As Played By: David Thewlis
The Character: The cuddliest werewolf you could hope to meet, Lupin is another of the former Marauders to take Harry under his wing upon his arrival at Hogwarts. His tenure as Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher is ill-fated, but his joining of the Order Of The Phoenix prompts his love affair with fellow auror Tonks, so it isn’t all bad. Sadly, their romance goes the way of Lily and James’s, when both are killed in the Battle of Hogwarts.
Key Quote: (To Snape, concerning Sirius) “You fool. Is a schoolboy grudge worth putting an innocent man back inside Azkaban?”
As Played By: Robbie Coltrane
The Character: The gentle giant who first delivers Harry from the ghastly Dursley family, Hagrid is at times infuriating (his obsession with the most troublesome of magical creatures stretches the patience of both characters and audiences alike) but fiercely loyal to Harry and his friends. He’s pretty handy in a fight too, as half-giants are wont to be.
Key Quote : “You’re a wizard, Harry!”
As Played By: Gary Oldman, James Walters and Rohan Gotobed
The Character: Initially presented as a dangerous murderer out for Harry’s blood, Sirius is later revealed to be one of the heroes of the story, and Harry’s Godfather to boot. The decision to cast Gary Oldman in the role was one of the masterstrokes of the big-screen version, the actor switching between foaming-at-the-mouth nutter and cuddly father figure with ease. His death at the end of Order Of The Phoenix is one of the saga’s biggest tearjerkers.
Key Quote: “It’s been fourteen years, and still not a day goes by that I don’t miss your dad.”
As Played By: Tom Felton
The Character: A thorn in Harry’s side throughout his entire Hogwarts career, the preening, eternally-jealous Draco graduates from schoolboy bullying to full-on villainy upon joining the Death Eaters. We probably shouldn’t be too harsh on him given that he renounces the Dark Lord at the crucial hour, but that still doesn’t excuse seven years of snivelling shittery!
Key Quote : “I really don't think they should let the other sort in, do you? They're just not the same. They've never been brought up to know our ways.”
As Played By: Rupert Grint
The Character: The youngest of the Weasley boys, Ron is charged with supplying much of the humour in both books and films, a challenge to which he usually rises admirably (give or take Rupert Grint’s perma-terrified expression in the earlier instalments). A notoriously fiery character, he’s fallen out with both Harry and Hermione more than a few times, but there’s never any question of where his loyalties lie…
Key Quote: “Maybe you don't have to do this all by yourself, mate.”
As Played By: Emma Watson
The Character: The sensible one of Harry’s merry band, Hermione is the brains of the outfit, her natural aptitude for spells and potions getting the three friends out of all manner of binds. Despite her innate caution, she’s tough as old boots beneath it all, as shown by her willingness to write herself out of her parents lives in order to spare them from harm. Oh, and she and Ron are quite sweet, aren’t they?
Key Quote: “Me? Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery.”
As Played By: Ralph Fiennes, Ian Hart, Richard Bremmer, Christian Coulson, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin and Frank Dillane
The Character: The worst of all the rotten eggs to emerge from Slytherin House, Tom Marvolo Riddle (“I am Lord Voldemort” for all you anagram fans) is the sneering malcontent who would go on to become the most famous and feared wizard in history. Variously described by Rowling as, “a raging psychopath devoid of empathy,” “a power-hungry racist,” and, “a self-hating bully,” he’s the yin to Harry’s yang, mirroring all the boy wizard’s good qualities with evil ones of his own. Boooo! Hissss!
Key Quote: “Only I can live forever.”
As Played By: Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Toby Regbo
The Character: Prominent Hogwarts headmaster, powerful wizard and all round decent chap, Dumbledore’s death is unquestionably the most shocking of the series when it arrives unexpectedly at the end of Half-Blood Prince . The sort of character you can always depend upon to have a plan up his sleeve, it’s a thoroughly jarring experience when he is eventually undone. Although naturally, he’s back to offer Harry some posthumous guidance when things come to a head at the series’ big finale.
Key Quote: “I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being — forgive me — rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.”
As Played By: Daniel Radcliffe
The Character: The Boy Who Lived, The Chosen One himself, and the only wizard Lord Voldemort has ever been unable to kill… it’s no wonder his name is all over the franchise. The beating heart of Jo Rowling’s narrative, Harry grows into his role as saviour of the wizarding world across the seven books, starting off as a shy, reluctant schoolboy and flowering into the brave hero of the final episode, willing to die in order to protect his friends. The best character in the series? Nearly, but not quite…
Key Quote: “I never wanted any of you to die for me.”
As Played By: Alan Rickman
The Character: The saga’s tragic hero, Snape has lived a profoundly unhappy life, watching his beloved shack up with the man who made his school days a misery, before eventually giving his life to protect the couple’s son. Once the story’s revelations have been made in full, his character takes on a whole new complexion, demonstrating just how selfless a man he really is. As Harry puts it, “he’s probably the bravest man I ever knew.”
Key Quote: (On Harry) “Mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rule-breaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent.”