With the highly anticipated release of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 now countable in hours rather than days or months, talk around the Cinema Blend watercooler has been dominated by all things Potter. We can’t help ourselves, besides arguing about movie-related nonsense is most of the reason we do this for a living, and as films go, the Harry Potter series, with its detailed backstory and endless stream of characters, is ideal for useless would-you-rathers and crazy best-of-lists. What you’re about to read is just one of those lists. It started as a debate between a few of us over Voldemort’s ranking against other famous movie villains. Eric and I aren’t overly fond of the Dark Lord, and when one of us suggested there were 10 Harry Potter characters scarier than he-who-shan’t-be-named, the vicious bickering turned into a challenge. And now here we have it, 10 Harry Potter characters scarier than Voldemort.
Encompassing man, woman, animal and plant, the list you’re about to read was carefully scrutinized and poured over. It contains heroes and villains, some fundamentally important to the Harry Potter mythos, others non-plot essential randoms. A few are creepy, more are genuinely evil and one or two may be serial killer level sociopaths. All are scarier than Voldemort. Check out Cinema Blend’s official list, then vote in the poll or add your own suggestions in a comment below…
Voldemort kills for power. Bellatrix Lestrange kills for sport. With a wild cackle and mentally-unhinged eyes, the most famous non-Dark Lord Death Eater reminds me of what would happen if Prozac Nation’s Elizabeth Wurtzel was born with magical powers and misguidedly devoted herself to the world’s most dangerous snake charmer. Bella is manipulative, cunning and not above murdering members of her own family. Still, Sirius’ fate pales in comparison to that of Neville Longbottom’s parents whom she tortured to the point of insanity.
Residing in the lake surrounding Hogwarts, the vicious, red-haired mermaids of Harry Potter are a far cry from the selfish, giggling beauties of Peter Pan. They may not play a central role in the overall story arc, but their brief appearance in the Tri-Wizard tournament is enough to give any sensible viewers nightmares for months on end, probably because they look and behave more like fish than any of the mermaids we’re used to. Can Voldemort even swim? Regardless, if my fate ever came down to hand-to-hand combat in the water, I’d fight it out with that bald-headed douche any day if these harpies were my only other alternative.
Intelligent, immortal and powered by soul-sucking, dementors are the most horrifying prison guards ever conceived. It took, by J.K. Rowling’s own admission, a period of clinical depression for their mere conception. Completely blind, they hunt their victims through a primal sensing of positive emotions, and once found, they replace those emotions with unspeakably awful memories. For Harry, it’s a constant replaying of his mother’s death. Imagine the level of horrible it takes for a predator to not kill you but instead doom you to a fate of forever reliving your worst moment. The mere thought is sadistic and unsettling, like a murderer giving his victim a breath of fresh air every time the sweet release of death gets a little too close.
A cross between a horse and a dragon, thestrals are totally invisible, except to those that have witnessed and accepted death. They possess a heightened sense of smell in order to quickly find fresh blood, and they’ve been know to attack both human and wizard when provoked. Hagrid, that crazy half-giant bastard, has taken some steps to domesticate the lot, but it’s still not advisable to turn your back on any animal widely considered an omen of evil. I haven’t and I’m still alive. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie or read anything by H.P. Lovecraft knows under the right circumstances, nature can and will fight back. It happened in Tolkien, it happened in Jumanji and it happened in Harry Potter. I can live with trees shoving it up our asses every now and again for zealously decimating their populations, but what I can’t live with is the Whomping Willow acting like a dick. There’s really no other way to describe something that so habitually behaves like an asshole. It swipes at anyone that comes to close. Harry Potter, girl scout, tree doctor, it doesn’t matter.
Yes, Dobby plays for the right team, but he’s like Chunk in The Goonies or The Grinch after he befriends the Whos. He can be given all the socks he wants, at the end of the day, he’s still a creepy house elf with a face crying out for a mask. Tiny, skeletal and sporting Dumbo-like ears, even his most ardent supporters have to admit there’s something inherently off-putting about his old man wrinkles and Pinocchio nose. If someone offered you a million dollars to have sex with the most beautiful woman in the world but you knew Dobby would be watching, is there anyway you could get a non-chemical erection? Offer me the same terms with Voldemort, and I’d be writing this article on a new computer.
Voldemort hath no fury like a pissed-off, vaguely pedophilic werewolf. Agreeing to help the Death Eaters in exchange for time alone with Hermione Granger, Fenrir Greyback is probably the most sadistic, purely evil character in all of Harry Potter lore. He has more in common with a serial killer than the Dark Lord. He’s an unstoppable corrosive force, even to his allies. It takes some serious macabre intentions to be universally recognized as the most vicious werewolf of all-time, and Greyback accomplishes this by attacking people even when he’s in human form. Weasley beware.
Fear the innocuous-looking older woman with too many morals and too much time on her hands. Unlike everyone else on this list, Dolores Umbridge feels like a real person. She’s the mean-spirited grandmother writing letters about the school advocating birth control. She’s the infuriating bank teller who makes you go to the end of the line because you forgot to sign your checks. She’s a bitch, simple as that, and in the Ministry of Magic, she has real power. Weaponizing her nicey-nice high-pitched rebukes, Dolores Umbridge is on an unstoppable mission to snuff out boys being boys, even if it curbs every last ounce of originality and forward progress. Don’t kid yourself, people like Umbridge are dangerous, and the worst part is they don’t even know it.
The second blind character on this list, Aragog is an elephant-sized spider with an ability to communicate with humans. In his earlier, more wild days, he even enjoyed some human flesh from time to time, but after having a brood of elephant-sized spiders, he mostly stepped aside to let the little ones devour unsuspecting humans. Never preaching against it, he told his kin only to avoid eating Hagrid, as the unkempt groundskeeper was the one who introduced him to his wife. That’s nice, at least in the same way as a vicious dog biting anyone he doesn’t live with.
Just as stupid as he is tall, Hagrid’s giant sixteen foot brother is an uncontrollable recluse with a thing for Hermione. Abandoned by his mother and left to raise himself, Grawp’s favorite activities include knocking over bird’s nests and destroying trees he’s tied to. Now and again, when he’s feeling feisty, he also attacks his own brother Hagrid, which is precisely why he’s so goddamn scary. The other people on this list murder for food or sport or revenge or lust, Grawp knocks over birds nests and attacks his brother because he’s a big stupid barbarian that’s a slave only to impulse. He’s like a forest-dwelling Gremlin, and those bastards were scary enough to get two movies.