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"Ron had dropped his glass; he half-rose from his chair and then crumpled, his extremities jerking uncontrollably. Foam was dribbling from his mouth and his eyes were bulging from their sockets."
Ron Weasley after having consumed poisoned oak matured mead[src]

A poison is any substance that can cause severe distress or death if ingested, breathed in, or absorbed through the skin.[1]


There existed both an Antidote to Common Poisons that could counteract the effect of many ordinary poisons,[2][3] as well as an Antidote to Uncommon Poisons that was helpful against many rarer ones.[4] A bezoar was a stone taken from the stomach of a goat that would reverse the effects of most poisons,[5][6] though there were certain unusual ones that it and other antidotes would not work against.[7]


At some point, a poisoned vermin trap was set up in a room of Hogwarts Castle.[8]

Although Felix Felicis granted the drinker good luck, it was highly toxic in large quantities, hence it was meant to be taken very sparingly.[9][10]

In c. 1407, the famous potioneer Quintia McQuoid died after consuming an imperfectly-brewed cure for ague. In her memory, the Wizarding Schools Potions Championship was held every seven years since.[10]

Luc Millefeuille was a French wizard pâtissier was known for deliberately poisoning Muggles as a form of Muggle-baiting.[11]

In 1932, Gellert Grindelwald and his followers attempted to assassinate fellow Supreme Mugwump candidate, Vicência Santos, to reduce competition by serving her poisoned red wine disguised as normal red wine.

Hepzibah Smith was killed by Tom Riddle, who spilled a lethal and little known poison into her evening cocoa, under the guise of sugar. Hokey was framed for the crime and was considered to have confused the poison for sugar due to old age.[12]

During the 1987–1988 school year at Hogwarts, Professor Severus Snape taught fourth-year students in Potions how to concoct Weedosoros, a highly potent poison. He warned students not to come into contact with the potion and to go to the Hospital Wing if they swallowed any, so others did have to witness them convulsing.[13]

In 1992, Ronald Weasley's hand became swollen after it came into contact from venom from Norbert's fangs, resulting in him having to go to the Hospital Wing.[14]

Among the seven bottles of the Potion Riddle, three were poisons

Three of the potions in the bottles of the sixth obstacle of the Philosopher's Stone chambers were poison. The riddle accompanying the bottles stated that the poison was deadly.[15]

Slow-acting venoms were briefly mentioned in Gilderoy Lockhart's Gadding with Ghouls. Hermione Granger claimed that the contents of Moste Potente Potions would help her to understand what Lockhart had to say about this subject, though this was merely a ploy to obtain the book in order to find the instructions for brewing Polyjuice Potion.[16] Whether or not this book actually contained information on slow-acting venoms is unknown.

On Valentine's Day in 1993, Lockhart suggested that students ask Severus Snape to show them how to whip up a love potion, but Snape looked "as though the first person to ask him for a Love Potion would be force-fed poison".[17]

Harry wielding a basilisk fang, which contains its deadly venom

Basilisk venom was an extremely potent poison that could kill a living person within a minute. The only known antidote was phoenix tears, which saved Harry Potter from very close to death after he was pierced by the Serpent of Slytherin's fang.[18]

On 1 September of that year, following the inspection of the Hogwarts Express by Dementors, Remus Lupin handed out chocolate to Harry Potter and his friends to ward off the effects of the dementor's visit to their cabin, then went to speak with the train's conductor. When he returned and saw that none of them had eaten, he stated "I haven't poisoned that chocolate, you know."[19]

In addition to those brewed intentionally as poisons, certain types of potions could have poisonous effects if brewed incorrectly.[20][10][21][22] Before testing Neville Longbottom's Shrinking Solution on Trevor, Severus Snape noted that if the potion had not been brewed correctly, Trevor would likely be poisoned.[21] A sign posted inside St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries advised Healers that "A clean cauldron keeps potions from becoming poisons."[22]

Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody was well known for only drinking from his hip flask, due to the ease with which an unscrupulous wizard might poison an unattended cup.[23]

According to an alleged British Ministry of Magic insider in The Quibbler article "How Far Will Fudge Go to Gain Gringotts?" in 1995, poison was one of the methods that Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge had employed to have goblins killed.[24]

In December 1995, Arthur Weasley was attacked by the snake Nagini whilst he was guarding the Department of Mysteries at night.[25] Arthur was savagely bitten by Nagini, poisoning him with her highly toxic venom, which was potent enough that it kept wounds open and prevented them from healing naturally. He was subsequently taken to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries,[22] where he his wounds were treated and an Antidote was found for him by Healer Hippocrates Smethwyck, which saved from dying from the poison.[26]

In advising Harry Potter to continue Potions in his sixth year, Minerva McGonagall noted that poisons and antidotes are essential study for Aurors.[27]

When attempting to interrogate Harry Potter as to the whereabouts of Albus Dumbledore and Sirius Black, Dolores Umbridge requested Veritaserum from Severus Snape. He replied that he had no further stocks of it. He blithely stated that he could not be any further help to her unless she wished to poison Harry, but noted that most venoms act too quickly to give the victim much time for truth-telling.[28]

Ronald Weasley nearly dying from a bottle of mead poisoned by Draco Malfoy

Draco Malfoy attempted to kill Albus Dumbledore by sending him a bottle of poisoned mead. He had an Imperiused Rosmerta lace the mead with poison, which would be then purchased by Horace Slughorn, with the intention of giving it to Dumbledore as a gift. Slughorn, however, forgot to do so, and kept the bottle to himself until early March, where he gave it to Ronald Weasley as a get-me-up after accidentally ingesting a Love Potion. The poison nearly killed Ron, who went into shock when he drank the mead, had Harry Potter not saved him by quickly with a bezoar.[6] Dumbledore later noted this was a crude attempt of assassination due to Draco's increasing anxiety, as there was little chance that Dumbledore would have drank the poisoned beverage.[29]


Notes and references

  1. WP favicon.PNG Poison on Wikipedia
  2. Pottermore - Magical Draughts and Potions
  3. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 5 (Tulip Karasu) - Potions Lesson "Antidote to Common Poisons"
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) - Console versions
  5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)
  8. The Making of Harry Potter
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9 (The Half-Blood Prince)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Wonderbook: Book of Potions
  11. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Beauxbatons Academy of Magic" at Wizarding World
  12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
  13. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 6 (Explore the Forbidden Forest) - Potions Lesson "Weedosoros"
  14. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 14 (Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback)
  15. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
  16. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
  17. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
  18. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
  19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)
  20. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Potions" at Wizarding World
  21. 21.0 21.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 22 (St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries)
  23. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
  24. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 10 (Luna Lovegood)
  25. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 21 (The Eye of the Snake)
  26. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 24 (Occlumency)
  27. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  28. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
  29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)