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Sphinx

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GF 31
Sphinx
Species information
Sentience

Sentient

Eye colour

Hazel

Hair colour

Brown

Native range

Egypt

Distinction(s)
  • Human face
  • Lion body
Ministry of Magic Classification

XXXX

"It had the body of an over-large lion: great clawed paws and a long yellowish tail ending in a brown tuft. Its head, however, was that of a woman. She turned her long, almond-shaped eyes upon Harry as he approached."
—Description of the Sphinx in the maze.[src]

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.[1]

History

The Sphinx has been used for centuries to guard treasures and has been noted for violence when something threatens that treasure.[1]

Crispin Cronk (1795-1872) once kept several sphinxes in his backyard. Apparently, the private ownership of sphinxes is (or was) illegal, as the Ministry of Magic sent him to Azkaban for it.

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:


"First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.
Next, tell me what's always the last thing to mend,

The middle of middle and end of the end?

And finally give me the sound often heard,
During the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together and answer me this,

Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?"


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.[2]

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.[3]

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.

Appearances

External links

Notes and references


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