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16 Times The Heroes In 'Harry Potter' Were Just As Bad As The Villains

Updated April 13, 2021 14.2k votes 1.7k voters 144.6k views16 items

List RulesVote up the times Harry and his pals acted like villains.

In the Harry Potter series, it is established that "the world isn't separated between good people and Death Eaters," and that people can act like villains even if they're not supposed to be bad. While the worst Harry Potter characters are stereotypically evil, the protagonists themselves have been guilty of behaving just like the villains. This list considers the characters that are generally deemed to be "good guys" who act unlike what heroes are supposed to be like.

It ranges from their worst decisions to them displaying nasty - even malevolent - attitudes and the kind of behavior that doesn't leave much to separate them from the baddies.

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  • 1

    Snape Abuses Neville To The Point That He's The Boy's Worst Fear

    Photo: Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Snape is established as a good guy when it turns out that he was Dumbledore's double agent all along. That doesn't mean everything he did was an act, as his bullying of Neville was for his own fun.

    Neville spends the first five years at Hogwarts dreading being around Snape, as the latter bullies him relentlessly by mocking him in class and hurling personal insults at him. This results in Snape being the form Neville's boggart takes, proving he so severely traumatized the boy that Snape is his biggest fear. 

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    Just like a Death Eater?
  • 2

    Snape Attempts To Poison Neville's Pet

    Photo: Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Snape's bullying of Neville aside, this move is completely inexcusable, as he intended to harm an innocent animal. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when the students are supposed to be making a shrinking potion, Snape knows that a wrong concoction will turn into poison and tells Neville that he'll make his toad drink the potion to see if he made it right, knowing that Neville is useless at concocting potions and is guaranteed to make poison instead of the shrinking potion.

    It's Hermione's heroic act of giving Neville instructions under her breath that allows him to create the right potion, which saves the life of the toad by turning it into a tadpole instead of poisoning it. To this, Snape takes points from Gryffindor since he wanted to see the toad be poisoned.

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    Just like a Death Eater?
  • 3

    James Potter Has A History Of Extreme Bullying - Including Snape And Other Students

    Photo: Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures

    James Potter is lauded in the entire series for being a good guy who was killed in his youth. However, Harry finds out that James was a bully, and that he and Sirius had hexed people just for the heck of it. It is said that he "outgrew" this, but considering James was only 21 when he perished, and was on the run for a year or two, he was basically a bully for just about his whole life.

    What's worse is that James picked on Snape to the point where Snape developed severe trust issues and became bitter beyond redemption. In Snape's memories, Harry sees James bullying him due to Sirius being bored, and James proceeds to pelt Snape with spells to make Sirius laugh. He also takes Snape's clothes off with magic to further humiliate him while belittling him in front of Lily since he knows Snape is his romantic rival. This bullying wasn't just for Snape, as it's revealed that James picked on just about anyone because he was too arrogant with his natural talent.

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    Just like a Death Eater?
  • 4

    Sirius Treats Kreacher Horribly, And It's Treated Like A Joke

    Photo: Deathly Hallows: Part 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Hermione isn't wrong when she brands the servitude of house-elves as slave labor, seeing as nobody other than her considers the ethics of making these creatures do their bidding or thinks that outright hitting or cursing at them makes a difference. Sirius certainly doesn't consider Kreacher to be worthy of care, as he severely mistreats the house-elf by hurling things at him and screaming at Kreacher as his exclusive mode of communication. 

    The other characters even laugh whenever Sirius mistreats Kreacher, considering it a source of amusement, with the justification that Kreacher is "ugly." Kreacher openly weeps in front of Sirius, only for the latter to throw him out or toss around Kreacher's cherished possessions. It gets worse when one realizes that Kreacher was treated better by the insane Bellatrix than by Harry's beloved uncle Sirius.

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    Just like a Death Eater?