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"Forest-dwellers who have the torso of a human but the body of a horse, and who are gifted in Divination."
— Description of centaurs[src]

A centaur was a magical creature whose head, torso, and arms appeared to be human and were joined to a horse's lower body. They were, however, their own individual species, and thus were not half-breeds. They also had a rich history and were known for being naturally talented in archery, healing magic, divination and astronomy.[2]

Despite possessing "human intelligence", centaurs were classified as Beasts by the British Ministry of Magic, at their own request, as they were unhappy at having to share Being status with hags and vampires, known dark creatures.[2]


Physical appearance[]

"And into the clearing came — was it a man, or a horse? To the waist, a man, with red hair and beard, but below that was a horse's gleaming chestnut body with a long, reddish tail."
— Description of a centaur[src]
Centaur WB F5 CentaurPortrait Illust 100615 Port

A centaur's general appearance

Like horses, centaurs could come in a variety of colours, ranging from deep black to white. A centaur by the name of Firenze had white-blonde hair, a body light in colour, and possessed astonishingly blue eyes; Magorian on the other hand possessed black hair and was chestnut in colour.[1] Centaurs had the body of a horse, and the torso, arms, and head of a human. Their upper bodies were so humanlike Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil found the centaur Firenze's human side physically attractive.[5]

Centaurs (whole body - conceptual artwork)

The full body of a centaur

Centaurs were not in fact half-breeds, but an entirely different species on their own. They were not very pleased to be insulted, particularly where their lineage was concerned, as Dolores Umbridge found out the hard way.[6]

Centaurs were also natural born Seers, in particular the centaur Firenze who taught alongside Sybill Trelawney in Divination class at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[5]


"Never try an' get a straight answer out of a centaur. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin' closer'n the moon."
— Rubeus Hagrid[src]

Centaurs were known to be gifted in Divination. Indeed, the centaurs of the Forbidden Forest regularly made vague allusions to seeing the future, as when the centaur Firenze told Harry Potter that they were fated to meet again, and when he and Bane spoke of the "intermission" of sorts, between the First and Second Wizarding Wars.[1] He also mentioned to his class at Hogwarts that centaurs spent years trying to master their particular art of divining the fates.[5]

Centaurs on the whole seemed also to be rather proud of their species, which was evident in their testiness whenever anyone even accidentally alluded to them being "used" or in any way employed by humankind, as when Firenze was chastised for allowing Harry Potter to ride to safety on his back, after the young wizard encountered Lord Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest — his fellow centaurs considered allowing such a thing tantamount to becoming a "common mule".[1]

Centaur herd

A herd of centaurs armed with bows and arrows, their primary weapons

In 1995, they attempted to murder Firenze for his decision to "enter into human servitude", which was seen as a great and base betrayal to the group and the species.[7] Centaurs also decided to be placed in the Beast Division instead of the Being Division in the British Ministry of Magic archives, because they wished to not be associated with Hags and Vampires, whom the Ministry designates "Beings".[2]

Centaurs also seemed to favour nature over technology, the extent of their tools visibly in use being their bows and arrows. Instead, they cast their attention upon reading signs in nature, and living in forests appropriated by the Ministry of Magic.[6]

Centaurs drawing their bows HL 2

Centaurs drawing their bows on students that entered the forest

They were territorial creatures by nature, as Rubeus Hagrid mentioned in 1995 upon seeing a herd of centaurs in the Forbidden Forest, whose land was being consistently reduced, and that they might revolt against the Ministry as a result. Later the same year, they proclaimed that even Hagrid was "no longer welcome" within "their" forest, as he had "forfeited the friendship of the centaurs", and that their "tolerance was waning" (in reference to Hagrid's half-brother, Grawp, whom Hagrid was hiding in the forest at the time).[7]

Centaurs did have a sense of honour, being unwilling to harm the young, as the herd within the Forbidden Forest refused to harm Hagrid due to the young Harry Potter and Hermione Granger accompanying him at the time. However, this patience and generosity could wane, as later they saw Harry and Hermione deliberately lead Dolores Umbridge into the forest to "use" the centaurs to eliminate her; this, along with the fact that both teenagers were nearing their adulthood, led the herd to attempt to attack the two.[6]


"I, however, am here to explain the wisdom of centaurs, which is impersonal and impartial. We watch the skies for the great tides of evil or change that are sometimes marked there. It may take ten years to be sure of what we are seeing."
— Firenze explaining centaur Divination during a fifth year lesson[src]
Firenze PM

Firenze teaching Divination at Hogwarts

Centaurs did not use wands for magic, but were known to be well-versed in magical healing, Divination, archery, and Astronomy. Centaurs burned herbs such as mallowsweet and sage to refine their stargazing findings. In fact, the centaur Firenze taught Divination at Hogwarts, starting in the 1995–1996 school year.[5] They also could perform non-verbal magic while duelling, as shown when Torvus duelled against Jacob's sibling without a wand or an arrow.[8]


Concept Environment CentaurVillage24b2 2695

Centaur Village

Centaurs were forest-dwelling, and, in each country where colonies existed, the wizarding authority had set aside land exclusively for their use.[2] One such colony existed in the Forbidden Forest, at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[1] However, centaurs had their own methods of concealment and avoided contact with both wizards and witches and Muggles, as they were not fond of humans. They generally lived in herds of ten to fifty individuals.[2]

Centaurs also lived in villages adorned with sheets and a fire pit.[9]

Relationship with wizardkind[]

"You have a human on your back! Have you no shame? Are you a common mule?"
— Bane and other centaurs consider helping humans beneath them[src]
Centaurs (Concept Artwork for the HP5 film 02)

Centaurs in the woods

Starting in 1811, centaurs were offered "Being" status, when Grogan Stump 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". However, they declined because of the associations with other creatures, such as vampires and hags, that "being" status would give them. The merpeople made the same decision a year later. Subject teaching material thus notes on why they are classed as 'Beasts' and that they should be treated with great respect.[2]

Wizards frequently misunderstood the needs and desires of centaurs, such as when one wizard created a suit of full plate centaur armour as a peace-offering for a centaur leader some time before the 1890s. This gift was spurned and the messenger shot, with the armour later being found trampled and battered. The unique suit was recovered and restored, being placed on a display in the Armoury ever since.[10]

Despite being highly intelligent creatures, centaurs were still officially classified as having merely "near-human intelligence" by the Ministry of Magic in the mid-1990s, per the text of Law Fifteen B, as laid down by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Centaurs took this phrase to be a great insult, as Dolores Umbridge found out the hard way, as they find that "[their] intelligence, thankfully, far outstrips [humans']".[6]

Centaurs Take Dolores OotP

Centaurs capture Dolores Umbridge after she insults them

A Centaur Liaison Office still existed in the British Ministry of Magic's Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, though no centaur had ever used it. In fact, the phrase "Being sent to the Centaur Office" had become an in-joke at the Ministry, meaning that the person in question was about to be sacked.[2] A centaur was also represented in the Fountain of Magical Brethren in a wizard-centric manner at the Ministry,[11] at least before the fountain's destruction during the battle between Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort.[12]

Centaurs had also been known to save wizards from harm, one instance being Firenze saving Harry Potter, when Lord Voldemort was in the forest, though this was highly looked down upon as centaurs were not supposed to interfere with "what is to come."[1]

When Harry Potter and Hermione Granger ended up leading Dolores Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest, a group of centaurs appeared with some of them carrying off Dolores, while the rest were scared away by Grawp in a violent skirmish.[6] It was mentioned that Albus negotiated for Dolores' release when he was rehired by the Ministry of Magic.[12]

B6C30M1 funeral of Albus Dumbledore

Centaurs attended Albus Dumbledore's funeral

The centaur colony in the Forbidden Forest, whilst most distrusted wizardkind,[1] did have a great amount of respect for Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. This was shown with their salute to his memory at his funeral in 1997.[13]

Hogwarts Big Battle at Hogwarts Moment Pottermore

Centaurs entering the second half of the Battle of Hogwarts

The centaur herd in the Forbidden Forest, along with Firenze, also fought against the Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts.[14][15] The centaur herd fought in the second half of the battle. They fired arrows at the surprised Death Eaters and helped force them back in the school. They most likely witnessed Harry Potter's final defeat of Lord Voldemort and the end to the Second Wizarding War.

Known centaurs[]

Behind the scenes[]

Centaurs (face close up - conceptual artwork)

A centaur's face in the films


A centaur as depicted on Pottermore

  • In the books, centaurs are described as they are in traditional Greek myths, with the back-end of a horse, but an ordinary human face and torso in their upper parts. In the films, however, their human faces are more equine-like, like an exact cross between horse and human. They are covered in hair, the same as their horse halves, with long protruded faces, and long pointy ears.
  • Despite the fact that the Wizards' Ordinary Magic and Basic Aptitude Test establishes them to exist, female centaurs have yet to be physically seen in any Harry Potter media.
  • In Greek mythology, female centaurs are called centaurides, and though they are not mentioned in early Greek literature and art, they do appear occasionally in later antiquity.[16]
  • The word Centaur (Κένταυρος, Kentauros in Ancient Greek), is generally regarded as being of obscure origin. But the Greek myths believe it to be derived from the name of Centaurus who was said to be the father of the Centaur race.
  • A Pottermore riddle consisting of an early Pottermore concept art of a Centaur was added to the Pottermore insider on 16 October 2014. It is still unknown who this centaur is.[17]
  • In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander describes that Centaurs refuse to wear any clothing. In the films, Magorian wears pieces of jewellery, shown in detail in the book Harry Potter: The Creature Vault.
  • Rowan Khanna, a history buff, wanted to ask a centaur about the 1811 controversy of not accepting the Being status as they were fascinated by it, but neither Jacob's sibling, Barnaby nor Tonks, understood their obsession with learning this fact.


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Notes and references[]

Magical creatures by classification
X Flobberworm · Horklump
XX Augurey · Bowtruckle · Chizpurfle · Clabbert · Diricawl · Fairy · Ghoul · Gnome · Grindylow · Imp · Jobberknoll · Mooncalf · Porlock · Puffskein · Ramora · Winged horse
XXX Ashwinder · Billywig · Bundimun · Crup · Doxy · Dugbog · Fire crab · Fwooper · Glumbumble · Hippocampus · Hippogriff · Hodag · Jarvey · Knarl · Kneazle · Leprechaun · Lobalug · Mackled Malaclaw · Moke · Murtlap · Niffler · Nogtail · Pixie · Plimpy · Pogrebin · Red Cap · Salamander · Sea serpent · Shrake · Streeler · Winged horse
XXXX Centaur · Demiguise · Erkling · Erumpent · Golden Snidget · Graphorn · Griffin · Hidebehind · Kappa · Kelpie · Merperson · Occamy · Phoenix · Re'em · Runespoor · Snallygaster · Sphinx · Tebo · Thestral · Thunderbird · Troll · Unicorn · Winged horse · Yeti
XXXXX Acromantula · Basilisk · Chimaera · Dragon · Horned Serpent · Lethifold · Manticore · Nundu · Quintaped · Wampus cat · Werewolf