Seven best-selling books, 400 million copies sold worldwide, eight critically acclaimed film adaptations, 11 successful video games, a dedicated theme park and 18 years of global domination. Such is merely a snapshot of the 15-billon dollar success story that is Harry Potter. That’s right, $15 billion. Who knew that the tale of a young, spectacled boy wizard who once lived under a set of stairs would end up being such a phenomenon?
There are many proposed explanations for the series’ insurmountable triumph. Some say it has to do with the fact that people are generally enticed by magic and the supernatural. Others claim that the success is owed to J.K. Rowling’s business savvy and her topnotch marketing team. But perhaps the best explanation comes from none other than J.K. Rowling herself, who attributes the success of Harry Potter to the simple fact that "people fell in love with the characters."
And in love with the characters we are indeed. Here in Toronto, Harry Potterization is in full effect. The owners of a Harry Potter themed bar have even named their business after Gilderoy Lockhart. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Which Harry Potter characters do you love? Read this list of 10 Ontario universities as Harry Potter characters to see if you get your favourite!
Photo cred - io9.com
1. University of Toronto – Harry Potter
Among the Ontario universities, UofT is clearly the best representative for Harry Potter. Like Harry, UofT is the ‘main character’. Its name is known by everyone in Canada in the same way that Harry’s name is known by everyone in the Wizarding World. Both Harry and UofT are also legendary for their astounding accomplishments – Harry for herculean feats like slaying the Basilisk and defeating Voldemort, and UofT for making game-changing discoveries like insulin and the skull of the “Peking Man”.
As a member of Gryffindor, Harry is naturally a leader and considers bravery to be one of the most important features of one’s character. Likewise, UofT is also leader, especially in the areas of research and innovation, and its students tackle their hefty and limit-pushing workloads with the same unwavering courage that Harry so admires.
As frequent ‘downtowners’, UofT students possess an advantageous mix of book and street smarts; a combination that has benefited Harry on several occasions. UofT students may also have scars of their own (though, theirs take the form of eye bags instead of lightning bolts). With these points in mind, it is undeniable that UofT students are destined for the same calibre of greatness as Harry.
2. York University – Ron Weasley
York University and Ron Weasley share the misfortune of being the “butt of the joke”. YorkU is often judged as subordinate to other institutions in the same way that Ron is considered inferior by Draco and his Slytherin possé. Yet, despite not being the main 'stars' in their realms, both YorkU and Ron refuse to surrender to the stereotypes and are discontent to live in anyone’s shadow. They’ve both stepped up to the plate and proven themselves on several occasions – for example, Ron once battled through a life-and-death game of Wizard’s chess, and YorkU researchers made a groundbreaking contribution to synthetic chemistry in 2014.
Ron may not be as intelligent as Hermione or as talented in spell casting as Harry, but he makes up for his inadequacies with a perseverance that is to be admired. YorkU students are the same way – they are strong-willed and approach everything with a steadfast determination. Although they sometimes prefer taking the easy way out like Ron does, they aren’t afraid of a challenge.
Additionally, both Ron and YorkU have their share of athletic achievements. Ron was a formidable Keeper for the Gryffindor Quidditch team in his fifth year, and YorkU has fostered several Olympians and world-class athletes. If Ron were a YorkU student, he’d probably be the guy who goes to York Stadium out of actual interest.
Photo cred - aliexpress.com
3. University of Waterloo – Hermione Granger
Only a university with reputation for smarts and a proven track record for excellence across all categories is worthy enough to fill the shoes of Hermione Granger. That being said, UWaterloo, Maclean’s #1 University for National Reputation, is the best possible representative for “the brightest witch of her age.” Like Hermione, UWaterloo aspires to be the best at everything, and constantly puts forward brilliant ideas and innovative solutions that often save the day.
Hermione and UWaterloo students both enjoy special privileges that come with being smart. For example, Hermione was admitted into Hogwarts because she was an incredibly talented witch. Some of the most talented witches and wizards are Muggle-borns, and Hermione is no exception to this trend. In a similar way, UWaterloo students are often able to land highly sought after jobs at big name companies – sometimes even before they graduate – solely because of their talent.
As is the case with Hermione, UWaterloo students are often characterized as bossy, overachieving know-it-alls (ahem, OMGUW trolls). Most UWaterloo students get such a kick out of learning that they probably wish they had Time Turners so they can maximize their learning opportunities. Their boggarts would surely be the same as Hermione’s, which according to Ron would probably be “a piece of homework that only got nine out of ten.” All in all, like Hermione, UW students are essentially good at everything (except for maybe partying).
Photo cred - deviantart.com
4. Ryerson University – Severus Snape
Perhaps the most significant commonality between Ryerson University and Severus Snape is that they are both largely misunderstood figures. The confusion surrounding them mainly relates to an uncertainty about their true identities – Is Snape vicious just for the sake of being vicious or is there another side to him? Is Ryerson an actual university or a high school in disguise?
Ryerson students are also often accused of being envious of their UofT rivals; an envy akin to that which Snape grudgingly felt for James Potter. In this so-called ‘rivalry’, UofT could be thought of as the professor that ends up getting the Defence Against the Dark Arts post that Snape so desires. In any case, the unassailable truth is that no rivalry can belittle Ryerson’s status as a distinguished institution, in the same way that none of Snape’s envious tendencies detract from his brilliance as a powerful sorcerer.
Ultimately, Ryerson students are unfazed by the opinions often made about them. You could say that, like Snape, they’re skilled in Occlumency – at least, in a proverbial sense anyway – since they ‘block out the haters’ and such. In the end, the reality is that Ryerson students are just as worthy as Snape – valuable enough to be both on Dumbledore and Voldemort’s team (and at the same time, too).
5. Western University – Fred & George Weasley
Fred & George Weasley’s obsession with having fun is very much in line with Western University’s infamous party lifestyle. However, such reputation for rowdiness does not discredit the institution’s worth in any way – Western was one of the 32 Canadian universities with a top global ranking in 2014 and continues to be a tour de force in today’s post-secondary landscape. Even with the potentially distracting party scene, Western students still excel academically like Fred & George did. According to Ron, the twins managed decent grades despite their distracted ways (though, if Fred and George were Western students, they’d probably spend more time at The Spoke than at the library).
Although they had a certain propensity for getting into trouble, Fred & George still maintained an intact moral compass. For example, their acts of rebellion against Professor Umbridge demonstrate their willingness to fight, without fear or hesitation, for what is right. Such is also the Western way (take Western’s Centre for Social Concern for example, which works to support initiatives for social justice and change).
Another quality of Fred & George that relates them to Western students is their sheer boldness. Whether it be attempting to bypass the Goblet of Fire’s age limit or forcing Montague into the Vanishing Closet, Fred & George love bending the rules just like Western students do!
Photo cred - fanpop.com
6. Queen’s University – Draco Malfoy
Money is the mutual link between Queen’s University and Draco Malfoy. With this in mind, the overriding perception of Queen’s students is that, like Draco, they are spoiled and self-indulgent. Nevertheless, such is only a stereotype, and certainly a non-comprehensive one at that. Besides, Queen’s students have other things to be boastful about – a world-class MBA program, top ranking in Maclean’s medical-doctoral category, and overall international recognition. If anything, at least they have the accolades to back up their superiority complexes.
Draco himself was more than just a walking dollar sign. He always managed to be one of the top students in his classes (though, his dad Lucius would often criticize him for not surpassing Hermione), and was reliable enough to be entrusted with crucial responsibilities (you know, like the assassination of Dumbledore and stuff). Such is a similar case for Queen’s students, who are typically sought after by employers to take on important roles upon graduation.
Being rich and successful has its limitations. Draco would know – friends are often plentiful, but so are enemies. Haters should beware, though… Like Draco, Queen’s students are always up for a fight.
Photo cred - harrypotter645.deviantart.com
7. Wilfrid Laurier University – Neville Longbottom
Wilfrid Laurier University and Neville Longbottom are both subject to a similar brand of underestimation. Neville is usually outperformed by his peers in the same way that Laurier is often overshadowed by other institutions (specifically UWaterloo, it’s regional counterpart). However, like Neville, Laurier knows it’s worthy and capable of great things. Voldemort once said to Neville: “You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.” Based on that, we could say that Laurier students would make effective Death Eaters as well.
That being said, Neville would never accept Voldemort’s offer, in the same way that Laurier students would never transfer to UWaterloo. Laurier has the more interesting atmosphere anyway. However, the party life can also have its slight downfalls – too much partying can lead to forgetfulness; a characteristic trait of Neville’s. If Laurier students had Remembralls, they’d probably all be just as clouded as Neville’s.
Back in first year, the Sorting Hat wasn’t sure whether Neville should go into Hufflepuff or Gryffindor. This shows that Neville has a hint of that characteristic Hufflepuff diligence in him. Laurier students can relate to this, as they are always hardworking in everything they do. And let's not forget that Neville’s got great friends and good looks. Such is also the Laurier story.
8. OCAD – Luna Lovegood
Luna’s quirkiness perfectly reflects the eccentricity and artistic nature of OCAD students. A nonconformist in every sense, Luna stands firmly by her beliefs even if she is ridiculed for them. OCAD students are the same way; exhibiting a tenacity akin to Luna’s when faced with criticism. Luna and OCAD students are also alike when it comes to fashion. Their clothing choices are always meaningful and represent who they are as individuals.
Luna is known to be relatively outspoken. In fact, Harry once described her as someone who has a “usual knack of speaking of uncomfortable truths,” and even claimed that he has never met anyone quite like her. Being artists, OCAD students can relate to Luna’s outspoken tendencies. They are strong advocates of expressivity and aren’t afraid to make bold choices, so long as their actions are for the creative good. OCAD students also exhibit the same self-assurance that Luna does – they are comfortable with who they are and aren’t concerned with negative opinions.
Despite the whole “Loony Lovegood” nickname, Luna is still smart. She is a Ravenclaw, after all. Like OCAD students, she thinks big, dreams big, and has a huge imagination. She even loves to paint and hangs her own work around the house. But most importantly, Luna is a true friend. The next time you feel insecure because you think you’re the only one who sees the thestral, rest assured that Luna will be there to convince you you’re not alone. Such is also an accurate portrayal of the accepting nature of OCAD students.
9. University of Guelph – Nymphadora Tonks
If the University of Guelph were to be sorted into one of the four houses, it would probably be placed into Hufflepuff. You may think this is an odd choice considering the Guelph mascot is a Gryphon. However, it actually makes a lot of sense because UofG embodies the traits that Hufflepuff so respects – diligence, kindness, modesty and fairness. Along with these humble characteristics is also a certain edge that makes UofG radical, boundary pushing and top-ranked. With that in mind, UofG is the ideal representative for Nymphadora Tonks – the punkish, leather jacket-wearing Hufflepuff with the crazy hair.
Like UofG students, Tonks is highly involved in her community (she was an Auror, a member of the Order and an undercover agent for the Ministry; just to name a few). Her bubbly personality, youthful energy and infectious enthusiasm are comparable to the colossal school spirit that Guelph students have. Like most young adults, Tonks is keen on standing out from the rest and wholly embraces her distinctiveness. Likewise, the University of Guelph is also a standout, with impressive reputations in areas like agri-food research and veterinary medicine.
Moreover, Tonks is very friendly and non-judgemental (I mean, she did marry a werewolf). Even though she’s achieved so much at such a young age, she’s not one to brag about her accomplishments. In comparison, Guelph students are also accepting of others regardless of their differences. They are modest about their successes and give credit where it’s due.
10. McMaster University – Minerva McGonagall
McMaster University shares a lot of similarities with Minerva McGonagall. Like McGonagall, McMaster is sophisticated, accomplished and well known. It’s also very respected, having been named as one of the world’s top 100 universities this year. It makes perfect sense that an exceptional institution like McMaster be the choice representative for an exceptionally powerful witch.
We learn a lot of new things about McGonagall in the more recent publications on Rowling’s Pottermore. Apparently, when she was in first year, the Sorting Hat had difficulty deciding on whether or not she should be put into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. This probably comes as no surprise to anyone… We all know McGonagall’s a smart-cookie. What is surprising, however, is that she used to be an athlete and played exceptional Quidditch back in her day. McMaster students are just like her in the sense that they are also well rounded; possessing a killer mix of smarts and sportiness. I’m sure if McGonagall were a McMaster student, she’d love to check out the Sports Medicine Centre.
Furthermore, McGonagall possesses a cast-iron moral sense that McMaster students also have. They both like the rules and staying within them but aren’t hesitant to break them if necessary. We also discover on Pottermore that early on in her Ministry career, McGonagall was extremely unhappy in London. Perhaps McMaster students can relate; with Hamilton being a fairly dull place and all (or so I’ve heard… )