Fawkes was a highly intelligent phoenix and Albus Dumbledore's animal companion and defender. Fawkes was instrumental in helping Harry Potter defeat Salazar Slytherin's basilisk in 1993, and he came to Dumbledore's aid in fighting Lord Voldemort during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Following Dumbledore's death, Fawkes sang his Lament over the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and then left, never to be seen again. His tail feathers were the cores of the two twin wands which were held by Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter.
Fawkes has crimson feathers on his body and a golden tail as long as a peacock's. His claws and beak are gleaming gold and his eyes are black. The scarlet body feathers glow faintly in darkness, while the golden tail feathers are hot to the touch, though it is unknown if they are actually capable of burning someone as neither Harry - when Fawkes carried him from the Chamber of Secrets in 1993 - nor Dumbledore - when he escaped the Ministry officials with Fawkes's help in 1996 - were burned by his tail feather, however it is possible that Fawkes can control the temperature of his tail feathers and chose not to burn them.
Much of Fawkes' origins are unknown, but at some point in or prior to 1938, two of his tail-feathers were procured by the wand maker Garrick Ollivander, and fashioned into the cores of two wands (a rare event, as should the two meet, it would initiate Priori Incantatem), made from yew and holly. The yew wand went to Tom Riddle and the holly went to Harry Potter.
Fawkes had not been owned by another wizard prior to Dumbledore, and thus spent his early life as a wild phoenix.
Service to Dumbledore
It is unknown as to how Dumbledore and Fawkes met, though it is known to be before 1938, but whatever the case, Fawkes lived with and faithfully served famed wizard, Albus Dumbledore for at least 59 years. As part of his efforts to help Harry in his quest to defeat and kill the Dark Wizard Voldemort and his followers, Dumbledore called Fawkes into battle whenever needed. Throughout the years, there were several instances where Fawkes was extremely helpful. After Dumbledore's death, he returned to the wild with no ties to another human.
Fighting Slytherin's Basilisk
- "As Harry trembled, ready to close his eyes if it turned, he saw what had distracted the snake. Fawkes was soaring around its head, and the basilisk was snapping furiously at him with fangs long and thin as sabers -- Fawkes dived. His long golden beak sunk out of sight and a sudden shower of dark blood spattered the floor."
- —Fawkes saving Harry from Salazar Slytherin's basilisk[src]
In 1993, Fawkes saved Harry Potter's life from Salazar Slytherin's basilisk, blinding the serpent and dropping the Sorting Hat into Harry's lap, which in turn revealed Godric Gryffindor's Sword. Fawkes shed healing tears upon Harry's wounds, inflicted by the Basilisk before its death, and cured him of its venom. Fawkes then dropped Tom Riddle's Diary into Harry's lap, giving Harry the chance to destroy it with one of the basilisk's fangs.
A phoenix can lift a great weight with its tail in flight; when Harry grasped Fawkes' tail in the Chamber of Secrets, he felt as if he were becoming weightless - which is saying something, as Ron, Ginny and Gilderoy Lockhart were in turn hanging on to him. Later, in his office, Dumbledore revealed where Fawkes had come from—when the memory of Tom Riddle declared that he would go on to become the greatest sorcerer in the world, Harry responded that "Albus Dumbledore is the greatest wizard in the world!", and went on to ridicule Voldemort's supposed fear of Dumbledore in the First Wizarding War. This act of supreme loyalty was apparently enough to summon Fawkes to the Chamber.
After Harry witnessed Voldemort's resurrection and Cedric Diggory's death, Fawkes was present when Harry told Dumbledore and Sirius Black what had taken place. During this conversation, Dumbledore revealed that Fawkes was the phoenix who had donated his tail feathers to Harry and Voldemort's wands, while Fawkes used his tears to heal the wound in Harry's leg that was caused by an acromantula in the third task of the tournament.
Order of the Phoenix
In late 1995, Fawkes served as a means of communication between members of the Order and Dumbledore, after learning Arthur Weasley had been attacked by Voldemort's snake, Nagini, while Arthur was guarding The Prophecy. In mid 1996, Fawkes departed from Hogwarts with Dumbledore when Cornelius Fudge tried to arrest the headmaster for supposedly planning to overthrow the Ministry.
Battle of the Department of Mysteries
- "... one more jet of green light had flown at Dumbledore from Voldemort's wand and the snake had struck -- Fawkes swooped down in front of Dumbledore, opened his beak wide, and swallowed the jet of green light whole. He burst into flame and fell to the floor, small, wrinkled and flightless."
- —Fawkes comes to Dumbledore's aid during the Dumbledore and Voldemort's duel[src]
During Dumbledore's duel against Lord Voldemort, Fawkes swallowed a Killing Curse intended for Dumbledore, thus giving Dumbledore time to defend himself. He burst into flame upon swallowing the curse and was later reborn and returned to Dumbledore's office following his departure from the Ministry of Magic.
- "Somewhere out in the darkness, a phoenix was singing in a way Harry had never heard before; a stricken lament of terrible beauty. [...] Harry felt, as he had felt about the Phoenix song before, that the music was inside him, not without ... How long they stood there, listening, he did not know, nor why it seemed to ease their pain a little to listen... [...] They all fell silent. Fawkes's lament was still echoing over the dark grounds outside."
- —The Phoenix Lament[src]
Personality and traits
Fawkes served as Albus Dumbledore's messenger and his constant companion, forming a close bond with the old wizard. Fawkes was also affiliated with Harry and the members of the Order of the Phoenix and was the inspiration for its name.
Fawkes was extremely loyal and courageous, as displayed by his attack on Salazar Slytherin's basilisk and his defence of Dumbledore during his duel with Voldemort. Considering he came back to life every time he died he didn't really have much reason to fear death and was therefore willing to sacrifice himself for people who won his loyalty.
Magical abilities and skills
- Immortality: Like all phoenixes, Fawkes appeared to be immortal. He periodically died by bursting into flames (an event called a "Burning Day"), and was then reborn from the ashes. He was also immune to the gaze of a basilisk, making phoenixes the only known creatures to be unaffected by the deadly serpent's gaze. Additionally Fawkes was able to swallow Lord Voldemort's Killing Curse and was quickly reborn.
- Healing powers: Fawkes was also able to heal most injuries simply by crying on them. Phoenix tears are the only known cure for basilisk venom.
- Teleportation: Fawkes could also teleport at will, regardless of the anti-Apparition enchantments surrounding Hogwarts. When teleporting he would disappear and reappear in a flash of fire; this may be due to Dumbledore being able to leave at will, as well. Fawkes can also take people with him when he teleports like the house-elves.
- Phoenix song: Fawkes also possessed remarkable and soul-touching singing talents. A single note of his song was said to have effects similar to swallowing a drop of warming liquid, and instilling courage and calm. Phoenix song is reputed to increase the courage of the pure of heart and strike fear into the heart of the impure.
- Superstrength: As a phoenix, Fawkes can carry immensely heavy loads. For example, he carried the combined weight of Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Ron Weasley and Gilderoy Lockhart out of the Chamber of Secrets.
- Physical Combat: Fawkes was able to blind the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets by gouging out its eyes.
Fawkes had a very close relationship with Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore cared for Fawkes after each of his rebirths, and in return he was very faithful to the elderly wizard. Fawkes protected Dumbledore in his duel with Lord Voldemort by swallowing a Killing Curse aimed at him, and teleported Dumbledore away from the school when the Ministry attempted to arrest him in 1996. When Dumbledore died in 1997, Fawkes sang a lament for his master, then left the school forever. Dumbledore named the Order of the Phoenix after his beloved friend.
Fawkes aided those who were loyal to Dumbledore, such as Harry Potter. In 1993, he brought the Sorting Hat to Harry in the Chamber of Secrets, and defended him from Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk by pecking out its eyes. When a fang pierced Harry's arm and poisoned him with its venom, Fawkes used his tears to heal the wound, saving Harry's life. He then brought the Horcrux diary to Harry so he could destroy it. Harry frequently greeted Fawkes when he visited Dumbledore's office and Fawkes also healed his wounded arm after he escaped Lord Voldemort during his fourth year. Harry was sad when Fawkes left Hogwarts.
It should be noted that Harry's wand happened to be made with one of Fawkes's tail feathers. Whether this had anything to do with his bond with Harry or whether it was simply a coincidence is unknown. Lord Voldemort was the only other known wizard who had a wand made from one of Fawkes's feathers.
Fawkes is named after Guy Fawkes, since he periodically explodes (in order to be reborn from the ashes, like all phoenixes) a joke on the author's part.
Behind the scenes
- Fawkes was made by a mechanical machine. When Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore at that time, saw the robot, he said: "They sure do train those things well." He was thinking that it was a real bird. (As seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Ultimate Edition)
- J.K. Rowling's naming of Fawkes created a legal dispute over the proposed publication by the latter of an unauthorised and unofficial Harry Potter encyclopaedia. A Court record of the legal dispute between J.K. Rowling and HP lexicon over the proposed publication by the latter of an unauthorised and unofficial Harry Potter encyclopaedia can be seen here.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned) (Mentioned as phoenix)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned as phoenix)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter LEGO Sets
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- ↑ Ollivander acquired two of Fawkes's tail feathers in this year, so Fawkes was alive by 1938
- ↑ By the time of the Epilogue, which is set in 2017, Fawkes, who would still be alive due to being immortal, would be at least 79, as he was born before 1938 and there are 79 years between 1938 and 2017
- ↑ Edinburgh "cub reporter" press conference, ITV, 16 July 2005
- ↑ Dumbledore says that Ollivander wrote to him when Harry's wand was purchased; if Dumbledore did not have Fawkes before 1938, he would not know about the two feathers being in the wands, so Fawkes and Dumbledore must have met and bonded before 1938
- ↑ There are 59 years between 1938, by which point Fawkes was already with Dumbledore, and 1997, in which Dumbledore died, so they were together for at least 58 years