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The Ten Best Characters in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I’

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I has opened, and mobs are shelling out big cash to see what amounts to a very long trailer for Part II (opening next July). But every Potter fan knows you can't get enough of seeing J.K. Rowling's creations on film. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron) and Emma Watson (Hermoine) hog most of the screen time as young wizards on the run. That leaves the movie's most fascinating characters fighting for attention. From my Muggle perspective, that's just not fair. Here is a tribute to the 10 characters who truly make us wild about Harry.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

1. Dobby the House Elf

The scene-stealing house elf, voiced by Tobby Jones, is a computer-generated creature to rank with the best of them — that means you, Golum. Dobby damn near steals the movie this time. Readers of J.K. Rowling's book — and the internet — will know why. But Dobby's big moment is Part I's emotional highpoint.

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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

2. Severus Snape

The great Alan Rickman, who appears in every Potter movie as the Hogwarts teacher with more secrets than a book of magic, makes a spectacular entrance in Part I. His robe and hair whips in the wind as he enters the lair of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), the Dark Lord. Then the movie has done with him. Stupid move.

 

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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

3. Draco Malfoy

With his white-blond Hitler Youth hair and hangups about pure-blood wizards, Draco is an ideal antagonist for Harry the hero. Tom Felton plays him with an indelible sneer, and something even better — the suggestion that something decent lies beneath his bully exterior. Felton just won MTV's Best Villain award for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. We all want more Draco. Yet Part I reduces him to a cameo. Boo!

 

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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

5. Lord Voldemort

Ralph Fiennes never seems to have enough time, especially in Part I, to dig deep into the roots of the Dark Lord's evil. But this classically-trained actor manages to reveal layers of character even with his nose digitally zapped off and a mouth stuffed with dialogue that would shame Jigsaw in the Saw series.

 

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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

6. Bellatrix LeStrange

Helena Bonham Carter doesn't get nearly enough time to shine as Bellatrix, the witch turned Death Eater. But Bonham Carter makes every moment count. She even outacts her flamboyant wig. Watch her become Voldemort so she can kill Harry. She practically licks her lips at the prospect. And what lips! More Bellatrix next time, please.

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6. Dolores Umbridge

This professor of dark magic is every teacher who terrorized us at school. Umbridge is portrayed by the amazing Imelda Staunton as Hannibal Lecter in sensible heels. J.K. Rowling herself insisted on bringing the character back because "it's just too much fun to torture her."

 

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8. Xenophilius Lovegood

The Welsh actor Rhys Ifans peers out from under long white hair to play Xeno, editor of The Quibbler and father of the kidnapped Luna. Ifans is expert at mad eccentricity. His big scene, set in Xeno's off-kilter nest of a house, cuts even deeper when we realize Xeno must betray Harry, Hermoine and Ron.

 

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9. Ginny Weasley

Ron's sister and Harry's intended is played by Bonnie Wright with so much strength and flair that when the funny, confident and outspoken young woman lays a kiss on Harry, saying it's "something to remember me by," we know it's something he won't forget.


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10. Ron Weasley

Of the three Potter heroes, ginger-haired Ron emerges in Part I as the most vulnerable and human. All praise then to Rupert Grint, who has grown so much into the part over the years. In the scene in which Ron imagines that he sees his beloved Hermoine in a nude embrace with Harry (they look like extras in a Black Eyed Peas video), Grint plays it for real and exposes Ron's jealous and breaking heart. He's the emotional core of the movie.

 

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