Daniel Radcliffe, the actor famous for playing Harry Potter, turned 23 on Monday.
Starring in the eight film adaptations of the best-selling book series by J.K. Rowling, Radcliffe truly brought the title character to life. Since his role as the famous boy wizard, the young actor has forged an unconventional path towards a serious acting career, starring in everything from a twisted psychological play to a romantic comedy.
Radcliffe has embodied and shaped our understanding of Harry Potter. From reading the books, I had always envisioned Harry as stubborn, impulsive, burdened by a Messiah complex, moody when older, yet always courageous and loyal. In the movies, Radcliffe portrays all of these traits, but adds innocent charm to the boy wizard. Harry seems steady, serious, and strong-willed when he battles Voldemort’s incarnations in the first films, but the actor’s wide blue eyes, short stature, delicate cheeks, and circular glasses remind us how young the wizard is. Even in the bleak final film, Radcliffe steps towards Voldemort shakily, hesitantly. The actor physically emphasizes how much Harry is playing everything by ear - an important detail that makes him so relatable and believable as a teenage hero.