J.K Rowling is a genius when it comes to writing characters. She knows how to develop them when nessarcery, she can give them backstories and she always tries to give them a moment in the limelight with around 70% of all the characters mentioned having some reasonably big role to play in the actual plot. Being a MASSIVE fan of Harry Potter I feel the need to do a Harry Potter related list, plus I need to kill time because my Disney reviews are suffering due to the fact that I have no copy of Dumbo and can’t watch it online. Instead I have to wait until I go back to school before I can borrow it from a friend, hence the recent influx of lists. Today, I want to countdown my Top Ten Harry Potter Characters, remember everything is subjective etc etc.
10) Molly Weasley
Now, I’m just gonna come out and say it, this was the only Weasley that I actually really liked, the others I was sort of just ok with, apart from Mr Weasley but even then he doesn’t stand out as much as his wife. Mrs Weasley is the kindly mother of the Weasley family. She’s pretty much one of the first witches Harry meets and her son Ron becomes one of the Golden Trio.
So why is Mrs Weasley on the list? Well let’s see. She pretty much embodies the stereotypical, homely mother. She’s plump but not lazy, she’s kind yet her family fear her rages. Molly acts as the Mother Harry never had and it is the relationship between the two of them which guarantees her a place on this list. She effectively adopts him, taking time to look out for him whenever she can and even giving him her brother’s watch as an 18th birthday present, this is the scene which really joins the two and sums up their relationship. Molly’s brothers were aurors who were killed by Voldemort and that watch is pretty much the only thing that she has left of them, the act of her giving it to Harry not only shows the love that she has for him but also practically makes him a Weasley. Oh yeah and she kills Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort’s own protagee, to protect Ginny at the same time sprouting one of the greatest lines ever uttered in movie history. “NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH!!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this quote and I don’t even have a daughter and even then I only know a handful of bitches. When I read this line I could immediately imagine Julie Walters saying it and exactly how she would say it and yes, it was exactly as I imagined it when I saw the film.
9) Luna Lovegood
Ohhh Luna, how I love you. Of all the character on this list there are only two really attractive ones both in looks and persona, the casting people know EXACTLY what they are doing. Luna Lovegood is one of these characters. She’s quirky and, although she’s only introduced in the fifth book, she manages to catch up on lost time, very quickly becoming one of the fans favourites. Luna is a weirdo and yet she’s possibly the character that is immediately likable, as soon as she enters reading that magazine upside down, humming to herself in that carriage, you know that this is a great character. I think what makes Luna such a great character is the fact that she has no friends. When we meet her, Luna’s only friend is Ginny, everybody else mocks her and bullies her because she’s a tiny, little bit kooky…
But does Luna care? No. She doesn’t care at all. Luna is happy with who she is and I love that. Furthermore she develops over the series. She participates in the Battle at the Ministry, becomes part of Dumbledore’s army, resists Snape, gets Kidnapped, puts up with being tortured for a good month AND fights in the Battle of Hogwarts. Poor Luna goes through A LOT in these books, but she develops with it. Despite this she still keeps her kooky nature so I suppose it’s not as much developing as it is showing that Luna can hold her own. Nevertheless her eccentricities are great, she’s in a world of her own and I love that.
8) Lucius, Narcissa and Draco Malfoy
Of all the characters that develop over the series I think the Malfoy’s change the most. They go from being snobbish Death Eaters to redeeming themselves and generally abandoning Voldemort altogether, hell, Harry’s first enemy (other than Voldemort), is Draco. Alright let’s go through the three of them. Firstly Lucius. He’s introduced in the Chamber of Secrets and what is he doing? Putting one of Voldemort’s Horcrux in the hands of an unwitting 11 year old girl. Why? Because he wants to get rid of Mr Weasley, his competition. Now, whilst Dumbledore speculates that Lucius had no idea that the diary was a Horcrux, he did know that it was full of dark magic, he was trying to get rid of anything condeming him whilst bringing down an opponent. That’s really douchey. Then when Dobby is freed by Harry, Lucius raises his wand in order to attack him. He’s going to attack a 12 year old for causing him to lose a servant. Disproportionate retribution much!? Later on Lucius is involved in a coup to bring down Dumbledore and then, in the fourth book, he goes all out and attacks some muggles at the quidditch world cup. Naturally when Voldemort returns he is pissed at Lucius for claiming he was under the Imperious curse and thus escaping a prison sentence. Over the course of next few books we see the family fall from grace. Lucius fails to secure the prophecy and so Draco is punished through Voldemort forcing him to assassinate Dumbledore. Narcissa is less concentrated on, I mean she’s in the fourth book and is basically outright stated that she’s a snob. Narcissa becomes more defined in the later books whereby she is shown in a more motherly light. She goes to Snape to ask him to help Draco at any means nessarcery, despite the fact that she is risking her own life because if Voldemort finds out he will kill her. Plus Snape, although he is in the perfect position to help Draco, he’s also one of Voldemort’s favourite death eaters. Naturally Narcissa’s crowning glory is when she flat out lies to Voldemort, saying that Harry’s dead in order to save her son. That’s motherhood on the level of Molly Weasley.
Draco starts off as a dick, pure and simple. He’s just a bully, there’s not a lot else to him. He’s prejudice, snobby, cruel and pretty much his only purpose in the first few books is to be the douchebag who is against Harry. Even as far as the fifth book he has little point in the plot, sure he helps Umbridge but it’s not as if he has any major bearing on the plot. Then the sixth book came out and Draco WAS that plot…pretty much. He is tasked with killing Dumbledore because his father screwed up in a task set for him by Voldemort. Draco Malfoy, a 16 year old student, has to kill Dumbledore, the single greatest wizard of all time. He cannot succeed but if he fails then Voldemort will kill him. It’s an impossible task. The whole plot point means that we see Draco in a new light, he is completely out of his depth here. Harry see’s him crying in the bathroom, his attempts to kill Dumbledore are completely illegal and pretty dark, yet half-hearted at the same time. This kid is desperate and that makes a big change from the spoilt bully that we saw in the previous films. In the final film it looks like the whole Malfoy family is against Voldemort. Narcissa and Lucius are just trying to find their son and when the trio are cornered by Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle he doesn’t seem that intent on killing them, in fact he really doesn’t care anymore. Not only that but I feel compelled to say that the whole scene serves as a great bookend because of the whole rivalry between the two groups. The Malfoy’s go from being snobby and cruel to actually caring more about family than power and alligence to Voldemort and although it took a while to get it off the ground with Draco and Narcissa, I still think the family is a pretty fine testament to Rowling’s writing skills.
7) Professor Minerva McGonagall
I think I see a theme emerging here. Molly and Narcissa are both mothers and McGonagall has motherly traits to her. She fiercely protects her students almost like her own children in the final battle. Like Draco, this is a character that doesn’t really have a lot to do beforehand. I mean sure she’s certainly one of the more involved teachers but she never really plays a major part in anything until the final book but to be perfectly fair I don’t think she’s meant to be in the foreground, of course she isn’t. In this respect she is different from Draco because while should probably be in the foreground and a more developed character, Mcgonagall doesn’t need to be. In the books she acts more as a purveyor of information, nessarcery information to push the plot along, nevertheless she remains an enjoyable character throughout this. She is strict and proud but still a warm, Grandmother figure. But where McGonagall really shines is in the final book. I mean she is freaking awesome in this book. Even before the battle takes place she kicks Snape’s ass in a duel that is great in the book, don’t get me wrong, but it could be argued that it was better in the film because Maggie Smith got to duel Alan Rickman. Just to put that in perspective that’s like Miss Jean Brodie beating the shit out of Hans Gruber.
In the actual battle she acts like a supreme commander, organising the defence of Hogwarts, proving herself to be a very effective leader as well as a kickass witch, the woman holds out against Voldemort for God’s sake. FREAKING VOLDEMORT! I mean sure she has Kingsley Shaklebolt on her side and that has to have helped, but she also had Jim Broadbent and well…yeah it’s Jim Broadbent. When I saw the final film I did think that there were some things that were better than the book and one of these things were the lines, I mean my God Maggie really got some awesome lines didn’t she? “I’ve always wanted to use that spell” is second only to “NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH!”. Now, despite this, I quite like the serious, determined, professionalism of the McGonagall in the book even if some of the lines from the film, or some variant of, would’ve been great. But by far the best thing about Mcgonagall is her relationship to Harry. She acts as a grandmother to him throughout the entire series, although for the most part it’s played very subtly. This all changes in the final book where Alecto Carrow spits in McGonagall’s face, to which Harry replies by using the cruciatus curse. When McGonagall acts him why the hell he did that Harry simply replies “He spat at you” like it’s the single most obvious thing in the world and I for one love it. The two are rather fond of each other and I am so glad that she didn’t die at the end of the series.
6) Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody
Ok, now this is probably the only character who isn’t really developed that much, in fact he’s a complete stereotype. Moody’s like the gruff old war veteran whose a bit of a drinker and he’s gained weight but he still kicks ass.
And, in all honesty, that’s Moody’s appeal. The guy is a badass grandpa, he kills death eaters for a living, teachers Tonks everything she knows and is regarded as the single greatest auror in history. He is just badass incarnate and I actually like him a lot in the films too, what with his Irish accent..despite the fact he wears a kilt to the Yule Ball…Ok reading too much into this. There are scenes that stand out like the fact that when Moody is killed everyone’s shocked because…It’s fucking Moody and nobody ever contemplated for one second that the guy would die, that’s how high everybody’s opinion of him is, hell even Voldemort thinks highly of him because when the order is getting Harry out of Privet Drive, Voldemort goes after Moody because he figures Harry will be with the most accomplished auror, that’s a hell of a compliment. In a way I suppose he’s like the Chuck Norris of the wizarding world, the best in his field and a total badass. Not a lot else to say really, Moody’s probably one of the greatest badass characters in all of fiction.
5) Dolores Jane Umbridge
Jesus Freaking Christ, where the Hell do I begin with this woman? Stephen King once said that the strength of a book series like Harry Potter is based around the strengths of it’s villains and Umbridge is the greatest villain since Hannibal Lector. Umbridge is a brilliant villain, she’s not a death eater and not even that magically competent, her greatest attribute regarding her villainy is the fact that she has power and is devoted to the ministry. Another thing is that she does the most horrific things and yet always has that smile on her face, occasionally bursting into giggles. Umbridge organizes a coup in order to remove Dumbledore and immediately Rowling pits Umbridge against one of the most likable characters of the series, not to mention EVERYBODY IN HOGWARTS. So what exactly does Umbridge do to secure her a place on this list? Well she tortures students with that freaking quill of hers, she uses it on Harry first and then starts using it on the majority of the student body. So you’ve taken a despicable act that she uses on the main character, immediately making the action pretty big and then, by applying it to everybody, even innocent first years.
Secondly, she practically joins Voldemort and interrogates muggleborns WITH FREAKING DEMENTORS. Dementors suck all the happiness from people as well as potentially feeding from their souls. It’s not bad enough that she used this on Harry, actually sending dementors to deal with him because he won’t stop spreading this panic about Voldemort’s return. What makes this scene even worse is the fact that Umbridge is wearing the locket all the while, the locket WITH PART OF VOLDEMORT’S SOUL IN IT! We see the locket’s effect on the other characters like the trio. When they wear it, they get depressed and angry, it changes them and the evil of it gets to them. When Umbridge wears it, she just smiles and giggles as usual. In fact she seems to have some sort of affinity with it and in that moment Umbridge is at her most vile. This character has spent the whole series being completely vile, torturing students, verging on using the cruciatus curse. She unleashes Dementors on people and is completely devoted to the ministry. I think there are two main features of Umbridge that really define her as a villain and, in themselves, they aren’t villainous characteristics. Firstly she isn’t a competent witch, she’s more of a political tool. I think that this develops her because she is made more real in this respect. In some respects it makes her more evil than Voldemort because he’s fictional while she, despite that other villains so despite still being fictional, still has aspects of a real villain. She also lacks the charm or badass traits that other villains do, removing anything that might make her easier to loathe. Secondly, she giggles and smiles throughout all of this horrendous things that she does. She has this girlish, cutesy part to her but it contrasts with the villainous side of her. Furthermore, she is never punished throughout the entire series. I mean sure, she’s raped by centaurs and does get sent to Azkaban in the end but she escapes death and Azkaban gets reformed so she doesn’t face the dementors. Lots of people wanted her to die but I think her living is a good thing because it makes us hate her even more. Is she better than Hannibal Lector? Nope, but we all love to hate her. Bitch.
4) Gellert Grindlewald
The single greatest testament to Rowling’s writing style is her constant use of foreshadowing, one such example is Grindlewald, the wizard who Dumbledore defeated in 1946. How do we know this? Because it’s ON THE BACK OF A TRADING CARD IN THE FIRST BOOK. That’s right, Grindlewald, who later goes on to be pretty damn important in the final books, is introduced in pretty much the same way that Pikachu was. That’s all we hear of Grindlewald for…6 entire books. When he reappears in the 7th, he is first introduced as the European Voldemort, what with the whole Deathly Hallows symbol and everything. You can see the effect that he had on the continent because Krum and co pretty much beat the crap out of some guy for spraying the symbol on a wall at Durmstrang. Later on, when we dwell more into Dumbledore’s past, we see the relationship between the two and what a hold Grindlewald had on Albus when they were young, and, need I really say it? The fact that Albus falls in love with Grindlewald and that Grindlewald knew but didn’t act upon it because he knew he could use it. That adds layers to both characters involved. I think the moment when I really warmed to Grindlewald, other than the point where I realised he was pretty much a Euro-Voldy and I love villains, was when Voldemort interrogates Grindlewald as to where the Elder Wand is and he doesn’t tell him. Why? To stop Voldemort from desecrating Dumbledore’s tomb. That is touching and it shows the connection that still exists between the two. Grindlewald is one of the more obscure characters and it’s the fact that he and Dumbledore have a connection that outlives their rivalry and the fact that he’s just a villain in general, that secure him a place on this list.
3) Albus Dumbledore
Yeah you may have anticipated this. Dumbledore is pretty much a staple on these sorts of lists. He’s kind, charming, powerful, intelligent and at times can be terrifying. Dumbledore is, however, a stereotype. I mean lets face it, he’s Merlin…Or Gandalf…Or Obi Wan…Which ever one floats your boat really… Throughout the majority of the book Dumbledore was a pretty staple good guy, I mean, we saw a different side of him when he confronted Barty Crouch Jr but on the whole he was the epitome of wisdom and kindness. Don’t get me wrong, we loved him, and in all fairness we didn’t mind and frankly never focused on the fact that he was pretty much one sides, we never noticed. Dumbledore was just a nice guy and never really that developed, it was hinted at, but never really became a massive plot point. This all changed in the 7th book when we dwell mor into Dumbledore’s past and his relationship with Grindlewald and his connection to the dark arts was revealed. This was the first of two main moments that developed Dumbledore and made him a more interesting character, he was already insanely likable. The whole relationship with Grindlewald meant that Dumbledore had a skeleton in his closet, he had a dark past based on the death of his sister, Ariana. Dumbledore had a tortured past, he’d dabbled in the dark arts and had something of the same mentality that Voldemort had and that made him more interesting. The second moment that grants Dumbledore the number three spot is when Harry looks at Snape’s memories. He is revealed to be this great chessmaster, manipulating everybody, especially Harry. Dumbledore knew from practically the beginning that Harry had to die for Voldemort to fall and, whilst he planned on telling Harry everything, he made a few mistakes along the way. This was the moment where you began to question Dumbledore’s character and whether he really was such a staple good guy or whether he was just a grade A chessmaster. It threw doubt on him because he had kept so much from Harry, we knew he was good but he wasn’t perfect and that changed A LOT. Nevertheless Dumbledore still kicks ass and deserves a place on this list.
2) Lord Voldemort
Yeah you knew it was coming. I mean lets face it, Voldemort is probably one of the greatest fictional villains of all time. The first we heard of him was from Hagrid and then he was described as a murderer who attempted to kill a child…Kinda douchey, and he was held as this big, pure evil wizard… for 5 FREAKING BOOKS. I mean, he was badass and really held up as this threatening presence, not to mention the fact that he was charismatic, intelligent and powerful. In fact, he’s awesome throughout the series. He kills a good chunk of the main characters, including Moody,Cedric, Snape and many others. He kicks ass, we see him duel Dumbledore, holding his own despite the fact Dumbledore has the elder wand (it is a freaking awesome scene). Voldemort also looks really evil. His snake eyes and slit nose along with that bone pale complexion jut make for a great looking villain. He is not, however, perfect. He makes so many mistakes, mainly caused by his fear of death (a quality which makes him more human). Voldemort splits his soul into EIGHT PIECES and one of those was completely unintentional, he constantly has Potter right in front of him and takes time to gloat and torture him before even thinking of killing him. He is a foolish, egotistical character. That makes him a great villain, he is more human than the Emperor from Star Wars or Sauron from Lord of the rings. He has human weaknesses coupled with villainous traits. Oh and he has a pet snake Nagini (the only thing he ever got close to loving who only missed out on this list by a slither…I should be shot for that…)
It wasn’t until the 6th book that Voldemort actually got a backstory. Dumbleodre and Harry do a little digging and we find that Voldemort’s family were completely obsessed with blood purity, his family are just inbred hicks. His grandfather, Marvolo, and uncle, Morfin, were sadistic, pureblood obsessed douchebags and his mother, Merope, was a meek woman who fell in love with a muggle. The ministry arrested his grandfather and uncle. His mother who then used a love potion to make him fall in love with her, because of this, Voldemort was born without the ability to feel love. This changed everything. Voldemort goes from being a stereotypically evil villain with little motivation, to being this character that confuses everything. Are we supposed to pity him? Are we justified in blaming him for what he does? He can’t help it, there is nothing he can do about it. Granted, he’s an evil character but it really calls into question an age-old issue with tyrants. Should we really blame them, even if their upbringing and mental state was totally against them? Rowling’s writing of this character shows her to be an excellent author. Rowling is constantly making us think about things like this. Harry Potter is not a series with blatant villains and blatant heroes, it isn’t black and white, it’s grey. There is no good and evil. We have a villain who, arguably, cannot help what he is and a hero, in Dumbledore, who is the ultimate chessmaster. Voldemort is the ultimate example of Rowling’s brilliance, the ultimate villain who just can’t help it.
1) Bellatrix Lestrange
Yeah, I bet most of you knew this was coming. Anyone who knows me really well knows that I freaking adore insane characters and Bellatrix Lestrange is no exception. She isn’t even a testament to Rowling’s writing skills like Voldemort or Dumbledore, instead she’s just a wonderfully brilliant, insane, fun, bitch of a villainous character. Bellatrix Lestrange was born into the ancient and most noble house of Black, sister to Narcissa and Andromeda, she married Roldolphus Lestrange before joining Lord Voldemort. Bella is one of the most loyal of all the death eaters, up until the point where she falls in love with him. She tortures Neville’s parents, to insanity, because she thinks they may know where Voldemort is after he was ‘destroyed’ at Godric’s Hollow. So then she goes to Azkaban until Voldemort rises again in the fourth book, whereupon he declares that the Lestrange’s are loyal and will be freed and rewarded. In the fifth book he frees Bella, Roldophus and Rabastan and the three of them play a part in securing the prophecy. They fail. The Order of the Phoenix arrives and a massive fight breaks out. Bellatrix ends up dueling with Sirius Black, Harry’s Godfather and one of the most likable characters in the series.Sirius seems to be winning, he taunts Bellatrix and she swiftly hits him in the chest with the killing curse, causing him to fall back through the veil, killing him. Harry follows her and attempts to use the cruciatus curse on her, he fails, whereupon Bella gives him advice on using it, telling him that he has to mean it. Voldemort then arrives, duels Dumbledore, fucks about with Harry’s head and then leaves, taking the time to take Bella with him.
In the sixth book, Bella and Narcissa go to Severus to ask him for help with the whole ‘Draco must kill Dumbledore else Voldemort is gonna go schitz’ thingy. Bella stands out as a death eater because she is the only one who doesn’t trust Snape. Not even Voldemort mistrusted Snape, that’s how significant this is. Bella then forces Snape to make the Unbreakable Vow (if you break it you die) which is a very intelligent move, considering she didn’t know it was exactly what Dumbledore wanted. In the seventh book Voldemort is having a meeting at Malfoy Manor where Bellatrix is described as ‘longing to reach out and touch (Voldemort)’. I especially love it in the film version where the death eaters are discussing killing Harry and Bella says ‘My Lord, I’d like to volunteer myself for this task’, it’s like something out of the apprentice, really is great. I love the scenes in Malfoy Manor where she carves the word Mudblood into Hermione’s arm, that’s just deliciously vicious. The battle of Hogwarts also gives us some more of Bella, in the forest she reaches out to help Voldemort when he ‘kills’ Harry, but he just pushes her away. Her death in both the book and the film is pretty awesome. In the book she’s the last death eater left, it’s just her and Voldemort, each dueling three opponents simultaneously. Bella is holding her own against Hermione, Ginny and Luna. She sends a killing curse which narrowly misses Ginny, Mrs Weasley goes crazy leading to the greatest line in Harry Potter history “NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH!!” I freaking love that line. So, Molly kills Bella leading Voldemort to explode like a bomb with anger and attempt to avenge his last, best lieutenant. When I read that in the book, I couldn’t help thinking how much Bella would’ve loved to have seen that reaction, it’s just brilliant.
Looking back I see I was wrong to say that Bellatrix Lestrange doesn’t represent something, Bella represents obsessive love. Her death via Molly symbolizes motherly and caring love triumphing over obsessive, cruel love. I love this character for so many reasons. She’s a sadist, she’s completely insane, she has this undying love for Voldemort that is totally unrequited (apart from all that fanfic, oh dear God the fanfic), she kills a good chunk of the main characters, she’s powerful and I love it. She’s not only my favourite Harry Potter character, she’s the best Harry Potter character. It’s just a shame she and Voldemort could never be…