The world of Harry Potter is filled with colorful characters who are woven into every aspect of the boy wizard's journey, and many are so loved that they stand out on their own as favorites.
These characters are what make Hogwarts such a great setting, even through its many highs and lows. Sadly, the characters in the Harry Potter movies were lost in translation, delivering versions of our favorites that were diminished in ways.
The book versions of the characters in Harry Potter remain our favorites, as they each have depths that go further than what the movies had time to explore. The movies simply weren't able to unravel them to the degree that the books did.
Here are our picks for the best Harry Potter characters from the books and why they stand out from the vast cast.
10. James and Lily Potter
James and Lily Potter passed away before Harry could grow of age, but their presence remained felt throughout Harry's journey.
James and Lily started dating during their seventh year at Hogwarts. They eventually got married, but they got tangled up in the First Wizarding War by defying Lord Voldemort and protecting their newborn son Harry from him.
Individually, they've displayed their own gifts and strengths: Lily was a kind witch while James was cunning yet loyal. Together, they defined who Harry became and what he stood for.
Their love for their son remained significant throughout Harry's journey to defeating Voldemort, and he couldn't have done it without them.
9. Bellatrix Lestrange
Bellatrix Lestrange was one of Voldemort's most loyal comrades. She was the first female Death Eater and her loyalty to Voldemort was unparalleled by any of the other Death Eaters.
She's vicious, sadistic, conniving, and brutal, to a degree beyond what Voldemort could've ever imagined. She was the kind of person who was willing to kill her cousin and her niece for her Lord.
She violently believed in blood purity, such that she was willing to cast the Cruciatus Curse on anyone. In a world of dangerous figures, Bellatrix Lestrange stands out as the purest of villains. Harry even called her "as mad as her master."
8. Neville Longbottom
During the Dumbledore's Army arc, Neville Longbottom was the one student who underwent the most significant transformation.
From an awkward boy to a courageous warrior, Neville stands as one of the most beloved and relatable characters in the Harry Potter lore. But there's more to his character than simply this transformation.
Neville was born to Auror parents who defied Voldemort three times, opening up the possibility that he was "the Chosen One" described by the prophecy that links Harry to Voldemort.
While Neville struggled in his schoolwork—with him unable to use his wand well and his grandmother disappointed in him—Neville endured as a skilled and brave wizard who fans have come to love.
7. Ginny Weasley
Ginny Weasley is more than just Ron's sister, Harry's later love interest, and eventually Harry's wife in the epilogue.
After her bizarre encounter with Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets, she became stronger and more confident as a person, which led her to become an important ally to Harry and a force to be reckoned with.
Growing up in the Weasley household made her toughen up, and she was even able to outwit her brothers. She never relented in standing up for those whom she loves, especially for Harry.
Her skills as a witch also place her in the same league as Harry and company. Ginny is truly a pure-blooded warrior.
6. Sirius Black
As Harry's closest living relative during his time at Hogwarts, Sirius Black served as a father figure and mentor to the boy wizard.
Whereas Harry's parents played a crucial role in Harry's success behind the scenes, his godfather Sirius played an overtly crucial role in Harry's growth as a wizard and as a person during his middle years.
Sirius Black's journey is a journey of redemption. Though he came from the fanatical pure-blooded House of Black, he turned his back on his clan and befriended James Potter and Remus Lupin instead.
He helped Harry through the Order of the Phoenix, and up until his surprisingly untimely death, he'd always fought for the greater good.
5. Luna Lovegood
Another fan favorite, Luna Lovegood was an eccentric Hogwarts student with many extreme quirks and odd beliefs.
Despite that, she was unusually perceptive to everything around her and far from naive—often to the chagrin of other students. While her peculiarity made her an outcast, she showed incredible wit and bravery that helped Harry's cause against Voldemort.
Luna had several moments that made her character complex, including her father being the editor of The Quibbler, her fight against The Daily Prophet's propaganda using her father's paper, and her deep battle with superstition that made her more empathetic in many ways.
4. Severus Snape
It's hard to fully unravel the mind-blowing significance of Severus Snape, not only to Harry's journey but to the world itself.
While he's first seen as a cruel, no-nonsense professor obsessed with the Dark Arts, his character becomes more fleshed-out when his loyalty to Dumblebore comes under question. With his knowledge of the Dark Arts and association with Death Eaters, he's no simple man.
The resolution of Snape's character arc in Deathly Hallows resonated with fans. He was once friends with Harry's mother Lily and he fell in love with her. Though she moved away from him, Snape became loyal to her, and consequently her son Harry.
That everlasting devotion would eventually cost his life. He's no saint, but Severus Snape certainly deserves honor.
3. Hermione Granger
Hermione Granger is best described as the "bookworm" and "moral compass" of the iconic trio.
Her wits and bravery made her excel in her classes, and that helped in spades when it came to Harry's struggles and battles. But underneath her smarts, intellect, and excellence was an aspiring witch who frequently stumbled yet persevered despite her insecurities.
Hermione became an advocate for social causes like better treatment of house elves, and she served as a Prefect for Gryffindor House. But most of all, she was fiercely loyal to her friends in their battle against Voldemort. Her heart and wits made her one of the greats.
2. Ron Weasley
Ron Weasley can be summed up as the "loyal best friend." He might be immature, but he never shies away from defending his friends.
Beneath his comic tendencies and compulsive behavior, Ron is a brilliant mind and master strategist. We witnessed early on when he displayed his cunning plans in both chess and Quidditch.
Ron didn't always deal well with his friendships and his family, and he was often jealous of Harry's popularity and Hermione's wits. But when he grew out of that, he found his true strength as a leader and friend who could always be counted on.
1. Harry Potter
Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, remains one of the most well-known heroes in pop culture. His journey throughout the seven books is one for the ages, that'll be read for years to come.
The story of Harry Potter is more than just about an orphan boy who discovers his gifts and faces off against the most powerful dark wizard of all time. It's about his growth in empathy and leadership.
With his intimate connection to Voldemort, he was constantly scrutinized, confronted, and challenged in ways that tested his spirit and resolve. But through his compassion and persistence, Harry was able to overcome it all in one tough blow against Voldemort.