The character traits of Harry Potter seem to relate very well to most readers when they were still in their school years.
While this is part of why the series is so successful, there are also characteristics of the main character that are distinct and interesting.
Some of these are core values that he keeps as he gets older, though some are due to changing circumstances, particularly with his living situation.
There are some major spoilers since this article goes over the specific character traits related to the aspiring wizard about the events in the story.
These are important because they better help reveal his inner workings than going by various things that he says.
Harry Potter Personality and Character Traits developed over the years:
- Personality in Books 1 and 2: Shy and Quiet
- Personality in Books 3 and 4: Adventurous nature develops and reveals itself
- Personality in Books 5 and 6: Develops independence, responsibility, shows dedication to family and friends
- Personality in Book 7 and Beyond: Adventurous and independent
Table of Contents
Harry Potter Character Traits
Personality in Books 1 and 2
Before Harry Potter even starts his studies at Hogwarts, he has a particular personality that most people think of when considering a shy youth that tends to keep quiet.
He probably developed these habits because his aunt and uncle wanted to keep him quiet and in his own corner at all times possible.
There wasn’t much that he could do in this case except hope for the best and try to be patient and disciplined.
However, things start to change rapidly during his first year at Hogwarts.
Not only does he have a wonderful and literally magical world to explore, but he also has to make some decisions regarding right and wrong.
During the early years, Draco Malfoy tries to bring Harry to his side, warning about the association with Ron Weasley.
Instead, Malfoy had been rejected and they became rivals ever since.
The leading yet aspiring young wizard develops his adventurous side early on in the first year.
This is aided by the fact that he receives a special invisibility cloak as a gift.
It’s the only way he can move through the school’s corridors after curfew without getting caught by anyone, even a ghost.
Besides this, he also becomes great friends with Ron, who comes from a working-class family, and Hermoine, who’s a half-blood witch.
Instead of choosing to befriend students from powerful families such as Draco, he instead chooses his friends based on what he feels is right at the time.
This is a strong indication of how he’s developing, even though the temptation to go to the dark side is always present.
Additionally, his sorting into the House of Gryffindor shows more about him, such as determination, courage, bravery, and nerve.
However, he was almost sorted into Slytherin, possibly due to traits such as ambition and cunning.
Personality in Books 3 and 4
This is the time when the aspiring sorcerer becomes more active with his role in the wizarding world, particularly in his adventures.
He’s not merely content with roaming around the school corridors with his invisibility cloak, going further away from the school grounds.
This would be difficult enough even sneaking by while remaining invisible, but it’s nigh-possible with all the dementors lurking around.
However, it’s made possible by the Marauder’s Map.
The adventurous nature of the protagonist really develops and reveals itself during this point.
While only a couple of years at this point, it seems like a long way from him living in the small cupboard under the stairs.
The events he deals with also show that he’s willing to see from a different perspective when something doesn’t look right, such as the case with Sirius Black, his godfather, being framed for murder.
Also, it’s revealed later that the Marauder’s Map was created by none other than Harry Potter’s father and his friends.
It really shows that the adventurous side was somehow inherited, though it was also aided by some powerful magic.
However, he didn’t inherit much of the mischief that his father had as a student at Hogwarts.
Maybe he wanted to stay away from any kind of cunning and mischief to distance himself from Slytherin.
He also has a strong sense of fairness and loyalty that’s displayed during the Triwizard tournament.
In actuality, he didn’t sign up for the tournament and wasn’t even eligible. Strangely, two wizards were chosen from Hogwarts when only one from each school was supposed to enter.
Instead of competing for the prize at any cost, he decided to make sure that everyone was safe. He even sacrificed winning at the end to save one of the other contestants.
Personality in Books 5 and 6
As Harry Potter develops and matures throughout his Hogwarts school years, so do his character traits.
This is where things get much more interesting in the series as he explores the darker sides of the wizarding world.
This is because Voldemort and his dark forces become much more powerful, especially since the evil wizard finally has his own body.
It’s not enough for the young sorcerer to only do what his friends expect of him.
Increasingly, the authorities at the school and other magical administrations become less reliable.
The protagonist has to take matters into his own hand, at least more than usual, and gain more responsibility.
Dumbledore is off on his own adventures and isn’t always available for help or advice.
This is due to actual events in the story, but it also serves as a plot device that helps to develop and mature the character during this time.
In the fifth book, he even goes off and ventures completely away from the school grounds at the Department of Mysteries.
This makes completely apparent the fact that he doesn’t always adhere to the rules when a situation seems strange.
With the corruption of the various authorities due to dark forces gaining control, this is an important character trait to have.
He also displays characteristics of loyalty and dedication to his family and friends.
Harry Potter further explores the shadowy part of the wizarding world during the sixth book, even as part of his own personality.
This is when he delves deep into the half-blood prince’s old potions textbook.
While he doesn’t know it at the time, it once belonged to a shadowy individual.
At one point, he actually used a dark spell created by the self-proclaimed prince against Malfoy.
At another point, he reveals his feelings for Ginny and goes into a relationship with her.
Personality in Book 7 and Beyond
Challenged by past mistakes and world-shaking forces coming against him, the now young adult develops into his full personality.
This is a complete necessity for survival since Voldemort and his evil group of wizards have taken over just about the whole wizarding world, including Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic.
With Dumbledore dead at this point, there’s nowhere to turn to except his experience, friends, and his own logic.
Throughout the final book, Harry Potter goes through one of his greatest adventures yet.
After all, it’s so large that it was created into two movies.
To finally defeat the evil wizard Voldemort, he goes through various adventures around the world to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.
As a result, his bravery and courage come into full swing.
He stands up for a wizarding world that he believes in, which includes half-bloods as well as pure-bloods.
In various cases throughout the story, the protagonist tends to lose control over his temper.
While he goes about with heroic feats, he doesn’t always think about the consequences.
If he did, he would likely be much timider about what he gets himself into, particularly when it comes to life and death situations.
Obsessiveness is one of his character traits, especially when it comes to matters of fairness and righteousness.
Similarly, Voldemort is the same way but with shadowy desires.
Later in life and more normal wizarding circumstances, Harry Potter is described as very kind and compassionate.
These character traits aren’t as apparent through his challenges growing up as a child; they really show throughout his later years when he has a chance to settle down.
Also, he tends to only use powerful spells against others when needed, showing a level of restraint that’s absent in the antagonist.
He’s one of the most proficient at the Dark Arts but tires not to use them.
Even though the important character traits that produce Harry Potter’s personality stay the same, various aspects of him seem to develop over time.
While most people would consider this an inward shift, it’s more likely that various aspects of him reveal themselves over time.
He was probably keeping things about him a secret during his dreadful time with the Dursleys in his early years.
However, his time at Hogwarts allowed him to be himself.
Before coming to Hogwarts, the aspiring sorcerer probably didn’t think much of evil besides him being bullied by his own family members.
Coming to understand Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and other evil forces probably made him think of his stance on good versus evil.
Like many Gryffindors, he doesn’t feel comfortable letting sinister plots pass by without dealing with them.
Outwardly, he doesn’t look like most heroes, but inwardly he very much is.