10 Of The Most Underrated Parts of Harry Potter
It's hard to argue that Harry Potter is underrated. I mean, make no mistake, I think that it entirely deserves all the praise that it gets, because I'm a rabid Potterhead and proud of it. But are there really any parts of the Harry Potter universe that are widely underrated?
I would argue, yes. First of all, there's a seemingly endless list of plot points and characters and lines and house elves that never made it into the movies. There are people out there who think they know the Harry Potter story, and yet they have no idea that Nearly Headless Nick had a deathday party in book two. That's no way to live. (I'm not even going to touch the cinematic interpretation of that line when Dumbledore asks Harry if he put his name in the goblet of fire).
But all book-verus-movie debates aside, there are so many lovely little gems in the books that don't get enough love. Like Winky the house elf's addiction to butterbeer. Or all those S.P.E.W. badges. Or literally anything that Neville ever does. I, for one, would have happily traded a couple of death scenes for a whole chapter devoted to describing all the sweets in Honeyduke's.
So if you need a reminder that the Wizarding World is the most magical place in all of literature, here are some of the most underrated parts of the Harry Potter books:
1. Parvati and Lavender's Friendship
Sometimes we forget that Harry and Co. weren't the only group of friends on the Hogwarts campus. Hermione, Ginny, and Luna are all wonderful characters, but none of them really seemed to have a female BFF. Enter Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown. Were they giggly, gossipy girls who put way too much stock in divination and acted catty toward Hermione on occasion? Yes, of course. But they were also one of the few female friend duos in the books, and they're just so unabashedly girly and romantic that you have to love them (even if you wouldn't want to be roommates with them... sorry, Hermione). I mean, tell me you wouldn't want to hang out and pet unicorns with these two, while they tell you all the hot Hogwarts gossip.
2. Harry Eats Ice Cream in Diagon Alley
Remember when Harry blew up his aunt Marge? And then ran away because he thought he'd be arrested? Poor baby Harry. Of course, he doesn't get arrested: He gets to stay in Diagon Alley for the remaining three weeks before the school year starts, and he eat lots of free sundaes at Florean Fortescue's ice cream parlour. Maybe it was reading this book as a kid, and wanting some of that independence so badly, but those weeks in Diagon Alley are just such a lovely respite from Harry's usual summers with the Dursleys. Why couldn't those seven books just be about Harry and his friends eating ice cream and doing magic with no complications?
3. Lee Jordan's Commentary
Where is our companion series focusing on the Weasley twins and their friend group? I mean, I know that the books are about Harry and his friends or whatever, but Fred, George, Lee, Angelina and that whole crew just seemed like a whole lot of fun. The Quidditch scenes were always a treat, and the whole Lee versus McGonagall dynamic made them all the better. And then the fact that Lee grows up to host the Potterwatch radio show? It's all too perfect. I'm sorry, I think I have something in my eye...
4. Hermione Schools Rita Skeeter
We already know that Hermione is a stone cold badass. But the fact that the little girl who thought that getting expelled would be worse than death grew up to blackmail Rita Skeeter more than once? I don't think Hermione gets enough credit for recruiting Rita to write the truth about Voldemort's return. I mean, Hermione repeatedly saves the day, but she still deserves a shout out for wrangling the most notoriously shady journalist in all the wizarding world.
5. Dudley Leaves Tea Outside Harry’s Door
Dudley's not exactly a fan favorite, and for good reason. He's not especially pleasant to Harry (or anyone)... ever. But, he is the only one of the Dursleys who shows affection for Harry in the end — he leaves a cup of tea outside of Harry's bedroom door. Harry steps on it, thinking it's a prank but... still. It's a small gesture, but Dudley is the only one to bid Harry farewell before the Dursleys are sent into hiding. Look, all I'm saying is that if people can see Snape as a hero for having a creepy crush on Harry's mom for years and years, we can at least give Dudley his proper due for treating Harry like a human being at the last possible moment.
6. Molly Weasley’s Hug
Mrs. Weasley set the potion down on the bedside cabinet, bent down, and put her arms around Harry. He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother. The full weight of everything he had seen that night seemed to fall in upon him as Mrs. Weasley held him to her.
I'm not crying, you're crying.
7. The Rotfang Conspiracy
The Rotfang Conspiracy is how the aurors are going to bring down the Ministry of Magic from within, using a combination of Dark Magic and gum disease. Well, according to Luna Lovegood, anyway. So maybe the Rotfang Conspiracy alone isn't one of the most underrated parts of the series, but Luna and Harry's strange and mildly uncomfortable friendship most certainly is. It's at the Slug Club holiday party that Luna tries to explain the Rotfang Conspiracy to Harry, Slughorn, Trelawney, and Snape, and Harry laughs so hard that meade comes out of his nose. Harry and Luna's friendship is the cutest.
8. Dean Thomas Is Good At Art
Dean Thomas makes it onto most lists of underrated Harry Potter characters, and with good reason. I mean, his ex starts dating Harry Potter almost immediately, and he doesn't hold a grudge. That's definitely more mature than I was at 17. But the most underrated aspect of Dean Thomas is that he's a very talented artist, specializing in drawing the Gryffindor lion. We oh-so-rarely get to hear about the Hogwarts kids' non-magical skills or interests, so it's good to remember every once in a while that some of the muggle-born students are repping their muggle-born heritage.
9. Ron's Character Development
Every one of the main characters grows and changes throughout the book — but Ron might have had the furthest to go. Having been raised by muggles, Hermione and Harry don't have quite so many built-in wizarding prejudices (although let's be real, Harry hates the Slytherins just a bit more than necessary). But Ron was raised by a pure-blood family (and Baby Ron had the emotional range of a teaspoon), and he proves that bigoted opinions can be changed. He doesn't see the problem with house elves being enslaved at first, he's totally freaked out that Lupin's a werewolf, and he's kind of disturbed by the fact that Hagrid's a half-giant. But he overcomes all of his prejudices throughout the books, and by the end he's even worried about saving house-elves (at which point, Hermione deems him evolved enough to finally kiss). Awww, Ron.
10. Harry Is Sassy
Harry. is. so. sassy. And it's so underrated. Harry "there's no need to call me 'sir,' Professor" Potter has so many snappy comebacks in the books, I don't know where he's getting them. Like all the times he just told off Umbridge to her face? Or when Snape is one his case, so he's all, “Clearly Hermione knows, it seems a pity not to ask her.” Or how he's always just like, “Fine, I’ll stay here. Let me know if you ever defeat Voldemort, will you?” That kid is out of control with the sarcastic attitude, and sass of his level deserves more recognition. What a gift.
Images: Warner Bros., Giphy (11)