10. Cho Chang taught me that sometimes there’s a good reason to cry. This character gets so much grief from fans for crying all the time, but think about it. Her boyfriend was killed, the person who was with Cedric in his last moments was more focused on kissing Cho than helping her grieve, and then her best friend betrays Dumbledore’s Army. Harry Potter’s world is so full of strong warrior women that it’s easy to overlook the Cho. She’s a survivor as much as any of her peers, even if she didn’t necessarily face the same hurdles as Harry and co. Emotions do not make you weak, and grief can solidify the strongest of resolves.
9. Nymphadora Tonks taught me that it doesn’t matter one bit what your outsides look like; what matters is who and what you stand for. With her metamorphmagus gift, Tonks could have become a model, a celebrity, anything. Instead, she was raised from birth seeing first hand how cruel pureblood mentality can be, as the daughter of a muggle and a pureblood. She lived her life for a cause and every aspect of her life reflected that. She was one of the first recruits in the second Order of the Phoenix. She faced off Deatheaters in the battle in the Hall of Mysteries and at the Battle of Hogwarts where she met her tragic end. She wouldn’t let one bookish werewolf believe he wasn’t worthy of her, and shortly after giving birth, rushed into battle to stand by her friends. Tonks may not have been as one track minded as her mentor Alastor Moody, but she was certainly as dedicated. Tonks exhibited Hufflepuff loyalty until the very end.
8. Fleur Delachour, like Tonks, could have been defined only by the exterior. At first, Fleur was. She was just the pretty French witch. But the pretty French witch was more than her Veela blood. She was smart enough to live through the Triwizard Championship, and left the relative safety of France to face the British war beside the man she loved and his family. Sometimes what is safe is not what is right, and what is right is seldom easy. Fleur stood by Bill even after his brush with a werewolf, just as she stood with her adoptive country in it’s time of need.
7. Minerva McGonagall is one badass boss and if you disagree, she’ll give you a withering glare that’ll convince you otherwise. Minerva suffers no fools (*coughUmbridgecough*) and fully embraces Gryfindor bravery. When Albus Dumbledore is killed, Minerva is the one who holds Hogwarts together with Snape and Deatheaters about. Minerva duels Snape, and does everything possible to undermine Voldermort from behind Hogwarts walls. Her age is no deterrent, and she is a true example of how strong a person can be when they dedicate their life to the protection and education of others. McGonagall taught a generation of readers to embrace their inner badass, even if that just meant offering a biscuit to other’s when they embrace their inner badass.
6. Lily Evans Potter was such a strong woman that it’s easy to put her up on a pedestal. She saw the good in everyone, even the baby Dark Arts Severus Snape. She wouldn’t give James Potter the time of day until he cleaned up his act (a bit). She sacrificed herself for her son. It always strikes me how young Lily and James were, especially now that I’m older than they were when they died. For the ten years that we saw Lily, from just before her eleventh birthday until she died at twenty one, her all encompassing trait was empathy. She was kind to the werewolf, to the proto death eater. It’s easy to dismiss the good in the world with the sometimes overwhelming bad, but Lily would have us actively seek out that good and protect it until the last.
5. Ginny Weasley is a underestimated lady Weasley. The youngest and the only girl of her siblings, she was protected and sheltered by her brothers for years. Not content with being kept from danger, she stole her brothers brooms and practiced quidditch. The average eleven year old might have been destroyed by having what was literally a magical evil dictator invading their brain, but Ginny survived. Ginny survived the Hall of Mysteries. Ginny survived, with Luna and Neville, leading Dumbedore’s Army and protecting students from Deatheaters. Ginny survived the war, and the Battle of Hogwarts. She’s a survivor and she shows that strength can come in small boxes, with killer bat-boogey hexes.
4. Luna Lovegood taught me that it’s okay to believe in things, even if other people don’t. This was wonderful for me, as I believed I’d get a letter to Hogwarts long after I should have quit. Luna is so full of optimism and faith. It doesn’t matter if no one else believes, Luna does. No one can convince Luna that she’s wrong, she’ll go out and find the truth herself.
3. Augusta Longbottom is a character we know little about. We know she’s a formidable woman, severe in her old age. She is fiercely proud of her son and daughter-in-law and their legacies. It takes her some time, but she becomes fiercely proud of her grandson Neville as well. Neville may not be his father, and he has his own skills and abilities, but his grandmother couldn’t be any more proud. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is feeling proud of someone for being themselves instead of who you expect or want them to be. Augusta Longbottom marched into the Battle of Hogwarts to fight alongside her grandson because she loved him more than anything in the world, and she was so very proud of him for fighting back the way only a Longbottom could.
2. Molly Weasley. Oh, man, I could write a book about Molly Weasley. She reminds of my own mom. Molly loves the traditionally feminine roles. She makes sure everyone is fed, safe, and in an individualized knitted sweater. But Molly spent the better part of the series being underestimated. Sure, her children and husband knew how scary the Weasley matriarch could be, but even among the Order, Molly didn’t do much outside of the kitchen. People often forget that she was the sister to the famed Prewett twins who died in Voldermort’s first war, or that she and Arthur met and married during this time of conflict. Molly is a warrior by necessity. She would much rather make treacle tart and sweaters, but when her family is threatened, when her friends are threatened, Molly is a force to be reckoned with. It’s fitting that the person Harry Potter had closest to a father (Sirius Black) was avenged by the person who was most a mother to him. Bellatrix Lestrange never had a chance. Quiet strength is often the deadliest sort.
1. Hermionie Granger. Who else could be number one on this list? Hermionie stood tall despite being targeted as a muggle born at Hogwarts. She lived up to her full potential in her classes, even if that meant intimidating boys and gaining the ire of her peers. Without her, Ron and Harry would have died a dozen times over. Dumbledore’s Army was her idea. Hermionie taught readers to stay true to ourselves, no matter what, and to focus on our own talents and self worth. If Hermionie had listened to the purebloods and the haters who said she was inferior, she wouldn’t have tried. If she hadn’t tried, the chosen one would have been lost. If Hermionie hadn’t believed in herself, the war would have been lost.