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50 Greatest Harry Potter Characters

Ginny Weasley

As Played By: Bonnie Wright

The Character: Besotted with Harry from the moment she clapped eyes on him as a little girl, Ginny provides love interest to the Boy Who Lived after that pesky Cho Chang falls off his radar. Resolutely tomboyish, Harry is initially attracted to her because she’s a tough cookie. Either that, or she’s the acceptable face of his man-love for Ron!

Key Quote:
“I knew you wouldn't be happy unless you were hunting down Voldemort. Maybe that's why I like you so much.”

Vernon Dursley

As Played By: Richard Griffiths

The Character:
Harry’s perma-furious Uncle Vernon is the head of the ghastly Dursley brood, and a man who continually seems to flirt with a total nervous breakdown. Having brought Harry up in a manner more fitting of a prisoner than a nephew, Vernon’s chickens come home to roost on an annual basis, with all manner of magical folk pitching up on his doorstep year in year out. Whatever will the neighbours say?

Key Quote: “There’s no such thing as magic!”

Horace Slughorn

As Played By: Jim Broadbent

The Character: A pleasingly ambiguous character in many ways, Slughorn is undoubtedly a good man, eschewing the less palatable characteristics of some of his Slytherin brethren, and yet he is also vain and self-serving, paying little attention to those pupils he feels have little to offer him. Jim Broadbent portrays the character brilliantly, tempering his signature twinkly-eyed routine with a healthy dash of preening self-regard.

Key Quote:
“One spring afternoon I discovered a bowl on my desk, just a few inches of clear water in it. Floating on the surface was a flower petal...as I watched, it sank... just before it reached the bottom, it was transformed into a fish. It was beautiful magic, wondrous to behold. The flower petal had come from a lily, your mother. The day I came downstairs, the day the bowl was empty, was the day your mother... I know why you're here... but I can't help you. It would ruin me.”

Peter Pettigrew

As Played By: Timothy Spall and Charles Hughes

The Character: One of the Marauders alongside James Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, Pettigrew would go on to betray his childhood friends to Voldemort, directly leading to the death of Potter Senior. A snivelling, backstabbing weasel of the worst kind, even Voldemort has little good to say about him, calling him on his false loyalty when he eventually goes crawling back to his master. “Your devotion is nothing more than cowardice,” he tells him. “You would not be here if you had anywhere else to go.” Ouch.

Key Quote:
“You don’t understand… He would have killed me, Sirius!”

Sybill Trelawney

As Played By: Emma Thompson

The Character: Trelawney is the batty Divination teacher with a penchant for predicting the imminent and gruesome death of Harry Potter at every opportunity. Played with winning abandon by a bespectacled Emma Thompson, she stands out as one of the more out-there characters, even amongst Hogwarts’ colourful cast. No mean feat…

Key Quote: “Either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.”

James Potter

As Played By: Adrian Rawlins and Robbie Jarvis

The Character:
One of Rowling’s cannier moves was to make Harry’s father a far more flawed character than Harry himself. Indeed, his bullying of Snape is far crueller than anything Harry gets up to, and future wife Lily reputedly hated him at school. However, he is shown to have grown into a fine man after leaving Hogwarts, and nowhere is this better exemplified than when he dies fighting to protect his family.

Key Quote: “Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!"

Nymphadora Tonks

As Played By: Natalia Tena

The Character: One of the Aurors charged with protecting Harry, Tonks is every inch the feisty female action hero, what with catchphrase (“Don’t call me Nymphadora”…alright, so it’s not the catchiest!) and flamboyantly coloured hair. Her relationship with Lupin is both affecting and believable, which makes it all the harder to take when it comes to its premature conclusion.

Key Quote:
“I was never a prefect myself. My Head of House said I lacked certain necessary qualities… like the ability to behave myself.”

Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody

As Played By: Brendan Gleeson

The Character:
Undoubtedly the most badass member of the Order Of The Phoenix, Moody gives his life to protect Harry during the battle of Little Whinging. Even in death, his grit is proven beyond doubt. “Mad-Eye said he'd expect the real Harry to be with the toughest, most skilled Auror,” says Tonks, following the big man’s death. “He chased Mad-Eye first.”

Key Quote:
“Don't put your wand into your back pocket! Better wizards then you have lost buttocks from it!"

Gilderoy Lockhart

As Played By: Kenneth Branagh

The Character: The preening ponce who takes over the Defence Against The Dark Arts post in Chamber Of Secrets , Lockhart is one of Rowling’s finer comic creations, largely eschewing his teaching responsibilities in favour of hyping up his own myth at any opportunity. Kenneth Branagh’s flouncy performance captures him perfectly.

Key Quote:
“Celebrity is as celebrity does.”

Dobby

As Played By: Toby Jones (Voice)

The Character:
The self-lacerating House Elf (witness the moment when he irons his hands as penance for disobeying the Malfoys) with an abiding love for Harry Potter, Dobby is something of an acquired taste, his constant clowning taking him perilously close to Jar-Jar territory in Chamber Of Secrets . However, his bravery at the battle of Malfoy Manner is enough to redeem him in our eyes, and anyone who wasn’t choking back a sniffle at his eventual death clearly has a heart of stone.

Key Quote:
“Dobby has no master… Dobby is a free elf!”