, Explained


Apr. 18 2023, Published 9:51 a.m. ET

Harry Potter shows off his scar
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Fans of the Harry Potter book series are still protective over the source material when it comes to the failings of the film franchise, even a decade after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 hit theaters. While it's typical of films to adapt from books to leave out certain pieces or events that would detract from the main plot, fans have particular ire with one item in particular.

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Namely, the differences between Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe)'s scar in the movies vs how it's described in the books. As the most defining characteristic of Harry's face, it's also an important piece of his mythology. Here's what you need to know about how Harry's movie scar matches up against his book scar.

Harry Potter's scar in the early films is in the center of his forehead.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures
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Here are the differences in Harry Potter's scar in the books vs the movies, explained.

Harry's signature identifier is a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, the result of a rebounded Killing Curse linking him in perpetuity to Lord Voldemort. However, the books never clarify where the scar is on his forehead, with the illustrated editions often placing it in the direct center of his forehead. Even author J.K. Rowling's own illustrations for the book series place the scar in the middle of Harry's forehead.

However, Rowling must have changed her mind about this placement because in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the scar is placed above Harry's right eye. A quote from the book confirms this, "Harry felt as though his first day had lasted a week, but he still had a mountain of homework to do before bed. A dull pounding pain was developing over his right eye."

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Harry Potter's scar is hidden in 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' due to its placement on the right.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Additionally, when asked to consult on the Harry Potter films, an interview with TIME in 2001 reveals that J.K. Rowling told then-director Christopher Columbus the scar was on the right side of Harry's forehead.

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TIME recounts, "Columbus wondered early on where to put Harry's lightning-bolt scar, a souvenir from his infancy, when he had his first run-in with the evil Lord Voldemort, who killed his parents. Editions of the books all over the world showed the scar in various places, so the director went to the source."

"'I drew a face with a wizard hat, and I had her draw in the scar,' says Columbus. 'She described it as "razor sharp" and drew it vertically down the right side of Harry's forehead.'"

So, fans can be rest assured that the change in placement for Harry's scar comes from the creator herself. Maybe Rowling will even change her mind once more with the upcoming HBO television adaptation of the films.

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