10 Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts You Do Not Want to Meet
Departio!!! Ahem. There’s no such spell in the Harry Potter books or movies, but you bet all wizards and witches have some variation of this with the sort of monsters they have in their world! Here are 10 Harry Potter fantastic beasts you definitely would not want an encounter with under any circumstance. Before reading, note that in Newt Scamander’s famous book, the term “beasts” includes a good number of intelligent, two-legged creatures we muggles typically wouldn’t consider as feral or beastly. Why this is so is clearly explained in the preface of the textbook.
An eight-eyed spider capable of human speech, with legs as long as fifteen feet, the Acromantula was Ron Weasley’s worst nightmare. When agitated or furious, it makes an incessant clicking sound with its pincers. This sound itself is said to be enough to drive a potential victim insane with fear.
Despite its fearsome exterior, the Acromantula is likely the least dangerous fantastic beast in this list. Its capability for human speech means it could be … occasionally reasoned with. That said, it is still foolish to venture near any Acromantula or to try to train one. Incidentally, these huge Arachnids are believed to be created by magic, for the purpose of guarding secrets. For that purpose, few other beasts could be more suitable.
The notorious giant serpent of the Chamber of Secrets, the Basilisk is bred by hatching a chicken egg underneath a toad. It is not a natural creature, in the sense it was created by dark wizards for nefarious purposes. The first creator of the Basilisk is believed to be Herpo the Foul. A Greek dark wizard who was like Voldemort, also a Parselmouth.
Other than its size, the Basilisk also has extremely venomous fangs, as well as the ability to petrify or instantly kill with its gaze. This makes it arguably even deadlier than Medusa of Greek mythology fame. From the books, it was established that even an Elder Wand wielding Dumbledore could not reverse the petrification caused by a Basilisk, and that Basilisk venom is strong enough to destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes. In short, unless you are a fluent Parselmouth, don’t even think of going near a Basilisk. And even if you are one, do think thrice before attempting to breed or control such a fiendish beast.
Chimaeras in the world of Harry Potter are ferocious Greek creatures with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a dragon’s tail. By that description, they are close to the version found in classical Greek myths. According to Newt Scamander, there has only ever been one successful slaying of a Chimaera, with that wizard who accomplished that falling to his death from his winged horse shortly afterward. With all the other things he was dealing with back then, Harry Potter should be really glad he didn’t have to go up against a Chimaera in the original books and stories. This fantastic beast might have succeeded in killing him when Voldemort, dragons, and basilisks all failed.
In the original Greek myth, Bellerophon slayed the Chimaera while riding the winged-horse Pegasus. Subsequently, he fell off Pegasus, to his death, when he tried to fly to Mount Olympus.
Dragons are no strangers to fantasy fiction. What makes the ones in the world of Harry Potter exceptionally terrifying is that they are completely feral. These are no Smaugs or Saphiras or Elliotts, who could be deceived, reasoned with, or befriended. Dragons in Harry Potter’s world are pure engines of destruction. They are an assured grisly death for anyone stupid enough to approach them unprepared.
Under Scamander’s classification, there are altogether ten breeds of dragons. Some are smaller and taper, preferring diets of small animals, while others are horrific monstrosities up to a few tons heavy. Like their counterparts in other fantasy stories, most parts of dragons also have some sort of practical use for magic. For example, heart strings could be used within wands. Because of this, the Ministry of Magic heavily regulates the trading of dragon parts. Even dragon eggs are classified as Class A non-tradeable goods.
The Erkling is a German, elfish creature that horrifies more with what it does, rather than what it can do. Described as around three feet tall, with a gnomish face, the Erkling uses its magical crackle to lure children. It then spirits away these entranced young ones for the nasty purpose of making dinner.
Probably because of the Erkling's size and lack of other abilities, the Wizarding world has been quite successful in reducing the number of Erkling killings. Nonetheless, they remain a significant threat to children. Those with children traveling in areas with known Erkling activity would do well to keep a constant eye on their wards. If confronted by one, smacking it on the head with a hard object like a cauldron has been proven to be highly useful in repelling them.
The Lethifold is far from being the most powerful fantastic beast in Newt Scamander’s book. But it is very likely the most horrifying. Also known as the Living Shroud, it is a dark cloak around half an inch thick, which moves by gliding soundlessly over the ground at night. A Lethifold kills by smothering and suffocating its victim. Thereafter, it quietly digesting its victim whole within itself. No traces of its murder are left behind.
With wizards and witches capable of summoning fire and other deadly magic, the Lethifold might not feel that horrifying a threat. Problem is, it favours attacking sleeping victims. Add to this is the unfortunate fact that the Patronus Spell is the only known spell capable of repelling a Lethifold. Just imagine this. You’re blissfully asleep, and suddenly death is all over you. In your confused state, would you be able to clearly think of a happy memory and cast the Patronus Spell? I doubt even great wizards like Sirius Black are capable of this.
Newt Scamander described the Nundu as “arguably the most dangerous in the world.” An East African beast in the form of a giant leopard, the Nundu’s diseased breath is capable of wiping out entire villages. To subdue even one requires the combined effort of hundreds of wizards.
Curiously, after the terrifying introduction, Newt did not elaborate further on the Nundu. In fact, the entry is one of the shortest in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. This could be because Newt has yet to extensively tour Africa prior to publishing his book. Or it could be that the Nundu is really that deadly. In other words, there are too few survivors with information. Whatever it is, this is one creature you certainly do not want to be anywhere near to when on African soil.
J.K. Rowling possibly based the Nundu on the Mngwa or Nunda. These are ferocious, leopard-like felines said to stalk Tanzania.
Like Lethifolds and Chimaeras, Quintapeds did not appear in the original Harry Potter stories. Also known as Hairy Macboons, these horrific beasts are carnivores with five legs, thick reddish-brown hair, and a strong appetite for human flesh. Despite the efforts of the Ministry of Magic, not one has ever been captured for research.
There is an unfortunate story behind the Quintapeds. They are believed to be a family of wizards transfigured into this beastly form by bitters enemies. For muggles and magical folk alike, the relief is that Quintapeds have ever only been found on the Scottish Isle of Drear That isle, thankfully, has been magically made unplottable on all maps by the Ministry of Magic. There's thus no risk of you wandering into a Quintapeds' dinner. Unless you are actually hungry to do so.
Trolls in the Harry Potter world are the same as those in other fantasy stories. Huge, terribly strong, and incredibly stupid. Originally from Scandinavia, they have since migrated all over Europe. Harry Potter trolls also have some degree of human intellect, which differentiates them from many other Harry Potter fantastic beasts. Because of this, they could be taught to speak some basic human words. They could also be made (fooled) into being guardians of locations or treasures.
Altogether, Newt Scamander listed three types of trolls, one of which is the sort that lives under bridges. In spite of their capacity for human speech and thought, trolls are still terribly dangerous creatures because of their violent and unpredictable natures. This is made a lot worse by the fact that they are not fussy eaters. A troll would happily gobble down any prey with naught a care on whether it is a cow or a man. If you're ever confronted by a troll, do not expect to have any chance of reasoning with it. Your best bet for survival is to just run.
Don’t expect any sweet, worshipful Jacob here. As we have seen in the movie version of Prisoner of Azkaban, werewolves in the Harry Potter world are agile, supernatural killers completely undiscerning of who or what they are attacking. Making this worst is that despite all the incredible feats wizards and witches are capable of, no one has discovered a way to counter a werewolf’s bite. The best a victim could do is to regularly ingest a potion made from Wolfsbane. This doesn't stop the transformations. It merely allows the victim to retain human sentience while in beastly form.
Of note, Newt Scamander describes werewolves as unique among all Harry Potter fantastic beasts because of their preference for human prey. A werewolf also fully remembers what he or she has done after reverting to human form. In other words, those who killed their kin or friends during rampages are doomed to remember the tragedy for the rest of their lives. Little surprise thus, that werewolf victims often beg to be killed rather than live on with the curse. To be bitten by a werewolf is possibly one of the worst fates to suffer in the Harry Potter world.
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© 2016 Kuan Leong Yong