Zombies were "Living Dead" magical creatures that dwelt in the southern part of the United States of America. They were identifiable by their greyish skin and rotten smell. While zombies had much in common with Inferi, they were in fact two distinct creatures.
In a 1913 Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry concerning Boggarts, a student's Boggart morphed into the form of a Zombie, to which the student used the Boggart-Banishing Spell to turn its head into a pumpkin.
During the 1991–1992 school year, Hogwarts Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor Quirinus Quirrell told his students that his turban had been given to him as a gift by an African prince for getting rid of a troublesome zombie. However, whenever he was asked how he fought off the zombie, Quirrell would try to change the subject and talk about the weather.
It was eventually revealed that the turban was used to hide the face of Lord Voldemort on the back of Quirrell's head, as he was possessing Quirrell at the time. It is therefore unlikely that Quirrell's story about the zombie was true, and the fact that the native range of zombies is America makes the veracity of the tale regarding the African prince even more dubious.
Behind the scenes
- "Lastly, zombies have been represented and reinterpreted on film so often in the last fifty years that they have a whole raft of associations that were of no use to me. I'm part of the 'Thriller' generation; to me, a zombie will always mean Michael Jackson in a bright red bomber jacket."
- — J. K. Rowling[src]
- Zombies are a creature from Haitian folklore comprised of a human corpse resurrected and reanimated from the dead by a dark sorcerer to be an unwilling slave, though the creature is used in modern times to describe a corpse resurrected by any means and has become a staple of horror media.
- Inferi have much in common with zombies, but they are not the same thing. J. K. Rowling presented her reasons for not calling the guardians of the locket Horcrux 'zombies', on Pottermore: firstly, zombies are not part of the British folklore (and, as such, would not be something a wizard would come across in Britain); secondly, there are some traditions that have it that the sorcerer that created the zombies uses their souls (or part of their souls) to sustain himself (Rowling wanted to distance herself from this, since it could potentially have implications in her Horcrux story); lastly, and perhaps more importantly, zombies have been such a big part of horror films and other media, that they had several associations that she did not see fit.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Daily Prophet Newsletters (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay (Mentioned only) (Appears as Boggart)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Pottermore - The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Inferi" at Wizarding World
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 69
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
- Zombie Trail at the HP Lexicon