Casting the Harry Potter movies was always going to be a huge gamble. Picking 3 pre-teens to helm what would be an 8-film series of a beloved story. Miraculously, all 3 can be considered successes but none more than Harry himself, Daniel Radcliffe. This kid grew into a man while handling the weight and responsibility of embodying people's perception of a phenomenal character. By any measure, he killed it as if he'd cast Avada Kedavra.
Co-stars like Jason Isaacs lauded his abilities and he's gone on to be a prolific character actor. No genre is out of his grasp, and it's no doubt thanks to acting alongside luminaries like Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman that helped along the way. Most importantly, he got practically all the characteristics of Harry Potter right. From the big ones to the small things, here are the ways Radcliffe became Potter.
10 I Love Magic
As our entry into the wizarding world, it's important that Harry had a sense of wonder and awe as each new phenomenon appeared before him. Daniel Radcliffe surely mastered this throughout the series.
From his first time walking down Diagon Alley to seeing The Weasley's go onto Platform 9 3/4, to visiting The Burrow, to receiving his first wand, he embodies each moment right on his face. Almost every film had a moment like this, and he never lost the knack of it.
9 But I AM The Chosen One
In a series where a kid is constantly forced to deal with adult-level responsibilities, it was great to see this little bit of childish bravado sneak through. Daniel completely slams this little moment out of the park when Hermione accuses all his admirers of only liking him for being 'The Chosen One'.
As any guy would when the tables are turned in his favor, Harry gleefully agrees with their assessment. Of course, Hermione is right there to bring him back down to earth. For a moment though, Harry was a star ready to reap the rewards of fame. It was great.
8 Scar Rubbing
It's probably the unsung skill among many that Daniel Radcliffe can portray forehead pain without looking silly. Any number of people would resort to head-slapping, face-palming weirdness, but Radcliffe kept it in check for 8 movies.
It might've been great to punctuate every twinge with a mighty face-palm but it would've undercut the seriousness of having a head full of Voldethoughts.
7 That Would Be Counter-Productive, Sir
This could be the funniest moment in the entire series and Daniel nailed it. When Harry takes Felix Felicis attempting to get Slughorn's memory, his chipper, upbeat confidence from nowhere hits every mark.
From the moment he downs the little vial of potion, through Aragog's funeral, to getting Slughorn's memory, it's all gold. When he imitates Aragog's pincers with his fingers and makes goofy clicking sounds, he puts the 'fun' in 'funeral'.
6 That's Great Ron, Have You Ever Actually Met Her?
Daniel couldn't have done this particular scene better. When Ron ingests the spiked 'love' chocolates from Romilda Vane, Harry's exasperation and mirth are great.
Watching his best mate being a fool but so clearly needing his help, he straddles the line like anyone genuinely would. He holds back a thousand jokes at Ron's expense and manages to get him pointed in the right direction.
5 The Girl Derps
Everybody has been there at least once, making a fool out of themselves in front of someone they like. Daniel nailed it when it came to Harry's infatuation with Cho Chang. From dribbling juice while trying to smile, to the word-perfect way he blurted out his invitation to the Yule Ball.
It was one of those moments where the book was done excellent justice in the film series. Nearly word-for-word, syllable-for-garbled-syllable, straight from the page.
4 Look At Me!
The Order Of The Phoenix has the critical issue of Dumbledore distancing himself from Harry. This rightly distresses Harry as he feels isolated and contaminated by his Voldethoughts. Radcliffe nails this sense of desperation and anger.
When he finally has Dumbledore close enough to demand answers, you feel his emotional turmoil. Harry's bellowing outburst followed by a plea for help captures the book's nuance in a series that often can't slow down to do so.
3 Oh Yeah, I've Been Hit Loads Of Times.
Radcliffe has proven in subsequent years that he has a real knack for comedic delivery. This was one of those moments that meshed with being Harry, and it was great. Confronted with his terrible Aunt Marge and her accusations, Harry is happy to stick to Uncle Vernon's story about his remedial schooling.
Beatings and all. The placid agreement in hopes of securing his Hogwarts permission slip is sold effectively for film and book alike. Going from that to distress, as Marge insults his parents only improves things.
2 My Eyes Aren't Glistening With The Tears Of My Past.
No doubt Daniel Radcliffe became something of an expert at dealing with reporter's questions by the fourth film. He may have used exactly that inspiration when he dealt with Rita Skeeter whisking Harry into a cramped closet to grill him during the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
As the newsy nuisance asks leading questions we see Harry's rising impatience with things. When he sees the Quick-Quotes Quill blatantly lying and painting a picture of a distressed, tragic figure that he surely doesn't feel like, he gives it no leeway on the matter. An adult pushing their agenda on you as a teen? We've all been there and he responds exactly in line with that.
1 Did You Think We'd Be Staying In Five-Star Hotels? Finding A Horcrux Every Other Day?/Yeah, Stay Away From Me!
The relationship between Harry and Ron may be the most important in the books. Daniel Radcliffe had good onscreen chemistry with Rupert Grint. However, it's the moments when the friends were at odds that were where Radcliffe was exemplary.
In Goblet Of Fire and Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Ron and Harry end up at loggerheads. Both times Radcliffe hits the exact notes of the book, furious exasperation, determined animosity, but still with the pain of being against someone he doesn't want to be against. Perhaps the most complex and well-executed emotions he was tasked to convey throughout.