Love, compassion, kindness, and companionship formed the foundation of the Harry Potter, with Lily Potter’s sacrifice and the Golden Trio’s friendship being the core of Harry’s story. However, every well-loved character requires a foil, and the wizarding world was full of some truly mean witches, wizards, and magical creatures.
Some of these major players, like Snape, were prejudiced towards only the Boy Who Lived and his friends, while some, like Umbridge, were generally awful to everybody who didn’t serve a purpose to them. Although some got better with time, quite a lot of them remained harsh and unredeemable in the eyes of fans.
Dudley And The Dursleys
From the very beginning, the Dursleys were extremely churlish in their behavior towards Harry and gave him a tough time for the first eleven years (and the consequent summers he spent with them). Hateful Dudley constantly bullied Harry, called him names, and pushed him around — mostly emulating the terrible treatment Vernon and Petunia meted out to Harry.
They treated him inferiorly, made him appear bad in front of people, and hid him from view. Marge Dursley went a step further in tormenting Harry, making her the meanest of the lot.
Calling Skeeter a journalist would be giving her too much credit: she was a liar and a sensationalist who liked publishing the worst about people, which was untrue on most occasions. She maligned the characters of Armando Dippet, Harry, Hermione, and Dumbledore as much as she could, and nothing could stop her cruel quill.
In fact, her description of Hermione was so awful that the poor witch had to face the chill of Mrs. Weasley’s wrath. It’s no secret that Rita Skeeter caused trouble, ruined reputations, and profiteered off of the very people she spoke badly of.
Just like his original enslavers, Kreacher believed in the supremacy of pure-blood wizards and didn’t spare a single offensive name for the Golden Trio or Sirius when they inhabited 12, Grimmauld Place. He did warm up to Harry much later, but his muttered insults were the rudest spoken in the book.
He was faithful to the old ways, and he made it very clear that anything new was unappreciated by him. Kreacher was old, surly, and unkind for most of his life.
Malfoy wasn’t known for the noble things he did (which existed but were few and far between), because his condescension and arrogance were his dominant traits. Clearly, he had learned from his family, because he cared a bit too much about pure-blood families from a very young age.
Racial slurs were common for Draco, and he regularly abused his powers as prefect to get others in trouble. Malfoy bribed and cajoled his way onto the Quidditch team, and hazed the other team terribly too. Unfortunately, Draco hardly faced any consequences for his actions because his father would make sure nothing would tarnish their family’s reputation.
It was debatable whether Snape was great at his job, because his teaching methods and interactions with students were pretty severe. His dislike for Harry leaked into academics, and he made sure to call him snide names during class or insult his friends for no real reason.
In fact, Snape was only decent to the wards of his own house, and people from Gryffindor were his constant targets, be it Neville or Ron. His penchant to become violent and threatening was alarming, and his general demeanor was rude for no real reason.
Not only was Umbridge pure evil, but she was also nasty and unkind in her day-to-day attitude. Corporal punishment was her go-to solution to discipline students, and her educational decrees were ridiculous and horrid to the students of Hogwarts.
Her simpering sweet ways veiled rather thinly how cruel she could be. Her disdain for muggles and magical creatures was unacceptable, and her drugging the students to obtain the truth was quite ghastly. She spoke badly about them and had little regard for manners of any kind.
Even though Harry’s father seemed to have become a kind and courageous person as an adult, he was pretty much a brat as a teenager. James Potter was the wizard equivalent of a rich, privileged kid who liked to bully people because he had a better life.
In fact, James’ ragging left indelible marks on Snape’s psyche, which contributed to his awful behavior as an adult. James’ pranks on him and other quieter kids were harsh and mean. Luckily, he was called out for this behavior and changed his ways for the better.
Everyone in Hogwarts detested Argus Filch, and with good reason. The caretaker was ancient, and he particularly relished punishing students who were caught breaking rules in any way. He actually missed the olden days when he could hang children upside down in dungeons.
He made sure that students didn’t have fun at all during their trip to Hogwarts, and he ensured that detention was the scariest and most unpleasant experience they could have. His muttered profanity was no better.
Barty Crouch Jr. As Mad Eye Moody
The Death Eater was bad to the bone, but his impersonation of Mad Eye Moody brought forth a callous side to him. As Moody, he could exercise many powers, like turning Malfoy into a ferret and torturing little insects for the sake of practical learning (and he gleefully did this and more).
He ruthlessly Imperiused kids, shoved them around, and bullied them to get Voldemort’s way at Hogwarts. His manner of imprisoning the real Moody was also pretty nasty and who can forget when he murdered his own father. Barty Crouch Jnr could have gotten away with so much more if he hadn’t been exposed near the end.
Besides being a murderous criminal, Bellatrix liked boasting about her brutalities and crimes to her victims and their family. Torture was her go-to action, and even when she killed Sirius in front of Harry, she laughed about it and almost teased Harry by announcing it out loud.
She had no remorse for her actions, and whether it was her treatment of the Longbottoms or targeting teenagers to exact revenge, nothing about Bellatrix was nice.