Magical creatures (Harry Potter)
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Magical creatures comprise a colourful and integral aspect of the fictional wizarding world in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Throughout the seven books of the series, Harry and his friends come across many of these creatures on their adventures, as well as in the Care of Magical Creatures class at Hogwarts. Rowling has also written Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a guide to the magical beasts found in the series. Many of these legendary creatures are derived from folklore, primarily Greek mythology, but also British and Scandinavian folklore. Many of the legends surrounding mythical creatures are also incorporated in the books. "Children ... know that I didn't invent unicorns, but I've had to explain frequently that I didn't actually invent hippogriffs," Rowling told Stephen Fry in an interview for BBC Radio 4. "When I do use a creature that I know is a mythological entity, I like to find out as much as I can about it. I might not use it, but to make it as consistent as I feel is good for my plot."
Many pets in the series are ordinary animals with magical properties. Owls, for example, deliver mail. Only creatures that exist exclusively in the magical world are listed below.
Magizoology (a portmanteau of "magic" and "zoology") is the study of magical creatures in the Harry Potter series. A person who studies Magizoology is known as a magizoologist. There are magizoologists who work in the Ministry of Magic, particularly in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. One notable magizoologist is Newt Scamander, who in the universe of the series is the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a textbook on magical creatures that is popular in the wizarding world.
Regulation and classification
The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures of the Ministry of Magic is responsible for overseeing and regulating magical creatures. It is divided into three divisions: the Beast Division, the Being Division, and the Spirit Division. A "being" is generally defined, according to Fantastic Beasts, as "any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws." This includes humans, goblins, hags, and vampires. According to this definition, fairies, pixies, gnomes, and most other creatures are classified as "beasts." Centaurs and merpeople are said to have rejected "being" status in favour of "beast" status, as have leprechauns. Werewolves and Animagi are notable because they are typically in human form — a werewolf transforms from human state only at the full moon, and an Animagus is a human who has learned to transform into an animal at will. Their classification is unclear, and offices responsible for werewolves exist in both the Beast and Being Divisions. A number of creatures, such as house-elves, giants, banshees, veelas, dwarfs, and Dementors, have never been described in the novels either as beings or as beasts, so their legal status is unclear. Affairs related to ghosts come under the auspices of the Spirit Division.
List of magical beasts
Below is the complete list of magical beasts mentioned in the Harry Potter universe. Blood-Sucking Bugbears, Boggarts, banshees, hinkypunks, and Dementors have been mentioned in the series but do not appear in Fantastic Beasts. Nor is the Blast-Ended Skrewt (a hybrid of manticores and fire crabs) mentioned in Fantastic Beasts. Those creatures that Rowling took from myth and folklore have links to their mythological articles.
In the Harry Potter universe, a basilisk is a monstrous serpentine creature. Much larger than its mythical counterpart, the basilisk of the Harry Potter universe is capable of reaching lengths of up to fifty feet and living for hundreds of years. Basilisks are completely uncontrollable except by Parselmouths, and the first basilisk is believed to have been created by a Dark wizard and Parselmouth named Herpo the Foul.[HPF] Herpo made this discovery by attempting, with success, to hatch a chicken egg under a toad. A male basilisk has a scarlet plume on its head[HPF]. A basilisk kills both with its powerful venom and with its eyes, which are immediately lethal to anyone who gazes at them directly.[HPF] To anyone who gazes at it indirectly, such as through a camera or in a reflection, it induces a profound state of petrifaction. Ghosts who look at it directly will become petrified, as they cannot die again.[HP2] It would seem that glasses do not work as protection from a basilisk's eyes as Moaning Myrtle was described as wearing spectacles and yet still died. As she had been crying, however, she may have temporarily removed her glasses. The tear of a phoenix is the only known cure for the devastating effect of the basilisk's venom. Spiders always flee from the Basilisk, as they are mortal enemies. The basilisk flees only from the crowing of the rooster, which is fatal to it.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a basilisk was the monster that inhabited the Chamber of Secrets. When student Tom Marvolo Riddle, later known as Lord Voldemort, opened the chamber, the basilisk killed Moaning Myrtle and then hibernated for fifty years inside the chamber until Riddle's memory (and soul) opened the chamber again by possessing Ginny Weasley. During the events of the book, it is set loose again by a Horcrux of Voldemort, and attempts to kill several Muggle-borns, but due to sheer luck all its victims are merely petrified. The Horcrux commanded Ginny Weasley to kill all the school roosters, remarked upon by Hagrid. When Harry discovers the existence of the chamber and of its location, Riddle reveals his identity and sets the basilisk loose upon Harry while Ginny's life force ebbs away. Fawkes helps Harry, blinding the basilisk with its talons and carrying the Sorting Hat; Harry pulls the sword of Godric Gryffindor from that hat, and uses it to impale the basilisk's head, killing it.
The basilisk's fangs and its venom absorbed by the sword of Gryffindor proved instrumental for destroying most of Voldemort's Horcruxes. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter used a fang and punctured one of Voldemort's Horcrux, which is a diary. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, after losing the sword of Gryffindor to Griphook, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger go to the chamber and pull some fangs out of the Basilisk's skull, and use one to destroy Helga Hufflepuff's cup. This time the chamber was opened by Ron by imitating Harry's parseltongue. Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, and Albus Dumbledore used the sword of Gryffindor, laced with basilisk's venom, to destroy the locket, Nagini,and the Gaunt ring, respectively.
A boggart is a shape-shifter that takes on the form of its intended victim's worst fear. It generally likes to hide in dark, enclosed places. Since a boggart changes shape upon sight, few know what one looks like in unaltered form. Mad-Eye Moody, however, is one of these few. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Moody determines that there is indeed a boggart in the desk in the drawing room with his magical eye. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin teaches his students in Defence Against the Dark Arts to approach a boggart in groups of two or more, so that the boggart will have difficulty in choosing which one to frighten. A common wizard's defense against a boggart is to point a wand at the boggart and say "Riddikulus" while thinking of something very funny; this charm can apparently be used to destroy an already weakened boggart.
Characters and their Boggarts:
- Harry Potter — A Dementor. In other words, the thing Harry fears most is fear itself.
- Ron Weasley — an acromantula. He has a terrible fear of spiders due to a prank that his brothers played on him when he was young.
- Hermione Granger — Professor McGonagall telling her she had "failed everything"; in other words, she is afraid of failure.
- Neville Longbottom — Professor Snape.
- Remus Lupin — The full moon. He fears turning into a werewolf.
- Molly Weasley — The dead bodies of her loved ones.
- Parvati Patil — A bloodstained, bandaged mummy. In the movie, it is a giant snake.
- Seamus Finnigan — A banshee.
- Dean Thomas — A severed hand walking on its own.
- Lord Voldemort — His own corpse, a prefigurement of his fear of Death.
- Albus Dumbledore — The corpse of his dead sister, Ariana.
- Author J. K. Rowling has stated that her boggart would be the same as Mrs. Weasley's: her loved ones dead or alternatively herself buried alive.
Centaurs in the Harry Potter universe are wild creatures with intelligence supposedly greater than humans. Although sentient, they have not requested assignment as beings, preferring to remove themselves entirely from human affairs. Centaurs who decide to excessively associate with humans, such as Firenze who agrees to teach Divination at Hogwarts, can be seen as traitors and attacked - Firenze would have been killed were it not for Hagrid's intervention; he was merely injured and banished. The Ministry of Magic's Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures has a Centaur Liaison Office, but no centaur has ever used it. Centaurs are skilled in healing and astrology, and spend much of their time scouring the stars for portents. They live in forests, and their society consists of groups called herds. They do not appear to employ or need any technology more advanced than a bow and arrow. They are intensely proud and fiercely territorial, and one must be highly diplomatic in dealing with them. Not paying the proper respect to a herd of centaurs can have violent consequences, as Dolores Umbridge learned to her cost. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Hogwarts centaur herd, after being admonished fiercely by Hagrid, takes sides with the Order of the Phoenix, and turns the tide of the fight.
The films depict the centaurs with very bestial, animalistic facial features; however, the obvious attraction of Hogwarts' female population to Firenze suggests that the books depict centaurs in terms that are more classical.
Named Centaur characters:
The Dementors are soulless creatures considered to be among the foulest beasts on Earth. They are soul-sucking fiends who, as their name suggests, dement people who encounter them for too long. They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban, until after the return of Voldemort.
In the books, Dementors appear to have a generally human shape, approximately 3 metres (10 feet) in height, but covered in dark, hooded cloaks that reveal only grey, decayed hands. The wraith-like creatures have no eyes, and there is a large hole where the mouth should be. According to the author, they grow like fungi in the darkest, dankest places, creating a dense, chilly fog. They appear to possess a few traits of magic, notably, their ability to glide (fly, in the film adaptations) unsupported in either world. The Dementor's intelligence is also seldom hinted, but they are presumed sentient as they have been seen leading revolts and know how to use their abilities.
Being blind, Dementors hunt their prey by sensing emotions. They feed on the positive emotions, happiness and good memories of human beings, forcing them to relive their worst memories. The very presence of a Dementor makes the surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark, and the effects are cumulative with the number of Dementors present. Despite their attachment to human emotion, Dementors seem to have difficulty distinguishing one human from another, as demonstrated by Barty Crouch Jr's escape from Azkaban, wherein they could detect no emotional difference between the younger Crouch and his mother. They also have difficulty sensing animals because their feelings are more primitive than human emotions; this particular weakness enabled Sirius Black to escape from Azkaban in Animagus form.
Besides feeding on positive emotions, Dementors can perform the Dementor's Kiss, where the Dementor latches its mouth onto a victim's lips and sucks out the person's soul. One such Dementor nearly succeeded in defeating and killing Harry Potter using this method. The victim is left as an empty shell, incapable of thought and with no possibility of recovery. It is believed that existing after a Dementor's Kiss is worse than death.
Because they are immortal, very few methods exist to repel a Dementor; one way to shield oneself from Dementors is to use the Patronus Charm to drive them away. Chocolate is an effective first aid to mild cases of contact. Dementors are invisible to Muggles, but affect them in the same way.
Harry first encounters Dementors during the beginning of his third year of school, when they are sent to guard Hogwarts against Sirius Black, who has recently escaped Azkaban. Harry, whenever he gets near one, is forced to relive his worst memory: hearing the last moments of his parents' lives before they are murdered by Voldemort, which begins with Harry hearing his mother screaming. To overcome the Dementors, Harry asks Remus Lupin for assistance. Lupin teaches Harry the Patronus Charm, albeit with some difficulty.
At the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Dementors of Azkaban stage a mass revolt against their employers to join Voldemort, as he can provide them with more humans to feast upon; in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Ministry, under the control of Voldemort, uses Dementors to punish Muggle-borns due to Voldemort's hate for Muggles and Muggle-borns. The Dementors also take part on Voldemort's side during the Battle of Hogwarts. After the appointment of Kingsley Shacklebolt to the position of Minister, Dementors are removed from Azkaban, and the Ministry contains them by limiting their numbers.
In Half-Blood Prince, it is told that breeding dementors create excessive amounts of fog, noticeable to wizards and Muggles alike.
Ghosts play an important secondary role, mainly as supporting characters. Unlike the ghosts in a traditional ghost story, these ghosts are neither frightening nor necessarily ghoulish, and many ghosts act as advisors to the main characters in their times of need. Ghosts in the novels appear silvery and translucent. They can fly and pass through walls, tables and other solid objects, but nonetheless have some ability to physically affect, and be affected by, the living world. Moaning Myrtle can, for instance, splash the water in her toilet.[HP2] Ghosts' banquet tables are laden with rotten food, as the decomposition increases their ability to almost smell and taste it.[HP2] Touching or walking through a ghost induces a sensation "like walking through an icy shower."[HP2] Ghosts can be affected by magic and curses, though not to the same degree that living beings can.[HP2]
In the Harry Potter universe, only wizards can become ghosts. As Nearly Headless Nick explained to Harry, "Wizards can leave an imprint of themselves upon the earth, to walk palely where their living selves once trod ... I was afraid of death. I chose to remain behind. I sometimes wonder whether I oughtn't have ... Well, that is neither here nor there ... In fact, I am neither here nor there..."[HP5] Despite having chosen their afterlives, many ghosts appear quite unhappy; they bemoan their not-quite inability to eat, and many are described as gloomy.[HP2] They also appear to have an attraction to the morbid and melancholy.[HP2]
Ghosts are very sensitive about their condition. When the Ministry initially classified them as "beings," i.e., sentient creatures with full legal rights, they claimed that the term was insensitive when they were clearly "has-beens." The Ministry's Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures therefore comprises a separate "Spirit Division."[HPF] The Ministry's spirit division apparently controls the activities and haunting locations of troublesome ghosts. Myrtle was forced to go back and haunt the place of her death (Hogwarts) after she had disrupted the wedding of the brother of Olive Hornby, a girl who had teased her at school.[HP2]
Named Ghost characters:
- Nearly Headless Nick
- The Bloody Baron
- The Grey Lady
- The Fat Friar
- Professor Binns
- Moaning Myrtle
- Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore, leader of the Headless Hunt, a club for decapitated ghosts.
- The Wailing Widow
Giants in the Harry Potter universe are capable of interbreeding with humans- both Hagrid and Olympe Maxime are half-giants. However, relations between giants and wizards are toxic; wizards on the whole loathe giants[HP4] and have engaged in an active campaign to hunt and hound giants out of civilization.[HP5] The last giants in Britain were killed apparently by Ministry decree, as Dumbledore had argued against it,[HP5] but most deaths have been due to territorial aggression among themselves, as wizards force them to live together in ever more confined spaces.[HP5] The last few giants remaining in the world (the total number is between 70 and 80) are collected together in an isolated region east of Belarus. Giants range in height from twenty to twenty-five feet (6 to 7.5 meters), and have skin similar to rhino hide.[HP5] Their society is "governed" by a chief called a Gurg, who spends most of his time demanding food from his underlings.
Voldemort has employed giants in his attacks, after convincing them that he can offer them a better life.[HP4] Hagrid revealed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that he and Madame Maxime went on an Order mission to ask the Giants to take part in the war against Voldemort; however Karkus the Gurg was killed by other Giants, thus Hagrid and Maxime were forced to introduce themselves to Golgomath, the new Gurg. Several Death Eaters are sent by Voldemort in a mission too, to get the Giants onto the Dark Lord's side. Giants took part in the Battle of Hogwarts in the end of the series, mostly fighting for Voldemort.[HP7]
Goblins are magical creatures defined as beings, rather than beasts, that are chiefly involved with metal work and the running of Gringotts bank. They are represented by the Goblin Liaison Office in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Goblins are described as having long, thin fingers and feet, black eyes, and domed heads that are much larger than human heads.[DH Ch.24] Goblins eat a diet of largely raw meat, roots, and fungi.[DH Ch.25] Goblins converse in a language known as Gobbledegook. Goblins harbour very different feelings about ownership than wizards: they consider the true owner of an object to be its maker, invariably, rather than its purchaser, whom they see as simply renting the object until their death, and resent the passing of goblin-made heirlooms through Wizarding families without further payment.[DH Ch.25] Wizarding Law prohibits the ownership of wands by goblins. Goblins are capable of using goblin magic which (like elf magic) is independent of Wizarding magic.
Relations between goblins and wizards have been strained for centuries from misunderstandings on both sides, sometimes leading to violence in the form of goblin rebellions and riots. Along with house-elves, goblins seem to occupy positions as second-class citizens in the Wizarding world. The goblins remain a neutral force during the Second Wizarding War, siding with neither Voldemort nor the opposition to him, claiming that it is "a wizard's war."[DH Ch.15] In some cases, a state of friendship exists between certain wizards and goblins (particularly Bill Weasley, who works as a Curse Breaker for Gringotts Bank), and there have even been some instances of goblin-wizard interbreeding (Professor Flitwick has distant goblin ancestry, which likely accounts for his small size).
Named Goblin characters:
- Gornuk, an associate of Griphook
- Ragnuk the First: Supposedly the creator of the sword of Godric Gryffindor [DH Ch.25]
House-elves are small humanoids (though their appearance differs markedly from that of humans) that are used by wizards as slaves. They are 2–3 feet tall, with spindly arms and legs and oversized (as compared to a human's) heads and eyes. They have pointed, bat-like ears and high, squeaky voices. Their names are usually pet-like diminutives, and do not appear to have surnames. They habitually refer to themselves in the third person and use a strange manner of speaking. House-elves are generally obedient, pliant, and obsequious. Rather than conventional clothing, house-elves wear discarded items like pillowcases and tea-towels. House-elves' masters can free them by giving them an item of clothing. Thus, these creatures appear to have been inspired by the tale of The Elves and the Shoemaker. House-elves are affected more than humans by alcohol, as they can become intoxicated by drinking Butterbeer, which has so little alcohol that children can legally purchase and drink it unsupervised.
House-elves possess their own forms of powerful magic, distinct from that used by wizards and witches, which they generally use in the service of their masters. This magic can be used without the permission of their masters, or even against their orders, though such disobedience obliges them to punish themselves in various painful ways. Among other things, this magic allows house-elves to travel instantly from place to place, in a manner similar to Apparition; they are able to do this even within the boundaries of Hogwarts and other places where Anti-Apparition and Anti-Disapparition charms are in effect, preventing human apparition and disapparition. House-elves can, however, use side-along Apparition to transport humans.[HP7] The full nature of the elves' magic is never fully disclosed, but it seems to be quite formidable. Along with the ability to Apparate anywhere at any time, Dobby, Winky, Hokey and Kreacher all demonstrate that they can overpower wizards when necessary. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby forcefully repels Lucius Malfoy while protecting Harry Potter. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when Barty Crouch is unmasked and confesses to what happened on the night of the Quiddich World Championship, he says: "Winky used her own brand of magic to bind me to her". Later, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Kreacher is ordered by Harry to capture Mundungus Fletcher and bring him to 12 Grimmauld Place, a task that he accomplishes within a few days, even though, as Kreacher puts it, "He has many hidey-holes and accomplices." Moreover, House-Elves - unlike wizards - do not need wands to perform magic, and therefore cannot be disarmed as wizards can.
In "Deathly Hallows" the dead Dumbledore tells Harry: "Of House-Elves (...) Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he had never grasped". For reasons not made clear, however, Dumbledore seems to have never included such information in the knowledge imparted to Hogwarts students in the normal course of their studies. While the school's curriculum includes the study of many magical creatures and their ways and abilities, there is no mention of any such study of House Elves. Certainly, Harry, Ron and Hermione - who had completed six of the school's seven years of study - are greatly surprised by witnessing what Dobby is able to do, and had clearly never heard before of House-Elves having such abilities.
It is never made clear whether house-elves are bonded primarily to the families they serve or to their homes. Ron Weasley comments that he wishes his family were rich enough to afford a house with a house-elf, suggesting that they are linked to houses rather than to families (very much like serfs in the Middle Ages). In addition, when the ownership of Grimmauld Place passes to Harry in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry's status as the rightful owner of the house is confirmed when the house-elf Kreacher grudgingly obeys his commands. On the other hand, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it is said that a house-elf who has been freed is normally told to find a new family to serve. There is an Office of House-Elf Relocation at the Ministry of Magic.
House-elves are unendingly loyal to their human families; so much so, that Dobby, who served the Malfoy family, attempts to punish himself each time he utters a negative remark about his former masters even after freed. However, he is able to overcome it more as time passes, even going so far as to defiantly tell Bellatrix Lestrange that none of the Malfoys are masters over him. According to Kreacher, a house-elf's strongest law is the master's bidding; however, while house-elves must obey their masters whatever their personal feelings may be, they are far from mindless automata. House-elves have been known to disobey the rules (usually by finding, when necessary, loopholes in orders that allow for unintended interpretations) to protect themselves or their friends. Because of their docile, obedient natures, some families abuse their house-elves. Dark wizard families in particular seem to make a habit of bullying and maltreating house-elves; the Malfoys forced Dobby to slam his own ears in the oven door or iron his hands if he attempted to disobey them; the Black family had a tradition of decapitating house-elves who were too old to carry a tea tray, then placing their stuffed and mounted heads on a wall.
Most house-elves would be devastated if freed, for it would mean that they had failed to serve their masters properly; but Dobby enjoys being free. Though he summons the courage to request payment when he is hired at Hogwarts, even Dobby does not want to be paid too much. Most people in the wizarding community are unwilling to pay a house-elf, as this would obviate the point of having one.[HP4] Indeed, most house-elves seem to regard paid service as a disgrace to their race. During her time at Hogwarts, Hermione Granger establishes S.P.E.W (the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) to try to change laws against retricting house-elves but garnered little interest from fellow classmates, not to mention most house-elves. After Hermione begins leaving elf-sized clothes around the Gryffindor common room, intending for Hogwarts' house-elves to inadvertently free themselves while cleaning, Dobby confides in Harry and Ron that the other house-elves find the idea so insulting that Dobby is the only resident elf still willing to clean in Gryffindor Tower. According to Rowling, Hermione works in the Ministry of Magic after Hogwarts and manages to make positive changes for house-elf rights.
Thestrals are the most elusive and least horse-like breed of magical winged horse. They have acquired an undeserved reputation as omens of evil. They are visible only to those who have witnessed and accepted a death, and are described as having "blank, white, shining eyes," a "dragonish face," "long, black manes," "great leathery wings," and the "skeletal body of a great, black, winged horse." They are also described, by Hagrid, as "dead clever an' useful." Dolores Jane Umbridge asserted that Thestrals are considered "dangerous creatures" by the Ministry of Magic.
Thestrals have fangs and possess a well-developed sense of smell, which will lead them to carrion and fresh blood. According to Hagrid, they will not attack a human-sized target without provocation. Their wings are capable of very fast flight for at least several hours at a time, though they usually spend their time on the ground, and they have an excellent sense of direction. The breed is domesticable, given a willing trainer (Hagrid suspects that he has the only domesticated herd in Britain). Thestrals can be used to pull loads, and make a serviceable if very uncomfortable mode of transportation for someone with enough nerve.
Hogwarts has a herd in the nearby Forbidden Forest and primarily uses them to pull the carriages that transport students to and from the Hogsmeade train station. They are introduced to Care of Magical Creatures students in the fifth year by Hagrid — in the same year that Harry becomes able to see them after witnessing the death of Cedric Diggory, having previously thought that the carriages moved on their own. Thestrals are featured in the Battle of Hogwarts at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, seen attacking Death Eaters. Rowling has revealed that the Elder Wand has a core of Thestral hair, the only wand with such a core.
The werewolf is a creature that exists only for a brief period around the full moon. At any other time, a werewolf is a normal human. However, the term werewolf is used for both the wolf-like creature and the normal human. A werewolf can be distinguished from a true wolf physically by several small distinguishing characteristics, including the pupils, snout, and tufted tail. A person becomes a werewolf when bitten by a werewolf in wolf-form. Once this happens, the person must learn to manage the condition. The 'Wolfsbane Potion' controls some of the effects of the condition; by allowing the sufferer to maintain their human mind in wolf form, it prevents them from harming others. Nothing discovered in the wizarding world can completely cure a werewolf. Most werewolves live outside of normal society and steal food to survive. They generally support Voldemort, who they think will give them a better life. Remus Lupin is the only known exception to this. There are only four known werewolves in the Harry Potter series: Lupin, Fenrir Greyback, Bill Weasley (who is bitten and turned in The Battle of Hogwarts in the HBP, although it was by an unturned Fenrir Greyback, and resulted in a scarred face, from the attack, and a new love of very rare steak) and an unnamed character who was in the same ward as Arthur Weasley in St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
Below is a list of magical creatures that met Harry or have some significant role in the series.
Crookshanks is the pet cat of Hermione Granger. He is described as having a "squashed face," which is inspired by a real cat Rowling once saw that she said looked like it had run face first into a brick wall. Hermione buys Crookshanks from a shop in Diagon Alley out of sympathy, as nobody wants him due to his squashed-looking face. Rowling has confirmed that Crookshanks is half Kneazle, an intelligent, cat-like creature who can detect when they are around untrustworthy people, explaining his higher than normal cat intelligence and stature. Because of this, he is immediately aware that Scabbers, Ron Weasley's pet rat, is not a real rat, and that the huge black dog lurking around the school is not a real dog; it is later revealed that Scabbers is Peter Pettigrew, and the dog is Sirius Black. Sirius eventually persuades Crookshanks to trust him and sends him to bring Pettigrew to him; Crookshanks, who has been pouncing on Scabbers from the moment the two met, evidently agrees. It had been suggested that Crookshanks is an Animagus. However, Rowling has officially confirmed that he is not.
Dobby is a house-elf, who, unlike most other house-elves, wanted to be freed. Dobby was the abused and tormented slave of the Malfoys before the events of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In his first appearance in the series in Chamber of Secrets, Dobby knew of Lucius Malfoy's plans to re-open the Chamber of Secrets using Tom Riddle's school diary for months before it happened.
Dobby appears in the Dursley family's house at Privet Drive and attempts to discourage Harry from returning to Hogwarts. When Dobby's attempts fail to persuade Harry, he smashes a cake in the Dursleys' kitchen. Being caught in the kitchen with the wreckage, and receiving a warning letter for illegal use of magic, Harry is locked up by the Dursleys, who insist that he would not return to Hogwarts, but Ron, Fred and George Weasley are able to rescue Harry in their father's flying Ford Anglia. Dobby later tries to keep Harry away from Hogwarts by magically sealing off the hidden entrance to Platform 9¾, but Harry and Ron foil that plot by piloting the flying car back to school. During a Quidditch match of Gryffindor vs Slytherin, Dobby enchants a Bludger to chase after only Harry, hoping to injure him enough to be sent home; it manages to break his arm. When Harry – having just returned from the Chamber of Secrets – discovers that Dobby's master was Lucius, Harry tricks Malfoy into setting Dobby free – a feat that secures him the house-elf's undying loyalty.
Dobby returns in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He has been demanding payment for his services, which makes it difficult for him to find any employment at all. He later obtains a post at Hogwarts, and is the only paid house-elf on the staff. In this book, Dobby gives Harry the Gillyweed he needs to survive the Second Triwizard Task. Dobby is also the only house-elf who cleans Gryffindor Tower since Hermione begins trying to set the house-elves free, because the house-elves find the clothes insulting. Dobby appears a second time in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dobby shows Harry the hidden Room of Requirement, which Harry uses for his Dumbledore's Army meetings. When Umbridge finds out about the meetings later, Dobby enters the room to warn the group to leave. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Harry entrusts Dobby to help watch Kreacher when he orders him to work in the Hogwarts kitchens with the other house-elves. When Harry needs somebody to follow Draco Malfoy, he is helped by Dobby and Kreacher. When they report back, Kreacher tells Harry only mundane things, such as Malfoy's class schedule, while Dobby cuts to the chase and tells Harry about Malfoy's visits to the Room of Requirement.
Dobby makes his last appearance in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Aberforth Dumbledore sends Dobby to rescue Harry, Ron, and Hermione from the cellar of Malfoy Manor. Dobby helps Harry and Ron escape their prison and gets Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas, and Mr Ollivander out of the manor, then helps Harry and Ron free Hermione and Griphook from torture at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange. While he succeeds in his task, Bellatrix throws a silver knife at Harry, but the knife hits Dobby instead, who dies before he can be healed. Harry physically digs a grave for Dobby without using magic, and writes upon a stone: "Here Lies Dobby, A Free Elf". Dobby's last words to Harry were "Harry Potter", the same as his first words to him when he meets him in Privet Drive in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Dobby was voiced by Toby Jones in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and is confirmed to return for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In the Comic Relief spoof, Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan, he is played by Basil Brush.
Fawkes is Albus Dumbledore's pet phoenix. Phoenix tail feathers are suitable for inclusion in some wands; Fawkes himself provides the feathers for both Harry and Voldemort's wands. Because of this, in the series "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," during the duel between Harry and Voldemort, The "reverse spell effect" occurred (known as 'Priori Incantatem'), as both of their wands were made of Fawkes feather. A sweet song of his is heard by Harry when the two wands come in contact, the wands seal off the duel from outside interference, and one of the wands, in this case Harry's, makes Voldemort's wand regurgitate its last spells one by one by producing some sort of cloudy echo of the objects conjured and people killed by the wand. Whenever Fawkes dies, whether by violence or of old age, he bursts into flame and is promptly reborn out of the ashes as a baby phoenix with the appearance of a newborn chicken and in his geriatric stages he has dull, limp plumage like a "half-plucked turkey." However, as an adult, he is about swan-sized and possesses magnificent red and gold plumage.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Fawkes is summoned by Harry's loyalty to Dumbledore to the aid of the protagonist as the boy fights against Salazar Slytherin's basilisk. Fawkes gouges the basilisk's eyes out, blinding it and eliminating its ability to kill with its gaze. Harry is later wounded by the basilisk's fang; he nearly dies from the venom, but Fawkes heals the wound with his tears, as phoenix tears have healing powers and are the only antidote for basilisk venom. Fawkes then brings Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Gilderoy Lockhart back up to the castle, bearing their combined weight as they hold his tail feathers. Fawkes can also teleport himself and others in a burst of flame. During the confrontation between Voldemort and Dumbledore in the Ministry in the climax of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Fawkes saves Dumbledore's life by swallowing a Killing Curse from Voldemort. Fawkes then bursts into flame and is reborn as a chick from the ashes. After Dumbledore's death in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Fawkes is heard singing a lament for him. When the singing stops, Harry knows that Fawkes has left Hogwarts forever.
Firenze is a centaur and later a teacher at Hogwarts. He is described in the book as a blonde centaur with astonishingly blue eyes. He is quite good-looking, as many of the female population of Hogwarts are attracted to him. His first appearance comes towards the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, in which he rescues Harry from Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. Having carried Harry to safety on his back, Firenze is involved in an altercation with the other centaur residents in the forest, who object to the symbolic suggestion that centaurs are subservient to humans.
The character does not make another appearance until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in which he is appointed by Dumbledore to teach Divination at Hogwarts in place of Sybill Trelawney, who had been sacked by Dolores Umbridge. For this, he is cast out of the centaur herd and attacked by his fellows, as Firenze ignored the centaurs' taboo on assisting humans because he felt he had an obligation to contribute to the struggle against Voldemort. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince he shares teaching duties with a reinstated Trelawney, because Firenze would have no place left to go, as he is an exile from his herd. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he is seen near the end of the book fighting alongside the other members of the Hogwarts staff, helping to defend the school against Voldemort and his Death Eaters; it is mentioned that he was wounded on his flanks by the Death Eaters but ultimately survived the Battle of Hogwarts. Although not mentioned in the series, Rowling revealed that Firenze's herd is later forced to acknowledge that Firenze's pro-human leanings are not shameful and allows him back into the fold.
The character is based on Steve Eddy, Rowling's former English teacher who attempted, unsuccessfully, to discourage her from writing mythical, fantasy tales in favour of ones with grittier topics.
Griphook is a goblin and an employee at Gringotts until the Second Wizarding War. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, he gave Harry and Hagrid the key to Harry's vault (to get gold to purchase supplies) and accepted the letter from Dumbledore regarding the movement of the Philosopher's Stone. He is not seen again until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, imprisoned in the cellar of Malfoy Manor. When Hermione lies under torture to Bellatrix Lestrange that the Sword of Gryffindor is a fake, Bellatrix asks Griphook for confirmation. Though he knows the sword is real, he lies and tells her it is a fake. He is saved, along with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, by Dobby and successfully escaped to Shell Cottage. However, Bellatrix kills Dobby during the escape, and Griphook's respect for Harry grows after watching him digging Dobby's grave by hand without magic. Because Harry needs to get a Horcrux out of Bellatrix's vault, he asks Griphook to assist him breaking into Gringotts. He reluctantly agrees in exchange for the sword of Gryffindor. Griphook and the trio break in successfully but when escaping, Griphook betrays them to the other goblins and escapes with the sword. At the end of the book however, the sword reappears when Neville Longbottom pulls it from the Sorting Hat and slays Nagini.
Hedwig is Harry Potter's owl. Hedwig is a Snowy Owl, which Rowling considers to be the most beautiful owl of all. In the story, Hedwig is a gift to Harry from Hagrid in the first book of the series, purchased in Diagon Alley while shopping for supplies for Harry's first year at Hogwarts. The name Hedwig is a name Harry found in his schoolbook, A History of Magic. Hedwig is used for delivering messages throughout the series. Hedwig could be considered an owl with a "formal" personality, and often has a habit of staring or hooting "reproachfully," cuffing Harry with a wing when miffed, and being far more vocal than the average Snowy Owl. She can act with hurt or anger due to Harry's sometimes innocently thoughtless actions or words. It is implied throughout the books that Hedwig can fully understand Harry, and to some extent vice versa. In the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hedwig is intercepted by Dolores Umbridge and is hurt, but is later healed by Professor Grubbly-Plank. At the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hedwig is killed during Harry's escape from Privet Drive by a stray Killing Curse. According to Rowling, Hedwig's death represented the death of innocence.
Although Hedwig is a female owl, she is played by male owls in the films (distinguishable by the males' lack of black markings).
Hokey is a house-elf that worked for Hepzibah Smith, an old woman who was deceived by Voldemort during his job at Borgin and Burkes to show him Slytherin's locket and Hufflepuff's cup. Hokey was introduced when Dumbledore shows Harry the memory he got from the house elf on the Pensieve, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She is there described as very old and thin, and her memory allows Harry and Dumbledore to get a glimpse of the visit Voldemort made two days before Hepzibah Smith was poisoned to death and both treasures disappeared. Voldemort, who tampered with her memories, framed Hokey for her murder. She did not deny the accusation and was convicted for accidental murder, later to die due to mental anguish induced by the Dementors in Azkaban.
Kreacher is a house-elf that served the House of Black for decades before his first appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Kreacher is an unwilling servant to Sirius Black, mainly due to his devotion to his former masters (Regulus Black in particular, who had treated him well), but also because of Sirius's rather harsh treatment, because to him, Kreacher is a living reminder of a home he had had no intention of returning to. Kreacher, in turn, desires to leave and serve the next pure-blooded kin of the Blacks: Bellatrix and the Malfoys. Due to this and the fact that he knew too much of the Order of the Phoenix, however, he is not allowed to leave Grimmauld Place. Furthermore, years of being isolated in the house alone, with only the screaming portrait of Mrs. Black for company, causes him some mental instability, in which he seems to speak his personal thoughts and feelings aloud, completely unaware of doing so. Kreacher plays an important part in the book when he betrays Sirius and persuades Harry to go to the Department of Mysteries, where a trap has been laid, to save him. Sirius is killed in the ensuing combat. Following Sirius's death, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry inherits all Sirius's possessions, including a highly unwilling Kreacher. Harry immediately orders him to work at Hogwarts, where he comes to blows with Dobby about his lack of loyalty to Harry.
Kreacher also plays an important role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. When Hermione guesses that one of the Black heirlooms they had tried to get rid of is one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes (namely Salazar Slytherin's Locket), Harry and his friends manage to coax the current whereabouts of the locket from the house-elf, and also learn about how Regulus had exchanged the Horcrux at the cost of his own life, and that Kreacher himself was used by Voldemort, who told him to drink the potion out of the basin that would be used to protect the Horcrux. After Harry displays kindness and politeness to Kreacher, the elf undergoes a substantial change in personality, appearing cleaner and happier, and ceasing to mutter insults under his breath. He begins to regard Harry as his new master and fulfils his chores dutifully. Harry then sends Kreacher to retrieve the locket from Mundungus Fletcher; he gives the old elf the fake Horcrux locket as a token of remembrance. In the Battle of Hogwarts, Kreacher rallies the Hogwarts house-elves in the names of Harry and Regulus, and leads them into battle against the Death Eaters. It is implied that he survived the battle, as Harry wonders whether Kreacher will get him a snack after his battle with Voldemort.
Kreacher appears in the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, voiced by Timothy Bateson. Producers of the film admitted they had wished to cut an unnamed character, but when Rowling was consulted, she advised: "You know, I wouldn't do that if I were you. Or you can, but if you get to make a seventh film, you'll be tied in knots." Later, director David Yates confirmed that the character in question was Kreacher. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Kreacher will be played by Simon McBurney.
Peeves is a poltergeist who haunts Hogwarts. Being a poltergeist, Peeves is a spirit rather than a physical being, but very different from the ghosts for which he is occasionally mistaken. Peeves is capable of flight and can choose whether to be physically tangible. However, he is usually observed to take physical form. Peeves is seen to be able to manipulate objects, a trait not generally possible with ghosts. Peeves's existence is essentially the embodiment of disorder, where he is observed to constantly cause it. In appearance, he is a small man with a mischievous face, a wide mouth, dressed in vibrantly coloured clothing. He derives joy from disaster and mischievous acts, usually causing disruptions rather than being violent and dangerous.
Peeves does not listen to anyone else but Dumbledore, the Bloody Baron whom he fears, and in the fifth book Fred and George Weasley. Argus Filch, who is usually left with cleaning up the messes and damage Peeves causes, is his nemesis and works continuously to try to get Peeves thrown out; however, Rowling has stated in an interview that not even Dumbledore would be able to rid Hogwarts of Peeves forever. Peeves is, however, vulnerable to some magic; in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Lupin uses magic to teach Peeves a lesson by making the gum Peeves was stuffing into a keyhole shoot back out and up the poltergeist's nose. In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry also uses magic to glue Peeves's tongue to the roof of his mouth, after which Peeves angrily departs.
Peeves is not completely chaotic nor without loyalties. During Dolores Umbridge's attempts to take control of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, his destructive tendencies shift into overdrive and he goes on a rampage at the request of the Weasley twins. When Umbridge attempts to sneak out of Hogwarts, Peeves chased her out, whacking her with Minerva McGonagall's cane (which she lent to him for that purpose) and a sock full of chalk. Peeves is depicted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows only two times, first where he aids the defenders of Hogwarts by dropping Snargaluff pods on the heads of attacking Death Eaters, and second singing a victory song for Harry at the end.
Rik Mayall was cast as Peeves for film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. However, his scenes were cut from the final film and have yet to be released publicly (being omitted even from the deleted scenes section of the DVD release). Peeves was subsequently omitted from the Potter films that followed, though he can be seen in the Harry Potter video games. Peeves is also referenced in dialogue in the Queen's Handbag short film.
Winky is a house-elf who originally served the Crouch family. She is described as having enormous brown eyes and a nose like a tomato. She viewed herself as a dutiful house-elf and guarded the family's many secrets. When Barty Crouch Jr is rescued from Azkaban by his father, he is supervised and nursed back to health by Winky. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she persuades Barty Crouch Sr to let his son attend the Quidditch World Cup; she attends it with the younger Crouch, who is hiding under an Invisibility Cloak, and claims the apparently empty seat beside her is being saved for Crouch Sr. During the festivities, Crouch Jr steals Harry's wand from his pocket and later uses it to conjure the Dark Mark, in spite of Winky's fervent attempts to stop him. In the resulting chaos, Harry and his friends see Winky running into the forest, appearing to struggle against some invisible force, but she is struggling against the invisible Crouch Jr. Later she is caught with Harry's wand, which is magically proven to be the one used to conjure the Dark Mark; though Crouch Sr realises what happened, he agrees with the apparent conclusion that Winky conjured the mark, and fires her, both to save face and as punishment for failing to control Crouch Jr. Following her dismissal, Dobby takes the distraught Winky to work with him at Hogwarts. There the unhappy Winky, who continues to act as if Crouch was her master and refused to give up any of his secrets, begins to have a drinking problem that lasts the next several years. Winky eventually sobers up a bit, and eventually fights in the Battle of Hogwarts with the other house-elves.
The Weasleys' pets
There are many pets and animals associated with the Weasley family:
- Scabbers, a rat who had been in the Weasley family for twelve years. He first belonged to Percy, but was later passed down to Ron. Near the end of the third book, Scabbers is revealed to be Peter Pettigrew, an Animagus and Death Eater who had once been a friend of James Potter.
- Pigwidgeon (or "Pig"), Ron's hyperactive Scops Owl, a gift from Sirius Black upon the loss of Scabbers, following the climactic events in Ron's third year. Ginny names him Pigwidgeon, but Ron, hating the name, nicknames him Pig.
- Hermes, a screech owl owned by Percy, which was a gift to him from his parents for becoming a Prefect in his fifth year.
- Errol, an ancient Great Grey Owl who serves as the family post owl. He has trouble carrying loads due to his advanced age, often needing help from other owls. He is often found unconscious after crashing into things or collapsing from sheer exhaustion.
- Arnold, a purple Pygmy Puff (miniature Puffskein) owned by Ginny and obtained from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes in the sixth book.
- A large frog owned by Ron.
- A puffskein belonging to Ron that was killed by Fred when he used it for Bludger practice, revealed in the first Harry Potter game, and later confirmed in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
- A ghoul lives in the attic of The Burrow and causes minor disruptions by groaning and banging on the walls and pipes whenever things have become too quiet. In Deathly Hallows, the ghoul is magically altered in appearance to resemble Ron as cover for his absence from school.
- Several chickens.
- The Weasleys have gnomes all over their garden and in their shed, bushes, Wellington boots, and more. They seem to know many swear words, which they were supposedly taught by Fred and George Weasley. Crookshanks likes to chase the gnomes around outside; the rest of the family deals with them by physically throwing them off the property.
Over the course of the series, Hagrid cares for a large number of animals, many of them dangerous, including Aragog (Acromantula), Buckbeak (Hippogriff), Fang (boarhound), Fluffy (3-headed dog), Norbert (Norberta) (Dragon), & Tenebrus (Thestral). Hagrid's love for animals got him the teaching job for Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts. In their fourth year, Harry and his classmates were expected to help take care of Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts, one of which (grown to giant size) was placed in the hedge maze for the final task of the Triwizard Tournament.
- ^ ""Living with Harry Potter"". BBC Radio 4. 2005. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2005/1205-bbc-fry.html. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
- ^ ""Bloomsbury Live Chat with J.K. Rowling"". 2007. http://www.bloomsbury.com/harrypotter/content.asp?sec=3&sec2=1. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- ^ Rowling, JK, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11
- ^ MuggleNet | Emerson and Melissa's J.K. Rowling Interview Page 2
- ^ J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript - The Leaky Cauldron
- ^ J.K.Rowling Official Site
- ^ J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript - The Leaky Cauldron
- ^ A "being" is defined in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as a creature "worthy of legal rights and a voice in the governance of the magical world"
- ^ "The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two". 2005. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2005/0705-tlc_mugglenet-anelli-2.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
- ^ J. K. Rowling's official site
- ^ a b Thestrals in the Harry Potter Lexicon
- ^ J K Rowling at the Edinburgh Book Festival.
- ^ Rowling, J. K.. "J. K. Rowling's Official Website". Crookshanks. http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff_view.cfm?id=10. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- ^ Section: Rumours / Crookshanks is an Animagus jkrowling.com.
- ^ BBC News: Russian TV broadcast our Potter vote!
- ^ "Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan". tv.com. http://www.tv.com/french-and-saunders/harry-potter-and-the-secret-chamberpot-of-azerbaijan/episode/255720/summary.html. Retrieved 2007-07-08.
- ^ "French and Saunders: Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan". .frenchandsaunders.com. http://www.frenchandsaunders.com/rnd03/lineup/0302192116.shtml. Retrieved 2007-07-08.
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- ^ a b "J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript". The Leaky Cauldron. 2007-07-30. http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/7/30/j-k-rowling-web-chat-transcript. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- ^ TEACHER'S BAD ROWLING ADVICE - mirror.co.uk
- ^ J.K.Rowling Official Site
- ^ "J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript". The Leaky Cauldron. 2007-07-30. http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/7/30/j-k-rowling-web-chat-transcript. Retrieved 2007-07-30. The loss of Hedwig represented a loss of innocence and security.
- ^ "Elf's Absence From Next 'Harry Potter' Flick Opens Up Plot Questions". MTV. 2006-10-06. http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1542581/10062006/story.jhtml?rsspartner=rssYahooNewscrawler. Retrieved 2006-10-06.
- ^ "Rowling advises film makers to keep Kreacher in films". 2007-06-25. http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2007/06/25/kreacher-comforts-mtv-solves-a-harry-potter-mystery/. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
- ^ "More Casting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". The Leaky Cauldron. 2009-06-17. http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2009/6/17/more-casting-for-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-2. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- ^ Peeves chews gum, how can he when he is a ghost?jkrowling.com.
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- ^ Brian Linder (2001-04-04). [http://uk.movies.ign.com/articles/050/050980p1.html "Potter Gloucester Set Report"]. IGN. http://uk.movies.ign.com/articles/050/050980p1.html. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
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- Creatures on Harry Potter Wiki, an external wiki
- Care of Magical Creatures
- Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them