- "Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something so pure and defenceless to save yourself, you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips."
- —The properties of unicorn blood[src]
The Unicorn is a white horse with a horn sticking out of its head. An iconic creature of magic, the existence of unicorns is one of the worst-kept secrets of the wizarding world, as unicorns are inextricably associated with magic in the Muggle world. These majestic equines possess potent magical properties, with their tail hairs being deigned by Garrick Ollivander as one of the "Supreme Cores," which is a distinction shared by only two other beasts.
At least two unicorns were slain by Quirinus Quirrell so Lord Voldemort could drink their blood and return to power. Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy and Fang found the corpse of one of them in the Forbidden Forest.
In 1995, fourth year students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry studied unicorns in their Care of Magical Creatures class, while Professor Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank was standing in for Hagrid.
Later, in the 1995-1996 school year, as part of the Ordinary Wizarding Level Care of Magical Creatures practical examination, students were required to choose from a wide selection of food the diet they would give a sick Unicorn.
The Unicorn was so brightly white that it made the snow all around look grey. It was pawing the ground nervously with its golden hooves, and throwing back its horned head.
Unicorn foals are born pure gold in colour. They remain so until they are about two years old, at which time they turn silver in colour. At around four years old their horn grows in. They are fully grown at about seven years old, at which at this age they turn a shade of pure white that is so bright that it makes freshly fallen snow look grey in comparison. Their hooves are golden (remaining so from their gold stage, the first two years of their life), and their blood is silver-blue in colour and shines under the moonlight. It is not mentioned how long a Unicorn can live for.
Unicorns prefer a woman's touch, but the young ones are more trusting and do not mind men as much. Unicorns are also so fleet of hoof that they can rarely be caught by humans. They are also fast enough to outrun werewolves with absurd ease. Wandmakers such as the Ollivander family also pluck hairs from the tails of the creatures to use in wands as cores. Not aggressive without cause, but should be treated with great respect.
Various parts of the Unicorn — the horn and tail hair in particular — are used in potions. Unicorn hair in general is used for the cores of wands. Unicorn hair can be used in wandmaking; they produce the most consistent magic, least subject to fluctuations and blockages, most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts and the most faithful of wands. However, they do not make the most powerful of wands and are prone to melancholy if mishandled. Garrick Ollivander made wands with unicorn hairs.
The tail hair can also be used as binding in bandages due to its incredible strength. The blood of a unicorn can be used to keep a person who is near death alive, but "you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips."
Behind the scenes
- The unicorn was a creature that the ancient Greeks believed resided in India. Though commonly depicted in modern fantasy (as in Harry Potter) as being a horse with a single horn, unicorns in antiquity were also described as goats, wild donkeys, or some form of hybrid creature. The concept of them being more comfortable with witches than wizards possibly stems from medieval beliefs that only a maiden could tame a unicorn.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Voldemort tries to sneak up on the unicorn with a knife and fork, but is scared off by Firenze who shows him his fist. Hagrid then proceeds to care for the sick unicorn like a child.
- Unicorns are capable of moving faster than werewolves. During the detention in the Forbidden Forest in 1992, Harry asked if a werewolf could be killing the unicorns and Hagrid replied that they are not fast enough.
- It is possible the author was inspired to place Unicorns within the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts, based on the fact that the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland, where Hogwarts is located.
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card) (Appears on wall-carpet)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Deleted scene) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Appears on wall-carpet)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears on wall-carpet)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Appears on wall-carpet)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only) (Seen on Harry Potter Collection book cover)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Wonderbook: Book of Potions
- J. K. Rowling's Official Site
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- 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
Notes and references
|Professor: Bathsheda Babbling|
|Textbooks: Advanced Rune Translation · Ancient Runes Made Easy · Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms · Rune Dictionary · Spellman's Syllabary|
|Known Runes: Acromantula · Demiguise · Ehwaz · Eihwaz · Fwooper · Graphorn · Hydra · Quintaped · Runespoor · Salamander · Unicorn · Unknown · Mark of Merlin|
|Care of Magical Creatures|
|Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts|
|Hagrid's Hut · Forbidden Forest · Care of Magical Creatures classroom · Magical Creatures (club)|
|Professors||Silvanus Kettleburn · Rubeus Hagrid · Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank (substitute teacher)|
|Textbooks||The Monster Book of Monsters · Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them|
|Creatures studied at Hogwarts|
|Blast-Ended Skrewt · Bowtruckle · Crup · Fire Crab · Flobberworm · Hippogriff · Knarl · Kneazle · Murtlap · Niffler · Porlock · Fire Dwelling Salamander · Streeler · Thestral · Unicorn|
|Magical Creatures by classification|
|X||Flobberworm · Horklump|
|XX||Augurey · Bowtruckle · Chizpurfle · Clabbert · Diricawl · Fairy · Ghoul · Gnome · Grindylow · Imp · Jobberknoll · Mooncalf · Porlock · Puffskein · Ramora · Winged horse|
|XXX||Ashwinder · Billywig · Bundimun · Crup · Doxy · Dugbog · Fire crab · Fwooper · Glumbumble · Hippocampus · Hippogriff · Hodag · Jarvey · Knarl · Kneazle · Leprechaun · Lobalug · Mackled Malaclaw · Moke · Murtlap · Niffler · Nogtail · Pixie · Plimpy · Pogrebin · Red Cap · Salamander · Sea serpent · Shrake · Streeler · Winged horse|
|XXXX||Centaur · Demiguise · Erkling · Erumpent · Golden Snidget · Graphorn · Griffin · Hidebehind · Kappa · Kelpie · Merpeople · Occamy · Phoenix · Re'em · Runespoor · Snallygaster · Sphinx · Tebo · Thestral · Thunderbird · Troll · Unicorn · Winged horse · Yeti|
|XXXXX||Acromantula · Basilisk · Chimaera · Dragon · Horned Serpent · Lethifold · Manticore · Nundu · Quintaped · Wampus cat · Werewolf|