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"The fairy is a small and decorative beast of little intelligence. Often used or conjured by wizards for decoration, the fairy generally inhabits woodlands or glades. Ranging in height from one to five inches, the fairy has a minute humanoid body, head, and limbs but sports large insect-like wings, which may be transparent or multi-coloured, according to type."
Newton Scamander, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them[src]

A fairy was a small, humanoid magical beast with large insect-like wings, which were either transparent or multi-coloured.[1]



Fairy cocoons

They possessed diminutive intelligence, and lived mainly in woodlands or glades.[1] The fairy was a vain creature, and would often allow itself to be used as decoration by wizardkind.[1] Due to their vanity, fairies were almost constantly grooming themselves.[2] They possessed a weak brand of magic that allowed it to evade its predators such as the Augurey.[1]

The fairy could not speak; instead, it made a high-pitched buzzing noise to communicate with its fellow fairies, but they were able to laugh[3] in a similar way to the Flitterbies playful buzzing with the wings. Their wings were used as an ingredient in certain potions and as a type of wand core; removing their wings, while it would not kill them, tended to cause them extreme annoyance, as it did not play to their vanity.[2]

Fairies could lay up to fifty eggs in one go, laying them on the underside of leaves. The eggs hatched into brightly coloured larvae, and, at six-to-ten days, they span themselves into a cocoon. They emerged a month later as adult fairies.[1] Bowtruckles ate fairy eggs.[4]

Muggles' impression of the fairy was a generous one, having been ingrained into children's minds in the form of "fairy tales". Wizards believed that, of all the magical creatures in the world, the fairy, along with the unicorn, had received the best Muggle "press".[1]

Fairy Cakes to Fairies was a transfiguration spell that turned fairy cakes into live fairies.[5]



Fairies in Hogsmeade

Fairies were known to be found living on the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In 1986, Fang found one in the pumpkin patch by Hagrid's Hut and ran away.[6] Fairies could also be found in the Forbidden Forest,[7] and the neighbouring village of Hogsmeade.[3]

There was at least one organisation committed to the preservation of fairies and their natural habitats in Britain: the Witches' Holistic Institute for Friends of Fairies (WHIFF), whose only members were Winifred Whittle and Sage Bragnam.[8] In the 1987–1988 school year, they managed to temporarily get Hogwarts to stop using fairies.[9]

During the 1988–1989 school year, fifth-year Care of Magical Creatures students at Hogwarts were taught about how to analyse and care for fairies by Professor Silvanus Kettleburn, during their O.W.L. classes that year.[10]

In December 1993 at Hogwarts, Professor Flitwick used live, fluttering fairies as Christmas lights to decorate his classroom.[11] A year later, during the Yule Ball in Harry's fourth year, fairies were sitting in the conjured rosebushes and flying around the statues outside the castle.[12]

For Horace Slughorn's Slug Club Christmas party on 20 December 1996, held in Slughorn's office, fairies were used as decorations inside an ornate golden ceiling lamp.[13]

Behind the scenes[]

  • Fairies have a wide, many-varied appearance in mythology and legend, though they are commonly humanoid and possess magical powers of some form. The small, insect-winged creatures depicted in Harry Potter are consistent with the modern depiction of fairies, though in more ancient times they were described as more akin to angels or trolls, and usually lacked wings.
  • The use of fairies as decorations around Christmas time in ways that Muggles use Christmas lights is presumably a reference to the fact that said decorations are called "fairy lights" in the United Kingdom. This reference is reinforced in the series itself, as "fairy lights" is one of the passwords used to get into Gryffindor Tower.


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Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wonderbook: Book of Potions - Chapter 4 (Beautification Potion)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
  5. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 38 (Meeting the Merqueen) - Transfiguration Lesson "Fairy Cakes to Fairies"
  6. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 1 (Year Three Begins)
  7. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, "TORVUS AND THE TROUBLED FOREST" Achievement
  8. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World, Case 3: Out of the Woods, Act 1
  9. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 11 (Beautification Potion)
  10. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 6 (The Ghosts of Hogwarts) - Care of Magical Creatures Lesson "Fairy"
  11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map)
  12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23 (The Yule Ball)
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)
Care of Magical Creatures
Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts
Hagrid's Hut · Forbidden Forest · Care of Magical Creatures Classroom · Magical Creatures (club) · The Paddock
Professors Silvanus Kettleburn · Rubeus Hagrid · Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank (substitute teacher)
Textbooks The Monster Book of Monsters · Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Creatures studied at Hogwarts
Blast-Ended Skrewt · Bowtruckle · Chimaera · Crup · Demiguise · Diricawl · Doxy · Dugbog · Fairy · Fire Crab · Fire Dwelling Salamander · Flobberworm · Fwooper · Glumbumble · Gnome · Golden Snidget · Griffin · Hippogriff · Imp · Jackalope · Knarl · Kneazle · Moke · Murtlap · Niffler · Occamy · Porlock · Quintaped · Streeler · Thestral · Unicorn · Yeti
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

See also[]