ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

OK, so everyone knows that Snape has a lot of emotional depth, but he's not the only Harry Potter antagonist who deserves your sympathy...

If you look at these characters as human beings with pasts and emotions rather than just evil-doers, there's a lot more to them...

Peter Pettigrew

Evil Deeds: He snitched on people who thought he was their friend. He made it possible for Voldemort to kill James & Lilly Potter!

Reason He's Evil: Envy and insecurity

Why He Needs Sympathy: There must have been something decent about Pettigrew - he was friends with Sirius and co., and got sorted into Gryffindor. I guess being outshone by his talented friends made him feel inadequate, so he chased a route that seemed to offer him greater power - Lord Voldemort. Pettigrew has some humanity left to him - as Harry says, 'you knew he had felt some regret.'

Punishment for his crimes: Strangled to death by his own bionic hand.


Quirinius Quirrel

Evil Deeds: He tried to get the stone to restore Voldemort back to full health. Ew, and he drank unicorn blood, which is pretty unforgivable.

Reason He's Evil: Feelings of worthlessness, lust for power

Why He Needs Sympathy: Quirrell was a bright and promising Ravenclaw who, for whatever reason, just didn't feel he'd ever achieve recognition. Perhaps if he'd found a more fulfilling outlet for his unrest, he wouldn't have sought Voldemort out. The Dark Lord can be very persuasive, and once he took over Quirrell's body, it's hard to quantify how much responsibility Quirrell can take for his subsequent actions.

Punishment for his crimes: Burned to a crisp


Barty Crouch Jr.

Evil Deeds: Tortured Neville's parents to the point of insanity

Reason He's Evil: Uh... he's clinically insane?

Why He Needs Sympathy: Barty Crouch Jr. was always a pretty bad egg, but his life had still been totally messed up - his own father kept him under the Imperius Curse for years. And say what you like about Barty Jr., but he's definitely loyal. As he says, 'I alone remained faithful' to Voldemort.

Punishment for his crimes: The worst of all - the Dementor's Kiss.


Draco Malfoy

Evil Deeds: Most of Draco's crimes are really crimes of bad character: arrogance, rudeness, blood-purism, and bullying.

Reason He's Evil: Bad parenting

Why He Needs Sympathy: Draco is a classic example of bad upbringing. From birth, he's been surrounded by bullies, blood-purists and sycophants, ensuring that he was kept on a bad path. His eventual tears and regret offer a kind of redemption, and proof that he's not all bad.

Punishment for his crimes: Having to live with the knowledge of what he and his family have done.


Tom Marvolo Riddle

Evil Deeds: Uh, the genocide of hundreds of Muggles and Muggle-borns. And a whole lot of other evil stuff that comes with being 'The Greatest Dark Wizard of All Time.'

Reason He's Evil: Sucky childhood

Why He Needs Sympathy: Actor Ralph Fiennes explains the emotional depth of Voldemort pretty succinctly...

Young Voldemort was an orphan and denied any kind of parental affection or love, so he's been an isolated figure from a very young age. I always think there has to be the possibility of good in someone, too. It might have been eroded, repressed, suppressed or somehow distorted within him after he was really damaged.

Punishment for his crimes: No punishment would be great enough for all the suffering he caused. What matters is that he's dead.


Bellatrix Lestrange

Only kidding, I'm not even gonna try to defend Bellatrix. A genetic fault, perhaps? Let me know your ideas below!


People are complex creatures, and nobody is 100% evil. In the words of someone more eloquent than myself:

You learn eventually that, while there are no villains, there are no heroes either. And until you make the final discovery that there are only human beings, who are therefore all the more fascinating, you are liable to miss something.

- Paul Gallico

...or maybe I'm just too soft on these dark wizarding criminals. What do you think?


Do you think these Harry Potter villains need sympathy, not hatred?

Sources: The Guardian


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