- "Fenrir Greyback is, perhaps, the most savage werewolf alive today. He regards it as his mission in life to bite and to contaminate as many people as possible; he wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards. Voldemort has promised him prey in return for his services. Greyback specialises in children... Bite them young, he says, and raise them away from their parents, raise them to hate normal wizards."
- —Description of Greyback's savageness[src]
Fenrir Greyback (fl. 1945 – 1998) was a werewolf notorious for his savagery and preference for attacking children. He was a leader in his community and strived to infect as many people as possible with lycanthropy, hoping to build an army strong enough to eventually take over the wizarding community. It was he who infected Remus Lupin with lycanthropy when Remus's father (Lyall Lupin) insulted werewolves and said "they deserve nothing less than death."
During the Second Wizarding War, Greyback and the pack of werewolves he led allied themselves with Lord Voldemort, though they were not considered Death Eaters as they did not have the Dark Mark. Greyback fought in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, during which he expressed an eagerness to bite the children of Hogwarts and left Bill Weasley badly scarred, and later that year led a gang of Snatchers when Voldemort was in control of the Ministry of Magic. Greyback fought in the Battle of Hogwarts, where he at one point attacked Lavender Brown, but was incapacitated by a Blasting spell by Hermione and then a crystal ball to the head by Professor Trelawney. During the second part of the battle, where both sides faced-off in the Great Hall, he was defeated by Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom.
At some point in his early life Fenrir was bitten by a werewolf and infected with lycanthropy. Throughout most of his life, his only goal in life was to infect as many people as possible, in order to create enough werewolves to defeat the Wizarding world. Greyback would often purposefully place himself in close proximity with his victims before a full moon to ensure he would attack them after his transformation.
First Wizarding War
- "Lyall, you just stick to Welsh Boggarts, that's what you're good at."
- —Members of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures questioning commitee mock Lyall Lupin after he voices his suspicion that Greyback is a werewolf.[src]
By the mid-1960s, the amount of Dark magical activity across the country was growing steadily. While few knew what was behind it all, this was a precursor to Lord Voldemort's first rise to power. The Death Eaters were recruiting Dark creatures to help them overthrow the Ministry of Magic, and among them was Fenrir Greyback, who did not join the Death Eaters because he believed in Voldemort's cause, but because allying himself with them would give him greater access to potential victims. Although considered to be a Death Eater, Greyback was not given the Dark Mark on his forearm. He was also not accepted as a Death Eater, as Voldemort was prejudiced against his lycanthropy; despite this Greyback continued to work as Voldemort's weapon.
Greyback was used as a weapon by Voldemort, who would often use the werewolf to intimidate individuals to do his bidding, threatening to send Greyback to attack their children.
It was in around 1964, after one such attack that resulted in the deaths of two Muggle children, that Greyback was brought in for questioning before the Ministry of Magic. Due to the inadequacy and ill-maintenance of the Werewolf Registry, the Ministry did not know Greyback to be a werewolf, and he pretended to be a Muggle tramp who was amazed at finding himself in a room full of wizards and horrified at the talk about the dead children.
His filthy clothing and lack of wand managed to convince most of the questioning committee, although Lyall Lupin, an authority on Non-Human Spiritous Apparitions that was among them, recognised certain telltale signs in Greyback's appearance that made him suggest that Greyback should be kept in detention until the next full moon, which was, coincidentally, one day away. The ignorant committee members thought it unnecessary, and Greyback started taunting Lupin, who grew angry and described werewolves as "soulless, evil, deserving of nothing but death".
Lupin was ordered out of the room, the head of the committee apologised to Greyback, and the werewolf was released. Before the wizard who was escorting him out of the inquiry could cast a Memory Charm on the "Muggle tramp" so that he would forget having been at the Ministry, Greyback overpowered him and fled with three other werewolf accomplices. As soon as he escaped, he started planning his revenge on the wizard who said he deserved nothing but death.
Shortly before Remus Lupin, Lyall Lupin's son, turned five, he was attacked by Greyback. As the little boy slept peacefully in his bed, Greyback forced open his window and bit him. Lyall reached the bedroom in time to save his son and to drive the werewolf out of the house using a number of powerful curses. The deed, however, was done, and Remus Lupin became a full-fledged werewolf from that point on.
After Voldemort was presumed dead in 1981 after his confrontation with the Potters at Godric's Hollow, Greyback was one of the Dark Lord's numerous followers who believed him to have been killed and therefore did not make any attempt to find him.
Second Wizarding War
With Voldemort's return in 1995, he began to gather his old forces to renew his war on the wizarding world. Greyback returned to Voldemort's side. In the summer of 1996, shortly after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Greyback and several Death Eaters raided Diagon Alley, kidnapping the wandmaker Garrick Ollivander. He was also among a group of Death Eaters that destroyed the Millennium Bridge, in London.
Greyback continued in his role as Voldemort's enforcer and terror weapon. When Voldemort charged Draco Malfoy with the murder of Albus Dumbledore, Malfoy invoked Greyback's name as a threat to ensure Mr Borgin's cooperation with the scheme to transport Death Eaters inside the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry via the use of a paired set of Vanishing Cabinets. Later, April of 1997, Greyback attacked the five-year-old son of Mrs Montgomery when she refused to cooperate with the Death Eaters. The boy later died from his injuries. At some point Greyback started to kill and eat his victims while in human form.
Battle of the Astronomy Tower
- Dumbledore: "Is it you, Fenrir?"
- Greyback: "Yes. Pleased to see me, Albus?"
- Dumbledore: "No, I cannot say that I am... Am I to take it that you are attacking even without the full moon now? This is most unusual... You have developed a taste for human flesh that cannot be satisfied once a month?"
- — Greyback displays cannibalistic tendencies [src]
Greyback, along with several Death Eaters, invaded Hogwarts on 30 June, 1997, cornering Albus Dumbledore atop the Astronomy Tower, much to Draco Malfoy's shock and Dumbledore's disgust. He mockingly asked Dumbledore if he was pleased to see him, to which Dumbledore replied that he wasn't. Dumbledore was disgusted to discover that Greyback was cannibalistic and attacked people in his human form. He was among those who urged Draco Malfoy to kill the Headmaster and attempted to take over the job himself, before Severus Snape stepped in. During the subsequent battle against members of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army, Greyback assaulted Bill Weasley, scarring his face. Fortunately for Bill, Greyback was not in his wolf form when he attacked, therefore he would not be a true werewolf, but only have some "wolfish" behaviour. Greyback also tried to bite Harry Potter during the battle, but Harry retaliated with a Full Body-Bind Curse.
As a Snatcher
- "A Weasley? So you're related to blood traitors even if you're not a Mudblood. And lastly, your pretty little friend... I'm not going to bite just yet. We'll see if she's a bit quicker at remembering her name than Barny. Who are you, girly?"
- —Greyback interrogating Ron and Hermione[src]
Months later, after the fall of the Ministry of Magic, Greyback became a primary leader in the Snatchers organisation, and led a group of them around the countryside scouring for fugitive Muggle-borns, blood traitors, and truants who had escaped persecution. It was Greyback's group that caught a fugitive group comprised of Dirk Cresswell, Ted Tonks, Dean Thomas, and goblins Griphook and Gornuk. Dean and Griphook were captured, while Dirk, Ted, and Gornuk were murdered while resisting capture.
In the spring of 1998, Greyback and his gang captured Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley after they triggered the Taboo on Voldemort's name. After working through and nearly falling for the lies the three teens gave, Greyback and his gang brought them to Malfoy Manor, where Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco Malfoy — as well as Bellatrix Lestrange — were residing. Greyback hoped to receive the two hundred thousand Galleon reward for capturing Potter (along with what he thought was the phoenix wand), and was also eager to bite Hermione.
However, Bellatrix spotted Godric Gryffindor's Sword among the captives' possessions and became frantic, as she had believed it to be in her vault in Gringotts. When the Snatchers protested her taking it, she single-handedly defeated all four of them, much to Greyback's irritation. The Snatchers and Death Eaters were ultimately thwarted with the help of Dobby, the Malfoys' old house-elf, and Harry and the other captives all escaped. Dobby was unfortunately killed in the process by Bellatrix Lestrange's dagger.
- "Two bodies fell from the balcony overhead. As they reached the ground a grey blur that Harry took for an animal sped four-legged across the hall to sink its teeth into one of the fallen. "NO!" shrieked Hermione, and with a deafening blast from her wand, Fenrir Greyback was thrown backward from the feebly struggling body of Lavender Brown. He hit the marble bannisters and struggled to return to his feet. Then, with a bright white flash and a crack, a crystal ball fell on top of his head, and he crumpled to the ground and did not move."
- —Greyback savages Lavender Brown during the final battle[src]
Fenrir Greyback was present at the Battle of Hogwarts, where he was repelled by Hermione Granger while fatally wounding Lavender Brown. He hit the marble staircase bannister and attempted to return to his feet, but before he could, he was struck on the head by a crystal ball from Sybill Trelawney. Later, he was "brought down" by Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom in the Great Hall.
It is unclear whether Greyback survived the Battle of Hogwarts. If he did, he was likely sent to Azkaban for his association with the Death Eaters and for his crimes during the Second Wizarding War, under Kingsley Shacklebolt's de-corrupted Ministry of Magic.
Fenrir was a large, vicious-looking man with matted grey hair and whiskers. He had pointed teeth and long yellowish nails, adding to his bestial appearance. When he wore Death Eater robes, they were noted to look "uncomfortably tight". He did not have the Dark Mark branded onto his arm, despite his very close association with the Death Eaters.
Personality and traits
Fenrir, having forsaken his humanity long ago, was driven by his animal hedonism. He enjoyed attacking people, particularly children, and took pleasure in his brutality. He also appeared to be a cannibal, as he enjoyed the taste of human flesh even in his human form. During his capture of Hermione Granger, his threats to her had both cannibalistic and sexual overtones. Greyback was also greedy, as he kept arguing with the Malfoy family about who would claim the bounties and glory of catching Harry Potter. Despite his savagery, he did display fear towards those more powerful than him, as shown when he backed away cowed when Snape arrived to kill Dumbledore, or when he was too wary to approach Bellatrix after she brought him to his knees violently.
Unlike most werewolves, Greyback took advantage of his abilities and savagery when transformed, and stationed himself near his targets. He enjoyed attacking them and specialised in biting children, hoping to infect them and raise them to hate humanity, though sometimes killing them when going overboard. Despite his ideology of thinking werewolves deserve blood, and his attempt to recruit more werewolves for his cause, Greyback would ultimately seem to be just a primal savage who enjoyed killing. Greyback's savagery was what differed him from most other werewolves: while most of them bit and infected unintentionally during only their transformed state, Greyback actually went as far as eat and kill purposely whether in his human or werewolf form.
Being a werewolf and therefore not subscribing to the Death Eaters' views on racial superiority, Greyback was not branded with the Dark Mark, despite being invited into the ranks of the Death Eaters and permitted to wear their robes. This may have been because Lord Voldemort was prejudiced against Werewolves as well as Muggles and Muggle-borns. Therefore he would not allow Greyback to become an actual Death Eater, yet he was too valuable of an accomplice not to have in his ranks. Greyback showed clear resentment at the lack of respect he received but sided with the Death Eaters because of the amount of victims he would be allowed to kill. Most Death Eaters seemed to regard him with disgust, with Yaxley throwing a curse at him in the Astronomy Tower for attacking without permission and Bellatrix Lestrange forcing him to his knees before her in Malfoy Manor. The revulsion that the other Death Eaters felt towards Greyback was likely because of his lycanthropy as well as his implied sexual perversions. Indeed, it's very likely that if Voldemort had won the Second Wizarding War, he would have tossed Fenrir aside once he was no longer useful.
Magical abilities and skills
- Duelling: Greyback was skilled in Disarming and at blocking attacks. Harry Potter was unable to defeat him in 1996, and it took the combined efforts of Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom to defeat him during the Battle of Hogwarts. Greyback also captured and killed many witches and wizards during his time as a Snatcher.
- Nonverbal magic: Greyback was able to cast spells non-verbally.
- Physical combat: In order to fulfil his goal of spreading lycanthropy, Greyback has been known to fight with his hands and teeth, even in his human state. He is known to be very agile, having been described running (on all fours) as "a grey blur."
- Physical Strength and Resistance: As a werewolf, Greyback was incredibly strong and resilient. This was proved during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor when Harry gained control of three wands from Draco Malfoy (unknowingly gaining mastery of the Elder Wand in the process) and cast a Stunning Spell on Greyback with them. Though it was sufficient to lift him up the ceiling and smash him to the ground, he managed a full recovery.
- Improvisation skills: Greyback was skilled in improvisational acting, as he was able to mimic astonishment (over seeing wizards) and shock (when he was told about the murder of the Muggle children) with such a level of success that he managed to fool almost an entire courtroom of experienced magical law enforcement officers that he was a Muggle during a hearing at the Ministry of Magic.
- Wand: Fenrir owned a wand of unknown materials.
- Fenrir is one of many permutations of Fenrisulfr, the great wolf from Norse mythology.
- Greyback is likely a reference to his greying hair and grey fur in werewolf form that indicates his relation to the Greyback wolf. In keeping with his first name, Greyback is also the name of a monster from Norse mythology, one of the numerous serpents who gnaw at the roots of Yggdrasil alongside the dragon Níðhöggr.
Behind the scenes
- Greyback was portrayed by the late Dave Legeno in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Only a wanted poster of Greyback in the film explains what sort of creature Greyback is, and the scene in which he mauls Bill Weasley is omitted from the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Bill tells Harry that he was attacked by Fenrir Greyback sometime before the Battle of the Seven Potters takes place.
- The role was offered to Kevin McKidd, but he was forced to turn it down, due to a contractual obligation to another project.
- Hisao Egawa voiced Greyback in the Japanese dubs.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Scabior takes the role as leader of the Snatchers, while Greyback is seen taking orders from him.
- In contrast to his very vicious behaviour in the books, Greyback has very little if anything to do in the films. In all three films in which he appears, he speaks twice, once in the Astronomy Tower scene in Half-Blood Prince, and in Deathly Hallows: Part 1 when Harry says his name is Vernon Dudley and the Snatchers don't find the name on the list.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Hermione's Stunning Spell sends Greyback off the Viaduct Courtyard to the ravine below and to his death after he was discovered mauling Lavender Brown. As this contradicts the events of the novel, it cannot be considered canon to the books (in which she does blast him away from Lavender but clearly not off a cliff, as he turns up again in the final part of the battle).
- Dave Legeno had many animal hairs, such as goat, affixed to him when he portrayed Greyback.
- He was possibly a pure-blood or half-blood, as he appeared to be prejudiced against Muggle-borns and called them "Mudbloods".
- Greyback is likely based on French loup-garou tales coming from the 15th to 17th centuries. His language and appearance bear close connections to Jean Grenier. The latter was a young boy accused of being a werewolf.
- In the Half-Blood Prince video game, during his attack on the Burrow, Fenrir takes Ginny hostage. When Harry arrives to save her he is seen standing over her. After the duel he is forced to retreat and sets the Burrow on fire with Bellatrix.
- While it's unknown what happens to Fenrir after the Battle at Hogwarts, there is a slight chance that he managed to escape back to his pack (although unlikely, as Ron and Neville are described as "bringing him down" shortly before the death of Voldemort, most likely either killing or Stunning him).
- Although werewolves are not truly affected by silver as they are in Muggle legends, Fenrir was defeated by Ron and Neville during the Battle of Hogwarts, the latter of which may have been wielding a certain sword with a silver blade. However, the sword has Basilisk venom absorbed into its blade, so it is possible that if the sword had wounded or killed Greyback, it may have been because of the venom, not that the sword's blade is silver.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Greyback has long brushed hair but in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 he has dreadlocks.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, when Greyback attacks Lavender, he bites her leg off. Then, Hermione throws a bone to him. When Greyback catches it in the air, Hermione defeats him with a Reducto, knocking him. It' completely unknown what happened with him after this.
- To date, Fenrir has never appeared in werewolf form in any of the books, films, or video games.
- Fenrir is, in many ways, similar to Sabertooth from the X-Men comic book series. One of which is they're both "mindless" beasts that follow an intelligent leader who believes that humans must be eliminated because they are weak.
- Greyback is also similar to Anita Lucas from the TV series Once Upon a Time. Both are werewolves who have given fully in to their wolf half, and have been known to willingly attack humans even before transforming. Furthermore, Anita seems to share Greyback's philosophy on werewolves' eventually rising up against humankind.
Translations of the name
- Croatian: Fenrir Greyback (Fenrir Greyback)
- Czech: Fenrir Šedohřbet (Fenrir Greyback)
- Danish: Fenris Gråryg (Fenris Greyback)
- Dutch: Fenrir Vaalhaar (Fenrir Palehair)
- Finnish: Fenrir Harmaaselkä (Fenrir Greyback)
- French: Fenrir Greyback (Fenrir Greyback)
- Icelandic: Fenrir Grábakur (Fenrir Greyback)
- Lithuanian: Fenryras Pilkanugaris (sometimes Greibekas is used) (Fenrir Greyback)
- Montenegrin:Fenrir Sivi (Fenrir Grey)
- Norwegian: Fenris Vargar (Fenris Weregard)
- Portuguese (Brazil): Fenrir Lobo Greyback (Fenrir Wolf Greyback)
- Russian: Фенрир Сивый [Fenrir Sivyy] (sometimes Грейбек [Greyback] is used) (Fenrir Ashgrey)
- Serbian: Fenrir Suri (Fenrir Grey)
- Swedish: Fenrir Grårygg (Fenrir Greyback)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Notes and references
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Leaky Cauldron: J.K. Rowling Webchat 30 July 2007
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Remus Lupin" at Pottermore
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) - Chapter 17
- ↑ Snitchseeker - Quote of the Week
Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Antonin Dolohov | Augustus Rookwood | Avery (I) | Avery (II) |
Barty Crouch Jr. | Bellatrix Lestrange | Corban Yaxley | Crabbe | Evan Rosier | Gibbon | Goyle |
Jugson | Lestrange | Mulciber (I) | Mulciber (II) | Nott | Pyrites (possibly) | Rabastan Lestrange | Rodolphus Lestrange | Rosier | Selwyn | Thorfinn Rowle | Travers | Walden Macnair | Wilkes
|Death Eaters who Defected:|
|Death Eaters' allies:|
Albert Runcorn | Borgin | Delphini | Dolores Umbridge | Fenrir Greyback | Golgomath | Gregory Goyle | John Dawlish | Mafalda Hopkirk | Narcissa Malfoy (defected) | Pansy Parkinson | Quirinus Quirrell | Scabior | Vincent Crabbe
Dementors | Draco Malfoy's gang | Giants (Golgomath's control) | Muggle-Born Registration Commission | Snatchers | Werewolves