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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 single horn sticking out of the middle of its forehead. 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 and were an iconic creature of magic.[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]


Baby Unicorn WU

A unicorn foal

Unicorns inhabited the forests of Europe, including the Forbidden Forest by Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[2][3] It was not mentioned how long a Unicorn can live for.

Unicorn foals were born pure gold in colour. They remained so until they were about two years old, at which time they turned silver. Their horn grew in at around four years old. They were fully grown at about seven years old, at which point they turned a shade of pure white that was so bright, it made freshly fallen snow looked grey by 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.[1]

Unicorns preferred a woman's touch, but the young ones were more trusting and did not mind men as much.[3] They were not aggressive without cause, but should be treated with great respect.


An adult Unicorn

Unicorns were so fleet of the hoof that they could rarely be caught by humans. They were also fast enough to outrun werewolves with absurd ease.[2]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]

Wandmakers such as the Ollivander family plucked hairs from the tails of the creatures to use in wands as cores.[1]

According to Luna Lovegood, unicorns cared for their manes in the wild by rinsing them underneath a waterfall from a pure spring.[6]



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] including the Antidote to Common Poisons,[7] the Draught of Peace,[8] the Potent Exstimulo Potion,[6] and the Wiggenweld Potion.[9] Unicorn hair rinsed underneath a waterfall from a pure spring was more effective when used in potions, helping to reduce some potions' brewing times.[6]

Unicorn hair was also used in wand making as a wand core; wands with a unicorn core produced the most consistent magic, least subject to fluctuations and blockages, as well as being most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts and the least likely to change loyalty. However, they did not make the most powerful of wands and were prone to melancholy if mishandled, although the wand wood could compensate this.[10]

The tail hair could also be used as binding in bandages due to its incredible strength.[11]

Unicorn blood PSF

Unicorn blood

The blood of a unicorn could be drunk to keep a person alive, even if they were an inch from death, but "you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips." Although it was never explained what this cursed life actually entailed.[2] Furthermore, unicorns were considered pure and sacred creatures. Drinking their blood to preserve one's life was considered a heinous and immoral crime.[2]

The unicorn's single straight horn was used in the Study of Ancient Runes, to symbolise the number one as a runic number symbol.[12]


"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.[13]

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.[14]

Merula Snyde's mother owned a unicorn for a short period.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

Dead unicorn in the Forbidden Forest PSF

A dead unicorn in the Forbidden Forest

During the 1991–1992 school year, at least two unicorns were slain by Quirinus Quirrell in the Forbidden Forest so Lord Voldemort could drink their blood and return to power.[17] On 26 May 1992, Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy and Fang found the corpse of one of them in the Forbidden Forest that Voldemort was drinking from.[2]

B4C24M1 a lesson on unicorns

Professor Grubbly-Plank showing her class some unicorns

In January 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.[18]

During the Calamity in the 2010s, several baby unicorn Foundables were being guarded by large, aggressive red snake Confoundables, which appeared throughout the wizarding world. Volunteer members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force had to repel the giant serpents with the Bombardment Spell to stun them and liberate the baby unicorns, allowing the Foundables to return to their rightful place. A Magizoologist working for the Statute of Secrecy Task Force also came across an injured unicorn, which, despite being a timid creature, allowed them to treat its wounds.[6]

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 popular culture.
  • 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.[19]
  • 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.[20]


The Harry Potter Wiki has 82 images related to Unicorn.

Notes and references[]

See also[]

Study of Ancient Runes
Ancient Runes Made Easy
Professors: Bathsheda Babbling · Clodagh Dromgoole · Elspeth MacGillony
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 · Dugbog · 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 · Yeti
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 · Merperson · 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
Albus Dumbledore-101-chocFrogCard
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Bran the Bloodthirsty · Cyclops · Goliath · Morholt · Hengist of Upper Barnton

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Alguff the Awful · Eargit the Ugly · Gringott · Ug the Unreliable · Urg the Unclean

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Beast cards

Billywig · Bowtruckle · Doxy · Double-ended Newt · Giant Purple Toad · Giant Squid · Gnome · Gytrash · Imp · Kelpie · Manticore · Mountain troll · Streeler · Phoenix · Unicorn