It’s been 20 years since the Harry Potter characters made their big-screen debut. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone premiered in theaters in 2001, and everyone including the cast is celebrating. Recently, The Nerd Stash ranked the ten released films from the Wizarding World franchise. Now we are happy to continue our celebration by ranking the top ten Wizarding World characters.
The Wizarding World film franchise consists of ten films and three confirmed upcoming films, one of which will be released early next year. There’s even a play based on the series, which has at least some chance of being a future film in the franchise. Several beloved characters have been birthed through this franchise, and this list will celebrate some of the very best Harry Potter characters and at least one Fantastic Beast character.
This list will consist of both heroes and villains because let’s face it, a great villain is what makes a great story.
NOTE: There’s a good chance that we will see some spoilers on this list as we discuss some of the Wizarding World characters’ fates.
Keep in mind that this list is specifically focused on the movies in this franchise. If Dobby’s significant role in all but two of the books had been honored in the films, he’d rank much higher.
While being enslaved by the wicked Malfoy family would be enough to make him sour and cruel, Dobby is a soft-hearted and loving character who puts himself at risk many times to do good deeds, often for the sake of protecting his friend Harry Potter. His kindhearted selflessness even costs him his own life, which due to his heroism and innocence makes his death one of the most painful in the entire series.
Dobby is lovably adorable, yet his best quality is his bravery and heroism. This makes him one of the most loved of the Harry Potter characters.
9. Professor Minerva McGonagall
You know those teachers that frustrate and intimidate you as a child that you end up highly respecting as you get older. Professor McGonagall fits that description perfectly.
Professor McGonagall won’t coddle a student, but she’ll never stop believing in them in spite of any of their shortcomings. McGonagall had moments in the books that I wish had been kept in the films, but we also see a more brave and fierce nature to her in the films that I appreciated). This was most clearly seen when she boldly used Voldemort’s feared name before going into a full military mode in Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Strict but fair and encouraging, Professor McGonagall is an amazing teacher and one hell of a woman.
8. TIE: Luna Lovegood and Newt Scamander
Okay, I’m cheating a bit here, but I had to include both of these Wizarding World characters on the list, and they are both incredible for many of the same reasons.
Luna Lovegood stands out for her quirkiness and her genuine lack of concern with what people think of her. Luna is likably weird and eccentric, with a level of wit and wisdom that makes her stand out as a true Ravenclaw.
Similarly, Luna’s future grandfather-in-law Newt Scamander of the Fantastic Beasts film series has his own level of quirkiness and eccentricity that makes him an identifiable character to outsiders. Newt is an undeniably strange kind of hero for the franchise. A true Hufflepuff, Newt’s actions show that he feels the best ways to fight evil are through kindness, loyalty, and empathy. His passion for his creatures demonstrates that he sees something special in the lesser-valued beings of the world.
I also have to say that my heart burned when I heard Newt admit his greatest fear was having to work in an office in Crimes of Grindelwald. That was the moment I found my kindred spirit in the Wizarding World franchise.
7. Lord Voldemort
A great franchise requires a great villain, and Lord Voldemort is one of the greatest of all time.
Born Tim Marvolo Riddle, Voldemort was born to a witch mother and a muggle father, the former of whom was a descendant of one of the founders of Hogwarts, Salazar Slytherin. He inherited Slytherin’s high esteem for pure-blooded wizards, which caused him to detest and deny his muggle heritage. There’s a level of self-hatred implied there that likely contributed to his evil nature.
Voldemort is largely based on Hitler, and his desire to rid the world of muggles and those who aren’t “pure” strongly captures the wicked “ethnic-cleansing” tactics of the reviled dictator. His sociopathic blood-lust makes Voldemort a detestable monster who you are eager to see meet his end. He is a superb villain and one of the best Harry Potter characters.
6. Ron Weasley
People can say what they want about Rupert Grint and how the film series messed with Ron’s character. Yeah, Ron is a goofball, but he’s a loyal and brave goofball who you’d be lucky to have as a friend.
Ron has his flaws like every other character in the franchise. He can be too much of a comedic trope, and he is prone to an annoying level of jealousy and insecurity. Yet he also faces his fears many times in the series, is willing to put himself at risk for the greater good, and he can be resourceful if a situation really calls for it. Ron may have his faults, but the trio wouldn’t be complete without him.
5. Albus Dumbledore
Had it not been for some of the shady and dark details of his past (i.e. potentially causing his sister’s death and his purity crusade with Gellert Grindelwald), Dumbledore may rank a little higher.
Regardless of his dark past, he serves as a father figure and mentor to Harry in the series that the young man direly needed. Dumbledore’s many quotable lines demonstrate that wisdom really does come with age, even if that wisdom was gained through a few mistakes. Even in his old age, Dumbledore makes questionable choices, but no one can deny that he cares for the well-being of every one of his students. Inspired by a headmaster who made a strong impact on J.K. Rowling in her youth, Dumbledore’s wisdom and kindness make him an amazing mentor to those who have the privilege of knowing him.
4. Neville Longbottom
Neville is arguably the most dynamic and most changed of the Harry Potter characters, and that’s why he is so high on the list.
When we first meet Neville, he is an accident-prone bumbling goof who doesn’t really seem like he belongs in Gryffindor. But as time passes, we see Neville change dramatically. He discovers his passions and talents (i.e. his love for herbology), and he shows that he can be useful in battle when there’s a cause worth fighting for. We begin to see this side of Neville in Order of the Phoenix, but it’s in Deathly Hallows Part 2 where we see Neville truly come into his own with a brave speech and with the sword of Gryffindor showing up in his time of need (the mark of a true Gryffindor). Neville starts the series as a comedic relief and ends up one of the greatest heroes in the series.
3. Harry Potter
While some may be surprised that he’s not number one, I think even more people think Harry should rank lower.
Harry may be the most divisive of the Wizarding World characters, and not without reason. He does do a few things that should not be admired or emulated, and sometimes his hero complex causes him to make well-intentioned but poor decisions that cause severe and even fatal trouble for those around him. But to be fair to him, he is still a kid learning to make good decisions, and being the chosen one adds quite a bit of pressure that most kids shouldn’t deal with.
All of his flaws aside, no one can deny the fact that Harry is always trying to do the right thing. He is always trying to protect those around him, and he is even willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of ending Voldemort’s terror once and for all. Harry isn’t perfect, but he’s an incredible person nonetheless.
2. Hermione Granger
A feminist icon and the least flawed of the main trio, Hermione is a beautiful combination of bravery and wisdom.
When we first meet Hermione, she’s a snobby know-it-all who is difficult to like. But once Harry and Ron rescue her from a troll, her colors change completely. She becomes a loyal friend to both of them, eventually marrying Ron in adulthood.. though you can decide for yourself if she could have done better.
As Ron perfectly phrases in Deathly Hallows Part 1, the boys can’t last without Hermione. Her brilliance and her resourcefulness are vital in keeping the whole lot of them from meeting an untimely end. Hermione is an inspiration to young girls and women everywhere, and she serves as an example to men that it’s good to allow strong, smart, and resourceful women into their lives.
1. Severus Snape
For the entirety of the series, we loved Severus Snape as a villain. But we loved him even more when he was revealed to be the bravest hero of them all (which Harry himself admits). From the moment Sorcerer’s Stone was released, people spent years unsure of what to do with Snape given his evident hatred of Harry. And once he killed Dumbledore, it seemed clear that his loyalties were with Voldemort and the ways of evil.
It wasn’t until Deathly Hallows, the last entry in the original series, that Snape’s true allegiance was revealed. Snape had fallen in love with his childhood friend, Harry’s mother Lily. He was driven to darkness when she fell in love with and married James Potter, but he turned around when he realized that Voldemort was out for Lily’s son. When Lily fell victim to the killing curse at Voldemort’s hand, Snape made it his mission to protect the last piece of Lily in the world, her son Harry. And he fulfilled that mission until his last breath.
Snape is a complicated character, which is one of the things that makes him so great. Snape’s drive in life was his true and unrequited love for Lily Potter. It’s clear that he never liked Harry all that much, but there’s something beautiful about risking your life for someone you hate for the sake of honoring someone you loved. Snape’s complexity and bravery make him a true hero and the greatest of the Wizarding World characters.
So there you have it. Our favorite Wizarding World characters. Do you agree or disagree? Who do you think should have been included? Who is your favorite of Harry Potter characters? Let us know in the comments.