Though witches and wizards seem to be the stars of the wizarding world, there are also endless monsters and magical creatures that inhabit the land around Hogwarts. The Harry Potter books mention many more creatures than are included in the movies, ranging from vampires to a giant squid living in the Great Lake.
The movies still have their fair share of monsters and magical beasts, some more fearsome than others. While some are neutral, others lean toward the dark side.
Keep reading to see our ranking of the scariest monsters and magical creatures to appear in Harry Potter.
There is nothing inherently scary about pixies, though in the Harry Potter universe they’re portrayed as being quite mischievous. In the context of all the monsters and magical creatures to appear in J.K. Rowling’s world, they’re probably the least scary, although they would be a pain to deal with in real life.
This is seen firsthand in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Professor Lockhart brings in a cage full of Cornish pixies to his second-year Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Once the pixies escape their cage, they are completely out of control.
Unlike other magical creatures, goblins actually communicate with witches and wizards. They’re known for running Gringotts the wizard bank, and Professor Flitwick is even half-goblin. Still, it’s Hagrid’s early warning to Harry that goblins aren’t the friendliest of creatures that always left us feeling a little wary of them.
Aside from not being overly friendly, goblins are known for being highly intelligent and they don’t need to rely on wands to perform their magic. It is difficult to not feel sorry for the goblin community, though, as many wizards believe them to be inferior.
Although nobody actually knows what a boggart’s true form is, these creatures have the capacity to be quite scary. They take the form of a person’s greatest fear, so that makes them more fearsome than most other creatures.
While they are scary, witches and wizards are taught how to deal with them in the third year of magical study, so they’re not particularly complicated to battle.
One of the most memorable boggart scenes is in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when the creature takes the form of a Dementor and swoops at Harry.
Dragons don’t cause too much of a nuance for Harry and his friends over the years. Of course, there’s the Hungarian Horntail that Harry has to steal an egg from during the Triwizard Tournament. Then there’s the dragon that’s held captive in the deep caverns of Gringotts that the trio eventually save.
With their immense size, sharp teeth, and fire-breathing abilities, dragons are reasonably scary. However, they are never depicted as being truly malicious throughout the series. The first dragon introduced in the movies, Norberta, is actually kind of cute.
6 Mountain Trolls
A magical creature doesn’t necessarily have to be intelligent to evoke fear. Even though trolls are among the least intelligent creatures in the wizarding world, the one that is let into the castle on Halloween in the first Harry Potter film is pretty frightening.
It is the combination of their huge size, lack of conscience, and the weapons they wield that make them so scary. Harry, Ron, and Hermione surviving the troll attack during their first year at Hogwarts was super impressive.
In many fairytales, merfolk are portrayed as beautiful creatures. In the Disney film The Little Mermaid, they are friendly (although they mostly want nothing to do with humans). However, the merfolk in Harry Potter aren’t particularly friendly or beautiful. They’re more frightening than alluring.
They are first shown in Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts when he competes in the Triwizard Tournament. As part of the competition, he has to swim to the bottom of the Great Lake and retrieve Ron who is being held captive by some vicious merpeople.
Werewolves in Harry Potter can be even more frightening than other portrayals of werewolves in folklore and pop culture. They are shown as having no control over themselves in the face of the full moon and will even turn on their closest friends.
Of course, one of the most beloved Harry Potter characters, Remus Lupin, is a werewolf. While there are some likable werewolves, such as Lupin, the series also features much scarier examples, such as Fenrir Greyback. The most frightening thing about a werewolf is that their bite turns their victim into a werewolf themselves.
A jail interring prisoners as evil as those kept at Azkaban needs to be guarded by terrifying creatures like Dementors. With their hooded appearances and ghostly movements, these beings almost resemble the Grim Reaper and are frightening to look at even before they work their magic.
Dementors force their victims to relive their worst memories and feed on human happiness, leaving those in their wake with feelings of hopelessness and depression. Harry has a particularly hard time with them because his past contains such traumatic experiences, so it’s a good thing he masters his Patronus charm early on.
2 The Basilisk
If a monster is powerful enough to end someone’s life with a simple look, then it’s certainly a force to be reckoned with. The basilisk that lives in the Hogwarts castle lies in the Chamber of Secrets and is called upon by the heir of Slytherin to kill muggle-born students.
Even after Fawkes blinds the basilisk and defeats the powers of its fatal gaze, it’s still a terrifying monster. Harry eventually defeats the beast using the sword of Gryffindor. The upside to having a basilisk around, though, is that their venom is powerful enough to destroy Horcruxes.
1 The Scariest: Acromantula
Of all the magical creatures and monsters roaming around the wizarding world, none is as frightening as the acromantula. In the Chamber of Secrets, we meet Aragog who, despite being a friend of Hagrid, is a carnivorous spider at heart. Although Aragog doesn’t do the bidding of evil like the basilisk, he’s still not a creature anyone would like to run across in the Forbidden Forest.
For an arachnophobe, the scariest moment in the entire Harry Potter series has to be when Harry and Ron find themselves in the midst of Aragog’s lair and have to flee from thousands of man-eating giant spiders.
NEXT: Hogwarts Houses of Birds Of Prey Characters