The phoenix is a large swan-sized scarlet bird with red and gold plumage, along with a golden beak and talons, black eyes, and a tail as long as a peacock's. Its scarlet feathers glow faintly in darkness, while its golden tail feathers are hot to the touch.
Phoenixes will usually nest on mountain peaks and are gentle herbivores that are not known for fighting. As phoenixes approach their Burning Day they resemble a half-plucked turkey. Their eyes become dull, their feathers start to fall out, and it begins to make gagging noises. Then the bird suddenly bursts into flames only to rise from the ashes shortly after. In a number of days, they grow back to full size. Thanks to this ability, phoenixes live to an immense age.
Abilities and traits
The most startling of the phoenix's abilities is its ability to regenerate itself. It periodically bursts into flames when its body becomes old, and rises from the ashes as a newborn chick. This event is called Burning Day, and gives these birds a great life span, as well as the ability to take the full force of a Killing Curse and still be reborn. Phoenixes are immune to the gaze of a basilisk, which would normally kill anyone who has direct eye to eye contact, or petrify through indirect eye contact, such as seeing a glimpse of the massive serpent or its reflection.
The phoenix can also disappear and reappear at will in bursts of flames and take whoever is holding them along, similar to Apparition (though like house-elf magic, they cannot be restricted like wizards are), and boasts magical tears and song. As stated by Dumbledore, they are extremely loyal creatures, and are capable of arriving to the aid of beings who share a similar devotion, which was how Fawkes arrived to assist Harry in killing the Basilisk down at the Chamber of Secrets. Their tears have potent healing capabilities. For instance, phoenix tears are the only known antidote to basilisk venom. Their tears are also able to bring a person back even from the brink of death, while the phoenix song will increase the courage of the good and strike fear into the hearts of the evil. Phoenixes are capable of lifting a great weight with their tails, such as being able to effortlessly fly up a distance with four people holding on to its tail. They can also leave messages by bursting into flame to reappear elsewhere, leaving behind a single golden tail feather.
- " [...] they make highly faithful pets."
- —Dumbledore describing phoenixes to Harry[src]
Phoenixes are very difficult to domesticate, as Newton Scamander says in his book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: "The phoenix gains an XXXX rating not because it is aggressive, but because very few wizards have ever succeeded in domesticating it." There are two known domesticated phoenixes, one Albus Dumbledore's pet phoenix Fawkes, and the other Sparky the team mascot for the New Zealand Quidditch team the Moutohora Macaws.
Phoenixes that have been domesticated are extremely loyal to their owners, and would depart to find their own paths if their owners die, rather than finding a new master.
Fawkes was a phoenix who was owned by Albus Dumbledore. Fawkes lived with Dumbledore at Hogwarts Castle for a large part of his life. He was instrumental in helping Harry Potter defeat the Serpent of Slytherin, bringing Harry the Sword of Gryffindor, blinding the basilisk, and saving Harry from the venom with his tears.
Fawkes was also used as a communication between his master and the Order of the Phoenix. Fawkes assisted Dumbledore fighting Lord Voldemort and protected the headmaster from a Killing Curse. After Albus Dumbledore's death, Fawkes performed a mournful song that seemed to feel like it is inside the listener, dubbed by wizards the "Phoenix Lament". After the song was completed, Fawkes departed Hogwarts as a free phoenix, and was never heard from again.
Phoenix feather materials
Phoenix feathers are a powerful magical substance, and as such are an accepted wand core. Fawkes gave two feathers, which ended up in the wands of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, which is said to be the reason why they locked in Priori Incantatem when the two wizards attempted to engage in a magical battle in the Little Hangleton graveyard. Due to phoenixes being very difficult to tame, the wands with such feathers are the pickiest of owners, and usually act on their own accord, due to having the most initiative of all core types. Phoenix feathers are sometimes used as writing quills.
Albus Dumbledore and the phoenix
Albus Dumbledore has many connections to the phoenix, starting with his companion Fawkes and illustrated by his phoenix Patronus. He named his anti-Voldemort organisation the Order of the Phoenix, after Fawkes.
Behind the scenes
- Besides representing its element of fire, sometimes a phoenix can also represent death and the element of wind. According to legend, they are always female. However, Fawkes is male.
- The phoenix is Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling's favourite magical creature.
- The phoenix is the only life-form in existence that defies the otherwise absolute rule of nothing can truly bring back the dead.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned only)
- 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 Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Mentioned in organisation name)
- 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)) (Mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Quidditch Through the Ages (real)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ Quidditch Through the Ages
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ World Book Day Interview, available via Accio Quote!