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20th Sep 2019

Ranking the Potter Puppet Pals from least to most vocally proficient

Ciara Knight

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape, DUMBLEDORE

What is that mysterious ticking noise? The Potter Puppet Pals know.

On 24th March, 2007, the world changed forever with the upload of one singular video, now sitting at 188 million views.

Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise.

The ensemble cast of Snape, Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, Harry and He Who Must Not Be Named put in a show-stopping performance as they try to get to the bottom of a very mysterious ticking noise.

As with any vocal group, some put in a little more effort than others. It’s important to ascertain who is the Brian McFadden of the band, just to know.

With that, I will now rank the Potter Puppet Pals from least to most vocally proficient.

6. Harry Potter

Unlike the movies, Harry’s performance in this piece isn’t particularly essential to the plot. He came, he saw, and he made a bit of a fool of himself actually. Harry comes across as an egomaniac, running out of breath due to the ferocity with which he announces his own name repeatedly. It should’ve been a big reveal when Harry finally showed up in the video, but his lack of vocal prowess results in a total letdown. “Harry Potter, Harry Potter uuuugh. Harry Potter, Harry Potter, yeeeeah. Harry Potter, that’s me”. Those are pathetic lyrics for a pathetic little boy.

The Snape/Harry duel wasn’t quite the explosive showdown it should’ve been either. Harry absolutely bottles it, with Dumbledore, an outside party, ultimately getting the last word in. Harry Potter can do many things, such as mope around about the death of his parents and also some very tame and self-serving wizardry, but he cannot sing. Perhaps Hermione could assist him in casting a spell to bless his vocal cords with some finesse. He would be laughed out of an X Factor audition and ultimately edited out of the show. The boy is a jester.

5. Hermione

Easily the worst character in the Harry Potter franchise, Hermione carries that role spectacularly into her music career as well. From her first interjection in the video, it’s clear that she was an afterthought. A nasal and patronising “Hermione” is repeated intermittently, making us all aware that she is better than everyone, ourselves included. Before Hermione’s appearance in this video, scientists were confident that it was physically impossible for someone to sing condescendingly. Now, their worst fears have come true.

Selfishly, Hermione’s name takes up three syllables. That’s a social status reserved solely for the greats, such as Dumbledore, Voldemort, Obama and Beyoncé. If you’re going to have a beefy name, you need a beefy personality to back it up. Furthermore, you need to be able to sing. Hermione Granger is too smug to sing properly, an affliction that Michael Bublé also battles with. Her performance is lacklustre and frankly, irrelevant to the plot. She doesn’t care about the mysterious ticking sound, Hermione just wants airtime and clout.

4. Dumbledore

It’s a fine performance from Albus throughout the video, nothing mind-blowing, nothing atrocious, just fine. His vibrato is impressive, but the wizard relies on it a little too heavily and could end up doing some real damage to his vocal cords if he’s not warming up correctly. For a dead man (spoiler), it’s actually quite a lively performance. Dumbledore is convincing in his role and fully commits to it. Without him, would the song still slap? Actually, probably not.

The added nudity is a real bonus and masks the weaknesses in Dumbledore’s voice. He’s a bit of a one-trick wizard, but still manages to make it work. Does he have a future in the music industry? Being dead didn’t stop David Bowie, but still, no. His skills are best put to calmly asking people if they put their names into the Goblet of Fire and allowing crusty old hats to decide which social groups his students should be bullied by.

3. Snape

Taking on the important role of the protagonist, Snape’s nerves are visible from the start. He’s undertaken a huge task, trying to establish context in such a powerful video. Snape is perplexed by the mysterious ticking noise, as are we, by extension. Snape’s concern is our concern. Regardless of his questionable motives throughout the Harry Potter books and subsequent movies, the thirst for knowledge is universal. Cut us all and we will bleed. Play us a mysterious ticking sound and we will wonder where it is coming from. Instantly, we’re on Snape’s side and he knows it. This is his chance for redemption.

He’s the catalyst for the whole video. Spurred on by a catchy yet mysterious ticking noise, Snape bursts into a self-indulgent song. It’s become a universally recognised anthem. If you utter the words “Snape, Snape, Severus Snape” anywhere within a millennial’s earshot, you’re going to get an enthusiastic “Dumbledore” in response. It’s the modern day equivalent of saying “Marco?” during a defeating game of hide and seek. Snape is Marco and Dumbledore is Polo. We have Severus Snape to thank for that, among other things.

2. Voldemort

His role in the performance is minimal, but his commitment is not. He Who Must Not Be Named has got some pipes, but more than that, he’s got rhythm. When Voldemort arrives onto the scene, he’s faced with a dilemma now that the mysterious ticking (of which he was the source) has disappeared. How will this evil and noseless freak stay on beat when there isn’t one? Can he carry the show after he’s just murdered all of its performers? Will the narrative collapse upon itself under the weight of a risky plot? Is that the end of the song?

No. You big idiot. Voldemort can carry a beat. He taps the pipe bomb detonator on the stage, keeping time and single-handedly carrying the proceedings. An evil laugh, presumably inspired by the ending of ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson, announces his satisfaction with brutally reducing the other Potter Puppet Pals to a pile of puppety dust, followed by a catchy solo to close the show. It was a fitting conclusion to a whirlwind adventure. Flawless performance, flawless execution. A triumph for the music industry.

1. Ron

Someone had to draw the short straw and sing like the high notes, and it wasn’t going to be Hermione because she is a feminist icon. Ron Weasley took that role on like a champ, adding vibrance to proceedings and bucketload of finesse. His tone is perfect and the timbre is flawless. He might be completely shit at everything else in life, but Ron Weasley can carry a note and that’s something his family can use to respect him slightly more going forward. There are no downsides to his prowess as an alto singer in a viral video, aside from it leading to his untimely death.

Not satisfied with single-handedly carrying the musical, Ron goes one step further and actually finds the source of the mysterious ticking noise, a task that the rest of his cast seemed content with merely singing about. Ron quickly locates the source, identifies it as a functioning pipe bomb and bears the full brunt of the blast as a result. His vocals are untouchable, his thirst for answers is unmatched and his valiance in protecting his friends is inspiring. Ron Weasley is the most vocally-proficient member of the Potter Puppet Pals, but more than that, he is the most honourable one as well. Rest in peace, champ. It was, indeed, a pipe bomb.

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