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Victims of Petrification turned to stone

"Dark Magic of the most advanced kind."
Albus Dumbledore regarding Petrification[src]

Petrification was a malign magical state in which a living creature was rendered immobile and unresponsive, as if they had been turned to stone.[1] It was a phenomenon of the most advanced Dark Magic that no second year student would be able to perform,[1] affecting beasts, beings and even spirits such as ghosts.[2] Petrification could be inflicted by the statue curse,[3] along with the gazes of the Gorgon[4] and the Basilisk.[5][6] In the case of the Basilisk, its gaze ordinarily killed living creatures,[5] but when seen indirectly, or by a ghost (who was already dead and couldn't die again),[2][5] it caused Petrification instead.[5]


B2C14M1 Petrified students in the Hospital Wing

Petrified students in the Hospital Wing in 1992

During the history of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Chamber of Secrets was opened twice, and in both cases the Serpent of Slytherin was released and attacked the Muggle-born student body. The first opening in 1943 resulted in the Petrification of three Muggle-born students, and the death of one, Myrtle Warren.[7][5] The second opening in 1992 led to the Petrification of students Colin Creevey,[8] Justin Finch-Fletchley,[2] Hermione Granger and Penelope Clearwater,[9] along with the cat Mrs Norris[1] and the ghost Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington.[2]


Unidentified petrified Gryffindor girl

A petrified victim unable to move

Victims of Petrification were completely paralysed and unresponsive. It may have taken careful examination to discern if a victim was Petrified.[1] A Petrified ghost would turn a dark smoky grey and could only be moved using air currents.[2] The antidote to Petrification was the Mandrake Restorative Draught, a highly potent healing potion made from Stewed Mandrakes.[1]

Petrification should not be confused with the Full Body-Bind Curse or the Hardening Charm. The Full Body-Bind Curse was only temporary and could be lifted easily, while the Hardening Charm turned an object to literal stone.[4] Gilderoy Lockhart once confused the effects of Petrification with those of the Transmogrifian Torture;[1] however, the truth of his claims were extremely dubious.[5]

Known victims[]

Basilisk attacks[]

"The Basilisk kills people by looking at them. But no one's died — because no one looked it straight in the eye. Colin saw it through his camera. The Basilisk burned up all the film inside it, but Colin just got Petrified. Justin... Justin must've seen the Basilisk through Nearly Headless Nick! Nick got the full blast of it, but he couldn't die again... and Hermione and that Ravenclaw prefect were found with a mirror next to them. Hermione had just realised the monster was a Basilisk."
— The known victims of Petrification[src]
Victim Circumstances
Mrs Norris Saw the Basilisk's reflection in the water on the floor.[1]
Mrs Norris petrified
Colin Creevey Saw the Basilisk through his camera; the Basilisk's gaze also burned his camera's film to a crisp.[8]
Petrified Colin Creevey
Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington Saw the Basilisk directly, but as a ghost he could not die again, so thus was only Petrified.[2]
Nick petrified
Justin Finch-Fletchley Saw the Basilisk through the ghost of Sir Nicholas, who was transparent, did not see the Basilisk directly.[2]
Justin petrified
Hermione Granger Saw the Basilisk in Penelope's mirror, while near the Hogwarts Library.[5]
Petrified Hermione
Penelope Clearwater Saw the Basilisk in her mirror, along with Hermione Granger.[5]

Penelope is furthest on the left

Muggle-born students of Hogwarts (1943) During the incident of the first unleashing of the beast in 1943, unnamed Muggle-born Hogwarts students were Petrified.[7]

Statue curse[]

Victim Circumstances
Unidentified student Was found Petrified in the Clock Tower Courtyard in 1989.[3]
Unidentified petrified student
Unidentified petrified Gryffindor girl Was found Petrified in 1989.[10]
Unidentified petrified Gryffindor girl
Poppy Pomfrey Was found Petrified in the Hospital Wing in the 1989–1990 school year.[11]
Pomfrey Petrified
Unidentified girl Was found Petrified in the 1989–1990 school year.[12]
Unidentified petrified girl HM
Unidentified boy Was found Petrified in the 1989–1990 school year.[12]
Unidentified petrified boy from Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery
Unidentified girl Was found Petrified in the Hogwarts Library in 1989–1990 school year.[13]
Unidentified petrified girl (II) HM


The Latin verb petrificare means 'to make into stone', from the Latin word for 'rock', petra.

Behind the scenes[]

  • It is unknown how Nearly Headless Nick was revived from being Petrified, because, as a ghost, he presumably would not have been able to consume the antidote. However, as Petrified humans couldn't consume potions either, it is possible that the potion may have been administered in a form that could affect ghosts such as via a spray bottle.
  • In mythology, petrification is associated with Medusa the Gorgon and the cockatrice as well as the basilisk. In Cornish folklore, petrification legends explain the origin of prehistoric megalithic monuments, such as the Merry Maidens stone circle.[14]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 2 (Curses and Prophecies)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wonderbook: Book of Spells
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
  6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)
  10. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 7 (Niffler Hunting)
  11. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 14 (A New Friend of a Friend)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 24 (Return to the Forest)
  13. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 36 (Search for the Mole)
  14. WP favicon Petrification in mythology and fiction on Wikipedia