Characters: Harry Potter Hogwarts Teachers
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"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
Portrayed by: Richard Harris, later Michael Gambon
Full Name: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and considered to be the modern Merlin in terms of his magical ability. Like any good old, wise guy, he's extremely vague about everything important he says; he is also humorously eccentric. Founded the Order of the Phoenix, the organization that spearheads the fight against Voldemort
; most of the characters in the series are personally loyal to him. He dies at the hands of Snape, but is ultimately revealed to have planned it beforehand as part of an elaborate Batman Gambit
Enjoys tenpin bowling, lemon sherbets and chamber music.
- Animal Motifs: Old, powerful, respected, and wise — it's no surprise that his Patronus is a phoenix.
- Anti-Hero: Early on, he has shades of being a minor, Classical Anti-Hero, reflecting a mysterious past and questionable decisions. He's eventually revealed to be a Pragmatic Hero, at least in his youth, with ideas of a "greater good" that were mostly discarded in his adult life; he also does a fair bit of manipulation throughout the series proper that is revealed in later school years.
- Aerith and Bob: Ancient Roman, Old-French, and Anglo-Saxon names. Followed by Brian.
- The Archmage: We never see him lose a fight, even outnumbered.
- Awesome McCoolname
- Badass Beard
- Badass Grandpa: "The Only One He Ever Feared," indeed. Anyone besides Voldemort can expect a humiliating Curb-Stomp Battle, and Voldemort himself never managed more than a draw. It took a combination of a crippled hand and excruciating mental torture to bring him down, and then it turned out he was already planning to die.
- Badass Baritone: Or at least Michael Gambon's portrayal anyway.
- Batman Gambit: Almost everything he does is part of one of these.
- Because I Said So: Really not too keen on explaining why he does things.
- Belated Backstory: In Book 7.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's extremely powerful. And while he's usually a very friendly person, anyone who's ever seen him truly angry was terrified at the sight.
- Berserk Button:
- Attempt to harm ANY of his students, and you'll instantly discover why Voldemort fears Dumbledore.
- Does not like Dementors.
- Big Good: Head of the school, known as the most powerful wizard of the age and the only one Voldemort feared, and an important mentor figure.
- Broken Ace
- Broken Pedestal: Both subverted and played straight. While he wasn't perfect and did do some bad things, he wasn't as bad as Rita Skeeter implied, and he did genuinely see the error of his ways.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer
- Celibate Hero: After everything that happened the last time he fell in love...
- The Chains of Commanding: Dumbledore is greatly burdened by this. Being so much smarter than everyone around him means he's not only lonely but can never not treat people on a need-to-know basis, which might or might not work in the way they expect it. Even someone like Severus Snape, despite his considerable sacrifices is only given a piece of Dumbledore's great plan, offended that he'd rely so obviously on a boy who's not skilled or disciplined, Dumbledore justifies this on pragmatic grounds of withdrawing the most sensitive information from the person with the most precarious position.
- The Chessmaster: Just about everything in the overarching plot of the series happens thanks to his plotting and machinations. Luckily, his ultimate goal is good and he more guides Harry than manipulates him, but he crosses more than a few moral lines in his plans (including part of his plan to destroy Voldemort involving Harry's sacrifice. If Voldemort hadn't used Harry's blood to regenerate and the Elder Wand plot had not worked out as it did, Harry would have truly died in book seven. Though, as soon as he found out about these, Dumbledore did change his plans to make sure that Harry would be able to survive his "death." However, it still may have been unsuccessful, because Dumbledore only made a guess that the Horcrux inside Harry would be killed instead of Harry himself. He was right of course, but it could have turned out for the worst, as he states.)
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Difficult to tell how much is Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Cool Old Guy: Possibly the king of this trope.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Defied. He knows that if Marvolo Gaunt's cursed ring doesn't do it, then Fenrir Greyback or Bellatrix Lestrange will, so he orders Snape to give him a quick and clean death via the Killing Curse.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Inverted — he was going through a Well-Intentioned Extremist phase before the death of his sister Ariana snapped him out of it.
- Disney Villain Death: Although he isn't a villain.
- Does Not Like Spam: He avoids Berty Bott's Every-Flavor-Beans after eating a vomit-flavored one in his youth. The one time he tries giving them a chance after that, he gets earwax.
- The Dreaded: A very specific example - it's repeatedly stated that he's the one person Voldemort (himself the terror of their entire community) ever feared. Harry only starts to understand why around books four and five.
- Didn't See That Coming: A master of long-term convoluted planning and a Magnificent Bastard, not much surprises Dumbledore or leaves him unprepared but finding the Resurrection Stone, the final Deathly Hallow from a quest he abandoned nearly hundred years in the past in literally the Last Place You Look completely left him free of his senses, forcing him to make a rare mistake that stars the endgame of the series.
- Eccentric Mentor: Former Trope Namer.
- Evil Former Friend: He had one in the person of Gellert Grindelwald. They used to work together finding the Deathly Hallows; that is, until he and Gellert had a fight with each other that resulted in the death of Ariana, Albus' sister.
- Expy: Of Merlin from The Sword in the Stone.
- Fair For His Day: In-Universe. While the quotes from his adolescence bother many readers and Harry immensely, it's worth pointing out that his teenage years took place a hundred years ago, in a time of immense, institutionalized racism. With that in mind, his comments may seem extreme, but not malicious.
- Figure It Out Yourself: Harry Potter's interactions with him revolve around measured dispensing and denying of plot critical information — all as a "learning experience".
- In the sixth book, he admits that this was a bad idea. But even then, he still doesn't tell Harry what a Horcrux is, even though he has excellent reasons to do so (Harry doesn't think finding out about them is that important, if he knew what they were, it might move up his priority list).
- In the seventh book, he implies to Snape that he kept secrets from Harry so that Voldemort wouldn't know through their Psychic Link.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
- Gambit Roulette: Way too many of his schemes require exceptionally precise combinations of events and circumstances that can't realistically be predicted. For example, his master plan for removing the Horcrux from Harry would have failed if Voldemort had been a little more thorough with one particular murder. In Order of the Phoenix, his attempt at distancing himself fom Harry to ensure that Voldemort cannot get access to his secrets does backfire, leading directly to the death of Sirius Black.
- Genius Sweet Tooth: He admits to being fond of Muggle sweets not long after he's introduced (he even offers McGonagall a sherbert lemon) and the password to get into his office is always a kind of candy.
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: He and Harry both understand Voldemort a little more than they're comfortable with, but there's one amusing exception in Dumbledore's case. Whatever he got up to with Grindelwald, Dumbledore was an absolute model pupil at school, and never had to use the Room of Hidden Things.
- Guile Hero
- Horrible Judge of Character: Played straight with Gellert Grindelwald. Averted in later life with Snape and Tom Riddle in which he's the only one to judge them perfectly. Subverted with Snape as his initial judgement of Snape is unknown. But he's the only character to really judge him properly after Lily's murder.
- In the books, Dumbledore has a reputation among his friends and the wider wizarding world as someone who believes in second chances, helping and befriending outcasts, oddballs and people who are regarded, even by wizarding standards, as freaks. Each one of them ultimately vindicates his trust.
- Informed Ability: Hogwarts’ status as a safe haven is mainly attributed to Dumbledore’s hawk-like watch over the place. For all the cunning he displays elsewhere, it's worth noting that, in only six years, two Death Eaters slipped into the payroll as teachers, one of them lugging around Lord Voldemort himself, Slytherin’s monster was unleashed on the grounds and carried out five attempted murders, a hunted (presumed) murderer slipped into the grounds repeatedly, once reaching as far in as the bedside of his presumed target, the horde of Dementors hunting said murderer slipped out of control repeatedly and tried to kill a student, a fascist-racist child torturer was legally instated as teacher and later Headmistress while the staff failed to pose effective resistance, underestimation of Draco allowed a squad of Death Eaters to enter the heart of the castle with only a handful of defenders posted and, of course, the yearly near-death situations and almost bi-monthly grievous injuries Harry faces while within the grounds. It’s no surprise that Hogwarts’ blatant unsafeness is a running joke among the fans.
- To be fair there was nothing he could have done to stop the Dementors from guarding the school or Umbridge from joining the staff and he did everything in his power to stop the Dementors from harming his students and foil her without stepping on the Ministry's toes.
- To be fair, the other Death Eater played his role so perfectly, fooling Dumbledore was evidence of how good he was playing his part. That, and most of his staffing issues had to do with the Defense Against The Dark Arts position, which was jinxed by Voldemort.
- Bear in mind, that we only see his tenure for the six years that Harry Potter studies at Hogwarts, with the preceding years implied to be highly safe. He also had to contend with the unhealable security breach of a cursed Defense Against the Dark Arts post, which was his punishment for turning down Voldemort's application for the job. In those cases above, you could say that the situation would have been much worse without Dumbledore's presence and the fact that it occurs merely shows that he's Not So Omniscient After All.
- Insufferable Genius: Throughout his youth.
- And occasionally in his older age, too. Dumbledore tries to be humble, but can't help but pat himself on the back occasionally. He's proud of his gambit with the Mirror of Erised calling it one of his better ideas.
- Killed Off for Real
- Knight Templar: How some fans see him. He manipulates those under his guidance and raises Harry to be a Sacrificial Lamb in his quest to defeat Voldemort, and he once thought that plotting World Domination would be best for everyone. Granted, he suspected that Harry would probably live, but it was still a big risk. However, he only does this when he realizes Harry may be a Horcrux, and this isn't until much later after he puts Harry with the Dursleys. He was not raising Harry for slaughter, but realized that it was the only way to defeat Voldemort. It can be argued that it was Harry's choice to sacrifice himself and that Dumbledore did not manipulate him.
- It's implied that Dumbledore knew Harry would survive especially when he tells Snape it must be Voldemort to kill him in order to destroy the faux Horcrux that Harry had become. It's likely Harry could have been killed by anybody and the faux Horcrux would have been gone. Dumbledore specified this because he believed Harry could survive if it was Voldemort to be the one to do it because of his connection with Harry's blood. Also Dumbledore believed in choices, and for his gambit to work, a real choice has to be made with full awareness of stakes, which is another reason for his hands-off approach.
- Large Ham: It is necessary for him to be one.
- Like a Son to Me: It's clear enough in the series, though never spelled out directly, but Word of God affirms that this was how Dumbledore felt about Harry.
- Long Lived: He's in his 110s during the events of the books, but still in excellent health.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Classic example.
- Manipulative Bastard: See The Chessmaster.
- Moral Dissonance: Arguably. Whole essays could be written about the alleged wisdom of his actions — or lack of such — throughout the series, and his neglect of Harry's personal well-being and safety, not to mention that of Hogwarts's student body in general is a heated debate amongst the fandom.
- Mr. Exposition: Even postmortem, in Deathly Hallows. Rowling has admitted that whenever something needs explaining, she gives it to either Dumbledore or Hermione to do.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: Unlike most of the examples, he does not use an Unwitting Pawn, since he'd prefer a quick and painless death, and Death Eaters tend to be sadistic.
- Nobody over 50 Is Gay: Averted, by a margin of nearly sixty-six years.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His greatest regret was accidentally killing his little sister. He actually flashed back to that memory when he was drinking the potion in The Half-Blood Prince and begged to be killed in her place.]
- Has hints of this in Order of the Phoenix when he realizes that his attempt at distancing himself from Harry to keep Voldemort from reading the boy's mind and getting information instead lead to Harry rushing off to the Department of Mysteries and Sirius Black's death.
- Not So Omniscient After All: In Dumbledore's own words:
"I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being — forgive me — rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger."
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Never stupidity per se, but he nearly always knows a lot more about what's going on than he lets on.
- Michael Gambon seemed to be working under the impression that all of Dumbledore's Cloud Cuckoolander qualities are cases of this. Notice in his portrayal that he only pulls out an oddity like enjoying knitting patterns when he's intentionally trying to fool somebody or throw them off their guard.
- The Obi-Wan
- Omniscient Morality License: Some of the things he says and does could make him seem like an outright Jerk Ass, but it's all okay because he knows everything about what needs to happen already. Some critics of the books have labeled him as a Jerk Stu as a result.
- The Other Darrin
- Overly Long Name: "Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore."
- Note that the only thing that makes "Brian" an Odd Name Out is the fact that it is still in common(er) use today. It is an old name.
- Papa Wolf: Again, he "cannot allow you to manhandle [his] students." Which is a polite way of saying that if you try to hurt his students, he will END you.
- Parental Substitute
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Dumbledore has a certain gift for being scathingly condescending yet perfectly polite at the same time, often seen when dealing with people he dislikes.
- Posthumous Character Development: He's alive for most of the book series, but we don't find out his past, his motivations, or really much of anything about him until after he's dead.
- Pride: Not that he lacks a good reason. Still, it gets him into trouble at times, especially in his youth.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior! : Generally averted but in the sixth book, once he's secretly dying, he is a lot less cheery and slips on his Cool Grandpa image, showing little patience for some of Harry's usual excuses and hi-jinks and no longer playing at false modesty.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right : His general credo. Even if the Ministry is being Lawful Stupid, Dumbledore will start and prepare for La Résistance behind their backs. The Ministry, in their paranoia, think he's going to pull a coup d'etat and gathering an army for the same reasons. While willing to take the heat for his students wrongdoing he also has no inclination to "come quietly".
- Secretly Dying: Of Horcrux backlash.
- Showy Invincible Hero : "Dumbledore's got style!"
- Stealth Mentor: Dumbledore serves as this to Harry, who gradually realizes that a lot of the things he tells him have multiple layers of meaning which only make sense years later.
- One of the more admittedly dickish aspects of his behaviour is the fact that you can see him carefully preparing Harry for the role of sacrificing himself to Voldemort throughout the books, alternately enabling Harry's reckless curiosity and adventuring, and withdrawing and reeling him in for additional information, much like a director feeding an actor the motivations of his role. Snape gradually picks up on this and gives his mentor a What the Hell, Hero? speech.
- Straight Gay: So much so, which is a tie-in with...
- Suddenly Sexuality: J.K. Rowling revealed his sexuality after the final book was released.
- The Smart Guy: While there are a lot of brilliant characters in the series, Dumbledore is strongly implied to be the brightest of them all. While a student at Hogwarts, he won just about every honor imaginable. He also demonstrates brilliance in understanding people, long term strategy, politics in addition to a sizable academic knowledge in magic in all its branches.
- Teen Genius: When he was a teenager.
- Tender Tears: In the books at least, he tends to well up when someone does something heartwarming, like when Harry shows his fierce support of him or when Snape shows his love for Lily by casting his Patronus. Not that that's a bad thing.
- Thanatos Gambit: And how!
- Tragic Hero
- Tranquil Fury
- TV Genius: Sometimes he seems to border on omniscient. See also The Chessmaster, My Death Is Just the Beginning, and The Smart Guy.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- His brother Aberforth and others question the way he uses Harry throughout the series. Snape does a particularly good job of calling him out in one of the memory scenes in Deathly Hallows:
"I have spied for you, lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter—"
- He himself calls out Snape when it turns out that Snape begged Voldemort for Lily's life in exchange for Harry's. See You Monster! below.
- Harry himself calls him out on his treatment in Order of the Phoenix and posthumously, after reading Rita Skeeter's books is appalled that at his age, Dumbledore was planning to Take Over the World with Grindelwald.
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: A child with a disposition to sociopathy and manipulation, who is already using his powers for the bad? Alienate him from yourself and leave him totally alone. There's no way he will become an evil wizard.
- Dumbledore is behaving like a responsible public servant, reminding a bullying Tom Riddle that he's not being rewarded by going to magic school and that the Wizarding world has laws and the school has rules that can monitor use of magic and are not so easy to fool as the Orphanage, and furthermore making him apologize for his actions. He's trying to correct Tom Riddle there by reminding him of social responsibility and penalty by making that disrespectful little snot call him "Professor".
- Years later, Dumbledore expresses regrets to the older Tom that that was the only way he could make him understand his actions. Dumbledore was fairly kind and gentle with Tom Riddle, even showing compassion when he asks about his parents, but he was not going to enable his bullying or let him teach his students when he had long crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
- Wizard Beard: Just look at the picture on the main page.
- Wizard Classic
- The Wonka: Extremely powerful wizard... and more than a little bit quirky. Example: announcing that he'd like to "say a few words" at the opening ceremony, and then saying, "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" He's the headmaster for a reason.
- Word of Gay: Possibly the most (in)famous example.
- You Monster!: A variant, towards Snape:
Dumbledore: If she means so much to you, surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?
Snape: I have - I have asked him -
Dumbledore: You disgust me.
- Dumbledore turns out on the receiving end of this from Aberforth Dumbledore in the past, he punched him during the funeral, and later from Severus Snape who is appalled that Dumbledore has anticipated and prepared and trained Harry to sacrifice himself at the right moment, "like a pig for the slaughter" and justifying it on pragmatic grounds.
"I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death, if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
A former classmate of Harry's dead parents, Snape is now a teacher at Hogwarts who seems to hate Harry on sight. It's later revealed that Snape was frequently bullied and tormented by Harry's father James (whom Harry greatly resembles) and godfather Sirius Black, and that he was once a Death Eater but has returned to the light side for some unspecified reason. Whether he is genuinely with the Order of the Phoenix or the Death Eaters becomes a major point of contention for many characters and fans. He is Hogwarts' resident Sadist Teacher
(at least until Book 5).
In the sixth book, it's revealed that Snape was the spy who gave Voldemort the (incomplete) prophecy, leading to the murder of Harry's parents
. In the seventh
book, it's revealed that he and Harry's mother, Lily Evans, were best friends since childhood, and he subsequently fell in love with her, though she cut off said friendship when he referred to her as "mudblood" during a fight. When his actions as Voldemort's spy led Voldemort to begin hunting her, he was instantly remorseful. This is how Dumbledore knew his repentance was genuine, and ever since, he has helped the Order protect Harry because Lily died to save Harry's life. His actions also played a part in Harry's survival as a baby; Lily's protective charm was only possible because Voldemort gave her the chance to step aside but she chose to sacrifice herself protecting Harry instead, and she only had this opportunity because Snape had begged Voldemort to spare her. His patronus is a doe, the same as Lily's, and it was he who sent his Patronus to Harry in Deathly Hallows when he was lost in the woods, guiding him to the Sword of Gryffindor in a frozen pond.Harry names his youngest son after him and Dumbledore.
- Alliterative Name
- Abusive Parents: He's implied to have had an abusive father. Cruelly ironic, given his treatment of the students under his care. Or it's simply the only way he ever learned to exert authority over people subordinate to him.
- The Ace: Not quite. See Broken Ace below.
- Adaptational Heroism: He is much less of a Jerkass in the films, which plays down his dubious teaching methods in Potions and hardly shows a single class session with him in detail aside from the introductory scene in the first film.
- More importantly, the final film adds a scene of Snape holding Lily's dead body in her arms while baby Harry looks on, which makes him vastly more sympathetic.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Snape was a misfit in school, which is partially what made the Death Eaters so appealing as a young adult.
- Ambiguously Evil: Rowling did a good job of keeping his true loyalties in the dark until the last book.
- Ambition Is Evil: Suffered from a big dose of this as a teenager, since he craved acceptance and respect and wished to show everyone that he was a clever and dangerous wizard, even if it meant being a Death Eater. As per Word of God, he was deluded enough to believe that being a Death Eater would win Lily's affections.
- Anti-Hero: Unscrupulous Hero
- Anti-Villain: In The Deathly Hallows.
- Apathetic Teacher: Mixed with Brilliant, but Lazy. Merely following Snape's one-decade-outdated school notes allows Harry to come off as a genius potion-brewer. One can only imagine what results he could get from his students if he actually cared enough to teach them properly. Indeed the only time Harry does well in his Potions class is in the fallout after he sees "Snape's Worst Memory" where he ignores Harry during class allowing him to focus on his assignment and creating a good sample...which Snape accidentally breaks..."Oops zero marks, Potter!".
- During the OW Ls, the fact that Snape isn't overseeing them, actually inspires Neville and Harry to do well.
- The Atoner
- Belated Backstory: His backstory is only partly given in Order of the Phoenix enough to show what his worst memory was without the full context of the situation though and then fully given in Deathly Hallows.
- Berserk Button: Anything that has to do with the Marauders and Lily Potter generally manages to unbalance him pretty badly for several reasons.
- In Prisoner of Azkaban, learning that Sirius escaped and dodged the Dementor’s Kiss completely cracks his normally cold exterior, and he starts shouting in rage at the top of his lungs in front of the Minister for Magic himself while blaming the obvious culprit.
- While he doesn’t visibly burst after Harry sees his “worst memory”, he disobeys Dumbledore’s explicit orders to teach Harry Occlumency even when aware of what was at stake and reaches such levels of spite for him that he decides to completely ignore Harry’s presence. Harry actually appreciates that last bit.
- Most famously, Harry calling him a coward at the end of Half-Blood Prince along with everything that was happening to him at the time briefly sends him over the edge, and he shifts from effortlessly defending Harry’s attacks to actually striking him in the face with the unincantated Sectumsempra before Buckbeak intervenes and Snape resumes his escape.
- Black Cloak
- Blue Oni: And one who is condescending to the Reds at that: "Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked this easily — weak people, in other words — they stand no chance against [Voldemort's] powers!" Also, amongst the Death Eaters, he and Lucius Malfoy share the Blue to Bellatrix's Red.
- Not So Stoic: There are several moments, though, where Snape's stoicism cracks and he flips his lid and becomes the very person he describes as weak. However, considering what happened to him the last time he truly lost self control( calling Lily Mudblood) he does have a point about reigning in his emotions at least.
- Broken Ace: In terms of fighting ability, Snape would fall somewhere between Voldemort/Dumbledore and everyone else. But well above Gilderoy Lockhart. Outside of duels, he created a slew of potions techniques that made Harry the top of Slughorn's class, several jinxes and hexes, and an extremely powerful curse. Even more telling, he also creates a cure years later. Problem is, he also was so incredibly bitter over his (admittedly bad) experiences in school that he was willing to sell out his first and only love's husband and child in exchange to have her spared from death, and it bit him bad in the ass later as she dies anyway, and his Heel-Face Turn comes from having to assume the huge screw-up that such an action was.
- Broken Pedestal: Not towards everyone, but for his former friend, Lily Evans. If only he hadn't joined the pureblood supremacists in the first place, thereby resulting in him calling her a "mudblood"...
- The Bully: As a teacher he's never short of insults and condescending remarks and outright humiliation of students like Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and even a good student like Hermione solely because "she's an insufferable know-it-all".
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: After Dumbledore the greatest example Hogwarts, and arguably the series in general, has to offer. Snape is wildly condescending, openly disparaging of students he doesn't like, displays undisguised favoritism for Slytherin students and makes no secret that he utterly loathes Harry Potter...but he's also one of, if not the, greatest Potions master in the world and is a damn good teacher when he wants to be. Dumbledore trusted Snape with his life.
- Cain and Abel: With Lily of the childhood friends variety. He is the Cain to Lily's Abel.
- Celibate Hero: Throughout the book, we don't see or hear of Snape showing anyone with romantic/sexual attraction. Turns out, he was in love with Lily Evans. But after their friendship ended (beause of him), Lily marrying James I, and their murder, he didn't want to be with anyone else.
- Character Development: Up to Eleven. Even people who don't care for the series or the character himself agree that Snape is the most well-written character. Though mostly his character doesn't really develop or change all much from Book 1, being only Harry's understanding of the context and motivations that changes how we see him at the end.
- Chessmaster Sidekick: Most of Dumbledore's plans boil down to "Disappear for a few chapters and let Snape handle it." Usually it works. Except when Dumbledore decides to ignore the fact Harry and Snape do not get along or rather that Snape couldn't get over his grudge with James.
- Childhood Friend Romance: A one-sided example with Lily Evans.
- Comforting the Widow: Tries to do this until Dumbledore calls him out on it. It also goes horrifyingly wrong, as she dies anyway.
- The Comically Serious: Especially in the movies. He has moments in the books. On being told by Dumbledore that he's going to die and that he has a Thanatos Gambit with Snape playing a starring role, Severus snarks:
"Do you want me to do it now, or would you like time to compose your epitaph."
- Consummate Liar: By necessity. He has a Deep Cover to maintain. Indeed he's so good at his cover that Voldemort never finds out he's a Triple Agent until after he dies and even then Voldemort finds it hard to stomach. He was a perfect spy. In fact, Voldemort killed him for being too good as a covert Death Eater operative.
- Creepy Child: Heavily implied to be this, thanks to a combination of poor social skills and his knowledge of the Dark Arts, which, according to Sirius Black, was disturbingly comprehensive when Snape was eleven years old. In the series, he occasionally seems to be the grown-up version of this trope; the rest of the time, he comes off as a semi-normal (if moody, depressed, and extremely emotionally-detached) adult.
- Curtains Match the Window
- Daddy Issues: If his undying love for Lily Evans provides the most insight into his character and motivations, his bitterness against his abusive father is probably second or third. The fact that there are memories of his father in his Pensieve along with the others indicates that (despite his talent as an Occlumens) he would struggle to suppress them otherwise. Not to mention it may have had an effect on his desire to feel powerful instead of powerless as he did at home.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Had an abusive father and neglectful mother, and was bullied by James Potter and Sirius Black.
- Dark Is Evil—> Dark Is Not Evil
- Light Is Not Good/Light is Good: Considering he can create a Patronus, and a doe shaped one to boot. Basically, Snape has a good heart, but he is an absolute ass to everyone whose name is not Lily Evans.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes borders on The Snark Knight.
- He's so good at being a deadpan snarker that he does it twice to Umbridge - the first time with words and the second with merely the raising of eyebrows - and she doesn't even realise it.
- Deadly Dodging: Used to great effect in the final movie when he duels McGonagall, still under the ruse of being a Death Eater. This doesn't stop him from parrying McGonagall's attacks specifically to take out both the Carrows without anyone noticing before fleeing.
- Debt Detester: James Potter saved Snape's life and it's implied that Snape protects Harry because he regrets trying to save James' life in return. Or at least that's the story in the first few books, until it's revealed that he also loved Lily.
- Determinator: Say what you will about how badly he screwed up in his youth, but once Voldemort threatens Lily, Snape vows to protect her child, no matter the cost. There's a reason why in the end, Harry considered him to be the bravest man he ever knew.
- Subverted as a teenager, even after knowing how she felt about Dark Arts, Snape never abandoned his interest or the approval of his friends or make an effort to change to gain her approval. Unlike James Potter who at least made some effort to change his behavior.
- Did Not Get the Girl: It's revealed in the past before the events of the series in that he did not win Lily's affection. Though considering Harry's own existence, this can hardly be a surprise.
- Died In Harry's Arms Tonight: He is conciliatory toward Harry in his final moments, sharing his memories which explain his actions. He also gets to look into the eyes of his beloved Lily, one last time.
- The Dog Bites Back: It's ironic at that. Snape would've remained loyal to Voldemort if he didn't kill Lily.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Although the Snape we see for most of the series is anything but nice, he was this to Lily. In the end, she didn't return his love, mostly due to Snape siding with the Death Eaters. Lily married former-Jerk Jock James Potter instead, who unlike Snape made an effort to change his behaviour to win her approval.
- Double Agent: Basically becomes a Double Reverse Quadruple Agent by the time of Deathly Hallows.
- The Dragon: Or so Voldemort thought... A lot of Dumbledore's plotting in books five and six is designed specifically to make sure that Snape eventually becomes this in Voldemort's ranks, over former pets like Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange.
- Dragon with an Agenda: As it turns out, he has a different goal, in contrast to Voldemort. He's actually on Harry's side all along.
- Dramatic Pause: Good lord, he makes Jim Kirk sound like Robin Williams.
- Enemy Mine: Played with. Snape never really viewed Dumbledore or Voldemort as his "enemies". He was an up-and-coming Death Eater who was trying to be The Mole for Voldemort by taking the conveniently vacant Defence Against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts and eavesdropped on Dumbledore and heard part of a prophecy warning him against a future threat against him. Voldemort decides that the best candidate would be the child of Lily Potter which endangered her, and until that time, never seemed to consider jumping ship. Indeed his initial motivation was doubts that Voldemort wouldn't follow through on his side of the bargain.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Averted when we find out the real reason why he killed Dumbledore.
- Everyone Has Standards: Even he is deeply disgusted by Umbridge. And he probably isn't completely lenient towards Slytherins either: after Harry and Ron's stunt with the flying car in the second book, he as good as says that he'd have expelled the two of them if they were in his house. In the movie, he flat-out admits it.
- He also seems acutely aware that Crabbe and Goyle are not good students. Eventually he even puts them in detention for not doing their work!
- The one thing he and Harry Potter and the rest of Hogwarts are in perfect agreement about is that Gilderoy Lockhart must go.
- As a teenager, he believed in blood purity and the Dark Arts propaganda, but made an exception for Childhood Friend and lifelong crush Lily Evans, believing essentially that she was so pretty that she counted as an exception.
- Evil Former Friend: Towards Lily. It was his Fantastic Racism that drove her away. Although he loses the evil part later, mostly after his death.
- If Its You Its Ok: Tells Lily this when she calls him out on his pureblood supremacist attitude. Oddly, this doesn't end the argument.
- Face Heel Revolving Door: His actions look like this to Harry. And to the reader.
- Fake Defector: Snape plays this twice. He claims to be one to Voldemort loyalists like Bellatrix Lestrange, pretending to be part of the Order, and later gains this to the Order, when he kills Dumbledore, making them believe he was Evil All Along. He was merely taking part in Dumbledore's most convoluted gambit).
- Fatal Flaw: His belief in pure-blood supremacy back in his youth, something he's implied to have grown out of. But not soon enough, as this was the main force that drove a wedge between him and Lily. Had he simply thrown away his prejudice, he and Lily could have had the relationship he always wanted with her. His real fatal flaw was pride and a wounded ego as the constant insults and poor social status heaped on him as a teenager and his poor childhood led him to turn away the one person who was exceptionally nice and kind to him. Even as an adult, his unwillingness to let his past go and cling to his past makes him internalize how others see him and makes him The Bully for generations of Hogwarts students.
- Finding Judas
- Freudian Excuse: For his abuse towards Harry and Gryffindor, because of his years of bullying by James Potter and other Gryffindors and his unrequited love for Harry's mother.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: This seems to be his hat in every group he's associated with. Most of the Death Eaters distrust him either out of jealousy or because he plays his part well enough to have them fooled. In a group of Hogwarts teachers, the only one who can stand being around him is Dumbledore. Keeping that in mind, Hagrid is very vocal and stubborn about his trustworthiness, they all implicitly trust him to brew the school's medicine to perfection, and everybody recognizes that his contributions as a double-agent for The Order of the Phoenix are invaluable.
- Gag Nose: His hooked nose is often mentioned and is one of the things the Marauders made fun of about him.
- Genre Savvy
- Get Out: After Harry sees Snape's worst memory.
- Good Is Not Nice: There are few characters in literature who exemplify this trope as well as Snape does.
- Guile Hero
- Hate Sink: For the early part of the series, he was largely viewed as a cruel, bitter, and absurdly unfair Jerkass by readers. This changed somewhat in Book 5 when Umbridge replaced him as Hogwarts' resident Sadist Teacher, and of course there's Book 7, when we find out just how much of a hero he was all along despite remaining a cruel, bitter and absurdly unfair Sadist Teacher
- Word of God says he was never fully redeemed in the public eye following the war, as most people still rightly believed he killed Dumbledore (but, of course, didn't know of the plan.) He wasn't even given a portrait at Hogwarts, having abandoned his post as opposed to retiring or dying, until Harry requested one.
- Snape shows the same to Harry Potter, never interested in looking past his prejudices. As per Word of God, even at the end, Snape hated Harry for being his father's son and never saw him as more than an obligation he held to Lily's memory.
- Heel-Face Turn: Near the end of the first war.
- The thoroughness of which is displayed by an exchange between him and Dumbledore in his memories that originally took place during the sixth book, showing that he had become unambiguously good during the time he spent as Dumbledore's double agent.
Dumbledore: Don't be so shocked, Severus. How many men and women have you watched die?
Snape: Lately, only those whom I could not save.
- Heel Realization: Snape is interesting for showing how complex this process is. When he first came to Dumbledore, it was out of doubts that Voldemort wouldn't follow through on his side of the bargain of Comforting the Widow Lily Potter. Dumbledore chewed him out about his brazen selfishness and had taken him aback. He became a Double Agent for the Order but Lily's death and Voldemort's downfall robbed him of the thing he wanted most and despite initially considering suicide, Dumbledore convinces him to protect Lily's son as a form of atonement and honoring her sacrifice.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: On purpose.
- Hey, You!: "Snivellus", courtesy of the Marauders. And briefly by Lily.
- Hidden Depths
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Okay, we get it: He's not the kind of guy you'd go out for drinks with. Nevertheless, he does have people's best interests at heart, and given his brains and loyalty, he's exactly the kind of guy you'd need on your side to win the fight. Dumbledore knew this. Voldemort did not.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In the film, it's implied Voldemort whacks him with Sectumsempra, a spell Snape invented, before unleashing Right Hand Attack Snake Nagini on him.
- Hyper Competent Sidekick: Not quite. Snape is very powerful and, for lack of a better word, competent, but he's ultimately a sidekick to Voldemort and Dumbledore, the two strongest characters. This becomes a point of tension between them, when Snape realizes that for all his considerable sacrifices Dumbledore doesn't tell him everything either and is only letting him have information on a "need to know basis" just like Harry and everyone else. This angers him because he feels that Harry not knowing Occlumency deserves to be Locked Out of the Loop. Dumbledore does let him know that Harry will have to die, making him essentially his posthumous message sender after his death.
- Hypocrite: Despite his past and knowing firsthand the type of pain bullying can cause, Snape makes no attempt to rein in Malfoy's gang in the early books. Hell, Snape's a bully himself.
- Also, his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Harry about Occlumency and the need to shut off his thoughts and emotions sort of falls flat when you realize: 1.) He's known for having an explosive temper if the right button is pushed, and 2.) He, unlike Harry, has access to a Pensieve, which presumably allows him to siphon off certain vulnerable thoughts as necessary. In the novel, unlike the film, Harry sees "Snape's Worst Memory" via the Pensieve and not a well-timed Shield Charm.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Bellatrix Lestrange essentially baits Snape into this. He agrees. Subverted, as this was part of the plan. However, it seems that until the 6th Book, Snape's time among the Death Eaters has never required him to commit a murder, though as a spy, people did die on his watch. Charity Burbage's death being a case in point.
- Incompatible Orientation: A specific Fantastic Racism example. Severus is interested in the Dark Arts and being a Slytherin and casts his lot with future Death Eaters with the hope of serving Voldemort's cause and as per Word of God, believed this would impress his Muggleborn friend Lily Evans. That takes some imagination.
- Inspector Javert/Cassandra Truth: Snape takes it as an article of faith that Harry Potter is doing something stupid or illegal at any given time. He's usually right. He becomes even moreso in the case of Sirius in Book 3. Noting that he looked forward for catching Sirius and showing Remus as The Mole. Sirius offers to turn himself in to Dumbledore as long as Harry and Ron bring Scabbers(Peter Pettigrew's secret form) to Hogwarts as evidence of his innocence. Snape however insists on turning Sirius over to Dementors and even looks forward to it and even hopes that "the werewolf" gets his soul sucked too. He then gets knocked out after insulting Harry's father again and then proceeds to become a Smug Snake to Fudge after he promises to reward Snape for capturing Sirius.
- Insufferable Genius: Improved his textbook while still a student; invented his own spells at the same time; one of only two wizards capable of independent flight.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: There is a tendency to Flanderize Snape into this. People forget that, Snape's opinion notwithstanding, James and Sirius (and Lily) were intelligent themselves. The real reason for his isolation was his crippling insecurity and possessiveness, his lack of belief in himself and having No Social Skills.
- Jerkass: Hoo boy. He was a rather nasty person to every student. He's also remarkably unprofessional by openly displaying contempt to Remus Lupin, who's a fellow teacher and then mocking him in front of his students by trying to "out" him first and then actually going ahead with it after Sirius escapes Hogwarts.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Possibly the king of this trope, although it's more "Jerk" than "Heart of Gold".
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Even at the very end, Word of God affirms that he unfairly hated and resented Harry and would have had no interest in him had it not been for his mother. He affirms the same to Dumbledore. That said, he did repent on the blood purity and corrected Sirius' Jerk Ass ancestor painting Phineas Nigellus for using that word.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He's thoroughly wrong for pushing Harry's Relative Button and reviving a long dead grudge against a man who is dead (whose death moreover, Snape played a part in instigating) and being unnecessarily antagonistic to Remus Lupin and Sirius Black but he does have a point, as Harry realizes, that James Potter, among other things was, as a teenager, an arrogant bully who had a tendency to show off.
- Killed Off for Real: By Voldemort in Deathly Hallows.
- Knight in Sour Armor
- Knight Templar: Sure, he may not be a fully-fledged Sadist Teacher like Umbridge was, but he abused his authority a lot.
- Lack of Empathy: Despite his moving Freudian Excuse, Snape shows very little compassion and understanding for other people's sufferings, most notably making fun of Tonks' Patronus changing when he went through the same thing, and finding Harry's memories of being bullied by Dudley funny when he himself went through the same.
- Large Ham
- Like Father, Like Son: His father was hinted at being emotionally abusive and prone to angry outbursts. Snape himself has no problems verbally tearing down his students to the point of reducing Neville to a nervous wreck at times, although he prefers to do it via cold sinister threats rather than shouting. The really sad part is, if he hadn't pushed Lily away and she might have fallen for him instead of James, he would have succeeded in not turning out like Tobias.
- The Lost Lenore: He never gets over Lily's death.
- Love Redeems
- Loving a Shadow: Despite his ardor for Lily Evans, he never seemed to have a great interest in the real person and fixated on his ideal version of her, only interested in her good looks and Because You Were Nice to Me.
- It's a point of fact that while she was alive, he never made an effort to change his behavior or listen to her constant criticism, only caring that she not show any attention or feelings to James Potter. His initial concern for her driven by the partly selfish hope that he could claim her as a prize by Comforting the Widow, which shows an incredible amount of self-delusion.
- Mind Reading: Legilimency, a very limited and forbidden craft. Snape is a master nonetheless, alongside Dumbledore and Voldemort.
- Meaningful Name: He's also known as "Piton" (in the Italian and Hungarian translations), "Snow" (in the Russian one) and "Rogue" (in the French one).
- Mercy Kill: What his killing Dumbledore is ultimately revealed as.
- Moment of Weakness: What ruined his relationship with Lily Evans.
- Though again, according to Lily herself, choosing to surround himself with wizards obsessed with the Dark Arts like Lucius Malfoy was what strained their friendship. Snape calling Lily a mudblood was just the final straw.
- Mommy Issues: Eileen, the mommy in question, is neglectful, alongside Tobias, his abusive father.
- Morality Pet: Lily Evans. Harry by extension for being "Lily's Son." However Lily herself pointed out the hypocrisy of this, since he seemed to have made her an exception in his school days and called everyone else a Mudblood.
- Moral Myopia: Was apparently okay defending his friend Mulciber's action as a "bit of fun" in a Noodle Incident that Lily claims was dark magic, while being on the recieving end of James Potter's bit of fun.
- More than Meets the Eye
- My God, What Have I Done?: When he realizes that his own actions hurt Lily, the person he cared the most for, and eventually led to her murder. He's described as looking like "a man who had lived a hundred years of misery".
- Nobody Calls Me Coward
- Not So Different: While he never realizes it, there are more than a few parallels between himself and Sirius Black. Both were branded as criminals, both hated their families (or, at the very least, Snape hated his father and Sirius hated his entire family), both were hated to a murderous degree by Harry for something they did or more accurately, were accused of doing: Sirius's supposed betrayal of James and Lily, and Snape's murder of Dumbledore, and both are extremely protective of their friends' sons (Sirius to Harry, Snape to Draco). Both of them are too blind to see Harry for who he is. Furthermore, the accusations against them were publicly cleared only after they were killed, and both refused to let go of schoolboy grudges. And, let's face it, they're both noble assholes.
- Snape himself is Not So Different from Harry, and ironically its the younger of the two who realizes and internalizes this.
- A possible reason for Voldemort's indulgence to Snape and his acceptance of Severus' Spare Her My Liege! offer is the latter's awareness of the similarities between them. Poor orphan boys with disappointing Muggle fathers and suffering witch mothers as well as proud Slytherins. Harry himself notes that he, Voldemort and Snape were three "lost boys" who regarded Hogwarts as their home.
- Not So Stoic: "DON'T CALL ME A COWARD!"
- Obstructive Code of Conduct: In Goblet of Fire, Snape accuses Harry Potter of theft, and wants to prosecute, but the use of Veritaserum on students is "regrettably forbidden".
- Only Friend: In his teenage years, his only true friend was Lily, until she ended their friendship. In his adult life, if he has a friend, it's Dumbledore; he's certainly the only person who truly knows and likes him.
- There are also several indications that he has a genuine friendship with Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, though this relationship is ultimately based on lies. Though it was likely there was some bond, since as a First Year, Lucius welcomed him to Slytherin house.
- Papa Wolf: Towards Draco Malfoy, and via Narcissa's request; if you mess with that kid, you will have a come-to-Severus meeting in your immediate future. (Not that Draco actually needs Snape's protection, but this is the reason fanon has it that Snape is his godfather.) Though it's slightly averted in that Draco himself doesn't feel all that close to Snape, as shown in Half Blood Prince even regarding Snape as a usurper who's trying to take Lucius' former position in the hierarchy. Snape himself tells Dumbledore in The Prince's Tale that Draco no longer looks up to him after Lucius is imprisoned.
- Also towards Harry. Snape may treat him like shit most of the time but you'll have to go through him to hurt a hair on his head.
- He was even protective of the trio in The Prisoner of Azkaban, shielding them from Lupin's werewolf form, though only in the movies. In the books, he mocks and insults Harry for being an idiot like his father for trusting Sirius, and is unconscious for the events after that and goes overboard in trying to ensure that Sirius has his soul removed.
- Please Spare Her, My Liege!: He begged Voldemort to spare Lily's life after she (along with James and Harry) became #1 on Voldy's hit-list. It almost works — Voldemort gives her a chance to step aside and let him kill Harry, but for obvious reasons she doesn't take it.
- Snape's selfish desire proves to be a Spanner in the Works for both Voldemort and him. Voldemort offering Lily that genuine choice leads to a binding magical contract which results in The Power of Love protecting Harry. While Lily taking that choice and choosing her son counts as her absolute rejection of Snape and the latter honoring that choice and sacrifice for the rest of his life.
- Playing Hamlet: Snape, who ages from 31 to 38 over the course of the books, is played by Alan Rickman, who played the role from ages 55 to 65. To be fair, all of the characters who are the same age as Snape are portrayed as older in the films than in the books, but Rickman is still more than a decade older than all the actors who played the Maraudersnote . Although, given Rickman's performance, you won't hear many complaints about the huge age gap. Also, it's reasonable that the strain of his role for the last decade-and-a-half has caused him to age much more quickly.
- Psychopathic Manchild: A more functional version of this but at his core, he's petty enough to harass Harry purely out of a bitter grudge and dispute the latter had no idea of growing up (having grown away from his parents) and he never truly lets go of his past and more importantly, despite repeated prompting from others, refuses to see differently.
- Redemption Equals Death: His ultimate redemption in Harry's eyes takes place posthumously.
- Red Baron: The Half-Blood Prince.
- Red Herring Mole: He is this, over and over and over again. In the first book, all evidence points to him as the person trying to steal the titular Stone. In the fourth, we learn both that he is an ex-Death Eater and that Voldemort has a mole at Hogwarts. Guess who it is? Not him. In the fifth, we learn that his rivalry with Harry is deeply personal, and he seems to be conspiring with Sadist Teacher Dolores Umbridge against Harry. He isn't. And let us not forget his killing of Dumbledore, meant as part of one of Dumbledore's own plans, but taken as "proof" of his treachery by Harry (and any readers who hadn't yet picked up on the pattern.)
- The Resenter: Resented James Potter for his charm and good looks (not at all helped by the fact that James was kind of an ass to him), and unfairly transferred that resentment to Harry after James's death. What he resented the most, however, was the fact that Lily rejected him and eventually returned James's affections. Harry is proof that Lily had loved another man, being the spitting image of his father, yet having the emerald eyes of his mother as his most distinguishing feature (barring his lightning bolt-shaped scar).
- Reverse Mole
- Rival Turned Evil: He himself in question is a rival towards James, and he turned evil because he joined the Death Eaters.
- Sadist Teacher: To all the Gryffindors, and Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter in particular. However, he pales in comparison to some real Sadist Teachers that appear later in the series and generally just walks the line between stern and sadist.
- To Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff too, since it's noted several times that he only respects and likes Slytherin students.
- School Bullying Is Harmless: Subverted. In his own schooldays, he was bullied mercilessly by James and Sirius (something that horrifies and disillusions Harry when he finds out). Decades later, he still absolutely hates them for it, despite the fact that they grew up to be decent people, and has turned into quite the bully himself.
- Selective Enforcement: He goes out of his way to punish Gryffindor students for no reason, while letting the Slytherins get away with murder.
- Shed the Family Name: Of a form. Having been a pure-blood supremacist as an adolescent, he definitely didn't think much of his Muggle father, Tobias Snape (not that he had any reason to, anyway). While he never completely sheds his surname, he does label his Potions textbook, and presumably his other possessions, as "the Property of the Half-Blood Prince", identifying himself as a Prince (his mother's maiden name) rather than a Snape.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Implied to be this as he never expresses any romantic/sexual interest in anyone besides Lily Evans/Potter. Voldemort, in the final battle, implies that Snape bluffed him about this, and convinced him that he'd moved on to other women.
- Sinister Schnoz: Played with. His hooked nose is probably intended to make him seem more like a villain, especially at the beginning. Ultimately subverted, however, since he isn't really evil and is actually on Dumbledore's side.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Never able to take out his resentment on James Potter, he picks on Harry instead, to the point that he automatically assigned him all of James’ character flaws without ever bothering to actually see if the shoe fit. Considering that he believed Harry of all people enjoyed the spotlight, one has to wonder if he ever looked at Harry as an individual instead of as a remnant of his parents.
Severus Snape: –mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rule-breaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent–
Albus Dumbledore: You see what you expect to see, Severus. Other teachers report that the boy is modest, likable and reasonably talented. Personally, I find him an engaging child.
- Spanner in the Works: Snape's selfish desire for Lily to be spared results in the creation of the context for Lily to make a Heroic Sacrifice that protects her son with everlasting love. Had he not done so, the choice would not have been offered or the sacrifice would not take effect. Snape immediately grasps the irony when Dumbledore reminds him why Lily died and he resolves to protect Harry out of respect for her memory.
- Stalker with a Crush: His initial friendship with Lily starts like this.
- Stealth Mentor: At the end of book 6, and other subtle instances besides, you know, his job as a Potions Master.
- The stealthiest example may be "Expeliarmus", which might be the single most famous spell from the series (famous enough to be referred to in a Doctor Who episode). Harry uses this spell so often, by Book 7 Death Eaters have come to think of it as Harry's "signature spell". Guess which teacher Harry inadvertantly learned this spell from during a certain Dueling Club way back in Book 2?
- Snape didn't intend to teach Harry that spell at all. Harry picked it up himself and admits to Lockhart that "you shouldn't have let Professor Snape teach us that spell." Indeed a running theme in the series is that Harry learns from Snape without either of them being conscious about it, especially via his old potions textbook, which in fact mirrors their relationship.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: After his years being mercilessly bullied in school, he seemed to grow into a very bitter, emotionally detached adult. The death of his childhood friend and love of his life didn't help his mood either.
- The Stoic: For most of the series, he only really shows two emotions: stoicism and Jerkass-ness. This is completely flipped upside-down in "The Prince's Tale".
- Super Window Jump: Towards the end of book seven, leaving behind an Impact Silhouette.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: His What the Hell, Hero? speech in Deathly Hallows carries one about if Snape actually does care about Harry. Snape says he doesn't, but the news that Lily's Heroic Sacrifice for Harry might have been for nothing inspired Snape's outburst in the first place.
- Word of God: said that Snape indeed never cared for Harry and continued to unfairly hate him even at the end. She also said that if Harry had not been Lily's child, he wouldn't have held the slightest interest in him.
- Talking Down the Suicidal: Although he doesn't act on it, when Snape and Dumbledore talk after Lily Potter's death, Snape makes the much forgotten remark "I wish... I wish I were dead...". Dumbledore quickly shoots this down by saying in a harsh tone "And what use would that be to anyone?"
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: He's that page's image for a damn good reason.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Sirius Black throughout Order of the Phoenix.
- Teen Genius: Implied to have been one. Among other things, he became a Hogwarts Professor in what's implied to be his second best subject at age 21, just four years after himself graduating.
- The Smart Guy
- Tragic Hero: His very fatal flaw is embracing Fantastic Racism.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In the seventh book, he is bitten by Nagini and left to bleed to death by Voldemort. In the eighth movie, however, Voldemort cuts his throat and lets Nagini bite him over and over. And you can hear each blow she deals him. Bloody Hell, indeed.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Via adaptation. It's pretty mild, but the movie version is slightly less of a Jerk Ass.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: So it seems at first in Book 7 when he becomes headmaster of Hogwarts.
- Unbalanced By Rival's Kid: It turns out that he is a former childhood friend of Lily and Harry represents the fact that Lily loved James and had a child by him, becoming the living picture of everything he missed.
- Undying Loyalty: Everything he does is because of Harry's mother, Lily.
- Unscrupulous Hero: Snape used to be a Death Eater, and never really gives up the dickishness and ruthlessness of his past.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Relatively speaking. Even as a child, he was bigoted towards Petunia for being "a Muggle" and was remarkably possessive of Lily to the point of being nearly a Stalker with a Crush. He was also deeply unpopular with the other students and knew "more dark arts than seventh years" but he was much more sweeter and kinder around Lily, except for one major instance where he called her Mudblood and later, accidentally, instigated Lily's death, which he never gets over.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: For the series as whole. His eavesdropping of Trelawney's prophecy and report of the same to Voldemort and asking him to spare Lily resulted in the deaths of both the Potters and Voldemort. He's only too painfully aware of this himself.
- Vetinari Job Security: Among the Death Eaters. Aside from the Malfoys and Voldemort himself, they mostly view him as an arrogant git who never seems to find himself in the line of fire, but his skill at occlumancy makes him the only one who could spy on Dumbledore so successfully and so Voldemort is forced to trust him.
- Walking Spoiler: There's a reason why about one-third of his entries are white.
- What Could Have Been: Two major in-universe examples:
- According to Rowling, if Snape had chosen Lily's friendship over the Death Eaters, his life would have turned out completely differently. He is painfully aware of this.
- Dumbledore quotes that "I think sometimes we sort too soon" in regards to the courage shown by Snape and his sorting into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. By the end of the books, Harry himself ends up acknowledging it, calling Snape "the bravest man I ever knew" in the epilogue.
- Outside the books: Tim Roth was offered the role of Severus Snape, but turned it down in order to portray General Thade in the 2001 remake of Planet of The Apes.
- Wild Card: Had this status among both the Order and the Death Eaters, regardless of whether Voldemort or Dumbledore was there or not, he seemed to carry on, with little to wear safe in his perch dodging prison and serious punishment This if of course all part of the plan. This annoys members on both sides and Severus never misses an opportunity to rub his self-importance in their faces.
- You Are What You Hate: See Like Father, Like Son, Not So Different, and Insufferable Genius.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Voldemort kills him to gain full power over the Elder Wand. It doesn't work at all, since Snape never had command over the wand, since Dumbledore's death was arranged as a Thanatos Gambit and the wand transferred its allegiance to Draco when he disarmed Dumbledore.
- Zero Approval Gambit: Arranged between Snape and Dumbledore: arguably all of Dumbledore's plans for Snape (and Harry, for that matter) would have failed if Harry and Snape had liked each other at all.
"You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son - I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here?"
Portrayed by: Maggie Smith
Professor of Transfiguration, Deputy Headmistress, and Head of Gryffindor House. She is the third professor Harry encounters (after Hagrid and Quirrell), and he promptly decides that she is someone "not to be crossed." He's right. Stern but fair, McGonagall is protective of her students and really
dislikes it when Snape wins the Quidditch Cup from under her nose. Though she takes no crap from anyone, she does have a sense of humor — she assists Peeves during Umbridge's reign of terror and turns a blind eye to the Weasley twins' antics during that year. In fact, she has several Crowning Moments of Awesome
during Order of the Phoenix
, up to and including shutting down Umbridge at every opportunity. She is Dumbledore's right hand, deputy leader of the Order, and a powerful witch in her own right, and she is probably the teacher Harry trusts the most. Her Animagus form is that of a tabby cat with spectacle markings around her eyes, reminiscent of her glasses. She has a fondness for tartan and Ginger Newts. If she walks into a scene and is startled, expect her to drop the stack of books she is always carrying
- Action Girl: Is able to fight Voldemort alongside Kingsley and Slughorn in the final book.
- Adults Are Useless: Subverted during the final book, where she's shown to be thoroughly competent when it comes down to it. She and the other teachers ready various defenses in preparation for Voldemort's siege; she kicks the butt of the Carrows too.
- Age Lift: This ended up being the case for her portrayal in the films. Though she acts very stern and grandmotherly, Word of God places her age at the start of the series at 56, which isn't actually all that old (much less for a powerful witch like herself). Maggie Smith was in her late sixties when filming started on Philosopher's Stone, and as such McGonagall looks like she's about seventy. Word of God described McGonagall at one point as 'a sprightly seventy-year-old', which may mean that the movie version of McGonagall, much like that of Harry's parents and their acquaintances, might have received an age-up to correct mistakes Rowling feels she made with the book. note
- Additionally, for the opening scene in the first movie, Book!McGonagall is in her mid-forties. Movie!McGonagall... not so much.
- Playing Hamlet: If it's not an Age Lift and McGonagall is still supposed to be 46, then 56-63, then this applies to Maggie Smith, who was 66 when filming started on Philosopher's Stone and 76 at the end of Deathly Hallows, Part Two.
- Alliterative Name
- Animorphism: She can become a cat.
- Apron Matron
- Authority Equals Asskicking: And there is a lot of asskicking.
- Badass: Unquestionably one of the biggest in the series.
- Badass Boast: "We teachers are rather good at magic, you know." This was her nonchalant response when asked if it was possible to secure the school against Voldemort. Yes, you read that right; that response was against VOLDEMORT.
- Badass Bookworm
- Badass Grandma
- Badass Teacher: Two words: Piertotum Locomotor.
- Leads to Badass Adorable. If you didn't smile at "I've always wanted to use that spell," then you probably split your soul seven ways or something.
- Berserk Button:
- Don't mess with her students, current or former. No, seriously. Don't; if you do, she will OWN you. Seriously… she will.
- Also, don't be a Dirty Coward. She will not stand for cowardly behavior.
- Big Good: She serves as this at Hogwarts in Dumbledore's absence: she protects the students from the sadistic Carrows, overthrows Snape, and leads the resistance against Voldemort when Harry returns.
- Big "NO!": Her reaction to Harry's Disney Death in Deathly Hallows. See also Tear Jerker.
- Big Sister Instinct: Minerva held a deep love for her two brothers.
- Birds of a Feather: Besides Harry, McGonagall almost immediately takes a liking towards Hermione due to their similarities (intelligent, rule-abiding, logical).
- Bring It: McGonagall gives Snape a silent one of these when she fights him, by doing just that.
- Career Versus Man: Pottermore reveals she turned down a proposal from her Muggle love in favor of a job at the Ministry that she ended up unhappy with.
- Commander Contrarian: To Dumbledore. She'll follow through on helping Dumbledore with whatever course of action he decides, but not before voicing her objections, improvements, and alternatives to the plan du jour.
- Probably the reason Dumbledore values her so highly. He has good reason to be wary of his own judgment.
- Cool Old Lady
- Cool Teacher: Especially in the final book.
- Daddy's Girl: According to Pottermore, she was very close to her Muggle father.
- Deadpan Snarker: She has her moments.
"I should have made my meaning plainer," said Professor McGonagall, turning at last to look at Umbridge directly in the eyes. "He has achieved high marks in all Defense Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher
"You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don't let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in."
- Do Wrong, Right: In moments of dire need, she will approve of rule breaking. Most notable is telling Peeves the chandelier he is trying to drop unscrews the other way.
- Foil: To Flitwick. Made more explicit with Pottermore's revelation that the Sorting Hat had had difficulty sorting the both of them; both were toss-ups between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
- Hidden Depths: Who would have expected stern Professor McGonagall to be so into Quidditch? Pottermore reveals that she received a bad Quidditch injury in her final year at school which left her with a life long desire to see Slytherin crushed! Thankfully, she gets to see this happen on several occasions.
- I Always Wanted to Say That: A variation in the final movie. After summoning an army of stone statues and ordering them to protect the school she looks pleased with herself - indeed, almost reminiscent of Hermione after getting to use a particularly cool bit of magic - and notes that she's "always wanted to use that spell."
- I Was Quite a Looker: While there are very few drawn pictures of McGonagall throughout the series, Pottermore provides a look at her during her Quidditch days and wow◊.
- Iron Lady: Most definitely. Though she does have rare emotional moments.
- The Lost Lenore: That tends to happen when you marry someone much older than yourself. She keeps her chin up though.
- Made of Iron: Takes four Stunning Spells to the chest from Aurors. Still makes a full recovery.
- The Maiden Name Debate: She kept her maiden name out of respect for her Muggle father. Considering that he was Muggle and her husband was a pure-blooded wizard, this was met with some derision in the magical community.
- Mama Bear: She will fight to the death to defend any one of her students, especially Harry, Ron, or Hermione.
- She even shows shades of this towards Malfoy when she tells off fake Moody for turning him into a ferret as a punishment.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Her late husband, Elphinstone Urquart, was much older than her.
- Meaningful Name: In Roman mythology, Minerva is the goddess of wisdom, strength, and skill. Now why does this sound familiar, again? Her surname is taken from Giftedly Bad poet William McGonagall, apparently only because Rowling found the idea of someone as brilliant as Minerva being a distant relative of someone as talentless as William to be amusing.
- Minored In Ass Kicking: Though it may not be expected, McGonagall holds her own in pretty much every battle at Hogwarts. Most notably, attacking Snape with a fire-lasso and a swarm of knives in Deathly Hallows. She also has an army of galloping desks.
- Never Mess with Granny: She is not a woman you want to cross.
- Not so Above It All: Hilariously hinted at in Book Five; when people and particularly Peeves start pranking Umbridge, she suddenly displays much more tolerance to breaking the rules. Especially funny when she actually seems to help Peeves pull a prank on Umbridge.
- Not So Stoic
- Number Two: To Dumbledore, as Deputy Headmistress.
- Parental Substitute: One of many to Harry. It says a great deal about their relationship that when, in Deathly Hallows, Harry uses an Unforgivable Curse against Amycus Carrow, all he has to say about it is, "He spat at you." Nobody requires further explanation.
- Also one to Hermione due to their similar dispositions, and is clearly distressed when she is petrified in the second book.
- Prim and Proper Bun: She always has her hair up in a tight bun. It's even slightly lampshaded in Goblet of Fire when several students giggle at her describing the Yule Ball as a "chance to let our hair down."
- Reasonable Authority Figure: While she's quite strict and doesn't favor Gryffindor with the same devotion that Snape favors Slytherin, she is the one teacher to go to when you need help. She might scold you later, but she'll help whenever you need it.
- Running Gag: Dropping a stack of books whenever something shocking happens.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Her resistance to Umbridge in Book Five includes encouraging mutinous, rule-flouting anarchy among the students. In which she participates. "It unscrews the other way," anyone?
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Her first love was a Muggle named Dougal McGregor. She accepted his eventual proposal, but had to go back on it after considering how her mother's revelation as a witch hurt her father and home life.
- Stern Teacher: To a T. Defeat a troll all by yourselves? 5 points added, after subtracting points for punishment and rewarding points for the impressive act. Caught out of bed in the middle of the night, and then questioning the teacher's punishment? 50-point penalty! Each!
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: Try as she might to avoid it, every time Lee Jordan did Quidditch commentary she'd hopelessly try to correct his rambling, only to eventually fall into his pace and begin playing the Straight Man to him in something resembling an unintentional comedy routine. This is averted in Prisoner of Azkaban when Malfoy jumps onto Harry's broom; McGonagall flips! Literally! She can be seen shaking her fist at Malfoy with her hat now lopsided.
- Sugar and Ice Personality
- Supporting Leader
- The Stoic
- Tranquil Fury: Minerva vs. Severus in Deathly Hallows.
- Teen Genius: Had one of her papers published in Transfiguration Monthly while she was still in school.
- Undying Loyalty: To Dumbledore, and later to Harry.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: As an Animagus, she can transform into a cat whenever necessary.
"Tentacula. Devil's Snare. And Snargaluff pods...yes, I'd like to see the Death Eaters fighting those."
Portrayed by: Miriam Margoyles
The short and plump professor of Herbology and Head of Hufflepuff House, Sprout doesn't mind getting dirty when dealing with dangerous plants. Like Flitwick, she is cheerful and fair to her students. Not a member of the Order, but loyal to Dumbledore even through Umbridge's reign and she played a significant role in the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Don't mistake her sweetness nor Head of Hufflepuff status for weakness. She can handle tough and dangerous plants without much fuss, and she rebelled against the tyranny of Umbridge and Voldemort before using her knowledge of magical plants in the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Covered in Mud: She is described as having lots of earth on her clothes and fingernails that would make prim and proper Aunt Petunia faint.
- Fluffy Tamer: Apparently, the only person the Whomping Willow won't attack.
- Green Thumb: She weaponizes her plants in the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Meaningful Name: Pomona was a wood nymph from Greek mythology who had a great fondness for growing plants.
- Never Mess with Granny
- The Southpaw: At least, according to her picture there on the right.
"I could have got rid of the sparklers myself, of course, but I wasn't sure whether I had the
The short professor of Charms and Head of Ravenclaw House. A cheerful man who usually stands on a pile of books while addressing his class. Like Sprout, cheerful and fair to his students. Not a member of the Order, but loyal to Dumbledore and a former Duelist. He displayed the former under the rules of both Umbridge and Voldemort and the latter in the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Alliterative Name
- Ambiguously Human: His absurdly short stature could raise doubts. In the films he's portrayed as vaguely goblin-looking, and according to Word of God, that influenced Rowling to decide he's actually part goblin.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Prof. Filtwick is one of Hogwarts's nicest teachers; however, he is one of the main teachers at Hogwarts, and he used to be a dueling champion, as several Death Eaters and Snape would find out.
- Cool Old Guy
- Face Palm: His reaction when Lockhart tells the students to ask him about Entrancing Enchantments.
- Foil: To McGonagall. Made more explicit with Pottermore's revelation that the Sorting Hat had had difficulty sorting the both of them; both were toss-ups between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.
- Funny Background Event: Is treated as this in the book at times. If the trio are having a discussion during his class, count on Flitwick being victimized by someone's spell going awry.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Somewhat justified in that he has some goblin ancestry, and goblins are shorter than humans.
- Nice Guy
- Our Goblins Are Different: J. K. Rowling envisioned him as just a tiny old man, but his appearance in the first two movies made her rationalize he has a dash of goblin ancestry.
- Retired Badass: A dueling champion in his youth.
"Harry...yer a wizard."
Portrayed by: Robbie Coltrane
The Hogwarts Keeper of Keys, gamekeeper, groundskeeper, and a half-giant as well. Hagrid was the one who explained the wizarding world to Harry, and remains his friend throughout Harry's years at Hogwarts. He also has an unusual affection towards vicious beasts, including Norbert
the Norwegian Ridgeback (dragon
), Fluffy (three-headed dog
), Aragog (acromantula
), and Blast-ended Skrewts. Also has a thing for alcohol.
By the fifth and sixth books, he has become Dumbledore's recruiting agent, and tries to recruit several giants to fight Voldemort. It doesn't go over so well. Hey, at least he didn't die
- Admiring the Abomination: Which invariably leads him to trying to tame it.
- All Genes Are Co-Dominant: He splits the difference between giant and human in size.
- Badass: See below to Beware the Nice Ones.
- Bear Hug: He does this to Harry, Ron, and Hermione frequently.
- Berserk Button: "NEVER - INSULT - ALBUS - DUMBLEDORE - IN - FRONT - OF - ME!"
- Also, he's justifiably pretty pissed when the Aurors came calling to sack him in Book 5, but it was only after McGonagall came out to defuse the situation and took four Stunners to the chest that Hagrid well and truly flips out.
- Beware the Nice Ones: While Hagrid is a generally lovable chap, it's recommended you don't anger him, by either insulting Dumbledore in front of him, or attacking his friends or his pet boarhound, Fang. If you do that, he will force you to repent. Hell, he may not even aim for you. In PS, when Vernon Dursley insults Dumbledore, Hagrid loses it and aims a curse at Dudley, intending to turn him into a pig. Of course, since there was so much pig in Dudley back then, there wasn't much else to do left, so Dudley got a pig tail instead.
- Umbridge and four Ministry-trained Aurors found this out the hard way when they tried to ambush him one night. Umbridge, sadly, was the only one who escaped conscious. (Although, in another example of this trope, Hermione made her wish she hadn't.)
- Big Brother Instinct: Hagrid loves his half-brother very much. In The Order of The Phoenix, he brought him to the Forbidden Forest where Grawp can be free in the open air. His one request for the trio was to look after him while Hagrid was away.The scene is even more touching when he says he's the only family Grawp has.
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: He's more soft spot than bruiser unless you make him mad, in which case the ratio switches over.
- Cannot Keep a Secret: Trust Hagrid with your business, trust him with your treasures, trust him with your life, heck, trust him with taking care of Harry Freaking Potter, but for the love of all that is holy, don’t trust him with your secrets. A habit of slipping into Did I Just Say That Out Loud? mixed with being a chatty drunk ensures nothing in his knowledge stays with him alone for long.
- The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Hermione, Harry and Ron regard his decision to bring Grawp to the forest as his most insane action yet, something which Madame Maxime was reluctant about, and which Firenze notes is doomed. Even Word of God notes that this should have been the one to finally kill him off, yet it turns out that Hagrid was right about his brother after all, and his efforts to teach him English and civilize him, proved to be a big success.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Played with. He certainly knows his own strength when it comes to doing heavy physical labor or fighting — and he puts it to good use. But the problem comes in when he tries to use normal 'human' signs of affection, like hugs or pats on the shoulder and winds up nearly breaking his friends in half.
- Dogged Nice Guy: To Olympe Maxime, the Headmistress of Beauxbatons. Their class and cultural divisions, despite their status as Half-Giants, prevents any real relationship.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Occurs many times, especially when he's drinking.
- Disney Death: He is apparently overwhelmed by acromantulas during the Battle of Hogwarts, but is merely taken prisoner by the Death Eaters.
- Emotional Bruiser: He's perhaps about ten feet tall, can bend metal with his bare hands, and most spells will simply bounce off him. Are you going to tell him it's not manly to cry in public? Didn't think so.
- Fluffy Tamer: One of the best known examples, and even named one of his pets (a three-headed dog, to be precise) "Fluffy."
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: A fairly even mix of Phlegmatic and Sanguine.
- Frame-Up: In Book 2, it's revealed that he was expelled, with his wand and magical education permanently prevented from developing, because Tom Riddle framed him for attacks which he had committed. Riddle exploited the fact that he cut a dashing Villain with Good Publicity figure while Hagrid was a half-giant, weirdo who got into trouble.
- Friend to All Living Things: As such, he knows a great deal about various creatures, magical and non-magical. Though he seems to consider "normal" creatures, even Unicorns, (as in, anything that isn't a walking death trap) relatively boring, but loves them just the same.
- Funetik Aksent: If yeh want ter sound like Hagrid, talk like this, o' course. I shouldnta told ya that.
- British Accents: Very thick West Country accent. Notable in that, despite about 95% of the named cast being from the British Isles, he's the only character depicted as speaking like this.
- Gentle Giant: He may be half-giant, but he also has a heart of gold, and wouldn't hurt a fly... as long as you don't insult Albus Dumbledore, as Vernon Dursley learned to his cost. Also, it's a good idea not to mess with his friends.
- Good Old Fisticuffs/Megaton Punch: Not having been fully trained as a wizard, he won't hesitate to use his fists if he's in a fight. Seeing as he's a super-strong half-giant with hands that have been compared to trash can lids, this tends to be very effective. Umbridge's entourage of Auror bodyguards found this out... firsthand.
- Good Parents: Hagrid loves his father dearly, he raised him and died early but he still keeps a photo of him in his hut. Hagrid is grateful for the fact that his old man died before he saw his son wrongfully expelled.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Dad was a human wizard, and reportedly a short one; mom was a giantess. Look, don't ask us how they breed, okay? It just happened.
- Herald: In Philosopher's Stone.
- I Coulda Been a Contender: Being expelled by Hogwarts for a crime he didn't commit, framed by the young Voldemort no less, has essentially prevented Hagrid from having any other meaningful job in the wizarding world aside from being Groundskeeper and general Magical Creatures Expert for Dumbledore. Considering his wide knowledge and interest in magical creatures, he probably could have written a book like Newt Scamander or become a giant researcher if he had been given the chance.
- Intergenerational Friendship: As the younger of the two with Dumbledore, who, in his own words, would trust Hagrid with his life. Heartwarming In Hindsight once you get a bit deeper into Dumbledore's character. Of course, forms a friendship with the Trio, and even seems to have a special bond with Harry's children as of the epilogue.
- Last Name Basis: For some reason, nobody ever calls him "Rubeus" regardless of how close they are to him. Even Dumbledore, who's in First Name Basis with pretty much everyone.
- One of the few people who called him by his first name was Mr. Ollivander.
- The book Chamber of Secrets has Riddle address Hagrid by his given name in the memory he shows Harry of "arresting" him; the movie changes it back to the surname form of address.
- Lethal Chef: His food is not so much inedible as it is simply unchewable, often described as having the consistency of solid rocks.
- The rock cakes he makes are a real type of small British fruitcake. They're supposed to resemble small rocks in appearance — but not to resemble rocks as closely as Hagrid's ones do.
- Man Child
- Missing Mom: His mother, a giantess, left him when he was three. Hagrid mentions her death casually, as he hardly even remembers her and didn't consider her a model mother.
- Nice Guy: Skewed priorities and slight Berserk Button tendencies aside (even those tend to be fairly harmless), Hagrid is one of the friendliest, most well meaning and honest characters in the whole series.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Considers dragons, Acromantulas and huge, three-headed dogs to be "cute."
- The Obi-Wan: He is the one who gets Harry himself started on his journey as The Chosen One. He is also the Obi-Wan to Harry's Luke. Except he actually manages to survive.
- Older than They Look: Possibly, due to his Giant ancestry. During Harry's first year, he was in his mid-sixties, yet looks like he might be in his thirties and acts a third his age. An offhand comment from Moody implied that his appearance really hasn't changed since reaching adulthood.
- Papa Wolf: Towards the children of Hogwarts.
- Parasol of Pain: His wand, which was snapped when he was expelled, is actually in one piece and hidden in his umbrella. The real question is how he managed to do this, since his broken wand doesn't seem to act up as badly as other broken wands do.
- Of course, once it is revealed that the Elder Wand, i.e. Dumbledore's wand, can perfectly repair broken wands, an explanation naturally proceeds from there.
- Plot Armor: Many readers worried about possibly losing Hagrid over the course of the books. Rowling admits that with his kindness, Hagrid's loss would have been a serious blow to Harry, and would be an obvious choice - however she says that from the beginning she had an image of Hagrid being the one carrying supposedly dead Harry out of the forest in book 7 that she was writing towards.
- Pietà Plagiarism: At the end of Book 7, Hagrid carries a Not Quite Dead Harry out of the forest in this fashion.
- Real Men Wear Pink: He's a hulking bruiser who tames monsters and often doesn't know his own strength. He's also prone to tears, baking (admittedly badly), gardening, sporting flowery aprons, and keeps what remains of his wand in a pink umbrella.
- JK Rowling said she got the inspiration from overhearing an intimidating burly biker worry about how his petunias weren't doing very well that year.
- Shaggy Dog Story: His offscreen expedition with Madam Maxime to meet the Giants was revealed to be this, something even he laments. The only positive outcome for him was Grawp, rescuing his brother from being All of the Other Reindeer.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Hagrid was apparently one of these; his role getting smaller throughout the series is due to the series becoming darker. Though he's Back for the Finale in a big way towards the end of Book 7.
- Skewed Priorities: Sometimes places the safety and well-being of some of the bloodthirsty monsters he is so fond of above that of other people. Notably in Books 2 and 7.
- And in book 4, where he frantically tries to instruct his students to not hurt the Blast-Ended Skrewts.
- Stout Strength: His entire life as an employee of the school is spent doing physically taxing and highly dangerous tasks that other wizards would rather not (his predecessor left "to spend more time with his remaining limbs", according to Dumbledore). This is, of course, BEFORE one begins adding in the very dangerous situations he finds himself in as a result of his friendship with Harry.
- In the first book, one of his first acts is to casually bend a shotgun barrel single-handed after knocking a barricaded door down. And in the fifth, he's shown being able to send a full-grown human flying through the air unconscious with a backhand.
- Undying Loyalty: To Dumbledore. Dumbledore returns the favor and notes he "would trust Hagrid with his life", although it's unclear exactly what Hagrid did to win his trust.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He never finished his schooling as a wizard and is not exactly the clever sort, but makes up for it by being massively strong and resistant to magic due to his Giant heritage. His standard fighting strategy amounts to walking up to whichever poor bastards he's fighting while shrugging off their spells and crushing them with his hands. It's pretty effective.
- Appears to have had some promise in transfiguration, though, if his attempt to turn Dudley into a full pig is any indication. (One at least could wonder if he really did have a point about Dudley being too much of a pig as it was for the spell to be that effective.)
- Wild Hair: The first thing mentioned about him after his size.
"The Eye does not See upon command!"
The professor of Divination. Trelawney fancies herself a great seer "possessed of the Inner Eye", but is widely regarded by other characters as a fraud who makes up nonsensical prohecies on the spot, particularly because of her habit of predicting death to one student of every new class she teaches. She is able to make the occasional genuine prophecy, though: She was the one who made the prediction that marked Harry as a possible Chosen One to defeat Voldemort, thereby indirectly setting the events of Harry's life in motion.
Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil seem to be the only two students who take her seriously.
"Yes, (Snape) does seem the type, doesn't he? Why, next to him, who would suspect p-p-poor, st-st-stuttering Professor Quirrell?"
Portrayed by: Ian Hart
The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher during Harry's first year at Hogwarts (and a Muggle Studies professor prior to that, according to Word of God
). He initially comes across as inconfident and incompetent, stuttering constantly, but this is appearantly a facade: He eventually reveals himself to be a servant of Voldemort, and the host to his spirit. He tries to steal the Philosopher's Stone for his master, but is thwarted by Harry and dies when Voldemort's spirit leaves him.
- Above Good and Evil:
- Alliterative Name
- Be Careful What You Wish For: According to Pottermore, Quirrell was intentionally seeking out Voldemort during his travels in hopes that he could use his power or at the very least get credit for his discovery.
- Beware the Quiet Ones
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Butt Monkey: Or so it seems until the end.
- Word of God is that he sought Voldemort out because he was tired of being laughed at and wanted to do something impressive.
- The Dragon: To the Big Bad — in fact, he's the very first Dragon introduced in the series. Unless you count Norbert.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind
- Evil All Along: Seems to be nothing more than a meek, timid, perfectly benevolent teacher throughout the first book ... before the twist, anyway.
- Evil Teacher: He doesn't actually act evil while teaching as part of his cover, though.
- Fan Nickname: Quirrelmort.
- Master Actor
- Meaningful Name: Quirinus was one of the epithet of Janus, the two-faced roman deity. In the Italian translation he's renamed Raptor which, fittingly enough, can mean "thief".
- Nice Turban: Voldemort hides under it.
- Obfuscating Stupidity
- Red Herring: Inverted with Professor Snape. Harry and friends go through nearly the entirety of Philosopher's Stone thinking that Snape is trying to steal the stone and that Quirrell's the one defending it. It's actually the other way around.
- Real Men Wear Pink: He apparently used to press wildflowers.
- Starter Villain
- Stutter Stop: Stuttering being used as an obfuscating tactic to deflect suspicion from himself as the culprit behind the nefarious events of the first year.
- Wringing Hands Of Nervousness: Does this very often, accompanying his twitch and stammer but all part of his nervous facade
"Let me introduce you to your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher... me. Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five times winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award. But I don't talk about that; I didn't get rid of the Banden Banshee by smiling at him."
The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher during Harry's second year at Hogwarts, Lockhart is a wizarding celebrity famous for his claimed defeats of various monsters like Yetis, banshees, werewolves, and trolls and his books detailing these exploits. When he arrives at Hogwarts, he completely fails to live up to his hype, proving himself to be quite untalented and incompetent, as well as vain and egotistical.
At the end of the book, he's unsurprisingly exposed as a fraud. It turns out he used his one real talent, Memory Charms, to take credit for the accomplishments of others. When he tries to silence Harry and Ron, the Memory Charm backfires due to him using Ron's broken wand and Lockhart accidentally erases his own memory
. Three books later, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny visit St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, where it's revealed Lockhart is now a permanent resident.
- The Ace: He likes to maintain a public facade of being this, but he's really a Fake Ultimate Hero.
- Adaptation Expansion: The Stinger of the second movie (the only HP movie to have one) shows Flourish and Blott's bookstore in Diagon Alley promoting Lockhart's last book, a ghostwritten autobiography called Who Am I?.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The titles of pretty much every book he's ever released (Holidays With Hags, Traveling With Trolls, Year With a Yeti...)
- Attention Whore: Oh, yes. When he tells Harry about his childhood, he gives the impression that he was always this trope, but it's only as an adult that he achieved the fame he craved. That's assuming, of course, that anything he said was true. He doesn't have a great record for telling the truth, after all.
- Word of God confirms that he was always like this, due to being spoiled by his mother. His years as a student at Hogwarts can best be summarized as him trying his damnedest to be the center of attention, including (but not limited to) carving his name into the Quidditch pitch (for which he received a week's worth of detention), shooting an over-sized hologram of his own face into the sky, and mailing 800 Valentines to himself on Valentine's Day! That's not even mentioning that he went around telling people that he was going to create a Philosopher's Stone before he graduated, captain the English Quidditch team to World Cup glory, and then settle down to be Britain's youngest Minister of Magic. It got so bad that when he finally graduated, everyone in Hogwarts breathed a sigh of relief.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Brilliant, but Lazy: According to Word of God, during his years as a student at Hogwarts, he did have the potential to be the Bad Ass he pretended to be later on, but his desire to achieve fame and fortune without any effort crushed all hopes of that happening. Just imagine how awesome he would have been if he had applied all that focus on being an Attention Whore and mastering Memory Charms to actually achieving something instead.
- Butt Monkey
- Chick Magnet: His book signing at Flourish and Blotts is stated to have been full of middle-aged witches. On top of that, the vast majority of his female students have crushes on him.
- The Dandy
- Dirty Coward
- Everyone Has Standards: By the end of Harry's second year, anyone who was starry-eyed over him and his fame had wised up. Nobody liked him, And There Was Much Rejoicing when it was announced to leave — not all of it confined to the students. In fact, it's widely believed and somewhat implied that the only reason why he got the job as DADA teacher is because nobody else applied besides Snape, who didn't get the position (despite being far, far more qualified) because the position is cursed.
- Actually, Word of God reveals that he got the position because Dumbledore knew that it would lead to his exposure as a fraud. See Out-Gambitted.
- Fake Ultimate Hero
- Feet of Clay
- Genius Ditz: Can't really do anything but memory charms, which he is implied to be a genius at.
- Also fits this because according to both Word of God and the second film, he was a Ravenclaw, the house which values intellect. Though he was almost sorted into Slytherin, which would explain a number of his negative qualities.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: As lampshaded by Dumbledore:
- Hot Teacher: According to Hermione.
- Inept Mage
- It's All About Me: He begins his lectures by reciting all his awards, up to and including Witch Weekly's Most-Charming-Smile Award. Also, their first test is on the important information in his books. You know, stuff like, "What is Gilderoy Lockhart's favorite color?"note and "What is Gilderoy Lockhart's secret ambition?"note
- Large Ham
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: His real talent is Memory Charms.
- Leitmotif: As usual, John Williams is awesome.
- Meaningful Name: He pretends to be the king of fighting off Dark creatures, but it's all fake glamour. He does, however, have the knack of unlocking the hearts of his female followers.
- Mentor Wannabe: Lockhart assumes that Harry is a narcissistic celebrity like himself and tries to mentor him accordingly. Harry obviously finds this annoying.
- Miles Gloriosus
- Mr. Fanservice: Has in-universe fangirls, including Hermione and Mrs. Weasley.
- Narcissist: Ken Branagh wishes he could say that it's a cover for some gaping insecurity, but as far as he's concerned Lockhart's just that in love with himself.
- Out-Gambitted: Word of God reveals that Dumbledore knew a few of Lockhart's victims personally and, after accurately piecing together what was going on, invited Lockhart to teach at Hogwarts with the intention of exposing him as a fraud. When Lockhart initially refused, Dumbledore revealed Harry's presence at the school, knowing that the chance to "train" another celebrity would tickle Lockhart's ego and draw him into the headmaster's trap. As you can see, it paid off.
- Pet the Dog: In the movie, when Snape accuses Harry of attacking Mrs. Norris by noting that Harry was not at dinner, Lockhart gives Harry an alibi by pointing out that Harry was helping him answer his fan mail.
- Shameless Self-Promoter
- Small Name, Big Ego
- Smug Snake
- Spoiled Brat: In his youth, his mother spoiled him rotten.
- Unlimited Wardrobe
- Villain with Good Publicity: A milder form of a "villain", considering his true nature.
- What Could Have Been: Rowling's first choice to play him? Hugh Grant.
- Write Who You Know: Rowling has stated she based Lockhart on a real person, and that she barely exaggerated his real personality. As a matter of fact, she claims she toned it down!
"Your parents gave their lives to keep you alive, Harry. A poor way to repay them — gambling their sacrifice for a bag of magic tricks."
Portrayed by: David Thewlis
Introduced as a (temporary) teacher at Hogwarts, Lupin turns out to have been one of James Potter's best friends when they were all in school together. Also, as his Meaningful Name
might suggest, he's a werewolf. A member of the Order of the Phoenix. Only one to exit the Battle at the Ministry unharmed, except Dumbledore.He and Nymphadora Tonks fall in love sometime between years 5 & 6, marry sometime between years 6 & 7, and have a child (Teddy) towards the end of year 7.Tragically, they are both killed during the Battle of Hogwarts. (Their son is raised by his grandmother with the help of his godfather, Harry.)
- Ambiguously Gay: This.
- Beware the Nice Ones: At the climax of the third book when he and Sirius confront Peter with the evidence of his betrayal, Sirius asks him casually "Shall we kill him together?" and Remus simply answers "Yes, I think so."
- Cool Teacher
- Establishing Character Moment: The first we see of him he is napping on the trainride to Hogwarts. Not too long after that he shows up unexpectedly to save Harry and Ron's asses from a dementor that boarded the train. He promptly remains a Cool Teacher and a Reasonable Authority Figure for the rest of the series.
- Former Teen Rebel
- Five Temperament Ensemble: A mixture of Melancholic and Phlegmatic. (In the four Marauders.)
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Remus is a mild-mannered, pleasant, scholarly figure who genuinely cares about the children under his care and is generally well-liked.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: His major character flaw. In Rowling's own words, "Lupin's failing is he likes to be liked. That's where he slips up – he's been disliked so often he's always pleased to have friends so cuts them an awful lot of slack."
- Remus admits that he wishes he had taken a tougher stand with his friends' antics when they were at Hogwarts rather than serving as their enabler.
- Kind of a Broken Aesop in that his enabling of James and Sirius had no negative impact on his life. He got himself three close friends who did everything they could to support him, made his school years the best moments of his life, and gave him financial support that the wizarding government denied him out of pure Fantastic Racism.
- His lack of backbone with his friends was a genuine character flaw that he rightly criticizes himself for later in life, but never was it a Fatal Flaw that led to some sort of fall from grace. Then again, if he objected to it, he might have gotten James and Sirus to stop, so he had a moral duty which he ignored. And this in fact informs his decision to abandon Tonks and his unborn child, his self-hatred and insecurity of wanting to be liked has left him unprepared in a situation where he has to be in charge and take responsibility as a parent and husband, lapsing almost into a need to be part of Harry's gang much like he was with James' group rather than be his own man. Harry chews him out by reminding him of his father's example.
- A scene set from when he, James, Sirius, Lily, Peter, and Snape were all still students at Hogwarts sums up things rather nicely. James and Sirius are bullying Snape, Peter is cheering them on, Lily is defending her friend, and Remus is trying (and failing) to pretend he is too busy reading a book to notice any of it, even though the frown clearly etched onto his face indicates otherwise.
- Insecure Love Interest: Towards Tonks. Though he does care about her and ends up marrying her, he's still extremely insecure about their relationship since as a werewolf, he believes he's nowhere near good enough for her. It gets even worse when Tonks gets pregnant, since his fears that their child will either be a werewolf as well or be ostracized for having one as a parent nearly drive him to abandon her and try to join Harry, Ron and Hermione on their search for Horcruxes.
- Killed Off for Real
- The Lancer: In Deathly Hallows, especially the second half of the film, he becomes one to Kingsley.
- Meaningful Name: Remus is a legendary co-founder of Rome who was raised by wolves; "Lupin" is Latin for "wolf-like." His codename on Potterwatch was Romulus, referencing the same legend. It gets to the point that those who are well-rehearsed in Latin and mythology can predict what he actually is early on in Prisoner of Azkaban.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard
- Nice Guy: He's unfailingly kind and considerate towards everyone. He even felt sympathy for the werewolf who bit him as a child, until he learned that it was Fenrir who attacked him. Indeed, despite being Jerk Jock, both James and Sirius admired his niceness and immediately became friends with him.
- He's even nice to Snape, despite the Potions professor's open hatred of Lupin, to the point that Lupin has forgiven Snape within minutes of being fired based on Snape releasing his identity to the public.
- Old Shame: He has a mix of this and genuine nostalgia towards his school days. Admitting that the times he and his friends spent sneaking out of Hogwarts was the happiest he had been in his life, but also regretting the risks they kept pulling and the many near-misses they did.
- He does regret not clamping down on James' bullying of Snape, believing that he had enabled it by offering token disapproval.
- One Mario Limit: Since many characters are on a Last Name Basis with him, it can be hard not to think of another Lupin.
- Only Sane Man: As a youth, among the Marauders, but also as an adult, since he's arguably the sanest Hogwarts professor to appear in the series. He could also be thought to be this amongst his fellow werewolves. While many of Lupin's kind turn against humanity and join Voldemort, he stays firmly on the side of good.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: With Involuntary Shapeshifting every full moon, and The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body if he hasn't taken a Wolfsbane potion.
- Perpetual Poverty: A side-effect of being a werewolf. James and Lily supported him financially while they were still alive, but for most of his adult life Remus has been prevented from gaining any form of employment by the Ministry's anti-werewolf laws.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The first really accessible teacher in the story. One of the first accessible adults to appear in the story.
- The Professor
- Prophetic Name: Remus, as in Remus and Romulus, the legendary twin founders of Rome who were raised by a wolf in their infancy.
- Save Our Students: After two useless Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers (and before two downright evil ones), he comes along and actually teaches them what they need to know.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Was bitten by Fenrir Greyback as retaliation for Lupin's father offending Greyback. Expanded material in Pottermore reveals that the offense was the elder Lupin saying during a trial of Greyback that werewolves were "soulless, evil, deserving nothing but death."
- The Smart Guy: Of the Marauders; by smart, we mean "with common sense." Remus doesn't consider himself as much of a genius as James and Sirius, who were more Hard Work Hardly Works, coasting with high marks easily with little effort while Remus had to be more studious. Based on what we know and see of course.
- Theme Naming: Remus coming from the story of Remus and Romulus, twins raised by a she-wolf.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: He goes Ax-Crazy at the climax of Prisoner of Azkaban due to this trope being a trait of lycanthropy. Usually he's able to take a Wolfsbane potion to prevent this.
- Truth in Television: After the first Dementor encounter, he offers students chocolate, which has been shown to aid in the release of endorphins, or pleasure hormones. It really is quite useful if you've just had joy sucked out of you. When Poppy Pomfrey hears that he has done this, she comments "it's good to finally have a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his remedies".
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As per Word of God on Pottermore, he was the one who brought Peter Pettigrew to the fold of the Marauders, encouraging James and Sirius, who he had befriended, to take in the Butt Monkey and help him out. This did no one, including Peter, any good.
- Werewolf Theme Naming
- What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: As already mentioned.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The prospect of having a child, who could potentially inherit his lycanthropy and would face discrimination either way for being a werewolf’s son, sends him into such a fit of panic that he tries to follow Harry in the Horcrux hunt, arguing that Tonks and his child would be better off without him. Although his fears are justified, his response is certainly not, and unsurprisingly, Harry is very much not on board with the “Kids are better off without their parents” argument and calls him on it immediately.
Harry Potter: If the new regime thinks Muggle-borns are bad, what will they do to a half-werewolf whose father’s in the Order? My father died trying to protect my mother and me, and you reckon he’d tell you to abandon your kid to go on an adventure with us? [...] I’d never have believed this. The man who taught me to fight dementors – a coward.
- When He Smiles: The books describe Remus after the birth of his child. The happiness radiates off the page.
- Wolf Man: In the film adaptations...although not the case in the books.
- Younger than They Look: When he's first introduced, his hair is described as prematurely greying, and later descriptions mention his hair getting greyer and his face becoming more lined. Probably a consequence of being a werewolf or just his generally hard life.
"Please don't think badly of me when you see it. You have no idea what he was like... even back then."
Portrayed by: Jim Broadbent
An old friend of Dumbledore's and, until 1981, the Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House. In 1996, he returned to his post as Potions Master, and in 1997, resumed his post as Head of Slytherin. He runs an informal organization nicknamed the Slug Club, which is an invitation-only club of students whom Slughorn believes will be successful. He has recruited Tom Riddle, Harry Potter, and Hermione Granger into this club.
- Ambition Is Evil: Averted; indeed, he's the first Slytherin in the story shown to not be obsessed with blood purity.
- Berserk Button: He flips out when Harry asks him about Horcruxes. In part this is because of his regret over telling Tom Riddle about them.
- Catch Phrase: "Merlin's beard!"
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He takes on Voldemort in the last book along with McGonagall and Shacklebolt, and all three hold their own. Horace Slughorn fights Voldemort head-on.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He was specifically created to show that not all Slytherins are evil and/or assholes.
- Defector from Decadence: Returns near the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, leading the Slytherins in battle against the Death Eaters and dueling Lord Voldemort. Not bad considering he was too comfortable to move at the start of the last book...
- Expy: It can be argued that he is an expy of Dr.Quartz, a character created by C. S. Lewis who collected students and made a lasting impression on them and would "drop them" if they proved to be unsavoury in later life.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he's not as big a Jerk Ass as Snape, Slughorn's definitely got his moments, including his shock that a Muggle-born would be better at magic than a pureblood and his favoring of certain students over others. Nevertheless, he is overall a decent guy, and he genuinely adores his favored students.
- Knowledge Broker
- Lovable Coward
- The Mentor: A couple of lines from Book 6 and some simple math imply that Slughorn took Snape under his wing during the latter's N.E.W.T. years.
- My Greatest Failure: Telling Tom Riddle about Horcruxes; both because it casts him in a bad light and because it led to the death of Lily Evans, "one of my all-time favorite students."
- Noble Bigot: A minor example; though he's one of the most sympathetic Slytherins in the series, there are hints that he holds to some aspects of 'blood purity' ideology, such as his assumption that Voldemort must be a pureblood and his surprise at Muggle-born wizards with above-average talent. He doesn't hold it against them, though, and tends to adore them even more in the face of their "minor problem".
- Reasonable Authority Figure
- Some of My Best Friends Are X: Makes it a point to bring up his famous Muggleborn students as proof that he is not prejudiced, even while, as Harry put it, still seeming much too surprised that a Muggle-born should make a good witch.” To his credit, he IS genuinely kind towards Muggleborns who display talent, he simply seems to have a subconscious expectation for purebloods to usually be better.
- Sweet Tooth: See below.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Crystallized pineapple.
- You Owe Me: Given his habit of taking promising students under his wing and giving them their initial "foot in the door" to high-flying careers, almost every person of note in the Wizarding world owes him a favour. Although Slughorn is too lazy to take advantage of this beyond asking for free concert tickets and sweets.
"Now, I want a nice clean game...from ALL of you!"
Portrayed by: Zoë Wanamaker
The Hogwarts flying teacher and referee for the school Quidditch matches. She doesn't appear much, but she seems to be very strict and serious, though she humorously went gaga over Harry's Firebolt in the third book.
While she is seen off and on throughout the books, she only appears in the first movie due to salary disputes with her actress
. However, the character didn't do much in the other books anyway.
- Animal Motifs: Her eyes are constantly being compared to those of a hawk.
- Cool Old Lady: A throwaway reference to "The Great War" in one of the games reveals that she's at least ninety years old as of the start of the book series.
- Fake Brit: Kind of. Zoë Wanamaker was born in the U.S. to American parents, but lived in the U.K. from a very young age. As it happened, her father was shooting a movie in England (Mr. Denning Drives North) when he was put on the infamous Hollywood blacklist, so he just decided to stay. In any case, she's been in the U.K. long enough to have a legit British accent and that's the part that matters as far as Harry Potter is concerned.
- Stern Teacher: The penalty for flying a broom without her permission? Expulsion.
- Unnecessary Roughness: She deplores the use of this trope in Quidditch, but is sometimes lackadaisical when it comes to enforcing against it.
- Written-In Absence: Madam Hooch originally had a small part in the second film, but she got written out when a deal couldn't be reached with Zoë Wanamaker. Later on, Wanamaker was willing to come back for Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but was never asked.
"Unicorn blood will keep you alive even if you are an inch from death...but at a terrible price."
Portrayed by: Ray Fearon
The Centaur that rescued Harry from Quirrell in the Forbidden Forest when he was serving detention in Philosopher's Stone
. When Dolores Umbridge fired Sybill Trelawney in 1996, Dumbledore hired him to replace her so as to prevent the Ministry from installing another puppet teacher. After Umbridge's removal at the end of the year, Trelawney was reinstated and the Divination curriculum was split between them, much to her irritation.
Unlike other Centaurs, Firenze is polite and friendly to humans, even allowing the 11-year old Harry to ride on his back when taking him to safety. This made him unpopular among his kind and his herd attempted to kill him after his hiring as Professor for daring to spread the Centaurs' art of Divination to humans. Hagrid rescued him, but he was banished from the herd and the forest for his transgression.
After the final battle, the Centaur herd became more accepting of humans and finally welcomed him back.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. The book describes his human half as that of a handsome blonde man with striking blue eyes, whereas the movie made him look far more bestial and covered with grey hair.
- Big Damn Heroes: His debut in the series
- Blue and Orange Morality: He's slightly less blue and orange than his fellow centaurs and is regarded by them as a Category Traitor but he nonetheless has a view and perspective that is hard for Hogwarts students to understand.
- Brutal Honesty: While he concedes that Trelawney may or may not have seer gifts he does not know and doesn't outright call her a fraud, he is brutally frank about what he thinks of her methods. Mostly anyone who spends any time with the woman usually agrees.
Parvati Patil: Professor Trelawney did astrology with us! Mars causes accidents and burns and things like that, and when it makes an angle to Saturn, like now, that means people need to be extra careful when handling hot things-
Firenze: [calmly] That, is human nonsense.
- More broadly he's critical of people thinking that interpreting the stars can be used to interpreted as a Mundane Utilty when the universe has bigger fish to fry.
- Full-Name Basis: He always calls Harry Potter by his full name.
- Expy: His kindly, humble and wise attitude are extremely similar to the wise centaur Chiron, the trainer of heroes in Classical Mythology
- Hot Teacher: As mentioned above, his human features are very handsome, prompting Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown to put their grief over Trelawney's sacking aside to swoon over him.
- Magical Native American: Centaurs as a whole are very analogous to Native Americans, especially with the mentions of being allowed restricted territories by the government. Their main methods of Divination consist of stargazing and burning leaves to find patterns in the smoke.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Decidedly humbler and more accepting and appreciative of humans than any others of his herd.
- Only Sane Man: Among the centaurs, or at least in the eyes of Harry and his friends. In the eyes of his own species he’s a traitor to his kind.
- The Stoic: Comes off as it, especially when factoring in his tolerance. Even after Dean Thomas unintentionally wonders if Hagrid breeds the Centaurs like cattle, he merely corrects him and continues the lesson, whereas far lesser insults send the other centaurs into violent indignant rage.
The History of Magic teacher and the only ghost teacher. Student legend has it that he died in his sleep while seated by the staff room fire and got up to teach the next day, leaving his body behind. Binns's lessons consist of him delivering lectures which are so boring that they put everyone to sleep, except for Hermione, of course. But he doesn't care and just keeps droning on and on.
- Adapted Out
- Agent Scully/Genre Blindness: He insists the Chamber of Secrets could not possibly be real. Someone more Genre Savvy would know that All Myths Are True.
- Arbitrary Scepticism: Again, we're being informed the Chamber of Secrets and the existence of a monster therein is surely just a myth by a ghost who works teaching the history of magic at a Wizard's School.
- Composite Character: He doesn't appear in the movies. His only real scene in the books was explaining the Chamber of Secrets, and McGonagall does that instead in the film. Flitwick does it in the video game, though the GBA one featured Binns doing it.
- Lecture As Exposition: The one time he's useful in the series is when he explains the Chamber of Secrets. He thinks the legend is stupid, but he tells it anyway because the students are paying attention to him for once.
- Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: When he actually speaks to the students in the second book, he gets all their names wrong. It's assumed he's calling them by the names of students from long ago.
- Ultimate Job Security: Not that there'd by any real way to fire a ghost teacher. Who you gonna call?
- It's implied by Moaning Myrtle's death story that the Ministry does in fact have means to keep ghosts from bothering people. They're probably saving a ton of money not having to pay a history teacher.
"Severus... please... we're friends..."
Portrayed by: Carolyn Pickles
The Muggle Studies teacher and an opponent of pure-blood prejudice. Muggle Studies is mentioned throughout the series, but Harry never takes the class and the teacher was unidentified. The first and only time we meet Burbage is in the Villain Opening Scene
of Deathly Hallows
, in which Voldemort murders her and then feeds her to Nagini. After the Death Eaters gain control of Hogwarts, her class is taken over by Alecto Carrow, who uses it to churn out anti-Muggle propaganda.
- Fantastic Racism: Burbage is outspoken against this. Shortly before the Death Eaters got her, she published an editorial against pure-blood prejudice in the Daily Prophet.
- Names to Trust Immediately: Her first name is "Charity" for crying out loud. This fits with the editorial mentioned above.
- Red Shirt: Pretty much. She exists to die and her death doesn't really have an emotional impact on any characters. It's already well-established by this point that Anyone Can Die, after all.
- Remember the New Guy: "Oh no, Voldie's going to kill a Hogwarts teacher! Oh wait, it's someone we've never met." Justified since Muggle Studies was mentioned as an elective class in previous books. Harry never took the class, but someone must have been teaching it.
The rarely seen professor of Astronomy.
- Dances and Balls: At the Yule Ball, she has a very awkward dance with the fake Professor Moody.
- The Ghost: An unusual example, since unlike other rarely seen Hogwarts teachers such as Professor Vector or Charity Burbage, Harry does in fact take Sinistra's class - it's just that no scene in the entire series actually depicts one of these classes and Sinistra is thus never given any description or characterization.
- Living Prop
- Meaningful Name: An aurora is a kind of astronomical phenomenon, like Aurora Borealis, aka The Northern Lights.
"A pity they let the old punishments die. Was a time detention would find you hanging by your thumbs in the dungeons. God, I miss the screaming."
The Hogwarts caretaker, he has an extremely antagonistic relationship with the students and mostly acts as an obstacle to Harry throughout the series. His bitterness torwards the students probably stems from the fact that he is a Squib
, that is, someone who while born into a magical family has no magical abilities on his own. He has a cat named Mrs. Norris, probably the closest thing he has to a friend.
- Anti-Hero: In a not heroic in even the slightest sense sort of way.
- Arch-Enemy: Peeves the poltergeist and the Weasley twins.
- Berserk Button: Hurting Mrs. Norris, as shown in the second book.
- Track in mud or make a mess and feel his wrath. Or be Peeves.
- Hell, be a student in his vicinity, and he will unleash the fury on you.
- Black Shirt: He's the only Hogwarts employee who supports Umbridge when she takes the helm because she allows him to use harsher methods to discipline the students. Alas, he never gets to use them, because the school is too full of rebels by that point.
- Butt Monkey
- Child Hater
- Crazy Cat Guy: He's very attached to Mrs. Norris and flies off the handle when he suspects Harry of Petrifying her.
- Crusty Caretaker
- Disproportionate Retribution: While he has a case of Strawman Has a Point about the messes caused by the students as he's a Muggle Born of Mages, his idea of how they should be punished for it is not. His desired methods so line up with Dolores Umbridge, that he was the only one on her side as it meant he could use a horsewhip on rule-breakers.
- The Dragon: To Umbridge.
- Familiar: It's implied, at least in the earlier books, that Filch shares a far deeper connection with Mrs. Norris than it seems. Apparently Mrs. Norris patrols the school on her own, and if she witnesses any rule-breaking Filch turns up shortly afterwards. In one encounter Harry actually had to tell Mrs. Norris he wasn't breaking any rules.
- Flanderization: In the movies, Filch was used more and more for comic relief as the films went on, especially in Order of the Phoenix.
- Flat Character: Despite appearing in all seven books, there really isn't much to say about Filch's personality: he hates the students and loves Mrs. Norris, and that's about it. The revelation of his Squib status in book 2 may have earned him a bit of sympathy, but that raises more questions than it answers, the primary two being (1) why would a man who detests children as much as Filch does want to work at Hogwarts cleaning up their constant magical messes, instead of getting a job at Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, or somewhere else where he can still stay connected to the wizarding world without having to put up with so much day-to-day vexation?; and (2) why would Dumbledore, in turn, hire a Squib to clean up the students' messes the long and hard way, instead of hiring someone who can vanish every spilled potion away with a flick of their wand? Since Rowling never gives the slightest hint of an answer to either of these questions, it's pretty obvious that she didn't see Filch as even a low-priority target for characterization.
- Dumbledore gave him the job out of pity, it seems, as Word of God states that Filch should be pitied for being who and what he is.
- Formally Named Pet: Mrs. Norris.
- Fun Hating Confiscating Adult: Filch had a room full of things confiscated from students, including the Marauders' Map, which the Weasley twins liberated and then gave to Harry.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic "Villain"
- Lawful Stupid
- Loves the Sound of Screaming
- Meaningful Name: Argus was the hundred-eyed guardian of Io in Classical Mythology, using his multiple eyes to keep watch on her forever, and Filch is notorious for keeping a hawkish eye on students and showing up to bust troublemakers at inopportune times. "Filch" is British schoolkid slang for "to commit petty theft".
- Muggle Born of Mages: Former Trope Namer.
- Pet The Cat: Despite his unpleasant behavior, Filch loves his cat dearly. He becomes very upset when he thought Harry petrified/killed her.
- Right-Hand Cat: Mrs. Norris.
- Ultimate Job Security: The man is a borderline sociopath who explicitly enjoys causing children pain. At no point is the option of firing him ever considered.
"You should've been brought straight to me! I can mend bones in a heartbeat, but growing them
Portrayed by: Gemma Jones
The Hogwarts matron and nurse, expert in medical magic. While she is kind-hearted and always well-meaning, she's overprotective of the students in her care
, which is Played for Laughs
. She regards Harry, and his tendency to fall into dangerous exploits, with a kind of friendly exasperation. A frequent sight in the hospital wing is Harry, landed there after his latest crazy adventure, begging to be allowed to do something while Madam Pomfrey insists he needs to rest more.
Madam Pomfrey shows up in all the books, but appears very infrequently in the movies.
- Alliterative Name
- Berserk Button: For all that is holy, do NOT walk into the hospital wing if you're covered in mud.
- Be Gilderoy Lockhart, that'll do it.
- Combat Medic: While her main claim to fame is as a medic, she's also an effective duelist, as she demonstrates during the final battle.
- Deadpan Snarker: She has moments:
Pomfrey: Nothing to worry about, I mended it at once, but I'm keeping you in overnight. You shouldn't over exert yourself for a few hours.
Harry: I don't want to stay here overnight, I want to find McLaggen and kill him.
Pomfrey: I'm afraid that would come under the heading of 'overexertion'.
- Don't Ask: She seems to know not to ask. In all her years at Hogwarts she probably has seen a fair share of students with injuries the result of things students shouldn't be doing. Just looking at Ron's dragon bite, there's no way that she bought Ron's story that a dog bit him. (Especially seeing as dogs aren't even a legal pet at Hogwarts.) Also, given her status as a healer, it's very likely she knew Hermione had a mishap with Polyjuice Potion. Could also be a case of I Don't Want To Know.
- Justified in that her priority is the health of the students. If she reports their misdeeds then they're less likely to come to her for healing and be at risk of their injuries getting worse or killing them.
- I Can Still Fight: She's the one who replies, "No, you can't. Go to sleep, Harry."
- Mama Bear: The safety of Hogwarts' students is her first priority, to the point that she tells Harry that it's the reason she hangs around during Umbridge's reign.
- The McCoy: Working in the same field as the real McCoy, no less.
- Meaningful Name: Her last name rhymes with 'comfrey', an herb traditionally used to dress wounds. It's also an alternate spelling of Pontefract, a Yorkshire town long famed for the growing of the medicinal herb licorice. And of course poppies contain opium, which from ancient times has had medical uses as well as recreational ones.
- The Medic
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Upon seeing Harry in the third book, "Oh, it's you, is it? I suppose you've been doing something dangerous again?"
- School Nurse
Portrayed by: Sally Mortemore
The Scary Librarian
who runs the Hogwarts library. Madam Pince doesn't trust students any further than she could throw Hagrid, and is known for putting odd jinxes on her books to protect them. Word of God
says she exists because a nice, helpful librarian would resolve plots too quickly.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: The woman on the right hardly looks like any vulture, right?
- Animal Motifs: Apparently she looks like an "underfed vulture". Lovely.
- Berserk Button: No food in the library!
"Chocolate in the library!" she screamed. "Out — out — OUT!" And whipping out her wand, she caused Harry's books, bag and ink bottle to chase him and Ginny from the library, whacking them repeatedly over the head as they ran.
- That was nothing compared to her reaction at seeing Harry's written-on Potions textbook in the sixth book.
- Continuity Cameo: Sally Mortemore plays her in the second film, though you'd only know her nonspeaking character is meant to be Madam Pince from the credits. She doesn't appear in any of the other films.
- Disproportionate Retribution: She's placed dozens of curses on each of the books should they be mistreated, stolen, or vandalized. Dumbledore himself notes that he made the mistake of doodling in one of her library books, then found the book trying to beat him on the head. And he can not guarantee he's gotten off all the curses on the very copy of Quidditch Through the Ages that the reader is holding...
- Lean and Mean
- Nice Hat: One of the few wizard hats you'll see in the films, but it's pretty cool.
- Pair the Spares: In a possible parody of Shipping, students speculate about her and Filch in the sixth book.
- Playing Gertrude: In the second film, she appears to be in early middle-age, but the books' description implies that she is an old woman.
- Scary Librarian: To a tee.