Top 10 Smartest Decisions in The Harry Potter Movies

Top 10 Smartest Decisions in The Harry Potter Movies
VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
These decisions made a world of difference. For this list, we'll be going over some of the most fortuitous or forward–thinking decisions made by characters in the “Harry Potter” film franchise. Our countdown includes Harry Asks Mrs. Weasley for Help, Dumbledore Stands Up to the Ministry, The Marauders Become Animagi, and more!

Top 10 Smartest Decisions in Harry Potter

Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 smartest decisions in “Harry Potter.”

For this list, we’ll be going over some of the most fortuitous or forward–thinking decisions made by characters in the “Harry Potter” film franchise. Of course, a spoiler alert is in effect!

If there’s a good “Harry Potter” decision we weren’t smart for excluding from our list, let us know in the comments!

#10: Harry Asks Mrs. Weasley for Help

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)
Harry Potter, like the rest of us at the beginning of his story, isn’t exactly familiar with many things wizards take for granted. He has no idea how to reach platform 9 ¾ when he goes to King’s Cross to take the Hogwarts Express to school. Spotting what is clearly a wizarding family, Harry inquires of Mrs. Weasley how to get onto the platform. Not only is asking for help when you don’t know something always a good idea, but who he asked is majorly important too. Harry’s question helps him establish a good relationship with his best friend’s mom... who is also his future mother–in–law.

#9: Harry Frees Dobby

“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002)
Harry goes through many miserable events in his second year. Some of these terrible incidents are due to Dobby the house elf’s misguided, and often dangerous, attempts to protect him. However, Harry isn’t one to hold a grudge. In fact, with some quick and clever thinking, he’s able to free Dobby from his servitude to the Malfoy family. There’s a law that house elves are only freed when given clothes by their masters. So, Harry tricks Lucius Malfoy into giving Dobby one of Harry’s socks. Not only is this smart in the moment, but the grateful house elf becomes invaluable later in the series, and even saves the lives of Harry and his friends.

#8: Dumbledore Rejects Grindelwald

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” (2010) & “Part 2” (2011)
The history of Albus Dumbledore is as mysterious and secretive as the man himself. But we learn some key things about him over time. Without all the details, we still know Dumbledore was friends, and a little more, with the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald when they were young. Although initially taken with both Grindelwald and his wizard supremacy ideals, Dumbledore fell out with his former friend after a heated fight. During a subsequent duel, Dumbledore’s sister Arianna was accidentally killed. From that moment on, he cut ties with Grindelwald. Dumbledore’s decision not only made him a better man, but one willing to stand up to Dark Wizards like Grindelwald, and, later, Voldemort.

#7: Narcissa Malfoy Lies to Voldemort

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” (2011)
Throughout the series, the Malfoy family spends a lot of time looking down on people. But while they may come off as pureblood, self–serving, jerks. they’re not pure evil. After Voldemort believes he ended Harry’s life in the Forbidden Forest, he sends Narcissa Malfoy to check. She quietly asks a motionless Harry if Draco’s still alive. When the boy wizard confirms with a nod, Narcissa decides to lie to Voldemort. This incredibly risky maneuver pays off hugely in the end. Not only is Narcissa able to locate and reunite with Draco safely, but she’s also able to take her son away from Hogwarts before Harry gets the drop on Voldemort and the fight starts again. Her deception helped save the wizarding world and her family.

#6: Dumbledore Stands Up to the Ministry

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)
The obstinacy of bureaucracy in the face of reality is everywhere – even in fiction. Dumbledore and many others believe Harry when he declares that Voldemort has returned. However, the Ministry of Magic refuses to believe the truth, and encourages others to deny reality as well. Despite continued attempts to discredit both him and Harry, Dumbledore takes it upon himself to keep supporting Harry and to stand up to the Ministry. Even as power is stripped away from him in his own school and he’s eventually forced out, the headmaster refuses to lie or capitulate. While the Ministry’s lie may have helped comfort the public in the short term, it ends up being better that the Wizarding World knows of Voldemort’s return down the line.

#5: The Marauders Become Animagi

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004)
Sirius Black, James Potter and Peter Pettigrew all became animagi, shapeshifters who can turn into animals, to safely spend time with their friend Remus Lupin when he turns into a werewolf. Throughout the series, we see how this decision massively benefits them repeatedly down the line. Not only does Pettigrew’s transformation allow him to fake his demise and hide in plain sight for years, but becoming an animagus helps Sirius escape Azkaban. As a dog, he’s able to sneak past the Dementor guards, reunite with friends and meet his godson Harry for the first time. And we’re sure Lupin appreciated the animagi transformations too.

#4: Harry Lets Ron & Hermione Help Him Hunt Horcruxes

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” (2010) & “Part 2” (2011)
Harry is a capable young wizard. But his initial plan, to go on a solo mission to find the Horcruxes that prevent the dark lord from dying, is a terrible idea. Thankfully, Hermione and Ron convince him to let them join this hunt. And it’s a good thing too, because Harry would not have made it out of half of what he gets up to in the final two films without them! Huge missions like breaking into the Ministry or Gringotts would’ve been completely impossible by himself. Also, Ron would never have had the chance to brilliantly return to the team right when they needed him most. Horcruxes like the locket may still be intact without the help of Harry’s friends.

#3: Hermione Comes Up With Dumbledore’s Army

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)
The fifth year at Hogwarts sees, ugh, Dolores Umbridge put in charge of Defense Against the Dark Arts. Not only is she the worst, but she also forbids students from learning practical defensive magic. In an uncharacteristic desire for rule breaking, Hermione devises an idea to create a club where students can learn and practice practical battle spells. Harry certainly deserves a lot of credit for agreeing, and effectively teaching his peers new skills. However, if it wasn’t for Hermione’s idea, it’s likely the members of “Dumbledore’s Army” would have been unprepared for the real final battle.

#2: Harry & Ron Go to Warn Hermione About the Troll

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)
Hermione Granger doesn’t make the best first impression on Harry and Ron. They initially see her as bossy, and a little too focused on academics. However, while Ron’s remarks upset her so much that she ends up sobbing in the girl’s bathroom, a troll is let loose in the school. Harry convinces Ron that they should warn her about the creature. When they find her, the three students end up having to fight the troll themselves. Not only did Harry’s decision help save Hermione’s life, but it also solidified the trio’s friendship. And without her, Harry and Ron would never have gotten as far in school, or in life, as they did.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Ron Faces His Fear of Spiders, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002)
Letting Harry Go Into the Forbidden Forest Alone Would’ve Been a Bad Move

Harry Rejects Malfoy, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)
Even at Age 11, He Figured Out That Malfoy Was the Wrong Sort

Hermione Changes Her Parents’ Memories, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” (2010)
She Makes Them Forget So No One Targets Them

Ron Sacrifices Himself During the Chess Match, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)
His Clever Decision Keeps His Friends Safe

#1: Harry Gives Himself Up to Defeat Voldemort

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” (2011)
During the final battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort and his supporters take plenty of lives to try and get to Harry. The chosen one decides to put an end to it. Harry gives himself up to stop more people from dying. Because he’s a Horcrux, any attempt from Voldemort to take his life will destroy one of the items keeping the villain alive. Since Harry has no idea he can survive a direct hit from the dark lord, his sacrifice is incredibly brave too. And, as a bonus, his courageous act grants magical protection to everyone fighting in the castle. Ultimately, Harry’s sacrifice protects his friends, gives him a huge strategic advantage, and allows him to finally defeat Voldemort.