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"I can only tell you what I know... but I tell not for your benefit but for the benefit of my herd. The centaurs do not need another war."
—Bane[src]

A Centaur colony lived in the Forbidden Forest on the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They were led by the Centaur, Magorian.[1]

History

The centaurs have lived in the forest since at least the 19th century.[6]

Lord Voldemort's return

Bane: "For the best! What is that to do with us? Centaurs are concerned with what has been foretold! It is not our business to run around like donkeys after stray humans in our forest!"
Firenze: "Do you not see that unicorn? Do you not understand why it was killed? Or have the planets not let you in on that secret? I set myself against what is lurking in this forest, Bane, yes, with humans alongside me if I must."
— The Centaurs arguing after the killing of a Unicorn[src]

In 1991, the colony was disturbed by the arrival of Lord Voldemort in the Forest when he, through Quirinus Quirrell, was stalking and killing Unicorns. Although the other centaurs were unwilling to act against this, Firenze rescued Harry Potter from Quirrell while he was serving detention in the Forest. Bane and Ronan were furious at Firenze for letting Harry ride on his back, stating that centaurs were not "common mules." This led to the first idea that centaurs are hostile.[1]

Firenze's exile and the High Inquisitor's regime

In 1995, Firenze was exiled from the herd after accepting a post as Divination Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but not before they tried to trample him to death prior to being rescued by Rubeus Hagrid. Hagrid's intervention, along with his keeping of his Giant half-brother, Grawp, in the forest cost him his friendship with the centaurs.[7]

Bane: "Whose forest is it now, human?"
Dolores Umbridge: "Filthy half-breeds! Beasts! Uncontrolled animals!"
— Umbridge foolishly insulting the Centaur herd[src]
Centaurs Take Dolores OotP

Centaurs drag Dolores Umbridge away upon being called "half-breeds"

In 1996, Dolores Umbridge was tricked into going into the Forbidden Forest by Hermione Granger and Harry Potter, and after insulting them with her arrogant and hateful ways she was attacked and dragged away by them.[5] She was rescued from the forest by Dumbledore, and was left with a severe fear of the creatures after the traumatic event.[8]

Dumbledore's funeral

At Albus Dumbledore's funeral in 1997, the herd paid tribute to the fallen Headmaster with a shower of arrows.[3]

The Battle of Hogwarts

"BANE! Happy now, are yeh, that yeh didn' fight, yeh cowardly bunch o' nags? Are yeh happy Harry Potter's -- d-dead...?"
Rubeus Hagrid to Bane during the Battle of Hogwarts[src]
The Centaurs initially did not participate in the Battle of Hogwarts, though they certainly knew it was occurring because of the volume of Voldemort's demands. Firenze, however, did participate in the first wave of the battle, defending the school with the other Professors.[9][10]

After Hagrid called them cowardly nags while carrying the seemingly dead Harry Potter back to the castle, the Centaurs watched from the forest while Lord Voldemort taunted the defenders at the castle. They were among the first to attack the Death Eaters during the second wave of the battle, charging in and shooting at the enemies with their bows.[4] Following the battle, the herd accepted Firenze back because they realised he was right.[11]

The Calamity

By the 2018–2019 school year, the Centaurs appeared to have mellowed towards humans, as Firenze was able to provide instruction to the members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force without being exiled again.[12]

Relationships

Rubeus Hagrid

Hermione Granger: "Why does Firenze leaving make a difference?"
Rubeus Hagrid: "’Cause the other centaurs are good an’ riled at me, tha’s why. They used ter be — well, yeh couldn’ call ’em friendly — but we got on all righ’. Kept ’emselves to ’emselves, bu’ always turned up if I wanted a word. Not anymore..."
Harry Potter: "Firenze said that they’re angry because he went to work for Dumbledore?"
Rubeus Hagrid: "Yeah,. Well, angry doesn’ cover it. Ruddy livid. If I hadn’ stepped in, I reckon they’d’ve kicked Firenze ter death —"
— Hagrid explaining the colony's banishment of Firenze[src]
CentaursHagrid

The Centaur Ronan with Rubeus Hagrid, Harry Potter, and Hermione Granger

Rubeus Hagrid had an ongoing relationship with the centaurs that was typically much better than that of other witches and wizards. However, this relationship had its ups and downs, and varied by individual centaurs. During Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hagrid tried to get information from Ronan regarding a unicorn found dead in the forest, though the centaur gave very little information as he spent the time stargazing.[1] Nevertheless, the Centaurs appeared to have considered Hagrid a genuine friend, as they didn't have the heart to tell him they actually disliked his Rock Cakes.[2]

When Hagrid defended Firenze from them and brought Grawp to the Forbidden Forest, his relationship with the Centaurs reached a low point, and the Half-giant always brought his crossbow with him whenever he entered the forest. The Centaurs attacked Grawp, though the Giant survived and eventually managed to coexist in the forest with the centaurs.[7]

Hagrid also yelled at the Centaurs for not initially joining the Battle of Hogwarts, calling them cowardly as he carried Harry Potter from the Forbidden Forest with Voldemort and his Death Eaters. They later fought against Voldemort's Death Eaters alongside the reinforcements during the second half of the battle.[4] It is unknown whether the centaurs reconciled with Hagrid after the battle ended, although Firenze, having taught at Hogwarts, remained on good terms with Hagrid.

Albus Dumbledore

"There were a few more cries of shock as a shower of arrows soared through the air, but they fell far short of the crowd. It was, Harry knew, the centaurs’ tribute: he saw them turn tail and disappear back into the cool trees."
—The Centaurs' tribute to Albus Dumbledore[src]

Albus Dumbledore was the only one in Hogwarts apart from Hagrid who the Centaurs respected. Despite the fact that they banished Firenze when Dumbledore persuaded him to teach Divination, the Centaurs were willing to let Umbridge go because it was Dumbledore who came for her.[8] They even showed their respect for him in his funeral by shooting a shower of arrows,[3] and fought against Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the second half of the Battle of Hogwarts in honour of Dumbledore's memory.[4]

Known members

Behind the scenes

  • After Bane's fury at Firenze for rescuing Harry from Lord Voldemort, reminding him that the centaurs are sworn not to oppose the heavens, Harry later guessed that Voldemort killing him was written in the stars.[1] If so, this could likely be the reason why the centaurs did not initially interfere in the Battle of Hogwarts years later, and why they only fought the Death Eaters once Harry appeared to be dead.

Appearances

Notes and references

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