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The most cringeworthy moments in Harry Potter

If only we could Obliviate these social train wrecks from our memories

Moaning Myrtle in her bathroom
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Despite having magical abilities, Hogwarts students weren’t immune to growing pains, including figuring out how to navigate friendships and relationships without having (as Nearly Headless Nick so delicately put it) ‘all the sensitivity of a blunt axe’.

The problem is there’s just something about adolescence that brings out people’s mortifying awkwardness. Even our favourite trio had to try to survive hormones and social learning curves while they were fighting to save the world, which made for some particularly hard moments to sit through. Here are some of the really bad ones that had us cringing to the max – you’ve been warned.

When Ron called Hermione ‘a nightmare’

Flitwicks classroom
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Ron certainly went through one heck of a transformation, but not before insulting what felt like nearly half of Hogwarts. Hermione was no stranger to being at the receiving end of his insensitivity, but there was one incident in their first year that was almost unforgivable.

Hermione, already refusing to speak to Harry and Ron for breaking the rules and almost getting themselves killed (or worse, expelled), grew even more annoyed when she was paired up with Ron in Charms. Ron meanwhile thought Hermione was a bossy know-it-all who probably took delight in criticising his incantation, and it all culminated in Ron making some terribly crass remarks: ‘It’s no wonder no one can stand her,’ and, ‘She’s a nightmare, honestly.’

When Harry pointed out that Hermione might have heard him (as if her running past them in tears wasn’t a big enough clue), Ron didn’t own up to the fact that he had gone too far. Instead he added a devastating uppercut punch with, ‘She must’ve noticed she’s got no friends.’

Ouch. (PS: folks, those are great examples of what not to say to your future significant other.)

Ron’s words were so hurtful that Hermione sought sanctuary in the girls’ toilets, which consequently put her in danger from a full-grown mountain troll. It was a good thing Harry and Ron came to the rescue or there would’ve been some major regrets.

When Hermione complained about Moaning Myrtle

Guests dancing at Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Even the best of us will admit we tried avoiding someone at a party. Yeah, we’re not proud of it. But we’re also equally grateful that we didn’t have a Peeves eavesdropping on our conversation. Because as Hermione learned at Nick’s Deathday Party, Peevesdropping could make everything go downhill really fast.

Hermione complained to Harry and Ron about Myrtle’s tantrums and the awful experience of going to the toilet with a ghost wailing at you. (We can’t say we’ve ever been in that exact situation, but we feel you, Hermione.)

If only she had checked to see if a certain poltergeist was hanging around.

‘Heard you talking about poor Myrtle,’ said Peeves, his eyes dancing. ‘Rude you was about poor Myrtle.’ He took a deep breath and bellowed, ‘OY! MYRTLE!’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Seeing Hermione try to save the situation was so painful. She lied about what she had said and attempted to compliment Myrtle, then tried to cover up the lie by roping Harry and Ron in too. Peeves pushed the cringe meter to the limit when he called Myrtle ‘spotty’, adding another insult to Myrtle’s already long list. The poor ghost was finally out of the toilets only to be sent away hurt and sobbing again, thanks to Hermione’s faux pas.

Harry and Cho’s date at Madam Puddifoot’s teashop

© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

If anyone needs notes on how to ruin Valentine’s Day, look no further than Harry and Cho’s trip to Hogsmeade in Order of the Phoenix. Everything about their coffee date at Madam Puddifoot’s was a first-date nightmare.

Even their nonverbal communication was painful to see, probably because many of us are (unfortunately) familiar with the awkward silences between conversations. We nearly died laughing when Harry finally went for Cho’s hand, but because Cho had taken her hand off the table, Harry had to grab the sugar bowl instead. Smooth, Harry, smooth.

And then there was the grimace-inducing domino effect of bad decisions. Harry had brought up wanting to meet Hermione, which was a huge no-no. (If you’re wondering what Harry should’ve said instead, brush up on Hermione’s sage advice in the ‘Seen and Unforeseen’ chapter.) So Cho, upset that Harry was thinking of another girl in the middle of their date, tried to make Harry jealous by mentioning that Roger Davies had asked her out. Roger, by the way, did not help the situation by full-on snogging his girlfriend a foot and a half away.

To make matters worse, Cho tried asking about Cedric, whose death she was still grieving. This started a downward spiral in which Harry tactlessly attempted to avoid the topic and brought up Hermione’s name again. Finally, after realising why Cho was upset to begin with, Harry laughed at the worst moment, which was the last straw before Cho stormed out of the teashop in tears and we were left as speechless as everyone else at Madam Puddifoot’s.

And exhale.

Harry: 0; Social Ineptitude: 1

Other special mentions of cringeworthy moments we will not soon forget (but are trying hard to): Harry and Ron ignoring their dates at the Yule Ball, James Potter publicly humiliating teen Snape, and almost every Lockhart-Harry interaction (the only thing pretty about those was Lockhart’s face). Defence Against the Dark Awks.