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"Supposedly the most dangerous of all dragon breeds, the Hungarian Horntail has black scales and is lizard-like in appearance."
— Description of a Hungarian Horntail[src]

The Hungarian Horntail was a species of dragon native to Hungary, which was considered to be one of the most dangerous dragon breeds, if not the most dangerous.[2] It possessed black scales, a spiked tail, and was lizard-like in appearance.[1]

Description and traits

"And there was the Horntail, at the other end of the enclosure, crouched low over her clutch of eggs, her wings half-furled, her evil, yellow eyes upon him, a monstrous, scaly, black lizard, thrashing her spiked tail, leaving yard-long gouge marks in the hard ground."
Harry Potter's perception of this dragon at the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament[src]

It had black scales, and was lizard-like in appearance. It also had yellow eyes, with vertical pupils like a cat's, bronze horns and similarly coloured spikes that protruded from its long tail which it would gladly deploy in combat.[1]

A Hungarian Horntail dragon

The dragon's roar was a yowling, screeching scream, and its flame could reach to about fifty feet. While having a very far reaching flame, the Horntail's breath could reach extremely high temperatures, as it made a stone turn red hot in seconds.[3] Its eggs were cement-coloured and particularly hard-shelled.[3] The Horntail's foods of choice included cattle, sheep, goats, and whenever possible, humans.[1]

Close up of an Hungarian Horntail

Horntails were also known for being one of the most vicious and aggressive breeds of dragon, and that was saying something since all dragons were known to be ferocious; even Charlie Weasley commented on their ferocity, saying that the Horntail was a "vicious thing",[2] and Rubeus Hagrid even regarded it as a "right nasty piece of work".[4] This breed was especially aggressive when protecting their young.[3]

Along with their viciousness, tail spikes, and fiery breath, Horntails were shown being extremely fast in flight while able to keep up with a Firebolt, a broomstick that was capable of going from 0 to 150 miles per hour in ten seconds. Horntails were also seen able to keep up with Harry Potter's flying skills; a very impressive feat considering Harry's talent as a seeker.[3]


"Keep back there, Hagrid! They can shoot fire at a range of twenty feet, you know! I've seen this Horntail do forty!"
Charlie Weasley regarding the firepower of these dragons[src]

The Hungarian Horntail in the Buried Vault

A Hungarian Horntail was the guardian of the Buried Vault, one of the Cursed Vaults. At the end of the 1988–1989 school year, it was defeated by Jacob's sibling.[5]

At some point before or during the 1989–1990 school year, a Hungarian Horntail mistook Urgruff's egg as one of her own. She later encountered Bill Weasley and his friends at the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary and fought them, but was unable to keep the egg.[6]

Harry Potter faces a Hungarian Horntail in the first task

During the First Task of the 1994 Triwizard Tournament, a Hungarian Horntail, alongside a Common Welsh Green, Chinese Fireball, and Swedish Short-Snout, was selected as obstacles of Golden egg retrieval for the Champions. Harry Potter ended up drawing the Hungarian Horntail to face.[3] Later before Christmas, when faced with the agony of trying to ask someone to the Yule Ball, Harry said that he would have preferred facing the Horntail again.[7]

Known Horntails

Year Dragon(s)
1988–1989 Buried Vault Hungarian Horntail
1989–1990 Hungarian Horntail in the Dragon Sanctuary
1994 Unidentified female Hungarian Horntail

Behind the scenes

The plush and model of the Hungarian Horntail at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

A Hungarian Horntail in LEGO form

  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Horntail's manner of breathing fire by shooting a pair of chemical liquids that cause a fire blast on contact is possibly based on the same fire-breathing manner used by dragons in the film Reign of Fire (2002). This was further followed by other media such as Game of Thrones series and Gods of Egypt (2016).[8]
  • The Horntail is featured in the video game version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and lives in The Dark Caves, a wizarding world forestal area with a giant cave.
  • In Year 2 of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, there is a moving picture of a wizard being chased by a Horntail in front of Hogwarts. If one gives the wizard a sword he will kill the Horntail and give the player a key.
  • The horntail's appearance in the film is based on the dragons in the film "Reign of Fire"(2002). The appearance of the Horntail in film adaptations is more akin to that of a traditional Wyvern; as it has no forelegs, a true classical dragon having forelegs, hindlegs and wings like described in the books.
  • The Pottermore illustration of the Hungarian Horntail resembles its description in the novels, having four legs and two wings, with a lizard-like head and being black in colour with bronze spikes and claws. This is markedly different than the depiction of the dragon in the film which resembles a wyvern.
  • The Hungarian Horntail was part of the Dragon Challenge Roller Coaster in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter along with the Chinese Fireball.
  • The Hungarian Horntail appears in the attraction at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Riders encounter the dragon when Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley fly Muggles to the Quidditch pitch. Riders enter a real set of the Wooden Bridge where they encounter a animatronic Hungarian Horntail, which breathes false fire at them.
  • In the credits of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it says "No Dragons were harmed in the making of this movie". This likely refers to the scene in the film where the Hungarian Horntail falls off the bridge.


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 1.11 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 19 (The Hungarian Horntail)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) - Chapter 13 (Dragons)
  5. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 30 (Into the Vault)
  6. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, "THE DRAGON'S TREASURE" Achievement
  7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22 (The Unexpected Task)
  8. Frederick Blichert, 2017, Without ‘Reign of Fire’ CGI Dragons Would Probably Suck, VICE
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