- Harry Potter: "You know Voldemort's snake, Neville? He's got a huge snake... Calls it Nagini... It's got to be killed. Ron and Hermione know that, but just in case they — Just in case they're — busy — and you get the chance —"
- Neville Longbottom: "Kill the snake?"
- Harry Potter: "Kill the snake."
- — Harry arranges for Neville Longbottom to kill Nagini, Voldemort's final Horcrux.[src]
Nagini (d. 2 May, 1998) was a long, green female snake belonging to Lord Voldemort, with whom she had a special bond. She also became a Horcrux, after her master killed Bertha Jorkins in 1994. After Voldemort's initial downfall, he used Nagini's venom as one of the ingredients for a potion in order to regain strength, which eventually led to his rebirth. In 1995, she attacked Arthur Weasley, but he managed to survive. During the Second Wizarding War, she had to be destroyed in order for Voldemort to be finally defeated. Nagini was killed by Neville Longbottom with Godric Gryffindor's Sword in 1998, and was the last Horcrux to be destroyed.
Not much is known about Nagini's early life or when she was acquired by Voldemort. It is unknown whether Voldemort owned Nagini before his fall in 1981, or if he found her during his exile in Albania. However, it is stated that in the woods of Albania, the phantom-like form that was the remnants of Voldemort befriended many animals, yet only snakes could bear having him inhabit them, thus leading to the notion that Voldemort and Nagini's relationship commenced in Albania.
Rebirth of the Dark LordHe used Nagini to help him regain strength and a basic physical form after living in a weak, spectral state, following his attempt to kill an infant Harry Potter, during which he was struck by his own rebounding Killing Curse. He had Peter Pettigrew milk her venom, and with it, create a potion that sustained him until he could regain a body. Nagini further kept Voldemort alive after he turned her into a Horcrux, with the murder of Bertha Jorkins, in 1994; his habit of keeping her unusually close to him was what led Albus Dumbledore to suspect that she had become a Horcrux. In the summer of 1994, Nagini alerted Voldemort to the presence of an Frank Bryce, an old Muggle gardener who had worked for the late Riddle family, who was eavesdropping on a conversation between Peter Pettigrew and Voldemort. Soon after Nagini slithered past Bryce and alerted Voldemort, the Dark Lord murdered the Muggle man.
Attack on Arthur Weasley
Nagini's venom seemed to delay blood clotting, and even dissolved stitches, causing the wounds to bleed profusely when the bandages were removed. Eventually, an antidote to the poison was found and he was cured. The reason that Albus Dumbledore believed Harry saw the vision as if he was the snake was due to Harry’s special connection to Voldemort, with Harry’s witnessing the attack by virtue of the fact that Voldemort’s mind "happened to be" in Nagini at the time. This is the first indication of Nagini and Voldemort’s deeper connection, having the ability to share thoughts and connect with Harry.
Murder of Charity Burbage
- "The soft voice seemed to hiss on even after the cruel mouth had stopped mouthing. One or two of the wizards barely repressed a shudder as the hissing grew louder; something heavy could be heard sliding across the floor beneath the table. The huge snake emerged to climb slowly up Voldemort's chair. It rose, seemingly endlessly, and came to rest across Voldemort's shoulders: its neck the thickness of a man's thigh; its eyes, with their verticle slits for pupils, unblinking. Voldemort stroked the creature absently with long thin fingers..."
- —Nagini joining the Death Eater meeting[src]
In 1997, Nagini was present at the Meeting at Malfoy Manor. When the Death Eaters were jeering at Charity Burbage and the Malfoy family's humiliation, because of a disgraceful marriage in the family, the great snake got agitated, disliking the noise, opening its mouth wide and hissing angrily but to deaf ears. Voldemort, stroking the angry snake, called for silence.
- ""Dinner, Nagini," said Voldemort softly, and the great snake swayed and slithered from his shoulders onto the polished wood."
- —Nagini being fed with Charity Burbage[src]
Later, when Thorfinn Rowle and Antonin Dolohov failed to capture Harry after the Luchino Caffe Duel, Voldemort offered them a choice in punishment: being further tortured by Draco Malfoy or to be killed and devoured by Nagini.
Nagini was later placed inside the corpse of Bathilda Bagshot by Voldemort's use of extremely Dark magic and stationed in Godric's Hollow to wait for Harry. When Harry and Hermione Granger arrived there, she lured them into the late witch's home, signaled Voldemort due to the special connection the two of them share (Voldemort seems to have an excessive amount of control over the snake even for a Parselmouth), and then launched a surprise assault on Harry.
Because some snakes can sense heat and movement in a way humans cannot, Nagini was able to detect Harry and Hermione even when they were under the Cloak of Invisibility. Harry fought with Nagini, and the serpent bit him before coiling herself around Harry to hold him in place for Voldemort. However, Hermione came to Harry's assistance, using a Blasting Curse against the snake; the two then jumped out the window and Apparated just before Voldemort arrived. Later, on Potterwatch, Lee Jordan revealed that the remains of Bathilda's body had been found after being informed by the Order of the Phoenix.
Battle of Hogwarts and Death
After discovering that Harry was searching for his Horcruxes in 1998, Voldemort placed Nagini into a protective magical cage to prevent her from being killed. Voldemort told her that it was for her own good, though since he was trying to ensure his own immortality, it was primarily for his.
Shortly before a one-hour armistice during the Battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort used his snake to murder Severus Snape in the Shrieking Shack by expanding the cage over and on top of him. Nagini proceeded to sink her fangs into Snape's neck, and when Voldemort pulled the protective cage off of Snape he fell to the ground with blood gushing from the wound in his neck. When Harry was apparently killed by Voldemort, Nagini was released from the protective enchantment as he believed there to be no more threat to her life, and she was draped around Voldemort's shoulders during the Death Eaters’ victory march back to Hogwarts.
- "The slash of the silver blade could not be heard over the roar of the oncoming crowd or the sounds of the clashing giants or of the stampeding centaurs, and yet it seemed to draw every eye. With a single stroke Neville sliced off the great snake's head, which spun high into the air, gleaming in the light flooding from the entrance hall, and Voldemort's mouth as open in a scream of fury that nobody could hear, and the snake's body thudded to the ground at his feet--"
- —Neville beheading Nagini.[src]
After Neville Longbottom openly defied Voldemort, Voldemort punished him by forcing the Sorting Hat on his head and setting it on fire. The Death Eaters are then attacked, and during the ensuing battle and Neville pulled Godric Gryffindor's sword from the Hat (as Harry had done during the Skirmish in the Chamber of Secrets), and, swinging the blade in one upward stroke, beheaded Nagini, whose head spun high into the air as her body slumped onto the ground, while Voldemort screamed in rage.
Physical appearanceNagini was a large, green snake, roughly twelve feet long and as thick as a man's thigh. In the movies, she is portrayed as a reticulated python, despite the fact that pythons are non-venomous and do not even have fangs. There is no known species of venomous snake matching Nagini's description; therefore, she is most likely a species of snake found only in the magical world. This would also account for her unusually high level of intelligence, far beyond that of a normal snake.
Personality and traits
Nagini was completely loyal to Lord Voldemort. While she remained aloof, if not malevolent, to most others, she obeyed Voldemort completely, and seemed to enjoy being close to him, as she often slithered up to his shoulders to receive his affection. Nagini is also shown to be very intelligent and was able to understand the concept of strategies and plans, as seen when she sets up a trap for Harry, due to her possessing a portion of Voldemort's soul. She was rather cunning and deceptive, and seems to have understood how humans behave.
Magical abilities and skills
- Combat skills: Nagini was extremely deadly in combat, just like her master. She was very fast, capable of striking her enemies with great dexterity and speed and was able to hold her own against wizards and witches on several occassions. Nagini was also strong and was able to hold Harry Potter in place when she attacked him in Godric's Hollow. If not for Hermione's Blasting Curse, Nagini's physical strength would have allowed her to hold Harry until Voldemort arrived.
- Venom: Nagini was a venomous snake and a single bite could result in a wound that was slow to heal (the extent to which this is due to her status as a Horcrux is unclear). Though her venom was not always fatal it made it difficult for wounds to close and Arthur Weasley's injuries continued to bleed long after Nagini bit him.
- Bond with Voldemort: Being one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, Nagini had a strong telepathic bond with her master and was capable of speaking to him over long distances. Voldemort could also possess Nagini at some circumstances.
- As a Horcrux: Nagini contained a fragment of Voldemort's soul.
- "I think he is perhaps as fond of her as he can be of anything. He certainly likes to keep her close and has an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth."
- —Albus Dumbledore on Voldemort's bond with Nagini
Voldemort had a special relationship with Nagini, as she was his pet and one of his Horcruxes. According to Dumbledore, Voldemort had strong feelings for Nagini that he had not for anyone else; she was the one thing that he cared about. He was able to communicate with Nagini as a Parselmouth, and he turned her into a Horcrux in 1994, after murdering Bertha Jorkins, which accounted for the unusual amount of control he had over her. By 1997, and likely before then, he was able to communicate with her silently and across great distances, as she was able to signal to him when Harry Potter arrived at Godric's Hollow. This may have been due to her nature as a Horcrux, giving her a link to Voldemort like the one Harry possessed.
Voldemort was also able to possess Nagini, which he did in December 1995 during the Attack on Arthur Weasley. In 1994, Peter Pettigrew milked Nagini's venom to return Voldemort to a rudimentary body, and as a Horcrux, her very existence contributed to maintaining Voldemort's immortality. Voldemort usually sent her on missions, such as infiltrating the Ministry, or holding Harry Potter in Godric's Hollow. He allowed her to consume the corpses of those he killed as a reward, like that of Charity Burbage, though this also served as a way for him to dispose of bodies; he apologised to her when he could not feed Pettigrew to her, as Pettigrew's failure of keeping Crouch Sr. was rectified, therefore allowing him to escape death penalty and not become Nagini's meal. Unlike many of his subordinates, Voldemort did not punish Nagini for failures, as when she failed to retrieve the prophecy or let Potter escape from her grasp.
He stopped sending Nagini on missions after he realised Harry Potter knew about the existence of his Horcruxes and was tracking them down. Voldemort was enraged when Nagini was beheaded by Neville Longbottom with Godric Gryffindor's Sword and he attempted to kill Neville in retaliation. Nagini was the last destroyed Horcrux, and her death led to Voldemort's final defeat.
Nagini was aloof and indifferent to the Death Eaters as a whole, but sometimes could be irritated by them, as she hissed angrily at their loud laughter at the Malfoy family, to which none of them took notice until Voldemort ordered their silence for her sake. She allowed Peter Pettigrew to milk the venom out of her fangs in order for it to be used for their master, but otherwise would be glad to devour any Death Eaters her master permits, as a form of punishment for failure; Pettigrew, Dolohov and Rowle were threatened to become Nagini's meal in lieu of torture.
Nagini was frequently used by Voldemort to kill others, or to dispose of their dead bodies. In 1995, he promised Nagini that she could devour Harry Potter after he had killed him. However, she was denied this when Harry escaped from the graveyard shortly after the promise was made. It is likely that Frank Bryce met that intended fate, sometime in 1994. Voldemort threatened Pettigrew with being fed to Nagini if Bartemius Crouch Sr. was able to contact Albus Dumbledore about the plot behind the Triwizard Tournament. Nagini also attacked Arthur Weasley but he survived the bites after Harry had a vision on it and he was quickly aided. She's also known for disposing the body of Charity Burbage and killing Severus Snape.
- "Naga" is "snake" in Sanskrit and "Nagin" means "female snake" in Hindi and Urdu. A reference to Rudyard Kipling's cobra characters Nag and Nagaina from the book Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is referred to as Nagini in some translations.
- A "Nagini" is also a half-woman, half-snake creature that is found in some Indian mythology (possibly a half-snake, half-woman creature called "Lamia").
Behind the scenes
- In Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, she is likely portrayed as a Dumeril's Ground Boa, but in the last two films she is portrayed as a Reticulated Python (the longest real life snake species); both instances contradict the book's description of her as a venomous snake. However, it is possible she is a fictional species of venomous python within the film continuity. The filmmakers' intention was to model Nagini after a Burmese Python.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Albus Dumbledore believed that Nagini may have been made into a Horcrux through the murder of an "old muggle man", likely referring to Frank Bryce. However, J. K. Rowling said in an interview that the murder Voldemort used to make Nagini a Horcrux was Bertha Jorkins.
- Nagini is killed by Neville using Gryffindor's Sword, which is an object that can destroy Horcruxes due to the fact that it had been impregnated with Basilisk venom in 1993. It is unknown if living Horcruxes can be destroyed by anything that cannot destroy an inanimate Horcrux; however, it is likely, because the Horcrux inside Harry was destroyed by Voldemort using the Killing Curse. Nevertheless, it is still possible that living Horcruxes cannot be destroyed by anything that would not destroy an inanimate Horcrux considering that the Killing Curse is a one-of-a-kind unblockable instant death spell. As a living container of a piece of Lord Voldemort's soul, it is unknown what would happen if she could die naturally.
- The killing of Nagini is very representative of the houses Gryffindor and Slytherin. The sword was originally Godric Gryffindor's, and Nagini is a snake, Salazar Slytherin's symbol, owned by a descendent of the Slytherin line.
- Nagini and the Basilisk are both giant snakes who serve Voldemort, and both are killed with Gryffindor's Sword, when someone pulls the sword out of the Sorting Hat. Also both their deaths contributed to Voldemort becoming mortal (as the Basilisk fangs were used to destroy two Horcruxes, and the venom absorbed by Godric Gryffindor's Sword allowed the destruction of three more). Also, the Basilisk is related to the first appearance of a Horcrux in the series, while Nagini was the last Horcrux.
- It is never said why Harry's wounds from Nagini are able to be healed just with Dittany, while others, such as Severus Snape or Arthur Weasley (almost), are killed by her venom. The protective enchantments put in place with Lily Potter's death may act against Nagini's venom, but this protection had already faded when Harry was wounded (although it can be argued that the protection still existed due to Voldemort taking Harry's blood) . It is also possible that Nagini can choose whether or not to apply the venom into her bites, which is very likely as Lord Voldemort makes it clear that Harry's life is reserved for his own taking. In real life, venomous snakes can indeed control the amount of venom they inject in each bite, and even sometimes, they inject no venom at all (which is known as a "dry bite").
- Nagini was usually sent on missions on Voldemort's behalf, making her rather vulnerable, which is against the general purpose of a Horcrux: To protect the portion of the soul. She shares this trait with the diary Horcrux. However, it may be that Voldemort was sure no one had discovered his Horcrux secrets and, as only a few things can destroy Horcruxes, he was fairly sure Nagini and the diary would be safe. However, it could have been that the primary purpose of creating these two items was not so much to provide for Voldemort's immortality, but rather to use the other properties of a horcrux to create unique weapons. Dumbledore believed this to be the case for the diary.
- There was a rumour that Nagini was the snake Harry released from the zoo in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. This was proven false, as Nagini is some type of python found in the wizarding world while the snake in the zoo was a boa constrictor. Furthermore, the snake was given a male voice in the film, while Nagini is female.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Nagini is a normal-sized snake. In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, she is considerably larger. In real life terms, this was so she could be more like a formidable boss battle, but in-universe, this could be due to her being a Horcrux.
Differences between book and film
In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Nagini was not protected by the magical orb, but instead by what appears to be an invisible force field that deflects all spells cast at her. This allowed her to participate in the final duel, as opposed to dying before it began, where she attempted to strike Harry from the back while Voldemort dueled him from the front. Eventually, she was fighting against Hermione and Ron, both of whom tried to stab her with a Basilisk fang, before Neville decapitated her. Upon her death, she vanished into black smoke, as opposed to simply dying and falling onto the ground in the novel. Why her body perished is not known, and she was the only Horcrux to disappear in such manner; all the others did not disappear, but instead leave behind fragmented pieces, except the Diadem when Ron kicked the remnants into the oncoming Fiendfyre. Also, Nagini was killed while Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort were duelling, when in the book, Neville Longbottom killed Nagini while Voldemort and his Death Eaters were standing outside the Entrance Hall.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
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- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- 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)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
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