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I guess I just like liking things

I really wanted to include the Whomping Willow in my list, because I love it so, but I don't know that it actually qualifies as a "character"

I really wanted to include the Whomping Willow in my list, because I love it so, but I don’t know that it actually qualifies as a “character”

Last night my wife and I finished a watch-through of the Harry Potter movies, her first time through them. She loved them! It’s my third time seeing them and I enjoy them more each time. It’s great to watch the actors grow up in the roles just like the characters grow up in the stories, and (for the most part) the filmmakers lucked out with their choices. “Hey, kid, we need you to be in 7-8 movies over the next several years” could have turned out disastrously.

I haven’t read the books, and I’ve been told by several people that they are so much better, and I’m sure they are, and some day I might actually read them, but today is not that day. This list is based on the movie versions of the characters, and it could’ve been a lot longer because there are so many wonderful characters.

There might be a few spoilers in here, so if you haven’t watched the movies or read the books go sit in a corner and think about you’ve not done and feel bad about yourself.  Then watch them and come back.

10. Bellatrix Lestrange – Chalk this one up to perfect casting. I mean, the character is a terrible person, but Helena Bonham Carter is just so fantastic in the role. Anyone else plays this and the character is off the list.

9. Neville Longbottom – Probably my favorite character to watch grow over the years. The more you learn about his family history the more you root for this kid. And when Voldemort thinks Neville is coming to join him and mockingly says “well, we’ll try to find a place for you” you want to punch him right in his non-existent nose and say, “You leave Neville alone, you jerk!” And when Neville saves the day, if you don’t pump your fist and go “Yeah!” then you’re what’s wrong with America (or whatever country you happen to be from).

8. Luna Lovegood – So delightfully odd and perceptive. Nobody seems to know what to do with her and they mostly seem to just nod and smile, but time and time again she’s proved right. You’d think people would learn!

7. Albus Dumbledore – Sure, when you come to the last movie you come to understand he wasn’t perfect, but the man had a lot of hard choices to make in the face of some pretty heavy big picture stuff. When Snape accuses him of protecting Harry so he can “die at the right time,” I hold on to an idea that Dumbledore was hoping to find some other way all those years but just couldn’t, even though there’s no proof that was so. Regardless, he was a help to Harry all the way through and things ended up (mostly) okay.

6. Ron Weasley – What is there to say about Ron?  The times where he wasn’t as loyal as you’d expect where due to him being affected by outward measures. There was never any doubt he’d always be there (or come back) for Harry (and Hermione, eventually).

5. Molly Weasley (and, really, all of the other Weasleys) – Do not mess with Mrs. Weasley. I love the Weasley clan as a whole – the goofy trouble-causing twins, Ginny, Dad – they’re just good people, you know?  Good stock. Their immediate acceptance of Harry, becoming the family he never really had, warms my heart.

4. Severus Snape – More perfect casting! The best part of this most recent watch-through of the movies was seeing my wife’s reaction to Snape all the way through. Those tear-delivered memories Harry watches are heart-rending.  That’ll do, Snape. That’ll do.

3. Harry Potter – The main dude only makes #3 on my list? Say what?? This poor kid – going from a terrible home life to being told over and over he’s “the chosen one” is a whiplash I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But you know, for the most part he handled it pretty well. I don’t know that I would have. I just wish that the filmmakers would have included Huey Lewis and the News’ “Power of Love” as his theme song, however subtly.

2. Rubeus Hagrid – Were the words “gentle giant” ever more fitting? He loves his animals and he loves (most of) the students. I don’t know what else to say about Hagrid other than I just love him.

1. Hermione Granger – Come on, nothing gets done without Hermione. you know it, I know it, and Harry and Ron eventually figure it out. She works harder than anyone else because she feels she has to, and her hard work pays off because she’s awesome at what she does. She’s always prepared and she fixes most things. It cracks me up that when she gets a time travel device she uses it to go to more classes, but it’s exactly the sort of thing you could predict Hermione would do.

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