From Hippogriffs to unicorns, the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter is full of many wondrous creatures. We wouldn’t mind having many of these in our own universe if it was possible! But for every monstrosity that would be fun to make a reality, there are just as many we definitely wouldn’t want to run into anytime soon. As much as they might also be incredible beasts, after meeting them you might not leave with your life—or sanity—intact!
With Halloween drawing closer and the film inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them only a little more than a month away, now is the perfect time to take a closer look at these frightening creatures.
With the help of the fictional textbook written by magizoologist Newt Scamander, I’ve compiled a list of the Top 15 scariest, most dangerous in the Potterverse. I stuck to those the wizarding community classifies as beasts for my list, so you won’t find the likes of the dementors or Voldemort himself here. Still, depending on how far you’ve delved into Rowling’s magical realms, you’ll most likely find some familiar (as well as new) faces made the final cut.
The flying pink creature you see in the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them may just be this African bird. The Fwooper is known for its bright plumage and according to Scamander has “long been a provider of fancy quills.” Why then does it make my list? Well, apparently the song it sings, which is "first enjoyable," can drive you insane if you listen long enough! Wizards still keep Fwoopers though, they just use a Silencing Charm that is reinforced monthly so that they’ll never hear it. That means they better be a responsible owner and as a result, owning one of these birds requires a license.
14) Red Cap
Wizards and witches should be able to handle Red Caps, mentioned in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Professor Snape is teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, just fine with a charm or hex, but Muggles on the other hand aren’t so lucky! Scamander describes these creatures, who share a name with a similar creature in our own folklore, as “dwarf-like” and found mostly in northern Europe living “wherever human blood has been spilled.” Keep an eye out for these if you’re a Muggle walking around at night because these creatures will try to beat you to death!
The scariest thing about this beast is that it preys on children. The elflike Erkling, which appeared in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire video game, can entrance them with its “high-pitched cackle” and once it lures them away from safety, tries to eat them. According to Scamander, strict controls have reduced killings though so at least these creatures are not a constant threat!
You most likely recognize this name from real Japanese folklore and that’s not all the creature has in common with its real-life counterpart either. In the Wizarding World, the Kappa is also a Japanese demon found in water. Scamander states that it “feeds on human blood” however there is a way to placate it using cucumbers, something it shares with its folklore version. Scamander says a Kappa “may be persuaded not to harm a person if it is thrown a cucumber with that person’s name carved into it.”
All trolls are dangerous and we saw just how dangerous a mountain troll could be when one showed up in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Trolls may not be very smart, but they’re strong and violent. They have a taste for raw flesh and yes, that definitely includes humans. According to Scamander, “the mountain troll is the largest and most vicious” so Harry, Ron, and Hermione definitely were lucky when they managed to defeat one in their first year!
The Chimaera, also spelled Chimera, is a creature from Greek mythology and shares quite a few similarities with the Harry Potter creature of the same name. Like the Chimera in real mythology, this magical Greek beast is also a combination of creatures. It has a dragon’s tail, goat’s body, and lion’s head, and is predictably “extremely dangerous.” According to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Chimaera’s are also “vicious and bloodthirsty” and there’s only ever been one case of a wizard actually slaying one. That wizard then died soon after because he was so exhausted he fell off his winged horse! The lesson here? Avoid such a beast at all costs and if you do happen to survive such a dangerous encounter, don’t hop on a winged horse before resting first! The Chimaera appeared on a card for the Harry Potter trading card game as seen in the tweet above.
The Manticore, which appeared on a wizard card in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban video game, is yet another beast you might recognize from our own mythology. In the Wizarding World, the Greek creature is as rare and dangerous as the Chimaera and is also a hybrid beast. This one has a scorpion’s tail, lion’s body, and man’s head. Why do I put it ahead of the Chimaera? Apparently its skin can repel charms and you’ll die instantly if you’re stung by it. Most of all though what makes it scarier in my opinion is the fact that it “is reputed to croon softly as it devours its prey.” That’s just creepy.
You may now be asking yourself, what could be creepier than a crooning Manticore devouring you? Well, meet the Pogrebin. This Russian demon will basically drive you to despair, then try to eat you, and seeing it to stop it is far from easy! It follows humans in their shadows and can make itself look like a rock if you turn around. After hours of this you’ll start to despair, feel lethargic, and sink to your knees “to weep at the pointlessness of it all.” That’s when the Pogrebin will try to eat you. Wizards and witches can use hexes or a Stupefying Charm to repel it, according to Scamander who says “kicking has also been found effective” so that’s an option for the non-magical at least! Still the thought of such a creature and kicking being a main form of defense is certainly disturbing.
In the Wizarding World, it’s confirmed. The Loch Ness monster is indeed a water demon called a kelpie! Kelpies are in our folklore as well, but in Harry Potter these demons that often take on the form of a horse lure people onto their backs and then dive to the bottom of the body of water they’re in. There they will eat the rider, but allow the victim’s “entrails to float to the surface.” The Loch Ness monster is apparently the largest kelpie in the world and even in the Wizarding World, favors a sea serpent form. The kelpie also appears on a wizard card in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban video game.
Acromantula’s are scary even if you don’t already have a fear of spiders! Harry and Ron’s experience with Aragog and his children prove that. Their huge size definitely plays a role in making them quite fearsome, but that’s not all they have going for them. These giant spiders are carnivores and have pincers that produce “a poisonous secretion.” Scamander writes that they are “untrainable and highly dangerous to wizard and Muggle alike.”
It appears that we're finally going to see what this fantastically dangerous beast is like on the big screen. Scamander refers to the Nundu as “arguably the most dangerous in the world.” From east Africa, it looks like a giant leopard and moves silently. It’s not just dangerous to individuals who might encounter it though. The Nundu can cause “disease virulent enough to eliminate entire villages” with its breath and it’s not easy to subdue! According to Scamander, it’s “never been subdued by fewer than a hundred skilled wizards working together.” That definitely makes this one of the worst beasts you could run across in the Wizarding World. If you ran into one on your own, you’d basically be out of luck!
4) Some werewolves...basically Fenrir Greyback
Scamander classifies the transformed werewolf as a beast, putting it at the highest danger level. That's why, unlike Voldemort, I'm including them. However I won't put werewolves in general here because I firmly believe someone like my favorite character Remus Lupin shouldn't be treated differently and shunned as a werewolf. With the Wolfsbane Potion and proper precautions, they aren't that dangerous or scary. However, then you have Fenrir Greyback, who I'd argue is a beast in human form too. He wanted to attack as many people as possible, went after them in both forms, and took particular pleasure in going after children. It's Greyback and those who followed in his footsteps and worked with Voldemort that earn this spot. Greyback's evil intent and viciousness is even more frightening than the Nundu.
One of these sinister serpents was left behind by Salazar Slytherin in Hogwart’s Chamber of Secrets. According to Scamander, the Basilisk is also called the King of Serpents and can grow to be up to 50 feet long. Not only does it have venomous fangs, but looking into its yellow eyes results in instant death. As we learned in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, even if you avoid death you can still end up petrified if you look indirectly in the Basilisk’s eyes. Though Harry Potter defeated the creature in the end it was far from easy, which goes to show just how dangerous running into a Basilisk would really be!
While in theory it might be rather cool to see a dragon in action, the truth is encountering one up close in the Wizarding World might just result in that being the last cool moment you ever have! Unless you’re highly skilled and trained, Scamander advises everyone else to avoid these creatures. The most dangerous dragon breed is the Hungarian Horntail, which Harry Potter faced during one of his challenges in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. A Horntail can breath fire up to 50 feet and has colored spikes on its tail. It likes to eat humans whenever possible and comes close to topping my list of dangerous beasts!
Out of all of these fantastic beasts, the scariest, most dangerous in my opinion is the Lethifold. Also known as the living shroud, it looks like a black cloak and travels by gliding along the ground at night. Normally about a half-inch thick, it can appear thicker if it’s just eaten. It kills its victims by suffocating them as they sleep, then digesting them in their beds. According to Scamander, it leaves “no trace of itself or its victim behind” so there’s no way to know how many people have fallen prey to the Lethifold. It means you could always be left wondering if someone disappeared if they ran away, were kidnapped, or were eaten by the creature! The only way to deter a Lethifold? The good old Patronus Charm—if it’s not too late for you to use it that is.
Luckily the Lethifold is rare and only in tropical climates, but nevertheless it’s the scariest beast in all the Wizarding World to me!
What creature from Harry Potter would top your list of scariest, most dangerous beasts? Tell us in the comments!