3: Top 5 Harry Potter characters

This week, Mark is joined by podcaster, improv comedian and Harry Potter superfan Cat Turner, to collaborate on a list of the best five characters in JK Rowling’s Hogwarts universe.

If spoilers are a thing you want to avoid, maybe skip this one until you’re all caught up. Like Mark maybe should’ve.

Cat grew up listening to Stephen Fry read the Harry Potter books, and wants to sort her soon-to-arrive hamster into the appropriate Hogwarts house, but she insists she isn’t a nerd about it.

Mark’s seen some of the Harry Potter films and listened, a little distractedly, to the first four Potter audiobooks.

As well as knowing everything there is to know about Harry Potter, Cat is also a maths genius, which is something she credits partially with her own Professor McGonagall. Cat also presents Cat’s Cabinet of Curiosities, a podcast uncovering the weird things people believe, like that the Titanic was switched at the last minute, or that Beyoncé faked her pregnancy.

Cat’s guide to Hogwarts houses

  • Gryffindors are brave, but if you self-identify as one, you’re an idiot.
  • Ravenclaws are clever but a bit up themselves.
  • Slytherin are cunning, but the less said about them the better.
  • Hufflepuff is clearly the best house. Work hard and stick to it.

We have bones to pick with JK Rowling

  • Put diversity properly into your book, and don’t try and retrofit it after the fact.
  • Rowling follows TERF s on Twitter.
  • The American Hogwarts equivalent, Ilvermorny, is problematic.

Honourable mentions

Here are some characters we like, but didn’t make it into our lists. If you finish the episode notes before you get to the end, relax; we know and we address it.

Cat’s picks

In order of discussion:

Rubeus Hagrid

We could all stand to be a little bit more like Hogwarts’ Keeper of the Keys and Grounds. He’s Cat’s top pick as a character with kindness, heart, and the ability to learn from his mistakes. She would have liked a little more back story into the character’s early life, as the son of a human man and a giant woman.

Regulus Black

While his brother Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor, Regulus was sorted into Slytherin and dragged into the Death Eaters. He’s a top pick for Cat as a once conflicted character who makes the ultimate sacrifice, for the right reasons.

Lavender Brown

Cat picks this true hero of Hogwarts and fully paid-up member of “the DA” because femininity should never be viewed as a negative trait.

Professor McGonagall

Cat likes Minerva McGonagall because she knows how to walk the fine line between a lightly conspiratorial chat with a student, and the discipline that’s necessary to wield as a Head of House. She also provided a much-needed moral compass to Dumbledore.

Dobby the house elf

Cat’s final pick is a character who adds some essential comic relief, but who also has a great amount of heart. Or had. You were warned about spoilers.

Mark’s picks

In order of discussion:

Professor Snape

Mark’s first pick presents as a baddy, but is a complex and contradictory character. Cat thinks he should grow up, and has some better suggestions if duality is the criteria.

Professor Dumbledore

Cat throws a dark spanner into Mark’s list by schooling him on the Hogwarts headmaster’s motivations, but Mark thought it was silly to build a top five list of Potter characters and not have him in.

Neville Longbottom

Mark will always pick an underestimated underdog, and he likes Harry’s classmate for the bravery he finds in himself in later books.

Hermione Granger

Although she might induce an eye-roll, Mark’s final pick is someone with a strong moral compass, a big brain and a big heart.

More of Catherine Turner

You can, and should, find Cat’s Cabinet of Curiosities wherever you find fine podcasts, and follow her and the show on Twitter.


Special Guest: Catherine Turner.