All The Major Harry Potter Deaths, Ranked In Order Of How Deeply They Traumatized Us

Thanks for all the therapy bills, J.K.
PHOTO: Harry Potter/Warner Bros.

8. Dobby

This is going to be sacrilege for some fans, but Dobby's death was the least emotionally crushing of all the many, many losses in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Everybody's favorite house elf had developed a lot since he was first introduced, thanks to Harry freeing him and Dumbledore giving him a sweet gig at Hogwarts, and his undying loyalty to Harry was touchingbut he was still kind of a one-note character.

7. Cedric Diggory

Speaking of one-note characters, we know what you're thinkingIf that's your criteria, how can Cedric outrank Dobby? But Cedric's death is different, because it's basically the moment the Potter series grows up, and it comes out of nowhere. The Triwizard Tournament is in full thrilling swing, Harry's overcome a series of insane challenges and ends up in a draw with his Hufflepuff opponent Cedric, both of them claiming the cup together in a glorious moment of victory. And then… "Kill the spare." It's one of JK Rowling's best pieces of writing ever, pulling a horrifying bait-and-switch as the triumph pivots into horror.

Continue reading below ↓

6. Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore is amazing. He's wise, he's witty, he's the embodiment of everything that's comforting in an increasingly scary wizarding world. He's also… kind of the worst? He withholds so much crucial information from Harry, and shrouds himself in so much unnecessary mystery that by the time he dies, you're kind of weirdly okay with itbut maybe because at this point JK Rowling has conditioned you to expect death at the end of every book. What elevates Dumbledore's death is the shock factor of Snape being the one to do it, and the mystery of "Severus, please"it's more eye-opener than a tear-jerker.

5. Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks

Just. So. Cruel. The understated romance between Lupin and Tonks was one of the latter books' few glimmers of hopeand just to twist the knife, Rowling waited until they were married with a newborn son before killing them off. Sure, Teddy being orphaned as a baby is a neat parallel to Harry's origin story, but that doesn't make it any less soul-destroying. Rowling has admitted that "the only time [her] editor ever saw [her] cry was over the fate of Teddy."

Continue reading below ↓

4. Sirius Black

The death of Harry's godfather is heartbreaking in every way, except in the actual moment it happens. One minute he's there, the next he's… gone, behind a veil, in what might be the most anticlimactic death scene ever put to page. But the impact it has on Harry, and on the Potter series overall, is devastating—having just got Sirius back only to lose him again, Harry becomes a much more openly angry, bitter character. (You can tell by the way he speaks in CAPS LOCK for about half of the following book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.) We're gonna need that Marauders prequel ASAP.

3. Severus Snape

Does anybody have straightforward feelings about Snape? He was so terrible to so many students, and his irrational hatred for Harry makes him basically no better then the Dursleys (who also held a grudge against him because of his parents). On the other hand, he was working behind the scenes to keep Harry safe from day one, he gave up everything for the greater good, and his role as a double agent against Voldemort totally earns Harry's description: "the bravest man I've ever known". Snape's death is also tied up with the reveal about his love for Lily Potterwhich is revealed as Harry gets access to all Snape's hidden memoriesand so altogether it's just a heartbreaker.

Continue reading below ↓

2. Hedwig

Seriously. Is it wrong that the loss of Harry's lovely, beautiful snowy owl was so much more traumatic than almost any of the human carnage from Deathly Hallows? It's horribly abrupt, coming near the beginning of the book as Harry and Hagrid are fleeing Death Eaters on broomsticks, and according to Rowling "represented a loss of innocence and securityshe's been almost like a cuddly toy to Harry at times. Voldemort killing her marked the end of childhood." Which is probably why this ranks so high.

1. Fred Weasley

Of all the people who could have died during the Battle of Hogwarts, did it have to be the one with an identical twin? Losing any of the Weasleys would have been pretty traumatic, since they always represented comfort and home for Harry, but Fred and George's particular role as comic relief meant that they were clearly doomed. Fred's demise is a gut punch in itself, but becomes even more devastating when you think about the impact it'll have on George. Damn it, Rowling.

Continue reading below ↓

This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors. 

Recommended Videos
Sorry, no results were found for