If we’re talking about creature scare factor for Harry Potter beasts, it’s tough to look too far beyond the Dementors. They were introduced into the world of the films by Alfonso Cuarón in Prisoner of Azkaban and instantly struck fear into the hearts of everyone watching them. The Dementors are arguably Rowling’s bleakest creation, existing only to extract happiness and joy from the world.
It is this that makes them the perfect guards for wizard prison Azkaban, as well as the threat posed by their most devastating weapon – the Dementor’s Kiss. The prospect of having your soul sucked from your body while you remain alive is a fate so shocking that Rowling never actually depicts it in the stories, and it’s certainly not shown in the movies, but it is explained that it’s the fate that greets Death Eater Barty Crouch Jr. after he is uncovered at the end of Goblet of Fire.
The Dementors are undoubtedly the most horrifying creature depicted in the Harry Potter movies, but they’re also among the most memorable. They pose a constant threat to the heroes and always seem as if they’re moments away from administering a kiss so horrible that even Taylor Swift couldn’t write a catchy break-up song about it.
It’s a mark of a great fictional character that simply the mention of their name elicits bona fide emotion. That’s certainly true for Dobby – everyone’s favourite house elf. From his impish first appearance to dump a cake on a Muggle’s head in Chamber of Secrets to his heart-wrenching farewell in Deathly Hallows – Part One, Dobby’s high-pitched slapstick forced its way into our hearts.
But he’s far from just a cuddly creation invented to flog toys to kids – sorry, Niffler fans. Dobby has a genuine story arc, moving from self-hating servant to freedom fighter and ultimately a warrior, sacrificing his life in service of his friends and the fight against Voldemort. Voiced in the films by British star Toby Jones, he’s a crucial ally for the central gang and one of the most beloved characters in the entire series.
Dobby is a terrific achievement of visual effects and voice acting, helped by the genuine affection he is given in Rowling’s prose. His final scene in the seventh movie, in which it’s his death that splits the two parts of Deathly Hallows, is one of the most tear-jerking moments in movie history and perhaps the most upsetting scene in the entire Harry Potter franchise.
From slapstick to sadness, Dobby is the best creature in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies to date.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set for release on November 16th 2018.
Tom Beasley is a freelance film journalist and wrestling fan. Follow him on Twitter via @TomJBeasley for movie opinions, wrestling stuff and puns.