In the entire population of fictional teenagers, few are more iconic than Harry Potter. He's the Boy Who Lived and he defeats Voldemort, the scourge of the wizarding world. As a true Gryffindor, Harry is known for his bravery. To call him a hero is not an understatement. Nevertheless, behind this hero is a normal teenage boy.
Harry struggles with school problems, girl problems, and friend problems. As someone who had a miserable childhood, Harry is eternally grateful for his friends, particularly Ron and Hermione. He stands by them, and stands up for them, through thick and thin. However, Harry is hardly a perfect friend. Many times, his pals are on the receiving end of Harry's moodiness and selfishness. So, is Harry the BFF Who Lived or not?
Hogwarts may be wildly dissimilar to schools in the real world, but if one thing is the same, it's this: school dances matter. Life or death panic kicks in as kids face the internal conflict of wanting a date for the dance, but being too afraid of rejection to ask. Ron wants to go with Hermione, but instead makes fun of her for lying about having a date (she's not). Harry, at least, does one better and has the courage to ask his crush Cho Chang out, but she already has a date. While his Patronus may be a stag, Harry sure doesn't want to be one at the dance. He secures the Patel twins as his and Ron's dates.
Harry's miserable time at the Yule Ball is his own darn fault. He doesn't even try to have fun with Parvati. Instead, he refuses to dance with her, preferring to sit in a huff and mope about Cho. Listen, there's nothing wrong with going to the dance with your second choice, but Harry commits the cardinal sin of showing Parvati that's all she is. Harry is the world's most ho-ho-horrible date.
As much as Harry can be an insufferable humble-bragger, he never uses Dumbledore's Army as an ego booster. In fact, the whole thing is Hermione's idea. It's born out of a boiling anger that the noxious Professor Umbridge refuses to teach practical spells in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry is actually dubious that anyone besides Ron and Hermione would have any interest in the group. He's beyond shocked when a throng of students show up to take part.
Let's be clear: the D.A. isn't about the thrill of being mischievous. Under Umbridge's regime, being a member could have serious, dangerous consequences. Harry, being the figurehead of the organization, has the most to lose. Yet he perseveres, because he genuinely wants his friends and classmates to be battle-ready when it comes time to the fight against Lord Voldemort. With Harry at the helm, the members of the D.A. make actual progress. Neville goes from zero to snake-decapitating hero. Harry's pride in the D.A. has nothing to do with himself and everything to do with his friends.
Of all the people Harry has to thank for becoming a trained wizard, Hagrid is at the top of the list. He's the one who rescues Harry from the Dursleys and tells him the truth about his parents. So, when Buckbeak -Hagrid's beloved Hippogriff- is unfairly found guilty of being dangerous, it would make sense for Harry to help with the appeal, right?
It would, but that's not what happens. In fact, Harry almost forgets about it all together. Sure, he's busy with school and Quidditch, but look at Hermione. She's taking so many subjects she needs a Time-Turner to fit them all in, and somehow she still manages to play a crucial role in the appeal. It's thanks to her and her alone that Buckbeak becomes the Hippogriff Who Lived.
The best kind of friend is somebody who makes us believe in ourselves. Ron has a rough start as Keeper on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and continues to psych himself out. As both captain of the team and Ron's BFF, Harry intervenes by theatrically pretending to spike Ron's pumpkin juice with Felix Felicis, the liquid luck potion. Under a placebo effect, Ron plays a stellar game.
Felix Felicis is strictly against Quidditch rules, so both Harry and Ron could have gotten into a lot of trouble if Harry used the real thing. Even pretending is a moral gray area, but Harry is no stranger to that. Nor is he a stranger to being a good friend.
It is a classic human flaw to want what you can't have. Harry only likes Ginny after she starts dating Dean Thomas. It makes the reader wonder if Harry ever would have had feelings for Ginny at all had he not caught her and Dean making out. She blatantly had a crush on Harry for years on end and Harry felt nothing then.
Should Harry be raked over the coals for his feelings of jealousy? No. Romance is complicated, particularly when you're a teenager without much dating experience. However, Harry is straight-up possessive of Ginny, and a bad friend to Dean as he roots for their relationship to fail. Things work out okay for Harry in that department, as he goes on to marry Ginny. It's too bad Ron didn't give Harry that dating manual sooner. He could have saved Ginny, Dean, and the reader much aggravation.
Even though Harry, Ron, and Hermione are the golden trio of besties, both the guys take her for granted way too many times. They tease her for being so studious, yet depend on her for exam notes and essay edits. Still, Harry knows that he owes his good grades and his life to Hermione, who has saved him on several occasions.
He mentions Hermione's abilities to Professor Slughorn (aka the biggest hanger-on of all time), telling him that Hermione is the best student in their grade. This interaction directly results in Hermione's invitation to join Slughorn's sycophantic organization, the Slug Club. While that's really flattering, Hermione is more touched about Harry's kind words.
For this one, only Movie Harry is in the hot seat, as this odious event doesn't happen in the book. In his third year, Harry is the only student not to have permission to visit Hogsmeade. Naturally, Harry breaks the rules and goes anyway, hiding under his invisibility cloak. His mischievous adventures are meant to be jaunty fun for the viewer, but then he goes and swipes Neville's lollipop.
Really, dude? What are you, a second grade schoolyard bully? Harry has enough money to buy the entire sweets trolley on the Hogwarts Express, so why commit petty theft? This would have been a bush league stunt if it were even Malfoy's lollipop, but the fact that it's Neville's makes this crime worthy of being thrown into Azkaban. Yes, some fans will try and tell you that the lollipop wasn't intentionally grabbed, but it's hard to say.
People don't like what they can't understand. That's why so many students are cruel to Luna. While Harry may find her just as eccentric as everyone else, he's one of the only people who sees her for the insightful person she really is. He's incredulous to Luna's optimism that her stolen shoes would turn up. Most people would have simply written Luna off as a delusional ninny, but Harry respects her serene outlook on humanity.
Harry may have flaws, but he definitely learns from them. When it's time to find a date for the Slug Club Christmas party, Harry desperately wants to bring Ginny, but she's dating Dean. Luna is the perfect alternative, and rather than asking her as merely a filler, like Parvati, Harry legitimately enjoys Luna's company and shows her a good time. Harry's chivalry is like Luna's shoes: it shows up when you least expect it.
Toward the end of the series, Harry is so moody that he makes Edward Cullen seem calm and serene. It's true, Harry's had a rough go of things. Having your mortal enemy come back to life and nobody believing you is definitely a bummer. But hey, here's a nifty thought: maybe don't take your frustration out on Ron and Hermione, two of the only people who believe you. The fifth book really should have been called Harry Potter and the Temper Tantrums.
But that's nothing compared to his blow-up in the final novel. Being on the run from powerful wizards who want to kill you doesn't exactly bring out the best in you. But Harry should have known better than to tell Ron he should leave. First of all, Ron was wearing a Horcrux that brought out the worst in him. Not the best time to pick a fight, Harry. Second, Ron is risking his life to fight alongside Harry. As is Hermione, who, if caught, will be executed simply for being a Muggle-born. Harry should remember that his war is against Voldemort, not his friends.
This was a defining moment for Harry, both as a friend and character. As the world's most famous wizard, Harry could have his pick of friends. He could have had a pretty sweet life riding with Malfoy and the Slytherin crew. But while Harry may have his moments of arrogance, he's no snob. Malfoy's attitude towards Muggle-borns, the Weasleys, and really anyone he doesn't like, churns Harry's stomach.
Ron has his faults too, but he's a true-blue friend to Harry from the moment they meet. They have a bond that is real, and would go on to be everlasting. When Harry is sorted into Gryffindor over Slytherin, he's not just choosing bravery; he's choosing friendship too.