Welcome back to Muggles and Mocha!
Okay, guys, take a deep breath—today is a HUGE article. It was a bit of an undertaking to put together, but I’m so glad I did it. We’ll cover a pretty intense topic, something I’ve never discussed before—my favorite Harry Potter character. But of course, I didn’t just choose a favorite character. To fully immerse myself in the process, I created a character ranking list that, at the beginning, involved one hundred characters. Some of them aren’t included on my final list because they were so minor, but… it’s still pretty comprehensive.
And at the end, I’ll defend my favorite.
Trust me, it might not be who you think it is. I honestly surprised myself and was in denial for a couple of days before finally settling on my answer.
Since my article took longer to put together, I decided to release the video early, all about Chapter 9 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “Grim Defeat.” At first, I was a little afraid I wouldn’t be able to talk about this chapter for as long as we usually do—boy, was I wrong! In case you haven’t seen it yet, I’ll go ahead and include the video here, too. We rant about Quidditch (kind of a lot) and discuss the implications of Snape’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class. As always, there are spoilers!
And now, for my official Harry Potter character ranking! We’ll discuss my entire list, from bottom to top. Scroll down to check it out!
While writing this, I posted a poll asking for your favorite character, and I’ll reveal the results of that poll at the end of the article. In my last post about Chapter 8 of Prisoner of Azkaban, I also included a picture of a ranking list I made approximately a year ago. Long story short, I heavily disagreed with myself on some points, so I thought it would be fun to attempt another one.
This was a journey. Not to be dramatic (ha), but it took days, especially when it came down to deciding between my top two. And when I came to my final conclusion, I was… disappointed in myself? It took me a second to figure out why I felt this way, but don’t worry, we’ll talk about it.
So, here’s how we’ll do this. Below is a picture of my ranking. I’ll go through each level and talk about the characters involved, including my defense of some of the more controversial choices.
There’s also something to know about this list—it doesn’t exactly go from favorite to least favorite character. The top three levels were reserved to debate my favorite characters, especially the top, My Heroes—those were my final contenders. For the other levels, they focus on other traits, such as how evil characters were, if they were misunderstood, if they got what they deserved, and so on. It focused on a lot of fun topics wrapped into one!
Without further ado, here’s my new ranking list:
THE ABSOLUTE WORST
- Voldemort and Dolores Umbridge.
I mean, are we surprised here? I have to say, it was extremely difficult not to simply throw Umbridge in this tier all by herself—maybe I should have. But when I broke it down and looked at what these characters contributed to the series, I couldn’t justify not putting the racist mass murderer at the bottom along with her, no matter how interesting he is.
- Tom Marvolo Riddle (before the Voldemort days), Barty Crouch, Jr., Bellatrix Lestrange, and Fenrir Greyback.
Man, these people are just what the title says—evil. You’ll notice this tier is mostly made up of torturers, as well as Tom Riddle before he was the “big bad.”
- Gellert Grindelwald, Vincent Crabbe, Lucius Malfoy, the Death Eaters as a whole, and Peter Pettigrew.
The hardest person to put in this tier was Grindelwald since he didn’t sell out Dumbledore to Voldemort in the books (thanks a lot, movies). But when it comes down to it, he did some awful stuff… and I couldn’t justify placing him any higher.
It was also difficult not to put Pettigrew lower on the “bad” scale. But that’s because I really don’t like him. I guess if I’d actually ranked some of the characters by how much I “like” them, he would have been at the bottom.
The “Death Eater” picture in this tier is Pius Thicknesse, which was unintentional—I wouldn’t have placed him this low. But just replace him with any ol’ Death Eater. If you’re an adult and you’re still involved with Voldemort and the Death Eaters, you’re in this tier.
- Draco Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy, Argus Filch, Gregory Goyle, Barty Crouch, Sr., Aunt Marge, Blaise Zabini, Igor Karkaroff, Quirinus Quirrell, Vernon and Petunia Dursley, and Pansy Parkinson.
So, this tier has a range, but I feel a similar way about all of them. The only one I question is Blaise Zabini, simply because we don’t know that much about him. I get a vibe though, guys. You might notice this section is different than the picture above because I changed my mind about some of the “on the edge of bad” people—the Dursleys had to move!
ON THE EDGE OF BAD
- Griphook, Rufus Scrimgeour, and Rita Skeeter.
I don’t dislike these people as much as I do the ones in the previous tier. So, that’s that.
BAD, BUT REDEEMABLE
- Severus Snape, Nagini, and Dudley Dursley.
Okay, here we go.
As of now, Snape is in the redeemable category for me. I have a lot of sympathy for him, and his story is so interesting! Then we have Dudley—look, with his actions at the end of the series, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Plus, he was a kid during most of his horrible behavior, which is something that’s important to me.
Last, there’s Nagini. Some of you may disagree with this, but based on what we’ve learned so far in the Fantastic Beasts movies, I believe there’s an argument that Nagini isn’t what she seems. She’s a maledictus, which means she was a human who was cursed to turn into an animal over and over again. One day, there was no going back—she transformed and was stuck in snake form forever, as we see in the Harry Potter books.
I started thinking way too much about this in my study for this article. I’m speculating that Nagini probably got stuck in snape form in her early thirties. Voldemort doesn’t meet her until the time between the end of the first Harry Potter book and the beginning of the fourth (1992-1994). This means Nagini was in her early eighties when Voldemort found her. She was living as a snake in the forest for FIFTY YEARS. Alone. I’m not sure what this would have done to her mentally, but if I’d been isolated and living as an animal in the woods for fifty years—I would definitely have stuck close to the first human I met who was able to talk to me. For Nagini, that was Voldemort. There’s a lot of uncertainty here… which is why she’s in this category.
I FEEL BAD, BUT DID THEY GET WHAT THEY DESERVED?
- Gilderoy Lockhart.
Need I say more?
This is a very unique category. Kreacher is a tragic case to me because it doesn’t seem like he had much agency in his situation. Even though I thought he was horrible for most of the book series, I found his story very touching. Yes, he was discriminatory and mean, but with his position in life, I don’t believe he had ANYTHING he needed to make different decisions. Dobby is obviously a special case because he was able to rise above his circumstances, but that rarely happens, unfortunately—this says a lot about Dobby, which is why he’s so high on my list.
After considering this, maybe Nagini should have been in this category, too… Good grief, this is difficult.
- Moaning Myrtle, Professor Trelawney, Mrs. Norris, Colin Creevey, Cormac McLaggen, Cornelius Fudge, and Percy Weasley.
I laughed as I read these names out loud. Yeah… they’re just annoying.
NO FEELINGS AT ALL
- Padma Patil, Madam Hooch, Garrick Ollivander, Madam Rosmerta, and Amos Diggory.
The name says it all—I just don’t have an opinion on these people. Though this tier may seem unnecessary, I thought it important to include people I feel nothing about.
- Lavender Brown, Crookshanks, and Seamus Finnigan.
These are characters who technically annoyed me but that I felt bad about putting in the “annoying” category. Like, I know they’re good people and all, but…
For Lavender, her sacrifice and the nature of her death made me feel horrible about putting her lower than this. Crookshanks is cool, but he kind of… creeps me out. Even though I know he’s a good cat, I always felt a little suspicious of him. And I have a grudge against Seamus (that’s probably a tad unfair) because of his behavior in the fifth book.
THEY’RE PRETTY COOL
- Aberforth Dumbledore, Angelina Johnson, Madam Maxime, Fleur Delacour, Buckbeak, Cho Chang, Viktor Krum, Xenophilius Lovegood, Dean Thomas, Oliver Wood, Parvati Patil, Cedric Diggory, Lee Jordan, Professor Flitwick, and Professor Sprout.
We’re getting to the good stuff now! Is it weird that Krum and Buckbeak are in the same category? Maybe. But like I said, they’re pretty cool.
- James Potter, Fred and George Weasley, Bill Weasley, Dobby, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Nymphadora Tonks, Neville Longbottom, Mad-Eye Moody, Madam Pomfrey, Fawkes, and Fang.
Yay! These last three categories are at the top of my list for a reason. They’re all great characters in their own way.
ALSO HALL OF FAME
- Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Arthur and Molly Weasley, and Hedwig.
We’ve reached the Big Time. These are characters I absolutely love but who weren’t in my running for the coveted position of “favorite character.” I think we can all agree these people are top-notch.
AND DON’T QUESTION THE OWL. The symbolism behind Hedwig and the role she serves in Harry’s life are so significant to me, so… that’s why she’s here. #RIP
- Lily Potter, Professor McGonagall, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Ginny Weasley, and Rubeus Hagrid.
Here are my contenders for “favorite character,” and all of them were chosen for different reasons. From this list, I narrowed it down to two and vacillated between them for a LONG TIME before deciding on my favorite…
And the Ultimate, my favorite character, is—Harry Potter.
Did I really just do this? Yes.
As I said, during the writing process, it took close to a week just to decide on my favorite character because I was stuck between Harry and someone else. After a while, I discovered the real reason I was stuck was because I wanted to talk myself out of what I knew to be true—Harry was my favorite character. But having a main character as your favorite is lame… right? That’s what I realized I was thinking.
As I sat and considered this, I decided to take a deep dive into what I like in a “favorite character.” I encourage you to do this as well because it’s such a fun thought exercise! For me, it’s usually a character who I enjoy watching handle various situations because I’m interested in the decisions they make and the catalysts and convictions driving them. Someone complex, who faces struggles and comes out looking very human—this describes Harry. On top of that, Harry is brave, sticks up for the little guy, understands the value of friendship, is kind, daring, sacrificial… The list goes on. Even his flaws are flaws I like! He’s got a temper on him (especially in the books), he can be a bit self-centered, and he’s kind of aggressive at times. But I think these flaws fit his character very well and show us the deep passion he possesses, something we might not notice at first glance.
All of this made me realize it’s time to do another examination of Harry’s character. We’ll do these on Harry, Ron, and Hermione at different times throughout the books. We haven’t done any since the first book, so it’s about that time!
But yes, Harry is my favorite character in the book series! Tada!
Harry was in a battle against my number two, who has always been one of my top choices: Lily Potter. This might seem strange for someone we don’t see too much in the books, but for a character who has such little “screen time,” her impact is felt just as strongly as anyone else’s. No one (except for Petunia Dursley—but she doesn’t count!) has anything bad to say about Lily. She was a light to all she met and profoundly influenced many of their lives for the better. We see this firsthand with the obvious character—Severus Snape. Of course, his love for her is what kept him pressing forward, but I also believe her personality and desire for goodness shaped him as well, especially later. Her presence in his life changed him forever.
But someone else who we may overlook is her husband, James Potter—another character we unfortunately don’t get to know firsthand. The only time we get to see James interact with other people, he’s arrogant, mean… a bully. While his friends laugh and make light of this, something they don’t joke about is how Lily changed him. I hate there’s so much we don’t know about James as a person, his relationship with Lily, and his character development, but I’m sure Lily had a huge part in making him the person everyone tells Harry about, the man they admired. Once she began dating James, I imagine she had an effect on the rest of the Marauders, too!
Last, Harry, though he never gets to know his mother for himself, is influenced by her throughout the books because of what he learns about the life she lived.
I know Lily is my second favorite so she probably didn’t need this much of a defense, but I think she’s sometimes a forgotten, underrated character who is just lovely.
In the end, when putting these two against each other, I concluded Harry is my favorite because I love all the different sides and facets we see of him. And in the end, he grows into a person who has so many great qualities—someone his mother would have been proud of.
SO, THAT’S MY CHARACTER LIST.
I’m sure many of you will have thoughts… Feel free to throw them at me (but not too violently, ha).
By the way, this conversation has inspired a video that is currently in the middle of the editing process. It’s called, “What’s in a Favorite Character?” and it analyzes the way we approach the usual “favorite character” conversation. This includes a discussion of the different favorite character tropes that sometimes pop up—you may find you gravitate toward a certain type of character when picking your favorites! It was a very interesting video to make, so I’m excited for it to come out soon.
And now, for the favorite character that popped into my messages most often.
When I asked who your favorite characters were, the most common answer was… ALBUS DUMBLEDORE.
I approve! I was a little surprised because fans’ opinions of Dumbledore usually go one of two ways—you either love him and respect him, or you’re ticked he made Harry’s mission harder than it could have been. I’m in the former camp, so I think that’s an excellent choice! There were some great characters thrown out there, and it was wonderful to hear from you guys.
That’s all, Muggles! Please let me know what you think about the list. In the meantime, I’ll be working on new videos and articles. We’ll have our video and article for Chapter 10 coming soon, so keep an eye out for that.
This mischief is managed!
Disclaimer: I do not own any element of the Harry Potter series.