Ministry of Magic Classifications
An A–Z of Fantastic Beasts
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
was born in 1897. His interest in fabulous beasts was encouraged by his mother, who was an enthusiastic breeder of fancy Hippogriffs. Upon graduation from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Mr. Scamander joined the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. After two years at the Office for House-Elf Relocation, years he describes as “tedious in the extreme,” he was transferred to the Beast Division, where his prodigious knowledge of bizarre magical animals ensured his rapid promotion.
Although almost solely responsible for the creation of the Werewolf Register in 1947, he says he is proudest of the Ban on Experimental Breeding, passed in 1965, which effectively prevented the creation of new and untameable monsters within Britain. Mr. Scamander’s work with the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau led to many research trips abroad, during which he collected information for his worldwide best-seller Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, now in its fifty-second edition.
Newt Scamander was awarded the Order of Merlin, Second Class, in 1979 in recognition of his services to the study of magical beasts, Magizoology. Now retired, he lives in Dorset with his wife Porpentina and their pet Kneazles: Hoppy, Milly, and Mauler.
IWAS DEEPLY HONOURED when Newt Scamander asked me to write the foreword for this very special edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Newt’s masterpiece has been an approved textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ever since its publication and must take a substantial amount of credit for our students’ consistently high results in Care of Magical Creatures examinations – yet it is not a book to be confined to the classroom. No wizarding household is complete without a copy of Fantastic Beasts, well thumbed by the generations who have riffled its pages in search of the best way to rid the lawn of Horklumps, interpret the mournful cries of the Augurey or cure their pet Puffskein of drinking out of the toilet.
This edition, however, has a loftier purpose than the instruction of the wizarding community. For the first time in the history of the noble publishing house of Obscurus, one of its titles is to be made available to Muggles.
The work of Comic Relief U. K. in fighting some of the worst forms of human suffering is well known in the Muggle world, so it is to my fellow wizards that I now address myself. Know, then, that we are not alone in recognising the curative power of laughter, that Muggles are familiar with it too, and that they have harnessed this gift in a most imaginative way, using it to raise funds with which to help save and better lives – a brand of magic to which we all aspire. Comic Relief has raised over one billion dollars since 1985 (that’s also 800 million pounds or 158 million 1,035 Galleons, 8 Sickles and 2 Knuts).
It is now the wizarding world’s privilege to help Comic Relief U. K. in their endeavour. You hold in your hands a duplicate of Harry Potter’s own copy of Fantastic Beasts, complete with his and his friends’ informative notes in the margins. Although Harry seemed a trifle reluctant to allow this book to be reprinted in its present form, our friends at Comic Relief U. K. feel that his small additions will add to the entertaining tone of the book. Mr Newt Scamander, long since resigned to the relentless graffitiing of his masterpiece, has agreed.
This edition of Fantastic Beasts will be sold at Flourish and Blotts as well as in Muggle bookshops. Wizards wishing to make additional donations should do so through Gringotts Wizarding Bank (ask for Griphook).
All that remains is for me to warn anyone who has read this far without purchasing this book that it carries a Thief’s Curse. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure Muggle purchasers that the amusing creatures described hereafter are fictional and cannot hurt you. To wizards, I say merely: Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them represents the fruit of many years’ travel and research. I look back across the years to the seven-year-old wizard who spent hours in his bedroom dismembering Horklumps and I envy him the journeys to come: from darkest jungle to brightest desert, from mountain peak to marshy bog, that grubby Horklump-encrusted boy would track, as he grew up, the beasts described in the following pages. I have visited lairs, burrows, and nests across five continents, observed the curious habits of magical beasts in a hundred countries, witnessed their powers, gained their trust and, on occasion, beaten them off with my travelling kettle.
The first edition of Fantastic Beasts was commissioned back in 1918 by Mr. Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books, who was kind enough to ask me whether I would consider writing an authoritative compendium of magical creatures for his publishing house. I was then but a lowly Ministry of Magic employee and leapt at the chance both to augment my pitiful salary of two Sickles a week and to spend my holidays travelling the globe in search of new magical species. The rest is publishing history: Fantastic Beasts is now in its fifty-second edition.
This introduction is intended to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions that have been arriving in my weekly postbag ever since this book was first published in 1927. The first of these is that most fundamental question of all – what is a “beast”?
WHAT IS A BEAST?
The definition of a “beast” has caused controversy for centuries. Though this might surprise some first-time students of Magizoology, the problem might come into clearer focus if we take a moment to consider three types of magical creature.
Werewolves spend most of their time as humans (whether wizard or Muggle). Once a month, however, they transform into savage, four-legged beasts of murderous intent and no human conscience.
The centaurs’ habits are not humanlike; they live in the wild, refuse clothing, prefer to live apart from wizards and Muggles alike, and yet have intelligence equal to theirs.
Trolls bear a humanoid appearance, walk upright, may be taught a few simple words, and yet are less intelligent than the dullest unicorn, and possess no magical powers in their own right except for their prodigious and unnatural strength.
We now ask ourselves: which of these creatures is a “being” – that is to say, a creature worthy of legal rights and a voice in the governance of the magical world – and which is a “beast”?
Early attempts at deciding which magical creatures should be designated “beasts” were extremely crude.
Burdock Muldoon, Chief of the Wizards’ Council1 in the fourteenth century, decreed that any member of the magical community that walked on two legs would henceforth be granted the status of “being,” all others to remain “beasts.” In a spirit of friendship he summoned all “beings” to meet with the wizards at a summit to discuss new magical laws and found to his intense dismay that he had miscalculated. The meeting hall was crammed with goblins who had brought with them as many two-legged creatures as they could find. As Bathilda Bagshot tells us in A History of Magic:
Little could be heard over the squawking of the Diricawls, the moaning of the Augureys, and the relentless, piercing song of the Fwoopers. As wizards and witches attempted to consult the papers before them, sundry pixies and fairies whirled around their heads, giggling and jabbering. A dozen or so trolls began to smash apart the chamber with their clubs, while hags glided about the place in search of children to eat. The Council Chief stood up to open the meeting, slipped on a pile of Porlock dung and ran cursing from the hall.
As we see, the mere possession of two legs was no guarantee that a magical creature could or would take an interest in the affairs of wizard government. Embittered, Burdock Muldoon forswore any further attempts to integrate non-wizard members of the magical community into the Wizards’ Council.
Muldoon’s successor, Madame Elfrida Clagg, attempted to redefine “beings” in the hope of creating closer ties with other magical creatures. “Beings,” she declared, were those who could speak the human tongue. All those who could make themselves understood to Council members were therefore invited to join the next meeting. Once again, however, there were problems. Trolls who had been taught a few simple sentences by the goblins proceeded to destroy the hall as before. Jarveys raced around the Council’s chair legs, tearing at as many ankles as they could reach. Meanwhile a large delegation of ghosts (who had been barred under Muldoon’s leadership on the grounds that they did not walk on two legs, but glided) attended but left in disgust at what they later termed “the Council’s unashamed emphasis on the needs of the living as opposed to the wishes of the dead.” The centaurs, who under Muldoon had been classified as “beasts” and were now under Madame Clagg defined as “beings,” refused to attend the Council in protest at the exclusion of the merpeople, who were unable to converse in anything except Mermish while above water.
Not until 1811 were definitions found that most of the magical community found acceptable. Grogan Stump, the newly appointed Minister for Magic, decreed that a “being” was “any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws.”2 Troll representatives were questioned in the absence of goblins and judged not to understand anything that was being said to them; they were therefore classified as “beasts” despite their two-legged gait; merpeople were invited through translators to become “beings” for the first time; fairies, pixies, and gnomes, despite their humanoid appearance, were placed firmly in the “beast” category.
Naturally, the matter has not rested there. We are all familiar with the extremists who campaign for the classification of Muggles as “beasts”; we are all aware that the centaurs have refused “being” status and requested to remain “beasts”;3 werewolves, meanwhile, have been shunted between the Beast and Being divisions for many years; at the time of writing there is an office for Werewolf Support Services at the Being Division whereas the Werewolf Registry and Werewolf Capture Unit fall under the Beast Division. Several highly intelligent creatures are classified as “beasts” because they are incapable of overcoming their own brutal natures. Acromantulas and Manticores are capable of intelligent speech but will attempt to devour any human that goes near them. The sphinx talks only in puzzles and riddles, and is violent when given the wrong answer.
Wherever there is continued uncertainty about the classification of a beast in the following pages, I have noted it in the entry for that creature.
Let us now turn to the one question that witches and wizards ask more than any other when the conversation turns to Magizoology: Why don’t Muggles notice these creatures?
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1 The Wizards’ Council preceded the Ministry of Magic.
2 An exception was made for the ghosts, who asserted that it was insensitive to class them as “beings” when they were so clearly “has-beens.” Stump therefore created the three divisions of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures that exist today: the Beast Division, the Being Division, and the Spirit Division.
3 The centaurs objected to some of the creatures with whom they were asked to share “being” status, such as hags and vampires, and declared that they would manage their own affairs separately from wizards. A year later the merpeople made the same request. The Ministry of Magic accepted their demands reluctantly. Although a Centaur Liaison Office exists in the Beast Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, no centaur has ever used it. Indeed, “being sent to the Centaur Office” has become an in-joke at the Department and means that the person in question is shortly to be fired.
Astonishing though it may seem to many wizards, Muggles have not always been ignorant of the magical and monstrous creatures that we have worked so long and hard to hide. A glance through Muggle art and literature of the Middle Ages reveals that many of the creatures they now believe to be imaginary were then known to be real. The dragon, the griffin, the unicorn, the phoenix, the centaur – these and more are represented in Muggle works of that period, though usually with almost comical inexactitude.
However, a closer examination of Muggle bestiaries of that period demonstrates that most magical beasts either escaped Muggle notice completely or were mistaken for something else. Examine this surviving fragment of manuscript, written by one Brother Benedict, a Franciscan monk from Worcestershire:
Todaye while travailing in the Herbe Garden, I did push aside the basil to discover a Ferret of monstrous size. It did not run nor hide as Ferrets are wont to do, but leapt upon me, throwing me backwards upon the grounde and crying with most unnatural fury, “Get out of it, baldy!” It did then bite my nose so viciously that I did bleed for several Hours. The Friar was unwillinge to believe that I had met a talking Ferret and did ask me whether I had been supping of Brother Boniface’s Turnip Wine. As my nose was still swollen and bloody I was excused Vespers.
Evidently our Muggle friend had unearthed not a ferret, as he supposed, but a Jarvey, most likely in pursuit of its favourite prey, gnomes.
Imperfect understanding is often more dangerous than ignorance, and the Muggles’ fear of magic was undoubtedly increased by their dread of what might be lurking in their herb gardens. Muggle persecution of wizards at this time was reaching a pitch hitherto unknown and sightings of such beasts as dragons and Hippogriffs were contributing to Muggle hysteria.
It is not the aim of this work to discuss the dark days that preceded the wizards’ retreat into hiding.4 All that concerns us here is the fate of those fabulous beasts that, like ourselves, would have to be concealed if Muggles were ever to be convinced there was no such thing as magic.
The International Confederation of Wizards argued the matter out at their famous summit meeting of 1692. No fewer than seven weeks of sometimes acrimonious discussion between wizards of all nationalities were devoted to the troublesome question of magical creatures. How many species would we be able to conceal from Muggle notice and which should they be? Where and how should we hide them? The debate raged on, some creatures oblivious to the fact that their destiny was being decided, others contributing to the debate.5
At last agreement was reached.6 Twenty-seven species, ranging in size from dragons to Bundimuns, were to be hidden from Muggles so as to create the illusion that they had never existed outside the imagination. This number was increased over the following century, as wizards became more confident in their methods of concealment. In 1750, Clause 73 was inserted in the International Code of Wizarding Secrecy, to which wizard ministries worldwide conform today:
Each wizarding governing body will be responsible for the concealment, care, and control of all magical beasts, beings, and spirits dwelling within its territory’s borders. Should any such creature cause harm to, or draw the notice of, the Muggle community, that nation’s wizarding governing body will be subject to discipline by the International Confederation of Wizards.
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4 Anyone interested in a full account of this particularly bloody period of wizarding history should consult A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot (Little Red Books, 1947).
5 Delegations of centaurs, merpeople, and goblins were persuaded to attend the summit.
6 Except by the goblins.
MAGICAL BEASTS IN HIDING
It would be idle to deny that there have been occasional breaches of Clause 73 since it was first put in place. Older British readers will remember the Ilfracombe Incident of 1932, when a rogue Welsh Green dragon swooped down upon a crowded beach full of sunbathing Muggles. Fatalities were mercifully prevented by the brave actions of a holidaying wizarding family (subsequently awarded Orders of Merlin, First Class), when they immediately performed the largest batch of Memory Charms this century on the inhabitants of Ilfracombe, thus narrowly averting catastrophe.7
The International Confederation of Wizards has had to fine certain nations repeatedly for contravening Clause 73. Tibet and Scotland are two of the most persistent offenders. Muggle sightings of the yeti have been so numerous that the International Confederation of Wizards felt it necessary to station an International Task Force in the mountains on a permanent basis. Meanwhile the world’s largest kelpie continues to evade capture in Loch Ness and appears to have developed a positive thirst for publicity.