Neither can live while the other survives...
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is officially in theaters! With that film now out, I thought I'd do two Harry Potter rankings. I did the movies yesterday, so today, I thought it'd be fun to rank the villains. I love Harry Potter to death, but it's one of the franchises that I haven't talked about a ton on the blog. I've definitely touched on the MCU and Star Wars much more than the Wizarding World, so I want to change that. With that said, here's my ranking of all nineteen Harry Potter villains.
19. Fenrir Greyback
Greyback is much more of a henchmen than anyone on this list. He's violent and aggressive and somewhat intimidating, but he's only in the last few movies and doesn't really get much to do. He doesn't really talk. He just kind of runs at our heroes and maybe growls a few times. I don't really care for this character. He just seems like a maskless Death Eater. And that's not very interesting.
18. Crabbe and Goyle
Crabbe and Goyle are more glorified henchmen. They act as Draco Malfoy's dimwitted companions and become less and less prominent throughout the films. I'm pretty sure one of them dies in Deathly Hallows, but I don't even know which one of them it is, which just goes to show how much I care about these characters.
17. Peter Pettigrew
I've always hated Peter Pettigrew. Timothy Spall's performance has always been weird. It's so cartoony and so annoying. I don't understand why Voldemort would want such a wimpy servant. His motivations are barely explained. And, like Crabbe and Goyle, he becomes less and less important throughout the movies. Which makes him a much less compelling character. He gets points for killing Cedric Diggory, but otherwise, I don't like this character.
16. Vinda Rosier
Vinda Rosier essentially acts as the Bellatrix Lestrange of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Albeit, she's much less prominent and much less fun, but she's a scary second-in-command that always means bad news. Anytime she was on screen in either Crimes of Grindelwald or Secrets of Dumbledore, I felt like her presence just increased tension. She's not a big character. She's not a great character. But she acts as a nice little warning of evil.
15. Quirinus Quirrell
Professor Quirrell acts as nice little plot twist and boss battle at the end of Sorcerer's Stone, but the character himself is pretty forgettable. During the final battle of that film, you're more focused on Voldemort and his presence, so you don't really care about Quirrell. I love the visual of the man with two faces. I think he is a good surrogate Voldemort. And, once again, he works as a good plot twist at the end, because they set up that Harry's going to walk into this chamber through the trapdoor and find Snape. The last person you'd expect there is Quirrell. So I like that. But, otherwise, he doesn't really have anything going for him.
Nagini is Voldemort's pet snake, so she isn't much of a character. I did actually enjoy her inclusion in Crimes of Grindelwald and I was slightly disappointed that she did not return in Secrets of Dumbledore. I think they had an opportunity there to show us how she came in contact with Voldemort and how she eventually allied herself with him. She's scary. She almost kills Arthur Weasley, which is pretty big. And the Bathilda Bagshot scene in Deathly Hallows - Part 1 is one of the scariest scenes in all of the Harry Potter films. I like how they use her there and I like that Neville is the one to save Ron and Hermione's life by killing her. Once again, she's a snake, so she doesn't have much to do, but she's pretty good for what she is.
13. Credence Barebone
Credence is one of the characters that I felt has been wasted a little bit by the Fantastic Beasts franchise. He's really not that interesting, but I moved him up a few spots after Secrets of Dumbledore because I did appreciate what they did with his character in that film. It feels like they never really had a plan for this character. Ezra Miller's performance is not really my favorite. He just kind of acts emo for most of these movies. He barely speaks. He's a really bland villain. But, once again, his arc in Secrets of Dumbledore is good, so I put him near the middle of this list.
12. The Dementors
Another horrific monster from the Potter series, the dementors are one of the coolest creatures in the Wizarding World. I am shocked that they have not appeared in the Fantastic Beasts series as of yet. They are terrifying. The idea of a creature that sucks all of your happiness out and turns you into this shell of a human is just chilling. I love that everything surrounding them is dark and withered. They make for terrifying adversaries in Prisoner of Azkaban. Once again, they aren't really characters, so I can't put them much higher, but they are great monsters.
11. The Dursleys
This list is full of terrifying monsters and dark wizards. From the dementors to Voldemort, most characters on this list are scary or intimidating in some way shape or form. The Dursleys are not. They're just jerks. They are terrible to Harry and make his life miserable. They are so hatable but also so much fun. Sadly, the writers and directors chose to exclude them in later films. In the novel Deathly Hallows, they get a little bit of redemption when Harry leaves. They're actually nice to him. That's one of my favorite moments in that book, and I wish they had adapted that in the movies. Unfortunately, they didn't, so that knocks them back a bit. But these are fun characters to hate. They aren't major characters, but they are entertaining every time they're on screen.
10. The Basilisk
For my money, I think the basilisk is scarier than the dementors. It essentially acts as a horror movie monster. Throughout Chamber of Secrets, Harry continues to hear this extremely creepy voice in the walls. It keeps saying "Kill" and "Blood". It's some scary stuff. I think the idea of the monster is horrifying. The fact that it can kill you by looking at you is just so disturbing. As most of this list has been so far, the basilisk isn't really a character. It's more of a creepy presence and boss battle at the end. But it's a very creepy presence and a very good boss battle.
9. Barty Crouch Jr.
Barty Crouch Jr. is a character that I wish we got more of. He's one of Voldemort's most trusted and loyal followers. What makes him so scary is how likable he is. He takes the form of Mad-Eye Moody throughout Goblet of Fire, and he's one of the best characters in that movie. He teaches Harry. He helps him grow. Sure, he sends him to Voldemort at the end, but he's one of the best mentors to Harry. I think there was room for him to grow after Goblet of Fire, and David Tennant is a fabulous actor that can play terrifying villains (watch Jessica Jones), so I feel like he was a little underutilized. Still a good villain, though.
8. Gilderoy Lockhart
Gilderoy Lockhart is easily the least likable character on this list. He is the most pompous, self-centered b**ch to ever walk through the Wizarding World. I hate him so much. But he's so much fun. Kenneth Branagh plays this character to utter perfection. You are made to just despise him. I love that he tries to be a teacher and then tries to immediately flee when he gets scared of fighting the basilisk in the chamber of secrets. His turn on Ron and Harry is one of the most disgusting moments in the series (in a good way). He's not a major threat. He's just so unlikable. But, once again, he's so much fun.
7. Lucius Malfoy
Lucius Malfoy is another really unlikable character. Jason Isaacs gives one of the best performances in the series. This character never smiles. He's always sniveling. He just looks like he wants to hurt everyone he sees. I think his inclusion as this sly, quiet mastermind in Chamber of Secrets is great. We get to see him in all-out Death Eater mode in Order of the Phoenix. I think the quality of the character wanes in Deathly Hallows. He goes from this menacing follower of Voldemort to a total coward, and I really don't like that. Otherwise, this character is great.
6. Gellert Grindelwald
I think Grindelwald is one of the strongest parts of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. He's definitely a proto-Voldemort, but I don't mind that. He's a good adversary for our heroes, and I think his complicated past with Dumbledore is pretty interesting. I actually really liked Johnny Depp in this role, and I was disappointed when he was fired. However, Mads Mikkelsen is a better Grindelwald. He has the charm and the likability while also having this psychopathic look in his eyes throughout all of Secrets of Dumbledore. I think this character can be improved. And I hope they continue to improve him in future installments.
5. Draco Malfoy
Draco is another character that starts off strong and then kind of falls off the map in later installments. He's a great bully in the first three movies. They totally ignore his character in Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix. And then they do a great job with him in Half-Blood Prince. You see the good side of him. You see that he doesn't want to become a Death Eater. He doesn't want to kill Dumbledore. But he knows the consequences will be fatal if he fails Voldemort. Tom Felton is so underrated. He plays a great bully in the first few movies and then really ramps up the emotional aspect of Draco as he experiences this inner conflict in Half-Blood Prince. I still think they didn't do this character justice by sidelining him in Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and Deathly Hallows, but when he is prominent, he's great.
4. Dolores Umbridge
Remember when I said Gilderoy Lockhart is the most unlikable character on this ranking? I lied. Dolores Umbridge is my least favorite person to ever appear in a film. Period. She is simply the worst. She has this smiley personality that annoys you right from the get-go, but then she proceeds to torture Harry and slowly infect Hogwarts like a parasite. She is just so icky. I hate everything about her, but in the best way possible. David Yates and Steve Kloves really did a great job of nailing this character. Her downfall is one of the most satisfying moments in the franchise. I don't want to say I love her, because I absolutely hate her with a burning passion, but she's a great character.
3. Bellatrix Lestrange
Bellatrix Lestrange is another character that I just despise from the depths of my heart. She is so gleefully evil and cruel. She immediately establishes herself as a force to be reckoned with in Order of the Phoenix. Helena Bonham Carter can be quirky and funny in the role while also being a complete psychopath. She murders two of my favorite characters in the series, so I give her props for that. Her death is also one of the most satisfying moments in the franchise. Once again, I hate this character more than almost anything, so I don't want to say I love her, but she's a great villain.
2. Severus Snape
Snape is truly one of the most underrated characters of all time. He never appears on any "Greatest Villains of All Time" lists. And he really should. From the beginning of Sorcerer's Stone, we establish this toxic relationship between Harry and Snape. For the most part, Snape seems mean but harmless. Once you get into the later films and they delve into his backstory and history with Voldemort as well as Lily Potter, you understand the complexity of the character. He's the ultimate double agent. He proves himself to Voldemort by murdering Dumbledore...but that was actually staged. Snape was really working for Dumbledore all along and has been protecting Harry out of love for Lily all this time. It's honestly one of the great character arcs of all time. I love this character. He's so good, and Alan Rickman's performances is near perfection. I cannot believe he doesn't get more recognition.
1. Lord Voldemort
Voldemort had to be number one. He's the ultimate enemy. He is the Emperor Palpatine of the Harry Potter franchise. He's so terrifying that people are afraid of saying his name. What the series does a great job of is building up how menacing he is without actually showing him. He's barely in Sorcerer's Stone. He's not in Chamber of Secrets or Prisoner of Azkaban. But he has a massive presence. You understand how dangerous he is and how many loyal followers he still has. When he returns in Goblet of Fire, you feel the enormous threat that he poses because they've spent three movies building it up. They then spend the next two movies showing him winning. It all comes down to the high stakes final battle in Deathly Hallows, where you feel this enormous sense of tension because you know how powerful, evil, and outright horrifying Voldemort is. He truly is one of the great villains of all time, so he comes in at number one.