Like so many others who were children or teenagers in the late nineties/early noughties, I grew up reading Harry Potter. My parents bought me the first two books for my eighth birthday, and from then on I was hooked. Every year after that I was queuing up outside bookshops on the day of the latest release to get my hands on the newest adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione. In fact there’s been a pretty sizeable gap in my reading life ever since the final book came out…what other series is there that I can look forward to with such apprehension?
One of the things I love so much about J.K. Rowling’s spell-binding series (see what I did there?) was the amazing characters, and so I thought, why not do a top ten of some of my favourites? As with my Top Ten A Song of Ice and Fire Characters, some are main characters and pretty obvious, whilst some are more minor characters.
Who are your favourites?
- Harry Potter
I couldn’t exactly not include the hero could I? Harry as a main character is perfect, in that he is both innately likable, being brave, loyal and modest, yet also quite ordinary. He isn’t extraordinary looking, or exceptionally talented (at the beginning, anyway!), and in this way he is an extremely relatable character, and easy to root for.
- Ron Weasley
Most of the comedy in the Harry Potter books seems to stem from Ron, Harry’s best friend, and their friendship is one of my favourite bookish friendships. Whilst Ron is consistently blunt, insensitive and often argumentative (especially with Hermione – I have to say I didn’t see the whole them getting together thing coming!), he is also brave, funny and fiercely loyal. Like Harry, he is a character you can relate to, especially as far as his insecurities go, as he seems to feel constantly overshadowed by his older brothers and Harry’s celebrity status and is sensitive about his family’s poverty.
- Hermione Granger
As a bookish child, I absolutely loved the character of Hermione Granger!
Being smart and liking to read as a child often results in being called a ‘swot’ or ‘teacher’s pet’, so I love how Hermione is strong and intelligent and doesn’t care who knows it: despite teasing, she continues to put up her hand to answer every question in class and is absolutely mortified by an ‘Exceeds Expectations’ grade. Her impressive magic skills come in useful on her dangerous adventures with Harry and Ron, and she shows a lot of compassion towards others, particularly through her efforts with the unfortunately named S.P.E.W (even if it turns out the house elves don’t want to be freed!).
- Albus Dumbledore
‘Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!‘… the immortal words of the barmy but brilliant Hogwarts headmaster. In a book full of wizards he is the ‘typical wizard’ – basically he has a long beard and knows everything (he’s pretty much the Gandalf of Harry Potter). His death was actually one of the most upsetting for me when I read the books because it was so shocking. As the most powerful wizard in the wizarding world, he seemed almost immortal…until he died.
Snape makes the list because he is an example of one of the most crazy character turn arounds I’ve ever experienced in a book. I literally went from despising him all through the first six books to feeling so, so sad for him in the final book following his death and the revelation about how he had been protecting Harry all along because he loved his mother.
- Draco Malfoy
Whilst for the first five books all I wanted to do was slap him across the face (and go Hermione, for actually doing it in The Prisoner of Azkaban!), Harry’s time at Hogwarts would have been a lot duller had it not been for a suitably nasty nemesis. I also liked how his character developed in the final two books. Instead of being the somewhat two-dimensional bully he always seemed to be, he actually showed a more vulnerable side, and I even felt a little sorry for him!
- Remus Lupin
Lupin was without a doubt my favourite of the many Defence Against The Dark Arts teachers (not that that’s exactly hard when you’re up against the likes of an imposter, a toad-like ministry official, a self-obsessed minor celebrity and a guy with Voldemort sticking out the back of his head!), and I liked how his character continued to be a guiding force for Harry throughout the remaining books. I always wanted to know more about the adventures of the four Marauders (please write a book about them, J.K. Rowling!), and Lupin is a character I’m particularly curious about.
- Sirius Black
Another Marauder! Like Snape, Sirius was a case of a total character turnaround (albeit a smaller one – it only lasted the length of a single book), with him being depicted as a murderous traitor all the way through The Prisoner of Azkaban, only for it to be revealed in the end that he was innocent all along. I loved his relationship with Harry – whilst he is protective in a parental kind of way, he also treats him like a best friend and isn’t adverse to Harry breaking some rules – and his death was another that left me reeling.
- Fred Weasley
I pretty much love the entire Weasley family (minus Percy – and no he did not redeem himself in the last book as far as I’m concerned!), but the twins (and Ron) in particular were always my favourite. Pretty much any scene that includes them is hilarious, and their epic exit from Hogwarts in book five was…well, epic!
- George Weasley
I like George for all the reasons I like Fred, it just felt kind of mean counting them as a single person just because they’re twins! Admittedly I always liked Fred slightly better, although that is purely based on the fact that I just like the name Fred (I used to have a pet gerbil called Fred!). Oh, and because he died in the final book and it made me sad!
Honourable mentions: Voldemort (one of the best villains ever! Even saying his name scares people!), Bellatrix Lestrange, all the other Weasleys (except Percy!), Hagrid, Professor McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood… basically there isn’t a single character I hated in this series. Aside from Fudge, and Rita Skeeter.
So who are your favourite Harry Potter characters?