The most talked-about moments in the Harry Potter movies are surprisingly repetitive for a series so large. Dumbledore’s death is a heartbreaking one. Molly killing Bellatrix is a fan-favorite. So much of Harry’s own story, from the moment Hagrid tells him he’s a wizard, are up there with the best. With so many amazing moments to highlight, though, there are some equally important scenes that get swept under the rug.
These moments are often the ones that are subtler or have layers that could easily be missed. They aren’t as heavy-handed as Harry and Voldemort flying around the castle, or involve as much build up as Ron and Hermione’s first kiss in the Chamber of Secrets. That doesn’t mean they aren’t as incredible, though.
10 The Troll In The Dungeon
The first truly ‘scary’ creature to appear in Harry Potter’s world is the Troll in The Sorcerer’s Stone – and the fight is quickly forgotten. Harry and Ron save Hermione, Hermione lies to protect them, and then they discuss it a couple of times when assuming that Snape is the big bad of the movie.
However, this scene is the defining moment that binds the Golden Trio Together. It creates sympathy for Hermione and proves she isn’t an insufferable do-gooder, and balances out Ron’s borderline-bullying behavior with a desire to do good. It may be underrated at this point because the CGI in this scene is one of the worst in the Harry Potter franchise, but it still warrants more attention for how it brings together the big three.
9 Lily’s Gift To Slughorn
Slughorn is a beautifully complicated character – neither clear hero nor villain, he is one of the more underrated Professors at Hogwarts, which makes it unsurprising that his best moments are underrated, too. In one scene, he reveals that Lily was not just a favorite of his, but that she gave him a magical petal that turned into a fish – and it disappeared the day she died.
Slughorn’s emotion here shows that she wasn’t just a favorite for her connections (she had none) or fame (she had none of that, either), but that he truly valued her. It adds real depth to him – and to her, showing her magical skill was considerable, and that she was kind.
8 Ron Telling The Trio Not To Say Voldemort’s Name
Ron is often played up as a bumbling fool, especially compared to Hermione and Harry. However, he is far more perceptive and capable than many fans give him credit for – especially when it comes to trusting his gut. Before they know about Voldemort making his name Taboo, Ron is the one who stops the Golden Trio using his name, because it feels unlucky to him.
Despite Hermione’s brilliance and Harry’s magical connection to Voldemort, it is Ron who instinctively understands how Voldemort might use his name. This is a scene that shows the kind of value that Ron brings to the Trio, and why he doesn’t deserve to be underestimated.
7 Sirius Calling Harry ‘James’
When battling Death Eaters in the Ministry, Sirius and Harry fight side by side – and in an intense moment, Sirius accidentally calls him James, only moments before he dies. In the intensity of the battle, he has forgotten that Harry is not his father – and it’s a poignant moment for them both.
However, the layers of this moment are not always appreciated. Sirius isn’t just confusing James and Harry because they are similar, but in some ways seems to be in denial – which speaks to the damage that Azkaban did to him. In the films, this is often glossed over, but this moment brings it out. It also makes him more flawed, as a character. Harry looks up to Sirius as a perfect father-figure, but in this moment, it’s clear that Sirius is also still a very young man who was reckless and is almost using Harry to regain his dead friend. It’s complex, heartbreaking, and beautifully done.
6 Hermione Grabs Ron’s Arm
The breadcrumbs leading to Hermione and Ron’s eventual relationship are laid out almost from the very start, but one of the biggest moments for the two is a tiny one, in The Prisoner of Azkaban. When Hagrid brings out Buckbeak, there is a moment where it looks like he might attack Harry – and in fear, Hermione blindly reaches for Ron’s hand to hold for comfort.
It’s such a small moment that it is easy to overlook, but for fans of Hermione and Ron, it’s proof that their connection goes back long before their first kiss. Almost from the start, when Hermione wants support and reassurance, she turns to Ron, even without meaning to.
5 Harry Scaring Draco In Hogsmeade
Draco is such a perfect child-villain that fans love to see him get his comeuppance – and that usually means focusing on the scene where Hermione punches him in the face. However, the moment that Harry sneaks into Hogsmeade in the invisibility cloak, and uses it to terrify Draco by the Shrieking Shack, is almost as impressive.
It’s not just the pleasure of seeing Draco get taken down a peg, but also that this is one of the few moments that Harry really gets to be truly playful with magic, and feel like a kid at school. And the irony of Draco being afraid of ghosts, or of magic, when he is so proud of his magical heritage, adds delicious irony to the scene.
4 “But I Am The Chosen One”
Harry has so many great quotes in the series that it would be difficult to give them all the attention that they deserve, but this is definitely a more underrated one. For most of the series, Harry has an awkward relationship with his label of ‘Boy Who Lived’ – wanting to distance himself, then being increasingly annoyed with it, and finally, hating how it is twisted against him. However, in this moment where he jokes with Hermione about why some of the female students are interested in him, it’s a refreshing change – and he appears to be a relatable teenage boy.
It could be easy to forget that these talented, brave students are just teenagers at school if not for scenes like these. These are the moments that ground the series, and Harry himself, and save him from being just a tragic hero figure.
3 Dumbledore Calls Hogwarts Home
When Harry brings Cedric’s body back, he struggles to let go – and Dumbledore reassures him that he can, by telling Harry that he is ‘home now’. In all the intensity of the end of The Goblet Of Fire, this moment is one that would be easy to miss. Voldemort’s return and Cedric’s death take center stage – but this line has value, too.
This is a moment that shows how deeply Dumbledore understands Harry. This, in turn, is important when dealing with the revelation that Dumbeldore always intended Harry to die – it proves that he wasn’t just manipulating him the whole time. It also shows how important Harry’s sense of home, and Hogwarts, is, which underscores his similarity to Voldemort.
2 Aragog’s Funeral
When Harry takes his liquid luck, he ends up at a funeral with Hagrid and Slughorn, helping them get drunk and eventually getting the memory he needs from his professor. It’s a scene that is generally seen as important purely for driving the plot.
However, there is so much more going on here. It may be difficult to get too emotionally attached to the scene because Aragog did try and eat Harry and Ron, but it puts Harry in an interesting light in terms of his relationship with Hagrid, and shows him as more flawed than he is often considered to be. Hagrid, their friend, is heartbroken over the loss of a lifelong friend – and had it not been for the potion, none of the Golden Trio would show up. Hagrid’s gratitude is heartbreaking, and the scene adds a surprising amount to the character.
1 Hagrid Carrying Harry Back To Hogwarts
While the scene where Hagrid carries Harry’s ‘body’ back to Hogwarts with Voldemort is a major one, it’s often overshadowed by all of the other intense moments in The Deathly Hallows Part 2. This fits between Neville standing up to Voldemort, Voldemort killing Harry (and Dumbledore reappearing), and all the other drama of the Battle of Hogwarts.
However, this is an important scene for the clear full-circle moment of Hagrid cradling Harry through a major tragedy. It is a perfect way to bring Harry’s story with Voldemort to a close, and is a beautiful parallel that should not be overlooked.