The phoenix is a large swan-sized scarlet magical bird with red and gold plumage, along with a golden beak and talons, black eyes, and a tail as long as a peacock's. Its scarlet feathers glow faintly in darkness, while its golden tail feathers are too hot to the touch.
Phoenixes will usually nest on mountain peaks and are gentle herbivores that are not known for fighting. As phoenixes approach their Burning Day they resemble a half-plucked turkey. Their eyes become dull, their feathers start to fall out, and it begins to make gagging noises. Then the bird suddenly bursts into flames only to rise from the ashes shortly after. In a number of days, they grow back to full size. Thanks to this ability, phoenixes live to an immense age, perhaps even forever.
Phoenixes have crimson feathers on their body and a golden tail as long as a peacock's. Their claws and beak are gleaming gold and their eyes are black. Their scarlet body feathers glow faintly in darkness, while their golden tail feathers are hot to the touch. It is unknown if they are actually capable of burning someone as neither Harry Potter— when Fawkes carried him from the Chamber of Secrets — nor Albus Dumbledore — when he escaped the Ministry officials with Fawkes's help — were burned by his tail feathers; however, it is possible that Fawkes can control the temperature of his tail feathers and simply chose not to burn them.
Abilities and traits
The most startling of the phoenix's abilities is its ability to regenerate itself. It periodically bursts into flames when its body becomes old, and rises from the ashes as a newborn chick. This event is called Burning Day, and gives these birds a great life span, as well as the ability to take the full force of a Killing Curse and still be reborn. Phoenixes are immune to the gaze of a basilisk, which would normally kill anyone who has direct eye to eye contact with it, or petrify anyone through indirect eye contact, such as seeing a glimpse of the massive serpent or its reflection.
As stated by Dumbledore, they are extremely loyal creatures, and are capable of arriving to the aid of beings who share a similar devotion. This was how Fawkes arrived to assist Harry in slaying the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets during his second year at Hogwarts.
Their tears have potent healing capabilities. For instance, phoenix tears are the only known antidote to basilisk venom. Their tears are also able to bring a person back even from the brink of death, while the phoenix song will increase the courage of those who are good and strike fear into the hearts of those who serve evil.
Phoenixes are capable of lifting a great weight with their tails, such as being able to effortlessly fly up a distance with four people holding on to its tail. They can also leave messages by bursting into flame to reappear elsewhere, leaving behind a single golden tail feather.
The phoenix can also disappear and reappear at will in bursts of flames and take whoever is holding them along, similar to Apparition. Phoenix song also has a deep emotional impact, magical in nature and able to provide support and comfort.
Fire appears to have an unknown but profound effect on phoenixes, as Gellert Grindelwald was effortlessly capable of instantly turning a baby phoenix into a full adult by conjuring fire from his hand and setting the baby bird ablaze, from which it emerged as a full adult after being briefly covered by the flames, although by all fairness, Grindelwald was an immensely powerful wizard who was extremely skilled in Wandless Magic and fairly apt at handling magical creatures. Nevertheless, considering a phoenix's fire-related powers, it is likely that fire can be used to strengthen them.
Phoenixes are very difficult to domesticate, as Newton Scamander says in his book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: "The phoenix gains an XXXX rating not because it is aggressive, but because very few wizards have ever succeeded in domesticating it." There are two known domesticated phoenixes; one was Albus Dumbledore's pet phoenix Fawkes, and the other is Sparky, the team mascot for the New Zealand Quidditch team, the Moutohora Macaws.
Phoenixes that have been domesticated are extremely loyal to their owners, and will depart to find their own paths if their owners die, rather than finding a new master.
Unknown Phoenix in Nurmengard
After the Battle in Lestrange Mausoleum and recruiting Credence Barebone to his forces, Gellert Grindelwald reveals in Nurmengard to Credence that the baby bird he has been caring for in Paris was actually a phoenix. According to legend, a phoenix will appear to anyone of the Dumbledore Family in dire need. Grindelwald then presented him with a wand, as well as his birth name: Aurelius Dumbledore.
Fawkes was a phoenix who was owned by Albus Dumbledore. Fawkes lived with Dumbledore at Hogwarts Castle for a large part of his life. He was instrumental in helping Harry Potter defeat the Serpent of Slytherin, bringing Harry the Sword of Gryffindor, blinding the basilisk, and saving Harry from the venom with his tears.
Fawkes was also used as a communication between his master and the Order of the Phoenix. Fawkes assisted Dumbledore in fighting Lord Voldemort and protected the headmaster from a Killing Curse. After Albus Dumbledore's death, Fawkes performed a mournful song that seemed to feel like it is inside the listener, and was dubbed by wizards as the "Phoenix Lament". After the song was completed, Fawkes departed Hogwarts as a free phoenix, and was never heard from again.
Phoenix feather materials
Phoenix feathers are a powerful magical substance and, as such, are an accepted wand core. Fawkes gave two feathers, which ended up in the wands of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, which is said to be the reason why they locked in Priori Incantatem when the two wizards attempted to engage in a magical battle in the Little Hangleton graveyard. Due to phoenixes being very difficult to tame and are one of the most detached creatures in the world, the wands with such feathers are the pickiest of owners. The wands containing this core sometimes act on their own accord, due to having the most initiative of all core types. Phoenix feathers are sometimes used as writing quills.
Albus Dumbledore and the Phoenix
Albus Dumbledore has many connections to the phoenix, starting with his companion Fawkes and illustrated by his phoenix Patronus. He named his anti-Voldemort organisation the Order of the Phoenix after Fawkes. The old wizard was also shown to have an unusual affinity for incendiary magic; he could conjure flames which did not burn, summon a lasso of fire with which to subdue foes, and even produce Gubraithian or ever-burning fire, a highly advanced and rare ability. Indeed, one of the last and greatest spells Albus ever performed was the Firestorm, which he used to fend off the Inferi. Finally, Albus had sought immortality in his youth. But once he matured, and in much the same way that a phoenix keeps living on after its death, Dumbledore would come to adopt the great personal belief that death was nothing more than "the next great adventure".
Behind the scenes
- The phoenix is a creature from Greek mythology. The given native range for the phoenix in Egypt, India, and China may be in reference to the Egyptian Bennu, the Hindu Garuda and the Chinese fenghuang, all mythological birds from other cultures sometimes compared to the phoenix (though it should be noted that the hoo-hoo, which is also based on the fenghuang, apparently exists as an independent creature in the wizarding world).
- The phoenix is Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling's favourite magical creature.
- The phoenix is the only life-form in existence that defies the otherwise absolute rule that nothing can truly bring back the dead, although it is debatable if phoenixes actually die.
- It is interesting to note that the appearances of phoenixes, specifically Fawkes, portrayed in the films and novels look quite different; the phoenix is depicted and having a longer neck and vaguely resembling a Hoatzin in the novels and in illustrations on Pottermore, while in the films, it resembles a large Bird of Prey such as an eagle or a hawk.
- In a National Geographic book, it states that designers used the harpy eagle as inspiration for Fawkes.
- Although Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them states that phoenixes are hard to domesticate, domestication happens to a population due to selective breeding, not to individual animals, which can be tamed.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Mentioned only)
- 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 Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Mentioned in organisation name)
- 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)) (Mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (Appears as statue)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
- Quidditch Through the Ages
- 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
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
- Harry Potter: The Wand Collection (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 34 (Priori Incantatem)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
- ↑ Quidditch Through the Ages
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ World Book Day Interview, available via Accio Quote!
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