Raise your hand if Hermione Granger was your first girl-crush. It’s hard not to love her, right? As a rundown of the most feminist Harry Potter characters will show, the Harry Potter universe is full of take-charge women and supportive men who don’t let a silly thing like gender constructs get in the way of their fight against the evil forces of the world.
In fact, many of the female characters in the Harry Potter series are great leaders, fighters, and thinkers. And one of the main themes of the work is the power of a mother’s love, which is portrayed as strong enough to thwart a terrible curse. Furthermore, another great aspect of Rowling’s work is that she doesn’t portray her female characters as flawless; they are all fully formed humans. In fact, some of the worst villains are woman (Seriously, who doesn’t loathe Umbridge almost as much as Voldemort?) This equal-opportunity approach to gender in both heroes and villains is a statement in itself; women aren’t all bad or good, but a combination of both. In other words, just humans.
Exploring the importance of feminist characters in Rowling’s work could take up an entire thesis of study, but in the meantime, here’s a quick overview of her most patently feminist characters.
1. Hermione Granger
Unabashedly brilliant, Hermione Granger is a dedicated student, advocate for the ethical treatment of house elves, and overall good person. Her voracious appetite for learning, combined with a can't-be-bothered approach to beauty norms, have made her a longtime feminist icon.
2. Professor Minerva McGonagall
McGonagall just gets stuff done. Whether she's leading resistance forces against Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwarts or teaching students Transfiguration, she wields power with intelligence and grace.
3. Molly Weasley
When her children are in danger, this affable and good-humored witch goes into full beast mode. She proves that you can be a dutiful wife, loving mother, and absolute badass at the same time.
4. Fleur Delacour
Yes, Fleur. She's more than just a pretty face: she competes in the dangerous Triwizard Tournament, serves as a loyal member of the Order of the Phoenix, and fights in the Battle of Hogwarts.
5. Ginny Weasley
A talented athlete and prodigal wielder of the Bat-Bogey Hex, Ginny is a strong young woman with a great sense of self. See also: the fabulous way she sasses her brothers for interfering too much in her dating life.
6. Albus Dumbledore
Dumbledore treats all of his peers and students with respect, regardless of gender. He's especially supportive of Hermione's academic endeavors, allowing her to bend time itself to make room for her classes.
7. Luna Lovegood
The dreamy Luna Lovegood has witnessed death firsthand, but does not let the horrible realities of the world get to her. Instead, she serves as a great ally to the Order of the Phoenix and fights in three battles for Hogwarts.
8. Lily Potter
Lily had some pretty feminist leanings. She repeatedly called out James for his bullying, and did not go out with him until he matured some. She also joined the Order of the Phoenix and defied Voldemort at least three times.
9. Harry Potter
Harry himself has pretty healthy relationships with women. He can have female friends (such as Hermione and Luna) without expecting anything romantic to happen, and he includes a lot of women in Dumbledore's Army.