Your Weekend Creature Comforts: The Grindylow

Hello weekend and my faithful creature infatuated followers. We are sticking with the theme of creatures from Harry Potter this weekend, and though there were many contenders to choose from, I chose to spotlight the grindylow this week. Anyone here have a lakehouse? These monsters will make you think twice about enjoying it.


Grindylows originated from English folklore and were evil water spirits that loved bogs, marches, and lakes. The thought is that they were a water-dwelling version of the “bogey-man” and were meant to scare children in to staying away from the water, cause if you get to close or slip in they would rush up with their long arms and drag you to the bottom to drown.

Even though these creepy creatures have been around for awhile, I first was exposed to them in the land of Harry Potter. There they appear as green in color, with a human-like body except their legs end in 8 tentacles like an octopus. These tentacles make it all the easier to ensnare victims and drag them to their death under the surface. They live in The Black Lakes murky shores next to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, and play their most important role in “The Goblet of Fire.” There they torment our champions as they swim to the bottom of a lake to try to retrieve their loved ones.


I have to admit I am more terrified of the open ocean, and any potential of a Great White Shark attack. But if you have ever swum in a lake before and suddenly felt a fish or long strand of seaweed rub against your leg you can see why grindylows are quite a horrific monster. It’s like a reflex we learn from a very young age: someone throws something at your face, you close your eyes (actually this is a real reflex known as the menace response). I would argue that you feel something slimy in the water rub against your leg, and you pull your whole body in to a fetal position. If they ever prove this to be a real reflex I would argue they should call it the grindylow response. And there are too many horror movies out there where a dead body slowly rises up from the murky water, and I don’t want any grindylows to have the chance to make that body me!

But moving on from my nightmares (and now yours for the weekend) I did some more searching on grindylows, and discovered that they  make another popular culture appearance in a novel called “The Scar” by China Mieville. In addition to drowning anyone within their grips, this race of grindylow seeks out active war, and would annialate as many humans as possible in one major act of violence. It is now on my list of novels to check out.


Sadly for us there are not many other references of grindylows in the literature, mostly history books. Still, seems like something worth noting next time you want to swim in a body of freshwater. And being ever the supporter of Harry Potter, I think it is worth revisiting the books for a fresh (water) take on this great creature.

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Posted on November 9, 2013, in Creature Comforts, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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