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The Unofficial Harry Potter Bracket Part 9

By Curt David and Emily Gibson

June 17, 2020

Applause for the finals!

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The Finals! Who would win a duel between Minerva McGonagall or Severus Snape? (Then, let’s have the winner join the ultimate Final Four with Dumbledore, Voldemort, and Harry Potter).

To see the 32 seeded wizards and witches, and more info about the tournament, click here.

To learn how the previous duels went down, click here.

Note: All of these Harry Potter columns might contain spoilers from the series.

If you would like to follow me for future shenanigans: Twitter @himmelberger_c and Instagram @curt_himmelberger.

Also, the amazing and wonderful Emily Gibson (FB: emily.gibson.12) has created the dueling stories you’ll see below.

Without further ado, here are the results:

THE FINAL MATCH: Who would win in a duel between Minerva McGonagall (1) and Severus Snape (2)?

Severus Snape received 52% of the votes vs. 48% for Minerva McGonagall, so Snape wins the tournament and moves onto the final Final 4.

How did the duel go down? Emily explains:

Official: “Up next for the final duel is Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape!”

Both look like this contest has taken a toll on them, but they both approach the stage, confident and sure of their abilities.

Official: “The combatants face each other, bow, and then attempt to disarm, injure, or kill each other in order to force submission, and thus a winner is decided. On the count of three. One. Two.”

Snape is looking deep into McGonagall's eyes and is concentrating not breaking his eye contact...

Official: “Three.”

Neither one moves, they both continue to stare at one another.

(What we don't see is that Snape is using legilimency to find McGonagall’s childhood memories where she struggled with living in both the muggle and magical world. Her father was a muggle and didn't find out about the magical world till after Minerva's birth. Although she was very close with her father, he was always slightly reserved around the house.)

You can hear a pin drop as the whole wizarding community tries to figure out why no one is moving on stage.

Snape disarms McGonagall and the match is over.

Match Analysis:

Holy moly! This match was close! The final match of the tournament had the highest number of votes AND it was the closest match in the tournament’s history! That shows just how competitive these two wizards are, and I declare them the correct two wizards to make it to the finals.

The voters who commented had opinions for sure. The majority of the comments would pick a winner only after declaring the other contestant’s virtues and stating how close the duel was going to be. But a strong constituency were strongly on Snape’s side, and a strong constituency strongly on McGonagall’s side (I’m talking smack-talk that is more derisive than Republican vs. Democrat debates on social media; even more opinionated than pineapple or no pineapple on pizza). And in the end, it came down to a three-vote difference.

Out of the voters who commented, there were many, many reasons to vote for Snape, with the fact that when Dumbledore was in trouble he called Snape (and not McG) as one of the most popular opinions. People also mentioned how he held back his power a lot throughout the books (including his “duel” with McG) and the fact that he is such a strong wizard who invented his own spells as a student, can fly, and has a Dark Arts edge in the tournament. McGonagall had just as many comments, and while some listed her wizarding strength with enough citations from the book to make it thesis worthy, I was surprised that she got fewer paragraphs and more short superlatives like crafty, ruthless, strong, and unstoppable. Maybe those voters didn’t even think a longer explanation was needed.

My conclusion: I underrated Snape by ranking him as a #2 seed at the beginning of the tournament. He singlehandedly defeated three of the four #1 seeds - Hermione Granger in the Elite 8, Molly Weasley in the Final Four, and Minerva McGonagall in the Finals. I have more respect for Snape now (especially after learning so much about him throughout this tournament). While I personally voted for McGonagall, I was happy that Snape won, as he would duel Voldemort next.

Final Final 4. Snape now enters a new Final Four with Dumbledore, Voldemort, and Harry Potter. Harry Potter vs. Dumbledore. Snape vs. Voldemort.

MATCH 1: Who would win in a duel between Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore?

Albus Dumbledore received 80% of the votes vs. 20% for Harry Potter, so Dumbledore moves on to the Finals.

How did the duel go down? Emily explains:

Official: “Up next is Harry Potter vs. Dumbledore.”

Harry is sitting next to Hermione, Ron and Dobby. He stands up. Hermione says “You have been through a lot, but you will be great!”

Ron doesn't say anything until Hermione shoves him, then he says, “Yeah, what she said.”

Dobby says, “I won't let Mr. Harry Potter get hurt!”

Harry looks alarmed at the other two and says, “Dobby, I won’t get hurt but you have to let me do this. You can't help!"

Harry walks toward the stage, hoping beyond hope that Dobby will just sit still and watch the match. When Harry makes it to his spot, Dumbledore is already across from him.

Official: “The combatants face each other, bow, and then attempt to disarm, injure, or kill each other in order to force submission, and thus a winner is decided. On the count of three…”

They both smile and nod.

Official: “One. Two. Three.”

Both wands light up as the duel starts. They appear to be equally matched. Both are rounding the stage and casting and deflecting curses toe to toe. Then, there is a stirring in the crowd as Dobby yells, “That almost got Mr.Potter!'

And Harry turns for just a moment to see that Dobby is right up in front without Ron or Hermione. Harry turns his attention back to Dumbledore, but he has a bad feeling about Dobby alone in the front. Dumbledore, while keeping pace, surveys the crowd and also notices Dobby. Smiling slightly, he says, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

Just then without warning Dobby yells, “I save you Mr Potter!" And Dobby aims a stunning spell at Dumbledore who is right past Harry. Harry yells, "NOOOO!" They both get hit, but Harry is the first down. Then, Dumbledore goes down.

Official, “Dumbledore wins!”

Match analysis:

At the start of this tournament, Voldemort, Dumbledore, and Harry Potter were not included because they are the most famous wizards of all-time. Since Dumbledore and Harry Potter already dueled Voldemort in the books, they were matched for the first round. And it was not a fair match at all. Dumbledore destroyed Harry Potter. Instead of listing all of the reasons why people voted for Dumbledore, this statistic should summarize the match well. Out of the voters who commented why Harry Potter should win, 100% said that Dumbledore would let him win. So technically, the 20% of the votes that Harry Potter got for this duel were also votes for Dumbledore being the more powerful wizard. There’s not much more to say, so let’s see what happens between Snape vs. Voldemort.


MATCH 2: Who would win in a duel between Severus Snape and Voldemort?

Severus Snape received 58% of the votes vs. 42% for Voldemort, so Snape moves on to the finals.

How did the duel go down? Well, Severus Snape won. But Emily explains how she predicted the duel would have went down, since Emily writes her duel stories in the voting rounds before the winner is actually announced:

Officials: “Up next in the Final Four is Severus Snape and Voldemort.”

Snape has his head up, not blinking as he reports to the front of the stage, looking like he is on a mission. He is not looking fearful of this battle, but he is also not looking overly confident.

Voldemort stands up. Bellatrix clings to his side as his name is read. "Get off of me, you couldn't even kill off Shacklebolt and make it this far because you are weak and a disappointment!"

Bellatrix slinks away but still has puppy eyes following his every move. He walks up front with an air of confidence and superiority. They stand on each side.

Officials: “The combatants face each other, bow, and then attempt to disarm, injure, or kill each other in order to force submission, and thus a winner is decided. On the count of three…”

They both raise their wands and nod.

Officials: “One. Two.”

Voldemort’s wand turns green just as Snape dodges out of the way and flings a curse that Voldemort easily blocks. Voldemort starts taunting Snape, and appears to have him on the run. It looks like it's the end of the road for him, and Snape knows it. Snape trips and falls and Voldemort stands over him and produces his snake Nagini. “Take him out, Nagini.”

Voldemort walks off the stage as Snape says he surrenders.

Official: “Voldemort wins.”

Nagini’s eye is still on Snape and no one moves. Nagini attacks. Every official blocks the snake just before the attack, blowing the snake back off the stage. Snape is white as a ghost and holds his breath, scared to move just yet.

Match Analysis:

This duel was even closer than the voting percentages describe. Snape and Voldemort were practically tied throughout the whole week of voting, and it was only in the final hours that Snape pulled ahead to victory.

Out of all the voters who commented, there was only one reason that received a substantial number of votes. Before I share that reason, let me share some of the many, many reasons why people voted in this duel. Pro-Voldemort votes included Snape fears Voldemort, Snape could have dueled him earlier in the books and didn’t, Voldemort has magic in his wheelhouse we hardly even know about.

Pro-Snape votes included Voldemort’s arrogance, Snape’s years of pent-up anger, and Snape’s Legilimency/Occlumency (which also proves that he is stronger than Voldemort who also had those skills, because Snape was a spy in his ranks). But the main reason why people voted for Snape to win, and cited this is the strongest magic in the books, is Snape’s love: love for Lily, love for Hogwarts, and Voldemort’s lack of love; love wins and that is why Snape defeated Voldemort. Now Snape, who has defeated Hermione Granger, Molly Weasley, Minerva McGonagall, and Voldemort will duel Dumbledore next. Before this tournament, I would say no one could defeat Dumbledore, but if anyone can, it’s Snape. Let’s find out.

THE final FINAL MATCH: Who would win in a duel between Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore?

Albus Dumbledore received 75% of the votes vs. 25% for Severus Snape, so Dumbledore wins this match!

How did the duel go down? Emily explains in her final story of the tournament.

Official: “And we are at last down to the best of the best, last but never least Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore.”

Dumbledore uses his clicker outer, and all the lights go out one by one. Dumbledore and Snape apparate on the stage. As the audience wonders about the lights. Dumbledore clicks the clicker outer again and the lights come back on.

Official: “The combatants face each other, bow, and then attempt to disarm, injure, or kill each other in order to force submission, and thus a winner is decided. On the count of three…”

Dumbledore: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends!”

Official: “Okay?!? One. Two. Three.”

Snape’s wand lights up, Dumbledore is just blocking the assault but not attacking back.

Dumbledore, as he waves off the curses, says, “Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

What we are not seeing or hearing is their conversation. Dumbledore is telling him his plan. And Snape wavers on his resolve, as Dumbledore's memories drift to Lilly.

Snape: “Very well. Very well, Dumbledore The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure!” And he storms off the stage.

Official: “Dumbledore wins!”

Dumbledore, “But perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it?!”

Match Analysis:

There were points and counterpoints given in the comments of the vote sections, much like an epic duel of itself. For every “Snape went to Dumbledore for help in defeating Voldemort, not the other way around,” was a “Dumbledore also went to Snape for help.” Some comments went ethereal, like multiple people stating why Snape would choose to lose this duel, and other comments went straight for the jugular: Dumbledore has a chocolate frog card and Snape doesn’t. While Dumbledore still won handily, I declare that Snape is the only character in the Harry Potter books who would score so many votes to win against Dumbledore, which is quite a victory in itself.

The Unofficial Harry Potter bracket was started three months ago to bring more joy during the self-quarantine of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have had a decade-long dream of having a Harry Potter bracket and loved seeing it come to fruition (and more alive than I thought possible with people’s comments and imagination). Special thanks to Emily, who gifted us with an individual story for each duel of the tournament.

While I might have more to say later as I reflect on being immersed in the world of Harry Potter during quarantine, I’ll leave you with my updated Top 8 Most Powerful Wizards in Harry Potter (like the College Football Playoff, these rankings come after watching a season of duels). The definitive ranking is:

1. Albus Dumbledore
2. Severus Snape
3. Voldemort
4. Minerva McGonagall
5. Kingsley Shacklebolt
6. Molly Weasley
7. Hermione Granger
8. Mad-Eye Moody (or Remus Lupin, or Bellatrix Lestrange)

Thank you for following along and remember:

"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided."- Dumbledore



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