Harry Potter and the rest of the Hogwarts crew have all done some pretty stellar work at combating evil, and doing right by the wizard and muggle worlds alike, but there are some exceptional, villainous moments from both the bad and the good sides. Of course life is but a muddle of shades of grey, and one’s ability to do good is based on the choices one makes in the past and present, and if wrong has been done, what one does in response to that wrongdoing.
There are some surprisingly horrific, and evil things that certain Harry Potter characters have done over the years. Some of these things meticulously planned, and others spur of the moment. Some acts of incredible passion, and others breathtakingly cold and calculated. It is likely that a number of these acts shocked you when reading or watching the series, and perhaps some came as no surprise, but the acts themselves are shocking nonetheless. The philosophy of the Harry Potter series shows, very readily, that evil can be done by both good and evil people. The difference is what either one does about it once the act has been committed. Will you be surprised?
15. Gilderoy Lockhart Trying To Erase Potter’s Memory
The wizarding world’s most famous con artist, Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh) has spent a lifetime building a name for himself on the incredible deeds of others. Wishing to see his name on every marquee, and in every bookstore window, Lockhart has become very adept at memory charms, erasing the memories of those who have achieved greatness in order for him to take the accolades for himself. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), having served as headmaster during Lockhart’s years at school, sought to hire him for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position, baiting him with the chance to teach the great Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Dumbledore knowing him to be a fraud, but noting that much can be learned from a terrible teacher. Revealing Lockhart to be a fraud, Harry and Ron (Rupert Grint) force Gilderoy into the Chamber of Secrets with them to aid in rescuing and ridding the school of the Basilisk. As a last effort to escape with his rep intact, Lockhart attempts to erase the minds of the boys with Ron’s faulty wand, instead wiping his own memory clean. Willing to put the world at risk by erasing Harry Potter; this is how self-obsessed Lockhart was.
14. Umbridge’s Black Quill
Professor Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), Defense Against The Dark Arts instructor, and high inquisitor with the Ministry of Magic, had a rather medieval method of punishing students who upset her, made mockery of their work, or contested her opinions. This was the introduction of the notorious Black Quill. Harry, who contested Umbridge’s belief that Voldemort had not returned (oops), was constantly under pain of the quill. Forced to write out the line “I must not tell lies” repeatedly from five in the evening until well after midnight, on many occasions, Harry was put in constant pain. As the quill is put to parchment, and writing begins, the words put to paper are magically, and painfully etched into the back of the author’s hand. Once the writing is complete, the wound heals, and appears again at the commencement of writing. So many times had Harry been put to task with the black quill that he received a scar reading “I must not tell lies”.
13. Bellatrix Torturing Hermione Granger
Everyone knows that Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), responsible for killing many a good wizard, was completely batshit insane, but stooping so low as to torture heartthrob Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) was a new level of evil with a special circle in Hell reserved for her. Bellatrix’s absolute hatred of mudbloods leads her to have at Hermione for questioning about the sword of Gryffindor, suspecting her, Ron and Harry of breaking into her vault at Gringots. Expecting results, and simply enjoying the torture of a young mudblood, Lestrange uses the cruciatus curse, one of three unforgivable curses, on the poor Granger, causing her to writhe in agony while Bellatrix carves the word mudblood into Hermione’s arm. This is a blending of two stories as the film version has only the arm carving, while the book has the curse. This may not be too surprising as Lestrange had driven two people to madness with the cruciatus curse before coming to Hermione, but all the same. It’s shocking to see Hermione Granger tortured.
12. Snape Murdering Dumbledore
Draco (Tom Felton), originally saddled with the task of dispatching head master Albus Dumbledore, thanks to his father’s failures and imprisonment, makes several attempts on the head master’s life, to no avail. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), knowing full well that Draco will not be able to go through with the murder gives him this task simply to further embarrass the Malfoy family. Worried for her son, Narcissa makes an unbreakable vow with Snape whereby he keeps Draco safe and, if he cannot complete his mission, will kill Dubledore in his stead. Now, this all worked with the real plan that Snape had worked out with Dumbledore, who was already dying thanks to the cursed Marvolo ring, but this certainly doesn’t make the act any less shockingly evil, when the audience all hoped beyond hope that Snape would ultimately turn good— which he does, but not before murdering the frail and dying Albus Dumbledore.
11. Tom Riddle Traumatizing Orphans
Perhaps a sad story, but Tom, as a child, did not know his magical mother came to the door of an orphanage, birthed him, and died shortly thereafter, but he did know he was different. Never very nice, from childhood to dark lord-hood, Tom learned that he could make objects move with his mind, as well as manipulate and converse with animals; able to speak Parseltongue (likely due to his lineage with Salazar Slytherin). Getting into fights with the other orphans, no matter if he won or lost the battle, Tom would always win the war. Having brawled with one Billy Stubbs, he used his powers to hang Billy’s rabbit from the rafters. Another time, he took Amy Benson and Dennis Biship, two fellow orphans, to a nearby cave where he performed such a horrid and appalling act that the two orphans were traumatized into silence. J.K. Rowling never does explain what this heinous act was, perhaps lending credence to the evil inherent in it.
10. Dumbledore Convicting Sirius Black For Murder
That’s right! After finding his dearest friends slaughtered, and giving up his guardianship of the infant Harry Potter, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) tracked down Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall), intent on murdering him for betraying Black and his friends. Always the snivelling, and conniving type, Pettigrew shouted in the streets that Sirius was the one who betrayed the Potters, then sealed Black’s fate by creating an explosion, leaving a severed finger of his, and killing twelve muggles in the process. Apprehended by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Sirius Black was sentenced, without trial, to solitary confinement in Azkaban with the Dementors as his only company. Charged for the murder of Pettigrew, the twelve muggles, and for serving Voldemort; giving him information on the whereabouts of the Potters, Black was sentenced by Barty Crouch Snr., and the well-meaning, and lovingly docile, Albus Dumbledore. Surely Dumbledore’s face was red when he discovered the truth, after leaving Black to the torment of the Dementors for twelve years.
9. The Dursleys… Period.
This mundane, and unwittingly malevolent muggle family was the bane of Harry’s existence for many years. His Aunt Petunia, sister of Lily Potter, wanted nothing more than an ordinary life, away from the fanciful freakishness of her sister, and found just that in the very drab and dull Vernon Dursely. Sent to live with his muggle relatives after the murder of his parents, Harry had the unfortunate privilege of growing up alongside Petunia’s darling angel, Dudley. This rather thick, and dim-witted family spent what time they could afford on the tormenting of Harry for being different, for saddling them with such a burden, and for being a glaring reminder of the dark mark that Lily brought upon Petunia’s family. Confined to living under the stairs in a broom closet while Dudley had two bedrooms, forced to cook and clean, and remain out of site when company came, and having a frying pan swung at his head, it’s no wonder Harry’s social skills are lacking, and his issues with anger are quite unresolved come his time at Hogwarts.
8. The Torture Of Charity Burbage
A Professor of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts, Charity Burbage, a believer that muggles, and wizards and witches were not so different from one another, penned an article in the Daily Prophet about this very idea, and notions that cross-breeding should be accepted and celebrated. It was this article that would lead to her capture by Voldemort’s Death Eaters. An official notice going out over the Summer break stating that she had resigned, might have made her friends suspicious, but it sufficed, and she was magically hoisted, writhing in pain, above a banquet table in Malfoy Manor, during a Death Eater meeting. Accusing the muggle-lover of polluting the minds of her students, Voldemort mocked her in front of his assembly. Realizing that Severus Snape was a part of the meeting, Burbage pleaded with him for help, but being a double agent and overpowered in any case, Snape sat back and watched as Voldemort murdered her… “Avada Kedavra! Nagini, dinner.”
7. How Sirius Treated His Elf, Kreacher
House Elf of the Black family, and once-upon-a-time pawn of Voledmort, Kreacher was undying in his loyalty to his masters. Though Regulus Black had deceived Voldemort, with Kreacher as witness and accomplice, Kreacher still held true to pure-blood ideals, and would only respond to pure-blood witches and wizards. When he came to serve Sirius, he had great disdain for the wizard who was looked upon as a blood traitor. His prejudice perhaps disgusting, Kreacher was given no reason to change his mind given the constant ill-treatment by Sirius, constantly berating the crochety house elf, showing him nothing but disdain and insult. One might not think this too evil, but for someone who has principle enough to say “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”, one might expect more from Sirius Black, than his abusive treatment of a defenseless elf. Such treatment quite likely led Sirius to his death.
6. James Potter Treating Snape Like Mud
Who would’ve thought that the poster boy for all that is right and good in the wizarding world, father to the prophesied Harry Potter, would have turned out to be an incredibly insensitive, ill-minded, dick? Besides his little hobby of hexing innocent students for no reason other than he simply could (using hexes that Snape had himself made), he loved nothing more than to terrorize Severus Snape (Alan Rickman). James, needing the adulation of everyone, quickly learned to despise Severus for his lack of being impressed. Snape, magically, in no way felt inferior and cared very little about paying homage to a star jock, while he spent his time learning more about the magical world. Using Snape’s own magic against him, James tormented Severus for his love of Lily Evans, and his lack of love for James, and though Snape did not fight back, he despised James and was heartbroken over losing Lily. In spite of all that happened to him at the hands of the villainous James Potter, Snape never lost his love for Lily, and spent the rest of his life fighting to avenge her death.
5. Bagshot’s Snake-Filled Corpse
Bathilda Bagshot, author of A History of Magic, and good friend of one Albus Dumbledore, lived to be well over one hundred years old, having been born at some unknown date in the early to mid nineteenth century. Given the enormous amount of time allotted her she befriended not only Albus Dumbledore, but also a young Lily Potter. A great writer of history, but unfortunately not a wonderful writer of the future, surely Bagshot would have shied away from both individuals had she known what was to come of them, and her.
Reaching well into senility come 1997, Bagshot was murdered by dark magic and re-animated by Voldemort to contain his serpent pet Nagini as a trap for Harry Potter. True to form, Harry and Hermione went to visit Godric’s Hollow where the old woman lived, where Potter’s parents were buried, and perhaps too where the Gryffindor sword might be found and, having been invited into the old, now long-deceased woman’s home, were set upon by Nagini, erupting from Bagshot’s body and ready for attack. They escaped, of course, but how much trauma can teens take these days?
4. The Terrible Punishments Handed Out By Alecto And Amycus
This death-eating, brother and sister pair were teachers for a time at Hogwarts and, having received his own scars at their hands, Neville Longbottom said they made Professor Umbridge (owner of the black quill) “look tame”. In charge of discipline as one of the deputy heads, Alecto, with aid from her brother, Amycus, charged the Hogwarts staff to report any and all rule-breaking to them so that they might deal out punishments by way of binding students with chains, slashing them with knives, and through use of the infamous, and unforgivable Cruciatus Curse.
Amycus, given position of Professor for the Defence Against the Dark Arts class, changed instruction and title to make it simply Dark Arts class, where he would have his 7th year practising the Cruciatus Curse on those who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in detention, and he also covered the Killing Curse, and the scorching and often uncontrollable Fiendfyre spell in his syllabus… imagine how that played out. Hogwarts, a place of learning and white wizardry, turned torturous and deadly.
3. Draco The Death Eater
After Lucius Malfoy had been imprisoned, his son, Draco, joined the Death Eaters, and while at first he bragged to his Slytherin mates about his work, he would soon come to regret his choice and deeply fear his master. Unbeknownst to Draco, Voldemort gave him the task of killing Dumbledore, knowing full well that he would fail. Apart from intensified violence against Harry, Draco opened a passageway for Death Eaters to enter the school through a Vanishing Cabinet, and not long before that attempted to assassinate Dumbledore by way of a cursed necklace and poison mead. Though both attempts failed, they resulted in serious injury. Wearing himself thin through stress and dark works, Malfoy became more sunken and skulking, but still he persisted in aiding Voldemort, likely for the pride of his family. Though he changed his allegiance at the last moment, Draco turned out to be surprisingly evil through his tortured time as a Death Eater.
2. Fenrir Greyback’s Injurious Insult
An incredibly vicious lycanthrope, Fenrir Greyback sought to lead his band of werewolves across the realm to infect as many people with the shape-changing disease as possible. Allied with the Death Eaters by way of reaching a greater victim base, though looked down upon by Voldemort for his Lycanthropy, Greyback aided the dark lord in intimidating his enemies, and sometimes attacking their children— Greyback’s personally preferred way of turning humans was to raise them young as werewolves to more easily turn them against the establishment. Brought in for questioning, posing as a muggle tramp, the Ministry had no proof of Fenrir being a werewolf, and in spite of the condemnation of Lyall Lupin, calling werewolves “soulless, evil, [and] deserving of nothing but death”, Greyback was released, and managed to escape having his memory erased by the Ministry. To get back at Lyall for his denouncement, Greyback snuck into little Remus Lupin’s room and attacked. Though Fenrir was chased off, Remus Lupin, only five years old, was changed forever.
1. The Whomping Willow
Whomping willows are a special species of magical tree that will attack anything and everything in its presence, devoid of affiliation or alliance. The Hogwarts whomping willow was planted in the early 1970s to cover a passage Remus Lupin used to reach the shrieking shack to transform into a werewolf in peace. Understandable though this is, the willow has been accountable for quite a bit of property damage, as well as attempted murder. Destroying the Weasley flying Ford Anglia, nearly killing Harry and Ron, and obliterating Harry’s Nimbus 2000 broom are just a few instances in which this vicious and violent tree has proven its namesake. The question that should be asked is who is committing the more evil act here: the gigantic tree that has no care what it is whomping, or the administrator who allows this raging tree to stand on school grounds?