Shake it out

It’s International Women’s Day and I’ve just finished a week-long re-watch of all the Harry Potter films. Naturally this calls for a roundup of favourite female characters from the franchise. Well, five of them anyway.

Hermione Granger

We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled!

Obviously. She’s so fabulously uncompromising in who she is and what she believes in. Even if it puts her at odds with others, she’ll never give up on things she’s passionate about. Especially not just because it isn’t cool. And even though this can make her seem really uptight and contrary at times, once you get to know her you see that it doesn’t consume her. She has a good heart. She will break the rules if it means helping her friends, and she definitely has no problem breaking the rules if the rules are just plain wrong. I admire her for her convictions and her strength and her excellent effort in keeping those two idiot boys alive.

Luna Lovegood

I enjoyed the meetings, too. It was like having friends.

Like Hermione, she never compromises her beliefs but she’s somehow softer, more malleable. She is warm-hearted and open-minded. I think her boundless good spirit is really admirable, considering how mean people are to her. She is kind of the embodiment of turning the other cheek. And even though everyone thinks she’s a bit nuts because of all her superstitious/weird ideas, she’s clearly very clever. It’s her free-spirited conviction in thinking anything’s possible that helps Harry find the diadem. A quality she shares with her dad whose own faith in the improbable is what helps put Harry onto the Deathly Hallows. I think she’s the best of people. If everyone in the world could be a little more like Luna, we’d be happier.

Minerva McGonagall

Why is it, when something happens, it is always you three?

I just love McGonagall so much. She’s kind of terrifying and severe but she also has such a sharp wit and genuinely cares about her students, and the school. Her passion for the Gryffindor Quidditch team seems so at odds with her presentation but is perfectly in keeping with her obvious love of Hogwarts. She’s just a powerful witch as well, and I think she’s really aware of that and enjoys it. Like at the Battle of Hogwarts when she animates the statues to defend the school and giddily exclaims “I’ve always wanted to use that spell!” She’s so cool. She’s the teacher I think everyone wished they had.

Molly Weasley

Beds empty! No note! Car gone–could have crashed–out of my mind with worry–did you care?

It would be so easy to dismiss Molly as just a housewife or just a mother. But that implies that those things are somehow not valuable and not important. Au contraire! Molly is the heart and soul of the Weasley clan. Her welcoming nature meant that she basically adopted Harry (and Hermione) into her family too. There is nothing she won’t do for her loved ones and her occasional hysteria at their misbehaviours is just proof of that. She worries constantly because she loves them. She is the one that keeps them all strong. But don’t let her kind heart fool you, she’s totally bad-ass too. Just ask Bellatrix.

Narcissa Malfoy

If you attack my son again, I shall ensure that it is the last thing you ever do.

This is a bit of an odd choice but, on this last re-watch, I’ve really come to appreciate the nuance of the Malfoys. I think it’s pretty obvious that Lucius was a very traditional patriarch. I think he ran the household and made the decisions, and I think he’s quite emotionally distant as well – just going off his interactions with Draco in the books. Even though he’s very quick to kick up a stink whenever Draco comes running (My father will hear about this!), I don’t think he does it for Draco, as much as for the Malfoy name. Narcissa, on the other hand, loves her son. She’s devoted to him. Maybe he was all she had to pour her energy into while Lucius lorded about the place. She makes my list for her actions in The Deathly Hallows where she lies about Harry’s death. She only does this after she knows her son’s alive. She really does not give a single damn about good or evil, and this is the moment she packs it all in. She’s not a good person, but there is nothing she will not do for Draco. And I think that’s admirable. Plus in the film it’s only when she calls out to him that he crosses over to the dark side again to join his family. By this point Lucius has lost all his power in the family, Draco has no faith in him and Narcissa is obviously quite fed up with this nonsense. It’s such a satisfying scene in the film when she takes Draco’s hand and walks away. 110% done with your family-ruining antics, Voldemort.

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