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Inferius

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"They are corpses, dead bodies that have been bewitched to do a Dark wizard's bidding. Inferi have not been seen for a long time, however, not since Voldemort was last powerful... He killed enough people to make an army of them, of course."
Albus Dumbledore regarding Inferi[src]

An Inferius (pl. Inferi) is a dead body, reanimated by a Dark Wizard, similar but intrinsically distinct from a zombie. They are created through the magical branch of Dark Arts called Necromancy.[1] The spells used to reanimate the corpse are complex.[2]

History

Early history

In 1899, it was mentioned that the dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, sought to create an army of Inferi, and believed that the Resurrection Stone could grant him such powers. It is unknown as to whether he succeeded, though his conception of the stone's abilities was in fact incorrect, as it brings back souls from the realm of the dead as more-than-ghost but less-than-alive state, not as a living body.[3]

First Wizarding War (1970-1981)

During the First Wizarding War, Voldemort was known to have created an army of Inferi from the large number of people he murdered. He placed such an army within the lake of Salazar Slytherin's Locket's hiding place. The Inferi in question were mostly vagrant, homeless Muggles murdered by Voldemort, but some of them were the earthly remains of wizards and witches who 'disappeared' without explanation.[4] In 1979, when Regulus Black attempted to destroy the said Horcrux, he succumbed to the Drink of Despair's effects and tried to take a drink of water from the lake, only to trigger the Inferi and was killed by them. Kreacher, his house elf, managed to make it out of the cave with the locket.[3]

Second Wizarding War (1995-1998)

"The wandlight had slid over a fresh patch of water and showed Harry, this time, a dead man lying faceup inches beneath the surface, his open eyes misted as though with cobwebs..."
—Harry looks at an Inferius in the lake in the Crystal Cave[src]

The Ministry warned the community that Lord Voldemort may be using Inferi once again in the Second Wizarding War, and he was mentioned that he did use as much as an army during the First War.[5]

Harry inferi

Many Inferi nearly overwhelm Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore

In 1997, Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore encountered the very same army of Inferi as Regulus in their attempt to destroy Voldemort's locket Horcrux. At a point in time Dumbledore deduced the location of one of Voldemort's Horcruxes and discovered its hiding place as a crystal cave by the sea. At first, the Inferi remained inert as the two sailed in the boat towards the central island. Harry saw something move below the water and at that time that was the most physical movement they showed.

AlbusDumbledore PM B6C26M1 DumbledoreCastingFireSpell Moment

Dumbledore and Harry Potter fend off a mass of attacking Inferi

When Dumbledore suffered from the Drink of Despair's thirst-inducing effects, Harry had to take some water from the lake, triggering the Inferi, who nearly dragged Harry to the depths of the lake to drown. Dumbledore successfully repelled them by conjuring a ring of fire, big enough to surround both Harry and himself. Once all the Inferi returned into the lake, they did not resurface when Dumbledore's ring of fire faltered.[5]

2014 Quidditch World Cup

"​Malicious and baseless"
—The ICWQC on rumors that Haiti was using Inferi[src]

In 2014, rumours that the Haiti was using Inferi to intimidate other teams were dismissed by the ICWQC as untrue. However, the rumours proved true when Inferi attacked crowds in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, devouring those who tripped. In the end, 300 casualties from shock, broken bones, and bites resulted from the disastrous opening ceremony, one being an infected Sasabonsam bite on Jamaican keeper Kquewanda Bailey.

Description

Physical appearance

Inferi (Conceptual Artwork 12-06-09) 03

An Inferius up close

An Inferius is a grisly puppet. The Inferi are gaunt, skeletal beings that closely resemble zombies. Being human corpses, they have individual appearances based on the humans they were created from. For example, one Inferius may have dull teeth, while another may have sharp teeth. Some may have hair others may not have any at all. The most obvious sign that one is facing an Inferius rather than a living human are the white and cloudy eyes, as the eyes of an Inferius is devoid of any form of life.[4]

Nature

"The Inferius is a corpse that has been reanimated by a Dark wizard's spells. It is not alive, it is merely used like a puppet to do the wizard's bidding. "
Severus Snape regarding what an Inferi is[src]

The spells used to reanimate a human body are much more complex than those used, for instance, to make inanimate objects fly.[6] The Inferius may be cursed to respond lethally if disturbed, to kill indiscriminately, and to undertake perilous jobs for its master. Its limitations are, however, obvious; it has no will and no brain of its own, and will not be able to think its way out of unforeseen trouble. As a warrior or guardian with no regard for its own safety, however, it has many uses.[7]

Due to their status as being unfeeling dead, the Inferi are immune to bodily damages such as slashing, and have great physical strength, enough to kill a human or drag them away. Due to their superior strength and surprising speed, they are especially dangerous en masse.[8]

As no spell can bring back the dead, the Inferi are not alive, just corpse puppets. Despite this, they can apparently speak.[9] Preserved indefinitely by Dark magic, an Inferius can only be destroyed by fire, for no spell has been found to render dead flesh impervious to burning. Inferi are therefore enchanted to avoid flames by their master.[10]

Defence against Inferi

"However, like many creatures that dwell in cold and darkness, they fear light and warmth... Fire, Harry."
—Albus Dumbledore on the defence against Inferius[src]
Dumbledore fighting the Inferi.gif

A firestorm is the ideal way to fend of Inferi

Because Inferi are creatures of the dark, they dislike light and heat (no spell has been found to render dead flesh impervious to burning). The most effective spell against them is therefore a fire-summoning spell, such as Firestorm. Because of this, the Inferi are enchanted by their master to avoid flames.[4] Other spells might work against a few Inferi, but might not be useful against a whole army of them. It must be noted that Inferi are resistant to most spells: they cannot feel pain, and thus are unaffected by many attacks whose main effect is pain such as the Cruciatus Curse. This is evident when Harry Potter attempts to use the dark spell Sectumsempra on the Inferi in the Crystal Cave, as they have no blood to spill.[5]

Etymology

Inferius is a tampered form of the Latin word for "underneath; below", Inferus, but with an obvious connotation of being 'lesser' than a living human. Meanwhile, Inferi means "the dead; underworld". J. K. Rowling has changed this real Latin words to form these creatures.[11]

Behind the scenes

  • According to W.O.M.B.A.T., Inferi may have the ability to speak.
  • Inferi may have been briefly referred to by Voldemort in the Little Hangleton Graveyard as part of an "army of creatures whom all fear".[12]
  • Inferi may be incredibly strong as a picture in Snape's Defence Against the Dark Arts class shows a bloody mass on the floor, attributing to a person provoking the anger of an Inferius. Alternatively, this could be attributed to their viciousness and implacability.
  • Zombies are different from Inferi, although they have much in common.[4] It seems that zombies are naturally formed, while Inferi are artificially created. J. K. Rowling decided against naming the Inferi zombies because zombies are not part of British folklore. Also, one tradition has the sorcerer using his soul, or part of it, to sustain himself, which she decided conflicted with her Horcrux story.
  • In first part video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Inferi appear again, despite them not being in the mainstream storyline.

Author's comments

  • "Inferi have much in common with zombies, which are mentioned as separate creatures within Harry's world. I had several good reasons for not wishing to call the guardians of the locket Horcrux 'zombies'. Firstly, zombies are not part of British folklore, but associated with the myths of Haiti and parts of Africa. While the students of Hogwarts would learn about them, they would not expect to meet them walking down the streets of Hogsmeade. Secondly, while zombies of the Vodou tradition can be nothing more than reanimated corpses, a separate but related tradition has it that the sorcerer uses their souls, or part of their souls, to sustain himself. This conflicted with my Horcrux story, and I did not wish to suggest that Voldemort had any more use for his Inferi than as guards of his Horcrux. Lastly, zombies have been represented and reinterpreted on film so often in the last fifty years that they have a whole raft of associations that were of no use to me. I'm part of the 'Thriller' generation; to me, a zombie will always mean Michael Jackson in a bright red bomber jacket.[13]
  • The name Inferius was a play on 'Inferus', which is Latin for 'below', but with an obvious connotation of being 'lesser' than a living human. 'Inferi' means the underworld."[14]

Appearances

Wiki
The Harry Potter Wiki has 22 images related to Inferius.
Inferi 4

Harry struggling through a horde of Inferi.

Notes and references

  1. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  2. Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: Inferi
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: Inferi
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  6. Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: Inferi
  7. Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: Inferi
  8. Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: Inferi
  9. The fact that Inferi are able of speech is hinted at in the second W.O.M.B.A.T. featured in J. K. Rowling's Official Site. Question 1 (Part One - Magical Beings) is "Which of the following statements is TRUE?", and one of the possible answers is "Inferi cannot speak". As one of the other answers is known for certain to be true ("Hags eat small children" — the Chocolate Frog Cards reveal that Babayaga fed on children for breakfast; and the Daily Prophet Newsletters say that Regulus Moonshine developed a potion to suppress hags' "normal appetite for human flesh"), then all of the other answers must be false, including the one that says Inferi cannot speak.
  10. Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: Inferi
  11. http://www.pottermore.com/en/book6/chapter26/moment1/inferius J.K. Rowlingn's thoughts: Inferi]
  12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  13. Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: Inferi
  14. Pottermore - New from J.K. Rowling: Inferi


Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
Subjectsdada
Professors: Galatea Merrythought · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Barty Crouch Jr. (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape ·
Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher)
Textbooks: The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Break with a Banshee · Gadding with Ghouls · Holidays with Hags · Travels with Trolls ·
Voyages with Vampires · Wanderings with Werewolves · Year with the Yeti · The Essential Defence Against the Dark Arts · Defensive Magical Theory · Dark Arts Defence: Basics for Beginners · Confronting the Faceless · Magical Drafts and Potions
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts: Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Professor's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Spells covered under the subject: Curse of the Bogies · Knockback Jinx · Verdimillious Charm · Verdimillious Duo Spell · Verdimillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm · Freezing Spell · Seize and Pull Charm · Patronus Charm · Killing Curse · Cruciatus Curse · Imperius Curse · Impediment Jinx · Reductor Curse · Stunning Spell · Shield Charm · Nonverbal spells · Hex-deflection ·
Hex-Breaker · Hex Zapper
Creatures covered under the subject: Vampire bats · Iguanas · Cornish Pixies · Werewolves · Vampires · Hinkypunks · Boggarts · Red Caps · Kappas · Grindylows · Inferius

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