The sixteen-year-old protagonist and hero of the book. Harry is the subject of a prophecy that states that he and Voldemort must one day face each other and battle, as neither can live while the other does. He attempts to maintain a normal school life, playing Quidditch and admiring girls, while simultaneously bearing the enormous weight of his destiny. Harry is loving, moral, and extremely loyal to his friends, his school, and headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
Headmaster of Hogwarts and a father figure to Harry Potter. Dumbledore is extraordinarily wise and trusting and an extremely powerful wizard. Apart from Harry, Dumbledore is Voldemort’s only other archenemy. He operates with integrity, grace, and surprising humor.
Once a student at Hogwarts named Tom Riddle, now a force of extreme evil. Voldemort is supported by a cabal of Death Eaters who perform his bidding. Like Harry, he was raised as an orphan and brought to Hogwarts by Dumbledore. He has divided his soul into seven Horcruxes, rendering himself functionally immortal and soulless.
One of Harry Potter’s two best friends. Hermione is an extremely conscientious student, her hand perpetually in the air during class. In addition to being highly intelligent, Hermione is also the more cautious of Harry’s friends, constantly challenging his quick thinking and lack of foresight. Hermione is a Mudblood, meaning she is a wizard born to Muggle parents. Many Slytherins, including Draco Malfoy, deride her for this condition.
The other of Harry’s best friends. Strong, impulsive, and anxious, Ron is a lovable goof. He plays the position of keeper for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He briefly dates Lavender Brown but seems to have a longstanding and unspoken interest in Hermione.
A former Death Eater and longtime professor of Potions at Hogwarts. This year, Dumbledore promotes Snape to professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione don’t trust or like Snape. Several members of the Order feel similarly, but Dumbledore continually insists that Snape is reformed and a crucial member of the Order and the Hogwarts faculty. Snape and Harry’s father, James Potter, were enemies when they were students at Hogwarts, which may color Snape’s cruel treatment of Harry.
One of Harry’s classmates, the son of convicted Death Eater Lucius Malfoy and Narcissa Malfoy. Draco is mean, cold, and demanding, and Harry suspects him to be a Death Eater like his father. He constantly mocks Hermione and other Mudbloods for their impure heritage.
The newly recruited Professor of Potions at Hogwarts. Slughorn is obsessed with making the acquaintance of potentially powerful and influential young wizards. He hosts weekly parties in his room, inviting only select students known as the “Slug Club.” Posesses an important memory of Voldemort, having been the first person to tell Voldemort what a Horcrux is.
Ron Weasley’s pretty, popular younger sister. Harry develops strong feelings for Ginny but prevents himself from acting on them because he is afraid of jeopardizing his relationship with Ron. Eventually, after an especially triumphant Quidditch match, Harry kisses her, to Ron’s approval. Like Ron, Ginny is extremely brave, and she has fought with the Order of the Phoenix and is a member of Dumbledore’s Army, the group of students who banded together to study Defense Against the Dark Arts in the previous novel in the series.
Cornelius Fudge’s replacement as the Minister of Magic. Scrimgeour pesters Harry to align himself with the Ministry to give the Wizarding world the illusion that they are working together to stop Voldemort. He accuses Harry of being “Dumbledore’s man” through and through.
The Head of House for Gryffindor and the instructor of Transfiguration. McGonagall has earned a reputation for being a tough but extremely fair professor. She is Dumbledore’s deputy headmistress.
Ron’s parents, members of the Order of the Phoenix. The Weasleys’ treat Harry as if he was their own son and welcome him back to the Burrow on all school breaks and holidays.
A seventh-year Hogwarts student and the Gryffindor Quidditch team’s prize Chaser. Katie is cursed by a necklace given to her in the bathroom of the Three Broomsticks.
A classmate of Harry’s who pursues a romantic interest in him. Romilda gives Harry a gift of Chocolate Cauldrons spiked with a love potion, which Ron consumes by mistake.