With Fantastic Beasts nearly upon us it almost feels like the end of an era for the original Harry Potter movies. I doubt we’ll be forgetting about them any time soon, though – or the memorable characters JK Rowling has given us. Here’s ten of my favourites, alongside a quote from (or about) each that I think define them – I’ve chosen to omit the obvious Harry, Hermione and Ron as protagonists here, because everyone loves them, anyway…
‘Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light’.
Dumbledore is, without a doubt, one of the most influential and wisest fictional characters of a generation – and hopefully his words will continue to influence many more to come yet. There are a great many quotes one could pick from Dumbledore, and many fans will tell you that each one has changed their outlook in a plethora of different ways; but this one – which isn’t actually in the book, and was written into the screenplay for The Prisoner of Azkaban – always stood out to me during difficult periods. It’s beautiful, and, moreover, it’s true.
‘I am what I am an’ I’m not ashamed. “Never be ashamed,” my ol’ Dad used to say, “there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth bothering with”.’
Ah, Hagrid. Most commonly associated with being a bit of a dullard – “oh, I shouldn’t have told you that…” – it’s in his innocence and general good nature that his ability to be really quite profound shines. Nothing is complicated with Hagrid, it just is what it is, and that’s really refreshing.
‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends’
Another Dumbledore quote, yes; this time about that unlikely hero, Neville Longbottom. Orphaned at a young age by the death eater Bellatrix Lestrange, Neville is another character who comes across initially as a bit of a bumbling buffoon. It’s as the series evolves and matures that Neville’s bravery and courage shines through, and he ultimately becomes one of the unlikely saviours of Hogwarts. His story is touching and one of the many beautiful backstories somewhat engulfed by the main show that is Harry and Voldemort.
‘It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers’
In my humble opinion, everyone’s favourite werewolf Remus Lupin is one of the most underrated characters in the Harry Potter universe. His story is one of sadness and struggle; indeed he was described by the author as a metaphor for illnesses that carry a stigma – ‘he was someone who had been infected at a young age, who suffered stigma… it was a way of examining prejudice, unwarranted prejudice towards a group of people.’
‘I was never a prefect myself. My head of house said I lacked certain necessary qualities… like the ability to behave myself’
Nymphadora Tonks – ‘DON’T call me Nymphadora!’ – is one of my favourite Harry Potter characters, ever. Another one, who aside her husband Remus, is woefully under represented up until the final battle at Hogwarts, in my opinion. A metamorphmagus with a fiery personality and a heart of gold, Tonks is a wonderful addition to the Order of the Phoenix. The story of her life and strife-filled romance with Remus is also a touching testament to the value of their love for each other.
‘Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect’
Luna Lovegood (I named one of my dogs after her…) is initially seen as a bit of an outcast within Hogwarts – ‘Luna gave off an aura of distinct dottiness…’ – her eccentricity and fearless determination to do what is right make her a stand out character and invaluable ally when the fight against Voldemort nears its end.
‘Have a biscuit, Potter’
Minerva McGonagall. A short quote, admittedly, however one I think demonstrates her personality quite wonderfully in tandem with the preceding conversation:
‘is it true you shouted at Professor Umbridge?’
‘Yes’ said Harry.
‘You called her a liar?’
You told her He Who Must Not Be Named is back?’
‘….Have a biscuit, Potter’
A long-term teacher at Hogwarts, she is a stickler for rules and regulation – however her priority is always protecting the students and the school, and this admirable trait shines through with a glorious sense of mischief.
‘Why so tense, Potter? My Father and I have a bet, you see. See, I don’t think you’ll last ten minutes in this tournament. He disagrees. He doesn’t think you’ll last five’
Draco Malfoy – the bad guy we all love to hate. Despite his distinct air of superiority and apparent notion that nothing bad can ever happen to him because of who his father is, Draco is, quite clearly, a complete coward. The scene where Hermione punches him in the face not only illustrates this perfectly, but is also pure gold.
I’m not gonna cry whilst I write this. OK I might, a bit. I have this quote and Snape’s doe patronus tattooed on my arm.
Severus Snape is, after Harry himself, probably one of the most memorable characters in the Harry Potter universe. Whilst you spent most of the books wondering exactly who’s side he was on, it turns out despite his utter disdain for the boy, everything Snape did was because of how much he reminded him of Harry’s mother, Lily – who he was completely in love with. The emotion you go through hating him, than loving him, then hating him all over again… I’ve never come across a fictional character quite like Snape, and I don’t think I ever will.
‘Blown up a toilet? We’ve never blown up a toilet’….’great idea, though, thanks mum!’
Let’s end on a high, shall we? Fred and George Weasley. The most mischievous, comical characters in the series. Never taking anything seriously, always on hand to provide a bit of comic relief. Eventually opening their own joke shop in Diagon Alley, it was always clear these two were less academic than their siblings, but nonetheless they were an integral part of the Weasley family, and indeed in the battle against Voldemort.
With that, I suppose, it’s ‘mischief managed’ for Harry, for now; and time to look forward to entering the universe anew with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.