Ever since The Goblet of Fire was released in 2005, Harry Potter fans have been breaking their wands and tearing their hair out over a major inconsistency between the films in the saga. Find out which one.
Keeping consistency in a world filled with magic that goes beyond the laws of physics is sometimes complicated. The cinematographic saga has tripped over the carpet by establishing from the second opus an astonishing rule concerning the use of the polyjuice potion.
Indeed, from the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron consume this potion which allows them to temporarily take on the appearance of another human being. This requires an element of the body of the person you want to copy. Besides, Hermione makes a mistake in making her dose of potion and changes into a cat-woman. As for our two heroes, they use it to look like Crabbe and Goyle in every way to find out if Malfoy is the heir to Slytherin.
The problem is that the film establishes that the potion does not reproduce the voices of the people being impersonated, forcing Harry and Ron to attempt to reproduce the voices of Crabbe and Goyle themselves so that their cover convinces Malfoy.
Except that in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Barty Croupton Jr usurps the identity of Auror Mad Eye Moody by regularly drinking polyjuice but his voice is perfectly that of the one he took on without worrying about imitation and without anyone noticing, even those who know Moody very well. And this is where the inconsistency lies.
JK Rowling didn’t have the problem!
In the books, the polyjuice potion is consistent from volume to volume, and it is explained that the potion physically changes the consumer’s body and therefore their vocal cords and voice, without requiring the usurper to have any skill in imitation to to be convincing. Once changed into Goyle, Harry can even do without glasses!
The first possible explanation is sadly down-to-earth. The Warner studio had paid Brendan Gleeson to play Mad Eye Moody and wasn’t going to get him doubled by David Tennant (interpreter of Barty) the whole film, risking revealing the twist of the film. Moreover, we do not know if David Tennant would have had the necessary talent as an imitator.
The second is to imagine that the writers simply wanted to have the gag of Harry and Ron trying to imitate Crabbe and Goyle to add a humorous moment without thinking about the consequences for the rest of the saga concerning the use of polyjuice.
The third is that in the books, the narration constantly reminds us that Harry and Ron are in the skin of Crabbe and Goyle, but in the cinema, we are simply faced with the comedians playing Crabbe and Goyle. In order to remind viewers – especially the youngest – that a deception is in progress, the idea of keeping the voices of the actors carrying out the usurpation can make sense from a technical point of view linked to cinema media.
The last explanation is more “narrative” and may be due to the dosage of the potion. Maybe Barty, who drinks polyjuice like it’s water, has boosted the transformation to the point where he doesn’t have to change his voice?
Note that the polyjuice pot appears in other books of the magic franchise. First in The Half-Blood Princewhen Crabbe and Goyle change into young girls, then in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry and his friends infiltrate the Ministry of Magic.
Anyway, this inconsistency between the Chamber of Secrets and the Goblet of Fire remains a thorn in the side of the fans, which they are reminded of each viewing of these two films of the saga. A concern that is all the sadder since at the time of filming The Chamber of Secrets, the novel by The Goblet of Fire had come out and could therefore have been avoided.
Agreement inconsistencies, but also false connections: