From Harry Potter Trading Card Illustrations
The Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them comes out today. It’s a good opportunity to look back at all the quirky creatures that exist in Harry Potter’s world and the original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book. Fantastic Beasts was first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a textbook owned by Harry himself. In 2001, J.K. Rowling published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for real, writing as Newt Scamander and outlining many of the beasts in the Harry Potter world. The book was done like it was really Harry’s textbook (as well as Ron’s, who Harry was sharing it with because his fell apart), complete with scribbled notes in the margins from Harry, Ron and Hermione.
J.K. Rowling drew from all kinds of mythology (Japanese, Greek, Scottish and so on) for the beasts of Harry Potter’s world and some of the beasts are entirely her own creation. So let’s take a look at some of the coolest and most unusual of these beasties. Maybe they’ll show up in the movie!
Do you have any you want to add? Say so in the comments!
The augurey is a bird I can’t help but relate to- it just has a gloomy and depressed demeanor. That may be why wizards initially believed that its cries predicted the death of the person nearest to it. “Ulric the Oddball” kept several augureys with him and when they all started crying, he believed he had become a ghost…and knocked himself out trying to walk through a wall. But research later showed that the augurey’s cries really predicted….rain. Goes to show that urban legends exist in the Wizarding world too.Advertisement
Fromthe Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban video game
The Chizpurfle is the Harry Potter world’s amusing explanation for the failure of brand new electrical appliances. The tiny fanged creatures feed on magical energy, but when there’s none of that around they’ll feed on electricity instead. And that causes tech to break down.
From Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film)
Demiguises are ape-like creatures with long silky hair. They can turn invisible AND predict the future, making them really hard to catch. Their hair is used to make invisibility cloaks, though Fantastic Beasts notes that the invisibility will fade after a few years. This was a clever bit of foreshadowing of the secret of Harry’s own invisibility cloak, which never faded no matter how many years passed. His cloak wasn’t made of demiguise hair like a regular one, but was special, and this became important later.
From Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (book)
The Fwooper is an African bird whose song will drive whoever listens to it insane. Good ol’ Uric the Oddball thought Fwoopers were beneficial to the health, and tried to prove it by listening to them for three months straight. However, he failed to prove his thesis, mostly because he showed up to the presentation of it naked and wearing a dead badger on his head.
Interestingly enough, the Fwooper is the mascot for a real life animal rights organization. The Fwooper Foundation tries to promote animal rights awareness by relating how the creatures of the Harry Potter world are treated to the abuse of animals in the real world. Their slogan is “Breaking the Silencing Charm” referring to how wizards who buy the Fwoopers as pets charm them into silence for obvious reasons. The idea is the voices of animals in the real world shouldn’t be silenced either.Advertisement
The Jarvey is a giant ferret that can actually speak human language- but you can’t really hold a conversation with it. It only talks in a stream of terse insults. A monk once encountered a jarvey and it called him “baldy” before biting his nose.
From Natsume's Book of Friends
The Kappa in the Harry Potter world is based on a real creature found in Japanese mythology. Like in the myth, Harry Potter’s kappas lure humans into the water and kill them. Also like in the myth, they have heads full of water and are weakened if the water is drained. They can be appeased by their favorite food, cucumbers.
However, while Harry Potter kappas are described as “scaly water monkeys”, mythological kappas are often described as having a beak and a turtle-like shell. So if you’ve played Animal Crossing, you’ve encountered a friendly kappa in video game form.
Kapp'n from Animal Crossing
The character “Kapp’n”, who transports players on a boat and looks like a turtle, is actually a Kappa. His name is even “Kappa” in the Japanese version! Not all kappa in myth are malicious, some are simply mischievous.
From Wonderbook: Book of Spells
Kelpies are water demons that can take any form, but prefer the form of a horse. Like kappas, these creatures are found in other mythology- specifically Scottish myth. It lures humans onto its back, then drag them underwater and eat them, causing their entrails to float to the surface of the water…that’s graphic. In the Harry Potter world, the Loch Ness monster is a kelpie who likes to take the form of a sea serpent. Don’t mess with Nessie.
Crookshanks from the Harry Potter movies
Kneazles are cat-like creature with some pretty rad abilities. They’re super intelligent and they can always sense if someone’s untrustworthy. They can also guide their owners home when they’re lost. If they like you, they make great pets, but they can be pretty aggressive towards humans they don’t like.
Kneazles can be interbred with cats and Hermione’s cat, Crookshanks, is actually part Kneazle. That explains why he’s so intelligent and how he knew Scabbers had to go. Harry’s cat obsessed neighbor, Mrs. Figg, also was secretly breeding Kneazles.
From the Harry Potter movies
Lethifolds are really disturbing. They resemble a black shroud and will suffocate people in their sleep before devouring them whole. That’ll keep you up at night. Perhaps the most haunting thing about them is no one will even know what happened to you, since they leave no trace behind.
From Lego Harry Potter
Mooncalfs are weird looking things- silver skinned calves with spindly legs and bulging eyes. They’re terribly shy and only come out during the full moon. When they do come out, they’ll perform a weird dance on their hind legs as a mating ritual, which creates weird patterns in wheat fields. This is the Harry Potter world’s explanation for crop circles.
From Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film)
A Nundu is another truly terrifying creature. It looks like a giant leopard and it exhales enough poison and plague to wipe out an entire village. It takes a hundred wizards to subdue it. Yikes. It may be the most dangerous creature in the Harry Potter world.
Pogrebins are creatures that enjoy stalking humans. They can imitate rocks, so they’ll follow humans around and then assume rock form when the human senses their present. Eventually the stalking and paranoia will drive the human to despair, and that’s when the Pogrebin will try to eat them.
From Harry Potter Trading Card Game
Quintapeds are hairy beasts with five clubbed legs. Legend has it that they’re the result of a endless feud between two families- the Macboons and the McCliverts. The McCliverts turned the Macboons into beasts out of anger, but then were promptly devoured by the beasts they created. Imagine if Romeo and Juliet had that ending!
Ramoras are fish that have such immense magical power they can anchor ships. They’re protected species in the Harry Potter universe. They’re based off real fish called remora. These fish have a suction disc that lets them hitch rides on other animals. In Ancient Greece, it really was believed they had the power to stop ships- remora were even blamed for the death of Marc Antony.
From Fantastic Beasts: Cases from The Wizarding world
Runespoors are three headed serpents and each head has a different function. The left head is the planner, who decides what the Runespoor is going to do next. The center head is the dreamer, who gets lost in imagination. The right head is the critic, who has venomous fangs and keeps up irritable running commentary on the actions of the other two heads. As you’d expect, the first two heads often team up and kill the critical third one. However, they tend to die soon after this. I guess you need an inner critic, even if they’re annoying, Runespoors also lay eggs through their mouths, which is super gross.
The Golden Snidget
From Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (book
Honestly, I think the Golden Snidget makes a better animal rights mascot that the Fwooper. The poor little bird is entirely round and has wings that can fully rotate- and it’s super fast. Because of this, it became a component of the game Quidditch and the team that caught the Snidget won big. But the Snidget is fragile, so it would often be crushed when it was caught. This, combined with the fact it was hunted for its prized eyes and feathers, drove the species close to extinction. It was made a protected species and the Golden Snitch- an object that imitates the Snidget’s speed- was invented as a substitute for the bird’s role in the game. It just goes to show that, magical of muggle, humans are assholes to animals.
From the Harry Potter movies
Thestrals play a pretty prominent role in the fifth Harry Potter book. These skeletal winged horses are only visible to those who have witnessed the death of another. They’re actually mentioned very briefly in Fantastic Beasts, though it’s easy to miss.