We’ve all heard of people disappearing and then reappearing over the years, but you don’t hear of many animals doing it! When it comes to feel-good stories, there are not many better than animals we’d thought long gone reappearing from the wilderness unexpectedly. And one recent story that tugged at the heartstrings was that of an extinct leopard which was spotted alive and well in Taiwan!
Out Of The Past
The creature in question was a Formosan clouded leopard, a subspecies that was native to Taiwan but has not been seen in the wild since 1983. In fact, these magnificent beasts were actually declared as officially extinct in 2013! So, imagine everyone’s surprise and consternation when there were reported sightings of the animal as recently as last year.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why many Thai scholars have been so reluctant to officially call the animal extinct, instead preferring to leave it on the ‘endangered species’ list. This is thought to be amid fears of a backlash from the Indigenous community, as well as the significance of the leopard in Taiwan.
There were reports from rangers who claimed to have spotted a cat hunting goats in Daren Township, Taitung County. There were also reports from a group of villagers who apparently had two separate sightings of the animal back in 2018.
These sightings led to a patrol being arranged in the local area, especially as the animal has become a symbol of conservation in Taiwan, and is considered a sacred animal to the local Paiwan tribe. There are also concerns that outsiders may try to hunt them, and steps are being taken to try to prevent this from happening.
The Myth Endures
The Formosan clouded leopard is something of a mythical being in Taiwan, with a rich backstory claiming that nobody outside of the indigenous population has ever laid eyes on one. 1983 was the last reported sighting of the cat. And this is despite a field study carried out, between 1990 and 1993, securing more than 16,000 photos of Dawushan Nature Reserve, with no trace of the animal.
It should be noted that this kind of behavior is not overly unusual for animals. Only recently, a giant tortoise thought extinct appeared on a Galapagos island, having not been seen since 1906! So perhaps this mysterious emergence from the leopard isn’t so mysterious after all.
Luna Lovegood – Evanna Lynch
Prior to her on-screen debut as Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, actress Evanna Lynch only had experience acting in school plays. In an open audition, she beat out 15,000 other girls to win the role of Luna Lovegood.
Her performance won her critical acclaim, including high praise from Rowling, who, for a short-time exchanged letters with the young actress. Today, Lynch focuses on veganism and projects aimed at upholding animal rights.
Gregory Goyle – Josh Herdman
Josh Herdman started acting at the tender age of seven years old and was thirteen when he was cast as Draco Malfoy’s sidekick, Goyle. Despite his oafish character in the movie, in real-life, Josh Herdman isn’t one to mess around with.
After training for five years in jiu-jitsu, Herdman made his debut on the MMA circuit in 2016. To date, he is still undefeated at 2-0. He still appears regularly in films and on television.
Pansy Parkinson – Scarlett Byrne
Scarlett Byrne’s character, Pansy Parkinson, is best remembered as being the leader of a group of Slytherin girls, who, throughout the series trade verbal jabs with Harry and his friends.
Besides her work on the Harry Potter series, Byrne is a recognizable face on British television. Her last role was on the Hulu TV series, Runaways, based on the Marvel comic books of the same name. More recently, she married Cooper Hefner, and gave birth to their first child in August, 2020.
Neville Longbottom – Matthew Lewis
In the Harry Potter books and films, Neville Longbottom undergoes a stunning transformation. Once cowardly and clumsy, Neville matures to become one of the most courageous and bravest students in Gryffindor.
Off-screen, Potter fans took note of Matthew Lewis’ real-life transformation, as he shed his boyish character and matured into a handsome young man. He is currently working on filming for All Creatures Great And Small, set to air on Britain television in 2020.
Hermione Granger – Emma Watson
Hermione Granger was without a doubt the brightest witch in her class, which isn’t too far of a departure from the actress that portrayed her. Emma Watson received straight A’s throughout high school, which took place mostly on-set; and went on to earn a Master’s degree in English Literature from Brown University.
Since filming the movies, Watson has appeared in several other films like the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. She is a devout feminist, and in 2019 helped establish a legal advice hotline for women who have experienced harassment in the workplace.
Lucius Malfoy – Jason Isaacs
Before auditioning for the role of Lucius Malfoy, actor Jason Isaacs hadn’t read any of the famous books. He went home, and proceeded to read the first four books in one sitting.
Isaacs is best known for his performances as Colonel Tavington in The Patriot, and as Captain Hook in the 2003 remake of Peter Pan. Currently, he has a whopping six projects on film and television that are in various phases of production.
Harry Potter – Daniel Radcliffe
When producer Chris Columbus saw an audition tape of a young Daniel Radcliffe in the film David Copperfield, he knew that he had found his leading man.
Radcliffe would go on to star as Harry Potter over the next ten years. His work has made him one of the wealthiest and most well-known actors in the UK. He has continued to master his craft as an actor, appearing in films, on television, and on stage.
Narcissa Malfoy – Helen McCrory
Originally, Helen McCrory was cast as Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but she was forced to pull out of filming because she was pregnant with her first child. Instead, the role was given to Helena Bonham Carter, and McCrory went on to play Lestrange’s sister, Narcissa Malfoy.
Besides her role in the movie series, she has appeared alongside Tom Cruise in Interview With a Vampire, in Martin Scorcese’s 2011 hit, Hugo, and more recently as Aunt Polly in Peaky Blinders.
Dudley Dursley – Harry Melling
Harry Melling had to wear a special suit to portray the bumbling, bratty, and overweight cousin of Harry. By the time he made his final appearance in the series, in 2010’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I, he had lost so much weight that he needed to use prosthetics to fill out his face.
To date, the actor has over thirty film, television, and stage credits to his name. He is a member of one of England’s most renowned acting families – the Troughton’s.
Dean Thomas – Alfred Enoch
Alfred Enoch played the role of Dean Thomas in seven of the eight Harry Potter films. Like Harry, he was a member of Gryffindor house, and briefly played alongside Harry on Gryffindor’s quidditch team.
In real-life, actor Alfred Enoch, was born in London to an English actor, and Brazilian mother. He currently stars on the American TV show, How To Get Away With Murder, which has won him critical acclaim as a supporting actor.
Draco Malfoy – Tom Felton
In the books and films, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy were the arch nemeses of one another throughout their tenure at Hogwarts. The reality is that their relationship off-screen is quite the opposite. The two actors formed a friendship that has lasted until today, and they’ve even discussed teaming up together on a film project in the future.
Prior to being cast as Draco Malfoy, Tom Felton auditioned for the parts of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. His last project was on a Netflix horror-comedy, A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting.
Colin Creevey – Hugh Mitchell
Remember the kid at Hogwarts that was so obsessed with Harry that he constantly followed him around snapping pictures of him? That student was none other than Colin Creevey, a Gryffindor one year Harry’s junior.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Colin’s camera lens proves to be invaluable when the flash suddenly reveals that the Basilisk is sensitive to the light. Mitchell, now 31 years old, hasn’t acted since 2016; however, he did make some notable appearances in 2002’s Nicholas Nickleby and in The Da Vinci Code.
Cedric Diggory – Robert Pattinson
Some fans may be critical of Pattinson’s portrayal of vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight series, but his performance as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won him universal praise.
Pattinson is one of the most accomplished actors on the entire Potter roster. He keeps a full acting schedule and was most recently cast as Bruce Wayne and Batman for the next chapter in the DC classic.
Ron Weasley – Rupert Grint
Every hero needs a sidekick, and Harry would be hard-pressed to find one as loyal as the legendary Ron Weasley. Appearing alongside Harry throughout the novels and films, Ron was with him every step of the way as they both matured into adulthood while fighting for the greater good of the wizarding world.
Grint, an accomplished actor in his own right, is still active on screen and on stage. Currently, he plays the role of Julian Pearce on Apple TV’s series, Servant.
Albus Dumbledore – Michael Gambon
Sir Michael Gambon has led a film career that most would dream of. In 1999, he was knighted for his contribution to the arts. At the age of 21, he was an accomplished toolmaker and engineering technician, but he dreamt of a career in acting. After writing a letter to a local theater impresario, he won a role and made his debut on stage in 1962.
Gambon is most recognizable to American audiences from his role as King George in The King’s Speech. His last film credit was in the Judy Garland biopic, Judy, released in 2019.
Petunia Dursley – Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw also received state recognition for her contributions to the arts. She is less-adored by Potter fans for being the abusive aunt of Harry, who seems dead-set on making Harry’s life as miserable as possible.
Fiona Shaw has featured prominently on stage in the UK in addition to appearing in dozens of films. American audiences might also recognize her from her role in the HBO series True Blood, as well as in Brian DePalma’s The Black Dahlia.
Professor Flitwick – Warwick Davis
In 1983, director George Lucas cast Warwick Davis as an ewok in his epic movie opera, Return of the Jedi. Since then, the British born actor has maintained a film career that has spanned three decades.
In the Harry Potter series he played Professor Flitwick, Hogwarts’ charms teacher. Today, actor Warwick Davis fills his time as the host of ITV’s gameshow, Tenable.
Sirius Black – Gary Oldman
In one of the darkest film of the series, Gary Oldman played Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black, debuting in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He was a dear friend of Harry’s father, wrongfully imprisoned in Azkaban for a crime that he did not commit.
Gary Oldman’s spectacular portrayal of Black was just another notch in the veteran actor’s belt. Most recently, he won an Oscar for Best Actor after his performance in 2017’s The Darkest Hour.
Nymphadora Tonks – Natalia Tena
Actress Natalia Tena made her Harry Potter debut in Order of the Phoenix, but she was already a seasoned veteran of the silver screen. More recently, fans might recognize her from her role as Osha in the HBO hit series Game of Thrones.
When she’s not wielding her wand, Tena is working at her other talent – music. She is the lead singer and accordionist for the band Molotov Jukebox.
Bill Weasley – Domhnall Gleeson
Domhnall Gleeson is the son of famous Irish-actor and director, Brendon Gleeson, who starred as Mad-Eye Moody in Order of the Phoenix. The younger Gleeson played the role of Bill Weasley, the eldest, and coolest of all the Weasley brothers.
The young actor is known for having appeared in a number of critically acclaimed films like Ex Machina, True Grit, and The Revenant. In 2020, The Irish Times named him number twenty-one on their list of the best Irish actors.
Barty Crouch Jr. – David Tennant
At three years old, David Tennant told his parents that he wanted to be an actor after watching Doctor Who. Initially, his parents discouraged him, but they soon supported their son when actress, Edith MacArthur, told them that he would one day become a famous actor.
Years later, Tennant would go on to star in the reclaimed Dr. Who series, which was revived by the BBC in 2005. Most recently, he started his own podcast and last starred as a serial killer in a four part miniseries on ITV.
Rubeus Hagrid – Robbie Coltrane
Another accomplished actor, Robbie Coltrane, also received an award as an officer of the British Empire for his contribution to drama. Born Anthony Robert Mcmillan, he chose the name Coltrane as an homage to the famous jazz singer.
As a youth, he rebelled against his conservative upbringing and became politically involved in several liberal organizations like Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament. Today, he hosts his own true crime show, Robbie Coltrane Critical Evidence, on British television.
Minerva McGonagall – Maggie Smith
Perhaps the most famous actress in the entire cast, Dame Maggie Smith was made a Dame, the feminine equivalent of a knighthood, by Queen Elizabeth for her contribution to acting. In 1952, Smith began her prolific career as a student at the Oxford Playhouse.
In the series, Maggie Smith played the formidable Professor McGonagall, Hogwarts’ Transfiguration teacher, and the head of Gryffindor House. More recently, she has two movies in post-production set to be released in 2020 and 2022, respectively.
Garrick Ollivander – John Hurt
Without a doubt, one of the most memorable moments in the story of Harry Potter is when he met the man who provided him his most prized possession – his wand. Mr. Ollivander’s legend in the wizarding world is as formidable as it is in real life.
In 1979, he played a role in the science-fiction, horror film, Alien, where in one scene an alien burst out of his chest. The moment has been described by some film critics as one of the most memorable in film history. Sadly, the actor passed away in 2015 after a two-year fight against pancreatic cancer.
Bellatrix Lestrange – Helena Bonham Carter
Bellatrix Lestrange’s character evolved from a minor role to one of more prominence, as she played a more integral role in Lord Voldemort’s return to power as the series progressed.
Moviegoers will recognize Carter from a variety of starring roles over the years, as well as from her marriage to famous director and eccentric, Tim Burton. She was nominated for two Academy Awards for her roles in The Wings of the Dove and The King’s Speech.
Lord Voldemort – Ralph Fiennes
The actor that plays He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has quite a complicated name himself. Born Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, the actor first pursued painting before deciding on his current occupation.
Fiennes first gained worldwide fame by starring as Amon Göth, in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Younger audiences may be unaware of his villainous roles in movies like Red Dragon, and In Bruges, but certainly recognize him for his outstanding performances in all of the Harry Potter movies.
Cornelius Fudge – Robert Hardy
Cornelius Fudge first appears as a character in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as the Minister of Magic for the United Kingdom. Throughout the novels and films, it remains vague as to whether or not his character is one of moral or evil intent.
Robert Hardy first earned widespread acclaim for his role on All Creatures Great and Small, a popular British TV series. Outside of acting, he is an expert historian on the medieval longbow, having written two books on the subject.
Vincent Crabbe – Jamie Waylett
Another one of Draco Malfoy’s clueless companions, moviegoers met Crabbe in the first movie alongside his sidekick, Goyle. Much to fans’ delight, the duo often found themselves on the receiving end of several pranks from Harry and Ron.
Off camera, things became a bit more serious for actor Jamie Waylett. A couple of legal missteps landed him in jail for two years, and his acting career was put on hold. Hopefully, he can make a comeback in the near future, as his performance matched Crabbe’s character in the books to a tee.
Katie Bell – Georgina Leonidas
Katie Bell was a Gryffindor who joined the Quidditch team alongside Harry as a Chaser. Her role became more prominent when she was played by Georgina Leonidas in Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2.
Leonidas won the role after gaining attention from her tenure on a British children’s show, The Basil Brush Show, which ran for five seasons. She has been an active actress on television, film, and in British theater.
Barty Crouch Sr. – Roger Lloyd Pack
Barty Crouch Sr was the head of the department for magical law enforcement and often was at odds with Harry, who often had to result to using magic illegally in order to defend himself.
Roger Lloyd Pack was a well-known English actor with a career that spanned over four decades. He sadly passed away in 2014, but will forever be remembered for his on-screen and stage performances. Outside of acting, he was an avid Tottenham Hotspur fan and even voiced their pre-game video for several years.
James Potter – Adrian Rawlins
Harry’s parents returned to Harry in his dreams and as apparitions throughout the film series. The actor that played James, Adrian Rawlins, is a well-known actor who began his career in 1980.
He last starred in the popular miniseries, Chernobyl, as Nikolai, but also fulfills his aptitude for acting on the opposite side of the camera. He has been an active volunteer at East Riding Theater in Yorkshire, and became their artistic director in 2015.
Fleur Delacour – Clémence Poésy
A student from the prestigious Beauxbatons school in France, Fleur Delacour competes against Harry in the Triwizard Tournament. She reprised her role in 2010 and 2011, for Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2, respectively.
Following the shooting of Goblet of Fire, Clémence Poésy appeared in the Academy Award-nominated film In Bruges, alongside Brendon Gleeson and Colin Farrel. She has had a prolific acting and modeling career, which has included campaigns for Chloè and The Gap.
Amos Diggory – Jeff Rawle
Fans might remember Amos Diggery, crouched over the body of his son, yelling, “That’s my son, that’s my boy!” in utter disbelief over the tragedy that just befell him. Actor Jeff Rawle gave an outstanding performance in this memorable scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Rawle gained recognition in his debut role as Billy Liar in the TV series of the same name. Since filming for Goblet of Fire, he returned to television and last appeared in 2016’s Steptoe and Son.
Severus Snape – Alan Rickman
Classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Alan Rickman became known for his monotone voice and languid delivery. American audiences first met Rickman in 1983’s Die Hard, when he portrayed the villainous Hans Gruber.
His work as an actor is highly acclaimed by film critics, who gave him unanimous thumbs up for his performances throughout the Harry Potter series. Fans probably noticed a hint of the Slytherin head’s voice, in 2010 and 2016’s Alice and Wonderland reprises, in the tonations of The Caterpillar.
Vernon Dursley – Richard Griffiths
Richard Griffiths rose to fame from humble beginnings. His father was a steelworker and used to fight in bars for money, while his mother worked odd jobs. Because both of his parents were deaf, so Griffiths is fluent in British Sign Language.
For his acting, he is another member of a long list of Potter actors who have received a royal honor for their contributions to the dramatic arts. Sadly, he passed away in 2013. Daniel Radcliffe was in notable attendance at his funeral in Warwickshire, as were other members of the cast.
Argus Filch – David Bradley
Argus Filch’s ill-temperament and tendency towards getting the students in trouble made him disliked by Hogwarts students and Potter fans alike, but he won empathy when it was revealed that he was a Squib, or someone incapable of performing magic.
Quite the opposite in real-life, David Bradley’s talents as an actor are nothing short of extraordinary. His portrayal of Filch won him widespread acclaim, as did his role as Walder Frey in Game of Thrones.
Seamus Finnigan – Devon Murray
Seamus Finnigan was a fellow Gryffindor and friend of Harry Potter – most of the time. In Order of the Phoenix, he was influenced by the Ministry of Magic’s smear campaign against Harry. Luckily, the two made up because his unique talent for exploding things helped save the day during the epic, final battle at Hogwarts.
Actor Devon Murray was one of the few actors to appear in all eight films. He is a trained actor but elected to forgo continuing his career after appearing in the Harry Potter franchise. Today, he spends his days with his girlfriend and riding horses.
Nearly Headless Nick – John Cleese
Nearly Headless Nick served as the house ghost in Gryffindor. During his execution, the executioner’s dull blade did not completely sever the head, thus earning Nick his posthumous nickname.
Real-life actor John Cleese is anything but a ghost. Older audiences will recognize him from the ’70s when he starred in the Monty Python films. Younger fans are also familiar with Cleese, who has voiced characters in all of the Shrek movies and in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in addition to a prolific acting career that has him featured in over fifty movies.
Mundungus Fletcher – Andy Linden
Mentioned throughout the novels but appearing only in Deathly Hallows, Mundungus Fletcher is another character whose true intentions remain cloaked in ambiguity.
Actor Andy Linden has appeared on TV and in films since the early 1990s. Aside from appearing in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he was also in the well-known films RocknRolla, and Oliver Twist.
Dolores Umbridge – Imelda Staunton
The primary antagonist in Order of the Phoenix, Imelda Staunton’s character, Dolores Umbridge, remains one of the most hated long after the end of the series.
Imelda Staunton first won over audiences in Vera Drake, where she appeared in the title role. Her performance earned her numerous award nominations including an Oscar. For her accomplishments, she was honored with an award for chivalry in the order of the British Empire.
Fenrir Greyback – Dave Legeno
According to legend, Fenrir Greyback was the most feared and deadly werewolf to have ever lived, and Dave Legano did an amazing job bringing the character to life. Prior to his first appearance in Prisoner of Azkaban, Legeno had already acted in several movies.
In addition to his acting, he also spent time as a professional MMA fighter. Tragically, he passed away while hiking in California’s infamously hot Death Valley, one of the lowest points on Earth, due to a heat stroke.
Fred Weasley – James Phelps
Spoiler alert: in real-life, the two Weasley twins don’t have red hair! In true Weasley fashion, the Phelps twins skipped school to attend an open audition to play Fred and George Weasley. Surely that decision paid off for them – they acted in all eight movies.
While the Phelps brothers certainly are close, there is a deep schism between the brothers. When it comes to soccer, the brothers support rival teams. James supports Birmingham City and Oliver cheers for Aston Villa.
George Weasley – Oliver Phelps
Thankfully, outside of soccer, the brothers can agree on supporting the same professional rugby team, Gloucester RFC. The two are avid sports fans, and enjoy playing golf frequently.
They have participated in skydiving and tree climbing philanthropy events – both to raise money for cancer research. After the Potter series, the twins continued to act together and now split their time between Los Angeles and the United Kingdom.
Viktor Krum – Stanislav Yanevski
In both the books and the films, audiences first met Viktor Krum when Harry attended the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasley family. At the time, Krum was a star Seeker for the Bulgarian national team and Ron was completely awestruck by him.
Krum ended up visiting Hogwarts and took part in adventures with Harry in Goblet of Fire. In reality, actor Stanislav Yanevski went to school with fellow Potter cast member Harry Melling who encouraged him to audition for the role as Krum.
Gilderoy Lockhart – Kenneth Branagh
On the long list of terrible Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, perhaps none were more despised than the narcissistic, Gilderoy Lockhart. Lockhart made his appearance in the second book and film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and was portrayed in the movie by Kenneth Branagh.
Branagh is a prolific actor, director, and screenwriter, and has received several awards for his work, including five Academy Award nominations.
Padma Patil – Afshan Azad
Padma Patil is best remembered for being the twin sister of Gryffindor student Parvati Patil, and for attending the Yule Ball as Ron’s date. Later on, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Padma becomes a Ravenclaw prefect.
Despite appearing in five of the Potter films, actress Afshan Azad decided to forego a career in acting. She told the press in the past that she auditioned for her role as Padma “just for the fun of it,” and that she was quite shocked when she learned that she had won the part.
Parvati Patil – Shefali Chowdhury
Unlike her twin sister, Parvati Patil was in Gryffindor along with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. She attended the Yule Ball with Harry, although Harry was preoccupied with his real love interest, Cho Chang, and did not give his date the attention that she deserved.
Viewers with a keen eye for detail might remember that both Patil sisters left Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore departed from the school. In real life, Chowdhury got the role of Parvati in her last year of school at the Waverly School. She last appeared in a short film in 2019.
Quirinus Quirrell – Ian Hart
The first villain in the Potter series was Professor Quirrell who sneakily transported a weakened Lord Voldemort in his oversized turban. His only appearance is in the first book and film, but his performance was memorable nonetheless.
The actor that portrays Quirrell, Ian Hart, has been acting since 1985. Aside from playing the quirky professor, he also did the voice dubbing for the CGI-created Lord Voldemort. In his latest film, Escape From Pretoria, he was once agin cast alongside Daniel Radcliffe.
Helena Ravenclaw – Kelly Macdonald
Kelly Macdonald made her first and only appearance in the last movie of the franchise – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. She made our list thanks to a stellar performance and a notable contribution to the film’s plot.
Scottish actress, Kelly Macdonald, has led a prolific acting career that makes her one of the most recognizable faces on the silver screen. Fans might recall her performances in Trainspotting, on the HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire, and in the BBC/Netflix produced series Giri/Haji, to name only a few.
Rufus Scrimgeour – Bill Nighy
A minor character, Rufus Scrimgeour was the successor to Cornelius Fudge. While his character may not be so memorable in the series, viewers would certainly recognize actor Bill Nighy from his other works.
He is perhaps best known for his role as Billy Mack in Love Actually, but has also played as Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and as Viktor in the Underworld series, to name just a few. He was named by GQ in 2015 as one of the best-dressed men in Britain!