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The Dark Truth About Gilderoy Lockhart In Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series plays host to some of the most beloved characters in all of pop culture. Even the less morally upright folks like Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) have no shortage of devout fans. However, the series is not without its villains, who viewers and readers alike absolutely cannot stand. This isn't necessarily for their dark deeds alone — sometimes it's for a number of reasons. The poster boy for this camp is none other than Kenneth Branagh's Gilderoy Lockhart, the most pompous Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Hogwarts has ever seen.

Lockhart arrives in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He's characterized as a literary genius, having penned many books about evil creatures and the fantastical encounters he's had with them over the years. Armed with an over-inflated ego and a moderate knowledge of magic, Lockhart pulls the wool over many eyes at Hogwarts, convincing everyone that he's a standup guy worth all the praise in the world. However, his true villainy in pursuit of never-ending glory eventually comes to light, unraveling his entire life. Here's the very dark reality of who Gilderoy Lockhart truly is.

Lockhart desired fame and fortune to a dangerous extent

When he first began his magical education, Gilderoy Lockhart went through the same sorting process that every aspiring magic-user experiences at Hogwarts. But when the Sorting Hat was placed upon young Lockhart's head, something unusual happened: Instead of quickly blurting out the name of one of the four houses, the talking headpiece hesitated, unable to decide between Ravenclaw or Slytherin. Eventually, the Hat stuck him in Raveclaw. This makes sense, given his level of intelligence — however, leaning into that aspect of his personality served to boost his cunning and selfishness. As he got older, these unsavory character traits began to take over, feeding into his unending desire for attention.

Lockhart studied memory spells extensively, and at some point began using them to steal other people's extraordinary stories. He'd interview his subject, then wipe their memory and claim their exploits as his own daring deeds. In his adult years, he cultivated a heroic persona that dazzled everyone he met, and went to great lengths to preserve it. He even tries to claim the glory attributed to Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) after they discover the Chamber of Secrets. Thankfully for the two students, the memory charm he attempts to cast backfires. He loses all his memories as a result, and takes up permanent residence in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

At the end of the day, while he isn't Voldemort-levels of evil, Gilderoy Lockhart's love of the spotlight pushes him to do despicable things for even the smallest bit of praise. He feels no remorse for his actions, despite ruining the lives of many innocent people. He eventually receives his comeuppance, thankfully. One hopes the denizens of the Wizarding World are at some point told the truth about his deceit.