Gilderoy Lockhart is commonly known as a fraud, a charlatan, a wizard who conned his way to fame and fortune despite possessing little magical talent. But we'd like to play handsome devil's advocate. We want to put forward the case that, for all his flaws, Lockhart has many redeeming qualities. Take, for example…
Everyone, of course, is responsible for their actions – including Lockhart. But sometimes to understand those actions is to understand where they came from. In Lockhart's case, his vacuous vanity can arguably be traced back to his childhood: to being the only wizard out of three children; to a witch mother who treated him as her unashamed favourite and pumped up his ego from an early age; to the feeling that, as the only wizard in a mainly Muggle family, he was somehow special.
Oscar Wilde once said that beauty is a form of genius – 'higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation’. If that is indeed the case, then Gilderoy Lockhart is the smartest wizard who ever lived. His face was carved by angels, his hair woven from gold, his eyes pools of pearls, his smile – winner of Witch Weekly's Most-Charming-Smile Award – shining like warm rays of summer sunshine.
Gilderoy Lockhart is hella hot, is basically what we're saying. And that, at the very least, is something.
Despite what you may think, Gilderoy Lockhart was actually a pretty clever child – he was, after all, sorted into Ravenclaw. He just happened to also be arrogant and lazy, never trying hard at anything unless he could be the best at it. But did such a lack of work ethic and natural talent hold him back? No, it did not. Instead Lockhart focused his attention on his strengths: deviousness, cunning, initiative. All things that allowed him to work towards his ambition of being a great wizard without actually being one. And that, in its own, twisted, Lockhart way, is admirable in itself.
More often than not, it takes talent to become famous. And more often than not, it takes talent to stay famous. Lockhart possesses such talent. He may not be the best dueller, or the man to fix your broken arm, but Lockhart is a virtuoso when it comes to the art of celebrity and self-promotion. Just look at how carefully he's created his image, how he has perfected his brand, how he never misses an opportunity for exposure or publicity – his first encounter with Harry Potter being a prime example.
Did you notice?
You might think that Lockhart has no magical ability, that he's just a handsome, charming chancer, fooling the world into thinking that he's a handsome, charming hero. But he does excel in one area of magic: memory charms. Lockhart is a master of them, an expert in Obliviating all evidence of his misdeeds. We're not saying that's necessarily a good thing, of course, but it does suggest hidden talents.
How dedicated? At the end of the film Chamber of Secrets (2002), there is a book by Gilderoy in Flourish and Blotts entitled 'Who am I?'. Even when he couldn't remember who he was, or why he was famous, he was still dedicated to strengthening his brand. Total pro.
Seriously, what a dreamboat.
Each month Pottermore will try to defend the more… questionable characters from the Harry Potter stories. Come back next month when we make the case for Sybill Trelawney.