Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ranking the Harry Potter Characters

I was going to write a few more things about the Harry Potter Characters, but I the end, I was going to rank them anyways, so, I thought I'd just skip to that.

I left out Ron, Hermione, Harry, Voldemort, and Dumbledore on purpose. They are the main characters and don't need to be ranked. Hagrid was purposefully omitted because he sucks.

Criteria - Ok, my criteria is always a bit flakey, but usually, we are looking for the best character in the literary sense of the word - Do they add to the story? are the entertaining? do they invoke emotion in the reader? Would something be missing if they were absent? Obviously, if they are likable, they will be higher on the list. You'll see a lot of people from last posts list on this list as well. I think wanting to know more about a character is a key quality.

The Top 35 Harry Potter Characters.

35. Peeves - comic relief, but a bit annoying.
34. Xenophilius Lovegood- An interesting character, told a good story, but sold Harry out.
33. Cho Chang - Cho was very similar to many girls from my teenage years. You were all about her for a short time, but then she really fizzled out quickly.
32.Cornelius Fudge - He was a very present character, but really didn't do all that much.
31. Wormtail - You need a character you hate yet feel some pity for.
30. Narcissa Malfoy - Brought some much needed humanity to Draco
29. Oliver Wood - This mother loves quidditch!
28. Lavender Brown - a bit annoying, but played her role well, and brought Ron and Hermione together.
27. Mad-Eye Moody - I'm conflicted on this one. Moody was real cool in Book 4, but that was actually Barty Crouch Jr. The rest of his contributions were not too substantial.
26. Lucius Malfoy - You need villains. He was a good one, not a great one.
25. Percy Weasley - Another character it was easy to hate, but he had the transformation at the end.
24. The Dursleys - Wow, read #25. Dudley made the biggest chance of the family. That was one of the more interesting parts of Book 7
23. The Gaunts - They added a different element to the series. They were intriguing and showed much about Voldemort's character.
22. Igor Karkaroff
21. Remus Lupin - Lupin is the favorite character of some people, but he was a bit inconsistent for me. He was great in Book 3, but king of tailed off for me. His whole wanting to come with Harry in Deathly Hallows was kind of weird.
20. Barty Crouch - Sr. and Jr.
19. Ludo Bagman - Provided a foil for all the serious, earnest wizards and witches we met.
18. Arthur Weasley - Couldn't you see Arthur as your friend's father? The moral compass for the Weasley family and one of the few that always trusted Harry with the tough truth.
17. Fred and George Weasley - 2 parts comic relief, one part faithful friend and brother.
16. Cormac Mclaggen - As I said in the last post, I wanted to see more of this guy. He reminds me a bit of the Cobra-Kai, but I think he had a good heart. A good supporting character.
15. Draco Malfoy - I'm also conflicted on Draco Malfoy. His portrayal is inconsistent. He at times is just evil for no reason. We get a little better character insight of him in Book 6. There he shows humanity and much more depth, but I feel there was opportunity for more.
14. Sirius Black - Sirius was a cool character, but I feel he could have also been explored more. He was Harry's father figure and wanted to be his friend, but I think the toll years in Azkaban could have been more prominent.
13. Regulus Black - Odd that Regulus makes it here above this brother, but as a minor character, he was the bomb. See yesterday's post for more, but in such an odd role, Regulus was perfectly portrayed.
12. Horace Slughorn - A good mix of teacher and misguided teacher wanting to still make amends. A realistic portrayal I think.
11. Dolores Umbridge - The most unlikable character in the entire series, and that is saying a lot. A very great villain. So misguided, but a great example of what Harry and Dumbledore were up against.

10. Mungundas Fletcher - A great foil to almost every other wizard on the good guy's side. This guy failed in almost every way. You need that presence.

9. Victor Krum - Krum played his role well - foreigner, outsider, friend, ally.

8. Neville Longbottom - Neville showed the most growth in the series. He was originally the screw-up, the one no one wanted to sit next to or work with, but turned into a leader. A great example of how 7 books allow for character growth and of Rowling's message of including all no matter how seemingly unfitting they appear.

7. Bellatrix Lestrange- Another one to hate, but this time you don't really need any further character exploration, bitch is just crazy.

6. Gilderoy Lockhart - A great literary character. His personality and true personality just fit the 2nd book so perfectly. You wanted to hate him and his cowardly ways, but couldn't. One of the first examples of Rowling showing that characters are not always as the appear.

5. Cedric Diggory - The prime example of honor, friendship, fairness. I think even Harry said he couldn't dislike him even when he tried. He may be a bit one-dimensional, but that fits his role. Also, his death was a turning point in the story.

4. Kreacher - I'm a big fan of the journey of the character, of a character changing due to the environment he or she is placed in, of the character learning from past mistakes. This can be seen in Neville, Harry, Hermione, Ron, and in my number one and two choices on this list, and we see glimpses of the downward change in Voldemort. Kreacher is a drastic example, going from one of the most hated and frankly worst characters to one of the best. He really came through for Harry and the good side in book 7, a nice turnaround.

3. Professor McGonagall - McGonagall illustrates the the other type of great character. It doesn't have to be all about change and transforming, consistency works too. McGonagall is the most consistent person in the book. We don't need to know her back story to see what see is all about. She is a caring teacher and role model, but also one you would not want to mess with.

2. Severus Snape - So I think I'm putting Snape number 2 because most people think I will put him 1. He is a great character no doubt. He has the journey. He has the mystery. He most importantly, has elements of good and evil. Even when at his most surly, even when you don't know any of his back story, you still like him, or at least want to see more of him and know more of him. That is the mark of a good character. Snape is again the sign of the complexity that a 7 book (7 year) series allows for. In one book, he never really does anything that great (accept for maybe book 6) and could not show dynamic change either, but as a body of work, is an amazing character.

1. Luna Lovegood - Yes, Luna Lovegood is the best character in the Harry Potter universe. She presents a lot of things that make Harry Potter what it is. She is different and funny, but most importantly sincere. She has this connection with Harry and other characters that makes her super likable, but also super crucial. And like most of my rankings, it is easier to be the favorite when you are a minor character. Luna is just on the fringe of being a major character, but being a minor character makes her free from mistakes. Every time she is present it is important, it adds value, you wait for it, whereas Snape had a few appearances that weren't all that great or even necessary.

There you go Harry Potter fans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what about dobby?