The Top 10 Harry Potter Characters 0
And so, the journey’s end is about to begin. The Harry Potter saga has but two more films left to unspool before it is no more and we’re forced to start our countdown clocks in anticipation of the inevitable remakes. The series is beloved for its wonderful cast of characters, and over the last thirteen years we’ve been treated to J.K. Rowling’s brilliant writing of them and a whole host of top acting talent bringing them to the big screen. But which are the series’ most memorable characters, good and bad? Join us as we take a stab at ranking Rowling’s rascals. BEWARE very mild Deathly Hallows spoilers.
10. Peter Pettigrew
Of all of the backstabbing, lies and hidden motives of the characters of the Harry Potter universe, none can be more heartbreaking to Harry than Peter Pettigrew’s betrayal. Harry’s parents trusted Pettigrew with their lives, a trust that proved to be misplaced when he revealed the secret of their whereabouts to Voldemort. And Pettigrew’s reward was a lifetime of servitude; certainly more than he deserved. In the films Timothy Spall brings him to life brilliantly. Expect him to ace his final encounter with Harry in Deathly Hallows.
9. Gilderoy Lockhart
Harry’s second Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is probably the embodiment of everything Harry detests. Selfish, arrogant and narcissistic, Lockhart is one of the series’ most hilariously corrupt characters. His autobiography is called Magical Me, and the witches of the world can’t resist his suave charms. But like the best of Rowling’s creations, Lockhart has hidden depth. He’s drowning in insecurity and well aware that he’s not the hero he paints himself as. He deserves – and gets – his comeuppance, but much as we laugh at Lockhart we can’t help but feel sorry for him.
8. Rita Skeeter
Few journalists could exclude Rita Skeeter from any list of the best Harry Potter characters. She’s just so terrifyingly familiar. If she weren’t a witch, she’d write for a woman’s weekly, or run some ghastly gossip blog, dredging up dirty celebrity secrets and salacious gossip for whoever will listen. Harry knows she’s full of it, but that doesn’t stop her having an effect on him, particularly as she turns her attention to Dumbledore. Indeed, she really makes Harry’s eyes swim with the ghosts of his past.
7. Rubeus Hagrid
The keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts is a blustering half-giant with a West Country accent, and one of the most fiercely loyal – if a bit lovably dumb – forces for good in the books. Hagrid’s penchant for beasties of all sorts lands him in hot water more than once, but after Dumbledore appoints him the Care of Magical Creatures professor he finds his place. Harry will always have a fond place in his heart for Hagrid – he introduced him to the wizarding world, for a start, and gifted him the beautiful owl Hedwig.
6. Molly Weasley
No setting in the Harry Potter series is quite as homely as The Burrow, home to the Weasley family and run by the irrepressible Molly. Even in the books, every nuance of Molly’s personality is instantly endearing and wonderfully maternal, but Julie Walters’s all-too-rare appearances in the films complete the package. Molly will do all it takes to protect her flock – including the adopted Weasley, Harry – and we’ll see the true extent of her love for her family in Deathly Hallows. We all want a mum like Molly.
5. Remus Lupin
The first teacher, other than Dumbledore, to really get through to Harry, Lupin’s quiet loyalty is heartbreakingly admirable. He’s a rock in Harry’s life, a safety net and a constant that keeps him going. Not to mention, he’s one of the few surviving links to Harry’s parents. In so many aspects of his life, Lupin struggles to find his place. Balancing the two sides of his personality – wolf and human – is never easy. Harry can, and does, learn a thing or two about dealing with insecurity from the lupine professor.
4. Bellatrix Lestrange
Bella’s unswerving loyalty to He Who Must Not Be Named is almost sickening in its fanaticism. But Rowling, and certainly Helena Bonham Carter, take Bella further, to almost fetishistic levels of inherent evil. It’s rare for the series to have such a one-sided character – even Harry has his shades of grey – and yet Bella never shows a hint of remorse for her dark actions. But of all of Voldemort’s dark servants, Bella is the most pitiable. She’s twisted by her affinity for the Dark Lord and she’ll never escape his trap.
3. Albus Dumbledore
Dumbledore is the mentor Harry has always longed for. As kids, we can probably all remember similar people in our own lives – infallible to our eyes and possessing of all of life’s secrets. But one of the most heartbreaking themes of the final book is Harry’s dawning realisation that perhaps Dumbledore wasn’t quite so infallible. It might feel like a betrayal, particularly as the trio’s final quest becomes ever more desperate, but it’s really the most valuable life lesson to learn. Dumbledore needed Harry as much as Harry needed him.
2. Harry, Ron & Hermione
Ranking the trio individually is an impossibility, and misses the real point. Harry’s name might be on the dust jacket and he might be the Chosen One but, by the series’ end, the fight belongs not to him but to the entire trio. They’re three parts of a whole; practically inseparable from the moment they meet. We can identify with them individually for different reasons – Harry’s heart, Ron’s loyalty, Hermione’s smarts – and their love for one another is the ultimate weapon in the fight against Voldemort’s brand of evil.
1. Severus Snape
There’s only one character in the Harry Potter series brilliant enough to trump even Harry to the top spot. When we first meet Snape in Philosopher’s Stone, he’s the first to pop the bubble of the Boy Who Lived, and Harry takes an instant dislike to him. He reminds us all of our least favourite teachers, and Alan Rickman’s brilliant film portrayal makes him almost pantomime in his dry deliveries, but it’s all bluster. His development as a real character in the last two books of the series earns him the top spot.