According to his Chocolate Frog card, Albus Dumbledore – Hogwarts Headmaster and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, among other accolades – is ‘the greatest wizard of modern times’. But he wears his fame lightly. Apart from the occasional word of wisdom, Dumbledore likes to leave the lessons to his staff and trusts in the abilities of both his teachers and their students – even when those teachers include Professors Snape, Quirrell and Lockhart, proving that world-famous geniuses are as hampered by circumstance as the rest of us.
One of the reasons Dumbledore chooses to leave Harry with the very unmagical Dursleys is that he knows surviving Voldemort’s killing curse would make Harry very famous indeed. Sure enough, when Harry arrives at Hogwarts he is already a household name within the magical community, despite not knowing one end of a wand from the other. Being famous doesn’t sit well with Harry though; he would prefer to immerse himself in the wizarding world than stamp his mark on it.
Not so Gilderoy Lockhart, Harry’s second-year Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Lockhart is the kind of celebrity who lives for fame: he’s just as proud of winning Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award (five times, actually) as he is of the supposedly impossible feats of defensive magic that formed the basis of his books and for which he became famous. There are a surprising number of people who remain immune to his charms, but as Lockhart doesn’t notice slights he remains cheerfully unaffected.
Before Harry became world renowned, there were a couple of other Potters doing their bit to raise the status of the family name. His parents, James and Lily, will be forever remembered in wizarding circles for resisting Voldemort and, ultimately, for giving their lives in the fight against him. Lily’s sacrifice – dying in the act of protecting her son – makes her a particular icon of the wizarding world, and it’s a sacrifice that affects Harry far more deeply than Voldemort’s failed curse.
The most infamous Dark wizard of them all, He Who Must Not Be Named has, like many a celebrity, actually had a few monikers in his time: Tom Marvolo Riddle, Lord Voldemort, You Know Who. It’s a mark of how well known he is that he doesn’t actually need a name to strike fear into the hearts of witches and wizards everywhere. Still, being an unapologetic, murdering, evil wizard willing to live off the blood of slain unicorns is bound to raise your profile.
The wizarding world isn’t all about Dark magic and sacrifice. For those looking for some light relief, internationally acclaimed Welsh singer Celestina Warbeck, sometimes known as ‘the Singing Sorceress’, regularly features on the Wizarding Wireless Network’s show The Witching Hour performing tracks including ‘A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love’. Celestina’s private life has given the Daily Prophet’s gossip columnists lots to write about, and her high-profile concerts have helped cement her status.
Rita Skeeter is one Daily Prophet staffer who prefers reporting gossip to news, so much so that she’s become almost as well known as the individuals she likes to pour scorn over. She’s a frequent observer of the goings on at the Ministry of Magic as well as the wizarding world’s celebrities, and her writing has secured her quite a following – even if not everything she chooses to report is true.
Now head of the Ministry of Magic’s Department of Magical Games and Sports, Ludo Bagman is a former Quidditch star. Supposedly the best Beater the Wimbourne Wasps ever had, he also played for England. So, while he’s not your typical Ministry official, he has plenty of hands-on experience and certainly retains an enthusiastic interest in wizarding sports.
Bulgaria’s Viktor Krum is the wizarding world’s best-known Quidditch player. Known for his incredible flying prowess, he’s one of the best Seekers in the game, despite still being at school. When he’s not training he studies at the Durmstrang Institute, a wizarding school in the far north of Europe.
Like Krum, Gellert Grindelwald studied at Durmstrang. Unlike Krum, Grindelwald was one of the 20th century’s most dangerous wizards, causing havoc in the wizarding world with his attempts to assert dominance over Muggles. A Dark wizard obsessed with the supposed superiority of the magical population, his actions threatened the existence of the wizarding world and he was only prevented from causing terrible lasting damage when Dumbledore challenged and then beat him in a now-legendary duel.