The 16 Most Fantastic Beasts of Harry Potter

We count down 16 Of the Most Fantastic Beasts in the Potterverse, and consider if they will appear in the new movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

The wondrous world of the Harry Potter has been filled with magical creatures ever since the first book and movie introduced the concept of the owl as mail delivery system. Over the course of seven books and eight movies, we met everything from pixies to dragons, from pygmy puffs to werewolves. We’ve also seen two creatures in the trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Niffler and the brand new “Swooping Evil.”

Newt Scamander is famous for his compendium Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which has been in print continuously since 1927, as well as his knowledge of Magizoology. Not only will we be seeing Nifflers and swooping Evils, but spoilers suggest American Puffskeins are what bring Scamander to America in the first place.

But what other creatures might we see? How many of those that we met in the original movies will turn up in the new ones? We run down the 16 Fantastic Beasts that we’ve met so far in the Potterverse, and discuss if we’ll find them in the new movie.

1. Pygmy Puffs & Puffskeins

Not all fantastic beasts in the Wizarding World are great majestic creatures. Sometimes they’re small and cuddly. Take for instance, the Pygmy puff. Pygmy puffs were bred by the Weasley brothers as miniaturized version of the popular wizarding world pet known as a Puffskein. Puffskeins ware not unlike the Wizarding World’s version of a tribble, with better breeding properties, and bogey eating bonus features. The pygmy version of the creature was bred specifically to appeal to young witches. Unlike the original puffskeins, which were cream in color, pygmy puffs come in pink and purple shades. A group of them is known as a poffle.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: Pygmy Puffs: NONE, Puffskeins: ALL BUT CONFIRMED

Pygmy Puffs are small and adorable, but as they were first bred in the mid 1990s, it is certain they will not appear in the Fantastic Beasts prequels. On the other hand, the Puffskein is a creature that has been around the Wizarding community a long time, and their fur is used regularly for potions. Moreover, the scrap of script outline we saw in J.K. Rowling’s own header suggest that Newt Scamander’s reason for traveling to america is to procure the american variety. Though the production hasn’t officially confirmed that, we’re pretty sure it’s for real.

2. Snakes

Snakes, like Owls, and other real world creatures that crossover from the Muggle world to the Wizarding one may not at first seem like much of a fantastic beast. But in fact, snakes in the Wizarding world have a much higher standing in the animal kingdom than they do in the human one. This is partly do to their language speaking skills, known as Parseltongue. Wizards who can speak Parseltongue are rare, and many of the more famous ones have been Dark Wizards, leading to the impression that snakes are associated with the dark arts. The most famous of course, is Voldemort, whose snake Nagini was not his pet, but also a horcrux.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: ALL BUT CONFIRMED. Much like the Puffskein, this was a spoiler given away early, as Eddie Redmayne said in an interview during filming in 2015 that he had found himself having to work with live snakes on set, and was surprised they weren’t going to be CGI’d in. Whether or not their reputation as dark magic creatures is helped or hurt by this appearance is still to be seen.

3. Acromantula

These giant spiders, known for their taste for human flesh, were believed to have been bred by wizards for the purposes of guarding treasure back in the 1700s. Acromantula are considered to be native of Southeast Asia, with hairy legs that can stretch up to fifteen feet in length. Intelligent creatures, they understand and can speak in human tongue, though are known more to click when communicating among themselves. Their venom is highly toxic, and goes for prices as high as 100 galleons a pint.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: MEDIUM-HIGH. The acromantulas are mention in Scamander’s writings, but he is believes the rumors of a colony in Scotland near Hogwarts are just that: rumors. (Harry and Ron discover quite differently.) But recently a theory has risen that that colony in Scotland actually got started because of Newt! Going off the quote Aragog says in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: “I came to Hagrid from a distant land, in the pockets of a traveler,” some Potterheads are theorizing that Aragog himself might make an appearances as a stowaway among Newt’s many animal pals.

4. Pixies

Pixies are adorable little mischief makers. Though some who have never been in contact with them may confuse them for a variety of Faerie, that are in fact a different species all together. For instance, Faeries have wings. Pixies do not. (Though it is a curious thing that muggles continually act as if they do, going so far as to have them wear sets during the filming of the Harry Potter movies.) Pixie are not only capable of flying without wings (though they have been known to shrilly attack anyone who sings that song), but they also are shockingly strong for their size, able to pick up fully grown humans by their ears and drop them from great heights for fun.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: HIGH. I’ll be shocked if a few stray pixies don’t come whizzing out of Newt Scamander’s bag at some point. Scamander rates them as semi harmless creatures, more amusing than dangerous. Unless of course, you’re a complete incompetent like Gildroy Lockhart. Either way, an infestation of pixies among the local no-maj population is probably a recipe for mayhem.

5. Niffler

Nifflers are cute little mole like creatures with a attraction to anything and everything shiny. Classified under rodents, they live in deep burrows and are native to the UK. originally semi-domesticated by Goblins, who used them to burrow for treasure, especially gold, Nifflers make great pets for wizarding families with children (and those without.) Nifflers are loyal, cuddly and affectionate creatures. Just be advised that like a dog who will chew your slipper, Niffler might chew through your vanity to get to the gold necklace you got from Aunt Maggie.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: CONFIRMED. So far, the Fantastic Beasts production has been pretty tight lipped about which creatures we’ll meet, but the Niffler was featured prominently during the first full length trailer in April, and is, according to Alison Sudol, the only one of the “Beasts” they’ve been given permission to discuss in interviews. The Niffler’s loyalty and humorous behavior when it comes to gold makes it a perfect creature for the movie to feature ahead of time, as well as our fond memories of it from the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire novel. (The fact that they were cut from the GOF movie is also a bonus, since it means the production is free to create them to look however they saw fit.)

6. Grindylow

These underwater demon type creatures may look sort of cute and friendly when you see them in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but as he learns, they’re actually pretty deadly. Grindylows are aggressive little buggers, usually found at the bottom of lake beds in the UK and Ireland. They have been known to attack wizard kind and muggles alike, with large teeth and long fingers. The only intelligent creature who has managed to tame them in any shape or form are the merpeople, who keep them as pets. Though technically considered fish eaters, Grindylows will eat a human on occasion. For that reason they are classified as dangerous.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: MEDIUM. They are mentioned in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book, but not much is said about them that wasn’t already known. Also, unless the movie redesigns them to be much smaller, they don’t strike me as creatures that could easily travel to America.

7. Three Headed Dog

Three headed dogs are a famous creature, even before the Potterverse, due to the notoriety of Cerberus, who famously worked as a gate guard to the Grecian Underworld. But Three Headed Dogs have a long history with the Wizarding world, and for those who are patient enough to train them, they can be wonderful pets. Much like any dog breed, it’s about the owner and how they treat their pet that determines an animal’s personality. For a perfectly good example, see Fluffy, hagrid’s guard dog, who was as loyal as the day was long, at least according to hagrid. And how wouldn’t love a puppy who falls asleep to music?

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: LOW. Three Headed Dogs are not considered fantastical enough apparently to appear in Newt Scamander’s writings. This lack of attention to learning about the breed is probably why there’s not a lot of information on them–it is not even known if each head has a purpose, because apparently no one ever sat down and asked. The breed is native to euyrope as well, not the US, so it’s doubtful we could randomly run into one.

8. Phoenixes

One of the most famous bird breeds in the Wizarding world, Phoenixes are known for their slightly unnerving regeneration cycle, which involves periodically bursting into flame with little to no warning, and then popping back out of the ashes as a newborn chick. The event, referred to by their wizard companions as “Burning Day” has the surprising side effect of prolonging the phoenix’s life by several hundreds of years. Burning Day should not be confused with the phoenix’s transporting abilities, which also occur in bursts of flame, sometimes to the great surprise of the wizard or witch it has decided to take along for the ride.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: HIGH. Newt Scamader wrote extensively about the phoenix, including on the problems of domestication, which suggest that he spent a great many years working on doing just that. Even so, the only recorded domesticated phoenixes in history are Fawkes, who belonged to Dumbledore, and the current team mascot of the New Zealand Moutohora Macaws. This suggests if we do see Scamander working on domestication, it will probably be unsuccessful. And though the Swooping Evil does sort of resemble a phoenix in the trailer, it is highly doubtful they will turn out to be related.

9. Thestrals

Thestrals are a type of breed of Winged Horse. Other breed types include Abraxan, Aethonan and Granian. Of the four types, Thestrals are considered the rarest. This is partly due to the fact that not everyone can see Thestrals–they are only visible to those who have witnessed death. This, combined with their reptilian skeletal appearance and leathery wings gave rise to many superstitions that surround the creature, including that to even see one was bad luck. But though they have a bad reputation, Thestrals are social animals who live in herds, and quite a few wizards have tamed ones in their possession, despite the Ministry’s laws against it. it should be noted that the Edler Wand had a core of Threstral tail hair

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: MEDIUM-HIGH. If we do not see a Thestral in the movie, then it’s quite possible we will see one of the other breeds of Winged Horse. Most of our information on all of these breeds comes from Newt Scamander’s writings. And besides, they make for a very useful dues ex machina when needing to be rescued from a tight spot and travel great distances in a short amount of screen time.

10. Hippogriff

Hippogriffs are the part eagle/part horse creature who stole the hearts of audiences in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Buckbeak is one of the most famous magical creatures introduced during the sires, and for good reason. Hippogriffs, though proud creatures, are also fiercely loyal companions, and will risk their lives for humans they consider under their protection. (See also, Buckbeak’s joining the battle against Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.) Breeding hippogriffs is a high end job in the Wizarding world, much like breeding high end dogs for competition is in the Muggle world.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: HIGH. Newt Scamander’s mother was a hippogriff breeder, a fact that may have had something to do with his choice of career studying magical creatures. Though from all accounts the movie will start with Newt arriving in America, one suspects that any flashback memories to his childhood–especially anything that involves him going home after being expelled from Hogwarts–will include hippogriffs. That is, if he doesn’t already have one of his own.

11. Basilisk

The Basilisk is known as “The King of the Serpents.” A gigantic snake that averages 50 feet or more in length, Basilisks are creatures bred by Dark Arts wizards. The practice (which comes from hatching a chicken egg under a toad) has been outlawed for centuries–since the middle ages. But that doesn’t seem to have stopped their proliferation. Basilisks are known to kill wizards, which is partly why they are outlawed–too dangerous. Only wizards who speak parseltongue are able to exert any control over them. (Not that just speaking the language will do this trick–the Parcelmouth must also have an existing relationship with the creature in order to control it.)

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: LOW. Newt Scamander claims that no one has seen a basilisk for over four hundred years in the UK at the time of his writing Fantastic Beasts. This suggests that he was unaware of Slytherin’s Basilisk, who lived in the bowels of Hogwarts, and himself had never seen one. (Also that whatever it was he did to get expelled, it had nothing to do with a Basilisk.) Let us all be grateful for that, as the venom of a Basilisk has only one known cure, and people don’t walk around with phoenix tears in their pockets as a regular rule.

12. Trolls

Though semi-sentient, trolls are classified as as beasts rather than under any sort of human category. This is partly due to their very magical nature–troll whiskers have been known to be used in wand cores for instance. All subspecies of trolls, Mountain, Forest and River, grow to an immense size, 12 feet or more, and are generally regarded as extremely dimwitted. The stereotype is so embedded in wizarding life, that there is even a failing grade named after them. Their capacity for language suggests that troll intelligence is somewhat underestimated, and though with a talent for languages can communicate with them. they can even be trained for security purposes. Trolls are considered dangerous, due to their taste for raw human flesh.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: MEDIUM. Trolls are in fact an entry in Newt Scamander’s book, and though the troll was originally native to Scandinavia, they can be found all across Europe, and perhaps even on the other side of the Atlantic. And we know that newt has a penchant for the more dangerous beasts, and just about anything could be down in that briefcase of his.

13. Merpeople

Merpeople are classified as beasts, though that is by their own choice. They were offered “being” status, and turned it down, not wanting to be classified in the same category as Vampires or Goblins. Certainly, merpeople are highly sentient creatures. They live underwater, inhabiting the seas all across the planet. Their interactions with muggles across the centuries has given rise to many myths and legends about them, from Greek Sirens, to Disney’s The Little Mermaid. According to Newt Scamander who studied them, those who inhabit warmer waters are more likely to be conform to human beauty standards than those who inhabit colder climates.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: HIGH. Newt’s dealings with merpeople in the Fantastic Beasts book suggests that he spent quite a bit of time studying them, and maybe even befriending a few. I would be highly certain that if at any point in any of the upcoming movies, some were to accidentally fall into the Hudson or the East River, we will meet American water dwelling merfolk. And if we don’t meet them in this movie, we may meet them in the next one, where newt is allegedly heading to other countries.

14. Centaur

Much like merpeople, Centaurs are a group who were offered the status of “being” rather than “beast” and chose to turn it down, rather than find themselves in a category that included werewolves and hags. Centuars are sometimes mistaken for half-breeds, due to their human body upper half and horse lower body. This is 100% false, and also insulting to them. Like both horses and people, they live in colony-type societies, and like merpeople, they are found all over the planet, in any decent sized forest. The colonies are usually territorial, and will attack anyone they see as invaders. Centaurs are the only creature in the beast category who are known to have a specific magic skill set, that of divining.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: LOW. Unlike merpeople, it is not as clear from the Fantastic Beasts book how much time newt spent with Centaurs. The colonies are usually hostile to grown wizards, and they basically refuse contact with the ministry, despite their being a Centaur Liaison Office. Combine that with Scamander finding himself in New York City, where there aren’t any large forests suggests the chances of us seeing one are low, unless, that is, if it’s in a flashback capacity.

 

15. Werewolves

Werewolves are a hybrid category. When fully human, they are classified under the “being” category, along with muggles and wizards. But when fully under the spell of lycanthropy, they are are reclassified as a “beast.” This is due to the fact that upon their uncontrollable transformation, a werewolf is unable to remember who they were, or recognize those around them, even if they are family and friends. The modern invention of the Wolfsbane potion (which was only first synthesized in the late 1970s/early 1980s) has mitigated that somewhat, allowing those who turn to keep their human awareness. Lycanthropy is a non hereditary disease that cannot be passed on to offspring, though werewolves who mate while transformed will have wolf puppies instead of children.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: LOW-MEDIUM. Newt Scamander wrote Fantastic Beasts fifty years before Wolfsbane made intelligent contact with transformed werewolves possible, so there is very little in the book on them. Most right-thinking wizards of that time avoided the creatures lest they get bitten and turned. Also, prior to Wolfsbane, most wizards who had the disease were basically in the closet about their conditions, making finding anyone willing to interview in human form nearly impossible. But it should be noted thatb Scamander was instrumental in dealing with this problem with his creation of the Werewolf Register in 1947, suggesting that he may befriend one before too long, leading to his crusade to help them come out of the the shadows.

16. Dragon

One of the most famous beasts in all of fantasy, Dragons, those giant, fire breathing reptiles, are a world wide phenomenon referred to in both Eastern and Western muggle folklore, and appearing in every muggle high budget fantasy production from The Lord of the Rings to the current television production Game of Thrones. The appearance of it in so much muggle folklore is due to how difficult it is to train, care for, and conceal these creatures. there is an entire subset of magizoologists known as dragonologists who specialize in them. According to the Fantastic Beasts book there are ten purebred species of dragon currently in existence, despite the fact that dragon breeding has been technically outlawed since 1709.

CHANCES THEY’LL APPEAR IN FANTASTIC BEASTS: HIGH. Call it the JRRTolkien Principle. If you have a fantasy trilogy that has an excuse to include dragons, dragons will show up. This despite that fact that Scamander is not a trained dragonologist, and there are no dragons known to be native to the Americas, we do know that he was secretly working with “dangerous” animals that lead to his being expelled from Hogwarts. He wrote extensively on them, working with the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau. It is also due to him that we know about the dragon attack on a muggle beach in 1932 known as the Ilfracombe Incident. However they work them in, I simply cannot imagine a movie trilogy entitled “Fantastic Beasts” will not at some point include the most fantastic Beast of all.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrives in theaters November 18th, 2016.