When it comes to an all-consuming ravenous pop culture juggernaut like Harry Potter, it’s tough to know where to begin. For me, the whole Harry Potter thing began when I was ten or so, reading the first instalment, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s Stone; your stone-owner preferences may differ).
At the time, Pottermania hadn’t taken off yet, and I was still feeling fairly smug and refined for having discovered this relatively obscure book by myself. What a super sophisticated child I was, reading this story about a magical British boarding school.
Soon, though… well, we all know what happened next. Granted, Pottermania may not have swept through schools the way Pokémon did (remember the madness? Cards being banned after kids were attacked in the streets for their holo Charizards?), but one thing was certain: Halloween costumes were never going to be the same again.
JK Rowling has never really been one to embrace the global celebrity lifestyle, preferring to champion certain causes (and unleash great torrents of snark where necessary) on Twitter. Nevertheless, the scale of her achievement cannot be understated. It might be an exaggeration to claim that she singlehandedly got a generation of children into reading, but really, it’s not much of an exaggeration.
The best part of all of this? The magical world is an amazing treasure trove of memes. Join me for a rundown of some of the greatest Harry Potter snark on the web. You won’t want to miss this.
25 When Ron And Professor McGonagall Share A Truly Magical Moment
On the subject of Harry Potter, there’s one super important thing to bring up: the whole books versus movies debate. A lot of the time, as we know, movie adaptions just fail to live up to the original source material. Where video games are concerned, in particular, you’re often left with a barrel of barely-relevant stuff with a name like Pirates of the Caribbean slapped on the front.
Now, it’s true that certain things from the Harry Potter books are missing from the movies. This is inevitable, when you’re trying to cut down a breezeblock-sized book’s worth of content into a couple of hours. At the same time, though, they were surprisingly faithful, and even added some truly inspired moments of their own.
This one, McGonagall’s announcement of the dance at the Yule Ball and her demonstration with Ron, was just darn priceless.
24 When Umbridge Is More Of A Villain Than Voldemort Could Ever Hope To Be
Now, don’t get me wrong here, there was definitely something a little off about Voldemort. You know that feeling you get sometimes, when you meet somebody and you just know they’re no good? I can’t quite put my finger on what it was about him. Maybe all of the evil, the megalomania, the general path of terror and destruction he left in his wake, that sort of thing. The subtle signs were all there.
This wasn’t a dude you wanted to bring home to meet your mama, however chill she was about the guys you dated.
Snark aside, for a lot of fans, the dastardly Dolores Umbridge was the real villain of the pieces. Hers was a more insidious, deceptive brand of evil, which is sometimes even worse than just throwing all of your hatred and crazy out there.
23 When The Pet Store Was All Out Of Ravens
The magical world, of course, isn’t supposed to make perfect, sound, logical sense. There are loopholes you’ve sometimes got to hop through to explain things for yourself. In a castle full of witches and wizards, who could magically clean the place in seconds, why is the caretaker the only one who can’t use magic? So he has a role to play, I guess, an important place in the magical world. Something along those lines.
This kind of stuff is all well and good, but there’s one thing I just can’t excuse. That even the most ardent of Potterheads cannot defend. Ravenclaw? An eagle? Come on, now, stop with the trolling. What do you take us for, Muggles?
Ravens are amazing creatures. Just ask Edgar Allan Poe.
22 When Severus Snape Shows Off His Legendary Party Trick- Paperchains
I don’t know about you, but I could sniff Severus Snape’s redemption from a mile away. I wasn’t expecting such deep revelations about his past and his relationship (platonic) with Lily, but I just knew that there was some double agent-ing going on behind the scenes.
No mere one-dimensional villain could look as fabulous as Alan Rickman did in that wig.
Nope. Nuh uh. Not happening.
It was a darn shame that he had to live a lie, though. There was an amazing, loving side to this guy that we never really got to see. Did you know, for instance, that he had a weekend job as a clown at kids’ birthday parties? His balloon animals were something truly magical.
Granted, that’s not even slightly true, but this meme makes me wish it were so. Blue Peter craft projects, away!
21 When You Pass On The Harry Potter Fandom Genes To The Next Generation
The thing about the true legendary shows is, simply ending their run means nothing. Next May, it’ll be fifteen years since the last Friends episode originally aired. Even so, channels like Comedy Central keep pumping out endless re-runs. Really, the show hasn’t gone anywhere.
The same’s true of Harry Potter. The main series was completed with the publishing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007 (or the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in 2011, if you prefer). Regardless of that, the Fantastic Beasts movies are still ongoing, and the core Potterheads are still as addicted to the franchise as ever.
My wife and I have zero doubt that, when our children come along, they’ll be sorted into houses and given their first wands. Just after they’ve chosen their starter Pokémon (which had better be Charmander).
20 When Polyjuice Potion Just Goes Too Far
Ever since we were first introduced to the concept of Polyjuice potion, back in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I’ve always felt totally uncomfortable with the whole idea. The possible applications of this when it comes to crime are just… frightening to even think about it.
Theoretically, someone could even (if they were true criminal masterminds) disguise themselves as you using the potion, saunter into a grocery store and rearrange the pyramids of oranges into a less attractive formation! This is the kind of evil we’re up against.
There was also that whole thing with Barty Crouch Jr/Alastor Moody.
With this Deathly Hallows moment, though, Polyjuice potion really did come in clutch. This scene was just fantastic to watch, too. Some excellent work on both actress’s parts.
19 When Ron Weasley Spoke For Us All At Exam Time
For a lot of us, I’d say that Ron is probably the most relatable of the so-called Golden Trio. Thanks to JK Rowling’s writing, all three of them are admirable, flawed, understandable people, but Ron’s just got the edge there for me. Between Harry’s bravery and Hermione’s super smarts, the pair are constantly being praised, while Ron’s just there. He’s brave and loyal and everything else too, but he’s also petty, jealous and ultimately lovable. He’s the Ross Gellar of Harry Potter, I guess you could say.
I see some of the best of myself and some of the worst of myself in this guy. When it comes to taking exams, in particular, I think you can understand exactly what I mean. That’s the face, right there. That is the very one. We’ve all been there.
18 When You'd Offer Your Soul To A Dementor For A Second Season Of Firefly
We’ve already touched on the fact that some TV shows are just laws unto themselves. They came in like a pop culture wrecking ball, as Miley Cyrus would probably tell you, and they’re here to stay. Like Mario, Pac-Man, Sonic The Hedgehog and all the rest, they’re more than just characters, movies and video games. They’re part of modern life.
By the same token, though, there are some TV shows that just aren’t given their time to shine.
One example many fans would cite is Joss Whedon’s space Western Firefly, which was cancelled only eleven episodes into its first season. Since it was taken off of the air in 2002, there have been petitions cropping up all over the place asking for more. Come on, Joss.
17 When Dumbledore Is An Uncontrollable Rebel Who Will Not And Cannot Be Tamed
As anyone who’s even dabbled in the series will know, Albus Dumbledore isn’t the sort of guy to set too much stock by the rules. There seems to be something about beardly old wizards and playing fast and loose with the rules (see also: Gandalf’s “A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to”).
In Dumbledore’s case, it’s totally fine to award Gryffindor house points whenever he fancies, or even just casually cancel all end-of-year exams on a whim (first years need to pass these exams to proceed to second year, if you remember). Never mind that, I’m Dumbledore.
You can’t apparate within Hogwarts, you say? Well, maybe you can’t. I’m Albus motherfreaking Dumbledore. Get on your broom, buddy boy.
16 When Voldemort Possesses The Milk In Your Refrigerator Again
We see you out there, suddenly somehow flying without a broom and breaking all darn rules of the physics of the magical world to suit yourself, and we’re not having it anymore. Stop that. Come down from the ceiling.
Come on, now, Voldemort. The world really has had enough of your shenanigans now.
That business where you lived in the back of Quirrell’s head for an entire school year was kind of fly, I’ll give you that. A neat party trick by all accounts. You’re going too far with this sort of thing, though. You don’t mess with somebody's milk cartons. Those are sacred objects. What if they had a bowl of cornflakes at the ready, which they now can’t eat because you’ve messed with the milk? How would you feel then? Do you understand how darn boring cornflakes are without even milk?
15 When Detentions At Hogwarts Are Super Serious Business
When Harry and his fellow first years arrived at Hogwarts for the first time, we, the reader, were seeing the place through fresh eyes as well. As such, we needed certain things to be established for us, right from the off. Establish them Rowling did.
Lesson number one was, this isn’t a school to take lightly. One of the first things we hear from the headmaster is the stern warning about the corridor on the third floor. Cerberus his freaking self-lives over there.
Writing lines in detention? Nah, you’ll be battling beasts from the depths of Beelzebub’s underpants hamper in your detentions, buddy boy. Only in your first year, mind you, then normal line-writing service will resume. You’ll be writing them with your own blood, sure, but that’s really a given at this point.
14 When Lockhart Gets Up To His Old Tricks In The Muggle World
Say what you will about Lockhart, but I actually quite liked the guy. His super charming, super capable act fooled nobody (nobody male, apparently, in any case), but there was a harmless sort of air about him. Opinions about movie Lockhart versus book Lockhart will differ, but either way, he was some nice comic relief for the most part.
Other than that business at St. Mungo’s, that was darn sad.
If I really had to choose a side there, though, I’d remind you that movie Lockhart has the bonus of being played by the magnificent Kenneth Branagh. Unlike his cowardly, conniving counterpart, Branagh’s resume is not a pack of lies. This accomplished actor and director has done all manner of high profile work. He did it himself, too.
13 When Harry Just Won't Let Up Against The Dark Lord
Harry. HARRY. You’ve been told about this before. Control yourself, guy. I know you’ve beaten the Dark Lord and everything. You don’t have to keep snarking on and on about it. There’s such a thing as a sore winner, you know?
As fans will know, the Chosen One isn’t afraid to throw some sass around. The movie adaptions struggled a little to get that across at times, but it’s definitely there. Some of his one-liners in Goblet of Fire could floor a raging dragon at a hundred paces.
When it comes to cheeking Voldemort right to his face, (book) Harry was right there too. Not only did he dare use his name (his actual birth name), but he goaded him relentlessly about the Elder Wand and its true allegiance.
I’m super sad that this meme isn’t an actual deleted scene somewhere.
12 When Hagrid's Wildlife Show Is A Surefire Hit
You know, there are many in the magical world who would see being expelled from Hogwarts as a disaster that you just can’t recover from. After all, what are you to do once your wand has been broken?
You can’t complete your magical education; you’re left more or less adrift.
This was the fate that met our hairy old buddy Rubeus Hagrid, after he was framed by Tom Riddle during their time at the school. Fortunately, Dumbledore being the kind of guy he is, he kept the half-giant at the school, giving him a job as Hogwarts’ gamekeeper.
He was the perfect candidate. After All, is anybody as enthusiastic about animals as Hagrid? Well, a certain Australian may have been. You’re darn right I’d watch the heckola out of this show if it were real.
11 When You've Just Had Enough Of Those Darn Snapes On That Darn Plane
As I say, then, any popular franchise, be it a video game, book series, TV show or movie, is going to get the harsh memeing treatment. That’s just the way things work here on the web. The most serious, emotional moments will become snarky jokes (stop with the Weasley twin memes, it will always be too soon), all in the name of cheap laughs.
Sometimes, though, the source material is just asking for it. Take Samuel L. Jackson’s brilliantly farcical Snakes on a Plane, for instance. Ever since its premise was first revealed, the movie’s just been a meme in and of itself. It’s been mocked, snarked and parodied out the wazoo, and deservedly so.
The best example of this is before your very eyes right now. Snapes on a Plane? That’s got movie of the year written all over it.
10 When You Were Hiding In That Forest In Albania For Too Darn Long
As Potterheads will know darn well, poor old Voldemort’s attack on Lily, James, and Harry didn’t work out so well for him. Trying to get his Avada Kadavra on for the third time that evening, his spell rebounded off of the Boy Who Lived, because he was rubber and Voldemort was glue. The upshot of all this was that Voldemort, clinging to some semblance of life by the skin of his Horcruxes, was forced to flee.
Hunted across the world by the forces of good, he was reduced to cowering in a distant forest in Albania. By the time he finally managed to return, he’d been away for a long darn time, and the world had changed dramatically.
What in heckola would he have thought if he’d gotten back into Pokémon today?
As of Ultra Sun and Moon, there are around one thousand different ‘mon in the roster.
9 When Muggle Magic Is The Greatest Magic Of All
Throughout the series, there are countless examples of wizardkind seeming to pity Muggles. Of course, there are those fanatics who look down on them and consider them subhuman somehow, but even the more reasonable types seem to feel sorry for non-magic people.
After all, life’s so much easier with a little magic. You can tidy rooms in an instant, have your pots and pans wash themselves, and ‘teleport’ around instantly via apparition. Despite all of that, though, Muggles possess a kind of magic that witches and wizards will never understand.
The internet, electricity and such (the latter of which is described as a ‘substitute for magic’ by Hermione in Goblet of Fire) are magical on a whole different level. There’s no foolish wand waving or silly incantations here, but still. You really can picture Arthur Weasley’s face, full of wonderment, as he tries out Google for the first time.
8 When The Whole Story Totally Checks Out
You know, I’ve often thought that the series just doesn’t explain how much of a darn shock the whole Hogwarts letter thing will be to some parents and children. Muggle-borns may have gone through their entire lives with absolutely zero clue that magic exists. Suddenly, on their eleventh birthday, a darn owl swoops through your window and drops a letter on your face, telling you that you’re a witch and you’re coming to Magic School.
The more worldly wise eleven-year-olds among us will wonder just what in heck someone’s trying to pull here.
Fortunately, as in Harry’s case, a magical child of that age will tend to have (involuntarily) seen their abilities manifest in certain ways by that point, and may not need much convincing. Still, though, at face value, this is not convincing.
7 When Harry’s Valentines Plans Are Lit
Ah, yes. As I say, much of Harry’s life after he learns the truth is completely fantastical. Battling Voldemort, mountain trolls, dragons and such, his cloak of invisibility, turning rats into water goblets in class… noting here is what you’d call conventional.
Despite all of that, he remains brilliantly relatable, having started as completely perplexed by the magical world as we would have been. Besides, back at the Dursley’s house at number four, Privet Drive, everything’s completely run-of-the-mill, tedious British suburban life.
Take this, one of the most relatable quotes in the entire series. This was the night that Uncle Vernon was trying to schmooze a potential client who was coming to the house for a meal, which he was afraid of Harry ruining. Beyond that, though, the quotation just applies to all manner of situations. We’ve all been there.
6 When You Drop The Polyjuice Potion Charade
To be totally frank here, I really expect more of Harry, Hermione, and Ron at times. Not so much in the case of the two guys, but more Hermione. After all, she’s the brains of the operation, and the major magical talent of the trio. Why, then, can’t they make a single darn plan work?
Forget those fancy notions about Polyjuice potion, just bust out the fake mustaches.
As Harry himself states in the last movie, however much time they put into planning, everything just goes bad once it comes right down to it. Sure, they generally manage to wing it to a victory, but that’s only because they’re safely ensconced in thick plot armour.
The trouble with a lot of super smart people (not that I’d know, I’ve choked on my water three times since I started writing this article) is that they tend to over think things.
5 When Voldemort Can't Handle Neville Longbottom's Power
Ah yes. Now we’re talking. This is a meme that I can thoroughly and completely 100% get on board with.
Neville Longbottom’s story is one of the most tragic in the series. He was the other boy who the prophecy could have spoken of, until Voldemort himself ‘chose’ Harry as his mortal enemy. For years, he was a comic relief character, a bumbling, pudgy fool who was constantly the butt of everyone’s jokes.
Suddenly, by the end of the series, he’s become a lean, mean, cardigan-wearing, snake-decapitating machine. In his own way, Neville is every bit as worthy, as heroic, as Harry.
Remember that business with the Gillyweed? In the book, it was Dobby who provided the herb, but the movie shows Neville saving the day. Not before he thinks he’s finished Harry off, though.
4 When Marvel Need To Get In On 'It Is I, Ron Man' Right Now
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a little thing known as the MCU has popped up in recent years. It’s one of those tiny, underground fandoms that you really should hop in on now, before others discover it.
Snark aside, as we all know, there’s just no getting away from Marvel movies anymore. Since the early days of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk (both of which are a decade old this year), the treacle machine has just been growing and growing with each new release. A Marvel collaboration with another huge name, like Harry Potter, would be a real powerhouse.
Get on this already, studio execs.
If I’m not sitting in a theater watching It Is I, Ron Man by 2022 at the very latest, I’m going to be one disappointed dude.
3 When Your Daring Rescue Becomes A Moana Meme
As I’ve already said, it’s a sad fact that movies just don’t have the time to give us the real picture. It’s all about keeping the plot racing along, with a couple of car chases and explosions thrown in to keep our interest. Unless you’re talking about a movie like Citizen Cane, which could sure have done with a bit of action.
The novel of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for instance, expanded a little on Viktor Krum’s less than elegant half-a-shark transformation. By contrast, the movie just showed us a quick shot of the shark-Krum in action. Still, you get what you’re given. Besides, for my money, Māui did it much better than the Durmstrang student did.
2 When You're On Your First Trip To Hogwarts And Things Escalate SUPER Quickly
Um, Harry? Has anybody ever told you that’s uncool? Because that’s uncool.
On the boys’ very first journey to Hogwarts, back in The Philosopher’s Stone, so much was uncertain. They were super nervous about their trip to the famous school, which house they’d be sorted into, all of the usual stuff. Not to mention the fact that Ron’s super trollish brothers had scared the heck out of him with lies about what happens to first years.
How were they to know what awaited them in the future? If the magical world’s only way of predicting that was the likes of Trelawney, then how could they possibly know? Judging by this meme, it’s probably for the best anyway. These are the kinds of spoilers that you just don’t need in your life.
1 When The Cheapest Puns Are The Best Puns
What was I just saying a few entries ago, about smart people and their tendencies to make intellectual mountains out of molehills (that’s a rhetorical question, by the way, I haven’t forgotten what I said)? This is the perfect example of that.
Memes are, of course, a huge deal here on the web. They’re how we communicate, how we pass time on the can. They’re so very popular, however, that it’s getting ever harder to be original. The solution, for some, is to try harder and harder, but that’s not always the way forward. It reeks of desperation.
Don’t overthink things, friends. Sometimes, dressing right down ins the answer. Simplify. Sure, this is one of the cheapest Potter-related puns you could hope to find, but I’m darned if it’s not effective.