Your Weekend Creature Comforts: Thestrals

There are dozens of monsters and creatures in the Harry Potter series I would love to encounter, but I think thestrals are on the top of my list. Thanks to Greek mythology many of us are fascinated with the Pegasus like horses out there, but thestrals add a unique twist to the concept. This weekend we will fly alongside our Hogwarts classmates on this magnificent monster as we learn more about the magical creatures from Harry Potter’s world.


 Like the Pegasus, the thestral is a winged horse. But after that likeness, these two flying equids are pretty much as different as can be: the thestral has a skeletal body, and reptilian like skin instead of a smooth coat of horse hair. Unlike the glorious eagle wings adorning the Pegasus, the thestral’s wings are bat-like and leathery in nature. With their mouth full of fangs, the thestral diet is a carnivorous one, very different from the hay you might stock in your stables normally. And unlike a Pegasus that would blind you with its brilliance, these horsies are invisible to most people, unless you had the unfortunate experience of having witnessing someone die. If you have observed someone die, these rare monsters will suddenly become visible to your naked eye, though you are still unlikely to see one as they are a bit reclusive.


Of course, due to the combination of their ghastly appearance and the fact that you had to have witnessed death to see them, the creatures are considered a bad omen and a dangerous creature by most. But if you are brave enough to try to domesticate one of these monsters, you would be pleasantly surprised as they are more willing to allow you to ride them than the average hippogriff or boring horse. Not surprisingly, our dear friend Hagrid of the Harry Potter novels owns the largest herd of domesticated thestrals in the UK.

But it's so cute? Who wouldn't love that face...

But it’s so cute? Who wouldn’t love that face…

J.K. Rowling does such a lovely job describing the thestrals, which left me shocked when I found out they are a purely Harry Potter creation. The monsters are so well developed, and the name has a familiar ring to it, so I assumed they were a mythological creature that took up appearances in history before the Harry Potter series. I was very surprised to find out that so far the only appearance and account we have of thestrals is by Ms. Rowling herself. That being said, it is one of my favorite, one that I would love to meet in real life as much as I want to play quidditch!


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Posted on November 16, 2013, in Books, Creature Comforts, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I wish they were real, though I don’t think I want to have the ability to see them.

  2. They’re truly fascinating. Great pick!

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