J.K. Rowling, the billionaire writer of the Harry Potter series, planned every book meticulously. From dates to family trees, backstories of characters and objects, it’s clear she knows absolutely everything about the world she created. When filming ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ - the fifth instalment in the movie series - director David Yates needed to know every name on the Black Family Tree. He called Ms. Rowling. Five minutes later, a fax came through – a detailed and comprehensive Black Family Tree. Like we said, she knows everything.
As is the nature of books and movies, however, not all of the background details can be contained in the story itself. Storylines can’t fully elaborate on every aspect of the world, characters can’t be completely explored. Rowling, however, knowing everything there is to know, has created other sources to get this information across to fans. With two charity books and a website, she’s slowly releasing all the material she has. One of the rarest pieces of information to gather from the Harry Potter world – or, as it’s properly known, the Wizarding World – is money.
The money in the Wizarding World is different from our own and is controlled by the Goblins - in the books, we're first introduced to wizarding finances at the London headquarters of Gringotts bank. The currency, in declining order, is made up of Galleons, Sickles and Knuts - and, as in the real world, each Witch and Wizard has their own complex relationship to this money. Rowling clearly says, for example, that the Weasleys are poor. We know He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was an impoverished orphan, and that the wizarding side of his family was anciently wealthy but had declined into poverty. In addition, it’s evident – through mentions of peacocks, robes and even their own vault – that the Malfoys are rich. With status, wealth and 'old money' families such a significant feature in the novels, many Potter fans can't help but wonder which wizard has the most gargantuan Gringotts vault?
Though the information is sparse, it is visible - and the huge base of Potter fanatics have scoured the books for giveaway hints on the wealth of the books' characters. Small mentions spotted by eagle-eyed fans throughout the series – books, movies and other sources – as well as information collated by Forbes have allowed this list to be possible. We've converted the wizarding currency to muggle currency through a dedicated online convertor, too, and rounded off the amounts to the nearest galleon - and in dollars, to the nearest 100,000. Here, we've collated the estimated net worths of five of the richest Harry Potter characters – at least, those of whom we know a lot about and of whom we can therefore estimate the wealth. Who's the richest wizard in the world? Intrigued? You should be.
5 Sirius Black $1.6 million (199513 Galleons)
The Black family is noted as being one of the richest families within the Harry Potter universe. Although Sirius had a tempestuous relationship with this notoriously dark wizarding family, he received their estate, including Number 12 Grimmauld Place, which made him rich. Before this, Sirius would likely have led a relatively very poor life - estranged, as he was, from the Blacks. By the time he died, however, he was wealthy. So much so that he left his fortune to Harry Potter, bumping Harry up on our Wizarding Rich List list.
The wealth of the Black family is shown through the house they keep, their relatives and the fact that they have house elves - the marker of a wealthy family. And Sirius, having spent a large portion of his life in Azkaban prison, wouldn't have been able to touch any of his family's money for years. Upon his return, however, he had a townhouse situated in London: Real estate like this alone would have made him wealthy, and combined with his inheritances that's some serious wealth. He demonstrates his wealth and generosity a few times in the novels; by buying Harry the most expensive broom on the market - the Firebolt - in the 3rd Harry Potter novel, and by letting the Order of the Phoenix use his house as their top secret base.
4 Gilderoy Lockhart $2 million (243309)
Gilderoy Lockhart, the bestselling author of twelve books, was a wizarding world celebrity. His non-fiction novels recounting his (alleged!) adventures sold rapidly and resulted in his employment as Professor of Defense Against The Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Due to his novels and his established wage from the school he's comfortably well-off. Throughout the 'Harry Potter' books there are mentions of his extravagant clothes, and hints that he collects beautiful artifacts.
In addition to this, he won many prestigious awards such as the Order of Merlin (which is notably known to also have been awarded to the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore) and became an Honorary Member of the Dark Forces Defense League. He stands as number four on our list due to the fact that his wealth came from independent work while the richer characters on our list come from old money. Lockhart's status and his work, though, make him a steady earner: He continued to write even after his incarceration at St Mungo's when he lost his mind. His last novel, 'Who Am I?', would have been read by many of his fans, bringing him more royalties.
3 Harry Potter $2.6 million (319995 Galleons)
For a boy who's only twelve when he comes into his fortune, this is quite a substantial amount of money. This figure was pulled from the Gringotts Bank Online and through information gleaned from Harry's money being discussed within the books. It's told at the very beginning that James Potter (Harry's father) was born into a wealthy family and left the majority of that money to Harry. When Harry leaves Privet Drive and obtains money from his vault with Hagrid, it's mentioned that he has enough to last through his Hogwarts years and have a lot left over afterwards. When he has to buy equipment for school he does so easily, and doesn't skimp on the luxuries. When Ron wants to buy sweets from the trolley, Harry buys the it all for him. Harry doesn't flash his cash regularly, but it's clear he's wealthy.
Harry goes on to become an Auror, one of the most prestigious jobs in the wizarding world, so it stands to reason that in his later life Harry was rich. In addition, Harry won the Triwizard Tournament in 'Goblet of Fire'. The winner of the Tournament received 1000 Galleons. Harry gave that money to Fred and George Weasley so they could start their own shop. This money wasn't needed by Harry because he had enough of his own. Although Harry is generous, he's not stupid and would have known to keep some of it if he needed to. Harry is number three on our list because of the inheritance he gained from his godfather, Sirius Black. Merging that money with his father's would make him a rich man indeed.
2 Lucius Malfoy $1.6 billion (321285145 Galleons)
In the opening of the final book 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows', the Malfoy mansion hosts the Death Eaters meeting, chaired by Lord Voldemort. When Yaxley and Snape approach the Manson, Yaxley snarls and notes that there are peacocks on the grounds. He murmurs - with an edge of jealousy - that Lucius Malfoy always "did well." This is not the only justification for Lucius Malfoy to be number 2 on our list of rich characters in this world. The three other reasons are that Malfoy is said to be very "high up" in the Ministry of Magic, working very closely with the Minister himself.
The next is that the Malfoy family - a rich family already - married into the Black/Lestrange family, merging old-money fortunes and making the family - and Lucius- incredibly rich. Our final source for this estimate is Forbes; their researches created a list of the richest fictional characters in the world, and estimated Lucius to be worth $1.6 billion. Having a spoilt son such as Draco Malfoy would naturally put a kink in the budget, though, thus Lucius falls as number two on our list.
1 Bellatrix Lestrange $2.1 billion (421686753 Galleons)
Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius's sister-in-law, however, is a different kettle of fish. Although within the same family as Sirius Black, Bellatrix's lifestyle makes it evident that she's very rich. She, unlike Lucius, has no children so her money has stayed her own. We guess she's too engrossed in her work for the Dark Lord to consider frivolities like extravagant shopping sprees.
Much like Sirius, her cousin, she spent a large portion of her life in Azkaban prison so her fortune stayed intact whilst she was away. Harry, Ron and Hermione visit Bellatrix's vault in Gringotts towards the end of the series, and it's described as being "crammed from floor to ceiling with golden coins and goblets." Her vault is under high security not just because the Dark Lord is hiding a horcrux inside - but because of the enormous fortune.