|Born|| 1951 |
|Blood status|| Pure-blood or half-blood (possibly) |
|Species|| Human |
|Gender|| Female |
|Hair colour|| Blonde |
|Eye colour|| Green |
|Animagus|| Beetle (unregistered) |
Rita Skeeter (b. 1951) was a witch who wrote tell-all biographies and worked as a reporter for the Daily Prophet. Albus Dumbledore described her writing as "enchantingly nasty" after she wrote a unfavorable article about him. Notable stories Rita covered include the trials of various Death Eaters after the First Wizarding War, the Triwizard Tournament, and Harry Potter's account of Lord Voldemort's return to power in 1995. She also wrote biographies of Armando Dippet, Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, and Harry Potter. Rita's writing tended to be sensationalist, and sometimes outright dishonest. Her ability to acquire information was assisted by her status as an unregistered beetle Animagus.
- Rita: "How about giving me an interview about the Hagrid you know, Harry? The man behind the muscles? Your unlikely friendship and the reasons behind it. Would you call him a father substitute?"
- Hermione Granger: "You horrible woman. You don't care, do you, anything for a story, and anyone will do, won't they?"
- — Rita speaking to Harry Potter and Hermione Granger[src]
Early lifeEditSkeeter was born into a half-blood or pure-blood family circa 1951 and presumably purchased her wand at the age of eleven in 1962, the same year she began her magical education, possibly at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If so, she was a classmate of the Slytherin Bellatrix Black. However, it is unknown which house she was sorted into if she even ever attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry .
Skeeter spent years training to become an Animagus and, at some point, she was finally able to transform into a beetle at will. Skeeter aspired to be a journalist and an author, and used this ability to spy and eavesdrop for her articles.
Early yearsEditDuring her early days as an author, Skeeter wrote a biography on Armando Dippet, entitled Armando Dippet: Master or Moron?. It was presumably an exaggerated history of him to gain controversy and, by extension, popularity and fame. The book was a best-seller.
Also sometime in her early career Skeeter provided a quote for the critical acclaim for Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp, when she wrote "I've read worse." as a review.
First Wizarding WarEdit
As an unregistered Animagus, to which she took the form of a beetle and was able to slip around undetected and spy on unsuspecting company, she could obtain gossip for her articles, which she later exaggerated and exploited to gain the attention of the masses. Rita wrote primarily for the Daily Prophet, though some of her articles have also appeared in other sources, such as Witch Weekly and The Quibbler. Skeeter worked closely alongside Bozo, her photographer.
Skeeter was a journalist at the time of the First Wizarding War when Lord Voldemort was in power. In 1981, at the fall of Voldemort and end of the War, Skeeter reported on the Death Eater trials before the Council of Magical Law, of people such as Igor Karkaroff and Ludovic Bagman.
In 1994-1995, Rita wrote many nasty articles covering the Triwizard Tournament. Several students, most notably the Slytherins such as Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson, fed her information, and her Quick-Quotes Quill recorded the words of her subjects in a most sensational way. Additionally, only the Slytherin students were immediately aware that Rita was an unregistered Animagus, and they used this to their advantage to slander Harry Potter and his friends for Rita's articles.
- Rita: "Your story's legend. Do you think it was the trauma of your past that made you so keen to enter such a dangerous tournament?"
- Harry: "No, I didn't enter."
- Rita: "Of course you didn't. [winks] Everyone loves a rebel, Harry.Scratch that last. Speaking of your parents, were they alive, how do you think they'd feel? Proud? Or concerned that your attitude shows, at best, a pathological need for attention? The worst, a psychotic death wish?"
- — Rita interviewing Harry Potter[src]
Under the guise of interviewing all four champions, she confronted Harry Potter in a broom cupboard where she took his "um"s and "er"s and invented her own quotes. The article painted Harry as a tragic hero who cried himself to sleep over his late parents and who had a romantic relationship with Hermione Granger. The article was mostly taken negatively by Harry's schoolmates, who assumed he was craving attention, although Molly Weasley seemed to take it very seriously.
Rita then interviewed Rubeus Hagrid, asking many questions about Harry that Hagrid refused to answer. Her subsequent article described Hagrid as a ferocious-looking man who used his authority to terrify his students, but was otherwise mostly true. The article also revealed to the world that Hagrid was actually half-giant, which greatly upset him and subjected him to ridicule and fear.
These activities earned her the wrath of Hermione Granger, a close friend of Harry and Hagrid. After Hermione blasted her for her libel, Rita retaliated by writing an article about "the devious Miss Granger," portraying her as toying with the affections of both Harry and Viktor Krum and using Love Potions. Although Hermione was more disdainful than upset about the article, she started receiving angry mail from people who believed Rita's lies, and even Molly Weasley was upset with her until Harry set her straight.
Hermione soon figured out that Rita was an unregistered Animagus, catching her in her beetle form while she was perched on the hospital wing window and trapping her in a jar imbued with an Unbreakable Charm so she can't transform. Hermione then offered Rita an ultimatum — stop writing horrible stories about people for a year, or Hermione would expose Rita's unregistered Animagus status to the Ministry of Magic, with serious legal consequences. Rita was forced to comply, and suffered financial strain as a result.
- "Rita Skeeter isn't going to be writing anything at all for a while. Not unless she wants me to spill the beans on her... I found out how she was listening in on private conversations when she wasn't supposed to be coming into the grounds... Rita Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus. She can turn into a beetle... I've told her she's to keep her quill to herself for a whole year. See if she can't break the habit of writing horrible lies about people."
- —Hermione Granger on her blackmail of Rita[src]
In 1995, Harry Potter's story that Lord Voldemort had returned was not believed by much of the wizarding world, as the Daily Prophet portrayed him as either a delusional boy or an attention-seeking liar. Hermione Granger wanted to get the truth to the public, and thus instructed Rita to meet her and Luna Lovegood in Hogsmeade on 14 February, 1996 in the Three Broomsticks. As it was Rita who laid the foundation for the Prophet's defamation of Harry, with her initial stories about him, Hermione wanted her to be the one to set the record straight. They were joined by Harry after his date with Cho Chang. Harry thought that Hermione was with "the unlikeliest pair of drinking mates he could ever have imagined."
- Rita: "But of course, Little Miss Perfect wouldn't want that story out there, would she?"
- Hermione: "As a matter of fact, that's exactly what Little Miss Perfect does want."
- Rita: "You want me to report what he says about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?"
- Hermione: "Yes, I do. The true story. All the facts. Exactly as Harry reports them. He'll give you all the details, he'll tell you the names of the undiscovered Death Eaters he saw there, he'll tell you what Voldemort looks like now... I want him given the opportunity to tell the truth!"
- — Rita and Hermione Granger in 1996[src]
Rita was initially taken aback that Hermione wanted her to interview Harry, and then resentful, since Hermione demanded that she only write exactly what Harry said and not portray him as the rest of the press was. Rita claimed the Prophet would not buy the story, reluctantly admitting that the Ministry of Magic was influencing it. Hermione told her that the interview would be printed in The Quibbler, which Luna's father's edited, and although Rita responded with disdain, she "eyed Hermione shrewdly" for a few moments and then agreed. However, when she learned she was expected to conduct the interview free of charge, she was furious. Hermione reminded her that she could report her unregistered Animagus status to the Ministry, thus Rita grudgingly complied.
The interview was subsequently printed in The Quibbler, and became its best-selling issue of all time. It was banned at Hogwarts by High Inquisitor Dolores Umbridge, which seemed to only increase its popularity. Editor Xenophilius Lovegood sold the article to the Prophet after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, when Voldemort's return became public, and he and his daughter Luna used the money to travel to Sweden in search for the Crumple-Horned Snorkack.
BiographiesEditRita attended Albus Dumbledore's funeral in June 1997, and, within four weeks Skeeter wrote a 800-page tell-all biography about him, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. Much of the book's content was obtained through an interview Rita conducted with Bathilda Bagshot, a very elderly historian. She used Veritaserum to get old Bathilda Bagshot to tell her about Dumbledore’s childhood. Skeeter stole photographs from Bagshot as well, and then wrote the story which sensationalized everything and implied that Dumbledore had dabbled in the Dark Arts and contributed to the death of his sister. It turns out that Rita got at least some of her facts straight for once, but had no idea of the true story. Rita seems to have authored a whole series of hatchet jobs on former headmasters of Hogwarts, including Armando Dippet: Master or Moron?
Following Voldemort's death, Skeeter wrote a biography of Harry Potter that was only about one-quarter true, as well as one about Severus Snape titled Snape: Scoundrel or Saint? 
Rita has curly, blonde hair that is strangely stiff, suggesting it is styled with the magical equivalent of hairspray. She has a heavy jaw, penciled-on eyebrows, three gold teeth, and large, masculine hands with sharp claw-like, red-painted fingernails. She wears rhinestone glasses, green leather robes with maroon furs at the collar and sleeves and carries a crocodile-skin handbag, inside of which she keeps her acid green Quick-Quotes Quill.
Apparently, unemployment did not serve Rita well, as when she showed up during the year she was blackmailed by Hermione not to write, Rita's nails were chipped, she was missing fake stones in her glasses, and her hair was lank and unkempt. As in her unregistered animagus beetle form, her antennas were curled to resemble her curls in her hair.
Personality and traitsEdit
Rita is extremely nosy and willing to do anything for a good story — from spying on people in her Animagus form of a beetle to sensationalising or outright inventing stories. She also took advantage of elderly Bathilda Bagshot's possibly fragile state of mind, even giving her Veritaserum, in order to dig up dirt on the late Albus Dumbledore for her extremely critical biography. Rita tended to portray the people she wrote about poorly, presumably because it sold more stories. However, she could also be very vindictive. For example, after Hermione Granger insulted her, Rita printed a completely false story about Hermione using love potions and toying with the hearts of both Harry Potter and Viktor Krum. This resulted in Hermione receiving hate mail, but she eventually got her revenge, blackmailing Rita into refraining from writing for a year. After this time period was up, Rita returned to her writing with as much gusto and as little scruples as before.
- Ron: "She'll be after you next, Hermione."
- Hermione: "Let her try! I'll show her! Silly little girl, am I? Oh, I'll get her back for this. First Harry, then Hagrid..."
- Ron: "You don't want to go upsetting Rita Skeeter. I'm serious, Hermione, she'll dig up something on you –"
- Hermione: "My parents don't read the Daily Prophet. She can't scare me into hiding! And Hagrid isn't hiding any more! He should never have let that excuse for a human being upset him!"
- — Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger on Rita Skeeter[src]
Despite her inaccuracies and biased articles, Rita seemed to be a fast writer and researcher, as she managed to finish a nine-hundred-page book in four weeks.
Magical abilities and skills Edit
- Animagus: Rita had mastered a complex branch of Transfiguration, becoming an unregistered beetle Animagus, to get infomation and gossip without being caught.
- Defence against the Dark Arts: She was able to cast many jinxes.
- Patronus: She also had the ability to conjure a non-corporeal Patronus.
- Nonverbal Magic: When Rita Skeeter took Harry into the broom cupboard, she lit several candles from her handbag with her wand without saying anything.
- A piece about the International Confederation of Wizards' Conference, describing Albus Dumbledore as an "obsolete dingbat".
- A piece about Gringotts Curse Breakers in which she referred to Bill Weasley as a "long-haired pillock."
- One about the Quidditch World Cup aftermath.
- Probably did one on Bertha Jorkins going missing
- One about the mistakes made by the Ministry of Magic concerning the attack on Alastor Moody.
- One about Harry Potter being a Triwizard Champion who supposedly cried himself to sleep over his late parents.
- One about Rubeus Hagrid, portraying him as a ferocious half-giant.
- One about Hermione Granger allegedly dating both Harry Potter and Viktor Krum.
- One about Harry Potter supposedly being dangerous (before the Third Task).
- An interview with Harry Potter in which he described Lord Voldemort's return. This was likely Skeeter's most accurate article, since Hermione Granger arranged it and would have informed the Ministry of Skeeter's status as an unregistered Animagus had she lied.
- Armando Dippet: Master or Moron?
- The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore (1997)
- Biography of Harry Potter with unknown title (1998)
- Snape: Scoundrel or Saint?
- Rita is a short form of the name Margarita, a Latinate form of the name Margaret. The name is derived from the Greek μαργαριτης, margarites, meaning "pearl".
- Skeeter is a slang term for a "mosquito." This could be a reference to her Animagus form, which is an insect, or to her career in tabloid journalism. The word paparazzi is derived from an Italian word for "mosquito.". "Skeet" is also an Anglo-Manx colloquialism for gossip . Skeeter could also be a pun off of how annoying Skeeter's lies tend to be, as people tend to find mosquitos annoying and attempt to swat them away.
- Rita could possibly be a play on The Beatles song "Lovely Rita" due to her constant use of the word "lovely" and the fact that she can turn herself into a beetle.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Rita Skeeter was portrayed by English actress Miranda Richardson in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- In the Goblet of Fire film, Rita uses a spiral-bound Muggle legal pad to conduct Harry's "interview." It is established in the literary canon that the wizarding world uses loose parchment and quills.
- At Igor Karkaroff's trial, Rita used a muggle pen instead of a quill.
- The Goblet of Fire film omits all references to Skeeter being an animagus, and Hermione's later blackmailing of her. Subsequently, the character is omitted completely from the Order of the Phoenix film.
- Rita may have been a classmate of Bellatrix Lestrange, as both witches were born in 1951. But even if they both went to Hogwarts, it cannot be guaranteed they were in the same year because of their unspecified birth months.
- In the Goblet of Fire film when Harry points out that they're in a broom closet, Rita points out that he should "feel right at home", possibly referencing where he slept before his first year at Hogwarts. How she knew this fact is unclear, unless this was a subtle reference to her being an animagus, a fact otherwise omitted from the film. However, it could have also been a reference to Harry's Quidditch skill.
- As of the end of the Second Wizarding War, Rita is the only known living unregistered Animagus.
- Although Rita has three gold teeth in the books, she does not in the film adaptation of Goblet of Fire. Actress, Miranda Richardson and director, Mike Newell both felt that they were not right for Rita, with Miranda pointing out that gold teeth would make Rita appear 'unapproachable'.