The Harry Potter movies feature some of the most memorable villains in the history of cinema. There’s wicked werewolves, sinister sorcerers, and at least one tabloid journalist, but of all these malicious mages who are the best Harry Potter villains?
Well, we’ve been through all the Harry Potter characters to bring you the ten foulest bad guys to ever menace Harry and the gang. It’s been hard to break this list down to just ten, there are countless bad guys throughout the fantasy movie series, but this bunch are the worst of the worst in a story full of bastards.
For the record, we’ve not included Snape on this list. As Dumbledore explains the Hogwarts potion professor’s legacy is a complicated one; he’s both a brave triple agent while also a petty bully who enjoys humiliating children. We just can’t label him a villain, he never tries to hurt Harry and the gang (physically at least) and he plays his part in bringing down Voldemort. So with no further adieu here are our picks for the best Harry Potter villains.
Who are the best Harry Potter villains?
- Gilderoy Lockhart
- Fenrir Greyback
- Barty Crouch Jr
- Rita Skeeter
- Quirinus Quirrell
- Peter Pettigrew
- Lucius Malfoy
- Bellatrix Lestrange
- Lord Voldemort
- Dolores Umbridge
Vainglorious and as useful as a chocolate wand, Gilderoy Lockhart may not be the most dangerous of characters on this list, but his methods are one of the scariest. Lockhart lacks any real magical talent except for a certain flare for memory charms.
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He uses these skills to take credit for other witches and wizards achievements. Usually, these involve his unfortunate victims defeating some fiendish magical creature, then he uses his memory charms to erase their memory and take the credit for himself. What’s particularly creepy about this is that he’s essentially stealing people’s lives and achievements. What’s worse is he seems to get away with it.
While yes, he does eventually wipe out his own memory (and his entire identity in the process), we see in the books he still gets fan mail, and there’s no mention of restoring the memories of the people he enchanted.
Easily one of the scariest wizards on this list, it’s not Fenrir Greyback’s magical skill that makes him so threatening but his savagery. Greyback is a werewolf who, unlike other’s afflicted with the Lycan curse, deliberately attempts to infect other witches and wizards.
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He’s the werewolf that infected Lupin when he was a child and apparently did so deliberately because Lupin’s father insulted him. Also, Greyback’s attack on Bill, which leaves the eldest Weasley with permanent scars, is one of the more gruesome moments in a series that’s usually relatively bloodless.
Barty Crouch Jr.
One of the most cunning and manipulative dark wizards in the entire magical saga, Barty Crouch Jr managed to fool even Dumbledore into thinking he was Mad-Eye Moody.
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The twisted wizard seemed to take genuine pleasure in tricking our heroes into thinking he was the famed Auror and was wholly dedicated to the Dark Lord.
Not all villains have to be moustache-twirling maniacs with dreams of world domination; some are just gossip columnists. Yet that doesn’t make Rita Skeeter any less insidious.
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Aside from her unethical news sourcing techniques (get a Tweetdeck Rita), she shows a complete lack of compassion to Harry and his friends, libelling them at every opportunity just to sell more papers. Even worse, she gets away with it and spends the rest of her days pumping out poison in her Daily Prophet column.
The first villain Harry ever faces off against Quirrell’s story is a sad one. Teased for his stammer and never getting the respect he felt he deserved, Quirrell set off to Albania, looking for the Dark Lord.
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He foolishly believed he could best the weakened Voldemort and finally earn his due recognition. Things didn’t go to plan. Voldemort ended up possessing Quirrell and using him in his scheme to retrieve the Philosopher’s Stone.
Peter Pettigrew may not be a powerful or frightening wizard on his own but he represents a different sort of evil. This rat-faced villain shows that cowardice can be just as bad as out and out malice.
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Pettigrew chose to betray his friends to save his own skin from Voldemort, and he’s proof that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing (Although good may be a stretch in this case). Also, let’s not forget one of the creepier aspects of Pettigrew’s backstory, he spent decades living with the Weasleys, even sleeping in Ron’s bed. Gross.
Another wizard who may not be the most dangerous duelist but Lucius is a different kind of sinister. He’s representative of institutional rot; well connected, politically powerful, and racist Lucius thinks he’s better than other witches and isn’t afraid to let them know it.
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The patriarch of the Malfoy family is unfortunately a very real villain and one who exists in our world as well. Thankfully Lucius sees sense in the end realising he loves his family more than he fears Voldemort and abandons the Dark Lord in the climactic battle.
The Dark Lord’s most loyal lieutenant Bellatrix Lestrange is as vicious as Greyback, as deadly as Voldemort, and as cruel as Umbridge. Honestly, if she were slightly more stable, and not absolutely infatuated with the Dark Lord, she’d probably have been a real threat to his rule.
Lord Voldemort needs no introduction. The most dangerous dark wizard in more than a century it would be easier to list the crimes Voldemort hasn’t committed during his life. From murder and torture, to blackmail and theft, the dastardly snake-faced sorcerer has done it all.
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His vilest act though has to be the creation of not one but several Horcruxes. These enchanted items serve as vessels for the Dark Lord’s soul giving him a form of quasi immortality. The creation of just one of these artefacts was considered the most terrible form of dark magic.
While the exact method of creation is unknown (apparently JK Rowling told her editor and he wanted to be sick) but we know it involves using murder to fracture one’s own soul and causes one to lose their humanity.
Voldemort may be the Harry Potter movie series’ big bad and the evilest but he’s not the scariest character in the films. That has to be Dolores Umbridge the toad-faced undersecretary to the Minister for Magic turned High Inquisitor of Hogwarts.
Voldemort may be a vile, torturous, murderer but even he has some twisted code of loyalty, Umbridge has no such values, she’s only loyal to power. Umbridge is an out-and-out bully who enjoys inflicting pain on anyone and everyone, actively seeking authority so she can use it to make others miserable.
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Umbridge is perhaps the scariest character in the series because she’s terrifyingly real. She represents the smiling face of bureaucracy that can’t help you because you filled in the wrong form or joined the wrong queue. Uncaring, callous, and arrogant, pray you never meet an Umbridge in your life.
If you want to add a bit of magic to your shelves be sure to check out our guide on the best Harry Potter Funko Pops.