Monday, July 19, 2010

Bonnets and Broomsticks: Where Harry Potter and Jane Austen Collide

I do have obsessions other than Austen, one of which is gearing up at the moment. It began a few weeks ago when I decided that a great project for all our planned summer driving would be to listen to the entire Harry Potter series on audio tape. My husband and I have both read the books several time, both together and on our own. It seems like once a year we can't help ourselves but devote at least a few weeks to Potter. Needless to say, instead of saving the audio books for long and tedious car rides, we spent most of our free time listening to the books as quickly as possible, once again unable to walk away from the tale. After finishing book seven, what else was there to do but rewatch all the films? Though I have anxiously awaited the release of each film, perhaps never before have I been as excited as now, with the first part of The Deathly Hallows coming out in November and the final installment next July. Two Harry Potter movies in less than a year is a worthy cause for massive elation in my world. Though the films are never quite up to the books, I continue to marvel at how well cast they are and how many of the actors have serious costume drama credentials. Daniel Radcliffe himself had his first role in the 1999 BBC adaptation of David Copperfield. Unfortunately, he has never been in an Austen adaptation. Neither has Emma Watson, despite tauntingly sharing her name with the heroine of Austen's unfinished novel, The Watsons, but so many of the other wonderful actors in these films have. So as to reprieve my husband from questioning each time we watch these movies (Do you know who he is? Do you recognize her?), I have compiled the following list. If there are any other Austen/Potter addicts out there who know of actors I have missed, please let me know, though I think I have been fairly thorough, providing images when I could find them.

Sam Beazley (who filled the small role of Everard in The Order of the Phoenix) is the vicar in the first episode of the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice.

Jim Broadbent (Professor Horace Slughorn) was Bridget's father in Bridget Jones's Diary.

Michael Gambon (Professor Albus Dumbledore in all but the first two films) played a particularly curmudgeonly Mr. Woodhouse in the 2009 production of Emma.

Genevieve Gaunt (Pansy Parkinson in The Prisoner of Askaban) was Georgiana Darcy in Lost in Austen.

Robert Hardy (Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge) was Sir John Middleton in the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility.


Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle) played Jude in Bridget Jones's Diary.

 Guy Henry (Pius Thicknesse in The Deathly Hallows: Part Two) played Mr. Collins in Lost in Austen and John Knightley in the 1996 TV version of Emma.

Gemma Jones (Madam Pomfrey) was Mrs. Dashwood in 1995's Sense and Sensibility and Bridget's mother in Bridget Jones's Diary


Alan Rickman (a perfect Professor Severeus Snape) was simply unforgettable as Colonel Brandon in the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility.

Fiona Shaw (Aunt Petunia Dursley) was Mrs. Croft in the 1995 version of Persuasion.

Though the amazing Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall) has for some curious reason never been in an Austen adaptation (I think she would be a phenomenal Mrs. Ferrars), she did play Lady Gresham in Becoming Jane.  

She was also Caro Eliza Bennett in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Just had to mention it.

Elizabeth Spriggs (The Fat Lady in The Sorceror's Stone) was Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility (1995).

Imelda Staunton (amazing as the vile Doloris Umbridge) played happy Charlotte Palmer in the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility

Emma Thompson (Professor Sybil Trelawney) is, of course, both Eleanor Dashwood in and the screenwriter of the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.

Sophie Thompson (Mafalda Hopkirk in The Deathly Hallows: Part One) was Miss Bates in the 1996 Hollywood version of Emma and Mary Musgrove in the 1995 version of Persuasion

Julie Walters (Mrs. Molly Weasley) played Mrs. Austen in Becoming Jane.

Mark Williams (Mr. Arthur Weasley) was Sir Thomas Middleton in the 2008 production of Sense and Sensibility.

Jim Broadbent

Michael Gambon

Genevieve Gaunt 

Robert Hardy

Shirley Henderson

Guy Henry

Gemma Jones

Alan Rickman                                                                                  

Fiona Shaw

Maggie Smith

Elizabeth Spriggs

Imelda Staunton

Sophie Thompson

Julie Walters

Mark Williams


  1. Such a cool connection, Alexa, just proof that Jane Austen can be related to anything. Coincidentally, I just blogged about her relationship with the Twilight Saga if you're interested in that sort of thing. :)

  2. Great post Alexa. It just shows the versatility of these actors.

  3. WOW! I had no idea so many Austen actors were in the Harry Potter series! This is a wonderful resource. Some of them I cannot believe I didn' realize, like Elizabeth Spriggs, Michael Gambon, or Fiona Shaw. I am now in the mood to watch all the HP movies again!

  4. Absolutely amazing. So many. My head is spinning! Thanks.

  5. I just watched Chamber of Secrets this weekend and I could not be more amazed at how different Fiona Shaw is in that role compared to Mrs. Croft! She is very versitle

  6. Great list! I have always marvelled at how many Potter actors are in Emma alone (6). It is nice to see the ones I didn't know about from the new movie. :)

  7. You had mentioned Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. What about Rupert Grint? Has he ever been in an Austen adaptation or even a costume drama?

  8. The Rush Blog - No, Rupert Grint has not been in any costume dramas. The closest he has come is providing the voice of Peter Pan in a 100th anniversary, made for TV tribute to the story entitled "Happy Birthday, Peter Pan".

  9. I fangirled so hard when I saw Maggie Smith and Julie Walters in Becoming Jane, it's such a funny thing to look. The Rush Blog - I saw David Copperfield (it's not Austen,but period drama) He had the role of little David.

  10. Don't forget Ciáran Hinds as Dumbledore's brother!

    1. Did not even know it was him! Wrote thus post before the final film was finished, but it's no excuse. I had no idea. That's a great one. Thanks!