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Harry Potter Wiki

The Pukwudgie was a magical creature native to the United States of America.[1]


Pukwudgies were short, grey, large-eared creatures. They were distantly related to the European goblin and had been known to both help humans and play tricks on them. Pukwudgies hunted with their poisonous arrows.[1]

Pukwudgie ClearBG 2

The Pukwudgie as seen on the Ilvermorny crest

Pukwudgies were famous for having one of the four Ilvermorny houses named in honour of them. This was because of the friendship that had existed between Isolt Sayre and the Pukwudgie she had named William. Pukwudgies were employed at Ilvermorny long after Isolt's time, providing security and maintenance.[1]

Personality and traits[]

Pukwudgies were considered fiercely independent. They enjoyed hunting and playing tricks on humans. They were not overly fond of humankind, magical or No-Maj. They were exceptionally dangerous and secretive creatures, who had a tradition that expected them not to reveal their true names to outsiders.[1]

As seen with William, they considered themselves indebted to the one who saved them, however much they disliked it. They also declared themselves bound to them until they had repaid the favour. William was particularly upset about it as it was against the beliefs of the Pukwudgie to assist humankind.[1]

The Pukwudgie could also be very grumpy and complained about many things they had to do, even if they actually wanted to do it. For example, the ones that worked at Ilvermorny often said they had no wish to be there, but they happily turned up every year to work there.[1]

They were very serious about their traditions, which led to a tantrum by William when Isolt asked him to break tradition and help humankind. He considered Isolt an exception as she saved him, but refused to help the wounded Webster and Chadwick and preferred to ignore them. Pukwudgies once hated humans but have since mellowed.[1]

They could think it was humiliating if the one they were indebted to appeared foolish and had no problem with showing great ingratitude as they stayed with them.[1]

They could also be very wary and distrusting of certain things such as the Horned Serpent. However, they were very intelligent as William possessed great knowledge of the land and the creatures that lived there. They were also able to create their own weapons and possess their own magic. The Pukwudgie could also be very loyal and protective of the things they loved.[1]

It is not known how long Pukwudgies could live, but some at Ilvermorny claimed that William still worked at school when he would have been over three hundred years old.[1]


William the Pukwudgie

William the Pukwudgie

In 1620, Isolt Sayre saved a Pukwudgie that was about to be eaten by a Hidebehind. She nursed him back to health, and he declared himself bound and indebted to her until he had repaid her help. He followed her around, grumbling and showing very little gratitude to her. However, Isolt enjoyed his company and a unique friendship developed between them.[1]

As he would not reveal his true name, per the tradition of his people, Isolt gave him the nickname William, in honour of her late father. During their time together, William introduced her to many creatures native to the area, such as the Hodag, Snallygaster and Wampus cat.[1]

One day, William was shocked to find that Isolt had befriended the Horned Serpent at the creek, and was even more wary to discover that the Horned Serpent liked Isolt who was able to understand it. She quickly learned not to talk to William about her kinship with it and kept the things they talked about to herself.[1]

While foraging in the woods, a sound made William tell Isolt to stay hidden while he found out what had happened. Isolt ignored him and followed him to a grisly scene. The Hidebehind had killed a witch and a wizard and wounded the couple's two children, Chadwick and Webster.[1]

Isolt and William worked together to kill the Hidebehind but William refused to help her nurse the survivors back to health, since Pukwudgies believe they shouldn't help humankind. Thus led to an argument which caused William and Isolt to part ways.[1]

Ten years later, they reunited when Isolt and her family were attacked by her aunt, Gormlaith Gaunt, and were about to be killed. In her fear, Isolt called for her father, but the Pukwudgie appeared as he had thought she was calling for him. He killed Gormlaith with one of the poisonous arrows he owned. It was tipped in Pukwudgie venom which had a terrible reaction with her dark magic.[1]

William became famous for his role in the founding of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Isolt had told her family stories about William which led to James Steward deciding to name the house Pukwudgie for him.[1]

James shook William's hand when he first met him and told him what he had done, which flattered William. He moved his family into the house the next day and they became the first Pukwudgies to live in and serve Ilvermorny. To this day, Pukwudgies provide security and maintenance services at the school, paid for in gold.[1]

Like William, they complained about being there and often said they have no wish to remain, but they still appeared every year to work. There was a legend at the school that one of them, an elderly individual also named William, may be Isolt's companion. He refused to let anyone else clean the marble statue of Isolt at the entrance and placed mayflowers at the statue every year on the anniversary of her death. The individual in question laughed at the suggestion that he was the original William, pointing out that he would have to be over 300 years old. As this was not a direct denial, combined with uncertainty of how long Puckwudgies could live, the rumour persisted.[1]

Known Pukwudgies[]

  • William - a Pukwudgie whom Isolt Sayre rescued from a Hidebehind and nursed back to health. The two eventually became friends. As he wouldn't tell her his true name, she nicknamed him after her murdered father.[1]

See also[]


Pukwudgie means 'person of the wilderness' in some Native American languages.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

  • The Pukwudgie is a creature that appears in the folklore of various indigenous peoples of North America, notably the Wampanoag.[3][4] It is typically described as two-to-three-feet tall and human-shaped, but with a larger nose, ears, and fingers and smooth, grey skin that sometimes glows, as well as a thick shock of hair that somewhat resembles that of a porcupine.[3] Its magical abilities include disappearing and reappearing, partial or complete transformation into a porcupine or cougar, and creating fire.[3]
  • The Pukwudgie taboo against revealing one's personal name is shared with the Celtic beliefs about fair folk and that knowing one's name enables another to control or curse a person,[citation needed] which was likely part of the inspiration for the European fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin.
  • It is unknown if Pukwudgies are classified as either Beings or Beasts, though the former is more likely.
  • Pukwudgies being highly proficient with a bow and arrow, aside from reflecting their Native American origins, may also be a reference to Elfshot, an ancient European belief that elves could cause invisible injuries with a curse or unseen arrow. Modern diagnoses for such pain may include ailments like rheumatism, arthritis, muscle stitches or cramps. However, as the Pukwudgie is not European, this is unlikely - elfshot is an idea related to Celtic fair folk.[citation needed]
  • While in the Harry Potter universe, the Pukwudgie is said to be distantly related to the European goblin,[1] the real life folklore about it is entirely separate, and J. K. Rowling has been criticised for the ways in which she has interpreted Native American folklore for her franchise.[citation needed]


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Notes and references[]