Happy Birthday, Gilderoy Lockhart!

Jan 27, 2018

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Character Birthdays, News

Celebrating the birthdays of the Harry Potter villains is always a wee bit awkward.  I mean, do you really wish Bellatrix a happy birthday?  She killed Sirius!  Luckily, J.K. Rowling provides a little backstory for most of the characters that gives us some context for their bad behaviour.  This never excuses their behaviour—as much as you could argue that Bellatrix came from a family that taught her poor values, Sirius and Regulus and Andromeda came from that family, too, and they went in a very different direction.  Still, the whole nature versus nurture debate has great resonance throughout the Harry Potter series.  Dumbledore sees both Draco and Dudley as victims of their home environments rather than evil, and he stuck Harry with the Dursleys in part to save him from his fame going to his head.  All this is by way of saying that there must be some explanation for why Gilderoy Lockhart became a raging narcissist.  It’s also curious that he is the one character that Rowling says was modelled on a real-life person she knew—and was not at all fond of.  Let’s face it, we all have one ex like Lockhart, and one should be enough to stop us dating narcissists.

What do we know about Lockhart’s childhood?  We know he was born on January 26, 1964, which makes him 54 today.   His mother was a witch, his father a Muggle, and his two older sisters were Squibs.  His mother doted on him so much that he was already famous in his own mind before he arrived at Hogwarts.  Being just one amongst many wizard children at school was deflating.  He had thought he was special, thanks to his doting mother, and wanted to be the best at everything.  But his only genuine accomplishment was inventing a line of hair products that was too expensive to market.  Oh, and we all know he did have a talent for memory charms.  Thank goodness for Ron’s broken wand or the story would have ended very abruptly in the Chamber of Secrets.

If you would like to wish Lockhart a happy birthday, cards can be addressed to him at the Janus Thickey Ward at St. Mungo’s.  If you enclose a return envelope, he will write back and send you an autographed photo.  He can write in joined-up letters now, you know.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.