If you’re a big book nerd like me (or just grew up in the 90s and 00s), you witnessed and enjoyed the madness of the Harry Potter world. Author J.K. Rowling began her series by writing on napkins and imagining on a train, and now we have seven books (I don’t care what you say, I’m not counting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), eight films, and more merchandise than you can possibly count. Fortunately for us Potterheads, we won’t have to wait long for another foray into the magical world – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is scheduled for theatrical release this November, with a confirmed four other films to follow!
On the subject of the movies, every now and then it’s fun to check in on what the former child actors are doing. Some have stayed in the spotlight, like Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe, while others have faded from view or gone onto entirely different pursuits. All of them have gotten better with age. Fortunately, unlike a lot of American child stars, these Brits have mostly managed to stay out of jail and rehab, and there are no scary plastic surgeries to speak of. Instead, these Hogwarts students have done the wizarding world proud, and while they may have returned to their Muggle roots, they’ll always be magic to us.
15 Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)
After playing the Chosen One, aka The Boy Who Lived, from 2001 to 2011, Daniel Radcliffe proved a lot of people who thought he would fall victim to the child star curse wrong. Now 27 years old, Daniel has shown off his acting chops when playing poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, a flatulent corpse in Swiss Army Man, and an undercover reporter who infiltrates a neo-Nazi regime in Imperium, to name a few. He even made a cameo in a couple episodes of The Simpsons! Far from being typecast, Daniel has enjoyed roles in comedy, drama, thriller, and horror.
His life hasn’t been without its struggles, though. After admitting to being an alcoholic while filming the later Harry Potter movies, Daniel quit the stuff and has been sober since 2010! Currently living in Manhattan and in a long-term relationship since 2012 with girlfriend Erin Darke, we’re hoping to see more of what this boy wizard can do. Accio Oscar!
14 Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)
Our favorite little know-it-all is all grown up! Emma Watson is about as true to her character Hermione Granger as you can get (and as her co-stars admitted). After attending both Brown University and Oxford University to obtain her bachelor’s degree in English literature, Emma went on to become a UN Goodwill Ambassador in 2014. An outspoken and active feminist, Emma has used her education and position in the public eye to begin the HeForShe campaign, a solidarity movement built around encouraging men to take action against inequalities faced by women. She even recently made a trip to Ottawa where she met Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his TV host / philanthropist wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to promote her work!
In terms of entertainment news, Emma is getting back to her literary roots by playing your favorite Disney princess (or at least mine), Belle, in 2017’s upcoming live-action revamp of Beauty and the Beast! It might be a tale as old as time, but with Emma in Belle’s shoes, we can look forward to some smarts and sass in the face of the Beast.
13 Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
Now 28, Rupert Grint has been keeping a bit of a low profile since the Harry Potter movies ended. After playing Harry’s best friend, the hilarious and hapless Ron Weasley, Rupert dabbled in some short films and voiceover work. He’s also been on stage both in London and on Broadway to great critical acclaim, making his debut back in 2013.
Like a lot of the Harry Potter cast, Rupert has used his celebrity for good, donating his time and money to a number of charities, including Britain’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution with on-screen twin bros Oliver and James Phelps (better known as Fred and George Weasley). Similar to his character, Ron, Rupert has kept pretty quiet about his personal life, except to say he’s been in a relationship since October 2014. Another fun fact: one of his best friends is none other than Draco Malfoy himself – Tom Felton! Blimey, Ron would never!
12 Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)
Loony – er, Luna – Lovegood is another Harry Potter alum who sort of fell off the map – her last acting credit according to her IMDB page is in 2015, where she was Luna’s voice in a Harry Potter video game. (To be fair, though, she has done a bit of modelling.)
Born in Ireland in 1991, 25-year-old Evanna has spoken openly about her battles with anorexia at a young age (she was in and out of facilities as early as 11), and talked about how the character of Luna was someone with whom she could really identify during her struggles. She’s used her personal experiences for the benefit of others, however, by writing essays and articles about body image. She became a vegan in 2015, and if you check out her Instagram (@msevylynch), you can see her clear love of animals, especially her adorably fluffy cats! A character that didn’t feature prominently until the fifth book (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Evanna’s Luna is a witch who embraced the weird for all of us (but not the Nargles).
11 Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)
The guy you love to hate (or just love, depending on what side of the fandom you fall on), Draco Malfoy was Harry’s mortal enemy (as opposed to the almost-immortal Voldemort). However, the actor who played him – Tom Felton – couldn’t be further from his platinum-haired Slytherin counterpart. He’s silly, musically talented, and has the ability to poke fun at himself (just check out his cameo in 2010’s Get Him to the Greek). And he’s a romantic – he’s been dating his girlfriend, Jade Olivia Gordon, since 2008 when they met on the set of Harry Potter where Jade was working as an assistant. Fun fact: Jade appeared in the final film as Draco’s wife! Blink and you’ll miss her!
Still bitten by the acting bug, Tom’s turned to TV rather than feature films, including his most recent gig on superhero show The Flash. Thankfully, that white-blonde hair and Slytherin sneer have stayed in the Harry Potter universe where they belong.
10 Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom)
Damn, Neville Longbottom grew up right! Instead of the snaggle-toothed, pudgy, awkward, and forgetful Neville, Matthew Lewis turned out smoking hot! This process is known among Harry Potter fans and people in general as Longbottoming – no joke.
Like Tom Felton, Matthew turned his talents towards TV, appearing in British productions like Bluestone 42, Happy Valley, and Ripper Street. If you caught this past summer’s sob-fest, Me Before You, you might have noticed him there as well (and really, how could you not?) He also spent some time on the stage, making his debut in 2011 in Agatha Christie’s Verdict and continuing his theater career to this past summer, where he co-starred in a production called Unfaithful.
His good looks haven't affected his easygoing attitude, it seems, as his Instagram account (@mattdavelewis) is full of funny faces and throwbacks to his less-sexy self (including some time spent with an unfortunate handlebar mustache). Good news for you ladies: he’s still single!
9 Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)
Oh, little Ginny Weasley, the youngest of the redheaded brood. Unfortunately for Bonnie Wright, diehard fans of the books were less than impressed with the movie Ginny, who they felt was a watered-down version of their feisty heroine (guilty).
Like Evanna Lynch, Bonnie put her beauty to good use after finishing up the Harry Potter series, dabbling in modelling for the runway and in print. But she’s way more than just a pretty face: in addition to acting, she’s come into her own as a screenwriter, director, and producer. In fact, she owns her own production company, Bon Bon Lumiere (see what she did there?).
Bonnie's personal life has been almost as dramatic as Ginny’s, too: In 2010, she confirmed her relationship with British actor Jamie Campbell Bower (who can be seen as the younger version of Gellert Grindelwald in the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). They were engaged in 2011 before ending the whole thing a year later.
8 Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas)
Who was Ginny with before falling hard for Harry? Dean Thomas, of course, played by the deeply dimpled Alfred Enoch! Alfred is one of the few Harry Potter alums who got more recognition after the series ended, thanks in part to his many shirtless scenes in his role as Wes Gibbins on the TV series How To Get Away With Murder.
Like most of his co-stars, Alfred has dabbled in work in the theater, appearing in a number of stage productions since 2011. But, like the smart, talented, and handsome guy that he is, he moved from one uber-popular production to another, as the ratings and critical acclaim of How To Get Away With Murder prove.
He’s kept pretty quiet about his relationship status (sorry, guys), but – as it happens when you’re famous with a major fanbase – it hasn’t stop people from guessing which lady will be the next one to tame this Gryffindor’s wild heart.
7 Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley)
The only Muggle on our list! As big bully Dudley Dursley, he made his cousin Harry’s life hell for much of the series, at least during the summers spent away from Hogwarts. (And then, compared to Voldemort, Dudley was basically a kitten!) Fun fact: In between filming, Harry ended up losing so much weight that to keep him looking like pudgy Dudley, he required special facial prosthetics and additional padding!
After his time as the spoiled child of Number 4 Privet Drive, the 27-year-old English actor moved onto TV series and short films (sensing a pattern here?). This past winter he also made his West London stage debut, where people commented on his new look, and it seems like it’ll definitely pay off! No longer looking like mean Dudley Dursley could give Harry a fresh start on the screen, which is something not many child stars are able to enjoy.
6 Katie Leung (Cho Chang)
Oh, Cho Chang, the girl who never stopped crying after Cedric Diggory died and who stood by her crappy friend Marietta Edgecombe after Marietta spilled the beans on Dumbledore’s Army (if that part doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because it was axed from the movie). But we can’t blame the actress who played her! Katie Leung, whose Scottish accent made Cho’s voice one of the most delicious things to hear, has done a bit more than just be Harry Potter’s first love interest.
In addition to a few bits of acting in TV series and TV mini-series after Harry Potter finished, Katie is a passionate artist and photographer, who attended the University of the Arts London before moving to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to get her BA in Acting! With all that education and that desire to constantly learn, it’s no surprise that Katie – I mean, Cho – ended up in Ravenclaw!
5 Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacour)
Elegantly French, effortlessly chic, and stunningly beautiful, it’s no surprise that Clémence Poésy was chosen for the coveted role of part-Veela Fleur Delacour, the ethereal witch who drove the wizard boys wild. Since her time as the Beauxbatons student who made both Ron and Bill Weasley drool, Clémence has used her striking good looks to secure modelling spots in various French magazines and became the poster girl for the fragrance Love Story by Chloé in 2014.
She’s been keeping busy in the acting world as well, appearing on stage, the big screen, and your TV sets, including a stint as Chuck Bass’s French love interest Eva Coupeau in the fourth season of Gossip Girl. In happy personal news, she was all sorts of pregnant, glowy glam when she debuted her baby bump at the premiere of Daniel Radcliffe’s neo-Nazi dramatic thriller Imperium back in September – clear proof that she’ll always have Hogwarts in her heart!
4 Devon Murray (Seamus Finnegan)
Little Seamus Finnegan, the cutie who could never perform a spell properly and instead had his eyebrows singed off more than once. Played by Irishman Devon Murray, the almost 28-year-old has been in the movie biz since he was a child, mostly in British and Irish productions. Since his Harry Potter days, though, he’s stepped out of the limelight, although he’s still pretty active on social media. The reason for that? A long, difficult battle with depression.
On his Twitter account (@DevonMMurray), Devon spoke publicly for the first time about his mental health issues, citing hip-hop artist Kid Cudi’s recent similar revelations to be the inspiration behind his decision to speak up. It’s no surprise that the lovable Irish boy received an outpouring of support from fans of him and the Harry Potter series alike. We’re wishing him the best on his journey towards wellness, and hope he finds happiness in whatever he chooses to do!
3 Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown)
Lavender Brown might have been a fun character to play, with her obsessive relationship with her beloved “Won-Won”, but actress Jessie Cave is way cooler in real life. Not only is she an actress, but she’s a fabulous cartoonist and comedian, who has a book of her drawings out now, called Love Sick (fitting, no?). If you want to see more of her humor, follow her on Instagram and Twitter here and here.
The mama of son Donnie, Jessie’s love life has been way more interesting than Lavender’s: she conceived him on the first night she met his dad, Alfie Brown, and the two decided to give things a go and are currently enjoying some well-earned domestic bliss! Like most child actors, Jessie has dealt with some mental health issues, specifically anxiety, which she has used as inspiration for both her comedy and cartooning. She’s basically the hilarious friend who always overshares, and I’d take her over Lavender any day!
2 Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood)
Poor Sean! Growing up as a kid must’ve been difficult with a last name like that! And then he played Oliver Wood. The jokes write themselves! Sean only appeared in the first two Harry Potter films (except for a cameo in the final installation of the series), playing Gryffindor Quidditch Keeper, Oliver Wood. For the record, my younger self always thought he was the hottest one.
After his brief stint at Hogwarts, Sean went on to act in some short films, full-length films, TV series, and mini-series, very few of which I’ve heard of, unfortunately. He’s also had a healthy career in the theater, which seems to be an acting prerequisite when you’re British, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Now 33 years old, the Scottish actor paid a touching homage to the late Alan Rickman, the brilliant man who played the almost-loathsome Potions professor, Severus Snape. Having been mentored by Rickman throughout his career, Sean wrote the tribute which you can read in full here.
1 Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory)
You’d think Robert Pattinson would be a bigger deal now, having jumped from the hugely successful Harry Potter franchise as wizard heartthrob Cedric Diggory to the crazy popular Twilight franchise as vampire hottie Edward Cullen. Alas, it was not to be. After enduring that much publicity around his professional and private life (remember when he and Kristen Stewart made little Twi-hards’ hearts beat faster?), Robert stepped out of the limelight, favoring quiet indie films instead of the big blockbusters that made him a prime contender for preteen girls’ wall space. Fortunately, this allowed him to cut off that greasy-looking hair and start a relationship with musician FKA Twigs. The two began dating in 2014 and have since had to regularly fend off rumors of a split, but it seems to be pretty smooth sailing lately, as they’re talking about bringing a child into the mix, according to recent reports! Start your bets on celebrity baby names!