by Michael Ford
When J.K, Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series, she created an entire other world that all fans of the series came to know and love. This world contained cool characters, magic spells, and enchanted places and cities. Within this world, there were the magical creatures. From the peaceful unicorn to the fearsome dragon, the fantastic beasts largely contribute to the grand scale of the wizarding world. However, some stand above the others. Whether they be interpretations of epic beasts of legend, or original monsters created by J.K. Rowling herself, these are my favorite creatures that appear within the Harry Potter universe.
WARNING: Some spoilers ahead.
I had many doubts about even putting Owls on the list, since they aren’t technically magical creatures. However, they aren’t ordinary animals either, so they earned the number 10 spot. Despite their mundane speciation, Owls play a major part in the series, carrying messages for the protagonists, and making a good companion when times are rough. The Owls also leave a lasting impact on the reader as well, each with their own distinct personality. While Hedwig is the most famous, my favorite is Erroll, the ancient Weasly owl who is clumsy due to his near-blindness, and adds a good comic relief when necessary.
9. Norwegian Ridgeback
Our first truly magic creature on the list is one of the first that we are introduced to, the Norwegian Ridgeback. Hagrid wins a Norwegian Ridgeback in a card game with a hooded figure, but he doesn’t know that it is part of a sinister plot to bring Voldemort to power. When the egg hatches and a small baby dragon emerges, Hagrid immediately names the creature Norbert, and raises it on a diet of chicken and brandy. As the dragon grows, Hagrid is forced to send it to a reservation, lest it burn down his house. A full-grown Norwegian Ridgeback is a force to be reckoned with, with poisonous fangs, massive spiked wings, and huge talons that it uses to pull small whales out of the ocean to eat.
8. House Elf
One of the cutest creatures in the series, the house elf is a scrawny humanoid creature that is generally bound to a master for life. Dobby is the most famous and cutest of the bunch, but other house elves appear in the series as well. Winky is a female elf who must come to grips with her newfound “freedom”. Kreacher is an old and cranky elf with an undying loyalty to the black family, and their pure blood supremacy as well. A house elf can be freed from his servitude if his master presents him with clothes, which, in the case of Dobby, is a sock. House elves also posses the rare ability to teleport at will, even within the boundaries of magical enchantments.
Coming in at number seven is one of the darkest and scariest creature to be found in the Harry Potter series. With a dark hood covering their decaying body, and the deadly ability to steal your soul, its hard not to get chills down your spine by thinking about them. Dementors were used by the Ministry of Magic to guard the Wizard prison Azkaban, due to their ability to feed off of despair, and the utter hopelessness that soon consumed inmates and prevented their escape. When a Dementor is near by, the air will begin to become colder and a feeling of fear will fill the air. As it draws nearer, it will force its victims to relive their worst memories and fears. Finally, it will pull back its hood to deliver the Dementor’s kiss, a terrible act that will suck out the soul from its victim, leaving them little but a lifeless husk of their former self. The sole defense from these ghastly demons is the patronus charm. In a recent interview, J.K. Rowling revealed that Dementors represent her own battle with depression.
Lurking deep within the forbidden forest is the fearsome acromantula, a massive spider with venomous fangs and the ability to speak. Acromantulas are native to south america, but when some specimens have been brought to parts of England in Scotland. An example is Aragog. Aragog was given to Hagrid by a traveler, and Hagrid took the creature on as a pet. However, it became more difficult to hide as it grew larger and more dangerous, and Hagrid was eventually forced to release it when it was accused of petrifying a student. The spider took up residence in the forest, where it bred with other smaller spiders, eventually creating a massive horde of huge spiders. Acromantulas weave massive webs to catch prey like deer and cattle, and lay eggs the size of beach balls.
One of the more mysterious creatures of the Harry Potter universe, the Thestral is a winged horse that can only be seen by those who have witnessed death. Due to this, and their diet of raw meat, the thestrals have gained the poor reputation as an omen of bad luck. Unbeknownst to many students, these are the creatures which pull the carriages up to the castle from the train station. They can also be used for transportation, although the ride is uncomfortable and terrifying, especially if one cannot see the creature they are riding.
The king of snakes is one of the scariest and most dangerous of all the creatures Harry Potter has encountered. As if a 50 foot long body covered with impenetrable scales wasn’t enough, the basilisk possesses a venom that can kill in minutes, and eyes that will kill whoever gazes into them. One can create a basilisk by hatching a chicken’s egg underneath a toad, but unless one is a parseltongue, they will likely be killed by the monster that hatches from it. A basilisk can live for over 400 years, and can survive with only the most minimal of rodents to eat. The most well-known basilisk is that of Salazar Slytherin, which lived within the Chamber of Secrets underneath Hogwarts.
Coming in at number three is the powerful yet graceful hippogriff. With the front half of an eagle and the back half of a horse, the hippogriff combines strength with beauty. They are creatures of honor, and will only allow one to ride it if they bow to it beforehand. Otherwise, it may attack, lashing out with the talons of its front half, which can leave a large gash or wound. Hippogriffs live on a diet of raw meat, but will also eat fish if they are available They will allow a person to ride it if one is able to gain its trust, but one must be careful never to insult a Hippogriff, for they will understand you and respond aggressively. Even then, a hippogriff ride is not the most comfortable, as their extreme airborne speed can make holding on difficult.
One of the most mysterious and wonderous magical creatures, the Phoenix is a majestic bird that is able to live forever by rising from the ashes that appear when it reaches a certain age and burns its old body away. Phoenixes also posses other abilities. They can carry loads many times their own weight, they can heal wounds with their tears, and can vanish in a tornado of fire, and reappear somewhere else. A Phoenix is bound to its master for life, always staying by their side until the end. Wild Phoenix dwell on remote mountain peaks, eating the dew-watered herbs that grow there. The only Phoenix to appear in the series is Fawkes, which belongs to Albus Dumbledore. Fawkes saves the lives of Harry Potter multiple times, with the most notable being his healing of Harry’s mortal wound after his encounter with the basilisk. After Dumbledore’s death, however, it leaves Hogwarts, though it is unknown if it sought a new master or if the mournful creature flew off to die.
Honorable Mentions: Some awesome creatures that didn’t quite make the list
The Mountain Troll: Despite its impressive size and strength, the mountain troll is hindered by its extreme stupidity.
The Centaur: Secluding themselves from humans, the centaurs live a mysterious and distant life deep in the forests.
1. Hungarian Horntail
The Hungarian Horntail first made its appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, with the other dragons brought in for the first challenge. ALthough we didn’t get to see it in its full powerful glory until the first challenge, it was heavily built up with shadowed glimpses and ominous descriptions. Even Hagrid, himself a dragon sympathiser, admitted that it was a “nasty peice of work” and that he felt bad for whoever would be forced to fight it. Like other Dragons, the Hungarian Horntail has a layer of armor-like scales that protect it from most curses and spells.
It also has the longest fire-spitting range of any Dragon, at over 50 feet. It is also very defensive of its young and eggs, despite the eggshells being harder than concrete and its young emerging fully formed. However, its most famous and dangerous trait is its namesake, its massive spiked tail capable of destroying building with a single swing. Extra ability include wings that propel it at incredible speeds, an impressive pair of curled horns, and deadly talons on its feet. All this, combined with its epic buildup and intense action sequence, makes this my number one Harry Potter creature.
What’s your favorite Harry Potter creature? Should owls have been higher on the list? Should the unicorn have been more than an honorable mention, if you feel this way or anything similar, feel free to leave a rage comment, but don’t forget to include an idea for next week with it.