Harry Potter: 10 Times The Villains Were Actually Morally Superior

The Harry Potter franchise is back in a big way with the upcoming arrival of Hogwarts Legacy. While the return to the familiar school is exciting for many, it's a great time to reflect on the antagonists of the mainline series, especially to compare to the villains of the video game title.

It's pretty much a given that these foes are going to be despicable, but there are the odd moments where they could arguably be deemed as morally superior to the heroes. While the likes of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange certainly wouldn't ever be classed in that category, there are lesser antagonists who make some morally just decisions.


10 Sirius Black's Escape

Sirius Black and Harry Potter

Sirius Black was one of the key antagonists in Prisoner of Azkaban since most of the wizarding community were unaware that he was genuinely innocent. His breakout from Azkaban was thus a just escape, and once Remus Lupin began to defend him, he too was vindicated for his past doubts.

RELATED: 10 Coolest Harry Potter Theories About Hogwarts Houses, According To Reddit

Despite being branded the villain, Black was one of the few people trying to look out for Harry's best interests. Even though he was still being hunted and branded a criminal, he offered refuge to Potter, suggesting they could live together. He was never a true villain, but the outside world thought of him as such, despite his moral superiority and loyalty to his friends.

9 Regulus Black's Defection

Regulus Black's locket

The Black family has been known to make surprising choices in the face of adversity and the same can be said for Sirius's brother, Regulus, who had served as a Death Eater to the Dark Lord for many years. A moment of clarity put him far ahead of the heroes of this story.

Breaking years of habit, and the ideology that had been violently pushed into him by Voldemort and his family, Regulus bravely made the ultimate sacrifice, using the last of his life to capture one of the deadly Horcruxes of He Who Must Not Be Named. It was an instance of bravery that not every hero would have replicated.

8 Severus Snape's Early Years

Young Snape reading a book

Severus Snape might have been a little unique when he was younger, but at heart, he was truly good... at least back then. He was mercilessly bullied by James Potter and his friendship group, the Marauders. They were supposed to be the heroes of this story and yet the so-called villain was the one being victimized.

Various quotes from the era suggest that Snape was a hero, caring for Lily Potter during those early years. His love for her would never diminish, and Snape became a better guardian to James' own child, in comparison to 'friends' like Peter Pettigrew. Despite his treatment at the hands of the group, he still did his duty, even if his actions later made him a morally conflicting character.

7 Dudley Dursley's Evolution

Dudley Dursley in Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix

Dudley Dursley spent most of his life with his family. The periods of freedom away from his parents or aunt were replaced with a friendship group that certainly wouldn't have pointed him in the right direction. He was fed bile and hatred from an early age.

RELATED: 10 Funniest Harry Potter Book Scenes That Were Cut From The Movies

It's no surprise he acted as he did towards Harry, who he also feared because of his magical gifts. While that's no excuse for his behavior, it would have been easier for him to continue the cycle he'd always known. But in a rare moment of change (one that not every hero can attest to), Dudley grew up and later sought out redemption, trying to make amends with Harry. Few characters would have reached out to their enemies.

6 Aragog's Loyalty

Aragog the spider in Harry Potter

Hagrid was at the center of controversy when the Chamber of Secrets opened. The assumption from most of the school was that he was responsible. His list of allies was dwindling. Even Harry had his doubts, looking into to the matter before he was sent to Azkaban.

Surprisingly, one of the few characters that showed genuine loyalty to Hagrid was Aragog. While he might have been a terrifying spider that sought to feast on Harry and Ron, he did also put the record straight on his friend, who he believed to truly be innocent.

5 Cornelius Fudge's Interference

Cornelius Fudge with Umbridge and Shacklebolt in Dumbledore's office

Cornelius Fudge was one of the worst Ministers for Magic in wizarding history. He doubted Dumbledore at every turn, claiming that Voldemort wasn't back in no small part due to his own fear. His intention however was also to try and stop a panic within the community, which might have been slightly admirable, if not foolish.

But he also actually wanted to see reform at Hogwarts. There were of course political reasons behind that, but it is fair to say that Dumbledore had made the school an unpredictable and dangerous place. Fudge's interference was in part to make education more accessible, but he of course made the worst appointment imaginable in Dolores Umbridge. Nevertheless his intentions at face value are arguably morally just.

4 The Dursleys Taking In Potter

The Dursleys posing

The Dursleys feared and hated the magic that had run in Petunia's side of the family. They wanted nothing to do with Harry and treated him with very little love or respect. They are positioned as one of the earliest villains in Potter's story, and he eventually escapes their grasp.

RELATED: Harry Potter's Defense Against The Dark Arts Teachers Ranked By Evilness

But despite everything, they did still step up and take in Harry. They did it unhappily and were horrible guardians, but there was still some small spark of family and love for her sister within Petunia that led her to make the morally right choice.

3 Severus Snape's Protection Of Potter

Close-up of Severus Snape looking sad in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

Snape never had to protect Harry, but he did so out of love for Lily and a sense that it was the right thing to do. Albus Dumbledore led Harry to his eventual final battle with Voldemort, all the while suspecting that he was destined to die at the villain's hands. It is perhaps a stark contrast in the characters that Snape tried to stop this.

Severus died protecting Harry. He might have once been a Death Eater and considered a villain in every respect, but he still sought to shield Harry at the cost of his own life. He was morally superior to almost every character at that moment.

2 Draco Malfoy's And Severus Snape's Choice

Draco Malfoy looking angry in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Cropped

Draco Malfoy has done some truly noble and terrible things in his lifetime. Much like Dudley Dursley, he was conditioned by his environment to think in a certain way. This was only further attributed to the fear he felt thanks to Voldemort's personal interest in him.

Yet, he refused to carry out what was expected of him, with Snape killing Dumbledore instead after making the unbreakable vow. Both characters were morally stronger for it, sacrificing much, putting themselves in danger, and ultimately doing what was right. Snape followed Dumbledore's wish and Draco would later leave the Death Eaters to mark his own path.

1 Narcissa Malfoy Lying To Voldemort

Narcissa Malfoy kneeling besides Harry Potter in Deathyl Hallows Part 2

Narcissa Malfoy could have been the hero of the Dark Lord. There was nothing stopping her from proclaiming that Harry Potter was still alive and getting the subsequent glory. But instead, even though it was out of concern for her own son, and not the outcome of the battle, she still chose the side of good.

It was a powerful moment, and with Voldemort breathing down her neck, it's fair to say that not every hero would have made the same choice out of fear. Ultimately, Narcissa is as much responsible for the eventual victory at Hogwarts as anyone who directly fought Voldemort, since she told the lie that changed everything.

NEXT: Every Harry Potter Spell Used In The Movies And Books