With the opening next week of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (advance review: it's a beauty — fierce, funny and haunting), my thoughts turn to the other characters in the movies (and books) besides Harry. The different posters for the movie (see below) show the mix of characters. There's only one more of J.K. Rowling's 7 HP books to film — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So this is a good time to pick the most valuable player in the Potter barn besides its leading man. Here are my four fave contenders for MVP. Feel free to pick yours.
Ron Weasley. As played with open-faced exuberance by Rupert Grint, the ginger-haired Ron is Harry's best friend and true confidant. He's not as expert in wizardry or Quidditch as Harry, which causes some resentment and makes Ron raucous comic relief. The love potion he takes in Half-Blood Prince brings Ron's immature likability to the fore.
Hermione Granger. As played with fragility and a tough core by Emma Watson, the uber-smart, Muggle-born Hermione is the character author Rowling based partly on her own awkward youth. There are still some who wish Hermione would hook up with Harry. But it's Ron who has Hermione's heart and in the final chapter — spoiler alert — they kiss and then some.
Draco Malfoy. As played by Tom Felton (at his best in Half-Blood Prince), Draco is the bully with the white-blond hair, the symbol of intolerance who thinks wannabe wizards born of Muggles don't deserve a shot at a magical education. Watch the way Felton deftly layers the role with vulnerability as the series continues.
Severus Snape. As played by Alan Rickman who turns a sneer into an acting tour de force, Potions prof Severus comes into his own as the Potter franchise reaches its climax. J.K. Rowling called Severus her favorite character to write and personally chose Rickman for the role. Watching the British actor develop the role is one of the true pleasures of the series.