Ranking the Villains of Harry Potter


Harry Potter had his fair share of haters during his years at Hogwarts; some just trying to annoy him, others trying to violently kill him. Here is my official ranking of the villains of the Harry Potter series.

There are many different types of villains. Some are calculating, others impulsive and maniacal. Some are physically violent, while others are mentally abusive and find joy in the distress and emotional suffering of others. Sometimes a villain exhibits all of these behaviors, sometimes they exhibit just one. Some may assume a villain that has the most amount of unpleasant qualities may be assumed to be the “worst” of all, but not always. Sometimes the most dangerous villain of all is the quiet one. The one that is not wildly insane or brutally violent, but that is calculating, calmly plotting their next move.

J.K. Rowling created some of the most evil, heartless villains we have come to know, from Dolores Umbridge to Bellatrix Lestrange, Vernon Dursley to Peter Pettigrew. Rowling has also created such complex and interesting characters, their villain status is still hotly debated (*cough* Snape *cough*). Unfortunately for Harry Potter himself, the Harry Potter series would not have been the same without its villains. It would have been pretty boring to be honest.

So, from ill-intentioned minor characters to Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort himself, here is a countdown of the baddest villains of the Harry Potter series, ranked from not-so-nice to downright evil and dangerous, but mostly based on my personal hatred for each one…

Next: Number 11: Severus Snape

11. Severus Snape aka the Half-Blood Prince

“How extraordinarily like your father you are, Potter,” Snape said suddenly, his eyes glinting. “He too was exceedingly arrogant. A small amount of talent on the Quidditch field made him think he was a cut above the rest of us too. Strutting around the place with his friends and admirers … The resemblance between you is uncanny.” –Snape to Harry in Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban

Head of Slytherin house. The Half-Blood Prince. Dumbledore’s killer. Dumbledore’s trusted ally. Death Eater. Member of the Order of the Phoenix. Headmaster of Hogwarts. Potions Master. Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

These titles – many of which seem contradictory – could only belong to one person: Severus Snape.

Snape is by far the most controversial Potter villain and remains one of the most interesting, complex characters ever brought to life (R.I.P. Alan Rickman). He was born to a witch mother and Muggle father and was extremely talented at potion making. Snape was close friends with Harry’s mother, Lily Evans, as a child and never stopped loving her – even after she married James Potter, the boy who bullied and tormented him during his years as a student at Hogwarts. During the First Wizarding War, Snape sided with the Dark Lord and became a Death Eater. After Lord Voldemort murdered Lily Evans, however, Snape vowed his allegiance to Dumbledore and became a double agent.

Of course, we all know why he did the “evil” things he did and if we had a list of heroes, Snape would most certainly be included on that list. However, it’s still hard to forgive Snape completely, and so he makes my list of Potter villains for trying to make Harry’s life miserable at Hogwarts. Although James Potter bullied Snape, this was not Harry’s fault and Snape should not have taken this out on Harry.

Next: Number 10: Rita Skeeter

10. Rita Skeeter

“You horrible woman. You don’t care, do you? Anything for a story, and anyone will do, won’t they?” – Hermione Granger to Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

Dishonest. Nasty. Meddling. Selfish. Those are a few words I can think of to describe Rita Skeeter. According to Pottermore, Rita Skeeter’s skills include, “bending the truth, puncturing what she considered to be ‘inflated reputations’ with her poisonous quill, turning into a beetle to eavesdrop on conversations with her skill as an Animagus.”

Sounds like a nice person to be around, right?

Rita Skeeter started out as an author and eventually became a reporter for The Daily Prophet who falsified information to produce “juicy” news. She was also an unregistered Animagus and used her ability to transform into a beetle to eavesdrop on unknowing “victims” to get the gossip.

Examples of her embellished, dishonest work included the story on Harry before the Triwizard tournament that claimed he was dating Hermione and cried himself to sleep every night over his dead parents, the story on “the devious Miss Granger” based on made-up rumors about Hermione from Pansy Parkinson, and the notorious defaming article on Harry claiming he was “disturbed and dangerous.” This article preceded the smear campaign launched by Cornelius Fudge and the Ministry of Magic to discredit Harry and Dumbledore’s claims about the return of Voldemort. The article that made me the angriest, however, was Rita’s harsh and nasty piece on Hagrid claiming that he was half-giant and that he intentionally terrified his students. This caused many parents and students to turn against Hagrid, causing him great distress.

Thankfully, Hermione eventually discovered Rita’s Animagus secret and used it as blackmail to make Rita comply with her demands. Definitely a smart move on Hermione’s part, but I still wish she squashed Rita Skeeter like the gross insect she was.

Sure, Rita Skeeter didn’t physically harm anyone, but she upset a lot of people and was responsible for turning public opinion against innocent characters just because she thought it made a good story. She was extremely calculating and inconsiderate, landing her the tenth spot on my list because of her mean words, especially the ones she wrote about Hagrid! And anyone who messes with Hagrid will feel my wrath.

Next: Number 9: Vernon Dursley

9. Vernon Dursley

“Why we ever kept you in the first place, I don’t know, Marge was right, it should have been the orphanage. We were too damn soft for our own good, thought we could squash it out of you, thought we could turn you normal, but you’ve been rotten from the beginning and I’ve had enough…” – Vernon Dursley to Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Vernon Dursley aka Uncle Vernon, is a mean, abusive man. He is one of my least favorite characters and I hate almost every scene he is in. I mean, who locks their eleven year old nephew in a cupboard under the stairs and treats him the way he treated Harry? Remember how Vernon tried to do everything he could to stop Harry receiving his Hogwarts letter? And how he would literally lock Harry in the cupboard under the stairs or in his room? Basically, he tried to prevent Harry from having any sort of joy in his life. He was like the evil stepmother from Cinderella. Vernon also lied to Harry about his parents and how they died, and even spoke about them in a very disrespectful, disdainful way. Even Minerva McGonagall tried to stop Dumbledore from leaving Harry with the Dursleys after she followed Vernon around for a day and saw what a vile man he was.

The Dursleys are probably more responsible for any psychological issues Harry faces as an adult than people may think. But then again, Harry’s adolescence was marked by a dark and evil wizard trying to kill him soooo maybe the Dursleys treatment doesn’t really stick with him as it would a normal person…

Vernon Dursley wasn’t as spectacularly evil as some of the other villains, but he is a certified bully and despicable man, earning him my ninth spot.

Next: Number 8: Draco Malfoy

8. Draco Malfoy

“I’d be careful if I were you, Potter,” he said slowly. “Unless you’re a bit politer you’ll go the same way as your parents. They didn’t know what was good for them, either. You hang around with riffraff like the Weasleys and that Hagrid, and it’ll rub off on you.” –Draco Malfoy to Harry in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Slytherin Draco, pure-blood son of Death Eater and Muggle hater, Lucius Malfoy, was introduced to us as the bully and Harry’s arch-nemesis at Hogwarts. He was mean, arrogant, and menacing. He ridiculed and bullied others, especially the Weasleys and Neville, for no real reason and he took every opportunity he had to humiliate Harry.

I mean who could forget Draco stealing poor Neville’s Rememberall and throwing it out of sight? And in the Prisoner of Azkaban when Draco tried to get Hagrid fired and Buckbeak killed after Buckbeak bit him in class because of his own stupidity? Once again, anyone who messes with Hagrid earns a spot on my list. Thankfully, Hermione felt the same watching his glee over Buckbeak being sentenced to death and punched him square in the face.

Towards the end of the series, however, Draco’s childish antics turned into more serious, dangerous threats and actions. Sure his stint on Umbridge’s Inquisitorial Squad fueled my hatred towards him, but my hatred peaked in the Half-Blood Prince when he paralyzed Harry on the train and stomped on his face.

We eventually find out that Draco had in fact been made a Death Eater this year and was tasked with killing Dumbledore. I started to feel sorry for Draco around this time because it was clear that he was a kid whose mind was poisoned by his father and that he was really just a terrified little boy inside.

Draco was by no means innocent and was a mean, nasty bully, but he was not pure evil and is somewhat redeemed towards the end, so he earns my eighth spot.

Next: Number 7: Fenrir Greyback

7. Fenrir Greyback

“I wouldn’t want to miss a trip to Hogwarts, Dumbledore,” rasped Greyback. “Not when there are throats to be ripped out… Delicious, delicious…” – Fenrir Greyback talking to Dumbledore in the Astronomy Tower in Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince

Fenrir Greyback is the savage werewolf and loyal follower of Voldemort who finds joy in brutally maiming and killing innocent people, particularly children. I just recently finished listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on audiobook and was reminded of a few of the things Greyback did that weren’t shown in the movies, including seriously injuring and permanently scarring Bill Weasley during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower in the Half-Blood Prince.

Greyback was responsible for violently killing and infecting many innocent people, including children, one of which was Remus Lupin.

“Shortly before Remus Lupin’s fifth birthday, as he slept peacefully in his bed, Fenrir Greyback forced open the boy’s window and attacked him.” J.K. Rowling, Pottermore

Since I can’t say it any better myself, here is Lupin describing Greyback:

“Fenrir Greyback is, perhaps, the most savage werewolf alive today. He regards it as his mission in life to bite and to contaminate as many people as possible; he wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards. Voldemort has promised him prey in return for his services. Greyback specialises in children… Bite them young, he says, and raise them away from their parents, raise them to hate normal wizards.”

Greyback is pure evil – the definition of a monster. He earns my seventh spot for 1. being extremely scary looking and 2. being a heartless, evil monster that carelessly participated in taking innocent lives alongside the Death Eaters.

Next: Number 6: Lucius Malfoy

6. Lucius Malfoy

“Dear me, what’s the use of being a disgrace to the name of wizard if they don’t even pay you well for it?”  – Lucius to Arthur Weasley in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Although Lucius Malfoy comes to mind immediately as one of the top five Potter villains, he gets my sixth spot. Father of Draco, pure-blood wizard and former member of Slytherin house, Lucius Malfoy was a Death Eater and faithful servant to the Dark Lord (although his dedication was questioned by Lord Voldemort himself). He was a mean man and was full of hatred. If it was up to him, it would be a crime for a wizard to marry a Muggles and Muggle-borns like Hermione would never be allowed at Hogwarts.

Remember when Lucius slipped Tom Riddle’s diary into innocent Ginny Weasley’s basket in the beginning of the Chamber of Secrets? Remember how he participated in the humiliation and torture of Muggles after the Quidditch World Cup? Remember how extremely cruel he was towards the Weasley family, Neville Longbottom, Hermione and Hagrid? Here’s a reminder:

“It’s Longbottom, isn’t it?” sneered Lucius Malfoy. “Well your grandmother is used to losing family members to our cause…. Your death will not come as a great shock….” – Lucius to Neville in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Lucius is one of the most arrogant, selfish, and evil wizards, but when the going got tough and things became life-or-death serious, he was just a scared little boy inside like his son. But for the way he treated Dobby, Harry, Hagrid, Hermione, the Weasleys, and Dumbledore, and for all of the horrible things he did as a Death Eater, he obviously still deserves a place high on this list.

Next: Number 5: Barty Crouch Jr.

5. Barty Crouch Jr.

“If there’s something I hate more than any other, it’s a Death Eater who walked free. They turned their backs on my master when he needed them most. I expected him to punish them. I expected him to torture them. Tell me he hurt them, Harry…. Tell me he told them that I, I alone remained faithful… Prepared to risk everything to deliver to him the one thing he wanted above all… You.” – Barty Crouch Jr. to Harry in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Pure-blood wizard and son of Bartemius “Barty” Crouch Senior, Barty Crouch Jr. was one of Lord Voldemort’s most loyal and dedicated followers. He joined Voldemort and became a Death Eater at the height of the First Wizarding War, during which he participated in the torture of sweet Neville’s parents alongside Bellatrix Lestrange and her husband. In a shocking turn of events, he was sentenced to life in Azkaban Prison by his own father after his true allegiance and criminal actions were brought to light. Somewhere down the line, Barty’s parents managed to smuggle him out of Azkaban, but his whereabouts were eventually discovered by Voldemort who called him back into service.

Most remember Barty Crouch Jr. from the Goblet of Fire, when he posed as Mad-Eye Moody and manipulated the Triwizard Tournament, which led to Cedric’s death and almost Harry’s at Godric’s Hollow. He was instrumental in Voldemort’s return before he was given the Dementor’s Kiss after being discovered by Dumbledore. I will always be haunted by his creepy lizard-tongue and crazy eyes. He was a horrible, horrible creature, thus earning my number five spot.

Next: Number 4: Peter Pettigrew

4. Peter Pettigrew aka Wormtail

“Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son. Flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed, you will revive your master. Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe.” – Peter Pettigrew resurrecting Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

What a creep. When I think of Peter Pettigrew, a bitter scowl immediately appears on my face as if I just drank something vile. During his time at Hogwarts, Peter Pettigrew was close friends with James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black. He was one of the Marauders and later a member of the Order of the Phoenix. During the First Wizarding War, Pettigrew was entrusted by James and Lily Potter with the important secret of their whereabouts, but instead of protecting them, he betrayed them. This betrayal led to not only their deaths, but to the wrongful imprisonment of Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black. Moreover, not only did Pettigrew frame Sirius for the murder of the Potters, but he also framed him for Pettigrew’s own murder and the murder of twelve innocent Muggles that he killed himself. If I was Harry, I would hate Pettigrew almost as much as Voldemort.

Peter Pettigrew’s human form makes his first appearance of the series in the Prisoner of Azkaban, transforming from Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers, after Lupin and Sirius recognize him in the Shrieking Shack. It was quite fitting that Pettigrew had to spend over ten years of his life as vermin. After escaping, Pettigrew makes his next appearance in the Goblet of Fire, playing an instrumental role alongside Barty Crouch Jr. in Voldemort’s rebirth. He also murders innocent Cedric Diggory.

Pettigrew is your typical blind apostle, following Voldemort’s every command just so he could feel included and like he had a purpose. Did I mention HE KILLED CEDRIC AND SOLD OUT THE POTTERS?? AND FRAMED SIRIUS? I mean come on! Ugh. What a slimy little toad he was.

Next: Number 3: Bellatrix Lestrange

3. Bellatrix Lestrange

“I killed Sirius Black! I killed Sirius Black!” – Bellatrix Lestrange taunting Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Born Bellatrix Black, pure-blood witch and cousin of Sirius Black, Bellatrix was evil to the core. She was Voldemort’s most loyal, savage follower, and is one of the scariest, maniacal, insane villains ever brought to life. J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore describes her as “crazed, cruel, and unpredictable… the perfect wing-woman for Voldemort.”

Bellatrix – who was spectacularly brought to life by Helena Bonham-Carter – has probably the most recognizable and terrifying laugh (it gives me chills just thinking about it) and perhaps even matches Voldemort on the evil scale.  Bellatrix most often came across as completely insane and impulsive, yet surprisingly cunning, every now and then surprising me with her spot-on intuition and wicked scheming. For example, she was the one Death Eater who continuously questioned Snape’s allegiance to Voldemort. She was right all along, but no one really listened to her because she doesn’t really come across as trustworthy and clever.

There are many words I would like to use to describe Bellatrix Lestrange – none of which are appropriate for this website – so let me just remind you of what Bellatrix did. She tortured Neville’s parents so badly they had to spend the rest of their lives in a mental hospital, she carved mudblood into Hermione’s arm, she savagely burned down the Burrow with other Dark Lord supporters, and oh yeah.. SHE KILLED SIRIUS BLACK AND DOBBY. What a *bleeping* *bleep*… and my number three most evil Potter villain.

Next: Number 2: Dolores Umbridge

2. Dolores Umbridge

“Very well. You give me no choice, Potter. As this is an issue of Ministry security, you leave me with no alternative. The Cruciatus Curse ought to loosen your tongue.” – Dolores Umbridge to Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Ugh. Where do I even start with Umbridge. The woman is VILE! I know some of you may think Dolores doesn’t deserve to be so high on this list, especially not higher than Bellatrix and especially since she wasn’t a Death Eater and she genuinely thought Harry was an arrogant, stupid boy, but she is just horrid. She ruins Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for me because I HATE HER SO MUCH. Not love to hate her, just hate her. She tried to hurt Hagrid!!! Hagrid!!!! And that smug smile. UGH!

According to an article written by J.K. Rowling on Pottermore, she despised both of her parents, especially her Muggle mother who she blamed for her brother’s lack of magical abilities.

“Even at seventeen, Dolores was judgemental, prejudiced and sadistic, although her conscientious attitude, her saccharine manner towards her superiors, and the ruthlessness and stealth with which she took credit for other people’s work soon gained her advancement.” – J.K. Rowling, Pottermore

Was Umbridge heartless though? Would she have gone so far as to kill someone with her bare hands/wand? I mean she did sentence many innocent Muggle-borns to Azkaban (according to the aforementioned article on Pottermore, many of these wizards and witches did not survive their ordeal) and she did try to strangle that centaur to death in the Order of the Phoenix, so yeah I would say she is heartless.

It makes you wonder what happened to her to make her so evil, but it seems as if she was just born that way. For being so inherently cruel and calculating, she earns my number two spot.

Next: Number 1: Lord Voldemort

1. Lord Voldemort/Tom Riddle

“Harry Potter is dead. He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives for him. We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone… The battle is won. You have lost half of your fighters. My Death Eaters outnumber you, and the Boy Who Lived is finished. There must be no more war. Anyone who continues to resist, man, woman, or child, will be slaughtered, as will every member of their family. Come out of the castle now, kneel before me, and you shall be spared. Your parents and children, your brothers and sisters will live and be forgiven, and you will join me in the new world we shall build together.” – Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Obviously Voldemort gets my top spot. I’m sure some of you may think I could have been more creative with this list and ranked him lower, but no. A direct descendent of Salazar Slytherin, Lord Voldemort was born Tom Marvolo Riddle to a pure-blood witch mother and Muggle father. He spent his childhood in an orphanage before being accepted to Hogwarts after Dumbledore tracked him down.

Here is a friendly reminder of how creepy Tom Riddle was as a child:

“I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want them to do, without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to.” – Tom Riddle to Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Lord Voldemort is the evilest of the evil. He tormented his peers even before he became the Dark Lord and even murdered innocent people just so he could replace their souls with a Horcrux. He’s the reason for all of Harry’s problems, misery, and trauma, whether it was his doing or his followers’ doing. Voldemort is the worst Potter villain (and up there as the one of the worst villains in movie history), hands down. He is pure evil.

Next: Dishonorable Mentions

Dishonorable mentions

Here are six characters I thought deserved to be mentioned along with the other villains, but who I felt weren’t important enough to win their own place in the official ranking. My dishonorable mentions, in no particular order, are:

Griphook: Griphook betrayed Harry, Hermione, and Ron, leaving them to basically die or be captured in Bellatrix’s vault. I know he betrayed Voldemort in the first place by taking them there, and then was killed for it, because He-Must-Not-Be-Named doesn’t take kindly to betrayals. But I don’t think Griphook gets enough hate for this if I’m being honest.

Gilderoy Lockhart: There is such a thing as “evil of stupidity.” Yeah, sure, Lockhart was his own worst enemy and his ego was enormous. And some might argue he wasn’t so much evil as he was a fool. But let’s not forget he was also a memory thief. Just because karma was kind and made sure he wound up the one without one doesn’t negate that fact.

Professor Quirrell: Quirrell didn’t get his own spot on this list because he basically had Voldemort attached to him like an evil twin. So yes, he killed unicorns. Yes he tried to kill Harry potter in the middle of a Quiddich game. and his ultimate aim was to bring Voldemort back into the world. But can you blame him? He was just trying to get the Dark Lord out of his turban. So I blame Voldemort.

Cornelius Fudge: I find Fudge sooo frustrating. Like so many Muggle politicians, his was the sort of evil that comes from pandering to the electorate and covering his own butt. What a fool. He’s lucky he didn’t make this list. I might have felt differently if campaign ads had been involved. But I’m letting him off for being a complete short sighted idiot who was too ignorant and distracted by his status to see the danger surrounding his people.

Mr. Filch: Filch injected fear into the students of Hogwarts in order to make sure they obeyed all school rules. One might have thought his was the sort of passive aggressive evil born of having no power. But Fich showed his true colors when he betrayed Dumbledore’s complete trust in him and foolishly betrayed him for Umbridge, thinking that would somehow get him power. And did I mention how much I hate Umbridge? I don’t care if he does love his cat. Sorry, Filch.

Mundungus Fletcher: Even though he was a member of The Order, he’s the reason Mad-Eye Moody was killed. His was the sort of evil that’s born of a cowardly soul. Though the Order has to take what they could get (I mean, remember, Pettigrew was once a member) there’s always one bad egg in the basket that reveals themselves when the heat is on. His selfishness and greed alone land him a dishonorable mention.

Next: Ranking the Hogwarts Houses in Harry Potter

Do you agree with this ranking? Or do you think I’m way off? Who else is so evil they should have made this list? Let us know in the comments.