In literature, the principal opponent of the main character is referred to as the antagonist. Antagonist is the opposite of protagonist and is derived from the Greek word antagonists, which means opponent or rival. An antagonist is also a really fancy way of saying, "the bad guy".
Obviously, You Know Who is the driving force of the Harry Potter series. He is the ultimate bad guy, the darkest of all the Lords, perhaps the biggest antagonist of all time. But, he�s not the only one. Throughout the series, other antagonists appear. Who are they? Why are they there?
In this editorial we are going to focus on some of these baddies and decide who among them is the worst. Quirrell? Dudley? Malfoy? Umbridge? Mrs. Norris? Someone else? By the time we have finished, the second biggest pain in Harry's You Know What will be chosen. Then, to top things off, we�ll take a look at future antagonists. Who�s next and why...?
The Dursley Family- "The worst kind of Muggles imaginable." They�re unabashedly rude and they treat Harry worse than a Malfoy House Elf. From the very beginning, it is obvious that the Dursleys don�t truly care about Harry or even like him for that matter. Yet, there poor Harry is, sharing their house and wearing Dudley�s leftovers. From a literature standpoint, the Dursleys serve a major purpose: They make you feel sorry for Harry immediately. Because the Dursleys are SO awful, you can�t help but like Harry and you also can�t help relating to him. Almost everyone knows what it�s like to be treated badly and Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley do it very well indeed. The Dursleys are fun in a horrible way, but they are clearly much more than a beginning. They�ve been left around for one simple reason- they still serve the plot. Look for more antagonizing from the Dursleys in the future. Hopefully by the end of book seven they learn their lesson.
The Malfoy Family- You�ve got to love those Malfoys. Nobody puts on a better act of superiority. In particular, Draco exhibited his charm from the start and continues to antagonize Harry and Co. every chance he gets.
The Malfoys are mean. There's really is no other way to put it. They are the characters you love to hate. Their personalities are common, yet colorful. You love them, you hate them, and if given the chance, you would kick them in the shins or worse. The Malfoys are perfect antagonists, especially Draco. He�s always around to cause trouble, make derisive and racist comments, and give Gryffindors grief. The best part about a Malfoy is this: No matter how they try, they will NEVER come out on top. They�re the scapegoats. We long to see them down and out. Harry may not be able to completely defeat the Dark Lord before the end of a book, but he sure knows how to pull one over on Malfoy. And we love it.
The Death Eater Brigade- The Dark Lord�s lemmings have caused quite a bit of trouble for our hero. It�s hard to say which of the group is the worst. Personally, I think it�s Peter Pettigrew. I mean, let�s face it- he�s the reason James and Lily are dead. Voldemort may have done the actual cursing, but Wormtail served up the Potters on the proverbial silver platter. Depending on what side you�re on, he�s the best and worst Death Eater.
Barty Crouch Jr. is of course, a close second. His stint as Mad-Eye Moody really shook things up. The actions of Barty led to Voldemort�s full return. And if the Harry Potter series continues to follow a classic literature pattern, those same actions will also lead to Voldemort�s demise. "Most loyal follower"...Ha!
The Professors Three- You know who they are...Professor Quirinus Quirrell, Professor Severus Snape, and...ahem...Umbridge. (Sorry, I can�t bring myself to put Professor in front of her name. She doesn�t deserve it.) They have all played a different role and they have all caused Harry some serious drama.
First we have Professor Quirinus "I Keep the Dark Lord Attached to the Back of My Head" Quirrell. He did his best to kill Harry, but of course, his best wasn't good enough. Thanks to Lily Harry defeated Quirrell rather easily.
Second is the dastardly Professor Snape. Snape has proved Sirius' statement that not all wizards are separated into good and Death Eaters. His pure hatred of Harry is petty and mean. He is cruel to other students and consistently unfair. Yet, as a member of the Order, Snape plays both sides of the fence. If it came down to it, he would protect Harry.
Last and certainly not least, we have Dolores Jane Umbridge. This is the type of character that makes others want to pull their hair out. The toadlike Umbridge wrecked havoc at Hogwarts and caused extreme distress among everyone but Filch. Her self-justification only added to her evil. Umbridge was most annoying and I for one am glad that she was carried off by a crazed herd of centaurs. It was a fitting end.
What is this cat's deal. That wacky caretaker, Filch, must have rubbed off on her. This feisty feline loves keeping students in line. Why does she care? Could there be more to Mrs. Norris than meets the eye? We'll have to wait and see.
Now that we have our a-list, time to pick a winner. Hard choice, but it has to be the Death Eater Brigade. They have proven to be very bad for Harry's health. They're also dangerous to other wizards everywhere. Their leader is clearly mental and they follow him anyway. Now we can add stupid to their list of traits. Definitely dangerous.
The Death Eaters will probably continue to antagonize in the next two books, making them (You Know Who aside) not only the current winner, but also the probable winner for the next biggest pain in Harry's you know what award. Congratulations to evil lemmings everywhere.
That's it for this edition. As always, thank you for reading. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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