Squib or Scrooge, Filch Is Still a Good Guy
In the wizarding world, there are many characters who verge on the border between the good and the bad, the dark and the light. The words and actions they choose can steer them down the path of the not-so-righteous man. But it does not mean they cannot be redeemed. From the likes of Severus Snape to Draco Malfoy to even Kreacher, there are so many characters who sway between the dark and the light and are able to redeem themselves. For Hogwarts’s own caretaker, Argus Filch, being redeemed is never the thought on his mind. Yet he still does it.
Unlike the rest of the beloved and even not so beloved members of the wizarding world, Filch lacks the magical powers that he was expected to be born into – only to then find work in the most prestigious wizarding school in the world. He spends year after year watching pupils and teachers perform magic he never has the chance to partake in: no trip to Diagon Alley for his robes and books, never able to experience his wand choosing him or being Sorted into his respected House. Filch has to watch others go through the experiences he should have had time and time again. Wouldn’t this make anyone else bitter?
Filch takes care of Hogwarts on his own, a filing room without windows and full of documents as his home. While the elves prepare food for the students, Filch is the only person to be cleaning the castle and grounds in addition to patrolling the corridors at night. Through this wandering up and down the corridors, Filch catches Harry and his friends causing trouble multiple times. This often lands the students in detention, which actually helps their journey. When hiding from Filch under his Invisibility Cloak in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry ducks into an unmarked room where he discovers the Mirror of Erised. Filch also later causes Harry to first witness Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest when he sends the boy to detention after catching him and Hermione in the Astronomy Tower after they release Norbert to Charlie Weasley.
Even though he may not be fond of the students, Filch – unlike Umbridge – would do everything he could to keep them and Hogwarts safe. After the first break-in by Sirius Black, Filch searches the castle and patrols the corridors and Great Hall, protecting the students. Not only that but he also fixes the Fat Lady’s portrait to such a degree that it looks brand new. After the second break-in, Filch secures Hogwarts to the best of his non-magical abilities.
Filch always does the best he can for Hogwarts. Magical abilities or no magical abilities, he chooses to defend and stay. Always. Filch stays during the Battle of Hogwarts, attending to and evacuating students throughout the fight. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Filch stays, and he fights. And once all the fighting is done, he stays, and he cleans. He is surrounded by hundreds of witches and wizards who could conjure spells and magic that would clean and repair the castle, yet he allows them to rest. Filch picks up his broom and begins to sweep.
He does all this for Hogwarts and continues to work as caretaker for the foreseeable future. There is no denying that, like many characters, Filch has his flaws. With the continuous plea to Dumbledore to torture students in a more medieval way and with his assistance to Dolores Umbridge during her year working at Hogwarts, Filch is not the nicest of people. Ultimately, all he wants is the best for Hogwarts. He might seem like he hates the students, but he doesn’t. What Filch feels is jealousy for a future he never had. But without Filch, the students of Hogwarts wouldn’t have had their future.
There is no doubt that Filch is a redeemable character. He is simply a man who wants to go and do his job without having to deal with dark lords, or children breaking into cursed rooms, or creatures being released into the halls, or people dying. Is that too much to ask? Argus Filch is a Squib who works in a school of witchcraft and wizardry and has done so for over 40 years and through two wizarding wars. Yes, he may be grumpy and find the students and ghosts irritating, but he is just as important as any other staff, teacher, student, wizard, witch, or creature in the wizarding or Muggle world. If the likes of Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape can be forgiven and redeemed, then why can’t Filch?