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"The gnome is a common garden pest found throughout northern Europe and North America."
— Description[src]

A gnome, or garden gnome, was a small magical beast commonly known to infest the gardens of wizarding households.[1][3] The correct taxonomic name for gnomes was, purportedly, Gernumbli gardensi, or sometimes referred to as Gernumblies.[2] They were found throughout northern Europe and North America.[1]

Nature

Gnomes could reach a size of approximately one foot, making them smaller than Erklings. They were usually brown in colour and had disproportionately large heads, making them look like potatoes with legs. Although not dangerous creatures, they possessed razor sharp teeth and tended to bite if provoked.[1]

Their feet were hard and bony, and they did not look anything like the garden gnomes of Muggles (which, according to Ronald Weasley, looked like little Father Christmases with fishing rods).[3]

Ecology

The Gnome infestation living in the Weasley garden

Gnomes lived in burrows underground, known as gnomeholes,[3] where they dug up and ate the roots of plants,[4] creating little heaps of earth around gardens a lot like moles (and as such causing considerable damage to them). Gnomes preferred to live in wizarding gardens, and may have ran out and attempt to trip the unwary traveller.[5]

Gnomes also seemed to like worms[6] and Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans.[7][8] The natural predator of the Gnome was the Jarvey, a magical beast resembling an overgrown ferret.[1]

Crookshanks was fond of chasing gnomes around the garden of The Burrow, and the gnomes seemed just as fond of being chased.[9] According to Muriel, they were quick breeders.[2]

Gnomes in the wizarding world

Polarised reputation

The Gnome

According to Xenophilius Lovegood, having an infestation of these creatures in one's garden was a sort of blessing. When his daughter Luna was bitten by a gnome, he exclaimed that gnome saliva had many unusual and beneficial properties, such as the ability to suddenly increase one's creativity (in particular, he said it might make one have the urge to sing opera, or give speeches in Mermish).[2] Luna Lovegood then told Harry that her father had done a lot of research of Gernumbli magic, so at least in the Lovegood's view of things (which always had to be taken with a grain of salt) gnomes may have possessed unique magical abilities, distinct from wizarding magic.[2]

However, Rubeus Hagrid considered gnomes "a nasty piece o' work" and instructed students to defeat gnomes in his Care of Magical Creatures classes.[10]

Interaction with humans

"The gnome can be expelled from the garden by swinging it in circles until dizzy and then dropping it over the garden wall. Alternatively a Jarvey may be used, though many wizards nowadays find this method of gnome-control too brutal."
— Instructions on how to de-gnome a garden[src]

A gnome on top of the Weasleys' Christmas tree

Because of the havoc they wreacked upon gardens and the fact that they were somewhat of a giveaway of wizarding homes,[4] gnomes were deemed pests by the wizarding community. De-gnoming typically consisted of taking hold of the gnomes, swinging them around until they are dizzy, and then throwing them beyond the yard's perimeter fence or wall. Gnomes had the ability to speak, or at least make noises, squealing "Gerroff me!" when caught,[3] and could be taught swear words.[2] They were also able to scream when thrown away and mumble angrily when they walked away. However they often laughed when a de-gnoming was not done properly.[3]

Interestingly, the species had such a low level of intelligence that when a de-gnoming is being carried out, they will hurry out of their burrows to see what's causing the commotion, which only rendered them easier to catch. Alternatively, one could use a Jarvey to de-gnome a garden, but this method was considered much too violent and thus is seldom used, as Jarveys preyed upon gnomes.[1]

The Weasleys had to regularly de-gnome the garden by throwing them over the hedge. However, the gnomes always sneaked back in since Arthur Weasley was soft on them and thought they were funny.[3] This may suggest that they had a bit of intelligence, or a clever sub-species of the gnomes exist.

History

During the 1990–1991 school year, Bill Weasley taught seventh year Defence Against the Dark Arts students about how to handle gnomes in one of his nightly extracurricular classes, claiming them to be quite dangerous beasts.[11]

In the summer of 1992, the Weasley family taught Harry Potter about De-gnoming, as their garden at their house The Burrow had become infested with gnomes.[3]

In the summer of 1994 at The Burrow, Crookshanks, Hermione Granger's pet half-Kneazle cat, enjoyed chasing gnomes around the garden, as he had never seen them before.[9]

In December 1996, at Christmas, the Weasley family stunned, painted gold and stuffed into a minature tutu a garden gnome in order to use it as a Christmas tree topper, that had previously bit Fred Weasley on the ankle as he was pulling up carrots from the garden for dinner.[6] That same holiday, whilst Harry Potter was talking with Rufus Scrimgeour outside, he spotted a gnome poking its head from underneath a frozen rhododendron, and later saw it trying to dig worms out of the frozen ground to eat.[6]

During the 2008–2009 school year, one of Rubeus Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures lessons was to defeat gnomes in order to protect the pumpkins in his garden.[10]

Behind the scenes

A Gnome as seen in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

  • The gnome was originally created by Paracelsus in his alchemical works as a diminutive earth elemental. The creature was later picked up by other writers.
  • In the GBA version of the first video game, blue gnomes appear along with brown ones.
  • It is possible gnomes possess some degree of magical resistance, which would explain why de-gnoming is achieved through physical means (be it throwing them out or a Jarvey) rather than with some sort of spells. This is also supported in the GBA version of the first video game, in which blue gnomes are more resistant to the Knockback Jinx than brown ones.
  • Several video games depict gnomes as being taught in Defence Against the Dark Arts class, which seems canonically strange, considering how gnomes are not dangerous or dark creatures, but are in fact relatively harmless garden pests.

Appearances

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Notes and references

Care of Magical Creatures
Fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-pottermore.png
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 · Diricawl · Doxy · Fairy · Fire Crab · Fire Dwelling Salamander · Flobberworm · Fwooper · Glumbumble · Gnome · Golden Snidget · Griffin · Hippogriff · Imp · Jackalope · Knarl · Kneazle · Moke · Murtlap · Niffler · Porlock · Quintaped · Streeler · Thestral · Unicorn · Wampus cat
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 · Merpeople · 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
Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
Subjectsdada.JPG
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts
Classroom 3C · Classroom 3C backrooms · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Teacher's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Storage room · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Duelling Club · Dumbledore's Army
Professors
Arsenius Jigger · Albus Dumbledore · Galatea Merrythought · 1984–1985 professor · 1985–1986 professor · 1986–1987 professor · 1987–1988 professor · Patricia Rakepick · 1989–1990 professor · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Bartemius Crouch Junior (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape · Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher) · Unidentified professor · Brindlemore
Textbooks
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts · Break with a Banshee · Gadding with Ghouls · Holidays with Hags · Travels with Trolls · Voyages with Vampires · Wanderings with Werewolves · Year with the Yeti · The Essential Defence Against the Dark Arts · Defensive Magical Theory · Dark Arts Defence – Basics for Beginners · Confronting the Faceless · Defence Against the Dark Arts
Spells studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Aqua Eructo · Boggart-Banishing Spell (Riddikulus) · Cave inimicum · Counter-curses · Counter-jinxes · Cruciatus Curse (Crucio) · Curse of the Bogies (Mucus ad Nasuem) · Cursed barrier spell · Densaugeo · Deprimo · Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) · Ear-Shrivelling Curse · Everte Statum · Freezing Spell (Glacius) · Full Body-Bind Curse (Petrificus Totalus) · Fumos Duo · Green Sparks · Hex-Breaker· Hex-deflection · Hex Zapper · Homorphus Charm · Human-presence-revealing Spell (Homenium Revelio) · Impediment Jinx (Impedimenta) · Imperius Curse (Imperio) · Imperturbable Charm · Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra) · Knockback Jinx (Flipendo) · Lacarnum Inflamari · Langlock · Limbo Mist anticharm · Nonverbal spells · Patronus Charm (Expecto Patronus) · Protective enchantments · Red Sparks (Vermillious) · Reductor Curse (Reducto) · Salvio hexia · Sea Urchin Jinx · Seize and pull charm (Carpe Rectratum) · Shield Charm (Protego) · Smokescreen Spell (Fumos) · Snake-Vanishing Spell (Vipera Evanesca) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Stretching Jinx · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Tongue-Tying Curse (Mimble Wimble) · Trip Jinx · Twitchy-Ears Hex · Verdimillious Charm (Verdimillous) · Verdimillious Duo Spell (Verdimillous) · Verdimillious Tria · Vermillious Duo · Vermillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos)
Creatures studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Banshee · Boggart · Chameleon Ghoul · Charmed skeleton · Cornish Pixie · Dementor · Dugbog · Erkling · Flesh-Eating Slug · Ghost · Ghoul · Gnome · Grindylow · Gytrash · Hag · Hinkypunk · Iguana · Imp · Inferius · Kappa · Nocturnal beasts · Red Cap · Snake · Troll · Vampire · Vampire bat · Werewolf · Yeti · Zombie