As every Harry Potter fan can attest, J.K. Rowling has created a magical world that practically leaps off the page. Long before they ever graced the silver screen, places like Hogwarts, Gringotts, the Burrow and Diagon Alley came alive with vibrant color and intricate detail in the hearts and minds of readers across the globe. Part of what makes this world so real is the tapestry of supporting characters that are woven into the larger story of Harry’s journey as a hero. These supporting characters don’t always play a big role in the progression of the story’s plot, but they do often help the central characters grow and develop, endearing not only those characters to readers, but the magical world itself as well.
A few of these supporting characters have slowly come into their own as they are featured more and more prominently with each new book. Two obvious examples are Draco Malfoy and Ginny Weasley. Draco has always been Harry’s schoolyard nemesis, but in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco’s own critically important story unfolds mostly behind the scenes until its climax in Chapter 27, “The Lightning-Struck Tower.” Likewise, Ginny’s importance in Harry’s story came to an all-time high in Half-Blood Prince when they began a romantic relationship. Even though Harry put that relationship on hold indefinitely, most fans still expect to see plenty of Ginny in the series’ final installment.
But what about the rest of Harry’s schoolmates? At the end of Half-Blood Prince, Harry tells Ron and Hermione, “I’m not coming back [to Hogwarts] even if it does reopen.” 1 Because Harry, Ron and Hermione will be busy tracking down Voldemort’s Horcruxes for a significant portion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it’s quite possible that we the readers will see very little of Harry’s peers. Even so, there are a number of students who may play a part in the final book. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry forms a secret student organization called Dumbledore’s Army. Meeting secretly to avoid the toady eyes of the nefarious Dolores Umbridge, Harry and the other D.A. members practiced their skills in Defense Against the Dark Arts. The formation of this group, and its adversarial group known as the Inquisitorial Squad, served to single out a number of Hogwarts students, some familiar and some brand new characters. This essay will attempt to shed some light on the outcome of the series by offering a fan’s perspective on the students, their prospective roles in Deathly Hallows, and how they may fit into the puzzle of Harry’s fight against Voldemort.
Graduated D.A. Members
Some members of Dumbledore’s Army won’t be returning to Hogwarts, not because they’ll be helping Harry locate Horcruxes, but because they’ve already graduated. Angelina Johnson, Lee Jordan, Alicia Spinnet and Fred and George Weasley all fall into this category. Some fans expect that these former D.A. members will be recruited into the Order of the Phoenix, the Weasleys in particular.
Cho Chang is another former D.A. member who has graduated from Hogwarts. Because Cho served as Harry’s romantic interest in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, some fans expect that she may not be mentioned more than just in passing since Harry’s affections have now turned to Ginny. However, other fans anticipate that Cho could be one of the Hogwarts graduates who are recruited into the Order of the Phoenix, citing Cho’s ability to conjure a corporeal Patronus as foreshadowing of her importance in the fight against Voldemort. Many fans also speculate that Cho may be one of the earlier casualties of war, noting that her death would undoubtedly take a great emotional toll on Harry.
Katie Bell also should have graduated from Hogwarts at the end of Half-Blood Prince. However, some fans wonder if she may have to repeat her last year due to how much she missed of it while recovering from the injuries she sustained from the cursed opal necklace. Given that the Slytherin Quidditch captain Marcus Flint seems to have repeated his last year as well, it’s possible that Katie could return to Hogwarts again. If so, she could serve as an older, more experienced leader for both her Housemates and D.A. members, in Harry’s absence.
A large portion of the D.A. members came from the other Hogwarts Houses. There were Ravenclaws such as Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil, and Hufflepuffs like Hannah Abbott, Susan Bones and Justin Finch-Fletchley. But there were also plenty of Gryffindors such as Lavender Brown, Colin and Dennis Creevey, Seamus Finnegan, Parvati Patil and Dean Thomas.
During the early stages of the Harry Potter series’ development, Jo had given Dean Thomas a rather elaborate back-story for a minor character. 2 This has led some fans to wonder whether or not he will feature in Deathly Hallows more prominently than he has in the past. In many of the previous books, Dean Thomas has been described as someone who has a talent for drawing and writing. Some fans speculate that his special skill may be put to good use in Deathly Hallows as well.
Another character with an interesting and somewhat hidden background is Susan Bones. In Order of the Phoenix, we learn that her uncle Edgar and his family were killed by a Death Eater. In Half-Blood Prince, former Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge tells the Muggle Prime Minister that Susan’s aunt Amelia, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, was murdered by Voldemort. The Bones family seems to be a major target for Voldemort and his followers.
Susan’s fellow Hufflepuff, Hannah Abbott, also suffered a devastating loss at the Death Eaters’ hands. Early on in Half-Blood Prince, Hannah is taken from a Herbology lesson and told that her mother was found dead. Hannah has not returned to Hogwarts, leading some to believe that she may not reappear in Deathly Hallows. However, in addition to being a D.A. member, Hannah also became a Hogwarts prefect just before her fifth year. This might indicate some innate leadership qualities and perseverance, despite her occasional outbursts that she is “too stupid.” 3
Last but not least (especially according to him), Ernie Macmillan is another Hufflepuff D.A. member. Ernie became a Hogwarts prefect at the same time as Hannah, and the two are very good friends. In the time leading up to the fifth years’ O.W.L. examinations, Ernie demonstrated both diligence and a slightly competitive attitude when he asked the others how many hours they had devoted to studying and compared their answers with his own exhausting study schedule. These qualities lead some fans to believe that Ernie Macmillan may become Head Boy in Deathly Hallows. Although Ernie, like Percy Weasley before him, may come across as a bit pompous at times, he made a very public statement of loyalty to both Harry and Dumbledore in Order of the Phoenix when he said, “I personally believe you one hundred percent. My family have always stood firm behind Dumbledore, and so do I.” 4 If Ernie does indeed become Head Boy, he could play an important part in rallying the Hogwarts students to Harry’s aid.
Much like Draco and Ginny, there are two characters that have become increasingly important to Harry, not only as comrades in the fight against Voldemort, but also as friends. While Harry, Ron and Hermione are often referred to as “the Trio,” these two characters (along with Ginny), are added to make a group that some fans call “the Sixpack.” This is only one of the distinctions that set them apart from the rest of Harry’s classmates.
Neville Longbottom has always been there, supporting Harry from the very beginning. Luna Lovegood was introduced in Order of the Phoenix, making a strong and not entirely favorable impression on Harry, although by the beginning of Half-Blood Prince, Harry definitely considered her to be his friend. Neville and Luna both played an important part in Order of the Phoenix, as they accompanied Harry to the Ministry of Magic in his misguided attempt to save his godfather, Sirius Black. Most fans expect that they will continue to play an important part in Harry’s life in Deathly Hallows as well.
As any Harry Potter fan can attest, Neville Longbottom does not fit the stereotype of a typical Gryffindor. While he has his moments, such as in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when he stood up to Harry, Ron and Hermione when they were trying to sneak out of Gryffindor Tower after curfew, he never really appeared to be much more than comic relief. Then in Goblet of Fire, Harry learns that the reason Neville is being raised by his grandmother is because his parents are patients in the wizarding hospital, St. Mungo’s. Dumbledore tells him that Frank and Alice Longbottom were tortured with the Cruciatus Curse until they went insane, and that they aren’t even able to recognize their own son. This marks the beginning of Neville’s real growth as a character.
In Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny see Frank’s and Alice’s conditions first-hand when they bump into Neville and his grandmother at St. Mungo’s. We are treated to a rare example of Neville’s courage when he “looked around at the others, his expression defiant, as though daring them to laugh,” 5 which might be directly related to his increasing confidence from the D.A. meetings. Neville displays amazing bravery during the battle against Death Eaters at the Ministry of Magic. Other than Harry, Neville is the only young person left standing.
Order of the Phoenix is also the point at which Harry learns that the prophecy that caused Voldemort to kill his parents and attempt to kill him could have applied to Neville as well, if Voldemort had chosen to go after the Longbottoms instead of the Potters. In the past, this has led some fans to believe that there is a chance that Neville could even be “the Chosen One,” rather than Harry. However, Jo debunked this theory when she wrote on her website that, “Well, [Neville’s relation to the prophecy] does not give him either hidden powers or a mysterious destiny. He remains a ‘normal’ wizarding boy, albeit one with a past, in its way, as tragic as Harry’s.” 6 Interestingly, Jo adds that, “It remains to be seen how he will feel if he ever finds out how close he came to being the Chosen One.” 7 This seems to indicate what many fans already anticipate; that Neville will discover his relation to the prophecy in Deathly Hallows.
Perhaps the most important event in Neville’s future will be his confrontation with Bellatrix Lestrange, which is another scene that most fans expect to see in Deathly Hallows. Bellatrix is one of the Death Eaters who tortured Neville’s parents into insanity. She seemed to take delight in this fact when she noticed Neville during the battle at the Ministry in Order of the Phoenix. She says, “Why, I have had the pleasure of meeting your parents, boy….” 8 Neville reacts so forcefully that he nearly escapes from the Death Eater who is holding him. At this point, it seems critical that Bellatrix be brought to justice, and Neville is the obvious candidate to accomplish that feat. However, there are a few different trains of thought as to what the outcome of their encounter might be. Some fans believe that Neville will fight Bellatrix in a duel that will end only when he takes her life. Others believe that such a duel would result in Neville’s death, leaving Harry and the rest to avenge him. And still others fans believe that while their confrontation is imminent, Neville will either turn a restrained Bellatrix over to the authorities, or that Bellatrix will perish by her own miscalculation. Regardless of the outcome, Harry Potter fans are expecting to see great things from Neville.
The Original Thinker
Luna Lovegood is a unique character, in more ways than one. Quite apart from her seemingly outlandish beliefs and odd sense of style, she is the only non-Gryffindor member of the Sixpack. In Order of the Phoenix, Luna helped Harry with many different things. When the majority of the wizarding world believed that Harry and Dumbledore were delusional because The Daily Prophet, the popular wizarding newspaper, regularly published articles defaming them, it was Luna’s father, editor of The Quibbler, who published Rita Skeeter’s interview with Harry that began to open everyone’s eyes to the truth. Not only did Luna accompany Harry and the others to the Ministry on their quest to save Sirius Black, she was the one who suggested using Thestrals to get there quickly. And in a very poignant scene at the end of the book, Luna confided to a grief-stricken Harry how her mother died when she was nine years old. She tells him, “I still feel very sad about it sometimes. But I’ve still got Dad. And anyway, it’s not as though I’ll never see Mum again, is it?” 9 Despite Harry’s skepticism about most of Luna’s strange ideas, her words comforted him during this difficult time.
Luna would undoubtedly be proud of the theories she has inspired, even though Jo has already shot a few of them down. One such theory maintained that Luna is in fact Snape’s daughter. Jo disproved that theory on May 13th, 2005 when she wrote on her website, “This is a most tantalising idea, but no, Mr. Lovegood, the editor of ‘the Quibbler’, really is Luna’s father and Snape does not have a daughter.” 10 Another theory was that Neville and Luna will one day have a romantic relationship. And again, on October 12th, 2004, Jo quashed this theory on her website, saying, “I see Neville and Luna as very different kinds of people and while they share a certain isolation within Hogwarts, I don’t think that’s enough to foster true love - friendship, perhaps, although I think that Neville would always find Luna’s wilder flights of fancy alarming.” 11
Nevertheless, there are still a number of theories involving Luna that have yet to be debunked. In Order of the Phoenix, the Sixpack encounters a mysterious archway hung with a black veil that holds Harry entranced for several moments. Although Neville and Ginny also seemed to experience the archway’s strange allure, Luna is the only one apart from Harry who hears faint whispering coming from behind the veil. This is only one of the odd events that happen during the Sixpack’s adventure in the Ministry that was never fully explained, and some fans are hoping to gain a better understanding of the archway’s purpose in the final book. If so, Luna may be the only other person who can help Harry uncover its secrets.
Another theory about Luna concerns her role in Deathly Hallows. Throughout the series, Hermione is almost always the one who finds the answers and solves the puzzles. Hermione’s skill with logic and deductive reasoning are unrivaled amongst Harry’s peers. However, as Dumbledore warns Harry in Half-Blood Prince, “From this point forth, we shall be leaving the firm foundation of fact and journeying together through the murky marshes of memory into thickets of wildest guesswork.” 12 Hermione will always be an indispensable asset in Harry’s fight against Voldemort, but she may not be able to help him as effectively when it comes to “thinking outside the box.” Luna, on the other hand, excels at this. Many fans anticipate that Luna will be the one who helps Harry locate one of the remaining Horcruxes, or discover how to destroy it.
Ever since fans learned that Voldemort is the Heir of Slytherin in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, theories about the heirs for the other three founders of Hogwarts abound. One such theory names Luna as Rowena Ravenclaw’s heir. Conjecture has it that the House heirs may play a significant role in uniting the Hogwarts students, the importance of which the Sorting Hat foreshadowed when it sang in Order of the Phoenix:
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we’ll crumble from within.13
Whether or not she is indeed the Heir of Ravenclaw, Luna is sure to play an important part in Deathly Hallows.
Heirs of Hogwarts
Unsurprisingly, Luna Lovegood is not the only contender for Heir of Ravenclaw. Another theory confers that title upon Marietta Edgecombe. The idea behind this theory ties into the importance of the unity of the four Hogwarts Houses. In her joint interview with Melissa Anelli and Emerson Spartz, Jo explains, “There’s nothing serious or sinister about [the deaths of Harry’s grandparents]. I just needed them out of the way so I killed them.” Melissa comments, “That sort of shuts down Heir of Gryffindor [theories], as well,” to which Jo replies, “Yeah. Well - yeah.” 14 So although Harry is apparently not the Heir of Gryffindor, he is a true Gryffindor, as Dumbledore tells him in Chamber of Secrets. We know Voldemort is the last surviving Heir of Slytherin. So the heirs would not all be heirs in the literal sense, but they may act as symbolic representatives from each Hogwarts House uniting together against a common enemy.
This leaves the Heirs of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, if they in fact exist. The theory that claims Marietta is the Heir of Ravenclaw maintains that Harry, acting as the Gryffindor representative, must resolve conflicts in order to find and eliminate the Horcruxes, and to unite the other Houses against Voldemort. According to this theory, Harry would have to join forces with another Slytherin. Given the events of Half-Blood Prince, Draco seems like the most likely candidate for that position. The two young men would certainly have to set aside their long-time rivalry.
Likewise, Harry and Marietta would have to settle their differences in order to work together. In Order of the Phoenix, Marietta betrayed the D.A. to Umbridge, and suffered the effects of Hermione’s anti-snitch jinx as a result. Although Marietta’s memory was later modified by Kingsley Shacklebolt, Marietta’s face still bore the evidence of her treachery in Half-Blood Prince. Cho and Harry had a rather heated argument about Hermione’s jinx, so it seems likely that Marietta has once again learned exactly how she acquired those tell-tale markings. While this does mean that both Cho and Marietta have a bone to pick with Harry and the other D.A. members, most supporters of this theory favor Marietta as the Heir of Ravenclaw because she allegedly has more physical traits in common with her House’s founder. To go a step further, some even suggest that Marietta’s curly reddish-blonde hair may be a clue to her connection with a popularly suspected Horcrux: the goblin-made tiara that belongs to Molly Weasley’s Great Auntie Muriel. Whatever Marietta’s role in Deathly Hallows, if the Hogwarts Houses truly must unite in order to defeat Voldemort, then it will be crucial for her and Harry to resolve their past conflicts.
The Heir of Hufflepuff candidate is perhaps more easily spotted than any of the other heirs (with the exception of Lord Voldemort). In Order of the Phoenix, we meet Zacharias Smith, a Hufflepuff boy who joins the D.A. despite his blunt expressions of doubt. In Half-Blood Prince, we learn of another Smith named Hepzibah, who is killed by a young Voldemort in order to obtain one of her possessions: a golden cup that once belonged to Helga Hufflepuff. Hepzibah asks her soon-to-be murderer, “Didn’t I tell you I was distantly descended [from Helga Hufflepuff]?” 15 In addition to sharing a surname, Zacharias and Hepzibah both have biblical names and they both have a connection to Hufflepuff. It is quite likely that they are related, and that Zacharias may also be distantly descended from Helga Hufflepuff as well. Zacharias’s critical comments often irritate Harry and cause many of the other D.A. members to dislike him; however, Harry and Zacharias must reach an understanding, especially if Zacharias has knowledge of or access to a Horcrux.
If the Sorting Hat was right, then the Slytherins must join with Harry and the others against Voldemort and his followers. This should prove especially difficult, since many of the Slytherin students we are familiar with have Death Eater parents. Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle and Theodore Nott may not return to Hogwarts even if it does reopen, depending on their parents’ instructions from Voldemort. If Crabbe and Goyle do return to Hogwarts, they will be without their leader, Draco, who almost certainly will not return. At the end of Half-Blood Prince, Harry makes the observation that “they looked oddly lonely without the tall, pale figure of Malfoy between them, bossing them around.” 16 One possibility is that Crabbe and Goyle might seek out a new leader. Considering their Death Eater connection, Theodore is one possible choice, although Theodore has rarely been a part of Draco’s exclusive group.
Along with Draco, Crabbe and Goyle, Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bullstrode formed the core group of Umbridge’s Inquisitorial Squad. Neither Pansy nor Millicent seems to have a direct connection with Voldemort, though they do display the stereotypical Slytherin belief in pure-blood superiority. Pansy is described as the leader of a group of Slytherin girls, so she does have some influence within her House. Pansy also idolizes Draco, and is therefore likely to be heartbroken when he does not return to Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows.
Another possible new ringleader for Slytherin is Blaise Zabini. Blaise was mentioned briefly during the sorting ceremony in Sorcerer’s Stone, but Harry learns much more about him in Half-Blood Prince. Judging by a conversation that Harry surreptitiously heard between Blaise and Draco on their train ride to Hogwarts, it appears that Blaise is not connected with Voldemort’s Death Eaters. He does, however, derisively refer to Ginny as a blood traitor and earlier in the same chapter, he displayed contempt for both her and Harry. Nevertheless, Blaise could prove to be more agreeable to a union of the Hogwarts Houses than any of the other Slytherin students.
Despite Harry’s declaration that he won’t return to Hogwarts, and Hermione’s and Ron’s vows to accompany him, there are many hints that the school will feature prominently in Deathly Hallows. After his death, Dumbledore is buried on the school grounds; the only headmaster to receive that honor, according to Minerva McGonagall. Many fans suspect that Harry will have to return to Hogwarts to retrieve something from the Room of Requirement. Voldemort himself has a certain obsession with the school, collecting objects once owned by each of the four founders to use as his Horcruxes. Harry Potter fans around the world are eagerly expecting Harry and Voldemort to have one final confrontation. It would be fitting if it were to happen at Hogwarts.
In that case, Harry’s schoolmates must be prepared for battle, just as the Sorting Hat forewarned. The remaining D.A. members will be an important resource during such a battle, acting like a kind of junior Order of the Phoenix, fighting against Voldemort’s forces and protecting their fellow students. But most importantly, each of the four Hogwarts Houses must look beyond their differences, forgive each others’ past offenses, and work together to eliminate the evil that threatens not just their lives, but everything that they hold dear. With Harry leading them and Dumbledore’s spirit watching over them, they cannot fail.
1. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 650.
2. Rowling Official Site, “Extra Stuff: Edits.”
3. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 606.
4. Ibid., 262.
5. Ibid., 515.
6. Rowling Official Site, “F.A.Q.: About the Books.”
8. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 800.
9. Ibid., 863.
10. Rowling Official Site, “F.A.Q.: Rumours.”
12. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 197.
13. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 206–7.
14. Anelli and Spartz, “TLC/MN Interview Part Three.”
15. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 436.
16. Ibid., 640.
Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three,” 16 July 2005. ./#static:tlcinterviews/jkrhbp3 (accessed 28 June 2007).
J.K. Rowling Official Site. “F.A.Q.” http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/faq.cfm?ref=aboutthebooks (accessed 28 July 2006).
———. “Extra Stuff: Edits.” http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff.cfm?ref=cutscenes (accessed 28 July 2006).
———. “Rumours.” http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/rumours.cfm (accessed 28 July 2006).
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2000.
———. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.
———. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.
———. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998.