Skip to Content

Gilderoy Lockhart Character Analysis: Famous Fraud

Gilderoy Lockhart Character Analysis: Famous Fraud

Our readers support us. This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More

Gilderoy Lockhart gained fame in the wizarding world for writing books about his various adventures with dark creatures. He was appointed Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts in 1992-1993. While there, he was exposed as a fraud who used memory charms to steal the achievements of others to feed his fame.

About Gilderoy Lockhart

Born26 January 1964
Blood StatusHalf Blood
OccupationCelebrity Author Professor
Wand9-inch cherry and dragon heartstring
Zodiac SignAquarius

Gilderoy Lockhart Early Life

Gilderoy Lockhart was the son of a witch and a Muggle. He also had two elder sisters, but they were both Squibs. As her only magical son, Gilderoy’s mother doted on him. She inflated his self-esteem, telling him that he was destined for great things.

Like most young British wizards Gilderoy studied at Hogwarts, starting in 1975, four years after James Potter. He was almost a “Hatstall”, with the Sorting Hat being unsure whether to place him in Ravenclaw for his brains of Slytherin for his ambition. He was eventually placed in Ravenclaw.

Gilderoy struggled to adjust to being “just one more wizard”, rather than the star that he was at home alongside his sisters. While he was cleverer than most of his classmates, he would often not put himself forward unless he was sure that he would be the best and would have an opportunity to show off. He did play Seeker for the Ravenclaw Quidditch Team.

He had big dreams, letting students know that he intended to create the Philosopher’s Stone before leaving school and would captain England’s Quidditch Team to World Cup glory, before becoming Britain’s youngest Minister for Magic.

Always seeking attention, he begged the headmaster to start a school paper so that he could see his name in print. He also carved his signature in 20-foot-long letters into the Quidditch Pitch. Gilderoy created a spell that shot holograms of his own face into the sky, and he sent himself eight hundred Valentines one year.

The main thing that Gilderoy learned at Hogwarts was how to use shortcuts and diversions to get attention.

Lockhart the Author

After school, Lockhart made a career travelling to far-flung parts of the world and encountering exotic and dangerous creatures and then writing about them. But the actions that he recounted in his popular books were not actually his own.

Lockhart became very good at casting Memory Charms. He used this ability to trick better witches and wizards than himself, steal their memories, and claim their actions for himself.

He became so focussed on mastering Memory Charms that he neglected all of his other magical abilities, which deteriorated badly.

The books he published combined the fantastic deeds that he had stolen and blatant self-promotion. Nevertheless, his books were very popular. He also attracted many older female witches to his book signings with his good looks and forced charm. He had a special quill of peacock feather that he used exclusively for book signings.

As a result of his apparent great deeds, he was invited to join the Dark Force Defence League as an honorary member. He received many other awards including the Order of Merlin, Third Class, and Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile Award five times in a row.

Lockhart publicity photo

Lockhart Book Signings

Lockhart was always manipulating events to feed into his fame. For example, when he wrote his second book, Gadding with Ghouls, he thought the more attention he got the better, but he found himself overexposed. He chose to mysteriously disappear for three weeks and tell the Daily Prophet that he had been captured by Trolls, from whom he subsequently escaped. This short absence boosted his popularity.

To accompany his book Wanderings with Werewolves, Lockhart held a symposium based on his supposed defeat of the Wagga Wagga Werewolf. During the event, he demonstrated the Homorphus Charm that he claimed could sure Werewolves. He also made the non-sensical claim that sunlight weakened Werewolves.

For his book Voyages with Vampires, Lockhart did a book signing on Valentine’s Day at Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop in Hogsmeade. His plan was to steal some of the students’ memories for future books, but he was discovered and had to cast a hasty blanket memory charm before making a hasty escape. The students were left with inconsistent holes in their memories.

Lockhart was also an amateur potion maker, inventing a shampoo that guarantees lustrous locks. This was one of his few claims that proved to be true. But he could not market the shampoo because its main ingredient, Occamy egg yolk, meant that it was too dangerous and expensive to produce for others.

Employment at Hogwarts

Albus Dumbledore employed Lockhart as Professor for Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts in 1992. It is said that Dumbledore knew two of the wizards whose memories Lockhart stole, and he gave him the position in order to expose him.

While it is hard to believe that Dumbledore could not see through Lockhart, this story, if true, also shows a lack of concern for the proper education of his students.

Lockhart was reluctant to accept since his career was going well, and other teachers such as Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape knew him as a student. But Dumbledore convinced him by hinting that the famous Harry Potter was at Hogwarts and that combining their fame would take Lockhart’s fame through the stratosphere.

Hagrid suggested that Lockhart got the job because no one else applied. The job was well known to be cursed and no one had held it for more than a year since Lord Voldemort failed to get the job in the 1970s.

Lockhart wasted no time assigning his own books to the Hogwarts reading list. He announced his new position at a book signing at Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley. He waited until Harry came in to get his books to make the announcement and ensure that they were photographed together.

Lockhart with Harry at Flourish and Blotts

Lockhart the Teacher

Lockhart quickly showed the kind of teacher that he would be. His office and classroom were decorated with pictures of himself, and he gave his second years a quiz about his favorite topic, himself! Only Hermione got all 54 questions correct, earning her ten points for Gryffindor.

When he started practical teaching, he released a cage full of Cornish Pixies into the classroom. When he failed to stop them himself with a spell, he abandoned the students in the classroom telling them to round them up, without giving them any instruction.

In later classes, he mainly read from his books rather than risking another disastrous incident. His idea of homework was assigning essays on his alleged achievements.

He was not popular among his fellow teachers, not least since he was always giving them unsolicited advice on their subject. Most of the students also weren’t fans, though he had won over a good portion of the female students, including Hermione Granger.

He was also not careful with the welfare of his students. For example, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione wanted to borrow a book on potions from the restricted section of the library, Lockhart signed the form for Hermione, one of his best students, without a second look. This is how the trio learned how to make Polyjuice Potion.

Lockhart and the Famous Harry Potter

Lockhart wasted no time trying to cultivate a relationship with Harry in order to enhance his own fame. Harry generally found the attention humiliating, especially when Draco Malfoy used it to suggest that Harry was seeking fame for himself.

Lockhart also seems to have assumed that Harry was interested in fame. He assumed that Harry and Ron flying an enchanted Ford Anglia to school at the start of the year was an attention-seeking stunt.

For detention, he made Harry help him answer his fan mail, thinking that Harry would think it was a treat. He also used the opportunity to give Harry unsolicited advice on fame.

When Harry had an accident in the Quidditch Match with Slytherin and broke his arm, Lockhart offered to fix it himself, no doubt wanting the attention for helping Harry. While Harry objected, he carried on anyway and removed all the bones from Harry’s arm. Harry had to pass a painful night in the hospital wing regrowing his bones, much to the disgust of Madam Pomfrey.

Lockhart and the Duelling Club

In response to the fear in the school surrounding the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart decided to start a duelling club to help teach students duelling and self-defence. Almost all the students signed up to take part, and Lockhart enlisted Professor Snape to help him.

In his first demonstration, he was easily disarmed by Snape. He claimed that he let his fellow professor do this to show the students how it is done. Lockhart set the students to start practicing in pairs, again providing them with very little helpful instruction.

He later chose Neville Longbottom and Justin Finch-Fletchley as demonstrators, but Snape intervened noting that Neville had a habit of creating catastrophes. Snape suggested Harry and Draco Malfoy instead.

Lockhart placed the two boys to duel, telling them to aim only to disarm. Of course, the boys did not listen. In the duel that followed, Draco eventually launched a snake at Harry. This caused a pause in the duel, and Lockhart said that he would deal with the snake, but he only angered it by launching it into the air. It landed in front of Justin Finch-Fletchley and looked like it would go after him.

Lockhart’s Duelling Club

Harry managed to speak the snake down using parselmouth, and Snape then got rid of it. But since parselmouth is a rare gift, and Salazar Slytherin could speak to snakes, many people assumed from this time forward that Harry was Slytherin’s heir and was responsible for opening the Chamber of Secrets.

This was not the only thing that Lockhart did to boost morale. On Valentine’s Day he decorated the Great Hall with pink flowers and raining heart-shaped confetti. He suggested that classes also be themed around the day, with Entrancing Enchantments and Love Potions, but the other teachers refused.

Lockhart and the Chamber of Secrets

Not long after the Chamber of Secrets was opened, Hagrid was arrested as he was previously associated with the Chamber. Assuming the danger was over, Lockhart claimed that he had known all along where the Chamber was and what Slytherin’s monster was up to.

When Ginny Weasley was kidnapped and taken down into the Chamber on 29 May 1993, the other teachers decided that it was time that Lockhart came good. While they were organizing to send the other students home the following day and contacting the Weasley’s, they sent Lockhart down to the Chamber.

Harry and Ron had learned the location of the Chamber and overheard this conversation in the staff room as they were there hiding, hoping to pass on the information that they had to Professor McGonagall. Instead, they decided that they would help Lockhart to save Ginny.

They followed Lockhart to his office. But he was not preparing to face the monster, rather he was packing his bags for a quick escape. This is when he revealed that all of his accomplishments were a fraud.

Lockhart’s Memory Loss

Harry and Ron forced Lockhart to the bathroom where they thought the opening to the Chamber was. Once Harry managed to open the door using parseltongue, they forced Lockhart down into the chamber in front of them.

In the confusion of the rocky landing, Lockhart seized Ron’s wand. Unaware that it had been badly damaged when the Ford Anglia crashed into the Whomping Willow, he tried to use it to cast a memory spell on the two boys. He said that he would claim that he was too late to save Ginny, and that the two boys were sent mad by the monster. But that he would take some basilisk skin back up to the school with him and earn some glory.

But with Ron’s faulty wand the spell blasted back on Lockhart. He lost his memory completely and found himself with amnesia. Harry and Ron left Lockhart in the Chamber as they went on to save Ginny.

After the incident, Lockhart spent some time in the hospital wing before leaving the school. No one was sorry to see him go.

Lockhart trying to use Ron’s wand

Lockhart at St Mungos

Due to his complete amnesia, Lockhart was placed as a permanent resident in St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. He lived in the Janus Thickey Ward for permanent spell damage, the same ward as Neville’s parents Alice and Frank Longbottom.

His fraud does not seem to have been exposed to the public. Those who knew probably thought that there was no point since Lockhart could not hurt anyone else. He still received some fan mail, which the nurses on the ward helped him respond to. However, Lockhart seems to have been more or less forgotten.

Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny did see him on the ward on Christmas in 1995. They were there visiting Mr Weasley. He had been attacked by a snake while on duty for the Order of the Phoenix. The group accidentally ran into Lockhart. They were then ushered into the wing by a nurse who mistakenly thought that they were there to visit Lockhart for Christmas.

Lockhart never fully recovered and presumably spent the rest of his life in the hospital.

Gilderoy Lockhart Personality Type & Traits

Gilderoy Lockhart had an oversized ego. He thought very highly of himself and considered himself deserving of fame and respect without having to work for it. He was very egocentric and did not care who he hurt in order to get what he wanted.

Gilderoy Lockhart Zodiac Sign & Birthday

Gilderoy Lockhart was born on 26 January 1964, which means that his zodiac sign is Aquarius. People born under this sign tend to be very intelligent, and don’t they know it! As a result, they often have a healthy ego. But they usually aren’t overly interested in what other people think of them.