The Top 10 Fantastic Beasts Found in the Harry Potter Films

Many fantasy stories feature magical animals, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter stands out among the rest thanks to the extensive list of mythical beasts that it features. Between eight Harry Potter movies and two Fantastic Beasts movies, with another on the way, fans of the Wizarding World have no shortage magical creatures to discover. With the April 15 release of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, there are sure to be even more added to the magical menagerie.

Ranging from loyal to treacherous, frightening to beautiful, and everything in between, there are almost too many beasts to count. From Nifflers to Grindylows, it is impossible to imagine the Wizarding World and Harry Potter’s seven-year journey without the magical creatures encountered along the way. Here are our top 10 fantastic beast moments from the Harry Potter movies.

10. Merpeople and Grindylows within the Black Lake

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

During the second challenge of the Triwizard Tournament, the four champions are tasked with saving the people closest to them from the watery depths of the Black Lake. Once the conundrum of breathing underwater is solved, the young wizards and witch still need to face the lake’s fearsome inhabitants. With pale, sickly skin and sharpened teeth, the Merpeople and Grindylows are frightening to behold. They prove themselves to be worthy adversaries during the trial, taking Fleur Delacour out of the running and nearly taking Harry out as well.

9. Finding Fluffy

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

In the first film, thanks to an ill-timed movement of the Grand Staircase, Harry, Ron, and Hermione find themselves on in the third-floor corridor. The trio quickly learn why Professor Dumbledore had warned students to stay away from this area of Hogwarts. After Hermione unlocks a door, they come face to face with Fluffy, Hagrid’s giant, three-headed dog. As the beast wakes up snarling, the trio let out a scream and make a hasty exit. They eventually have another run-in with Hagrid’s beloved pet when they return willingly to secure the Sorcerer’s Stone.

8. Meeting Aragog

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry and Ron learn the hard way that Hagrid has had no shortage of dangerous animal companions throughout his life. Following Hagrid’s vague guidance to “follow the spiders” to get answers, Harry and Ron enter the Forbidden Forest. They come face-to-face with Aragog, an Acromantula, and his many, giant eight-legged children. Aragog tells them that his children do not eat Hagrid on his command, but that he could not make such a request on the boys’ behalf. With some well-aimed spells and an assist from the Flying Ford Anglia, the young wizards barely escape.

7. Flight of the Thestrals

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Dumbledore’s Army reconvenes on the wooden bridge outside of Hogwarts after their respective escapes from Professor Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad. They all agree that they are accompanying Harry to the Department of Mysteries to save Sirius Black. Harry asks how they will get to London and Luna Lovegood chimes in, “We fly, of course.” The six Hogwarts students each ride a Thestral through the skies. What makes this feat especially remarkable is that only Harry and Luna could actually see the skeletal winged horses, since only those who have witnessed death can see Thestrals.

6. Facing the Basilisk

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry and Ron learn from a petrified Hermione that the terror attacking students at Hogwarts is a basilisk. With Ginny taken and a useless Professor Gilderoy Lockhart at their side, Ron and Harry enter the Chamber of Secrets. Shortly, Harry and Ron are separated as Lockhart’s memory spell backfires.

Harry is left to face Tom Riddle and the basilisk alone. The giant snake, whose direct gaze can kill, is rendered sightless by Fawkes the phoenix. Harry claims victory over Salazar Slytherin’s beast by driving the sword of Gryffindor through its mouth. The snake’s fangs, however, still contain a potent venom that nearly kills Harry. In the future, those same venomous fangs would aid in the destruction of one of Voldemort’s horcruxes.

5. Escape on a Dragon

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

When the trio find themselves cornered by the Gringotts’ guards, Hermione comes up with an escape plan she describes as “mad.” Leaping onto the back of the dragon guarding the vaults, she beckons her friends to follow suit. She breaks the dragon’s chains, managing to both rescue the dragon from a lonely, sad existence in the depths of the Wizarding bank while also saving herself and her friends from capture. The dragon breaks through the floors and then the ceiling of the bank, taking flight. The trio eventually leaps from its back into a lake as the dragon soars onward to freedom.

4. Buckbeak’s Rescue

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry, Ron, and Hermione regroup following the execution of Buckbeak and the wrongful imprisonment of Sirius. Dumbledore goes over the rules of using the Time Turner with Hermione and tells her, “If you succeed tonight, more than one innocent life may be spared.” Harry and Hermione go back to the moments before the Hippogriff’s execution, saving him from the executioner’s axe. Using the Patronus charm to great effect, Harry also saves Sirius and himself from a swarm of Dementors. After a quiet moment with Harry, Sirius and Buckbeak take to the skies and relish in their new freedom.

3. Fawkes Saves the Day

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry’s heroic victory against the basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets was not won alone. Harry demonstrates incredible loyalty to Dumbledore, which summons Fawkes to the depths of the castle. Fawkes gouges out the basilisk’s eyes, saving Harry from instant death should he meet its gaze. The phoenix also comes bearing the Sorting Hat, a seemingly useless delivery until Harry pulls the Sword of Gryffindor from within it. Harry uses the sword to kill the giant snake but is fatally wounded in the process. Fawkes cries healing tears into the venom-filled wound, saving Harry from certain death.

2. Dobby is Free

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Despite a rough beginning to their relationship, Harry and the the well-intentioned house-elf Dobby grow to form a strong bond with one another. As the Malfoy’s house-elf, Dobby deals with emotional and physical abuse at the hands of Lucius Malfoy. Grabbing the remains of Tom Riddle’s diary, Harry runs to catch up with Lucius as he leaves Dumbledore’s office.

He hands it back to the cruel man, knowing that he had planted it in Ginny Weasley’s cauldron. Vehemently denying the accusation, Lucius hands the destroyed horcrux to Dobby. Harry encourages Dobby to open the book. Dobby finds the sock Harry planted there within its pages. Having received clothes from his master, Dobby exclaims, “Dobby is free!”

1. Hedwig Takes Flight

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Although he is not a fantastic beast, any list that ignored the importance of Harry Potter’s owl Hedwig would not be complete. In an enchanting scene, Harry walks through the snowy courtyard at Hogwarts with Hedwig on his arm. The snowy owl takes flight over the castle grounds as John Williams’ iconic “Harry’s Wondrous World” plays.

Hedwig was one of Harry’s first friends in the Wizarding World. She is a beloved companion for the boy when he feels alone at the Dursleys’, and eventually even gives her life trying to keep Harry safe. The scene captures the magic of Harry Potter and the Wizarding World to perfection, and honors the bond that Harry and his winged companion share.

The Harry Potter series provided viewers with a plentiful selection of wonderful creatures. Whether they are friends or foes to the Boy Who Lived, all the fantastic beasts enrich the Wizarding World and are essential to Harry’s story, as well as that of Newt Scamander.

With another Fantastic Beasts movie on the horizon, fans can look forward to meeting and learning about even more magical creatures. Which magical beasts are you most looking forward to seeing on April 15? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!