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The Sphinx is a magical creature native to Egypt. It has the head of human, and the body of lion. Sphinxes are capable of human speech, and are known for their love of puzzles, riddles, and enigmas. When the Ministry of Magic began categorising magical creatures, the Sphinx was placed in the Beast category rather than the Being category due to their violent tendencies.
The Sphinx has been used for centuries to guard treasures and has been noted for violence when something threatens that treasure.
A female Sphinx was stationed in the maze during the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament of 1994-1995. The Sphinx guarded the closest route to the Triwizard Cup, and also gave a clue to Harry Potter concerning the last creature that was guarding the Cup. Harry Potter had to cross the Sphinx, and this was the riddle that was given to him:
The clue in the first two lines refers to a spy, the next clue indicates the letter 'd', and the last clue means '-er'. String them together, and the answer is 'spyder' or 'spider'. The final creature in the maze guarding the Triwizard Cup was an Acromantula. The Sphinx gave Harry three options – he could choose to remain silent and she would allow him to walk away unscathed. If he answered correctly, she would move aside, but if he gave an incorrect answer, she would attack.
Gringotts Wizarding Bank has been known to place Sphinxes to guard some of the vaults, much to the annoyance of those customers who want to access their valuables but who are not that good at riddles.
Sphinxes are renowned for being extremely intelligent: they are capable of human speech, and are known for their love of puzzles, riddles, and enigmas. Their riddles are normally extremely long and complicated, with profusely subtle references to the answer that most people would almost certainly miss. They also possess superhuman strength, especially in their brutally powerful paws - this makes them very dangerous to human beings, and is why they are classed so high in terms of dangerous species.
Behind the scenes
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, the sphinx in the maze is a statue instead of a real one, and the player must lure the spider to come near it with a fly, which sends away the statue and allows entry. However, in the DS and IPhone versions you have to pick the right barrel and find the Lego-brick, if you find it the Sphinx will open a door-hedge next to it.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Appears as statue) (Mentioned on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Disc 2, mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Mentioned on a Famous Wizard Card) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Mentioned on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells
Notes and references