Top Ten Tuesday: HARRY POTTER Magical Creatures
It’s the most exciting time of the year… HARRY POTTER TIME!!! I know these geeks are jumping up and down with glee. So, naturally, in celebration of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT.1, we are dedicating this weeks top ten to the Magical Creatures in the Harry Potter films.
TOP TEN HARRY POTTER MAGICAL CREATURES
HONORABLE MENTION: Patronus
Ok, we know that a patronus isn’t really a magical creature, but a rather than a protective spell, and it’s still pretty darn cool.
A Patronus Charm is an insubstantial animal form protector created by the advanced Patronus Charm spell, and one way to defend against Dementors and certain other Dark creatures. The spell requires the use of a wand, concentration on a powerfully happy memory, and the incantation “Expecto Patronum“. Presumably, certain physical gestures with the wand are also required, but they have not been specified. The Patronus Charm is advanced magic and difficult to master, especially in emotionally difficult circumstances.
10. House Elf
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, much like the Hob of English Folklore. House-elves can become intoxicated by drinking Butterbeer.
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 and Kreacher all demonstrate that they can overpower wizards when necessary. In 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 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, the magic they can perform without wands is considerably greater than that of wizards’ non-wand magic.
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
A werewolf is a human who, upon the rising of the full moon, turns into a fearsome near-wolf. Werewolves can be distinguished from regular wolves by several small distinguishing characteristics, such as the pupils of the eyes, snout shape, and tufted tail. At all other times, they appear as normal humans, though will often seem to be ill as the full moon approaches. This condition is caused by infection with lycanthropy, usually occurring when a human is bitten by a transformed werewolf. There is no known cure, but the effects can be lessened with the Wolfsbane Potion
A boggart is a shape-shifter that takes on the form of its intended victim’s worst fear. It likes to hide in dark, enclosed places, such as closets and cabinents. 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, 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. A common wizard’s defence 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. The thing Harry fears most is fear itself.
- Ron Weasley — an acromantula. He has a fear of spiders due to a prank his brothers played on him when he was young.
- Hermione Granger — Professor McGonagall telling her she had “failed everything”. 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.
- “Never try an’ get a get a straight answer out of a centaur. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin’ closer’n the moon“
- —Rubeus Hagrid[src]
A Centaur is a magical creature whose head, torso and arms appear to be human joined to a horse’s body. However, they are their own species, and are not any kind of Half-breed. Despite being highly intelligent, Centaurs are classified as Beasts by the Ministry of Magic, at their own request, as they were unhappy at having to shareBeing status with Hags and Vampires.
Giants in the Harry Potter universe are capable of interbreeding with humans- both Rubeus 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, although 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 metres), 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 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]
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, although that might just be prejudice against half-breeds, as Hagrid is a 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 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. 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 Creaturesstudents 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. However, at the end of year four, after witnessing said death, Harry still thinks the carriages move on their own. That suggests that either the ability to see them takes some time to be developed, that Rowling had not imagined thestrals by that time, that Harry had not yet accepted Cedric’s death, or that she decided to leave that moment for the fifth book because it was part of its plot. Thestrals are featured in the Battle of Hogwarts at the end of 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.
- “Of the many fearsome beasts and monsters that roam our land, there is none more curious or more deadly than the Basilisk, known also as the King of Serpents. This snake, which may reach gigantic size, and live many hundreds of years, is born from a chicken’s egg, hatched beneath a toad. Its methods of killing are most wondrous, for aside from its deadly and venomous fangs, the Basilisk has a murderous stare, and all who are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death. Spiders flee before the Basilisk, for it is their mortal enemy, and the Basilisk flees only from the crowing of the rooster, which is fatal to it.“
- —A page from an old library book.[src]
The Basilisk is a giant serpent, also known as the King of Serpents. It is a creature bred by Dark Wizards. Herpo the Foul was the first to breed a Basilisk. He accomplished this by hatching a chicken egg beneath a toad. Basilisk breeding was banned in Medieval times.
Although classified as an XXXXX creature, meaning it is a known wizard-killer that cannot be domesticated due to its immense powers, because the Basilisk is still a serpent, a Parselmouth may place a Basilisk under his or her control. This depends on the relationship between the Basilisk and the Parselmouth, as Tom Riddle was the only one who could command Salazar Slytherin’s Basilisk, while Harry Potter had no control over it.
Very dangerous, very large three-headed dog, owned by Rubeus Hagrid. After lending him to Dumbledore to help protect the Philosopher’s Stone (PS11), Hagrid released Fluffy into the Forbidden Forest (BP).
Fluffy is a giant three-headed dog provided by Hagrid to guard the trapdoor leading to the underground chamber where the Philosopher’s Stone was hidden until the end of the Philosopher’s Stone. The only known way to get past Fluffy is to lull him to sleep by playing music. Fluffy is based on Cerberus, the three-headed dog from Greek Mythology that guards the gates to the underworld. As with Fluffy, Cerberus was lulled to sleep with music by Orpheus.
In the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville accidentally run into Fluffy whilst hiding from Peeves, who was attempting to give them away to caretaker Argus Filch, who was searching for them. On Halloween, Harry and Ron witness Snape entering the door to Fluffy’s chamber, and for the next few days having a pronounced limp. Harry also overhears him saying “How are you meant to keep your eyes on all three heads at once?” to Filch. However, it is later revealed that he followed then Hogwarts Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Quirinus Quirrell into the chamber. While Fluffy is guarding the Philosopher’s Stone, Professor Quirrell penetrates Fluffy’s defences by playing a harp, in order to access the trapdoor, while Harry uses a flute that had been given to him by Hagrid. Rowling was asked in an interview what happened to Fluffy after he was no longer needed to protect the Stone. Her reply was that Fluffy was released into the Forbidden Forest.
- “Easily offended, hippogriffs are. Don’t never insult one, ’cause it might be the last thing yeh do.“
- —Rubeus Hagrid talking to the class about Hippogriffs[src]
A Hippogriff is a magical creature that has the front legs, wings, and head of a giant eagle and the body, hind legs and tail of a horse. It is very similar to another mythical creature, the Griffin, with the horse rear replacing the lion rear. Hippogriffs have cruel, steel-coloured beaks and large, brilliantly orange eyes. The talons on their front legs are half a foot long and appear deadly.
What’s your favorite magical creature on the Potter-verse?
(L-r) Director DAVID YATES, RUPERT GRINT, EMMA WATSON and DANIEL RADCLIFFE on location during the filming of Warner Bros. Pictures fantasy adventure HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
A little background on the upcoming film:
- Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Heyday Films Production, a David Yates Film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” beginning the last chapter of the most successful motion picture franchise of all time. Heading the cast, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reprise the roles of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The film’s ensemble cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Rhys Ifans, Jason Isaacs, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, David Thewlis, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Toby Jones, David Legeno, Simon McBurney, Helen McCrory, Nick Moran, Peter Mullan, David O’Hara, Clémence Poésy, Natalia Tena, Julie Walters, Mark Williams and Bonnie Wright.
- “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1″ was directed by David Yates, who also helmed “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” David Heyman, the producer of all of the Harry Potter films, again produced the film, together with David Barron and J.K. Rowling. Steve Kloves adapted the screenplay, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. Lionel Wigram is the executive producer, with John Trehy and Tim Lewis serving as co-producers.
- Behind the scenes, the creative team was led by director of photography Eduardo Serra, production designer Stuart Craig, editor Mark Day, composer Alexandre Desplat, visual effects supervisor Tim Burke, and costume designer Jany Temime.
- Concurrently with its nationwide theatrical release, the film will be released in select IMAX® theatres. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1″ has been digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® through proprietary IMAX DMR® technology. With crystal clear images, laser-aligned digital sound and maximized field of view, IMAX provides the world’s most immersive movie experience.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1″ will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
Look for HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 in theaters and IMAX on November 19, 2010 followed by PART 2 next summer July 15, 2011.
The film has been rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and brief sensuality.
© 2010 Warner Bros. Ent.
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Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.