- "About time, too. He's been looking dreadful for days; I've been telling him to get a move on."
- —After Fawkes burst into flames[src]
Fawkes was a highly intelligent male phoenix and Albus Dumbledore's animal companion and defender. It is unknown how long Fawkes had been in Dumbledore's service. He had been loyal to Dumbledore for many years prior to the Headmaster's death in 1997.
Fawkes was instrumental in helping Harry Potter defeat Salazar Slytherin's basilisk in 1993. His tears (which possessed healing properties, as with his species) saved Harry's life after his arm was punctured by the basilisk's fang and its venom. In 1996, Fawkes came to Dumbledore's aid in fighting Lord Voldemort during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
Following Dumbledore's death, Fawkes sang his Lament over the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and then left and flew away, never to be seen again. His tail feathers were the cores of the two twin wands which were held by Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter.
Much of Fawkes' origins are unknown, but at some point in or prior to 1938, two of his tail-feathers were procured by the wand maker Garrick Ollivander, and fashioned into the cores of two wands (a rare event, as should the two meet, it would initiate Priori Incantatem), made from yew and holly. The yew wand went to Tom Riddle and the holly wand went to Harry Potter.
Service to Dumbledore
Dumbledore and Fawkes met sometime before 1938, and Fawkes lived with and faithfully served the famed wizard for at least 59 years. As part of his efforts to help Harry in his quest to defeat and kill the Dark Wizard Voldemort and his followers, Dumbledore called Fawkes into battle whenever needed. Throughout the years, there were several instances where Fawkes was extremely helpful.
1992–1993 school year
- "As Harry trembled, ready to close his eyes if it turned, he saw what had distracted the snake. Fawkes was soaring around its head, and the basilisk was snapping furiously at him with fangs long and thin as sabres — Fawkes dived. His long golden beak sunk out of sight and a sudden shower of dark blood spattered the floor."
- —Fawkes saving Harry from Salazar Slytherin's basilisk[src]
In 1992, whilst in Albus Dumbledore's office for the first time, Harry Potter encountered Fawkes on his Burning Day. Fawkes appeared very ill, decrepit and baleful, and much to Harry's initial shock and horror, burst into flames in front of his eyes. When Dumbledore entered, Harry explained to Dumbledore what had just happened to his bird, but Dumbledore calmly explained to Harry that Fawkes was a Phoenix and thus was immortal, and that he had been looking "dreadful for days". Dumbledore explained to Harry the various potent magical powers of the Phoenix and they both watched him rebirth from his ashes.
In 29 May 1993, Fawkes saved Harry Potter's life from the Serpent of Slytherin, blinding the Basilisk and dropping the Sorting Hat into Harry's lap, which in turn revealed Godric Gryffindor's Sword. Harry then used the sword to slay Slytherin's basilisk. Fawkes shed healing tears upon Harry's wounds, inflicted by the Basilisk before its death, and cured him of its venom. Fawkes then dropped Tom Riddle's Diary into Harry's lap, giving Harry the chance to destroy it with one of the basilisk's fangs. As a phoenix can lift a great weight with its tail in flight; when Harry grasped Fawkes' tail in the Chamber of Secrets, he felt as if he were becoming weightless — which is saying something, as Ron, Ginny, and Gilderoy Lockhart were in turn hanging on to him.
Later, in his office, Dumbledore revealed where Fawkes had come from — when the memory of Tom Riddle declared that he would go on to become the greatest sorcerer in the world, Harry responded that "Albus Dumbledore is the greatest wizard in the world!", and went on to ridicule Voldemort's supposed fear of Dumbledore during the First Wizarding War. This act of supreme loyalty was apparently enough to summon Fawkes to the Chamber.
After Harry witnessed Voldemort's resurrection and Cedric Diggory's death, Fawkes was present when Harry told Dumbledore and Sirius Black what had taken place. During this conversation, Dumbledore revealed that Fawkes was the phoenix who had donated his tail feathers to Harry and Voldemort's wands, while Fawkes used his tears to heal the wound in Harry's leg that was caused by an Acromantula in the third task of the tournament.
Order of the Phoenix
In late 1995, Fawkes served as a means of communication between members of the Order and Dumbledore, after learning Arthur Weasley had been attacked by Voldemort's snake, Nagini, while Arthur was guarding The Prophecy.
In mid-1996, Fawkes departed from Hogwarts with Dumbledore when Cornelius Fudge, along with Dolores Umbridge, and John Dawlish tried to arrest the latter for supposedly planning to overthrow the Ministry, through Dumbledore's Army.
Battle of the Department of Mysteries
During Dumbledore's duel against Lord Voldemort in the ministry atrium in 1996, Fawkes swallowed a Killing Curse intended for Dumbledore, thus giving Dumbledore time to defend himself against Voldemort's second oncoming attack. He burst into flame upon swallowing the curse and was later reborn from the ashes. He later returned to Dumbledore's office after Harry Potter was sent there, following his departure from the British Ministry of Magic.
- "Somewhere out in the darkness, a phoenix was singing in a way Harry had never heard before; a stricken lament of terrible beauty... They all fell silent. Fawkes's lament was still echoing over the dark grounds outside."
- —The Phoenix Lament[src]
After Dumbledore died during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower in 1997 at the assumed hands of Severus Snape, Fawkes sang his Lament to the assembled mourners. This Lament affected all with its beauty. Fawkes subsequently left Hogwarts, as his ties to the school were now dead. He never returned and became a wild Phoenix once more.
Fawkes had crimson feathers on his body and a golden tail as long as a peacock's. He was roughly the size of a swan. His claws and beak were gleaming gold — the latter was "long" — and his eyes are black. The scarlet body feathers glowed faintly in darkness, while the golden tail feathers were hot to the touch, though it is unknown if they were actually capable of burning someone as neither Harry — when Fawkes carried him from the Chamber of Secrets in 1993 — nor Dumbledore — when he escaped the Ministry officials with Fawkes's help in 1996 — were burned by his tail feathers, however it is possible that Fawkes could control the temperature of his tail feathers and chosen not to burn them.
Personality and traits
Fawkes served as Albus Dumbledore's messenger and his constant companion, forming a close bond with the old wizard. Fawkes was also affiliated with Harry Potter and the members of the Order of the Phoenix and was the inspiration for its name.
Fawkes was extremely loyal and courageous, as displayed by his attack on Salazar Slytherin's basilisk and his defence of Dumbledore during his duel with Voldemort. Considering he came back to life every time he died he had no reason to fear death and was therefore willing to sacrifice himself for people who won his loyalty.
After Dumbledore's death, he returned to the wild with no ties to another human.
Magical abilities and skills
- Immortality: Like all phoenixes, Fawkes appeared to be immortal. He periodically died by bursting into flames (an event called a "Burning Day"), and was then reborn from the ashes. He was also immune to the gaze of a basilisk, making phoenixes the only known creatures to be unaffected by the deadly serpent's gaze. Additionally Fawkes was able to swallow Lord Voldemort's Killing Curse and was quickly reborn.
- Healing magic: Fawkes was also able to heal most injuries simply by crying on them. Phoenix tears are the only known cure for basilisk venom, which of course he used to heal Harry Potter's infected wound after the Skirmish in the Chamber of Secrets in 1993. In 1995, he used his healing tears to cure Harry again of the effects of Acromantula venom.
- Apparition: Being a Phoenix, Fawkes had the natural ability to apparate at will, disappearing and reappearing in a flash of fire. Much like the house-elves, he could do so regardless of the anti-Apparition enchantments surrounding Hogwarts. This may be because the Hogwarts enchantments apply only to humans. Fawkes could also take people along with him, as well as remotely teleport one of his feathers and send it to a distant location as a form of signal or warning.
- Phoenix song: Fawkes also possessed remarkable and soul-touching singing talents. A single note of his song was said to have effects similar to swallowing a drop of warming liquid, and instilling courage and calm. Phoenix song is reputed to increase the courage of the pure of heart and strike fear into the heart of the impure.
- Super strength: As a phoenix, Fawkes can carry immensely heavy loads. For example, he carried the combined weight of Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Ron Weasley and Gilderoy Lockhart out of the Chamber of Secrets.
- Physical Combat: Although Phoenixes are gentle and are not known for fighting, Fawkes was able to blind the Serpent of Slytherin in the Chamber of Secrets by gouging out its eyes, showing he had clear ability in physically wounding his opponents.
Fawkes had a very close relationship with Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore cared for Fawkes after each of his rebirths, and in return he was very faithful to the elderly wizard. Fawkes protected Dumbledore in his duel with Lord Voldemort in the ministry atrium in 1996 by swallowing a Killing Curse aimed at him, and teleported Dumbledore away from the school when the Ministry attempted to arrest him in 1996, for supposedly building an army (Dumbledore's Army) in what the minister Cornelius Fudge believed to be an attempt to overthrow the Ministry of Magic.
When Dumbledore died in 1997, Fawkes sang a lament for his now deceased master that was described as both sad and beautiful, then left the school forever. Dumbledore also named the Order of the Phoenix after his beloved friend and champion.
- "Harry suddenly became aware that Fawkes had left his knee. The phoenix had fluttered to the floor. It was resting its beautiful head against Harry's injured leg, and thick, pearly tears were falling from its eyes onto the wound left by the spider. The pain vanished. The skin mended. His leg was repaired."
- —Fawkes heals an injured and pained Harry[src]
Fawkes aided those who were loyal to Dumbledore, such as Harry Potter. In 1993, he brought the Sorting Hat to Harry in the Chamber of Secrets, and defended him from Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk by pecking out its eyes. When a fang pierced Harry's arm and poisoned him with its venom, Fawkes used his tears to heal the wound, saving Harry's life. He then brought the Horcrux diary to Harry so he could destroy it. Harry frequently greeted Fawkes when he visited Dumbledore's office and Fawkes also healed his Acromantula venom wounded arm after he escaped Lord Voldemort during his fourth year. Harry was deeply mournful when Fawkes left Hogwarts, given his immense loyalty and service to him over the years.
It should be noted that Harry's wand happened to be made with one of Fawkes's tail feathers. Whether this had anything to do with his bond with Harry or whether it was simply a coincidence is unknown. Lord Voldemort was the only other known wizard who had a wand made from one of Fawkes's feathers.
Fawkes is named after Guy Fawkes, since he periodically explodes (in order to be reborn from the ashes, like all phoenixes), a joke on the author's part.
Behind the scenes
- Fawkes was made by a mechanical machine. When Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore at that time, saw the robot, he said: "They sure do train those things well." He was thinking that it was a real bird. (As seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Ultimate Edition)
- Pottermore has a Feature on bringing Fawkes to life.
- The fact that Fawkes, who sacrificed to save Dumbledore's life at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, didn't come to his aid at the Battle of the Astronomy Tower hints to the true nature of the headmaster's death, meaning he was killed by his own orders.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned) (Mentioned as phoenix)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned as phoenix)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- LEGO Dimensions (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
- Harry Potter: The Wand Collection (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ Ollivander acquired two of Fawkes's tail feathers in this year, so Fawkes was alive by 1938
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 25 (The Seer Overheard) - "Fawkes the phoenix looked round, his bright black eyes gleaming with reflected gold from the sunset beyond the window."
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
- ↑ Edinburgh "cub reporter" press conference, ITV, 16 July 2005
- ↑ Dumbledore says that Ollivander wrote to him when Harry's wand was purchased; if Dumbledore did not have Fawkes before 1938, he would not know about the two feathers being in the wands, so Fawkes and Dumbledore must have met and bonded before 1938
- ↑ There are 59 years between 1938, by which point Fawkes was already with Dumbledore, and 1997,in which Dumbledore died, so they were together for at least 58 years
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12 (The Polyjuice Potion)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 21 (The Eye of the Snake)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
- ↑ Harry Potter: Wizards Unite