Don't pooh-pooh Filius Flitwick! That's just one of the lessons coming into focus little more than 24 hours into the epic showdown we call the "Harry Potter" World Cup.
Though the diminutive master of Charms nabbed just a 10 seed in our monthlong tournament, in which fans have been voting online to choose the greatest character in the fantasy franchise, Professor Flitwick has raced out to a commanding first-round lead over his fellow Hogwarts colleague, and number-seven seed, Sybill Trelawney. But voting in the initial round doesn't close until midnight on Monday, meaning there's more than enough time for Trelawney fans to divine a whole lot of votes in her honor.
Other contests seem less prone to an upset. Honestly, what are the chances Harry Potter himself, facing off against Dark Arts devotee Quirinus Quirrell, gets an unexpected first-round ouster from the World Cup? As of this writing, the boy wizard has wrangled more than 95 percent of the vote. His pal Hermione Granger, meanwhile, has garnered more than 98 percent of the vote in her battle with often-salacious journalist Rita Skeeter.
But that was all to be expected. Early voting has also shown us some characters that could become Cinderella stories. Dobby the House Elf, the adorable rascal who made the ultimate sacrifice to save Harry and company, shot out to a maybe-we-should-call-it-now lead over Gryffindor half-blood Dean Thomas. Maybe now it's time for Dobby, who's always been the servant until now, to lead a fan-supported charge. Yet the floppy-eared elf could well run up against Severus Snape, who himself is dominating a first-round matchup with Death Eater spawn Vincent Crabbe, in the Sweet 16.
Snape, as "Potter" buffs know, has one of the most complex and satisfying character arcs in the entire series. Only Dobby, we presume, stands between him and an Elite Eight showdown with Harry. That's the main action in the Privet Drive quadrant of the bracket. Over in Godric's Hollow, while Hermione is busy wiping the floor with Rita, the phoenix Fawkes is straight up embarrassing poor Nearly Headless Nick. But voting in Albus Dumbledore's game hasn't even started. If you ask us, anyone who thinks someone like Dark Arts defender Remus Lupin is going to stand in the way of a Hermione vs. Dumbledore Elite Eight face off is crazy.
Things haven't even gotten started on the other side of the bracket. There's a whole lot of Weasley brawling going on in the Hogsmeade section, not only with Ron securing the top seed but with Arthur cruelly conjuring up a war with his son Percy. But all that may become background noise once Cedric Diggory (memorably, if briefly, portrayed onscreen by one Robert Pattinson) gets in on the action. Even Ron Weasley, he who won the heart of Hermione, might not be able to take down the "Twilight" heartthrob. Voting kicks off Wednesday.
And then in Diagon Alley, we find perhaps the tournament's most competitive corner. Count 'em off: Lord Voldemort, Draco Malfoy (whose Tom Felton has collected two straight [article id="1665184"]MTV Movie Award Best Villain wins[/article]), Sirius Black and his murderer, Bellatrix Lestrange. About the only thing we can predict at this point is that Lord V is going to freaking destroy Moaning Myrtle, who might need a new nickname soon. Voting in these matches begins on Thursday.