Sirius attended Hogwarts with Harry's father James, his mother Lily, and their close friend. Remus Lupin. Sirius is a fugitive in the wizardry community as he is believed to be a murderer, and follower of the evil Lord Voldemort. Both accusations prove false as he is actually a member of the Order of the Phoenix, a group dedicated to fighting Voldemort. However, Sirius must remain in hiding, often taking on the disguise of a black dog named Snuffles, or risk being sent back to prison. As James's close friend, Sirius serves as Harry's godfather and closest adult confidant in the series. Harry relies on Sirius for friendship and advice.
Dobby is the house-elf that has attached itself to Harry as his loyal servant at Hogwarts. He suggests the secret meeting place that Harry and the others in the D.A. group can use to practice their Defense Against the Dark Arts.
As the most powerful good wizard in the "Harry Potter" series, Dumbledore plays numerous roles in the wizardry world. He is the Headmaster of Hogwarts School, leader of the Order of the Phoenix, and highly influential advisor to the wizardry world's governing bodies. Dumbledore also becomes Harry Potter's mentor early in the series, although that relationship becomes strained in this book. Dumbledore is known as the only wizard Voldemort ever feared, and thus can offer Harry the best protection from the evil wizard. As readers see for the first time in the series, Dumbledore not only knows the answers to many of Harry's deepest questions but he also remains the most powerful good wizard in the world. For the first time, Harry witnesses Dumbledore's battle skills when he challenges Voldemort head-on at the end of the novel. Because Dumbledore keeps Harry isolated for much of the story, their usually close relationship does not reappear until the Headmaster apologizes to Harry in the final chapters.
Dudley is Harry's cousin on his mother's side. He appears at the beginning and end of each "Harry Potter" book because Harry lives with him during the summers between Hogwarts sessions. Dudley is babied by his parents, and baits Harry to get him in trouble. He becomes increasingly fatter and more aggressive in each book, and this year becomes an even bigger bully as he trains as a wrestler.
Petunia is Harry's only living blood relative, his mother Lily's sister, and thus holds the responsibility for his safekeeping. Much to her dismay, her shared bloodline with Harry's mother provides Harry protection against Voldemort while under her roof. Petunia, like her husband Vernon, hates the mere mention of magic and focuses her attention on coddling her only son Dudley.
Harry's uncle by marriage, Vernon Dursley merely tolerates Harry's presence at his house each summer. He hates all things magical, and forbids Harry to mention magic or Hogwarts in his home. He much prefers his own son Dudley over Harry, and cannot wait for his nephew to leave every fall for school.
Minister of Magic for the "Harry Potter" series thus far, Fudge plays the role of generally incompetent bureaucrat. Often found wearing a green bowler-type hat, his physical appearance matches his equally inept leadership of the wizardry world. Convinced that Dumbledore wants to steal his position, Fudge constantly mocks any mention of Voldemort's return as a way to undermine Dumbledore's authority.
Hermione Granger is Harry's closest companion at Hogwarts, after Ron Weasley. The three students continue to be inseparable in this book, as they are in the other "Harry Potter" novels. Hermione plays the intellectual role to Ron's sidekick part, always knowing the textbook answer to magic dilemmas. She is a straight A student who makes school and learning a priority, often urging Harry and Ron to be more attentive students.
Hermione comes from a non-magic, or Muggle, family where she is the only witch. Although none of the sympathetic characters, such as Harry and Ron, consider Hermione any different, some in the wizardry world regard Muggle-borns as second class. Those who follow Voldemort, for example, use the derogatory name "mudblood" to describe witches and wizards of non-magic descent. As a result of this stigma, readers often witness Hermione's championing of other oppressed magic creatures, such as the enslaved house-elves. Although Hermione's strength of character and logical approach frequently extricate Harry and Ron from difficult circumstances, readers recognize that life is about more than books. It takes all three characters, and their gifts of bravery, loyalty, and intelligence, to solve the problems in each "Harry Potter" novel.
A half giant, Hagrid strikes an intimidating figure with his large beard, unkempt clothes, and massive physical presence. He reappears in the fifth "Harry Potter" novel as more of a peer to Harry and his friends than an authority figure, despite his role as Care of Magical Creatures professor at Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione feel especially affectionate towards Hagrid, whose rough appearance belies his sensitivity.
Serving as the Black family house-elf, Kreacher lives with Sirius throughout the novel. He remains loyal to the dark wizards of the Black family, and thus constantly insults Sirius and the Order of the Phoenix members who stay at the house. Because house-elves are bound to their masters, Kreacher cannot leave or disobey Sirius until he receives a direct order. In the end, this loophole allows him to play a key role in trapping Harry Potter into meeting Voldemort.
Sirius Black's cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange has been in prison for fifteen years as a result of her allegiance to Voldemort. In this story, she breaks out of prison and helps provide Voldemort with information to lure Harry into his plot. Lestrange tortured Neville Longbottom's parents into insanity, and she tortures Neville himself in the book's final battle.
Classmate of Harry Potter's, Neville is a close friend of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Readers generally feel sorry for Neville because his clumsiness lands him in continually awkward or embarrassing situations. Also, his parents were driven insane by torture when Neville was a baby; his grandmother raised him. Neville appears in all five books, but gains a larger role in...
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