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"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 was a white horse with a horn sticking out of its head. An iconic creature of magic, the existence of unicorns was one of the worst-kept secrets of the wizarding world, as unicorns were inextricably associated with magic in the Muggle world.[1]

These majestic equines possessed potent magical properties, with their tail hairs being used as the core of a wand and were designated by Garrick Ollivander as one of the "Supreme Cores", which was a distinction shared by only two other beasts.

A unicorn was one rare possible corporeal form of the Patronus Charm.[4] Constance Pickering's Patronus took the form of a unicorn.[5]


A unicorn foal

Unicorn foals were born pure gold in colour. They remained so until they were about two years old, at which time they turned silver in colour. At around four years old, their horn grew in. They were fully grown at about seven years old, at which at this age they turned a shade of pure white that was so bright that it made freshly fallen snow looked grey in comparison.

Their hooves were golden (remaining so from their gold stage, the first two years of their life), and their blood was silver-blue and shone under the moonlight. It was not mentioned how long a Unicorn can live for.[1]

An adult Unicorn

Unicorns inhabited the forests of Europe, including the Forbidden Forest by Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[2][3]

Unicorns preferred a woman's touch, but the young ones were more trusting and do not mind men as much.[3] Unicorns are also so fleet of the hoof that they can rarely be caught by humans. They were also fast enough to outrun werewolves with absurd ease.[2] Wandmakers such as the Ollivander family also plucked hairs from the tails of the creatures to use in wands as cores. Not aggressive without cause, but should be treated with great respect.[1]

Unicorns were 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 Rubeus Hagrid replied that they were not fast enough to catch Unicorns.[2]

Unicorns were considered pure and sacred creatures. Drinking their blood to preserve one’s life was considered a heinous and immoral crime.[2]


A Medieval tapestry depicting wizards slaying a unicorn, and collecting its blood

Various parts of the Unicorn — the horn and tail hair in particular — were used in potions.[2] Unicorn hair in general was used for the cores of wands to 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 did not make the most powerful of wands and were prone to melancholy if mishandled, although the wand wood could compensate this. The Wandmaker Garrick Ollivander made wands with unicorn hair cores.[6]

The tail hair could also be used as binding in bandages due to its incredible strength.[7] The blood of a unicorn could be used to keep a person who was near death alive, thus granting the drinker immortality, but "you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips."[2] Unicorn horn was often used as a common potion ingredient,[2] in potions such as the Antidote to Common Poisons,[8] Draught of Peace[9] and Wiggenweld Potion.[10]

The unicorn's single straight horn was used, in the Study of Ancient Runes, to symbolise the number one as a runic number symbol.[11]


"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."
— Description of a majestic Unicorn in a 1995 Care of Magical Creatures lesson[src]

Some time after its foundation in the First millennium A.D., two unicorns were used as the symbol for Hogsmeade village.[12]

At some point before or during the 1986–1987 school year, Jacob's sibling met a unicorn at the Magical Creatures Reserve, and would often bond with and feed it.[13]

Merula Snyde's mother owned a unicorn for a short period.[13]

During the 1988–1989 school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Professor Silvanus Kettleburn taught fifth-year students in Care of Magical Creatures class how to handle unicorns.[14]

During the 1989–1990 school year, Liz Tuttle was found keenly petting a unicorn in the Care of Magical Creatures paddock by Jacob's sibling. Professor Kettleburn remarked to Rubeus Hagrid that Liz was so focused on the unicorn that she would not overhear their conversation.[15]

A dead unicorn in 1992 in the Forbidden Forest

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.[2]

Professor Grubbly-Plank showing her class some unicorns

In 1995, fourth-year students at Hogwarts studied unicorns in their Care of Magical Creatures class, while Professor Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank was standing in for Hagrid.[3]

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.[16]

During the Calamity in the 2010s, several baby unicorn Foundables were being guarded by large, aggressive red snakes Confoundables, which appeared throughout the wizarding world. Volunteer members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force had to repel the giant serpents with the Exploding Charm to stun them and liberate the baby unicorns, allowing the Foundables to return to their rightful place.[17]

See also

Behind the scenes

A Unicorn plush toy sold at The Making of Harry Potter

  • 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 a 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. It also likely stems from how unicorns are often made to appeal to young girls.
  • 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.[18]
  • 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.
  • The unicorn is one of the nine possible Patronus forms for Jacob's sibling. It can be achieved by having a higher Empathy stat or choosing the option "protect friends" and later, choosing "Equine" as the Patronus form.[19]


The Harry Potter Wiki has 71 images related to Unicorn.

Notes and references

Study of Ancient Runes
Ancient Runes Made Easy.jpg
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) · The Paddock
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 · Chimaera · Crup · Demiguise · Diricawl · Doxy · Fairy · Fire Crab · Fire Dwelling Salamander · Flobberworm · Fwooper · Glumbumble · Gnome · Golden Snidget · Griffin · Hippogriff · Imp · Jackalope · Knarl · Kneazle · Moke · Murtlap · Niffler · Occamy · Porlock · Quintaped · 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
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Billywig · Bowtruckle · Doxy · Double-ended Newt · Giant Purple Toad · Giant Squid · Gnome · Gytrash · Imp · Kelpie · Manticore · Mountain Troll · Streeler · Phoenix · Unicorn