Throughout the books, Hermione Granger is referred to as being the brightest in her year.

Apart from her, is it known who, if anyone, in her year does well in almost every class? Someone who could be called the "next brightest" after her?

I know that some of them could be categorized as the best in a given subject, such as Neville in Herbology, Harry in Defence against the Dark Arts, but I am referring to an overall perspective.

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    Well, it's by no means a given but if I had to take a bet I would bet the second brightest in the year would be in Ravenclaw, and since we don't have any classes with Ravenclaws in the books that I can remember it's gonna be a bit difficult to say
    – Au101
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 19:12
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    If Hermione's success is due to her combination of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw qualities, then the identical twins Parvati (Gryffindor) and Padma (Ravenclaw) Patil ought to place high on that list.
    – Gaultheria
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 20:32
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    @Gallifreyan (No offence GoodDeeds, it's an interesting question) The problem I have with this question is two-fold. Firstly it's unanswerable in so many ways. We don't see almost any Ravenclaws except a handful in the DA, we see none of them in lessons, we don't get a very good handle on the Hufflepuffs or that many of the Slytherins, I mean, who's even in "Pansy Parkinson's gang of Slytherin girls"? What's more we don't see many people's OWL results, we don't get anybody else's homework marks, Harry doesn't even talk to that many people aside from Ron and Hermione.
    – Au101
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 22:18
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    @Gallifreyan So it's just inviting speculation and there are too many good answers. Secondly, how are we judging brightness, the question doesn't even nail down any criteria. And this, to me, is precisely what the POB close reason is for. And I'm sorry but editing "Is it known" into the start of the question to try and smuggle it through customs is not really in the spirit of things in my opinion (once again, sorry OP, I did enjoy thinking about it too)
    – Au101
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 22:20
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    Related meta discussion: scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/q/10816/31394
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 23:06

3 Answers 3


We don't see enough of Harry's classmates to determine for sure.

We only really know about students who interact with Harry somewhat regularly. The second smartest in Harry’s year could be some Ravenclaw who Harry's never talked to, so wasn't even mentioned. It could also be a secondary or minor character who was mentioned by name but that we don't know a lot about, like Susan Bones. Susan could be a genius for all we know, but it didn't matter to Harry, so we wouldn't know.

But, out of the ones we do know, it could be Draco.

Out of the students we do have a lot of information about, only a few of them have a chance of being the second smartest. Harry and Ron slack off far too much for them to be considered second smartest. None of the other Gryffindors in Harry's year seem particularly intelligent, so I doubt it's any of them. It's definitely not Crabbe or Goyle.

The only student who we consistently hear does well in class is Draco Malfoy (well, except for his sixth year). Draco might have been stuck-up, but he was always shown to be intelligent, probably more than most other students. One example of this was that he was able to figure out how the Vanishing Cabinet worked by himself, mend it, and use it as a pathway to Hogwarts.

“Everyone thought it was a really good story, but I was the only one who realised what it meant – even Borgin didn’t know – I was the one who realised there could be a way into Hogwarts through the Cabinets if I fixed the broken one.’

‘Very good,’ murmured Dumbledore. ‘So the Death Eaters were able to pass from Borgin and Burkes into the school to help you … a clever plan, a very clever plan … and, as you say, right under my nose …”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)

He was also able to learn Occlumency, as well as nonverbal magic. In addition, he would have likely applied his intelligence to his class work. Draco wanted to make his father proud and not disappoint him, so he would probably have cared about his grades.

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    Do you think? His father was pretty disappointed with his performance in his first year at the start of Chamber of Secrets. And apart from Potions, we only really know he wasn't failing anything, I don't remember anyone else singing his praises. His fellow Slytherins also scoffed at the idea that he might be able to do something for "him" at the start of Half-Blood Prince so he doesn't seem to have much of a reputation among his peers for being startlingly clever.
    – Au101
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 19:49
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    Of course, second brightest after hermione doesn't mean you have to be startlingly clever and not good enough to serve voldemort after only 5 years of education doesn't mean not startlingly clever either, but Mr Malfoy doesn't really leap to my mind
    – Au101
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 19:50
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    Oh I don't think yours is a bad answer, it's clearly carefully thought out, but I'm not sure about "The only student who we consistently hear does well in class is Draco Malfoy" - perhaps a quote or two could really convince me to change my mind?
    – Au101
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 21:01
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    Unless the wizarding world is very different in this aspect, being smart and getting good grades are only mildy correlated.
    – Dennis
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 1:37
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No canon answer, but one of the prefects would be a good guess.

“Well, there are two fifth-year prefects from each House,” said Hermione, looking thoroughly disgruntled as she took her seat. “Boy and girl from each.”
“And guess who’s a Slytherin prefect?” said Ron, still with his eyes closed.
“Malfoy,” replied Harry at once, his worst fear confirmed.
“ ’Course,” said Ron bitterly, stuffing the rest of the Frog into his mouth and taking another.
“And that complete cow Pansy Parkinson,” said Hermione viciously. “How she got to be a prefect when she’s thicker than a concussed troll . . .”
“Who’s Hufflepuff?” Harry asked.
“Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbott,” said Ron thickly.
“And Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil for Ravenclaw,” said Hermione.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 10 (text legally available online)

Hermione seems to imply that prefects are usually bright, with Pansy Parkinson being a weird exception.

If you want to narrow it down further, it may be a good idea to look at the Ravenclaw prefects, so either Anthony Goldstein or Padma Patil.

  • 2
    What Hermione said doesn't necessarily imply that prefects are always especially smart - just that they shouldn't be stupid. Except for Hermione (and perhaps Draco as I said in my answer), the prefects seem to be average students, and in the cases of Ron and perhaps Pansy, maybe even below average. So it seems unreasonable to guess that one of the prefects is likely to be the second smartest in Harry's year.
    – Obsidia
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 19:59
  • It has been WAY to long since I read the HP series. But wasn't Ron chosen to be a Perfect in one of the books? That would imply that Perfects were NOT always chosen for being the Brightest students.
    – NJohnny
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 15:55
  • @NJohnny - It's a highly speculative answer to a highly speculative question. Hermione seems to imply that the typical prefect is brighter than the typical non-prefect so I say if we're randomly picking someone as the "brightest student in Harry's year after Hermione" I say you're more likely to be correct if you picked a prefect.
    – ibid
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 7:39

I think apart from Hermione, Draco Malfoy has to be the best wizard. Draco was the prefect in in his 5th year which definitely needs an O (outstanding) in his O.W.L.s. And in Chamber of Secrets, we saw that Draco is an amazing dueler. Harry beat him because he had powers of Voldemort. I bet that if Harry and Draco dueled after Voldemort's death, Draco would definitely win the duel.

Even getting into potions during Slughorn's class needed an exceptional knowledge in potions before Slughorn changed the grades. (Draco was before Harry And Ron in Slughorn's class and Harry and Ron joined potions after Slughorn reduced the passing marks. So I think Draco was much better at potions than Harry and Ron.)

In Half-Blood Prince, when Draco is about to kill Dumbledore, Dumbledore asks Draco how he managed to let in the Death Eaters. And Draco replied that he fixed the vanishing cabinet. So fixing that cabinet needed brains as good as Hermione or probably more. If Harry didn't have powers of Voldemort then I'm sure Draco is easily the second best wizard in his year.

  • In response to your first point, about needing to have an O on the fifth year OWLS, first of all, you do not take OWLs until fifth year, so they dont have the grades for them when the prefects are selected, and on top of that, Ron was made a prefect, and when they received grades back it specifically states that he had no Outstanding grades.
    – Tryce
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 14:54

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