There’s No Need To Call Me Sir, Professor: 10 Shadiest Burns In Harry Potter
The entire Harry Potter series isn’t just filled with magic, but with some serious wit – and these clapbacks are our favorites.
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For a series written for a rather young audience, Harry Potter contains an incredible amount of sassy lines — a large number of which are delivered by the titular character himself. In fact, it’s not an easy task to sift through all the lines of incendiary wit and select the most impressive ones, given that the quantity of “burn” produced becomes a matter of subjective taste.
Still, there are a few phrases and quotes that are so shockingly audacious that they have the capacity to simultaneously stun readers and send them into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. And yes, a wide range of characters from the narrative have been known to possess this talent.
10 “There’s No Need To Call Me Sir, Professor.” — Harry
Snape is harry’s least-favorite teacher, but for much of the series, he is still polite to him. However, in one class, the Professor haughtily asks him if he could recall that they “are practicing non-verbal spells”, after Harry accidentally shouts his out, to which he responds with a blunt “yes”.
In order to maintain his position of authority (and, to an extent, throw his weight around), Snape insists that he say “Yes, sir”. Harry uses this opportunity to pretend as if Snape had referred to him as sir, which only made the teacher more annoyed.
9 “I’m Not Entirely Sure He Can Read.” — Dumbledore
As Harry attempts to convince Hagrid that all relationships aren’t perfect, he insists on displaying a comparison with the Dursleys. Not to be left out, Dumbledore launches into an ancient story about his younger sibling, Aberforth’s illegal spells cast on a goat, proudly stating that he did not cower in shame but “held his head high and went about his business as usual!”
Of course, this isn’t the end, because Dumbledore then snarkily adds that Aberforth may have been illiterate, and therefore unable to understand the horrible things the newspapers were saying about him.
8 “And It’s Really Thanks To Malfoy Here That I’ve Got It.” — Harry
Malfoy never lets a chance to insult Harry Potter go to waste, but this time, the tables were turned… and how! After their stint with the Remembrall in Madam Hooch’s class, the hero is dragged away by Professor McGonagall, sure that he is to be punished. But then she introduces him to the Quidditch Captain, Oliver Wood, who instates him as the Gryffindor Seeker.
Therefore, when Harry receives a Nimbus Two Thousand at the dinner table, Malfoy instantly tries to get Flitwick’s attention to the “contraband” item. Unfortunately for him, the Professor congratulates Harry, who promptly declares that he would have never gotten the position or the broomstick if it hadn’t been for Draco Malfoy, leaving the latter stunned and furious.
7 “I Should Have Made My Meaning Plainer. He Has Achieved High Marks In Every Defence Against The Darks Arts Test Set By A Competent Teacher.” — Professor McGonagall
Dolores Umbridge’s method of ‘teaching’ is just to have students read, and McGonagall has no patience for her constant wheedling while she attempts to advise her students on future careers.
The High Inquisitor suggests that telling Harry that he could train to be an Auror was giving him “false hope”, because he had scored terribly in her lessons. McGonagall takes one look at the woman, and snidely implies that Umbridge is far from being “a competent teacher.”
6 “Excuse Me, Are You The Imprint Of A Departed Soul?'” — Ron
In one lesson, Snape asks the class to sufficiently differentiate between an Inferius and a Ghost. Disregarding Harry’s answer (ghosts are not solid) for being too simplistic, he launches into a tirade about the inconsequential discrepancies between the two options.
Ron exasperatedly tries to take his friend’s side, saying that when it comes to it, it wouldn’t be helpful to inquire about the nature of the creature in question (mostly because time would be better spent running away.) The class bursts into laughter, but not for long.
5 “Pity You Can’t Attach An Extra Arm To Yours, Malfoy. Then It Could Catch The Snitch For You.” — Harry
Harry’s experience with Dementors becomes public knowledge very quickly, and Malfoy decides to bully him about his emotional reactions. He maliciously asks if he could “manage that broom”, extrapolating his query into pity: “Shame it doesn’t come with a parachute, in case you get too near a Dementor.”
Harry is not one to take something like this lying down, and therefore delivers this line with vast amounts of derision and scorn for his nemesis dripping from every word.
4 “Oh Yes, Tiny! Absolutely Minuscule.” — Hermione
When the Golden Trio are introduced to Grawp, Hagrid’s half-brother, for the first time, he explains that he’s been trying to teach him English, further stating that he is “a bit on the runty side”, being only 16 feet in height.
At this uproarious statement, Hermione “hysterically” squeals this response in the darkest sarcasm she can muster. And yet, the mockery, however playful, seems to have flown right over Hagrid’s head, given that he continues his story as if he had never heard her in the first place.
3 “It Would Have Been Better Manners To Drink It, You Know.” — Dumbledore
Dumbledore creates three glasses of mead for the three Dursleys, when he goes to visit them, who refuse to touch their drink because of whatever irrational fears they might have about the magical world.
The charmed utensils take this denial personally, and begin delicately prodding at their temples in a bid to make them consume the beverage. After a while, Dumbledore magicks them away, saucily averring that “it would have been better manners to drink it,” rather than be annoyed by the constant nudging.
2 “Yeah, You Can Have A Word: Good-bye.” — Harry
Harry’s first TriWizard Tournament task goes swimmingly enough, and he is swarmed by fans and friends alike. At one point, the Daily Prophet reporter, Rita Skeeter, demands to know how he “felt facing that dragon,” and how he “feels now, about the fairness of the scoring.” She requests him simply to give her “a quick word.”
Having gotten used to her habit of twisting words, Harry rejects the offer with the most incredible single word he could muster at the time, Good-bye, which left Skeeter agitated and his friends elated.
1 “Percy Wouldn’t Recognize A Joke If It Danced Naked In Front Of Him Wearing Dobby’s Tea Cozy.” — Ron
Hermione, while laughing openly, teases Ron that it would be best if his big brother, Percy, didn’t hear the way he was making fun of Barty Crouch Sr.’s complete absence of a “sense of humor.”
He then offhandedly mentions that “Percy wouldn’t recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby’s tea cozy.” This hilarious metaphor suggests that Percy has zero capacity when it comes to understanding how jokes work, let alone finding them actually funny.
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