There are few things in this world that could be described as truly magical, but Harry Potter is one of them. J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece has impacted children and adults alike with its incredible world building, unforgettable characters, and invaluable life lessons. These books made us laugh out loud as much as they made us sob uncontrollably. They broke our hearts over and over, but also granted us strength in the darkest of times.
Adapting books is a tricky business, especially with a series that has touched the lives of so many. Fans were skeptical initially and although there are things that most of us wish hadn’t been lost in translation from page to screen, we can all probably agree that the movies did the source material justice. Many elements had to come together to give us such wonderful films, but the pitch perfect casting was obviously paramount.
These actors have been immortalized as the characters populating the world of Harry Potter, but who they are in real life is obviously very different. Some of our protagonists aren’t quite so heroic in their daily lives, just as certain villains have proven to be delightful human beings. Others still, might be exactly who you would expect them to be.
Here are 8 Harry Potter Stars Who Are Sweethearts (And 8 Who Aren't).
16 Sweetheart - Alan Rickman
No one could’ve played Severus Snape quite like Alan Rickman did. Rickman brought a sense of gravitas, his distinctive voice and just a wink of sarcasm creating a character who was far more likable than the Snape fans got to know in the pages of Rowling’s books. Before The Deathly Hallows hit the shelves, the question on everyone’s mind was, “Severus Snape: Friend or foe?" For many readers, the answer was obvious and that was surely in no small part due to everything that Rickman brought to the role on the big screen.
Aside from playing the hero of the piece in the HP movies, Rickman is a real life hero as well. The actor was a huge advocate of removing the stigma from mental illness and helping to find better methods of treatment. He was a prominent signatory on a campaign to achieve those goals. Aside from that, his years as a struggling actor led him to become the honorary president of the International Performers Aid Trust. The charity offers financial aid to performers across the globe. He has also supported Amnesty International and Saving Faces.
Rickman was so devoted to these causes that in his will he left a whopping £100,000 combined to several of them. Fans of the actor were crushed by the loss of him, but he left behind a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.
15 Sour - Jamie Waylett
Life definitely imitated art in the case of Draco Malfoy’s villainous accomplices.
Out of all of the actors on this list, no one has gotten into quite as much trouble as Jamie Waylett, who portrayed Vincent Crabbe.
Waylett has had several run-ins with the law over the years and this eventually cost him Crabbe’s final moments in the Harry Potter franchise.
Plenty of changes have occurred from page to screen, but one of the most puzzling for fans of the books was the absence of Crabbe during the battle in the Room of Requirement duel. The fight was meant to take place between Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco, Goyle and Crabbe. However, the latter was nowhere to be seen. Crabbe had been replaced with Blaise Zabini.
Back in 2009, Waylett was arrested for growing illegal substances at his mother’s home. He plead guilty to the charges, but unfortunately that was not to be the end of the actor’s legal troubles - although it was enough to lose him the HP gig. Two years later, Waylett was arrested once more for his participation in the London riots, where he was seen holding a petrol bomb and drinking stolen champagne. His sentence was two years in prison.
14 Sweetheart - Emma Watson
Unlike the vast majority of female characters in stories centered on males, J.K. Rowling never made Hermione Granger into a sidekick. Instead, the author created one of the greatest feminist icons of all time.
Rather than wax poetic about the young witch’s beauty or use her as a plot device to further someone else’s story, Hermione was a crucial part of the trio. She saved the lives of Ron and Harry time and time again, regularly proving herself brighter and more adept at magic than both of them. Hermione relied not only on her wits, but also on hard work. She was the moral compass of the group - fueled by honor, compassion and love.
Much like her cinematic counterpart, Emma Watson does her best to use her considerable powers for good. In 2014, the actress was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and became an advocate for the HeForShe campaign, the aim of which is to provide gender equality. Empowering women has proven to be an important issue for Watson and she has spent the majority of her career working towards that goal.
Aside from fighting for causes that she believes in and giving a substantial amount of her earnings to charity, Watson knows how to stand up for herself as well. When criticized for her somewhat revealing Vanity Fair photoshoot, she responded, “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality.”
13 Sour - Kenneth Branagh
Gilderoy Lockhart may have had a flair for the dramatic, but Kenneth Branagh had some real life drama when the cameras stopped rolling as well.
He had been married to Emma Thompson for six years when he began engaging in an affair with Helena Bonham Carter.
If those names sound familiar, it’s because all three of these actors worked on the Harry Potter films - thankfully, not all at the same time.
One of Thompson’s most memorable roles was Harry’s jilted wife, Karen, in Love, Actually. The actress has since revealed that the tears she shed in the movie came from very real pain. She drew on the experience of being betrayed by Branagh. Thompson stated, “That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it's something everyone's been through. I had my heart very badly broken by Ken. So I knew what it was like to find the necklace that wasn't meant for me. Well it wasn't exactly that, but we've all been through it.”
You may think it was awkward for Thompson and Bonham Carter to work together. However, Thompson has been forthright about forgiving the other actress, who hasn’t been with Branagh for quite some time now. Thompson has handled the situation with the utmost class, only speaking about Bonham Carter with respect and admiration.
12 Sweetheart - Emma Thompson
While we’re on the subject of Emma Thompson, let’s look at the character she played. Sybill Trelawney may not have always gotten it right with her various predictions, but when she was on point, the professor of Divination delivered some pretty big bombshells. In a school full of quirky characters, she still stands out as one of the most eccentric. Thanks to Emma Thompson, she was also one of the most entertaining.
Thompson has devoted a great deal of time and energy to fight for the causes that she believes in, in particular, human rights issues. She is president of the Helen Bamber Foundation, a charity devoted to rebuilding the lives of refugees, whether they were victims of trafficking, persecution, or abuse. Years ago, Thompson informally adopted a former child soldier from Rwanda named Tindyebwa Agaba. After getting his Master’s degree in politics, that young man has now become a human rights activist himself, working with agencies all over the world.
Thompson has also pledged support to many charities, including Coram, which was the first dedicated children’s charity in the UK. She is a patron of the Refugee Council - which is how she met Agaba - and has worked with Greenpeace.
Just don’t ask her what her favorite charity is. Thompson has stated, “You might as well ask: 'What's your favorite war zone?' To talk about charity in this way compartmentalizes it, separates it from the day-to-day stuff of life."
11 Sour - Johnny Depp
One of the most frustrating aspects of the accusations made by Amber Heard against her ex-husband Johnny Depp is the simple fact that much more credence was leant to her story after a man came forward to back her up.
Over a year after Heard filed a domestic violence restraining order against Depp, the actor's former management company, TMG, provided further evidence.
This made headlines, despite the fact that Heard had made the claims herself long before anyone stood behind her.
The actress provided texts, video, and photographic evidence to prove her story. She also pledged to give her divorce settlement to charity. However, many people working with Depp on the film seem to stand by his casting, including director David Yates and J.K. Rowling herself. Interestingly, Daniel Radcliffe has his own views on the subject, and they are not quite so positive.
There was a time when Depp’s casting as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts would’ve been incredibly well received. However, amid abuse allegations from Heard, the response has ranged from tepid to furious. No one would argue that Depp is not a talented and capable actor - even if he has become a parody of himself in recent years - but pictures of Heard’s bruised face have made many feel that the role should’ve been recast.
10 Sweetheart - Rupert Grint
As much as we all love Ron Weasley, there’s no denying that he is oft overshadowed by both Harry and Hermione - and he knows it. There’s a reason why he’s such a sore loser. The guy feels like he’s losing all the time already! He also got the shaft more than the other two members of the trio in terms of the way that the books were adapted. Yes, important storylines were cut from everyone, but we would argue that poor Ron got the worst of it.
Much like Ron, Rupert Grint tries his best to do the right thing. In 2014, the actor became a Starlight Ambassador. He was introduced to the children’s charity after attending their Christmas party the year before and doing some advertising for them. However, it was granting the wish of very sick child named Callum that really made Grint want to get involved.
Aside from Grint’s charitable contributions, the actor is also very kind to his fans. According to costar Daniel Radcliffe, he once found himself at a fan’s home simply because he was too nice to say no!
Growing up under in the spotlight is undeniably difficult, but it’s good to know that Grint hasn’t let it go to his head - even if he feels that he can no longer enjoy HP like the rest of us.
9 Sour - Jude Law
Jude Law is a new addition to the wizarding world and fans will have to wait until The Crimes of Grindelwald releases later this year to see his young Albus Dumbledore in action. Like Albus, Law has a bit of a checkered past. He’s not the only star who got caught philandering with the nanny, but his infidelity came as quite a surprise to fans.
It's a bit jarring to associate such romantic indiscretions with the man playing Dumbledore.
In 2005, Law had been engaged to actress Sienna Miller for only a few months when his mistress, Daisy Wright came forward with her story. She sold a rather graphic account of their time together to the Sunday Mirror. After one of Law’s children caught him and Daisy in bed together, she told her mother, Law’s ex-wife, Sadie Frost. Understandably, this meant that Daisy’s days as their nanny were over and she wasn’t happy about the news.
Law was actually married to Frost when he met Miller on the set of Alfie. After Miller discovered his transgressions, she ended their engagement. The actor issued a public apology, stating, “There is no defense for my actions which I sincerely regret.” The couple reunited in 2009, but split for good two years later.
8 Sweetheart - Tom Felton
Although He Who Must Not Be Named was unequivocally the ultimate Big Bad of the Harry Potter series, Draco Malfoy was the main antagonist in Harry’s everyday life. While many fans - and even Rowling herself - will vehemently defend the character as misunderstood rather than truly monstrous, there is no denying that Malfoy was a villain.
Perhaps one of the reasons that many people are so quick to defend Draco is because Tom Felton is so charming and charismatic in real life.
Not only is Felton incredibly kind when meeting fans, but he is also a pretty huge one himself. Seriously, it would seem that he loves Hogwarts just as much as the rest of us. The actor’s social media accounts are littered with HP references, from acknowledging the coupling of Draco and Harry to making costar Rupert Grint wear one of the shirts that he designed.
Speaking of Felton’s humanitarianism, he has designed multiple t-shirts and given a portion or even all of the proceeds to the Great Ormond Street Hospital. He has also been a part of many charitable events, from auctions to ping pong, always wiling to help out for a good cause. Malfoy may have been a Slytherin all the way, but Felton is a Gryffindor at heart - really, that’s the House he was sorted into on Pottermore.
7 Sour - Devon Murray
You probably know Devon Murray best for his role as Gryffindor wizard Seamus Finnigan. What you may not know, however, is that the actor was ordered to pay his former agent £210,000 of his million pound fortune. After the first four HP films, Murray reportedly “tried to dodge out of his obligations under the contract in an unlawful manner." This led Neil Brooks to take the actor and his parents to court.
Brooks stated that initially he had a great working relationship with Murray, but it broke down after the family chose not to pay him what he was owed for landing his client the gig in the first place.
The agent was fired after photos of Murray smoking emerged on the internet and his mother felt that Brooks should’ve done more to protect him.
The agent was seeking £230,000 and wound up with just 9% less than he had hoped for. When Murray’s parents said that they couldn’t afford the large sum, the judge understandably pointed to the young actor’s previous earnings. Murray’s mother claimed that he had spent most of his money on cars, booze and girls. Murray denied this, explaining that he put the funds towards investments as well - they just didn’t turn out the way that he’d hoped.
6 Sweetheart - Ezra Miller
Although at this point Ezra Miller is best known for his role as Barry Allen, aka the Flash in the DCEU, the actor is also part of the Potterverse. He portrayed Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - a role he is set to reprise in the sequel. Although Creedence may not have been the easiest guy to get along with, Miller has proven himself quite the opposite, especially when it comes to his fans.
Some stars are incredibly strict about their private lives being private and as such, have made the decision not to pose for pictures with fans. Miller, on the other hand, is willing to take a minute out of his day to brighten someone else’s. Fans hoping for a picture with the actor may be lucky enough to be treated to something more akin to a magazine photo shoot than an awkward picture with someone who’d clearly rather be anywhere else.
Miller is very devoted to his fans and does everything in his power to show up for other people. “I’m in awe of the new legions of brilliant self-expressive youngsters who’re 100% the only hope and who we must turn to… I’m definitely ready for the army of queer, super-youngsters to overtake planet Earth and save us all.”
5 Sour - Josh Herdman
Although Draco’s other ally didn’t get into quite as much trouble as Crabbe, Goyle had some offscreen issues as well. After pictures surfaced of Josh Herdman smoking what appeared to be an illegal substance, a fan contacted him on Instagram. To be fair, he began the conversation in a rather rude way, but the tirade that followed from Herdman was uncalled for, to say the least.
The fan, whose name is Chris, asked the actor why he would be willing to throw his career away by taking substances. Herdman responded by calling the guy a myriad of colorful names, even attacking his proficiency as a parent. We get it, Chris was a tad rude in his phrasing of the question, but Herdman completely lost it on him. Of course, stars are human like the rest of us and as such, act out in unfortunate ways. The difference is, of course, that when you are famous, any poor choice you make becomes public knowledge.
Herdman’s words weren’t unlike something that Goyle would say.
Interestingly, Herdman has gone through a rather incredible transformation since his work in the Harry Potter franchise. He is an MMA fighter and is nearly unrecognizable from the guy who portrayed Gregory Goyle in the films.
4 Sweethearts - James and Oliver Phelps
The Weasleys are quite a large family and, aside from Ron, there are perhaps no members of the clan more beloved then Fred and George. Brilliant and hilarious, the practical jokers manage to bring a smile to characters and readers alike in even the bleakest of times. The twins had an amazing run in the series, from their epic “graduation” of Hogwarts to their successful joke shop in Diagon Alley. As long as Fred and George were around, the darkness always felt a little bit lighter - don’t even get us started on the aftermath of The Deathly Hallows, since we’re still crying about it.
It turns out that James and Oliver Phelps are just as delightful as their onscreen alter egos. The brothers have spent a great deal of time involved in charity work. They have been ardent supporters of the Teenage Cancer Trust, even opening a specialist unit in Birmingham.
One of many events that they’ve participated in was the Three Peaks Challenge, the object of which was to hike as much of the highest mountains in Scotland as possible over the course of twenty-four hours. They competed in order to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. They also took part in a skydive to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
3 Sour - Nicholas Read
There’s really not much we can say about the character that Nicholas Read played. All we know is that he portrayed a goblin in The Sorcerer’s Stone - and an Ewok in Return of the Jedi. As for what he did to land in the sour section of this list, well, take your pick.
In 2010, he got in trouble for performing a certain act under a juggler’s hat on a train and in the process. Read was made to complete a course in an effort to curb this behavior, but apparently it didn’t exactly do the trick.
In fact, it would seem that the actor learned nothing from this experience. After narrowly avoiding a prison sentence for his former crimes, Read harrassed two medical students on a train. Luckily for him, he was spared jail time once again, as the judge felt that he was “too vulnerable” to be sent to prison. The judge made it clear though that any further disturbances would end with him behind bars. He also needed to inform the authorities if he planned on traveling by train. Read was guilty of several prior offenses as well, such as mistreating a woman and making inappropriate phone calls.
2 Sour - Gary Oldman
Although he originally appeared to be a villain, Sirius Black would go on to become one of the most important figures in Harry’s life. Sirius was brave and adventurous, but in his way, he was just as broken as Harry. The death of his closest friends in conjunction with the years rotting in the world’s worst prison for their murder left him a mess of a man. However, that never stopped him from being there for Harry.
Gary Oldman is an incredible actor, expertly conveying all of the qualities that made fans fall for Sirius in the books.
Unfortunately, much like his alter ego, Oldman has been accused of misdeeds.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the Oscars had some treacherous waters to navigate. Casey Affleck withdrew from his duties as a presenter and James Franco went from being a frontrunner to being out of the conversation entirely. Still, the ceremony was not without its controversies, chief among them, Oldman’s win for Best Actor.
In 2001, Oldman’s now ex-wife, Donya Fiorentino, accused the actor of assaulting her in front of their children. She came forward again earlier this year to reiterate her story. Oldman has denied the charges, but his 2014 interview with Playboy also adversely affected his reputation. In it, the actor defended Mel Gibson’s unforgettable tirade and claimed that 12 Years a Slave only won the Oscar because voters were afraid of being viewed as racists.
1 Sweetheart - Daniel Radcliffe
What can we say about The Boy Who Lived? For generations, he has been the window into a magical world beyond readers' wildest dreams, a victim of circumstance turned savior of the wizarding world. Even still, like Rowling’s best characters, Harry was not perfect and it was those flaws that made him so relatable. If anyone understands the immense pressure that Harry felt throughout the course of the books, it’s Daniel Radcliffe, who felt it across all eight films. Cast at just eleven, the young actor had a lot riding on his performance.
It should really be no surprise to anyone who’s ever read an interview with Radcliffe that the man who spent the majority of his life portraying Harry is an absolute sweetheart.
The actor is candid about his mistakes. Whether he was discussing his struggles with addiction or some ill-advised encounters with fans, Radcliffe takes responsibility. He is also an unabashed feminist, saying things like "I think an area that we can get a lot better at is telling women’s stories and women telling their own stories rather than dudes writing women’s stories.”
Aside from all that, Radcliffe is quite the humanitarian, feeling that “there’s a moral imperative to help others”, especially since he has done so well for himself. He has been involved with The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding LGBTQ youth. Radcliffe made a large donation to them in 2008 and has supported them ever since.
What do you think about these Harry Potter stars? Let us know in the comments!