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My dear boy, do use your common sense! My books wouldn't have sold half as well if people didn't think I'd done those things... Now you mention it. I'm rather gifted with Memory Charms. Otherwise, all those wizards would have gone blabbing. I'd never have sold another book. In fact, I'm going to have to do the same to you.
~ Gilderoy Lockhart revealing his true colors.
So, you first, Mr. Potter. Say goodbye to your memories. Obliviate!
~ Lockhart before unsuccessfully attempting to erase Harry and Ron's memories.

Gilderoy Lockhart is a famous author and temporary Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts and an antagonist in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and its film adaptation.

He was portrayed by Kenneth Branagh, who also played Dr. Arliss Loveless in Wild Wild West.

History

Gilderoy Lockhart was born to a Muggle man and a witch and had two elder Squib sisters. He was spoiled by his mother in his childhood, leading to him becoming extremely vain. When he arrived at Hogwarts, he was expecting his peers to be excited about his magical prowess; he had seen himself as a genius, but no one saw him as that way.

During his time as a student, Lockhart was a brilliant and clever Ravenclaw who had exceedingly high ambitions. He claimed to his peers that he would succeed in creating the Philosopher's Stone before leaving school and that he intended to captain England’s Quidditch team to World Cup glory, before knuckling down to becoming Britain’s youngest Minister for Magic. He studied for glory and achieved infamy among the Hogwarts staff and students with antics like requesting a school newspaper (just so he could see his own name in print), sending himself 800 valentines, firing a hologram of his face into the sky, and carving his name into the Quidditch pitch (which netted him a week's worth of detentions).

After his graduation (much to the staff's relief), he became a bestselling author. Having mastered Memory Charms, he tracked down accomplished wizards, tricked them into revealing their greatest deeds, and took the credit for said deeds while erasing their memories. He became famous by writing books about his "exploits," gaining awards and invitations for book signings.

While his former teachers began to think they had misjudged him, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore suspected Lockhart's fraudulence, having personally known some of Lockhart's victims. He believed that putting Lockhart into a normal, school atmosphere would expose him as a charlatan. With a vacancy in the Defense Against the Dark Arts by June 1992, Dumbledore approached Lockhart and offered him a job at Hogwarts. While Lockhart was not keen on teaching, as his career as an author was skyrocketing, Dumbledore hinted that the chance to teach the famous Harry Potter would propel Lockhart's fame to the stratosphere, and Lockhart accepted the position. While the staff questioned Dumbledore's decision to hire Lockhart, he merely said that there was plenty to learn from even a bad teacher.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By August 1992, Lockhart had officially become the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor of the 1992-1993 school year, and had assigned seven of his books as textbooks. He announced his new position while visiting Flourish and Blotts, where he first met Harry Potter. Excited, Lockhart dragged Harry into the spotlight, taking pictures with Harry and gifting him a set of his books in affection. An embarrassed Harry gave the set Lockhart gave him to Ginny Weasley, as he could afford his own set.

In his new position, Lockhart had taken over the DADA classroom and office with portraits of himself and copies of his books. He began the school year by issuing a lengthy quiz concerning his books, which only Hermione Granger achieved high marks on. He then unleashed Cornish pixies into the room, which caused pandemonium, before fleeing to his office and forcing Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione to tidy up the mess.

Lockhart once more became infamous among Hogwarts personnel, giving them unsolicited advice. Most students viewed him as obnoxious and incompetent. However, many schoolgirls like Susan Bones and Hermione were attracted to him, as were Muggle-borns.

Afterwards, he spent the rest of the year reading excerpts from his books. He also hounded Harry Potter with acts ranging from poorly healing Harry's broken arm, requesting that Harry answer Lockhart's fan mails, having Harry re-enact scenes from Lockhart's books, founding a short-lived Dueling Club, and setting up a bombastic Valentine's Day event.

After Ginny Weasley was taken into the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart planned to leave Hogwarts instead of rescuing her, revealing himself to be a coward. When Harry and Ron forced him to help them find her, he confessed his fraudulence. Inside the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart seized Ron's broken wand and attempted to use a Memory Charm to erase their memories, but the spell backfired, erasing his own memories. He was then taken into St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, much to the staff and students' joy.

Some time later, Lockhart penned another book called Who Am I?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Three years later, Lockhart was still in St. Mungo's, residing in the Permanent Resident Ward. He had recovered to the point of being able to write letters, though he still had no idea how he had ended up there and was only aware of some things about his past that the hospital's staff told him, like the fact he used to be a famous teacher. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny met Lockhart at St. Mungo's, while visiting Arthur Weasley, who had been injured by Nagini, and they were shocked to see him, being too focused on the recent events to rember that Lockhart was likely to be there, after his incident. While Ron felt guilty in some way about putting Lockhart in this situation, Harry wasn't, since Lockhart was at fault for erasing his own memories when he was trying to erase theirs. It's completely unknown if Lockhart ever recovered and rejoined the society or spend the rest of his days at St. Mungo, albeit happily.

Characteristics

Personality

Gilderoy Lockhart's defining characteristics were his extreme arrogance and exceeding vanity, conceit, egomania, narcissism and self-obsession. He was a voracious self-promoter and claimed to have done many great deeds, though in actuality he was a fraud and merely took credit for other wizards and witches' accomplishments; he went as far as to claim his winning of the Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award five times in a row is more impressive than Harry Potter defeating Lord Voldemort. He also made claims and suggestions, whether about other people's professions or in times of danger, in order to make himself look more important and powerful than he truly was. Like Stan Shunpike, Gilderoy tends to come up with made-up concepts on the spot rather frequently just to impress his admirers. His attempts to earn himself more fame also led him to attempt spells without fully understanding them (such as removing Harry's bones instead of mending them, and launching a snake into the air instead of making it vanish). It is also speculated that he invented some incantations and names for spells that do not actually exist, such as Peskipiksi Pesternomi, the Transmogrifian Torture, and the Homorphus Charm. Indeed, much of his books contain a large number of invented details to promote his supposed feats. As part of his vanity, Lockhart was very proud of his books, and would always make reference to them whenever giving advice based on his so-called experience.

Lockhart's overbearing self-confidence and insensitive suggestions irked most of the people he encountered who were not included among his fans. His unprofessional behaviour earned him the dislike of the Hogwarts faculty, as well as many of the students. Lockhart was overall considered a joke by Hogwarts, and when he left due to memory loss, the majority (if not the entirety) of the school was elated to see him go.

He also seemed to be completely oblivious to the reactions he elicited from other people or misinterpreted them completely. When Ron looked revolted at his ostentatious peacock quill, Lockhart thought Ron was admiring it. He ignored Harry's many attempts to contradict his theories of enjoying his company and attention, as well as Harry's pleas for Lockhart to leave his broken arm alone, and also completely failed to notice the looks of hatred he received from the rest of the faculty for his ignorance. He asserted that Hogwarts was safe from the monster of Slytherin after Hagrid was arrested, claiming extra security was no longer necessary, and though proven wrong almost immediately, Lockhart stubbornly refused to retract his earlier claims, and continued to complain about how the extra security was tiring him out.

When faced with true danger, Gilderoy showed his true cowardice. He attempted to flee from Hogwarts when the other teachers pressured him into entering the Chamber of Secrets after Ginny Weasley's abduction, and claim that his books can be misleading, contradicting his past vain support on them. Even after the location of the Chamber's entrance was discovered, he was willing to leave Ginny Weasley to die, attempting to modify Harry and Ron's memories to cover himself.

Although Lockhart started out as a clever and very skilled student, being sorted into Ravenclaw house, he had a critical flaw in never trying in his studies (or anything) unless he was the very best of it, having been spoiled by his mother's overly affection and his own vanity. Even in his childhood, he already expected the students and teachers to greet him with admiration and excitement, as he deluded himself into thinking he is a genius above all others of undeserved rights, and was very disappointed and dulled when he was not given any special treatments. He studied not for education, but for attention and awards, and spent much of his time with annoying antics for fame that instead earned him a small notoriety. He was never an unskilled wizard, just a lazy one, and increasingly directed his talents to shortcuts and dodges; his gifts were wasted away, as the only spell he focused on was the Memory Charm. His abilities were eventually deteriorated beyond the point of recovery.

Despite his ineptitude in most other areas of magic due to long-term neglect and misuse, Lockhart was skilled in Memory Charms, it being the one spell he focused on for his entire life, and was conniving enough to deceive other wizards and witches to thoroughly reveal their work to him before erasing their memories and claim the credits for himself. He also appeared to have been a skilled writer, publishing many books consisting primarily of his embellishments of other people's achievements, taking credit for them as his own. Given his propensity for lying, however, it cannot be said for certain that Lockhart himself actually wrote any of the books. He also added many invented details in such feats to promote himself further, distorting facts with fictional concepts. Lockhart's fraudulent lifestyle has proven a certain degree of cunning, resourcefulness and disregard for rules, qualities that fall under the specifics of Slytherin, which he was narrowly able to avoid being sorted into.

In addition to his other flaws, Lockhart may have had a spiteful streak in him. After learning from Hagrid that the gamekeeper hadn't read any of his books Lockhart was rather put out, and again when Hagrid told him that Harry Potter was more famous than Lockhart without trying. After Hagrid's arrest Lockhart openly claimed to be certain that Hagrid was truly guilty, but whether this was a real hint of ill will or another sign of Lockhart's ignorance is unknown.

After losing his memory, however, Lockhart became a much nicer and happier person even if he didn't particularly know it. Upon seeing Harry and Ginny after the spell hit him, he said hello to them very cheerfully and spent most of the time humming to himself absentmindedly. When addressed as Professor, he expressed surprise at the idea and remarked that he must have been hopeless at it without any reluctance at all. Despite forgetting his desire for fame and attention, he continued to enjoy signing autographs and responding to fan letters, a trait that Harry noted has not changed.

Powers and Abilities

Although Gilderoy Lockhart was very talented and briliant in the magical arts during his youth, being acknowledged as having tremondous abillity and better than most of his fellow students and with the potential to become a great wizard by his teachers despite their resentment of his attention seeking personality during his education at Hogwarts, years of misuse and abandonment and sole focus on the Memory Charm eventually diminished and rusted his magical abilities nearly beyond repair, making him unskilled in most fields of magic, with his fame later in his life being completely dependent on his use of the Memory Charms to steal knowledge of how to achieve remarkable feats from accomplished wizards and witches and his incredible cunning and cleverness that allowed him to keep up with the facade. Altough he did retain some of his former good magical abillities and displayed some knowledge, experience and capabillity in some fields of magic that he may have acquired from his journeys, his greatly disminished magical brilliance eventually spelled the end for him when he became a teacher at his old school and his inappitude was shown and exposed to the public. He lost all of his abillities completely after losing his memory along with his popularity apart from his authoristic skills.

  • Charms: Lockhart's main area of expertise appeared to be Charms, as he retained a good amount of skill in it even after losing much of his formee magical brilliance. On his own admission, Lockhart was particularly gifted with the Memory Charm, an abillity that he spent years perfecting. He eventually reached the level where he could cast the tricky charm without fail on any situation, even managing to do so to accomplished wizards and witches upon catching them off-guard, and he was able to perform the spell even with a wand he had not yet mastered, altough the charm backfired and erased all of his memories instead due to the wand being broken. His talents and skills in Charms was great enough to be capable of conjuring a non corporeal Patronus, a very advanced piece of magic. He could adequately perform simple, minor enchantments such as the Verdimillious Duo Spell and Softening Charm and displayed sufficient knowledge in their use to thoroughly teach his students how to use them. He was also capable of performing a charm that sent the target flying high into the air. However, while he acquired knowledge on the Homorphus Charm from an Armenian warlock, which turned the Wagga Wagga Werewolf back into human, and used it as a basis for his book Wanderings with Werewolves, it is unlikely that he could perform it as he described the spell as being "immensely complex" and thus not what his abillities would have been capable of.
  • Nonverbal Magic: While Lockhart had lost much of his initial magical brilliance and due to this most of his spells rarely worked out the way he wanted to, he has apparently not completely lost the level of skill he possesed in his youth, as he could cast spells without having to speak them out loud, which, as it was N.E.W.T. level magic and very difficult, proved that he did retain a vestige of his once good magical skills by the time he returned to teach at Hogwarts, denoting them as only nearly 'beyond repair'. His ability to produce any effect by wordless spellcasting at all seem to indicate that he could have still honed his magical ability and lived up to his potential as a wizard had he put his mind to it.
  • Potions: Lockhart had at least sufficiently adequate abillities and knowledge in Potions with presumably some years of experience, as he was capable of creating his own basic brews, such as an Occamy egg yolk shampoo that would give the drinker lustrous locks of hair, which was one of the very few things that he made that proved to be true but it was too dangerous and expensive for the open market. His claims, however, that he had made the Mandrake Restorative Draught so many times that he could do it in his sleep were likely false.
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: It can be assumed that Lockhart was once excellent in Defence Against the Dark Arts, as he would have had to achieve a good score on his N.E.W.T Exam as required to be able to be a teacher even though Dumbledore only hired him to expose his fraudlence. Altough he clearly lost most of his once presumably outstanding defensive abillities against the Dark Forces, Lockhart had apparently kept some of them and his lack of abillity was apparenly compensated somewhat by his journeys giving him a sufficiently adequate of experience and expertise in how to defend from the Dark Forces, as evidenced by the fact that he was able to do a good enough job as an honorary member of the Dark Force Defensive League to not attract suspicion. While not particularly compotent as a teacher of the Defense Against the Dark Arts, he was still able to teach his class on how to use Rictusempra, Petrificus Totalus and Verdimillious Duo Spell to defend themselves effectively, with even Harry Potter admitting Lockhart did teach him how to use those spells quite well. It appears that his particular area of expertise in the subject was how to defend from Dark Creatures, acquiring extensuve knowledge from his journeys by talking to accomplished wizards and witches on how they subdued dangerous monsters, altough he clearly lacked the abillity to handle them the way he wrote it in his books but his books were good enough to be deemed fantastic, which fooled the majority of the wizarding world who read them until he revealed he could not do the means he wrote in his books. However, his claims that he had seen the use of the Transmogrifian Torture Curse being done countlessly and knew the countercurse for it was likely false and the curse and the countercurse may not even have existed in the first place and was just another one of Lockhart's lies.
  • Creatures expert: Lockhart displayed a rather surprisingly impressive amount of knowledge on magical creatures, implying while he is incompotent in dealing with them practically, he has genuinely acquired a good amount of knowledge on how to handle magical creatures. He was able to thoroughly explain to Harry how to deal with Fire Crabs, Orange Snails and Gnomes and how they attack. His books on house pests was deemed to be very good, earning him praise from housewives such as Molly Weasley. He also authorised the book Marauding with Monsters that provided accurate and thorough knowledge on how to handle Horklumps, Gnomes, Fire Crabs, Gytrashes, and Imps.
  • Transfiguration: Lockhart appears to have a certain level od adequate abillity in Transfiguration, as he was capable of succesfully performing Vanishment, an advanced level of Transfiguration, using a spell to vanish all of Harry Potter's arm bones in a failed attempt to mend it.
  • Dark Arts: Lockhart appears to have a level of adequate abillity in Dark Magic, at least in regards to the theory, although he did not entirely lack practical abillity, as although he was unskilled in using it, as he failed to keep a Pixie for long, he was able to use the Full Body Bind Curse and displayed sufficient knowledge of it's properties to thoroughly teach Harry on how to use it. He also had knowledge of Jinxes, as he fully understood the Knockback Jinx's properties.
  • Healing Magic: Lockhart had a mediocre amount of knowledge and abillity in Healing Charms, as he attempted to use a spell to mend Harry's broken arm when Dobby made a Bludger attack him. However, his abillities in this field was clearly limited, as instead of healing Harry's bones, he vanished them completely, something that he said could happen if the user had not sufficient skill. It may be assumed that Lockhart may have specialised in Deboning, as he succesfully removed all of Harry's bones and thought by relieving Harry of his bones, he would feel less pain.
  • Wand versatility: Lockhart was capable of successfully casting the Memory Charm to the desired effect, a notably tricky spell, altough this may be just due to Lockhart's extensive experience and skill in it, with the wand of Ron Weasley when he decided to use it to hide his fraudulent rise to fame from the public eye by wiping clean the memories of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, although the damage that was done to the wand he used beforehand caused it to backfire, permanently stripping him of all his memories.
  • Intelligence: Lockhart was known to be very clever as a student, as he was sorted into the Ravenclaw House, which requires a good amount of intelligence, and in his school days, despite his teachers being annoyed by his constant troublemaker and attention seeking antics, they still acknowledged him as being cleverer than most of his fellow students and he got good marks on his academic tests and homeworks. As an adult, upon fully graduating, the full extent of Lockhart's cunning and resourcefulness, qualities that also nearly made him a Slytherin, was shown in his journey for fame. He was capable of easily deceiving the whole magical community apart from Dumbledore that he was a famous wizard with exceptional abillities despite having lost much of his youth's magical prowess while in actuality he was a fraud who stole the knowledge of how to achieve the great feats he wrote in his book from the real ones who did it by succesfully convincing them to tell him. It was only because Dumbledore decided to expose him by luring him into becoming a teacher at Hogwarts, which he did poorly, that he lost his fame and was revealed to all as a fraud.
  • Actor: Lockhart was also quite adept in acting and deceiving others, as he was able to fool the wizards and witches whose heroic deeds he used as a basis for his books to tell him thoroughly how they achieved their feats so he can pretend that he did it perfectly before modifying their memory and making them forget. His acting skills also contributed in his abillity to completely hide his fraudlence and inappitude in most fields of magic from almost all of the Wizarding World with his tall tales, making him world-wide famous, with only Dumbledore seeing through Lockhart's facade.
  • Author: Lockhart's biggest skill apart from his speciality with Memory Charms was that he was an extremely accomplished author, which was the career he chose after leaving Hogwarts. His skills as an Author were such that he was able to completely hide both his fraudulence and magical ineptitude to the general public by claiming credit in his books for deeds which other witches and wizards had done, to the point that he was initially idolised by the majority of the wizarding world and many Hogwarts students. Only when he revealed his obnoxious and attention-seeking personality, and while he was teaching Defence against the Dark Arts in Hogwarts, were his ineptitude and fraudulence gradually exposed to the Hogwarts students, which Albus Dumbledore, being the only one who was not at all fooled by Lockhart's fame and easily saw through his facade, took advantage of in order to expose him. Even after his memories were erased, Lockhart still retained some of his writing skills despite his popularity having fallen, which was shown when he wrote and published the book Who Am I?. Lockhart did admit to Harry and Ron that had the public know that he is not the hero he wrote himself as, his books would not have sold half as well as they did, showing he knows that the people are not simply interested in reading what they would know to be fiction.

Trivia

  • Originally, Lockhart was going to be played by Hugh Grant. Coincidentally, one of Grant's middle names is "Mungo."
  • In the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets film, Lockhart has a photo of himself as a Ravenclaw Seeker. However, he most likely forged it, considering his history of creating fake exploits.
  • Originally, in the earlier drafts of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film, Lockhart would have reappeared like in the book, with Kenneth Branagh reprising his role. He was ultimately cut from the movie.
  • Since he attended Hogwarts from 1975-1982, he would have been at Hogwarts at the same time as Lily Evans, Severus Snape, and the Marauders, which could explain Snape's disdain towards him.
  • Lockhart is inspired by a real person J.K. Rowling knew for two years. She has not revealed who this person is, but she claims to have barely exaggerated his personality on Lockhart.

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           Harry Potter Villains

Death Eaters
Lord Voldemort | Severus Snape | Draco Malfoy | Quirinus Quirrell | Lucius Malfoy | Peter Pettigrew | Barty Crouch Jr. | Bellatrix Lestrange | Corban Yaxley | Alecto Carrow | Antonin Dolohov | Thorfinn Rowle | Evan Rosier | Cedric Diggory

Death Eater Supporters
Dolores Umbridge | Snatchers (Fenrir Greyback & Scabior) | Gregory Goyle | Vincent Crabbe | John Dawlish | Kreacher

Other Dark Wizards & Witches
Salazar Slytherin | Marvolo Gaunt | Gellert Grindelwald | Gilderoy Lockhart | Herpo the Foul | Merwyn the Malicious | Ekirzdis | Delphini

New Salem Philanthropic Society
Mary Lou Barebone | Credence Barebone

Creatures
Basilisk | Acromantula (Aragog & Acromantula Colony) | Dementors | Centaurs | Giants | Inferi | Nagini | Mountain Troll | Charlatan