Book Adaptations: Harry Potter Professors Ranked

Screenshot of Dame Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’. Copyright goes to Warner Bros. Pictures, Heyday Films, and 1492 Pictures.

Hey! Hallie here!

Harry Potter has tons of loveable characters and almost an equal amount of deliciously dislikable ones. This is no different for the professors at Hogwarts. There are professors that are horrible people and horrible teachers, there are professors that are some of the best characters in the entire series, and there’s every other type of professor in between. So today I’m going to count them down! For this list I’m only including the professors that made a major impact, so Professor Grubbly-Plank and similar professors will be left off this list. I also won’t be including all Hogwarts staff, so Filch will also, thankfully, be left off of this list. Finally I’ll be judging these professors not only on their personalities, but majorly on how good of teachers they are. So with that said, let’s get into it!

15. Dolores Umbridge. Who’s surprised to see her here? I’m not. Dolores Umbridge was adamant about not teaching her students at all. She didn’t allow magic in her class and only taught students to prepare for their tests. Which are both sure ways to make sure none of the students retain any of the information they’re taught. It should also be noted that she TORTURED STUDENTS. She would make students who misbehaved, which was all of them in her eyes, magically carve their wrongdoing into their hand. She even almost used the Cruciatus Curse on Harry. She’s a very obviously evil woman and one of the worst characters in the series. No one compares to how awful she is.

14. Quirinus Quirrell. Professor Quirrell was never the most helpful of teachers. He was always absurdly nervous of everything he taught, so while he might have said something interesting during class, it was still very hard to take him seriously. And then his nervous act turned out to be a ruse. He was actually a very evil man who let Voldemort possess the back of his head. He spent far more time trying to keep Voldemort alive with unicorn blood and helping him find a new body than actually teaching. He also endangered students by loosing a troll in the school and tried to kill Harry multiple times. So not the best teacher.

13. Severus Snape. Ok, I already hear a bunch of Snape fans getting mad at me so let me explain. Alan Rickman’s Snape isn’t a bad teacher. He can be harsh, but he’s very informative and he cares for the students even if he doesn’t seem like it. Book Snape is not like this. Book Snape verbally abuses students. He constantly bullies Neville and threatens to kill his pet toad, Trevor, when Neville gets something wrong rather than attempting to help him. He belittles Hermione despite her genius and even refuses to help her when a rogue spell hits her and causes her teeth to grow. He literally tells her that he doesn’t see a difference! I would like to remind you that this is a grown adult bullying children. He might be informative in his lessons, but no student actually benefits from such a toxic classroom atmosphere.

12. Gilderoy Lockhart. An unhelpful teacher but for different reasons. Gilderoy Lockhart is both too full of himself to teach and also unknowledgeable about everything he claims to have knowledge about. This is because Lockhart used memory charms on various adventurers so he could claim responsibility for their great discoveries. He has no experience of his own but he loves the fame. He also REALLY loves himself. He would rather teach an entire class about himself than anything actually useful. He does try to Obliviate Harry and Ron when they learn his secret, which is generally frowned upon, but at least he doesn’t attempt to kill them.

11. Mad Eye Moody. This is another professor who tried to kill Harry, but he gets up here because Harry actually liked him as a professor. He taught inappropriate things in class, such as the unforgiveable curses, but he was genuine about teaching the students how to avoid dark curses. He used real experience to instruct them and did attempt to calm the students who were disturbed by his lessons. He also helped Harry through the Triwizard Tournament, as dark as his motive was. But yes, in reality Moody was Barty Couch Jr., who was attempting to get Harry to Voldemort so that Voldemort could regain his form and potentially kill Harry. No one can say they weren’t satisfied with the way he put Draco in his place, though.

10. Sybill Trelawney. Professor Trewlaney is the first professor on this list who genuinely cares about the well-being of her students. Yay! That being said, she doesn’t actually teach anything useful. She genuinely believes in the Divination she teaches, but none of it is real. That isn’t to say that Trelawney is incapable of seeing into the future. She’s responsible for the prophecy about Harry and Voldemort. But the events where she truly sees into the future are rare and she never remembers them. Instead she focuses on tea leaves and crystal balls, which are established as phony forms of magic in the wizarding world. Her teachings aren’t practical and she gets extremely defensive if she’s called out on it. See how she insults Hermione. (Her insulting Hermione isn’t accidental but very purposeful in the book).

9. Horace Slughorn. And now we’re getting to the teachers who are actually helpful. Horace Slughorn is a pretty understanding and enthusiastic potions teacher. No one really has any complaints with his teaching, which seems pretty informative. His favoritism is his real problem. While teachers shouldn’t show favoritism, Slughorn revels in it. He even created an entire club exclusively for his favorite students, most of which are pretty well off. This isn’t always the case, he did take an interest in Lily Potter for her skill alone, but that still doesn’t hide his preference for the rich and powerful. Slughorn is also easily manipulated, as shown when Tom Riddle managed to get information about horcruxes out of him without raising much of Slughorn’s suspicion. But most of that is due to cowardice, which Harry helps him move past. In the end he fights in the Battle of Hogwarts, which is absolutely honorable.

8. Albus Dumbledore. Here’s another controversial opinion. Albus Dumbledore shares a lot of wisdom with Harry throughout the books, most of which are essential to Harry’s survival. He’s an important beacon in Harry’s life and acts as the main protector for Hogwarts as it’s headmaster. He is also quite the morally questionable man. He left Harry with abusive parents for most of his life and had little reservations when raising Harry to send him to his death. Dumbledore is a sign of comfort and intelligence in Hogwarts, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good role model for the students. You also have to wonder how good he actually was at protecting the school with all of the attacks that occurred every year Harry attended.

7. Madame Hooch. Hooch is a pretty straightforward Quidditch professor. She’s strict but she’s fair, which is why she also fills the position of Quidditch referee on most occasions. She cares for her students well being, as is her job, and she comes off as a capable badass. There isn’t really much of a downside here. Madame Hooch is a pretty solid professor.

6. Firenze. We didn’t get to see Firenze as a teacher much, and in the movies we didn’t get to see him as a teacher at all, but he’s pretty amazing. When Trelawney is fired by Umbridge, Dumbledore hires Firenze in her stead. It’s instantly established how amazing of a teacher he is. He transforms his entire classroom into a grassy field with a clear view of the stars, and he uses the stars to accurately teach students Divination. He makes it clear that not all can be told from the stars, but he is sure to teach students exactly how they can use them. He’s an instructive and gentle teacher, so it’s no surprise that Harry instantly likes him more than Trelawney. When Trelawney is reinstated he gets to teach Divination concurrently with her, which is fortunate for those who are actually interested in the subject.

5. Pomona Sprout. Pomona Sprout is both a straightforward and kind teacher. She’s strict in her teaching of Herbology, mostly because many of the more dangerous plants require very specific instructions, but outside of the classroom she’s very empathetic and understanding. She cares deeply for her students and her students care just as deeply for her. She develops very strong friendships with most of the professors, and just like them, she never hesitates when it comes time to protect her school. I only wish we had seen more of this badass.

4. Filius Flitwick. Filius Flitwick is not only the Charms professor, but also the conductor of the school choir. He takes pride in his involvement in the arts, but he isn’t snooty. He’s shown to have a pretty good sense of humor, especially when it comes at the expense of teachers like Umbridge. He’s one of the most patient teachers at the school and he’s quick to praise students for their work. He’s also very intelligent and has an answer for most questions asked to him. And, just like his peers, he is unafraid to defend his school when the time comes. He should not be underestimated because of his size.

3. Rubeus Hagrid. Putting Hagrid so far up is a bit risky. Despite his efforts, even Harry doesn’t believe he’s the best professor. But that isn’t entirely because he’s not suited for it. Hagrid is a complete sweetheart. He has a love for most students, and most animals he comes across as well. Which makes it seem like he would be the perfect Care of Magical Creatures professor. He’s patient with students and understanding of their frustrations. He ensures all of his classes are safe. Mostly. His issue is his love for all creatures. He finds boring creatures quite fascinating. He also likes to bring frightening creatures into his classes. Though these creatures aren’t mortally dangerous to the students, they can be frustrating and harmful to some degree. Such as his Blast-Ended Skrewts. Despite this, Hagrid is one of the most protective and caring professors in Hogwarts. Even when he doesn’t get a lesson right, he tries very hard and he’s understanding of students who don’t like his lessons. I’d say that makes up for any of his drawbacks.

2. Remus Lupin. This is my favorite character in all of Harry Potter. He’s the dream professor. He’s kind and funny. He knows how to engage a class with activities rather than keeping them to their desks, which is something he keeps up even during tests. He instructs but also stands by students as they do tasks and walks them through it. As a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, he’s understanding of students fears and is there to provide emotional support if needed. Beyond that he’s a humble man who cares for his students. He’s the most understanding professor of all of them, shown to be able to relate to students in the way no other professor can. And the wisdom he shares is far more important than even he believes. He’s simply a comforting presence.

1.Minerva McGonagall. She’s clearly the best professor at Hogwarts. She’s strict, but only when she has to be. She’s fair in issuing punishments and ensures they help students learn from their mistakes. When a student is wronged she takes that into account and doesn’t punish them for expressing their frustrations (“Have a biscuit, Potter” might be the greatest words ever uttered). If someone insults her students she’s the first to come to their defense. Is someone attacks her students she is similarly protective and even Snape couldn’t fend her off. Her classes are informative, and while they don’t allow for much fun, she isn’t one to disapprove of a little mischief. She even helped Peeves unscrew a chandelier once, though none of the teachers were above making some mischief at Umbridge’s expense. She acts, more than any other professor, as a parent. Instructing and caring for students. Encouraging them to pursue their goals and follow their dreams. Worrying herself sick over their safety. There was no competition here. Minerva McGonagall wins.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

One thought on “Book Adaptations: Harry Potter Professors Ranked

  1. McGonagall and Lupin FTW! Also I had completely forgotten about Firenze so thank you for the reminder – clearly I may need to re-read Harry Potter. Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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