Although The Secrets of Dumbledore released earlier this year to middling success, it’s obvious that no spinoff, prequel, or sequel to the Harry Potter saga will ever outshine the original. And a big part of this enduring appeal is the unique dialogue that is seen throughout the franchise that is simply full of charm and wit.
The smart and hilarious insults different characters used in the series were all the more memorable for this. That’s why Ranker asked fans of the series to vote on which iconic putdowns stood out the most to them, and these are the results.
Note: Ranker lists are live and continue to accrue votes, so some rankings may have changed after this publishing.
10 Severus Snape
“Weasley’s Wand Causes Devastation With The Simplest Spells. We’ll Be Sending Potter To The Hospital Wing In A Matchbox.”
Ron ended up taking some collateral damage as Snape set up a duel between Harry and Draco in the Dueling Club in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In order to dismiss the idea of Harry dueling Ron, he unleashes some of his trademark scathing sarcasm on Ron’s shortcomings in the spell-casting area.
It’s also impressive how clear he makes it that his concern for Harry couldn’t be less genuine. When it comes to scolding students, Snape is the master.
9 Draco Malfoy
“Longbottom, If Brains Were Gold, You’d Be Poorer Than Weasley.”
Although Draco may not be as bad as many people think, there’s no denying that he had a vicious streak that even his close friends tried to avoid being on the receiving end of. Neville Longbottom was, unfortunately, a natural target in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when Draco was just establishing himself as an antagonist.
Fans on Ranker put their sympathy for Neville aside to appreciate that Draco puts effort into his insults and they’re actually quite clever for a young boy. A neat turn of phrase that somehow also managed to insult Ron’s circumstances perfectly sums up the best and worst parts of Draco in a few words.
8 Hermione Granger
“At Least No One On The Gryffindor Team Had To Buy Their Way In. They Got In On Pure Talent.”
There isn’t anything more satisfying than seeing a bully put in their place, and that’s what makes Hermione’s savage retort to Draco in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets so perfect. After Draco returns to his favorite topic of Ron’s lack of wealth, Hermione reminds him that he did not do anything to earn his place on the Slytherin quidditch team aside from being rich.
Perhaps even more memorable than the insult is the few seconds of silence after as a furious Draco struggles to come up with a decent comeback.
7 Hermione Granger
“You! You Foul, Loathsome, Evil Little Cockroach!”
Still stinging from the news that Buckbeak was to be executed, Hermione reminded Draco why she was not someone worth provoking in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Animal insults may not be particularly clever, but the venom with which Hermione spat them while pointing her wand at his throat was genuinely intimidating.
Although there is some disagreement over Hermione’s movie portrayal, she’s still a character that fans have a lot of love for and that explains why this iconic moment is still talked about. Draco’s sniveling response also makes it clear that this is something someone needed to tell him for a long time.
6 Harry Potter
“The Toilet’s Never Had Anything As Horrible As Your Head Down It — It Might Be Sick.”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a treasure trove of family-friendly yet incredibly harsh insults that are still hilarious to this day. One that stuck out was Harry’s comment to Dudley that neatly turned the tables on the boy who delighted in teasing him.
The slightly childish nature of the insult, being relatively simple and making use of toilet humor, disguises just how brutal of a putdown this is. The torment that the Dursleys put Harry through makes them very easy to dislike and it makes these small moments of revenge incredibly cathartic.
5 Harry Potter
“Well Done. So You’ve Finally Learned The Days Of The Week.”
Every moment that includes Harry putting Dudley in his place is bound to win over Harry Potter fans, and this sarcastic insult from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is no exception. Dudley makes it easy to insult him, luckily, as he’s extremely obnoxious despite not being very smart.
Whilst not everyone loves Harry either, it is impossible not to cheer him on as he takes advantage of the perfect opportunity to insult Dudley’s intelligence. Harry’s times at the Dursley’s are never easy to watch, but it’s moments like this that make it all worth it for the audience.
4 Rubeus Hagrid
“Yeh’ll Do Wha ‘Yer Told. Or I’ll Be Takin’ A Leaf Outta Professor Moody’s Book… I hear Yeh Made A Good Ferret, Malfoy.”
Draco Malfoy getting turned into a ferret by Mad-Eye Moody is one of the highlights of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and, despite McGonagall’s insistence that transfiguration is not to be used as a punishment, Hagrid is more than happy to wave the threat of it over an insubordinate Malfoy’s head.
Hagrid is one of those fan-favorite characters that manage to be the highlight whenever they’re on-screen, but the friendly half-giant rarely throws out insults without reason. On this rare occasion where he’s tested by Draco, who can not help getting on everyone’s nerves, it’s wonderful to see the typically sweet Hagrid get a little spicy.
3 Draco Malfoy
“Honestly, Goyle, If You Were Any Slower, You’d Be Going Backwards.”
Proof, if ever any was needed, that being close friends with Draco Malfoy is not nearly enough to avoid his jibes, the boy takes time to insult his fellow Slytherin in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Not a reference to his walking speed but to the speed at which Goyle manages to reach basic conclusions, Draco puts one of his lackeys in his place.
Compared to when Draco targets some of the other characters in the series, it’s hard to feel too much sympathy for Goyle, which makes it a lot easier to enjoy how hilarious some of these putdowns are. Sly, brutal, and completely unnecessary, for Harry Potter fans that do like Draco, this is one of the reasons why.
2 Molly Weasley
“Not My Daughter, You B * tch!”
Molly Weasley is one of the most heroic side characters in the series, and this moment in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is her at her best. Whilst anyone else would be worried about provoking a fearsome Bellatrix, Molly, spurred on by her desire to save her family, tells her exactly what she thinks.
It’s not the cleverest insult, but it had the effect of enraging Bellatrix so she could duel her one on one and gain an incredible victory. It’s also absolutely badass to brutally insult one of the most infamous witches in the series before laying waste to her.
1 Hermione Granger
“Just Because You Have The Emotional Range Of A Teaspoon Doesn’t Mean We All Have!
Not all great insults have to be mean-spirited. In Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHermione addresses Harry and Ron’s lack of consideration for Cho’s feelings with a hilarious but light-hearted line that even the boys can’t help but laugh about.
It’s a great reminder of how close the three remain even when events cause strife between them. The fact that they can exchange jokes and insults without getting upset at each other goes a long way to demonstrating the strength of their friendship. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why fans loved this moment.
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