Did Harry Potter listen to metal? Probably not; his reluctant adoptive family, the Dursleys, seem like the kind of people who’d draw the line at Cliff Richard. But the wizarding world, with all its cloaks, curses and fantastical creatures, has often provided inspiration to rockers. Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin loved warbling about the occult, and bombastic goth-metallers Nightwish have drawn on Pagan myths throughout their career. Basically, Harry Potter’s world is far more metal than you might think.
Today (June 26, 2017) is 20 years since the publication of the first Harry Potter book Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. In celebration, we rank the most metal characters from the series.
10) Nymphadora Tonks
With her love of brightly-coloured hairstyles, aversion to being called by her first name, and self-confessed “inability to behave”, there’s no way Tonks wouldn’t have been in a punk band if she wasn’t busy trying to defeat Voldemort. She’s always been a rebel at heart; when her employer, the Ministry of Magic, tried to cover up Voldemort’s return, she did what any decent person would do and became a secret agent with the Order of the Phoenix, spying on the Ministry from within. That’s pretty punk.
9) Viktor Krum
The brooding Bulgarian with Quidditch skills way beyond his age could just as easily be a guitar prodigy in that obscure Eastern European black metal band that hipsters are inexplicably loving. You know, that one. The one that becomes so trendy for a few months that Sports Direct start selling t-shirts with their logo on, then they play a show in a tiny venue and are actually really bad, except for the young and brooding guitarist, who jumps ship into a successful mainstream band at the first chance he gets and headlines Download three years later. We just made all that up, but stranger things have happened in the metal and wizarding worlds.
What do members of metal bands need to be if not large and hairy? Loveable half-giant Hagrid would look right at home in one of those themed metal bands that seem to be all the rage at the moment. If Viking metal, pirate metal and even Ned Flanders metal are a thing, there’s definitely an opening for wizard metal, and this is where he comes in. Someone a little more wizardly – Hagrid’s magical powers are limited – would probably take the frontperson’s role, but we can see Hagrid swapping his trademark pink umbrella for a bass guitar.
7) Sirius Black
Until he gets killed by a curtain, Sirius is hard as nails. He’s the only person to have ever escaped Azkaban, the high-security wizard prison guarded by Dementors, unaided, and he can turn into a great big fucking dog at will. In the breaking-your-neck-without-realising it hard stakes, he gives Corey Taylor a run for his money. More than that, he’s an intelligent and kind-hearted guy, as many of the best dudes in rock and metal are. He’d be up there with classic heroes like Brian May and Bruce Dickinson, flying around the world on a hippogriff fighting for werewolf rehabilitation. Or something.
6) Lucius Malfoy
Would Dave Mustaine be Dave Mustaine without his ginger curls? What about Herman Li’s impossibly glossy waist-length mane? What we’re trying to say here is that hair plays a big part in metal, and Lucius Malfoy has quite the barnet. Stick him in something black, leather, and covered in buckles, and he’d be the evil gothic version of Edgar Winter. We’ve no idea if he can play guitar, but he’d look good on stage at Bloodstock.
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5) Bellatrix Lestrange
Need an evil temptress who’d happily murder her own family members and has sold her soul to the devil (or Voldemort, in this case)? Bellatrix is your woman. She’d be just as at home as the subject of a brooding symphonic metal concept album as she is in the Harry Potter books – a mentally unstable and genuinely frightening witch who’s been consumed by the dark side, and is even said to be in love with Voldemort himself.
4) Mad-Eye Moody
3) Severus Snape
Enigmatic and scary, but with rare moments of humanity shining through, Snape is one of the most intriguing characters. Not only would he look at home in a metal band, he’d also be the member that never gave interviews, but who was always surrounded by rumours of tragedy and darkness. All that would change, of course, when he retired and wrote an autobiography revealing a life more colourful, traumatic and unusual than any of us could imagine.
After being not-quite-killed, Voldemort returns as a grotesque, snake-like humanoid. Terrifying if you run into him on the street, but you know where he wouldn’t look out of place? On an album cover. Gross-looking mascots are the done thing in metal; Iron Maiden have the instantly recognisable Eddie, Disturbed have The Guy, Megadeth had Vic Rattlehead… Plonk Voldemort on the front of an album, and it’s unlikely anyone would realise it was him.
1) The Basilisk
Yes, it’s a great big snake. Great big snakes turn up an awful lot in metal. There’s one of the front of Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill, Metallica’s Black Album, Whitesnake’s Lovehunter, Satyricon’s Volcano… and that’s before we’ve even got to the likes of Slash and Alice Cooper, who go one better than a picture of a snake, and like to hang out with actual live ones. An evil snake bigger than the average man is pretty metal, but we will have to deduct points for the fact it lives down a loo.