In June 1997, after years of dealing with snarky rejections from publishers, an unknown writer named Joanne Rowling released her debut novel. It was an obscure-sounding book about a young orphan, who goes to a boarding school (a decrepit old castle in Scotland) for magical misfits.
Rowling couldn’t even use her full name, as the publisher believed that it could turn off potential readers. For Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, she went by the simple name of JK Rowling instead. It wasn’t the most illustrious start for the series, all in all, and the author herself remained modest about her expectations.
What a difference a few years make. Needless to say, the Harry Potter franchise has become a worldwide phenomenon, and made Rowling the world’s first billionaire author (she’s since lost that status through all of her charitable work, but still). Pottermania is an all-encompassing, super powerful force. It may have been some years now since the series technically finished (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and such are keeping the wizarding world going), but a Potterhead will always be a Potterhead.
There’s endless discussion material to share on forums, new GIFs and memes to irritate non-fans with, and of course, costumes to wear at conventions. The world of Harry Potter cosplay is a great and varied one. From the classic Hogwarts robes to mythological creatures, there’s something for any level of cosplayer to try their hand at. Check out our roundup of some of the most amazing Potter-themed cosplays around.
25 Hermione Shouldn't Have Any Problems Getting People To Sign Up For SPEW
In terms of the movies, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my favourite for sure. Unlike a lot of these book-to-big-screen adaptions, I’ve always felt that the movies did the source material justice, none more so than Goblet of Fire.
In amongst it all, though, you can’t slice a 600 page novel into a neat two movie without something going AWOL here and there. One thing I’d love to have seen in the film is Hermione’s creation of SPEW (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare). Still, thanks to the great work of cosplayer Ginny Di, that classic Potter moment lives on.
I like the manifesto she’s putting forward, if you take my meaning.
I don’t know about you, but I fail to see how she received such little support for her SPEW campaigns.
24 When You Give The Marauder's Map Your Most Smouldering Gaze
As the books and movies both attest, Harry is given the Marauder’s Map by Fred and George in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This enchanted map of Hogwarts school shows all of the secret passages and such, and even everyone within Hogwarts and their locations. Just how the marauders managed to make such a thing, I have zero clue, but this is freaking wizard GPS in action right here. This is the Google Maps of the wizarding world.
Needless to say, Harry was immediately transfixed by the map, and would spent hours in bed at night poring over it. Whether he would ever sit in his skimpies while doing so, giving the camera a look that could straight up Incendio the lens, I couldn’t tell you.
23 Why Does Voldemort Get All Of The Best Followers?
The thing about the Harry Potter world is, there are a whole lot of extras and minor characters around here. In a wide shot of the school at large, there are going to be some major students and teachers, and a whole gaggle of unnamed, largely irrelevant characters.
You know, the sorts of people you see listed in the credits as 'Student #38473.'
During the climactic battle of the last movie, we see a huge mass of Voldemort’s henchpeople, and can probably name about ten of them if that. The point I’m getting at is, these unknown people need their moment in the spotlight too, and talented cosplayers are here to give it to them.
Cosplayer michellemonique isn’t a specific Voldemort follower, you understand. Just Unnamed Female Dark Mark Bearer #1342. She’s got some darn spirit, though. You fire that flashy green spell of yours, lady.
22 No Need For Incendio To Warm Things Up Here
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the highlands of Scotland, where Hogwarts is located in the magical world. If you haven’t, I’m going to give you a spoiler alert right now: it’s dang cold. Britain, of course, isn’t known for its super hot climate (the rainy season in England started… around the year 1457, and has continued without a break since), but the snow-capped highlands of Scotland are something else.
When it comes to Christmas at Hogwarts, this isn’t a problem at all. Heavy snowfall is always beautiful to look at, and Fred and George Weasley got the chance to enchant snowballs so that they’d chase Quirrell around and bounce off of his turban.
Most importantly, snow makes for amazing, theme-appropriate cosplays.
21 Luna Lovegood Is Always Being Hounded By Pixies
If an iconic bushy-haired Gryffindor and member of the Golden Trio wasn’t enough, here comes a member of an entirely different house. The eccentric and lovable Ravenclaw Luna Lovegood is another of Ginny Di’s Potter cosplays, and man does she just nail the role.
As you can see, this cosplay series is based around lampooning the pinup photos of yore. We’re talking freaking ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic levels of perfect parodying, right here (don’t try and tell me he isn’t a musical genius; I’ll fight you on the street).
In this case, we’re trading a budgerigar for one of those darn Cornish pixies that demolished the classroom in Chamber of Secrets. This is some excellent work for sure, and the result is simply (brace yourselves, it’s pun o’clock) magic.
20 Pinup Ginny Weasley And The Chamber Of Secrets
For our final delve into the pinup parodies of Ginny Di, we’re taking a look at none other than her magical namesake herself.
Ginny Weasley, as fans will know, had one heckola of a rollercoaster ride throughout the series.
In the first movie, she could barely squeak out a single two-word line (“Good luck” to Harry, as he set off for Platform 9 ¾ for the first time). By the end of the whole thing, she was the love interest of the most famous non-evil wizard of recent times. When questionable memes and GIFs are being made of that time you knelt down to tie up Harry’s shoelace, you know you’ve hit the big time.
It was a shame about that time you were briefly super-evil while possessed by a hunk of Voldemort’s soul, but still. We’ve all got our baggage.
19 When You Catch A Glimpse Of Draco Malfoy’s Dark Mark
Much like gaming, cosplay has started to become a much more mainstream affair than it used to be. Granted, it’s not quite to the same extent, and you’re going to get a funny look or two on public transport dressed as Goku, but this is true. Myself, I’m no dedicated cosplayer, but when I do visit Comic Con here in the UK, I dabble. There’s no judgment, and that’s great to experience.
As the idea has become more widespread, people have started to toy with and question the boundaries.
Particularly when it comes to gender. Why are people locked out of certain cosplays simply for this reason? Why is it even a concern at all? Limitstorm’s Draco Malfoy, pictured here, is an excellent take on the conniving Slytherin.
18 When Ron Rocks That Weasley Jumper Like Never Before
Speaking of which, here comes Ron Weasley. Now, the Ron of the movies and books, you may remember, was never a fan of his patented Weasley Jumper™. This magnificent garment was given to each of the Weasley children at Christmas, knitted by Molly, and Ron’s was always a ghastly shade of maroon.
In his eyes, at any rate. The colour goes just perfectly with this cosplay. I don’t see any corned beef sandwiches in the shot, but you can’t have anything. This is a great and creative take on the character, and that’s what matters. The background may resemble one of the blander rooms at Hogwarts (it’s got a half magical, half doctor’s surgery waiting room sort of vibe), but that’s nothing to get persnickety about. Great work by Alicia Sivert.
17 When That Tie’s Probably Against Regulations, But You Let It Slide
As fans will know darn well, each of the four Hogwarts houses sports their own emblem and colour scheme (the scarlet and gold lion for Gryffindor, yellow and black badger for Hufflepuff, green and silver serpent for Slytherin, and blue and bronze eagle for Ravenclaw).
Why Ravenclaw’s isn’t, you know, AN ACTUAL GOSH-DARN RAVEN is anybody’s guess. That’s not the point here, though. The important thing is that, in the movies, the students each wear the same robes, but adapted to their own specific houses. The great tide of typically-magical black robes is broken up by scarves –and other embellishments-- that reflect the wearer’s house colours.
There are always those fearless rebels who cannot and will not be tamed, though. You have them in every school, the uniform-flouters, and Hogwarts is no different. A purple tie? I think not.
16 Voldemort And His Attractive Companion Hit The Town
Everyone’s favourite arch-nemesis Lord Voldemort is an interesting soul.
A purely malevolent villain, sure, but never a one-dimensional one.
Through the course of the series, Rowling gave us some interesting insight into his childhood and the reasons behind his ideals and actions, as awful as they were.
None of this, however, detracts from the fact that he’s a horrifying old due with no nose, and a face so squashed he looks like he ran headlong into the wrong wall at King’s Cross Station. To achieve this, Raph Fiennes was subject to some strenuous makeup and post-production shenanigans.
Cosplayers, sadly, don’t have the cash, make-up artists or fancy technology to make this happen. None of these things will ever phase them, though, and this is a fantastic Voldemort if ever I’ve seen one.
15 When Your Polyjuice Transformation Into Bellatrix Lestrange Goes Flawlessly
Oh, Bellatrix Lestrange. Where do we even start with her?
Lord Voldemort’s enigmatic right-hand woman is one of those characters who, for me, is even more hateful than the man himself. She’s right up there with the loathsome likes of Dolores Umbridge. While the Dark Lord himself certainly has no qualms about the evil deeds he’s getting himself into, he just doesn’t seem to take the same pleasure in them that these two ladies do. He’s a shrewd and calculating villain, while Bellatrix comes across as nothing less than completely demented. Her unpredictability, her raw aggression and her constant taunting of her victims makes her even more frightening; to me at least.
This shot, from cosplayer Alvi, captures a different side of the infamous dark witch. As menacing as ever, but there’s something playful about her too.
14 Hermione Granger And The Wall She's Super Fond Of
Now, I can’t speak for everybody, but I really never imagined Hermione as the type to rock a tattoo sleeve. She totally could, of course, because why the heckles not? If it’s what you want to do, you just go right ahead and rock out with it (in later life, you understand, not the eleven-year-old we meet in Philosopher’s Stone).
That’s the wonder of cosplay, though. Anybody can be anybody they want to be. At Comic-Con once, I was treated to the magnificent spectacle of a man with a huge lumberjack beard, dressed in full Cinderella costume. Did he look fantastic? You’d better believe he did.
Alexa Poletti here, you’ll notice, does not have a lumberjack beard. She makes a Grade A Hermione Granger, though.
13 When You’d Be Glad To Join Moaning Myrtle In Her Toilet Any Time
Moaning Myrtle may have been a bit player in the series, but I always found her as one of the more intriguing residents of Hogwarts. As we learn in the second installment, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Myrtle met her fate the last time the chamber was opened. She was a Muggle-born witch, losing her life in 1943 when she was attacked by the basilisk that dwelt within the school (under Tom Riddle’s orders).
The books present her as a much more tragic figure, while the Myrtle of the movies is ‘a little sensitive’ but provides some great comedic moments.
Her popping out in the prefect’s bathroom while Harry is having a bath is pure gold.
She’s a rather less common cosplay, but as @deliciousreads shows here, he looks great when done well.
12 When You Go Full Ginny On Everybody
Moaning Myrtle may be a more uncommon, quirky cosplay choice, but sometimes, you just want to stick with a classic. In the great wide world of Harry Potter cosplay, the usual suspects are the most popular. Harry himself, of course. Hermione, Ron. One of the other more popular members of the Weasley clan you’ll tend to see? Ginny, of course.
This makes perfect sense, what with her being the only girl of Molly and Arthur’s many children. The thing about often-cosplayed characters, though, is that this is where you separate the truly experienced, professional cosplayers from the hobbyists.
Take Vesta777, here, who has her Ginny down pat. This is some fantastic work for sure. She looks more like Ginny than Ginny does. You’ve got to appreciate that, and the color-coordinated accents there.
11 When You Suddenly Change Your Mind About What You Want To Do At School
Now, some Harry Potter cosplay is just going to be a traditional school uniform, and who can blame any cosplayers. Hogwarts is handily the coolest school ever conceived, who wouldn't want to be a student there. Of course, not all students are A+ academics like Hermione Jean Granger, sometimes they're going to be interested in more a different set of skills. Magic is all around us, it doesn't need to literally be sparks and fireballs — no way. MordsithCara has taken this cosplay and fully developed the impassioned side of witchcraft and wizardry. No Harry Potter fan is going to complain about this one. It's sure to make everyone Wingardium Leviosa.
10 Rowena Ravenclaw: Definitely Not The Old Maid We Pictured
Speaking of original (and frankly inspired) choices for Harry Potter cosplay, how many Rowena Ravenclaws do you tend to see? Not darn many, that’s how many.
The thing about the Potterverse is that it’s such a vast and varied world. Characters come and go, play a major role or simply get a passing mention. All magical people (and otherwise, of course) deserve a little more love and attention, particularly where we knew very little about them.
The four Hogwarts founders are in a unique position.
While they played a crucial role in the series, in terms of the school’s creation, they lived centuries ago. We see much more of Rowena’s daughter (Helena Ravenclaw, the Grey Lady) in the final movie, but get nary a glimpse of her super famous mother. We don’t have to worry, though, when cosplay talents like Aoi -Berry are here to bring them to life.
9 Harry Potter, The Boy Who Gives Us Life
Through the course of the series, it’s constantly emphasised that Harry Potter’s journey and destiny is closely reflected by Neville Longbottom’s own. The original prophesy, which set all of these climactic events in motion, could have been referring to either boy. Voldemort inadvertently chose his own arch nemesis, as Dumbledore points out in the books.
They’re both a little awkward and clumsy, both born around the same time; to parents who have defied Voldemort before. Either one of them would have fit. They’re much more similar than you might think. Most importantly, the passage of time treated both of them super, super kindly. They sure did blossom, as any fan of Matthew Lewis will tell you. Just check out Harry here, and tell me he’s not a fine hunk of a man.
8 The Best Lily And James Since... Lily And James
You know, there are some cosplays that are just too poignant for our delicate superfan hearts to bear. In researching this article, I can across a Fred and George cosplay duo, in which the ‘Fred’ was wearing a skeleton costume. Needless to say, I cannot condone that sort of thing in any way. It was, is and will always be too soon to pull shenanigans like that/
Leave my feels alone, you swines.
On the other hand, similar concepts can be deeply touching, as far as character tributes go. Not only is this an excellent portrayal of both characters, it’s super sweet and touching as well. These are the unique ideas that really make a cosplayer’s talent shine. It’s about more than the costume, it’s about what the costume represents.
7 The Young Marauders
On a similar note, here we have some of the series’ most beloved, sadly underutilized and just as sadly lost characters (and Peter Pettigrew, who’s rat-ing around in the background like the shady little d-bag he is).
James Potter, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew made up the Marauders, a group of school friends from their own time at Hogwarts. JK Rowling gives us brief glimpses back into these times, in the form of flashbacks, and they don’t paint anybody in a favourable light.
Harry was mortified to see his father bullying a young and just-as-greasy Severus Snape, but there was more to the story than that. Lilta- photo gives us a window into a group of friends enjoying the happiest time of their lives together, and all four of the group look perfect.
6 He Wears Your Grandma’s Clothes, He Looks Incredible
Of course, all Potterheads are going to remember this moment. This oddly comedic little incident in a Defense Against the Dark Arts class wasn’t all that big in the book, but in the movie… oh boy.
In this scene, Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape proved that he can unutterably fabulous in any and all possible outfits.
Even this one, straight out of the wardrobe of a woman who’s probably almost as old as Dumbledore.
With an effortless flick of that glorious Snape wig, the dear departed Alan Rickman owned every scene he featured in. His Neville’s grandma getup is sometimes adopted by more experienced cosplayers looking for a challenge. Needless to say, Daryl here passed the test with flying colours. That’s an amazingly faithful take on the character.
5 Extracurricular Activities In Uniform
These Harry Potter Cosplay get better and better, this time featuring another stunning student of Hogwarts proudly wearing their school colors. Sometimes fandom takes shape in the form of classic outfits like this one, it doesn't always need to relate to a specific character. This cosplay comes from a nameless cosplayer who's posted themselves online. Of course, when it comes to Harry Potter fandom, sometimes the internet is going to run wild with an image and include every cosplay they can get their hands on. We're not complaining, this cosplay is both accurate and captures the magic of Harry Potter in one big swoop. With any luck, this cosplayer went on to do all the different schools in Hogwarts.
4 The Early Days Of Bellatrix Lestrange
Tom Riddle was, in his younger days, a handsome and charming little dude. He was notorious for his ability to wheedle information and favour from the right people, helped along by his understated good looks and general smarminess.
As he descended deeper into the dark arts, people tended to go off of him. There’s something about a gradual transformation into a super creepy reptilian snake-man that tends to turn people away. Funny that.
By the same token, Bellatrix Lestrange’s descent into evil took a toll on her looks as well.
In this cosplay, MegynMuse presents a young woman of Slytherin house, presumably inspired by the notorious dark witch herself. I’m not sure what spell she’s cooking up there, but it’s probably nothing that dear old Dumbledore would have approved of.
3 When You BECOME Luna Lovegood
Of all of the characters I’d read about in the books prior to the movies, Luna Lovegood was one of the ones I was most curious about. This super eccentric Ravenclaw comes to Hogwarts as the Golden Trio begin their second year, but we don’t meet her at that time.
When we finally do, in Order of the Phoenix, we’re left with… well, the kind of first expression you’d expect of somebody who’s clearly a couple of nargles short of a crumple-horned snorkack. I couldn’t wait to see who’d portray her in the film, and how they’d approach the character, but Evanna Lynch just nailed it.
Cosplayer iwant2believe, in turn, completely nailed it too. If only she’d been holding her magazine upside down (rookie mistake!), this would have been perfect.
2 And Then When You BECOME Hermione Granger
Well, darn. We’re coming to the end of this little rundown of Grade A Harry Potter cosplay now, and we’ve seen some remarkable things. We’re going to keep on trucking for a little longer, though, so let’s get straight to one of the best Hermione Granger cosplays I’ve seen.
If you squint a little, this could totally be Emma Watson in action.
I often thought that Watson was a little too conventionally pretty for the role the book describes (huge, bushy hair; which she only has once, when she goes full ‘Weird Al’ in the humid Potions classroom), but that could just be me.
Lavi-A-V here looks great in the getup too, but she also exudes the quiet strength and courage that the character is known for.
1 When You Effortlessly Rock Hermione's Ball Dress
Speaking of Hermione, we’ve already touched on the fact that she’s a popular choice for Harry Potter cosplayers. That’s only to be expected, what with her being the female lead (in a manner of speaking) and all. With that in mind, a lot of cosplayers familiar with the scene may want to dress as her, but still set themselves apart and try something new in the process.
How to do this? Go all alternate skin on everyone, that’s how. For instance, I myself wanted to cosplay Final Fantasy VIII’s Squall Leonheart, but in his less popular SeeD uniform guise. In ElleRoz's case, we’ve got Hermione, all decked out in her lavish coming-of-age-moment gown from the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire. This one also has the advantage of not being too ‘cosplay,’ as it’s just an elegant outfit in its own right.