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A supercomputer analysed the Harry Potter books and decided Neville is a lot like Voldemort

Wait, WHAT?

Published: Thursday, 24th March 2016 at 11:40 am

Even supercomputers are reading Harry Potter these days. Watson, IBM's super computer, has been flicking through JK Rowling's novel series and has made a few surprising discoveries...


In case you don't know what Watson is, it's "a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data."

Basically, Tech Insider tasked it with reading Harry Potter and watching the movie series, identifying emotions, tone and personality traits. It used the Big Five test, which some psychologists use to measure extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.

And according to Watson, Neville Longbottom and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named are actually super similar...

Even though one of them is a shy, clumsy student and the other the most powerful dark wizard of all time, they both ranked similarly low on being open to experience, and similarly high on neuroticism.

IBM researcher Vinith Misra reasons "part of it is that Voldemort and Neville are very extreme characters."

The computer also found that Harry and Voldemort also have similar amounts of anger while Hermione ranks higher than Voldemort in assertiveness. #strongfemalecharacter


Clever old Watson also made comparisons between the books and the films, and found the Weasleys to be most changed by the transition to the big screen. Ron serves as comic relief in the movies more so than in the books, while Ginny ranked much lower for intellect and gregariousness in the movies than in the books.

"In the books, she doesn't wait around for Harry. She's very can-do, but they simplified and boiled down her character [in the movies]," explains Misra.


Snape's personality also differs between the books and film, with Watson finding that he is angrier in the books and "more cold and distant" in the movies.


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