Five by Friday: Top Five Harry Potter Moments

Welcome to Five by Friday!

So it turns out we had two weeks’ worth of Potter-centric Five by Fridays in us. Are you shocked?

Five by Friday

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I chose first this week, and thus was able to steal choose mostly broad, pivotal scenes in the series instead of the more personal character moments. What can I say, I just love epic battles and well-executed plot twists. However, I fully endorse every moment on both Sarah’s and Teija’s lists, and love that this series has given us so many moments, both small and grandiose, sweeping and intimate, to pick from.

5) Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (80)

The ending of Prisoner of Azkaban was the first time in the series that a twist took me by complete surprise. Everything that had happened up until then had been thrilling and enjoyable, of course, but I was completely blindsided by the Sirius-is-not-evil-and-Peter-is-Scabbers reveal. This was the moment when I realized that this series was going to be utterly unpredictable, in the best possible way.

4) Ministry of Magic Battle, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (81)

The Ministry Battle marked the first time that characters outside of the central trio really got a chance to shine. We were used to seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione stand together, but there was something really special about finally seeing Neville, Luna, and Ginny fight beside them and hold their own. This was the point in the series when the stakes of the conflict seemed to level up, and also the first giant action sequence that truly took my breath away.

3) The Triumphant Exit of the Weasley Twins, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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After Professor Umbridge’s reign of terror in Order of the Phoenix, there was something so immensely satisfying in watching Fred and George gleefully leave Hogwarts on their own terms. Though their spectacle had a noble purpose (creating a distraction so that Harry could contact Sirius), let’s be real: they mostly just wanted to ruffle Umbridge’s feathers by setting off their entire supply of Weasley’s Wildfire Whiz-Bangs. The book version is, of course, superior to the movie, with the twins charging Peeves the Poltergeist with continuing on their noble crusade of mischief, and Peeves — for once — taking his responsibility very seriously.

2) Snape Flees Hogwarts, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (82)

So this is a weird pick, but this moment, where Harry chases Snape after Dumbledore’s murder, was one of the pinnacles of the entire series to me. Up until this point, we had been told over and over that Snape was good — crotchety, but good — but after he killed Dumbledore was when the true Is Snape Evil debate exploded. I remember spending months arguing that Snape was a double agent based entirely on this scene, where in the book, Snape not only won’t fight Harry, but continues teaching him (“Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!”) right up until the very last moment. Most people would probably rank The Prince’s Tale in Deathly Hallows, where we finally learn Snape’s backstory, higher on their list than this scene, but for me, that was just vindication. This scene was where I picked a side in the fandom and dug my heels in, for better or for worse. (And of course, we all know now that I was totally right.)

1) The Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (83)

The chapters in Deathly Hallows containing the Battle of Hogwarts are by far my most re-read chapters of the entire series. I remember reading it for the first time, hunched over in my chair, my knees up by my chin as I turned pages breathlessly. It is just everything I want in the culmination to a series-long battle between good and evil: old characters coming back, beloved secondary characters getting a chance to shine, years of setup finally paying off, teamwork and friendship and sacrifice, and sweeping, epic action sequences. Yes, there are some really tough and sad moments during the battle (R.I.P. Fred), but overall, for me, it remains the high point of the series.


Y’all there are SO MANY incredible moments in the Harry Potter series. Even with Lauren picking first, there was only one moment that overlapped (The Twins leaving Hogwarts) with my vast list of best moments. After a few agonizing days, I managed to narrow it down to the following five (and thankfully Teija picked up a few of the moments I had to leave off). But know that there are so many more moments that left their imprint on my heart as I read the books.

5) Yer a wizard ‘Arry, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


This is such a simple, quiet moment at the very beginning, but it’s this statement that jumpstarted the entire series. It set Harry, and the reader who followed, on a seven year journey full of love, friendship, sorrow, excitement, and thrills. This one statement gave Harry the answers he didn’t know he’d been seeking and it provided an escape from a life he knew he didn’t deserve. And I’m so glad it was Hagrid who got to share that with him.

4) Hermione keeping Rita Skeeter in a jar, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


Hermione is one of the most fascinating characters in the entire series (and while she didn’t quite make my top five character list, rest assured she’s in the top ten). One of my favorite things about her is how Rowling made her the super smart, clever female sidekick, but then gave her the glaring flaw of being absolutely, utterly ruthless. And nothing showed that to the reader more than her willingness to capture Rita Skeeter and hold her captive in a jar until she agreed not to tell any more lies.

This is one witch whose bad side you never want to be on. You won’t make it out unscathed.

3) Not my daughter, YOU BITCH! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


I loved Molly Weasley from her very first appearance in the book, when we saw her take pity on Harry and kindly help him find his way to the Hogwarts Express. Not only is she an incredible mother to her own seven (!) children, but she accepts Harry and Hermione as her own without any hesitation. She’s fiercely protective of all of them, worrying over them, fussing over them and trying her best to protect them. And nothing illustrates that more than the moment in the seventh book where she pushes past Ginny, Hermione, and Luna as the three battle Bellatrix, to take her on herself. And sweet, quiet, matronly Molly Weasley makes the best use of one of the very few expletives in the entire book as she tears the witch down.

2) Ginny’s incredible display of Magic (and power), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Book!Ginny is one of the most amazing characters and I’ll never quite get over how poorly the movies portrayed her. While a lot of people brush Ginny off as simply a little girl with a silly crush on the hero of the wizarding world, JK Rowling gives us so much more. She shows us a girl who is quietly powerful, determined, and utterly brilliant. After all, who else could have held Tom Riddle at bay for months as a first year? But it’s this moment at the Ministry of Magic where Ginny shoots off what should be a simple spell, but the reverberation of power is beyond what you expected. And that’s the moment that the other characters were able to see what I saw, that this was a powerful witch who was absolutely an equal to Harry.

1) Neville cutting of Nagini’s head, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Neville, the boy who was almost The Boy Who Lived, proved many times throughout the books exactly why he would have made a worthy adversary for Voldemort if he’d been the one chosen. Neville grew from a quiet, bumbling boy who was convinced he was sorted into the wrong house, to a kind, brave, and daring leader. But it’s this moment, in the heat of the Battle of Hogwarts,when the sword of Gryffindor appears for him in the hat, that he proves to everyone once and for all that he was sorted into the correct house.


Once again, I chose last for this 5xF, and once again, I wound up kicking myself for it. A lot of my favorite moments are in the list above, particularly Neville’s Grand Moment with Nagini. However, these books are a treasure trove for moments that make you fistpump or cheer, and there were plenty more to choose from, even with the ten above already out of the running. I’m actually a little surprised with myself considering I have not wound up with a single Hermione-related moment below, but it turns out the things that make her one of my absolute favorite characters are her longer-running traits and skills, not any individual moments. I tip my hat to you, Hermione Granger, but it turns out your consistency keeps you off the list.

5) Neville stands up to his friends, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


This was the first time we really saw sweet, meek little Neville show the traits that made him so very suited for Gryffindor house. As Dumbledore rightly said, it can be far more difficult to stand up to your friends than it is to stand up to people you aren’t as close with. Foreshadowing a whole lot more bravery, this moment introduced us to the inner Neville Longbottom. He may have been forgetful and unsure of himself, but he had so much more inside of him that he only needed to discover for himself.

4) Harry curses Amycus Carrow for spitting on McGonagall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


This moment got left out of the movies, and probably for good reason. It shows that Harry does not hesitate in throwing even an Unforgiveable Curse at someone if he finds something wildly offensive, and is probably not something you want your boy hero doing, honestly speaking. But it’s a powerful moment, because not only does it show Harry’s power with the wand, but it also shows just how important Minerva McGonagall was to the children that she taught at Hogwarts. You really do have to mean it.

3) Gryffindor modifies “Weasley is our King,” Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Starting in Order of the Phoenix and carrying into Half-Blood Prince, there is a song that Draco Malfoy comes up with that haunts Ron Weasley through his journey on the Gryffindor quidditch team. Used to taunt him and throw him off his game, it follows him around the school, sung by Slytherins to tease and belittle him. J. K. Rowling used Ron Weasley as a counterpoint to Hermione, to whom studies and academic success came naturally: for Ron, things took time and effort, and only hard work and perseverance got him to the top. There is no greater example of what he could accomplish if he put his mind to it than Quidditch, and when Gryffindor wins the Quidditch Cup and the students change the lyrics to Malfoys’ taunting song to words of praise and triumph, it brings an enormous smile to my face every time.

2) “I am not worried, Harry, I’m with you,” Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


There is not a whole lot more in these books that illustrates just how far Harry grows from the beginning to the end than his relationship with Dumbledore. By the time we come to Half-Blood Prince, Harry is nearly a man grown, and Dumbledore finds that he sees him more as a peer, rather than as the student he had been until that point. When he took Harry with him to the cave on the coast to collect one of Voldemort’s horcruxes, he took him as an ally, there to support him and carry on the mission in case he himself could not go on. The student and the mentor had become equals, and it is at this moment that you see Dumbledore express his complete trust in Harry. It is a beautiful sentiment.

1) Neville comes through the painting as the leader of the resistance, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Almost more compelling than the story of the Boy Who Lived is the story of the boy who was almost the Boy Who Lived. Neville Longbottom could easily have been Voldemort’s target; it was simply Voldemort’s choice that kept it from being so. As Harry’s story unfolds, we watch Neville on the sidelines, growing from a meek and timid child into an incredibly brave and capable wizard. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione have to leave to stay out of Voldemort’s grasp and find the horcruxes, it is Neville that steps up and takes charge of the rebellion at Hogwarts. When everyone finally reunites and it’s Neville that comes through the painting as the leader of it all, you can’t help but cheer.

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