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Hogwarts prefects ranked in order of usefulness

Hogwarts prefects should be law-abiding. They should not try to buy Firewhisky in dodgy pubs. Seriously, it’s a wonder some of these lot got that badge in the first place.

JKR Peeves and Percy illustration

Hogwarts prefects were chosen to set an example to their fellow students as the best and brightest of their year, but it didn’t always quite work out that way. As they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and there were some prefects who let even the slightest bit of authority go straight to their heads. Here are the Hogwarts prefects ranked in order of their usefulness…

Hermione Granger

Hermione had to be the most effective of all of the prefects (no surprises there). She upheld the school rules that she saw as reasonable (Umbridge’s reign notwithstanding, because not even Hermione wanted to respect that pink toad lady). She never worried about trying to look cool, and would follow the rules to the letter of Hogwarts law. She even knew the best way to threaten Gryffindor’s biggest troublemakers, Fred and George, with the only thing they were truly afraid of: their mother. Fred and George could barely get their Wizard Wheezes off the ground under Hermione’s watchful gaze!

Ernie Macmillan

We all know that Ernie was somewhat pompous, but he took his prefect duties very seriously, so much so that he almost chickened out of joining Dumbledore’s Army. He did this despite claiming it to be the most important thing they could do to fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Yes, Ernie almost put his role as a prefect above learning how to defend himself against certain evil, he took it THAT seriously. As such, he deserves to be at the top of this list.

Illustration of Ernie Macmillan from the Dumbledore's Army infographic
Ernie Macmillan. © JKR/Pottermore Ltd.™ Warner Bros.

Percy Weasley

Everyone and their owl knows that Percy freaking loved being a prefect during his school days. He only went on about it every three minutes. But enjoying a position of power doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at it. For example, Percy most certainly could have been more modest. However, he did the best he could to be a good prefect who stuck to the rules, and even docked points off his own house and brother.

Cedric Diggory

Oh poor, perfect Cedric. Like everything he did, Cedric was a quietly modest and presumably very good prefect, and even loaned out their bathroom to Harry to repay a favour and to help him figure out the riddle of the golden egg. What a prefect. What a guy!

Cedric Diggory with his hands in his pockets
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Penelope Clearwater

We don’t know much about Penelope other than that she was caught snogging Percy and was Petrified by the Basilisk alongside Hermione Granger. However, we will say that it was very responsible of her to heed Hermione’s advice and peer around corners with a mirror, so she gets a good place on the list. Seriously, that’s how irresponsible most Hogwarts prefects are at this point!

Lucius Malfoy

He was nice to Snape when he was sorted into Slytherin, so at least he did well in his duties to welcome new students…? Yes, we know, we’re clutching at straws here. Hogwarts has had some truly terrible prefects.

An illustration of Lucius in his robes from the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Ron Weasley

We love you, Ron, but you were not a good prefect. Not only was Ron too scared to give his brothers a talking-to when they were breaking the rules, he also wanted to underage drink in Hogsmeade, threatened Seamus Finnigan with a detention when he was only speaking his mind (Seamus was being irritating, but still) and always forgot about his duties around the school.

Remus Lupin

Lupin might have been book smart, and certainly the best-behaved of his Hogwarts friends, but the fact that Professor Dumbledore thought that making him prefect would encourage him to exert control over James Potter and Sirius Black is, frankly, laughable. Instead, the group actually upped the ante on their mischief the year Lupin was made a prefect by learning how to become Animagi. Basically they went from creating sarcastic maps for fun to sneaking out of the castle to partake in actual life-threatening activities by running around with Lupin on a full moon: that’s how effective Lupin was as a prefect.

Draco Malfoy

If there was any prefect who abused his power for no other reason than to lord it over the other characters, it was Draco. Naturally, getting ahead of Harry in anything brought Draco untold joy, so he couldn’t resist showing off about his new status in front of his school enemy, even though Harry still managed to get the (excellent) last word in.

Voldemort

No one abused their prefect powers quite as effectively as Tom Marvolo Riddle. While giving all of his professors the impression that he was practically perfect in every way, Voldemort literally set a Basilisk loose in a castle, got a Muggle-born witch killed, had Hagrid expelled and wormed the truth about Horcruxes out of Professor Slughorn. We’re fairly sure that he would have ranked highly on Percy’s Prefects Who Gained Power book, but maybe not quite in the right way.

Tom Riddle looking menacing in a Slughorn's Office
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince