Magical creatures in Harry Potter
Magical creatures are a colourful aspect of the fictional "wizarding world" contained 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 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.
- 1 Magizoology
- 2 Regulation and classification
- 3 List of magical creatures
- 4 Prominent Creatures
- 5 Characters
- 6 See also
- 7 References
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, Werewolves, 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 referred to as beings or as beasts, so their legal status is unclear (see below). Affairs related to ghosts come under the auspices of the Spirit Division.
List of magical creatures
Below is the complete list of magical creatures mentioned in the Harry Potter universe. Those creatures that Rowling took from myth and folklore have links to their mythological articles. The Blast-Ended Skrewt is a hybrid of a fire crab and manticore. Inferi are neither beasts nor beings, but merely animated corpses with no will of their own. For a list of magical plants mentioned in the series, such as mandrakes and devil's snares, see List of fictional plants.
- Blast-Ended Skrewt - The Blast-Ended Skrewt is the result of a union between a Manticore and a Fire Crab. Skrewts make their debut in Goblet of Fire, as one of the creatures that Hagrid teaches the students about as Professor of Care of Magical Creatures. The first fan to learn of the skrewts was Catie Hoch, an eight-year-old cancer patient from Albany, New York. Hoch's mother, who had read the first three books to Hoch during her treatment for neuroblastoma, emailed Rowling to ask her when the fourth book would be released, and Rowling gifted Hoch with transatlantic phone calls in which she read her extracts from the unpublished book, including explanations of the skrewts, which Rowling described as looking like headless lobsters.
- Bowtruckle - An insect-eating, tree-dwelling wooden creature that is hard to spot. Rowling has written on Pottermore that they are "selective creatures who only inhabit worthy trees.The are alternatively called 'the wandmaker's friend' as the trees they inhabit can be used to make wand's wood."
- Chimaera - A creature with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a dragon.
- Doxy - A small fairy-like creature that is also known as the Biting Fairy.
- Dragon - Dragons are winged fire-breathing reptiles.
- Antipodean Opaleye - native to the valleys of New Zealand.
- Chinese Fireball - native to China. It is also known as the Lion Dragon.
- Common Welsh Green - native to Wales.
- Hebridean Black - native to the Hebrides Islands of Scotland.
- Hungarian Horntail - native to Hungary. It is considered the most dangerous of the dragons.
- Norwegian Ridgeback - native to the northern mountains of Norway. Norberta is a Norwegian Ridgeback.
- Peruvian Vipertooth - native to the eastern and northeastern parts of Peru. It is considered the smallest and fastest of the dragons. It is the only venomous dragon.
- Romanian Longhorn - native to the mountains of Romania.
- Swedish Short-Snout - native to the northern mountains of Sweden.
- Ukrainian Ironbelly - native to Ukraine, and the largest species of dragon ever recorded.
- Fairy - A small human-like creature with insect wings.
- Flesh-Eating Slug - A garden slug-like creature with corrosive spittle.
- Flobberworm - A 10-inch toothless brown worm.
- Ghoul - A creature that resembles a slimy buck-toothed ogre.
- Chameleon Ghoul - A ghoul that can disguise itself as an everyday object to evade detection.
- Giant Squid - A huge creature that lives in the Black Lake near Hogwarts.
- Gnome - Gnomes are known to infest the gardens of wizarding households and are found in Europe and North America.
- Golden Snidget - A small golden bird that was used in the earlier versions of Quidditch as the Snitch.
- Griffin - A creature that is part-eagle, part-lion.
- Grindylow - A small horned water demon with octopus tentacles for legs.
- Hippogriff - A creature that is part-eagle, part-horse.
- Imp - Imps are found in Britain and Ireland where they are the same height as pixies.
- Kneazle - A cat-like creature with a lion-like tail.
- Moke - A lizard with silver-green skin that is native to the British Isles. The Mokes can shrink at will which is why Muggles can't see them.
- Niffler - A treasure-hunting creature with a long snout.
- Puffskein - A sphere-shaped custard coloured creature covered in soft fur.
- Pygmy Puff - A round fluffy pink or purple creature sold at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.
- Sphinx - An Egyptian creature that has the head of a human and the body of a lion. The Sphinxes are capable of human speech and are good at giving riddles, puzzles, and enigmas.
- Troll - A 12 ft. creature with prodigious strength and immense stupidity.
- Unicorn: A horse-like creature with a horn protruding out of its forehead. It is said in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone that if one drinks a unicorn's blood, it will give that person long-lasting life. However, it also eternally curses that person.
- Banshee -
- Bicorn - A cow-like creature that sheds its horns annually. At least one of its horns is used as one of the ingredients for the Polyjuice Potion.
- Cockatrice - A creature that resembles a rooster with a lizard tail.
- Dwarf - A short stocky humanoid creature.
- Three-Headed Dog - Fluffy is a giant three-headed dog who is used as one of the guardians for the Philosopher's Stone.
- Veela - semi-humans, similar to Greek Σειρῆνες
- Wood Nymphs
Luna Lovegood's creatures
Luna Lovegood, a pupil at Hogwarts, and her father Xenophilius Lovegood profess belief in a number of magical creatures that the overwhelming majority of wizards consider imaginary. As a result, their appropriate classification is unknown. Among them are:
- Blibbering Humdinger: Luna mentioned that they were laughing at her earrings.
- Crumple-Horned Snorkack: It is an elusive creature that is said to live in Sweden. Xenophilius Lovegood believed that he acquired a Snorkack horn, but it turned out to be an Erumpent horn, which exploded and leveled his house. Luna searched the world for the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, she but never found one. Luna explicitly states that the creature cannot fly.
- Xenophilius claimed that Luna was fishing for Gulping Plimpies when she was being held prisoner at Malfoy Manor.
- Heliopath: An alleged spirit of fire which gallops and burns anything in its path.
- Nargle: The Nargles are said to infest mistletoes and are expert thieves. Luna Lovegood claims that her Butterbeer cork necklace and her Dirigible plum earrings keep the Nargles away and that her papers and shoes were taken by Nargles.
- Wrackspurt: In an early scene in the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film, Luna wears a pair of "Spectrespecs" enabling her to see Wrackspurts — which in turn reveal Harry's prone form underneath his invisibility cloak, and allow her to rescue him. During a point of view scene, Wrackspurts resemble floating points of light.
In the Harry Potter universe, the Acromantula is a monstrous eight-eyed spider capable of human speech. It originated in Borneo, where it inhabits dense jungle. Its distinctive features include the thick black hair that covers its body; its legspan, which may reach up to fifteen feet; its pincers, which produce a distinctive clicking sound when the Acromantula is excited or angry; and a venomous secretion. The Acromantula is carnivorous and prefers large prey. It spins dome-shaped webs on the ground. The female is bigger than the male and may lay up to one hundred eggs at a time. Soft and white, these are as large as beach balls. The young hatch in six to eight weeks. Acromantula eggs are defined as Class A Non-Tradeable Goods by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, meaning that severe penalties are attached to their importation or sale.
This beast is believed to be wizard-bred, possibly intended to guard wizard dwellings or treasure, as is often the case with magically bred monsters. Despite its near-human intelligence, the Acromantula is untrainable and highly dangerous to wizard and Muggle alike.
In the Harry Potter universe, a Basilisk is a monstrous serpentine creature. Larger than its mythical counterpart, the Basilisk in the Harry Potter universe is capable of reaching a length up to fifty feet and living up to hundreds of years. Basilisks are uncontrollable except by Parselmouths, and the first basilisk is believed to have been created by a Greek Dark wizard and Parselmouth named Herpo The Foul.[HPF] Herpo made this discovery by hatching 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 its huge yellow eyes, which are immediately lethal to any creature who looks at them directly.[HPF] To anyone who looks at it indirectly, such as through a camera or in a reflection, it creates a profound state of petrification similar to a Medusa stare. Ghosts who look at it directly will become petrified, since they could not die a second time.[HP2] A phoenix tear is the only known cure for the devastating effect of the basilisk's venom. Spiders flee from the basilisk, as they are mortal enemies. The basilisk itself flees only from the crowing of a rooster, which if heard by the basilisk is fatal, and the weasel whose odour will also kill a basilisk.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a basilisk is the monster inhabiting the Chamber of Secrets. When student Tom Riddle, later known as Lord Voldemort, opened the chamber, the basilisk killed Moaning Myrtle and hid in the chamber for 50 years, until Riddle's memory (and Horcrux) opened the chamber again by possessing Ginny Weasley. During the events in the book, it is set loose again by one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, and attempts to kill several Muggle-borns, but due to good fortune all its victims were 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, by blinding the basilisk with his talons and carrying the Sorting Hat; Harry pulls the sword of Godric Gryffindor from the hat, and uses it to impale the basilisk in the roof of its mouth, 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 Chamber of Secrets, while killing the basilisk at the same time, Harry Potter was stabbed in the arm by the first fang, which broke off and was used by Harry to puncture Tom Riddle's diary (one of Voldemort's Horcruxes). In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, after losing the sword of Gryffindor to Griphook, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger return to the chamber and retrieve a fang from the dead basilisk's mouth, using it 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 the basilisk's venom, to destroy the locket, Nagini and Marvolo Gaunt's ring, respectively.
A Boggart is a shape-shifter that takes on the form of its intended victim's worst fear. While British mythology describes boggarts as house elves who cause trouble or malevolent beings inhabiting marshes or other lonely spots, Rowling's boggarts are more like Brollachans, magical creatures originating from Scotland. However, there is one record of an English (Lancashire) boggart which could take the form of various animals, or indeed more fearful creatures. Boggarts like to hide in dark, enclosed places, such as closets and cabinets. (In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Mad-Eye Moody determines, with his magical eye, that there is a boggart in the desk in the drawing room.)
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. The Riddikulus charm is used to combat Boggarts, by changing their appearance into a less fearsome or even comical apparition, which weakens the creatures.
Centaurs in the Harry Potter universe are wild creatures who claim to possess intelligence greater than humans. Their heads and torsos resemble those of humans but they possess the four legs, lower bodies and tail of a horse. Although sentient, they have not requested assignment as beings, preferring to remove themselves entirely from human affairs. Centaurs who decide to associate with humans, such as Firenze, who agrees to teach Divination at Hogwarts, can be seen as traitors and attacked by other centaurs. Firenze's interest in human affairs resulted in violent reprisals by other centaurs and were it not for Hagrid's intervention, Firenze could have been killed. The Ministry of Magic's Department for the 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 proud and territorial, therefore high diplomatic skills must be employed when dealing with centaurs. Displaying lack of respect to centaurs can have violent consequences, as Dolores Umbridge learned to her cost. In Deathly Hallows, the Hogwarts centaur herd, after being admonished fiercely by Hagrid, takes sides with the Order of the Phoenix, and assist in the Battle of Hogwarts.
The films depict the centaurs with very bestial, animalistic facial features. However, in the books, female students express attraction to them, suggesting their faces are human-like.
Named Centaur characters:
The dementors are "soulless creatures... among the foulest beings on Earth": a phantom species who, as their name suggests, gradually deprive human minds of happiness and intelligence. They are the guards of the wizard prison, Azkaban, until after the return of antagonist Lord Voldemort.
In the books, dementors have a generally human shape, approximately 3 metres (10 feet) in height, covered in dark, hooded cloaks that reveal only their decayed-looking hands. Beneath the cloak, dementors are eyeless, and the only feature of note is the perpetually indrawn breath, by which they consume the emotions and good memories of human beings, forcing the victim to relive its worst memories alone. According to the author, dementors grow like fungi in dark, moist places, creating a dense, chilly fog. Although they are implied to be sentient, this is left ambiguous. The presence of a dementor makes the surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark, and the effects are cumulative with the number of dementors present. The culmination of their power is the 'Dementor's Kiss', wherein the dementor latches its mouth onto a victim's lips and consumes its soul or psyche, presumably to leave the victim in a vegetative state, without any memories and feelings left. Dementors are invisible to Muggles and Squibs, but affect them otherwise identically.
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. Their sensitivity appears less precise in proportion to the emotion's 'complexity'; this particular weakness enabled Sirius Black, an Animagus, to escape Azkaban by transforming into a dog. The principal method against them is the Patronus Charm, which both protects its user and repels the dementors. Chocolate is an effective first aid against mild cases of contact.
Protagonist Harry first encounters dementors during his third year of school, when they are sent to guard Hogwarts against Sirius Black. Being reminded by their presence of his parents' murder by Voldemort, Harry asks Remus Lupin for assistance, and thus acquires the Patronus Charm. At the end of Order of the Phoenix, the dementors of Azkaban stage a mass revolt against their employers to join Voldemort, who permits them nearly free access to victims. In Deathly Hallows, the Ministry, under the control of Voldemort, uses dementors to punish Muggle-borns. The dementors also take Voldemort's side during the Battle of Hogwarts. After the appointment of Kingsley Shacklebolt as Minister of Magic, dementors are removed from Azkaban, and the Ministry contains them by limiting their numbers.
Rowling, by her own account, created the dementors after a time in which she, in her own words, "was clinically depressed". Dementors can therefore be viewed as a metaphor for depression.
Ghosts play an important secondary role, mainly as advisors to the leading characters. Unlike the ghosts in a traditional ghost story, these ghosts are neither frightening nor necessarily ghoulish. 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, for instance, can splash the water in her toilet).[HP2] Ghosts' banquet tables are laden with rotten food, as the decomposition increases their ability to 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 and witches 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 this afterlife, many ghosts bemoan their inability to eat, and many are described as gloomy.[HP2] They also harbor an attraction to imagery morbid and melancholy.[HP2]
Ghosts are very sensitive about their condition: when the Ministry initially classified them as sentient creatures with full legal rights, they claimed that the term was insensitive and received a separate "Spirit Division"[HPF], apparently to control the activities and haunting locations of troublesome ghosts (as when Myrtle was forced to 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 Gryffindor house ghost who is nearly headless because he still has his head. Many students who have lost parents have talked to him about death and the possibility of their loved ones existing as ghosts. After Sirius's death, he tells Harry that he lacked the courage to continue on to the next life beyond the veil.
- The Bloody Baron - The Slytherin house ghost. He murdered Helena Ravenclaw, who became The Grey Lady. He wears chains as reminder of his crime. He is the only character at Hogwarts who can "control" Peeves.
- The Grey Lady - The Ravenclaw house ghost. She is the daughter of Hogwarts founder Rowena Ravenclaw. After stealing her mother's diadem, she was killed by The Bloody Baron. Voldemort found the diadem where Helena left it, and turned the diadem into a Horcrux. Helena Ravenclaw gave Harry information that helped him find the diadem during the Battle of Hogwarts. In the films, she is friends with Luna Lovegood.
- The Fat Friar - The Hufflepuff house ghost.
- Professor Binns - The History of Magic professor at Hogwarts. He died in his sleep one day and his ghost simply got up to teach the next day as if nothing had happened. His routine has not varied the slightest since.
- Moaning Myrtle - The ghost of a Ravenclaw-girl, killed by a Basilisk, that inhabits the second floor girls bathroom at Hogwarts.
- Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore - The leader of the Headless Hunt, a club for decapitated ghosts.
Giants in the Harry Potter universe are capable of interbreeding with humans – Rubeus Hagrid is half-giant, as is his love interest Olympe Maxime – but wizards as a population[HP4] have engaged in an active campaign to hunt giants out of civilisation.[HP5] The last giants in Britain were killed apparently by Ministry decree,[HP5] but most deaths have been due to territorial aggression among themselves, as wizards force them to live 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 metres), and have skin similar to rhinoceros hide, which grants them limited immunity to magical attacks.[HP5] Their society is loosely 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] whereas Hagrid reveals in Order of the Phoenix that he and Madame Maxime went to try and persuade the Giants to take part in the war against Voldemort, but were thwarted when Gurg was killed and his successor sided with their enemies. Presumably as a result, giants took part in the Battle of Hogwarts in the end of the series, mostly fighting for Voldemort.[HP7]
The portrayal of giants as a dying breed is consistent with much of European folklore, where they are frequently described as primaeval creatures who built ruins and created strange landforms long before humans arrived.
Goblins are magical creatures 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 anthropoid, described as having long, thin fingers and feet, black eyes, and domed heads much larger than human heads in proportion to the body.[DH Ch.24] Goblins eat a diet of largely raw meat, roots, and fungi [DH Ch.25] and converse in a language known as Gobbledegook.[HP4] They consider the true owner of an object to be its maker rather than its purchaser, and resent the passage of goblin-made heirlooms through Wizarding families without further payment.[DH Ch.25] Wizarding Law prohibits the ownership of wands by goblins; but goblins are capable of a different magic of their own.
Relations between goblins and wizards have been strained for centuries by misunderstandings on both sides, sometimes evoking violence. 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. [DH Ch.15] In some cases, a weak 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:
- Griphook - An employee at Gringotts Bank; helps Harry, Ron, and Hermione steal Helga Hufflepuff's Cup
- Gornuk - Goes into hiding with Griphook; later murdered by Death Eaters
- Bogrod - An associate of Griphook and fellow employee at Gringotts
- Ragnok - An influential goblin who is reluctant to put his support behind Dumbledore
- Ragnuk the First - The creator of the sword of Godric Gryffindor [DH Ch.25]
House-elves are small elves used by wizards as slaves. They are 2–3 feet tall, with spindly limbs and oversized heads and eyes. They have pointed, bat-like ears and high, squeaky voices. Their names are usually pet-like diminutives, and they do not appear to have surnames. They habitually refer to themselves in the third person. House-elves are generally obedient, pliant, and obsequious; and when enslaved, wear discarded items such as pillowcases and tea-towels. House-elves' masters can free them by giving them an item of clothing, much like the Hob of English Folklore. House-elves can become intoxicated by drinking Butterbeer.
House-elves possess 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, even at Hogwarts and other places where human teleportation is prevented; and even to thus transport humans.[HP7] The full extent of the elves' magic is never fully disclosed, but it seems 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 Chamber of Secrets, Dobby forcefully repels Lucius Malfoy while protecting Harry Potter; whereas in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when the younger 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", and in 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, although House-elves are not allowed to carry wands, they do not appear to need them, being capable of magical feats without them.
In 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 them (even after his freedom) until the final book, in which he defies Bellatrix Lestrange. According to Kreacher, "a House-elf's highest law is his master's bidding"; however, while House-elves must obey their masters without question, they have been known to find 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 thereof, as when the Malfoys forced Dobby to torture himself, or when the Black family customarily decapitated their house-elves as they became enfeebled by age. Nonetheless, most house-elves are horrified by freedom even from the most cruel masters. Dobby, the first introduced, is the sole exception; but this extends chiefly to voluntary service, paid labour, and choice of his own employment and costume. During her time at Hogwarts, Hermione Granger establishes S.P.E.W. (the 'Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare') to champion House-elves' rights; but gained little interest from her classmates or the House-elves themselves. 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 that the other House-elves find the idea so insulting that Dobby is the only resident elf willing to clean in Gryffindor Tower. According to Rowling, Hermione works in the Ministry of Magic after Hogwarts and thus increases House-elf rights; but this is never seen in the books, wherein their last appearance is at the Battle of Hogwarts, led by Kreacher against the antagonists.
In Deathly Hallows, 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".
Thestrals are an elusive, carnivorous species of winged horse, visible only to those who have witnessed and embraced a death, and 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"; also described by Hagrid as "dead clever an' useful". They have acquired an undeserved reputation as omens of evil. The High Inquisitor from the ministry of magic, Dolores Umbridge, asserted that Thestrals are considered "dangerous creatures" by the Ministry of Magic, although this might enforce her prejudice against 'half-breeds', as Hagrid is half-giant and is showing thestrals in class.
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 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), after which they may pull loads, and make a serviceable if uncomfortable mode of transportation (Harry rides to the Ministry of Magic by thestral in the fifth book).
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, some months after it occurred. Harry only sees these beasts after he sees Cedric die, yet it is stated (in both the books and the films) that he witnessed his mother die in front of him at the age of one; therefore he logically should have been able to see them throughout the entire series. When asked about this discrepancy, Rowling responded that when Harry saw his mother die, he was young and did not fully understand the meaning of death and what had happened. When he saw Cedric die, however, he fully understood what had happened, and had time to think about it before he returned to Hogwarts and saw the Thestrals for the first time.
Thestrals are featured attacking Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts at the end of Deathly Hallows. Rowling has since 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. The potion tastes horrible and very few are skilled enough to brew it, and according to Lupin, the addition of sugar to the potion renders it useless and inert. Nothing discovered in the wizarding world can completely cure a werewolf. Most werewolves live outside normal society and steal food to survive. They generally support Voldemort, whom they think will give them a better life. This is however not surprising, since they are shunned by the wizard community and are both feared and hated by the common witch and wizard. Remus Lupin is the only known exception to this. There are only three known werewolves in the Harry Potter series: Lupin, Fenrir Greyback and an unnamed wizard who was in the same ward as Arthur Weasley in St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Bill Weasley who is attacked by Fenrir Greyback in The Battle of the Astronomy Tower in the Half-Blood Prince, is not a werewolf. Although Bill suffered a number of side-effects from the attack, including a scarred face and a new love of very rare steak, he does not become a werewolf as Greyback was in human form at the time of the bite. The condition of Lycanthropy can be genetic, but (as seen in the case of Teddy Lupin), it is not necessarily so.
Below is a list of magical creatures who have some significant role in the series.
From the third book to the sixth, Crookshanks is Hermione Granger's pet cat. Crookshanks resembles a Persian Cat, and Rowling has described him as half Kneazle, an intelligent cat-like creature sensitive to dishonesty, explaining his identification of the rat 'Scabbers' as Peter Pettigrew, and of Sirius Black in his dog form.
Dobby is a house elf owned by the Malfoy family, who first appears in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to discourage Harry from returning to Hogwarts. Dobby later tries to keep Harry away from Hogwarts by magically sealing off the hidden entrance to Platform 9¾, only to be foiled when the protagonists pilot Arthur Weasley's flying car to school. During a Quidditch match, Dobby enchants a Bludger to chase Harry, hoping to cause him enough injury to be sent home; but the Bludger only manages to break Harry's arm, which is relieved of bones by Professor Gilderoy Lockhart and ultimately mended by Madam Pomfrey. Dobby discloses that when an enslaved house-elf is presented with an article of clothing by his or her master, that house-elf is subsequently set free; and when Harry (after returning from the Chamber of Secrets) discovers that Dobby's master is Lucius Malfoy, he tricks Malfoy into setting Dobby free, a feat that secures him the house elf's undying loyalty.
Dobby returns in Goblet of Fire. Now a free elf, he obtains a paid post at Hogwarts. Dobby also quickly becomes the only house-elf who will clean the Gryffindor common room, when Hermione leaves knitted clothing half-hidden around the room in an attempt to free the elves, which they find insulting. Dobby later appears in Order of the Phoenix, showing Harry the hidden Room of Requirement, which Harry uses for the secret meetings of Dumbledore's Army. When Professor Umbridge finds the meetings later, Dobby enters to warn the group. In Half-Blood Prince Harry entrusts Dobby to watch his compatriot Kreacher when he orders him to work in the Hogwarts kitchens with the other house-elves; and later assigns both to follow Draco Malfoy.
Dobby's name is derived from a creature in English folklore. This creature performs household chores and is kind to children, as is the character in the series.
Dobby was voiced by Toby Jones in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. In the Comic Relief spoof, Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan, he is played by Basil Brush. IGN put Dobby as their 24th top Harry Potter character, with his death described as "one of the most touching moments in the series." In NextMovie.com's Harry Potter Mega Poll, Dobby was voted the No. 1 favourite magical creature in the series.
Fawkes is Albus Dumbledore's pet phoenix, a mythological bird which cyclically bursts into flame upon its death and is then reborn from the ashes. Phoenix tail feathers are suitable for inclusion in some wands (both Harry and Voldemort's wands contain a feather from Fawkes's tail, the only two he ever gave) and their tears have healing powers. Fawkes can also teleport himself and others in a burst of flame.
In Chamber of Secrets, Harry's display of loyalty to Dumbledore results in his summoning Fawkes to his aid against Salazar Slytherin's basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets; whereupon Fawkes punctures the basilisk's eyes, eliminating its ability to kill with its gaze. Fawkes later uses his tears to negate the basilisk's venom; and when the basilisk is killed, conveys Harry Potter, Ron and Ginny Weasley, and Gilderoy Lockhart to their guardians. In Goblet of Fire, during the duel between Harry and Voldemort, the "reverse spell effect" ('Priori Incantatem') occurs, as both of their wands are made of Fawkes's feathers (the only two feathers the phoenix ever provided).
During the confrontation between Voldemort and Dumbledore in the Ministry of Magic at the climax of Order of the Phoenix (book only), Fawkes saves Dumbledore's life by swallowing a Killing Curse from Voldemort; then bursts into flame and is reborn as a chick from the ashes.
After Dumbledore's death in Half-Blood Prince, Fawkes is heard singing a lament, and thereafter is not seen again. In an interview, Rowling stated this was to symbolise the loss of Dumbledore. When asked why Fawkes did not return to Harry due to his loyalty to Dumbledore, Rowling stated that Fawkes was non-transferable between owners.
Firenze is a centaur and, after Order of the Phoenix, a Divination teacher at Hogwarts. He is described in the book as a palomino centaur with astonishingly blue eyes. He first appears towards the end of Philosopher's Stone, in which he rescues Harry from Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. Having carried Harry to safety on his back, Firenze quarrels with other centaurs who object to the symbolic suggestion that centaurs are subservient to humans.
The character does not make another appearance until Order of the Phoenix, in which he is appointed by Dumbledore to teach Divination at Hogwarts in place of Sybill Trelawney, who has been sacked by Dolores Umbridge. For this, he is ostracised by his fellows. In Half-Blood Prince, he shares teaching duties with a reinstated Trelawney.
In Deathly Hallows, he is seen near the end of the book alongside the other members of the Hogwarts staff, 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. 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 allowed him to rejoin them.
Griphook is a goblin and an employee at Gringotts until the Second Wizarding War. In Philosopher's Stone, after Hagrid presents Harry's key and Dumbledore's letter to an unnamed goblin in the Gringotts lobby, Griphook is called to escort Harry and Hagrid through the underground rail-system to Harry's vault, and afterwards to Vault 713 to retrieve the Philosopher's Stone. He is not heard of again until Deathly Hallows, when the Snatchers holding him captive also capture Harry, Ron, and Hermione. When Hermione lies under torture to Bellatrix Lestrange that the sword of Gryffindor is a fake, Bellatrix asks Griphook for confirmation, which she receives. He is saved, along with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, by Dobby and successfully escapes to Shell Cottage. Because Harry needs to take a Horcrux from Bellatrix's vault, Griphook reluctantly agrees to help them break into Gringotts, in exchange for the sword of Gryffindor; but when escaping, Griphook betrays them to the other goblins and escapes with the sword. His fate is left unknown in the book, but in the film he is shown dead during the aftermath at Gringotts, and Gryffindor's sword vanishes before Voldemort can see it. In spite of Griphook's insistence that the sword belongs to the goblins, the sword reappears when Neville Longbottom pulls it from the Sorting Hat and beheads Nagini.
Hedwig is Harry Potter's owl, given to him in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as an eleventh birthday present by Rubeus Hagrid, who purchases the owl in Diagon Alley at the Eeylops Owl Emporium. Harry gives her this name after reading it in a book on the history of magic. Hedwig is used for delivering messages throughout the series, and also serves as a companion to Harry, especially when he is unable to interact with other wizards. It is implied throughout the books that Hedwig can fully understand Harry's speech. In the fifth book, Order of the Phoenix, Hedwig is intercepted by Dolores Umbridge and is hurt, but is later healed by Professor Grubbly-Plank. In the seventh book, The Deathly Hallows, Hedwig is killed by a curse from a Death Eater; in the film version, she is killed defending Harry from the Death Eater. According to Rowling, Hedwig's death represents the loss of Harry's innocence.
Although the character of Hedwig is female, she is played on film by male owls (female snowy owls have dark patches of plumage, while only the males are completely white). The John Williams composition which serves as title music for the entire film series is named "Hedwig's Theme".
Hokey is a house-elf who works for Hepzibah Smith, an old woman deceived by Tom Riddle into showing him Slytherin's locket and Hufflepuff's cup, which he uses as two of his Horcruxes. Hokey's memory allows Harry and Dumbledore a glimpse of the visit Voldemort makes two days before Hepzibah Smith is poisoned and both treasures disappear; whereafter Riddle, who magically tampers with Hokey's memories, frames Hokey for Hepzibah's murder. She does not deny the accusation and is convicted for accidental murder.
Kreacher is a house-elf who serves the House of Black for generations. His name is a pun on the word creature, indicating that his masters regarded him as an inferior. Kreacher first appears in Order of the Phoenix as an unwilling servant to Sirius Black. Kreacher disdains Sirius, mainly due to his devotion to his former masters (Regulus Black in particular) and Sirius having broken with the family's pure-blood values. Sirius also treats him harshly because the elf is a living reminder of a home to which he earlier had no intention of returning. Knowing too much of the Order of the Phoenix's activity, Kreacher is not allowed to leave Grimmauld Place. Kreacher has lived alone in the house for years with only the screaming portrait of Mrs. Black for company. Despite obeying Sirius, he is insolent and rude, insulting in undertones all present who he refers to as "Blood traitors, Mudbloods and scum". Kreacher desires to leave Sirius and serve his next of kin, Bellatrix Lestrange and the Malfoys. He betrays Sirius and persuades Harry to go to the Department of Mysteries, where a trap has been laid. Sirius is killed by Bellatrix in the ensuing combat, while trying to save Harry. Following Sirius's death, 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.
In Deathly Hallows, Harry and his friends coax from the house-elf the current whereabouts of Salazar Slytherin's Locket, a Black heirloom and one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes; whereafter Harry sends Kreacher to retrieve the locket from Mundungus Fletcher and gives him its substitute as a token of remembrance (referring to Regulus Black, who alone treated Kreacher with respect). Thereafter Kreacher appears cleaner and happier, and ceases to mutter insults under his breath. When Grimmauld Place is infiltrated by Death Eaters, Harry decides against calling the elf back to them, fearing possible betrayal. In the Battle of Hogwarts, Kreacher rallies the Hogwarts house-elves against the Death Eaters. It is implied that he survived the battle, as Harry wonders 'whether Kreacher will bring him a sandwich' 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 admitted they had wished to cut the character from the film, 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." In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Kreacher is voiced by Simon McBurney, as Timothy Bateson had died.
Voldemort is able to communicate with Nagini due to his ability to speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes. Nagini is first sighted when the snake alerts Voldemort to the presence of an eavesdropping Frank Bryce, an old gardener who had worked for the Riddle family. During the fourth year Harry spends at Hogwarts, Voldemort's temporary body is sustained by Nagini's venom, harvested by Peter Pettigrew. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry assumes Nagini's viewpoint during her attack on Arthur Weasley in one of his dreams; Albus Dumbledore believes this an effect of Harry's special connection to Voldemort, with Harry's witnessing the attack by virtue that Voldemort's mind "happened to be" in Nagini at the time. This is the first indication of Nagini and Voldemort's deeper connection, having the ability to share thoughts and connect with Harry.
In Deathly Hallows, Nagini consumes Charity Burbage, a Hogwarts Muggle Studies professor, after the Killing Curse is used on her. Nagini is later placed inside the corpse of Bathilda Bagshot by Voldemort, to enable a surprise assault on Harry when he visits Godric's Hollow. Because some snakes (pit-vipers and pythonids) can sense heat and movement in a way humans cannot, Nagini is able to detect Harry and Hermione even when they are under the Invisibility Cloak. After discovering that Harry is searching for his Horcruxes, Voldemort places Nagini into a protective magical cage to prevent her being killed, but uses her to kill Severus Snape by expanding the cage over him. When Harry is apparently killed by Voldemort, Nagini is released from the protective enchantment and is draped around Voldemort's shoulders during the Death Eaters' victory march back to Hogwarts. After Neville Longbottom openly defies Voldemort, Voldemort punishes him by forcing the Sorting Hat on his head and setting it on fire. The Death Eaters are then attacked and a battle ensues, and Neville pulls Godric Gryffindor's sword from the Hat, as Harry had done in Chamber of Secrets, and beheads Nagini.
Voldemort made Nagini his final Horcrux when he was hiding in the forests of Albania by murdering Bertha Jorkins; but Dumbledore suspected that Nagini was made by Voldemort killing Frank Bryce. Due to this connection, Voldemort has complete control over the snake, even for a Parselmouth, as mentioned by Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince. Nagini was also able to inform Voldemort about the presence of Harry in Godric's Hollow.
Peeves is a poltergeist who causes trouble in Hogwarts, and is therefore often pursued by Argus Filch. He is capable of flight and can choose whether to be tangible; and is able to manipulate objects, a trait not generally possible with ghosts, but common among poltergeists. Peeves's existence is essentially the embodiment of disorder, which he is observed to constantly cause. In appearance, he is a small man with a mischievous face and a wide mouth, dressed in vibrantly coloured clothing. He derives joy from disaster and mischievous acts, usually causing disruptions to daily activity.
Peeves only listens to a select few: Dumbledore; the Bloody Baron; in the second book Nearly Headless Nick; and in the fifth book, Fred and George Weasley. Filch, who is usually left with cleaning up the mess and damage that Peeves causes, tries repeatedly to remove him; however, Rowling has stated in an interview that not even Dumbledore would be able to rid Hogwarts of Peeves forever. Peeves is vulnerable to some magic; in Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Lupin uses magic to teach Peeves a lesson by making the gum Peeves was stuffing into a keyhole enter the poltergeist's nose. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry uses magic to attach Peeves's tongue to the roof of his mouth, after which Peeves angrily departs.
During Dolores Umbridge's attempts to take control of Hogwarts in Order of the Phoenix, Peeves begins a rampage at the Weasley twins' request. When Umbridge attempts to sneak out of Hogwarts, Peeves chases 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 Deathly Hallows twice: 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.
It is also implied that Peeves was still at Hogwarts at the time of the epilogue, since Harry tells his son Albus Severus not to "mess with Peeves".
Rik Mayall was cast as Peeves for the film adaptation of Philosopher's Stone, but his scenes were cut from the final film and do not even appear in the deleted scenes section of the DVD release. Peeves was subsequently omitted from the Harry Potter films that followed, though he can be seen in the video games.
Winky is a house-elf who originally served the Crouch family, described as having enormous brown eyes and a large, round, soft nose. She viewed herself as a dutiful servant and guarded the family's many secrets. When Barty Crouch Jr is rescued from Azkaban by his mother, he is supervised and nursed back to health by Winky. In 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 attempts to stop him. In the resulting chaos, Harry and his friends see Winky running into the forest, appearing to struggle 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, retaining her loyalty to Crouch, becomes an alcoholic until the final book, and eventually fights in the Battle of Hogwarts with the other house-elves.
She only exists in the books and is absent from the films.
The Weasleys' creatures
Many pets and animals are associated with the Weasley family:
- Scabbers, a brown rat retained for twelve years; at first by Percy, but passed to Ron. Near the end of the third book, Scabbers is revealed to be Peter Pettigrew, an Animagus who betrayed James and Lily Potter to Lord Voldemort.
- Pigwidgeon (nicknamed "Pig"), Ron's hyperactive scops owl, a gift from Sirius Black upon the loss of Scabbers.
- Hermes, a screech owl owned by Percy, which was a gift to him from his parents for becoming a Prefect in his fifth year. He is named after the Greek god Hermes.
- Errol, an aged great grey owl who serves as the family's courier. He has trouble carrying loads and is often found unconscious after collision or exhaustion.
- Arnold, a purple Pygmy Puff (miniature puffskein) owned by Ginny and obtained from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes in the sixth book.
- A puffskein belonging to Ron and 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. In Deathly Hallows, the ghoul is magically altered in appearance to resemble Ron as cover for his absence from school. In 12 Grimmauld Place there is also a ghoul in "an upstairs bathroom".
- Several chickens.
- The Weasleys have gnomes all over their garden and in their shed, bushes, Wellington boots, and more. They are quarrelsome and seem to know many obscenities, which they were supposedly taught by Fred and George Weasley. Crookshanks likes to chase the gnomes while visiting; the rest of the family deals with them by physically throwing them off the grounds. In Deathly Hallows one bites Luna Lovegood; whereas Fred is bitten by one in Half-Blood Prince and as a punishment stuns it, paints it gold, gives it a miniature tutu with wings and hangs it on top of the Christmas tree as an angel.
Over the course of the series, Hagrid cares for a large number of animals, many of them dangerous, including Aragog (a giant spider or 'Acromantula'), Buckbeak (Hippogriff), Fang (boarhound), Fluffy (Three-Headed Dog), Norbert (Norberta) ('Norwegian Ridgeback' Dragon), and 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 take care of Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts (a crustacean-like predator), one of which (grown to giant size) is placed in the hedge maze for the final task of the Triwizard Tournament. Although its exoskeleton can repel spells, Harry is able to pass it unhurt.
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