Think you have it bad with bullies at school? For Harry Potter, every new year at Hogwarts brought a new wave of villains hell-bent on killing the Boy Who Lived. Let's count down the 10 greatest villains from the Potter movies, from Draco Malfoy to "He Who Must Not Be Named" himself.
10. Professor Quirrell
He may be too much of a bumbling stutterer to cast a truly imposing figure, but Professor Quirrell still has the distinction of being the first major villain Harry and friends clashed with at Hogwarts. This seemingly innocuous teacher concealed the face of evil itself beneath his turban, and he wasn’t above going all vampire on some unicorns to feed that evil.
9. Lucius Malfoy
One of many things the Harry Potter franchise taught us is that wizards can be a snobby, classist bunch. As wealthy gentleman of good breeding and poor decorum, Lucius Malfoy’s favorite pastime is looking down his well-sculpted nose at the Muggles and Mudbloods of the world. That and helping the Dark Lord carry out his unholy crusade.
"Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace --" Okay, Harry Potter Wiki, we get it: They're the "scariest things ever." That's all you had to say.
7. Barty Crouch, Jr.
For a villain who only appears in the flesh for two scenes in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” Barty Crouch, Jr. sure left his mark on the series. Crouch spent nearly the entire film disguised as Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor Mad-Eye Moody, subtly manipulating Harry through the Triwizard Tournament and orchestrating the return of Voldemort. Were it not for Crouch, the world might have been spared a second magical war.
6. Peter Pettigrew
It’s appropriate that Peter Pettigrew has the ability to shapeshift into a rat, because he’s very rat-like in his behavior throughout the films. This former friend of the Potter family sold out Harry’s parents to the Dark Lord, framed Sirius Black for the crime and spent the next decade or so pretending to be Ron’s cherished pet rat, Scabbers. Somehow, the fact that Pettigrew was more misguided and easily manipulated than truly evil makes his crimes all the more terrible.
5. Draco Malfoy
With a father like Lucius Malfoy, is it any wonder Draco is a snotty, self-absorbed brat who looks down on all the “lesser” members of the wizarding world? From the day they first met on the Hogwarts Express, Harry and Draco were locked in a bitter magical feud that lasted right up until the final battle with Voldemort. But what makes Draco interesting is that he does have a sensitive side, no matter how much Voldemort and his Death Eaters try to burn it out of him.
4. Severus Snape
You could have a lengthy debate about whether Professor Snape actually qualifies as a villain, and that’s exactly why he deserves a place on this list. Snape certainly qualified as an antagonist for the majority of Harry’s time at Hogwarts, throwing out detention and demerits like they were going out of style. But what Harry came to discover too late is that Snape’s mask of hatred and malice disguised a love for Harry’s mother -- one that still burned bright decades after her death. Snape was so guilt-ridden over betraying the Potters to the Dark Lord that he devoted the final years of his life to spying on Voldemort, thus paving the way for his ultimate defeat. He’s not the hero Hogwarts deserved, but he was the villain it needed.
3. Bellatrix Lestrange
The Harry Potter franchise features a mix of conflicted villains and those who are just rotten to the core. Bellatrix Lestrange very much falls into the latter category. Torture and bloodshed (especially when they involve children) are the favorite hobbies of this hardcore Voldemort groupie. By the final film, everyone in the audience was rooting for her to get what she deserved.
2. Dolores Umbridge
Umbridge is the apotheosis of all horrible schoolteachers. She’s a totalitarian witch (literally and figuratively) who did her best to take all the fun and whimsy out of being a wizard during her brief reign as headmistress of Hogwarts. As if her cruelty and abuse of power weren’t enough, her insipid personality and obsession with all things pink made her a villain truly worth loathing.
Formerly an orphan named Tom Riddle, Voldemort rose from humble origins to become the most powerful and feared wizard in the world. He sacrificed his own soul to achieve immortality, so you can imagine how little regard he held for the countless innocents who got in his way. Unfortunately for him, young Harry Potter proved to be the one foe Voldemort couldn’t “Avada Kedavra” out of his life.