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Magical Creatures

By Kelly Bohrer

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Read the archived discussion on this essay here.

Goblins

Goblins are the first magical creatures Harry encounters when he first enters the wizarding world. They are short creatures with very long fingers and feet. Goblins are often underestimated and are looked down upon by many wizards. However, these creatures are highly intelligent and run Gringotts Wizarding Bank located in Diagon Alley in London. During Harry’s first visit to the bank we see that goblins have great powers when one goblin, Griphook, opens a vault with his long finger, and the door to the vault simply melts away. Hagrid, who works with many different types of magical creatures on a daily basis, even says, “Never mess with goblins, Harry.”6

Goblins have been denied certain rights, such as owning a wand, by wizards for centuries. They have started many rebellions, primarily in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in order to fight for equal rights with wizards, but none have been successful. Wizards continue to treat goblins as second-class citizens. Because of the injustices they are forced to endure, goblins may be swayed to join whichever side in the war appears to offer them the most freedoms.

“I think it depends on what they’re offered,” said Lupin. “And I’m not talking about gold; if they’re offered freedoms we’ve been denying them for centuries they’re going to be tempted.”7

Lupin’s statement shows that the goblins could join either side in the war. One likely scenario for the seventh book is that Bill Weasley, who works for Gringotts with the goblins, will make a second attempt to persuade them to fight on the side of the Order of the Phoenix. Bill may need help from other wizards, such as his father, in order to convince the Minister for Magic to grant the rights that the goblins have been denied. Unfortunately, if the Ministry of Magic refuses to grant goblins the rights that they desire, Lord Voldemort may use this situation to his advantage and persuade the goblins to join his side in the war.

Another possibility is that the goblins will merely remain neutral. In Order of the Phoenix, Bill, Mr. Weasley, and Lupin discuss this:

“They’re not giving anything away yet, said Bill. “I still can’t work out whether they believe he’s back or not. ’Course, they might prefer not to take sides at all. Keep out of it.”8

Mr. Weasley then makes the point that the goblins may be unwilling to join Lord Voldemort’s side because during the last war he murdered a goblin family. Later, Bill points out that the goblins may also refuse to join the Ministry’s side because they are particularly upset with Ludo Bagman, who borrowed money from them during the Quidditch World Cup and never paid them back. The goblins insist that the Ministry covered up this affair and are still highly upset. Since they are disillusioned with both sides, Bill feels that the goblins are likely to stay out of the wizarding war.

Centaurs

Centaurs have the body of a human from the waist up and the body of a horse from the waist down. Centaurs live mainly in forests and rarely choose to interact with human beings. According to the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the centaurs have requested to be classified as beasts rather than as beings.9 Centaurs are highly intelligent creatures and did not want to share the “being” status with certain others like hags. The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures classifies centaurs as XXXX. This rating means that they are dangerous, though not necessarily aggressive unless they are treated with disrespect.

Centaurs practice a form of divination where they read the planets and the sky in order to learn about the future. Harry experiences this first hand when he meets the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest while serving detention with Hagrid during his first year. The centaurs seem to be preoccupied with the sky and keep repeating the phrase, “Mars is bright tonight.” Hagrid tells Harry that it is hard to talk to centaurs because they are stargazers. Hagrid also adds, “They’re deep, mind, centaurs … they know things … jus’ don’ let on much.”10

One centaur is different from the others because of his willingness to involve himself in human affairs. This centaur is Firenze, who saves Harry from Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. The other centaurs become angry when Firenze lets Harry ride on his back because they think it is a disgraceful act and beneath their kind. When, in Order of the Phoenix, Professor Dumbledore hires Firenze to teach Divination at Hogwarts to replace Professor Trelawney, Firenze’s herd considers him a traitor and banishes him from the forest.

Besides reading the planets, centaurs are also known for their skills in archery and magical healing, skills that could prove beneficial in the war. However, since centaurs rarely get involved in human affairs, they will most likely not be involved in the war unless they are directly threatened or insulted. There is some hope though.

Although the centaurs were angry that Dumbledore hired Firenze, they showed great respect for the venerable wizard at his funeral when they saluted him by shooting arrows into the air. Consequently, the centaurs may fight or at least send a warning if the Death Eaters infringe upon their territory in the forest in order to attack Hogwarts. Firenze in particular would likely be willing to come to the aid of the humans and Harry in particular. He saved the boy’s life once; he may do so again.

Giants

Giants are creatures of tremendous strength and height. They are highly feared and disliked because they allied themselves with Lord Voldemort in the 1970’s and killed many wizards and Muggles. Giants are not very intelligent and are known for their brutality, which includes killing each other. Although they use their strength as their main form of attack, wizards have been known to give them magic as peace offerings.

Before the war started, Dumbledore tried to convince the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, to reach out to the giants:

“Extend them the hand of friendship, now, before it’s too late,” said Dumbledore, “or Voldemort will persuade them, as he did before, that he alone among wizards will give them their rights and their freedom!” 11

Unfortunately, Fudge refused to believe that Lord Voldemort had returned and selfishly did not want to jeopardize his own career by sending an envoy to the giants. Because of Fudge’s ignorance, Dumbledore decided to send Hagrid and Madame Maxime, both half-giants, to persuade the full-blooded giants to join the Order’s side before Lord Voldemort recruited them to his side. Sadly, the mission was not successful and in Half-Blood Prince, it appears that the giants, as a group, are once more working with Voldemort, having attacked a Muggle town. For that reason, it is most likely that the giants will continue to fight on Lord Voldemort’s side causing more havoc and destruction.

Fortunately, from that journey with Madame Maxime, Hagrid was able to bring home one full-blooded giant named Grawp, who happens to be his half-brother. Hagrid has been keeping him in the forest in order to teach him English and domesticate him so that he can have some interaction with human beings. Grawp is very fond of Hagrid as well as those people who are close to Hagrid, particularly Hermione. Therefore, in the seventh book, it is certain that Grawp will fight to protect these people and possibly become a crucial ally especially in defending Hogwarts.

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Read the aarchived discussion on this essay in Unfogging Deathly Hallows!