Harry Potter turns 34 today, while the Potter fandom is about half as old. We decided that the best way to honor The Boy Who Lived, and the wizarding world in which he lives, is with a best-of list of all the Internet memes the series has inspired—videos, GIFs, crossovers, and mashups.
Now, we’re never going to track down every meme, because they keep popping up with the same frequency as Harry’s Hogwarts letters. But these are our favorites. Some came about from the movies, while others only needed the books for inspiration. Some originated the meme, while others elevated preexisting ones. And should we really be surprised that Severus Snape is at the center of most of them? Nope.
Potter Puppet Pals
We couldn’t make a list of memes without including this! Neil Cicierga’s ridiculous, adorable video won over Potterheads with its handmade puppets, artfully-arranged song (“Ron! Ron! Ron WEASLEY”), and the utter WTFness of the Dark Lord and the Boy Who Lived facing off in puppet form.
What’s meant to be a chilling moment came out unintentionally hilarious in Deathly Hallows, Part 2. We dare you to watch this video and not giggle. Tom Felton has talked about how European audiences go quiet when Voldemort embraces the scared Draco, and Americans just find the weirdly sexual humor in it. Yep, that’s us.
Harry Potter/Mean Girls
You know you’ve made it when your series gets crossed with something completely unrelated, such as when some users decided to put Regina George and Cady Heron’s words in Hogwarts students’ mouths. This image also ties into one of my other favorite memes, where Harry is a whiny little bitch. Bless Daniel Radcliffe’s heart, but he got really worked up sometimes.
The mashup has also yielded nuggets of brilliance like this:
This is one of the running jokes I’ve seen crop up in the Potter fandom over the years, whether on LiveJournal or Tumblr. In Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore clearly—and calmly—asks Harry if he put his name in the running for the Triwizard Tournament. But the movie version is so much more dramatic:
It’s a small sticking point, but one that fans have yet to let go of.
That Snape GIF (You Know the One)
What is it about this GIF that lends itself so well to the “my body is ready” meme? Some combo of Snape’s flowing hair, bizarre arch, and Alan Rickman’s facial expression. No surprise, the same GIF makes for a great entry into the “draw me like one of your French girls” meme.
Sometimes Often fandom is really cracked out. That’s when you get classic jokes like this slashy music video set to Gunther’s randy single “Naughty Boy.” The first time I saw this, circa 2006 (also the early days of YouTube!), I laughed so hard I cried. It still makes me giggle. Potentially NSFW for the lyrics.
Harry Potter/Game of Thrones
This mashup is more recent, but oh-so-fitting. We can always appreciate a good owl post joke. The meme can also go the meta route, like so:
Of course, the “you’re adorable” punchline is a meme unto itself.
Snapes on a Plane
Snicker. Still such a simple and effective pun.