Zacharias Smith (b. c. 1979/1981) was a wizard who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, who was Sorted into and a member of Hufflepuff House. He was a Chaser on the Hufflepuff Quidditch team and a member of Dumbledore's Army, an organisation taught and led by Harry Potter. On 2 May 1998, he abandoned the D.A. instead of fighting with them during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Zacharias was born into the Smith family, most likely between 1979 and 1981 in Great Britain or Ireland.
Hogwarts years (1990s)
Zacharias probably started his education at Hogwarts in either 1992 or 1993. During the Welcoming Feast, Zacharias was Sorted into the house of Hufflepuff and it is possible he shared a dormitory with Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, and Wayne Hopkins. Zacharias did not fit the normal Hufflepuff sorting, as he showed selfishness, disloyalty, and cowardice, while most Hufflepuffs are loyal and kind.
1995–1996 school year
In 1995, Smith joined Dumbledore's Army after hearing his house-mates, Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbott, discussing it; part of his motivation seems to have been curiosity as to how Cedric Diggory was murdered at the end of the previous school year. Hermione Granger eventually regretted inviting him, as he was annoyingly and constantly sceptical. He did not stop his continuous criticism at the Hog's Head meeting until Fred and George Weasley threatened him with a "long and lethal-looking metal instrument."
Smith was also openly critical of Harry Potter's leadership abilities, such as when he scoffed at Harry's decision to teach them Expelliarmus, which prompted Harry to point out that it had saved him when he duelled with Lord Voldemort, and that Zacharias was free to leave at any time. He also openly mocked Harry when he believed him to be taking remedial Potions, due to Harry's private lessons with Severus Snape to learn Occlumency. However, after the Daily Prophet announced that ten Death Eaters had escaped from Azkaban, Smith worked much harder, along with the other D.A. members. He later played in the Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff Quidditch match, beating Gryffindor by ten points.
1996–1997 school year
- "He saw me hex Zacharias Smith, you remember that idiot from Hufflepuff who was in the DA? He kept on and on asking about what happened at the Ministry and in the end he annoyed me so much I hexed him —"
- — Ginny Weasley expressing her annoyance towards Zacharias[src]
The following school year, Smith insistently pestered Ginny Weasley for details about what had happened during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, irritating her to the point of using a Bat-Bogey Hex against him. The Potions Master Horace Slughorn witnessed this, but instead of giving Ginny detention, he invited her to the Slug Club.
Smith earned more ire from Gryffindors when he took over Lee Jordan's former position as Quidditch commentator, along with Luna Lovegood. Among his offending statements was a claim that Ron Weasley's friendship with Harry Potter, the team captain, helped get him onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team. When both Ginny and Ron proved themselves very capable players, Smith began making disparaging remarks about the new Gryffindor beaters instead. Smith was again on the bad end of Ginny's temper; after the match, she dive-bombed the podium where Smith was calling the match, and slammed into him. Ginny made an excuse to Professor McGonagall saying that she forgot to brake. When Luna Lovegood commentated on Quidditch that same year, she speculated that Smith was suffering from Loser's Lurgy.
In December, Hermione considered asking Smith to Horace Slughorn's Christmas party instead of Cormac McLaggen, as she knew that Ron loathed both boys, and wanted to get revenge for his relationship with Lavender Brown. Once in Slughorn's office, she told Harry and Luna that she wished she had chosen Smith; McLaggen talked about nothing but himself and was not at all a gentleman. Harry was revolted at the idea.
1997–1998 school year
Even though he was a member of Dumbledore's Army, Smith did not help in the defence of Hogwarts when it was attacked by Lord Voldemort's army in May of 1998; this may indicate that he did not join the revived D.A. that faced considerably more danger in opposing the Carrow professors that year. Smith was last seen fleeing Hogwarts, rather than participating in the Battle of Hogwarts. He even pushed first-year students out of his way in his rush to leave. It is unknown if Smith survived the war, or what happened to him afterwards if he survived.
Zacharias Smith was described as a tall, skinny blond boy with an upturned nose.
Personality and traits
- "That Zacharias bloke's a wart."
- — Zacharias's unpleasant personality[src]
Zacharias Smith seemed to generally be a rather unpleasant person and was seen as overly critical of Harry Potter in the D.A. He was also pushy and insensitive in questioning Ginny Weasley and rude and biased in his Quidditch commentary. He was obnoxious, condescending, pessimistic, and a hypocritical ingrate. He failed to see flaws in himself and was constantly openly insulting people or pointing out exaggerated facts or opinions about said people. When he was part of Dumbledore's Army, he obnoxiously criticised and challenged Harry's competence as a teacher as well as a wizard — he didn't seem to realise that he himself was doing terribly in general, as seen by his struggling with the Disarming Charm (though this might be due to the Weasley Twins' intervention). The main reason he attended the D.A. recruitment meeting was to hear details regarding Cedric Diggory's death; even though Harry made it clear the meeting was not about such topics and that he has no intention of speaking of it, Smith pressed on the matter until Harry bluntly told him to stay down or leave.
Aside from this lack of fair play, Smith also showed cowardice and a lack of the loyalty uncharacteristic of Hufflepuff house in fleeing, instead of fighting for his school and fellow students in their time of greatest need. He was so selfish that he went as far as to forcefully rush through first years in his great haste to escape. He did not stay for the late headmaster Dumbledore's funeral, instead leaving the moment his "haughty-looking" father came to pick him up.
Magical abilities and skills
- Flying: Zacharias joined the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, playing as a Chaser, implying he was a reasonably skilled and talented broomstick flyer and Quidditch player.
- Defence Against the Dark Arts: In 1995, he reluctantly and cynically joined Dumbledore's Army and therefore would have learned to cast various defensive and offensive spells and how to duel with martial magic, under the expertise teaching of Harry Potter. However, his overall performance during the lessons was far from exemplary, as he had difficulty casting the Disarming Charm, although he did try much harder after it was announced several Death Eaters had escaped from Azkaban, meaning that he likely improved his skills.
- Charms: Zacharias was capable of producing a non-corporeal Patronus, a highly advanced and difficult piece of magic, which he likely learnt how to cast in Dumbledore's Army.
The name Zacharias is a variant of Zechariah, a Hebrew name meaning "God has remembered" (this was probably a misnomer for Zacharias). This was the name of the father of John the Baptist. He and his wife were very old when they had John, and Zechariah was initially disbelieving when an angel informed them they would have a son; as punishment for his doubt, he was struck mute. This may allude to Zacharias Smith's scepticism.
Behind the scenes
- In the closing credits of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Nick Shirm is identified as "Somewhat Doubtful Boy", rather than by name. Shirm also voiced the character in the video game, where he is explicitly identified as Zacharias.
- Zacharias Smith seems to be more pleasant in the movies than in the novels, like for example in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, he cheered on Fred and George for their fireworks departure, he congratulates Neville for disarming Padma, and before the Christmas holidays began, he happily applauded Harry's Dumbledore's Army lessons.
- Zacharias Smith may be related to Hepzibah Smith, and therefore possibly a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff, founder of his house at Hogwarts. Should this be true, Zacharias would be an odd irony compared to his ancestor Hufflepuff, lacking loyalty and fair play - this would explain, though, why someone that did not carry many Hufflepuff traits would still be Sorted into that house, as he could have requested to be put in Hufflepuff.
- It could also be that, since Helga Hufflepuff would take students that were not picked by the other founders, the Sorting Hat sensed that Smith didn't possess any of the qualities needed for the other houses and put him in Hufflepuff by default.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, he is possibly seen standing in the courtyard, witnessing Voldemort announcing Harry's apparent death, suggesting that, unlike in the novel, he did fight in the Battle of Hogwarts in the film.
- Zacharias Smith may be named for another fantasy figure, Doctor Zachary Smith of Lost In Space. Doctor Smith was also known for cowardice, selfishness, and being quick to cast aspersions.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Possible appearance) (Voice only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Possible appearance)
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter: The Wand Collection
Notes and references
- It is never stated in the book what year Smith is in. Since he was on Quidditch team in the 1995–1996 school year, he was at least 12 years old on 1 September 1995; and since he was still attending Hogwarts for the 1997–1998 school year, he was at most "1 day to 18 years old" on 1 September 1997. There are speculations that Smith was at least 17 years old on 2 May 1998, since he was fleeing from the Battle of Hogwarts, and under-age wizards and witches were instructed to leave. This would put his date of birth before 2 May 1981. However, it was also argued that his fleeing could simply be an indication of his fear at the time, or simply that he was in the queue in the first place because he was underage.
- 2000 interview with J. K. Rowling
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb), Zacharias' father escorted him home from school. Since Muggles are not given access to Hogwarts, and because Zacharias shares a surname with a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff, it is mostly likely that he comes from a wizarding family. Furthermore, he attended Hogwarts during the 1997–1998 school year, a year when Muggle-borns were not permitted to attend.
- "World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000 - "Hogwarts just serves Britain and Ireland."
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 14 (Felix Felicis)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16 (In The Hog's Head)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16 (In The Hog's Head) - "“You mean, Dumbledore believes him,” said the blond boy, nodding at Harry. “Who are you?” said Ron rather rudely. “Zacharias Smith,” said the boy[...]"
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 (Dumbledore's Army)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 24 (Occlumency)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 25 (The Beetle at Bay)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 19 (The Lion and the Serpent)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)