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 on hand with the sort of fantastic beasts they have in their world! Here are 10 Harry Potter fantastic beasts you definitely would not want to meet no matter the circumstance. 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 Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.
Giant spiders. Magical giant spiders. Who doesn’t fear them? An eight-eyed spider capable of human speech, the Acromantula was Ron Weasley’s worst nightmare. They have leg spans reaching up to fifteen feet and are heavily covered in thick black hair. When agitated or furious, they also make an incessant clicking sound with their pincers. This sound itself is enough to drive a potential victim insane with fear.
Despite all these, 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 intention, few other beasts are 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 said to be Herpo the Foul, a Greek dark wizard and Parselmouth.
Other than its size, the Basilisk has extremely venomous fangs, and 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 also established that even an Elder Wand wielding Dumbledore could not reverse the petrification, that ghosts are not immune to the Basilisk’s gaze, 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 falling to his death from his winged horse shortly after. With all the other things he was dealing with back then, Harry Potter should be really glad Chimaeras weren’t added to his list of woes. 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 dragons 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. A grisly death for anyone stupid enough to approach them unprepared.
Under Newt’s classification, there are ten breeds of dragons. Some are smaller or tamer than the rest, keeping to themselves and preferring diets of small animals. The largest are horrific monstrosities a few tons heavy, capable of destroying entire villages within minutes. Like their counterparts in other fantasy stories, most parts of dragons have some sort of practical use for magic. This resulted in Ministries of Magic heavily regulating the trading of dragon parts. Dragon eggs are also classified as Class A non-tradeable goods.
The Erkling is a German, elfish creatures that horrify more with what it does, 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 kidnaps these entranced young ones from their guardians for food.
Probably because of its 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. Or at least, cast some sort of muffling spell to cancel out the wicked crackle of these child feasting creatures.
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 glides soundlessly over the ground at night. The Lethifold kills by smothering and suffocating its victim. Thereafter quietly digesting its victim whole within itself.
With wizards and witches capable of summoning fire and other deadly magic, the Lethifold might not feel that horrifying. Problem is, it favours attacking sleeping victims. Which means one would rarely be able to retaliate. Add to this is the unfortunate fact that the Patronus Spell is the only known spell capable of repelling a Lethifold. Imagine this. You’re blissfully asleep, and suddenly death is all over you. Literally. In your confused state, would you be able to clearly think of a happy memory and cast the Patronus Spell? Unlikely. That’s how frightening a Lethifold is.
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 might be because Newt has yet to extensively tour Africa prior to publishing his book. Or it could simply be that the Nundu is really that deadly. There are too few survivors to interview.
J.K. Rowling possibly based the Nundu on the Mngwa or Nunda. This is also a ferocious leopard-like Feline said to stalk Tanzania.
Like Lethifolds and Chimaeras, Quintapeds did not appear in the original Harry Potter stories. Also known as Hairy Macboons, Quintapeds are carnivorous beasts with five legs, covered in thick reddish-brown hair. Despite the efforts of the Ministry of Magic, one has never been captured for research. Quintapeds are also known to have a great preference for human flesh.
An unfortunate story accompanies the Quintapeds. They are believed to be a family of wizards transfigured into this beastly form by their enemies. In his entry, Newt Scamander did not confirm whether he found this story to be true. For muggles and magical folk alike, the relief is that Quintapeds have only been found on the Scottish Isle of Drear so far. That isle has also been magically made unplottable on all maps.
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. Unlike most other fantastic beasts in Scamander’s book, trolls also have minimal human intellect. Because of that, they could be taught to speak some basic human words. Thereafter made (fooled) into being guardians of locations and treasures.
Altogether, Newt Scamander listed three types of trolls, one of which being the sort who live 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, without a doubt, made worse by them not being fussy eaters. A troll would happily gobble down any prey. With naught a thought on whether it is a cow or a man it is swallowing.
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. What’s 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 ingest a potion made from Wolfsbane. This allows the victim to at least retain human sentience after monthly transformations.
Of note, Newt Scamander describes werewolves as unique among all fantastic beasts, because of their preference for human prey. Worse, a werewolf remembers what he or she has done after reverting to human form. 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 some victims begged to be killed, rather than to live on as werewolves.