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Deadpan Snarker / Harry Potter

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Almost all of the characters in Harry Potter—as well as the author—are very snarky. A few specific examples:

  • Albus Dumbledore:
    • In the Half-Blood Prince:
      Vernon Dursley: I don't mean to be rude –
      Dumbledore: – yet, sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often. Best to say nothing at all, my dear man.
    • Even when he's minutes away from dying:
      Dumbledore: Good evening, Amycus. And you've brought Alecto too… charming…
      Alecto Carrow: Think your little jokes'll help you on your deathbed then?
      Dumbledore: Jokes? No, no, these are manners. […] Is that you, Fenrir?
      Fenrir Greyback: That's right. Pleased to see me, Dumbledore?
      Dumbledore: No, I cannot say that I am.

  • Draco Malfoy:
    • In the Chamber of Secrets:
      Draco: Honestly, if you were any slower, you'd be going backwards.
    • He is also pretty snarky in both the Prisoner of Azkaban book and film. The "Riddikulus" scene in the movie gives the best example:
      Lupin: Now, without wands... after me. Riddikulus.
      Class: Riddikulus.
      Lupin: Very good. Even louder, very clear. Riddikulus.
      Draco: This class is ridiculous.
    • In the Goblet of Fire book, he snarkily criticizes Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts.
      Draco: Well, I can certainly see why we're trying to keep them alive. Who wouldn't want pets that can burn, sting, and bite all at once?

  • Dursleys:
    • Believe it or not, the Dursleys have their snark moments.
      Dudley: "I heard you last night. Talking in your sleep. Moaning." [...] “ ‘Don’t kill Cedric! Don’t kill Cedric!’ Who’s Cedric — your boyfriend?”

  • Fred and George Weasley:
    • In Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone:
      1st Weasley Twin: Oh, are you a prefect, Percy? You should have said something, we had no idea.
      2nd Weasley Twin: Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it. Once—
      1st Weasley Twin: Or twice—
      2nd Weasley Twin: A minute—
      1st Weasley Twin: All summer—
    • Can't forget the twins' Funny Moments when Mrs. Weasley freaks out about Ron being a prefect in Order of the Phoenix:
      Mrs. Weasley: Oh, that's wonderful! That's everyone in the family!
      George: What are Fred and I? Next door neighbors?
    • While planning to move Harry from the Dursleys in Deathly Hallows:
      Moody: Arthur and Fred—
      Twin: I’m George. Can’t you even tell us apart when we’re Harry?
      Moody: Sorry, George—
      Fred: I’m only yanking your wand, I’m Fred really—
      Moody: [Angrily] Enough messing around!

  • Harry:
    • Harry's very first Crowning Moment of Snark comes early on in Philosopher's Stone:
      Dudley: They flush people's heads down the toilet first day at Stonewall. Want to practice?
      Harry: No thanks. The poor toilet's never had anything as horrible as your head in it; it might be sick. (runs for it before Dudley can figure out what he said)
    • A few passages later on in the same book, Harry found what looked like rags floating in smelly gray water, in a bowl in the kitchen sink, when he went in for breakfast, and was told it was his school uniform for Stonewall High:
      Harry (while looking into the bowl): Oh, I didn't realize it had to be so wet.
      Petunia: Don't be stupid, I'm dyeing some of Dudley's old things gray for you. It'll look just like everyone else's when I've finished.
    • In Chamber of Secrets, on Harry's birthday:
      Dudley: I know what day it is.
      Harry: Well done. You've finally learned the days of the week.
    • From Order of the Phoenix:
      Dudley: Not this brave at night, are you?
      Harry: This is night, Diddykins. That's what we call it when it goes all dark like this.
    • Later in the same conversation:
      Harry: Not as stupid as you look, are you, Dud? But I s'pose, if you were, you wouldn’t be able to walk and talk at the same time.
    • And:
      Harry: Yeah? Did he say you look like a pig that’s been taught to walk on its hind legs? ‘Cause that’s not cheek, Dud, that’s true…
    • Also from the fifth book:
      Draco: You're dead, Potter.
      Harry: Funny, you'd think I'd have stopped walking around...
    • And later in that same conversation:
      Draco: You think you’re such a big man, Potter. You wait. I’ll have you. You can’t land my father in prison.
      Harry: I thought I just had.
    • Book Five again:
      Draco: You see, I, unlike you, have been made a prefect, which means that I, unlike you, have the power to hand out punishments.
      Harry: Yeah, but you, unlike me, are a git.
    • And again:
      Harry: Yeah, Quirrell was a great teacher. There was just that minor drawback of him having Lord Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head!
    • And again:
      Uncle Vernon: Watching the news? Again?
      Harry: Well, it changes every day, you see.
    • When Hermione suggests that while she herself is muggleborn and therefore disqualified from being a Death Eater, Ron and Harry are pureblood enough to qualify:
      Harry: And they’d love to have me. We’d be best pals if they didn’t keep trying to do me in.
    • Harry has another Crowning Moment of Snark in the Half-Blood Prince:
      Harry: Yes.
      Snape: Yes sir.
      Harry: There's no need to call me "sir," Professor.
    • In Deathly Hallows, when Scrimgeour reads the trio the will of Albus Dumbledore. Hilarious in Hindsight because Scrimgeour and Harry both ended up being right.
      Scrimgeour: Why do you think—
      Harry: Dumbledore would have given me the sword? note  …maybe he thought it would look nice on my wall.
      Scrimgeour: This is not a joke, Potter! ...did he give you that sword, Potter, because he believed, as do many, that you are the one destined to destroy He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?
      Harry: Interesting theory. Has anyone ever tried sticking a sword in Voldemort? Maybe the Ministry should put some people onto that, instead of wasting their time stripping down Deluminators or covering up breakouts from Azkaban.

  • Lucius Malfoy:
    Hagrid: What're you doin' here? Get outta my house!
    Lucius: My dear man, please believe me, I have no pleasure at all in being inside your—er—d'you call this a house?

  • Minerva McGonagall:
    • In Book 3, when Trelawney brings up the old wives' tale that when thirteen sit down for dinner, the first to rise shall be the first to die. Later, when Ron and Harry get up to leave, Trelawney demands to know which of them got up first. Cue:
      McGonagall: I hardly think that matters, Sybil, unless there is a mad axeman waiting outside the hall to decapitate the first person to leave.
      • Harsher in Hindsight when you realise the table had 13 people before Sybil arrived: the 13th person is Peter Pettigrew as Scabbers. And the first person to stand up during that period of time? Dumbledore.
    • After finding out that Trelawney has predicted Harry's death:
      McGonagall: You look perfectly healthy to me, Potter, so you'll forgive me if I don't let you off homework. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in.
    • After she asks Harry what Umbridge said in her speech at the Sorting ceremony, and he clumsily gives the correct answer.
      McGonagall: Well, I'm glad that you listen to Hermione Granger, at any rate.
    • After Harry and Ron are late to class:
      McGonagall: Well, thank you for that assessment, Mr. Weasley. Perhaps it would be more useful if I were to transfigure Mr. Potter or yourself into a pocket watch. That way, one of you might be on time.
      Harry: We got lost.
      McGonagall: Then perhaps a map?
    • Some great ones from Order of the Phoenix:
      Umbridge: I was just wondering, Professor, whether you received my note telling you of the date and time of your inspec—?
      McGonagall: Obviously I received it, or I would have asked you what you are doing in my classroom.
    • Also:
      McGonagall: Potter has achieved high marks in all his Defense Against the Dark Arts tests—
      Umbridge: I’m terribly sorry to have to contradict you, Minerva, but as you will see from my note, Harry has been achieving very poor results in his classes with me.
      McGonagall: I should have made my meaning plainer. He has achieved high marks in all Defense Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher.note 
    • When Umbridge goes a little too far in her interruptions:
      McGonagall: I wonder [turning on Umbridge] how you expect to gain an understanding of my usual teaching methods if you continue to interrupt me? You see, I do not generally permit people to talk when I am talking.

  • Phineas Nigellus Black:
    Harry: Don't call Hermione "simple!"
    Phineas Nigellus Black: (sighs) I grow weary of contradiction.

  • Ron, probably as a byproduct from growing up with Fred and George:
    • In Philosopher's Stone, after the Trio lands in the first obstacle room:
      Hermione: I know what this is—it's devil's snare!
      Ron: Great, we know what its name is. That's a huge help.
    • The film adaption of Philosopher's Stone alters the exchange:
      Hermione: Stop moving, both of you. This is devil's snare! You have to relax. If you don't, it'll only kill you faster!
      Ron: "Kill us faster?" Oh, now I can relax!
    • In Prisoner of Azkaban:
      Professor Trelawney: Would anyone like me to help interpret the shadowy realms within their orb?
      Ron: [whispering to Harry] I don't need help. It's obvious what this means. There's going to be loads of fog tonight.
      • Given it's autumn in Scotland at that point, this is more than a bit of a sucker bet...
    • In Deathly Hallows:
      Harry: Death's got an Invisibility Cloak?
      Ron: So he can sneak up on people. Sometimes he gets tired of running at them and shrieking.

      Harry: If I dropped dead every time that old bat said I would, I'd be a medical miracle.
      Ron: You'd actually be a kind of extra-concentrated ghost.

      Hermione: Look, if I picked up a sword right now, Ron, and ran you through with it, I wouldn't damage your soul at all.
      Ron: Which would be a real comfort to me, I'm sure.

      Hermione: Everyone knows. Well, everyone who has read Hogwarts: A History.
      Ron: Just you, then.

  • Sirius Black:
    • From OoTP:
      Sirius: What are you up to?
      Kreacher: Kreacher is cleaning. Kreacher lives to serve the Noble House of Black-
      Sirius: And it's getting blacker every day, it's filthy.
    • When Harry asks if the Order members are telling the wizarding population that Voldemort's back:
      Sirius: Well, as everyone thinks I'm a mad mass-murderer and the Ministry's put a ten thousand Galleon price on my head, I can hardly stroll up the street and start handing out leaflets, can I?

  • Snape:
    • This burn on Harry from Prisoner of Azkaban, after Malfoy saw Harry's head sticking out of the Invisibility Cloak in Hogsmeade:
      Snape: What would your head have been doing in Hogsmeade, Potter? Your head is not allowed in Hogsmeade. No part of your body has permission to be in Hogsmeade.
    • Goblet of Fire has the scene where he read the "Witch Weekly" article about how Hermione was supposedly cheating on Harry with Viktor Krum. Snape, saying the following:
      Snape: Miss Granger has developed a taste for famous wizards which Potter alone cannot... satisfy.
    • His response to Harry about ghosts:
      Snape: Oh, very good. Yes, it is easy to see that nearly six years of magical education have not been wasted on you, Potter. "Ghosts are transparent."
    • This moment in the sixth film when Harry accuses Malfoy of cursing Katie Bell:
      Snape: Your evidence?
      Harry: I just know.
      Snape: You just... know. [long pause] Once again, you astonish me with your gifts, Potter, gifts mere mortals can only dream of possessing. How grand it must be... to be The Chosen One.
    • His response to Dumbledore's order to kill him:
      Snape: [voice heavy with sarcasm] Would you like me to do it now? Or would you like a few moments to compose an epitaph?
    • In the book version of Chamber of Secrets, pulling off a classic Right Behind Me on Harry and Ron:
      Harry: Hang on, there's an empty chair at the staff table. Where's Snape?
      Ron: Maybe he's ill!
      Harry: Maybe he left, because he missed out on the Defence Against the Dark Arts job again!
      Ron: Or he might have been sacked! I mean, everyone hates him—
      Snape: (from behind them) Or maybe he's waiting to hear why you two didn't arrive on the school train.
    • When Umbridge (The new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher) inspects him in book five:
      Umbridge: You applied first for the Defense Against the Dark Arts post, is that correct?
      Snape: Yes.
      Umbridge: But you were unsuccessful?
      Snape: Obviously.
    • He was placed in the wonderful position of being able to snark at both sides in Order of the Phoenix:
      Snape: Unless you wish to poison Potter... and I assure you I would be in the greatest sympathy with you if you did... I cannot help you. The only trouble is that most venoms act too fast to give the victim much time for truth-telling...
    • Yep, Snape is pretty good at doing this. Read this wonderful scene in Book 5:
      Snape: I was supposed to see you alone, Potter, but Black—
      Sirius: I'm his godfather.
      Snape: I am here on Dumbledore's orders — but by all means stay, Black. I know you like to feel... involved.
      Sirius: What's that supposed to mean?
      Snape: Merely that I am sure you must feel — ah — frustrated by the fact that you can do nothing useful for the Order.
      Harry: Who's going to be teaching me?
      Snape: (raises an eyebrow) I am.
      Sirius: Why can't Dumbledore teach Harry? Why you?
      Snape: I suppose because it is a headmaster’s privilege to delegate less enjoyable tasks.
      Snape: I will expect you at six o’clock on Monday evening, Potter. My office. If anybody asks, you are taking Remedial Potions. Nobody who has seen you in my classes could deny you need them.
      Snape: (attempts to leave)
      Sirius: Wait a moment.
      Snape: I am in rather a hurry, Black . . . unlike you, I do not have unlimited leisure time. . . .

      Sirius: I'll get to the point, then. If I hear you’re using these Occlumency lessons to give Harry a hard time, you’ll have me to answer to.
      Snape: How touching. But surely you have noticed that Potter is very like his father?
      Sirius: Yes, I have.
      Snape: Well then, you’ll know he’s so arrogant that criticism simply bounces off him.

      Sirius: I've warned you, Snivellus, I don’t care if Dumbledore thinks you’ve reformed, I know better —
      Snape: Oh, but why don’t you tell him so? Or are you afraid he might not take the advice of a man who has been hiding inside his mother’s house for six months very seriously?

      Sirius: Tell me, how is Lucius Malfoy these days? I expect he’s delighted his lapdog’s working at Hogwarts, isn’t he?
      Snape: Speaking of dogs, did you know that Lucius Malfoy recognized you last time you risked a little jaunt outside? Clever idea, Black, getting yourself seen on a safe station platform... gave you a cast-iron excuse not to leave your hidey-hole in future, didn’t it?
      Harry: NO! Sirius, don’t —
      Sirius: Are you calling me a coward!?
      Snape: Why, yes, I suppose I am.
  • Umbridge:
    • Believe it or not, even Umbridge has her moments.
      Hagrid: I—I’ve been away for me health.
      Umbridge: (Looking at Hagrid's many bruises) For your health. I see.
      Hagrid: Yeah, bit o’—o’ fresh air, yeh know—
      Umbridge: Yes, as gamekeeper fresh air must be so difficult to come by.

  • Voldemort:
    Voldemort: Wormtail, I need someone with brains, someone whose loyalty has never wavered, and you unfortunately fulfill neither requirement.

    Voldemort: I'm going to sit here and watch you die. Take your time Potter, I'm in no hurry.

  • Madam Pomfrey
    Madam Pomfrey: I'm keeping you in overnight. You shouldn't overexert yourself for a few hours.
    Harry: I don't want to stay overnight. I want to find McLaggen and kill him!
    Madam Pomfrey I'm afraid that would come under the heading of overexertion.

  • Mad-Eye Moody
    Uncle Vernon: I am not aware that it is any of your business what goes on in my house—
    Mad-Eye: I expect what you're not aware of would fill several books, Dursley.

  • J. K. Rowling:
    "Book Six is called The Toenail of Icklibõgg—Well, if you believed the '[Pillar of] Storgé' one..."
    • She later admitted she made up the "Toenail of Icklibõgg" rumor (the "Pillar of Storgé" one, however? 100% real). note 
    • Responding on her website to whether the seventh book would be called "Harry Potter and the Pyramids of Furmat", Rowling wrote
      "The Pyramids of Furmat lie a few miles east of the famous Fortress of Shadows, not far from the magnificent Pillar of Storgé. Many tourists prefer to view these ancient monuments at night, when they are illuminated by the Green Flame Torch." (Those are all previously rumored titles.)
    • She said that she might name the seventh book Harry Potter and the Mystic Kettle of Nackeldirk. Yes, there were some people, as indicated by Mugglenet's Hall of Shame, who actually took that seriously and thought it would be the title. Ouch.
    • In an apparent continuation of the trend of silly-sounding titles, she gave Ron a few titles for stories within the story (Tales of Beedle the Bard) within the story, including "Babbity-Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump." This, in her own words, "is the stupidest title ever invented by man or beast." She ended up on the receiving end of the snark when she later decided to actually write stories to go with the titles. note 
    • Rowling's first husband apparently once claimed that he had helped her with the first Potter book. Her reply was:
      "He had as much input into Harry Potter as I had in A Tale of Two Cities."

      "I've already answered this in FAQs, but as this rumour is still cropping up in fan letters I thought I'd reiterate here that there will be NO chapter called 'Lupin's Papers' in book six, nor will there be chapters entitled 'Pettigrew's Pamphlets', 'Sirius's Circulars' or 'The Pocket Crosswords of Severus Snape'."
    • When fans started speculating there would be a character named Icicle in the sixth book (based on a misheard interview), Rowling said:
      "I can only think that somebody misheard what I said because at no stage have I ever planned a character called 'Icicle.' Professor Bicycle, on the other hand, will be a key figure in books six and seven. *this is a joke"
    • And as a narrator, Rowling has her moments too:
      "“Well, you see,” said Hermione [to Harry], with the patient air of one explaining that one plus one equals two to an overemotional toddler [...]

Example of: