The film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them brings with it a whole range of magical beasts — some new to the ‘Potter’ universe, others familiar to readers of the seven Harry Potter books. Read on to learn about some of these creatures that’ll be appearing on screen come November.
This little guy should be familiar to Harry Potter fans, appearing in one of Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures classes during the events of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Nifflers are “treasure hunting” creatures and have an attraction to shiny things (remember Hagrid’s buried leprechaun gold?). Says Eddie Redmayne of Newt’s relationship with his Niffler, “they have this wonderful love-hate relationship … he’s incredibly aggravating and wonderful at same time”. Visually, the Niffer is reminiscent of a honey badger.
Bowtruckle’s are, “hand-sized stick-like creature[s] that [are] difficult to spot and usually lives in trees (which they will violently defend). This particular one lives in Newt’s pocket.” Harry learns about Bowtruckle’s in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix during a Professor Grubbly-Plank Care of Magical Creatures class. The class are told to draw their Bowtruckle, but Harry’s escapes before he can finish the job. If it thinks its home is in danger, the Bowtruckle has been known to gouge an intruders eyes out. Newt Scamander has “at least four” of these. Eddie Redmayne says, “a Bowtuckle named Pickett is his favourite creature in the film”.
According to an Entertainment Weekly report, “the Thunderbird is a large, regal avian creature native to the arid climate of Arizona. Its head is similar to that of an eagle or, in the wizarding world, a Hippogriff. Its multiple powerful wings shimmer with cloud-and sun-like patterns and their flapping can create storms. Thunderbirds can also sense danger. After rescuing a Thunderbird from traffickers in Egypt, Newt named him Frank and promised to return him to his natural habitat in Arizona.” The Thunderbird represents one of the four Ilvermorny (North American wizarding school) houses.
The Demiguise is, “a primate-like creature that resembles a silver-haired orangutan with large, doleful black eyes. It has the remarkable ability to become invisible at will, and has precognitive sight so the only way to catch it is to do something completely unpredictable.” The Demiguise is a peaceful creature, but can give a nasty nip when threatened or provoked. Interestingly, the Demiguise’s, “silky, silvery hair can be spun into Invisibility Cloaks [this was mentioned during Deathly Hallows], making its pelt highly valuable.”
Swooping Evil is a cross between a reptile and an “exteremly large butterfly”. When resting, “the Swooping Evil lives in a green spiny cocoon. But when it spreads its colorful, spiked wings, it is strangely beautiful.” Swooping Evil are capable of sucking out brains, but their venom in small proportions can be used to “erase bad memories”.
The Occamy, “is a plumed, two-legged, winged creature with a serpentine body, making it look like a cross between a dragon and a bird. It is hatched from eggs, the shells of which are made of the purest silver and worth a fortune. The Occamy is native to the Far East and India, and the size of its habitat matters a great deal, as the Occamy is choranaptyxic — meaning it will grow or shrink to fit available space.” They can reach lengths “up to 15 feet”.
The Billywig is a sapphire blue insect, native to Australia. “Its speed is so fast that most smuggles or wizards won’t recognise it, until they are stung”. They can grows up to a inch long. Xenophilius Lovegood (father of Luna) used the wings of a Billywig in his imitation Ravenclaw diadem.
“Found in mountainous areas across Europe, [the Graphorn] is large and a purpley grey colour. It has very large horns and big feet [and is] extremely aggressive. It is quite comman to see a mountain troll covered in Graphorn scars.”
“Weighing up to a tonne, the Erumpent is a large African creature. From a distance it looks almost like a rhinoceros. It isn’t aggressive and will not attack unless provoked. Its horn contains a poisonous substance, which will cause anything that is injected to explode. Once it starts to charge, there isn’t any hope for the pre-victim.” Xenophilius Lovegood had an Erumpent horn in his house, and we know how that turned out!
The Nundu is said to be, “the most dangerous magical creature in the world.” The Nundu is, “east African, and its breath is a poisonous gas which could wipe a whole village at a time. It still hasn’t be subdued, not even by a hundred skilled wizards working together. It is a leopard like creature and is exceptionally dangerous, you should never approach one.”
Like a Phoenix, “[the Augurey] is greenish black coloured [and] looks similar to a vulture. Is a native bird found in Britain and Ireland, sometimes found in northern Europe. The bird itself looks mournful and shy.” The Augurey’s, “mournful cry signals it’s about to rain … or foretells your death”. Delphi Riddle (from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) has an Augurey tattoo.
The Ashwinder, “forms when a fire is left to burn for too long. This thin pale-grey serpent will live for only one hour and finds a dark spot, in which it lays eggs which give off intense heat, eventually they will ignite and burn, causing them to hatch”.
The Lethifold, “is found in tropical climates, and is quite rare. It wears a cloak, thicker than the average. It also widens just after it has eaten. It glides around during night time hours. The latest account was written by Flavius Belby, who was fortunate to survive an attack in 1782 whilst on holiday in Papua New Guinea. The only spell known to repel a Lethifold is the Patronus. It attacks the sleeping [and when it] enters the house, suffocates the victim there and then exits slightly fatter.”
The Crup is, “a wizard-bred dog with a forked tail that resembles a Jack Russell Terrier. Very loyal and will eat just about anything”. Crups are mentioned during the events of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Remember these creatures from the second task in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? They live underwater and are found all around the world. They originated in ancient Greece where they were known as Sirens. No idea if we’ll see Merpeople in the film — time will tell!