A huge part of the appeal of Harry Potter is all the magical creatures that are brought to life on the big screen. While some are mischievous, others are helpful and the rest are just downright frightening – and you can learn about them all as you explore the creature effects at Warner Bros Studio Tours.
It would be impossible to name every magical creature in the non-Muggle world, but here are some of the best:
The undisputed gentleman of the magical-creatures world, Buckbeak is a hippogriff, so he is half eagle and half horse. A stickler for manners, this potentially dangerous breed can be placated by a simple bow, returning the favour if your gesture of respect is believed and accepted.
In terms of powers, Buckbeak can’t do any magic, as such, but he can fly, which comes in very handy, as both Harry Potter and Sirius Black can tell you.
Scary to look at but one of Hagrid’s favourite animal friends, Aragog is an acromantula – or a blooming big spider, to you and me. He lives in the Forbidden Forest with his enormous family and lies in wait for potential food to walk into his lair, with humans being a particularly enjoyable snack.
Acromantula venom is exceptionally rare and dangerous, so those who can collect some could find themselves very rich if they sell it. Just ask Professor Slughorn.
The monster of Slytherin, the basilisk is a huge serpent with enormous venomous fangs, armour-like scales and a fierce loyalty to those who can speak Parseltongue. Basilisks are also as magical as they are terrifying, which is why they tend to get locked away in hidden places, such as the Chamber of Secrets.
Powers-wise, basilisks are able to deflect spells with their tough scales and can scare people to death, literally, with their stare. The only way to survive eye contact with a basilisk is to not make it directly.
Boggarts might sound like fairly harmless magical creatures, what with them not having a form of their own, but they actually are one of the scariest. Nobody knows what they look like when they are alone, but when confronted by a person, they really show their true power.
A boggart’s power is that it can see into the mind of the person looking at it and transform into their greatest fear. Pretty horrifying stuff, but humiliating the boggart and laughing at it will make it retreat.
A beautiful creature that should never be considered a half-breed, the centaur is an extra-special resident of the Forbidden Forest. Suspicious of humans and hesitant to get involved with them, these striking, intelligent creatures possess a number of powers.
Healing, divination and astronomy are particular strengths of centaurs, but you’ll be lucky to get them to help you.
From the Common Welsh Green to Norwegian Ridgebacks, all dragons are magical in their own right and are particularly untamed. Large, scary to look at and easy to anger, these amazing creatures featured heavily in the Triwizard Tournament, much to Harry’s unhappiness.
Able to fly and breath fire, dragons are not to be meddled with. They can come to respect certain humans, such as Charlie Weasley, but humans generally don’t emerge from an encounter without a scar or two.
As beautiful as they are magical, unicorns live in the Forbidden Forest, away from human interference. It’s worth noting that they are relatively tame, for the right people, however, so if you’re pure of heart, they might be willing to trot over for a petting session.
Unicorns are exceptional in that every part of them is magical. Their hair is used for wand cores, their horns are used in potions and their blood is said to give long-lasting life to anyone who drinks it. But beware! As soon as unicorn blood touches your lips, you will be cursed.
Winged horses with skeletal bodies and faces, thestrals would probably scare people, if more could see them. Their power is very specific and tells of great sadness.
Sweet thestrals can remain invisible to everyone, bar those that have witnessed death first hand. They are very gentle and affectionate, enjoying the company of humans, but as few can actually see them, so they are regarded with a lot of suspicion and fear.
Of course, there are lots more magical creatures to know about and some of the most fun-sounding are those that Luna Lovegood and her father believe in but can’t prove the existence of. Just because you’ve never seen them, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist!