10 Creatures from Harry Potter That Have Their Origins in Myth

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The world of Harry Potter has captured the creativeness of followers for quite a lot of causes, not least the extremely various variety of creatures, crops, and supernatural entities which result in a wealthy and beloved fantasy world. Whereas a few of these are acquainted to many people from a lot of totally different sources, listed here are ten examples of those that have their origins in fable and folklore from all over the world.

Associated: 10 Fascinating Secrets and techniques In Harry Potter

10 Mandrake

The well-known mandrake root, launched in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and techniques is a plant that not solely screams when it’s being repotted however can also be a “highly effective restorative” used to deal with those that have been cursed, transfigured, or petrified. Whereas the screams of the mandrake can, in some circumstances, be deadly, these of the youthful crops solely lead to inflicting unconsciousness.

In actuality, the Mandragora officinarum shouldn’t be solely attention-grabbing for the form of its roots, which steadily resemble human figures, but in addition for its hallucinogenic and hypnotic results. The mixture of those elements makes it unsurprising {that a} wealth of legends have surrounded this specific plant that predates the Bible.

Whereas in Genesis, the plant is reputed to have cured Racheal’s infertility (Genesis 30:14-17), the later writings of Josephus of Jerusalem (c. AD 37-100) describe the mandrake in a way more recognizable trend for the followers of J.Ok. Rowling’s notorious sequence. To make sure the mandrake’s scream doesn’t kill when dug up, Josephus describes digging a furrow to reveal a part of the basis earlier than being tied to a canine that can then excavate the basis and in addition perish in its grasp’s place.

Talked about within the writings of well-known occultists Eliphas Levi and Jean-Baptise Pitois, it was later seen as a key ingredient in flying ointments utilized by medieval witches to attend gatherings or meet with the Satan himself. [1]

9 Dragons

Among the earliest dragon myths date again to sources such because the Indian Rig Veda (c. 1500 BC), which recounts the discharge of heavenly waters to the earth following the loss of life of the nice dragon Vrtra by the god Indra. Equally, the Mesopotamian god Marduk battled the dragon Tiamat for management of humanity.

One thing extra recognizable to us will be discovered within the Iranian Zoroastrian custom, which talks of the serpentine “azi,” described as toxic beings that swallowed each horses and males. And as soon as we attain the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Persian Guide of Kings recounts the feats of mighty heroes equivalent to Rustum, who steadily discovered himself pitted towards the mighty beasts. Certainly, the concept of the serpentine vampire seems all through numerous world mythologies: The afore-mentioned Tiamat, the Judeo-Christian Leviathan, the Hydra of Greek fable, and the Norse Jormungandr, the latter of which had a transparent affect on the epic Previous English poem Beowulf, the place we are able to see the phrase “dracan.”

Extra trendy depictions of dragons usually draw inspiration from these tales, portraying brutal and jealous defenders of their hoarded treasure. Nevertheless, it’s doable that the heraldic use of the dragon has led to the traits of excessive mind in addition to a benevolent protector and pal to people in lots of tales.[2]

8 Pixies

Cornish Pixies, as chronicled by Rowling, are small, blue troublemakers. Historically, they’re described as usually mischievous beings that have been steadily the explanation for folks turning into misplaced when touring. Myths of pixies will not be unique to Cornwall but in addition seem in Devon, Dorset, and Hampshire.

Pixies are apparently keen on dancing and gathering collectively in massive teams to play, cavort, or wrestle at evening, such because the gathering of 600 at Trevose Head, the place the celebrations have been lower quick when the pixie Omafra misplaced his giggle. Fortunately for Omfra, King Arthur was capable of restore his laughter, and he returned to his pixie queen, Joan the Wad.

The pixies of Dartmoor are extremely small and pleasant. Nevertheless, they do have a penchant for disguising themselves as rags with a view to entice youngsters to play. They might even assist with the house responsibilities, however in case you are touring and turn out to be “pixy-led,” it might be sensible to show your coat inside out with a view to discover your approach as soon as extra.

Removed from benign, It’s generally stated that the pixies are, actually, wandering pagan souls, caught eternally in limbo, and even the unbaptized souls of infants.[3]

7 Boggarts

The boggart acquainted to followers of the Harry Potter sequence bears little similarity to their mythological namesake.

With their origins in English folklore, the boggart will get its title from the Welsh “bwg” and, very similar to pixies, is described as being a mischievous trickster, although with a extra malevolent streak.

Whereas its origin was as a hearth-spirit, a boggart is definitely a change of the normally useful hobgoblin. If mistreated, it can turn out to be a boggart. Its mischievous nature will probably be current when turning into horrifying and even harmful because it seeks to punish those that have offended or abused it.

Boggarts are sometimes blamed for objects disappearing, milk souring, and even canines turning into lame. Those that dwell in swamps or marshlands have been reputed to be the reason for lacking youngsters.

Within the story of “The Farmer and the Satan,” we see that even with all his crafty, a boggart will be bested. Although, let’s hope the farmer within the story didn’t meet the wrath of Owd Hob, the Lancashire boggart king! By the way, these bumps within the evening may be a boggart, extra generally identified these days as Bogey or the Bogeyman.[4]

6 Basilisk

One other creature that differs enormously from the outline given within the Potter books is the basilisk. Whereas stated to be the king of the snakes, its big dimension shouldn’t be mirrored within the supply materials: Pliny the Elder writes in his Naturalis Historia that the basilisk of Cyrene is a small snake of “no more than twelve fingers in size.” It’s the most toxic of snakes, with its poison capable of stream up the shaft of a spear or lance to kill each horse and rider. With venom and toxic pores and skin, the serpent was additionally stated to have the ability to kill with a glare, turning its consideration on herbs and crops if people weren’t at hand.

Fortunately, the odor of a weasel is all it’s essential to repel this nightmarish creature, a legend which will have its roots in tales of the king cobra, whose pure predator is the mongoose.[5]

5 Centaur

The centaurs of J.Ok. Rowling’s creation share a lot with C.S. Lewis’s Narnian counterparts. Therapeutic, prophecy, and stargazing turn out to be therapeutic, archery, and astrology within the Potter canon. Whereas they’re noble creatures, Rowling doesn’t eschew the savagery of the unique Greek myths. Wild and untamed, the centaurs are birthed by the union of Ixion and Nyphele and sometimes are consultant of the duality of human nature.

Whereas centaurs are usually depicted as male, there have been some descriptions of centaurides, or feminine centaurs, with a 4th-century mosaic from Tunisia. Additionally, there’s a point out by Ovid of a centauride named Hylonome who dedicated suicide following the loss of life of her husband.[6]

4 Yeti

Gilderoy Lockhart is alleged to have spent a “Yr With the Yeti” in The Chamber of Secrets and techniques, which isn’t shocking when muggle sightings of the notorious beast have been plentiful. Nevertheless, the legend of the Yeti dates again to historical Himalayan folklore, and tales of the creature have been unfold by vacationers for time immemorial. Certainly, following the conquering of the Indus Valley in 326 BC, Alexander the Nice demanded to see a Yeti, though he was upset when knowledgeable that they may not survive at such a low altitude.

Very similar to purported sightings of Wild man or the Loch Ness Mystery beast, little stable proof has been introduced for the existence of the creature. The famed Sir Edmund Hilary—the primary man to scale Mount Everest—discovered what he believed to be a Yeti scalp, although it later proved to be nothing greater than a serow cover, a creature just like a goat and native to the area.

What higher individual to have hunted the Yeti than the nice Brian Blessed? The actor/explorer has not solely scaled mountains and confronted off towards polar bears however has revealed a ebook on his hunt for the elusive enormous. If there’s anybody on the market that would coax one out, I’m certain it’s the person who has been identified to speak of how a lot feminine gorillas like him! [7]

3 Elves

Elves have a protracted and storied historical past, although none of them are the servile, meek beings present in Harry Potter.

First showing in Previous English and Norse texts, elves are certainly magical creatures and are normally described as both being possessed of extremely lengthy lifespans or, in some circumstances, immortal. Being of diminutive stature within the English and Scottish traditions, elves are sometimes elusive, childlike, and, at occasions, troublesome and mischievous. Though they aren’t inherently evil, a lot of the folklore of this time recounts people journeying to Elphame, usually described as unsettling and ghostly. It’s additionally not unknown for elves to antagonize and even kill people in sure circumstances.

In Norse custom, elves are of a extra human peak and are even capable of procreate with people. Regardless of this, the alfar, as they’re identified, weren’t certain by bodily legal guidelines and will move via partitions. Elves have been extra lovely than people, although males may ascend to elfhood—if worthy sufficient.

But not all elves are equal: whereas Freyr reigned over Alfheimr, the land of the sunshine elves, the darkish elves dwelt in Svartalfheimr, the place they hid from the sunshine of the solar, lest they be turned to stone. These darkish elves have been the reason for nightmares. A lot so that there’s even an evidence for sleep paralysis within the type of darkish elves sitting on a sleeping individual’s chest within the type of a mare.[8]

2 Sphinx

The sphinx, as depicted in The Goblet of Fireplace, fulfills a lot the identical function as her namesake within the fable of Oedipus, presenting our hero with a riddle that can lead to his loss of life if answered incorrectly. Depictions of the sphinx within the Egyptian custom present a lady’s face, a lion’s haunches, and the wings of a chicken. This differs from the outline given in Goblet—a big leonine physique with a human head.

Because of the riddles of legend, the sphinx grew to become the image of not solely intelligence and information but in addition omniscience. Subsequent depictions of the sphinx, such because the Nice Sphinx of Giza, are believed to point out the faces of pharaohs. On this specific case, pharaoh Khafre, the pharaoh additionally answerable for the Nice Pyramid on the similar location.[9]

1 Werewolves

Legends of the lycan date again to the earliest identified instance of prosaic western literature; in The Epic of Gilgamesh, our titular hero refuses a possible lover as she had turned a earlier lover right into a wolf.

Greek mythology additionally options early depictions of werewolves: Lycaon serves the god Zeus a meal made from a sacrificed boy. In his anger, Zeus remodeled Lycaon and his sons into wolves—therefore the time period lycanthropy.

Tales of transformation into wolves because of magical wolf pelts function within the Nordic sagas. Nevertheless, much more ugly are the acts perpetrated by historic figures equivalent to Pierre Bergut and Michel Verdun. They have been presupposed to have sworn allegiance to the Satan and be in possession of an ointment that would to show them into wolves. These two have been burned on the stake after confessing to the homicide of a number of youngsters. Equally, sixteenth-century Frenchman Giles Garnier was additionally burned on the stake after allegedly reworking right into a wolf and killing and consuming youngsters.

One of the well-known real-life circumstances is that of Peter Stubbe, a rich farmer in Bedburg, Germany. After youngsters’s disappearances within the space, he was cornered by a gaggle of hunters who claimed to have witnessed him shapeshifting. He later confessed beneath torture, although whereas these occasions could have stoked rampant fears of lycan exercise round Europe, some didn’t consider in his guilt and thought him to be a sufferer of a witch-hunt. Maybe it was extra of a case of a scapegoat in wolf’s clothes.[10]

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