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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Yes, it really has been two decades since J.K. Rowling’s words came to life on the big screen; on November 14, 2001, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released. Although the books were already popular before this, the movies helped spark the phenomenon and household name that is Harry Potter. To celebrate, let’s reflect back and discuss the top 10 most powerful witches who, no doubt, were the backbone and heart of the series. 

Hermione Granger

The reasons why Hermione Jean Granger is one of the best witches of her age go on and on. Some of these include the fact that she was the only witch in the Golden Trio, top of her class, received 11 OWL’s, founded Dumbledore’s Army, was able to get through the Devil’s Snare and potions riddle in the Underground Chambers guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone at the mere age of 12, knew “Hogwarts: A History” inside and out, and used a time-turner when she was 14 to take extra classes. Although everyone always wonders why she isn’t a Ravenclaw due to her intelligence and quick thinking, her bravery and determination are eminent. She has faced some very scary things with Harry and Ron, yet she has come out on the other end. For instance, she joined them on their quest to find the Horcruxes, even though she knew how dangerous it was going to be. Moreover, she even started a campaign, the Societal Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW) in order to help free house-elves; although opinions about this were controversial, she did everything she could to try and give elves independence. Her emotional intelligence was high as well, as she was able to empathize with people very easily, and tried to make the world around her as fair and kind as possible, hence SPEW. It’s only natural that she helped reform the Ministry of Magic, starting out as an advocate for releasing house-elves from enslavement, then getting rid of laws that showed signs of pureblood supremacy, and eventually becoming the Minister of Magic!

Minerva McGonagall

Our favorite Transfiguration Professor and head of Gryffindor House, Minerva McGonagall, had to be included in the top two. Before she became a professor, she was actually a famous and talented quidditch star, but unfortunately suffered injuries during her last game. On top of this, she was a prefect, Head Girl, top of her class, winner of the Transfiguration Today Most Promising Newcomer Award, and a registered Animagus all before graduating from Hogwarts. She fought in both Wizarding Wars and joined the Order of the Phoenix in the latter. McGonagall was seen as a strict teacher, with a “take no prisoners” persona; however, she has always done everything she can to protect her students. She led the evacuation of students during the Battle of Hogwarts, encouraged Harry to lie low when around Dolores Umbridge (ew!), and protected Harry in The Deathly Hallows when Snape threatens to attack him. This courage and strength lead to her well-deserved appointment as Headmistress of Hogwarts after the war. 

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Bellatrix Lestrange

I know what you’re thinking. “Tamar, Bellatrix is a crazy and evil witch, and a Death Eater! Why is she on this list?” Now, you’re not wrong. However, she was a truly ambitious, cunning Slytherin who had incredible raw power. She was able to kill Sirius Black and Nymphadora Tonks and was even Voldemort’s top lieutenant. She was personally trained in the Dark Arts by the Dark Lord and was even able to kill Dobby by perfectly aiming a knife through the spot in which he disapparated in Malfoy Manor. She was able to deflect a spell from the Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore himself in The Battle of the Department of Mysteries in the fifth book. Who else but a powerful witch could also be the last Death Eater standing in the Battle of Hogwarts? Clearly, Miss Lestrange has some nasty morals, to say the least. However, she deserves to hold a top three spot on this list;  there is no doubting she was powerful.

Molly Weasley

Of course, I had to put our favorite mother in this lineup. Not only did she defeat the infamous Bellatrix Lestrange, but she also raised seven kids, including Fred and George — clearly, she is quite a capable person, inside and out. She was also the prominent mother figure in Harry’s life and said he’s “as good as” her son in The Order of the Phoenix. Later in this book, her boggart (one’s biggest fear) was revealed to be her immediate family and Harry dying right in front of her, showing just how close and loving she is with him. Her loyalty and protectiveness not only made her one of the best Gryffindor alumni,but also a very powerful witch, as her main source of power is her love for her friends and family. 

Nymphadora Tonks

A fan-favorite character, Nymphadora Tonks is the lovable Metamorphmagus (able to transform appearance at will) with a knack for knocking stuff over. Born to muggle-born Ted Tonks and pure-blood Andromeda Tonks (née Black), she is an Auror at the Ministry of Magic and the favorite protégée of the one and only “Mad-Eye” Moody. She was actually the youngest official member of the second Order of the Phoenix and is one of the most notable Hufflepuffs we see in the books and movies. She helped protect Harry in The Battle of the Department of Mysteries, as well as The Battle of the Seven Potters. Throughout the last three books, she shows just how passionate and loving she is to those around her, with her publicly declaring her love for Remus Lupin, and reassuring him that he is the one that she wants, no matter what his class status or age is. Additionally, her bravery is also seen through her membership and loyalty in The Order of the Phoenix and her decision to come and fight in the Battle of Hogwarts mere weeks after having her child to ensure Remus’ safety and the safety of Hogwarts. Tonks is definitely an underrated character who fought for the safety of the Wizarding World until the day she died at the hands of her own aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange. Rest in Peace, Tonks.

Ginny Weasley

Another obvious choice, Ginny Weasley was one of the best witches in the series, as well as being the youngest (and most powerful!) Weasley kid. She made her debut in The Sorcerer’s Stone, where she began to develop a crush on the titular character himself. This obvious crush lasted for her first four years at Hogwarts as well, and in the fifth book, she moves on and starts to develop into her own. She transitions from a shy, quiet girl in love with The Boy Who Lived to a beautiful, confident, and good-natured witch. Harry takes note of this change and comes to slowly realize he is in love with his best friend’s younger sister. Throughout her journey, she survives her first year at Hogwarts while being under the influence of Tom Riddle’s Diary in The Chamber of Secrets, receives an invite to the Slug Club for her skill at bat-bogey hexes, and becomes a quidditch star, to the surprise of her brothers. Hermione even noted that she used to steal her brothers’ old broomsticks since she was six and practice on them. With all of this in mind, there’s no surprise that book Ginny is one of the most loved characters in the series.

Lily Potter

I couldn’t make this list without including the woman who started it all: Lily Potter. Lily’s death is the foundation of the whole series, beginning Harry Potter’s journey as an orphan wizard, and ending it as the protection she gave Harry the night she died that ultimately saved him from Voldemort’s death spell in The Deathly Hallows. We don’t receive much information about Lily’s backstory in the books, apart from Snape’s flashbacks in The Deathly Hallows and little anecdotes from Remus or Sirius, but she was sorted into Gryffindor her first year and eventually became a prefect and Head Girl. Lily was also top of her class, thereby receiving an invite to be a part of the Slug Club. Eventually, she fell in love with and married James Potter and became friends with the marauders, joining the Order of the Phoenix with them at the mere age of 19. Until her death, she was described as kind, loyal, and clearly brave enough to die for her child, making her a true Gryffindor through and through.

Luna Lovegood

Ah yes, everyone’s favorite Crumple-Horned Snorkack enthusiast: Miss Luna Lovegood. When introduced in The Order of the Phoenix, she comes off as quite… unusual. However, throughout this book, she proves to be someone Harry can relate to and depend on. Luna and Harry were two out of the three people that could see thestrals, and Luna believed Harry’s claim that Voldemort was back. She was a key member of Dumbledore’s Army, and was brave enough to attempt to steal the sword of Gryffindor with Ginny and Neville. All in all, she brought an unconditional kindness and faith that was somewhat lacking in the series and challenged everyone around her to think more openly. After the second Wizarding War, she even goes on to do what she loves by being a Magizoologist, discovering many new and eccentric creatures.

Fleur Delacour

Fleur Delacour is, in my humble opinion, one of the most underrated witches in the series. She is a popular French witch from the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. She is introduced in The Goblet of Fire when she is chosen as her school’s Triwizard Tournament Champion. She was not liked by many of the girls there, as she was part-veela; veelas have the ability to attract men with their beauty, which clearly had an enamoring effect on the boys and quite the opposite on the girls. This attraction made her seem naive and “so full of herself,” according to Hermione. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Fleur values her family over everything, as seen when she is immensely concerned for her sister’s safety during the second Triwizard Tournament task. Eventually, Harry rescues her sister, and it’s clear she is very grateful to him. Additionally, Hermione isn’t the only one who misjudged her. Ginny and Molly Weasley did not think that her and Bill’s relationship would last and were quite condescending to her. After Bill is bitten by a werewolf, they assume Fleur is going to leave him, but she is taken aback and fiercely states that the scars mean nothing to her; in fact, they only prove how brave her future husband is. After this point, the Weasleys accept her into their family. She was even in the second Order of the Phoenix and was skilled in nonverbal magic and charms. Never underestimate a pretty face.

Narcissa Malfoy

Narcissa Malfoy is quite a controversial character. On one hand, she believed in “pure-blood supremacy” and was allied with the Death Eaters. However, it is revealed in The Deathly Hallows that she isn’t quite as evil as she appears. Although she supports her husband’s endeavors as a Death Eater, her first and foremost priority is neither the Death Eaters nor her husband; it’s her son Draco. In The Deathly Hallows, she is assigned to see if Harry is still alive after Voldemort hits him with the death curse. She asks him if Draco is alive, and when Harry tells her yes, she lies to Voldemort and says that Harry is dead. She knows that this is the only way she will be able to go back into the castle and make sure Draco is protected. She knowingly risks the war just to make sure her son is ok. Her protectiveness of her son is also foreshadowed in the Half-Blood Prince twice, first when she begs Snape to protect Draco at all costs, and then in Diagon Alley when a heated conversation between Harry and Draco arises, and Narcissa sharply tells Harry to never threaten her son. Yes, she is quite a gray character; however, there is no doubt her love for her son saved Harry Potter in the end, once again reiterating the recurring theme throughout the books: a mother’s love is the most powerful source of magic.

I couldn’t leave without giving some honorable mentions: 

  • Andromeda Tonks, mother of Nymphadora and sister to Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy. Lost her husband, only child, and son-in-law in the second Wizarding War, and was strong enough to raise her grandson without them. She even left the House of Black in order to marry her true love, muggle-born Ted Tonks. Although she isn’t in the movies, she is proof that not all Slytherins are evil. I, a fellow Slytherin, can also confirm this fact.
  • Angelina Johnson, Fred Weasley’s girlfriend in their later Hogwarts years, and George Weasley’s wife after the second Wizarding War. She was a star quidditch player and eventual captain in Harry’s fifth year. She isn’t in the movies much but is described in the books as courageous, determined, and beautiful.

Basically, the Harry Potter series is a phenomenon full of complex and interesting characters, as well as a well-thought-out world of creatures and feats beyond our wildest imagination. If you couldn’t tell, all of these witches hold special places in my heart, and hopefully I have convinced you to go reread the books or rewatch the movies to celebrate the two decades since these movies touched millions. 

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Tamar is a sophomore at Boston University from Stamford, CT majoring in Economics and Mathematics, and minoring in Public Relations. She loves anything Harry Potter or Percy Jackson related, playing tennis, and listening to the Cheetah Girls soundtrack.
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