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Zombies are "living dead" creatures that dwell in the southern part of the United States of America. They are able to be identified by their greyish skin and rotten smell. While zombies have much in common with Inferi, they are in fact, two distinct creatures.
During the 1991–1992 school year, Hogwarts Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor Quirinus Quirrell told his students that his turban had been given to him as a gift by an African prince for getting rid of a troublesome zombie. However, whenever he was asked how he fought off the zombie, Quirrell would try to change the subject and talk about the weather.
It was eventually revealed that the turban was used to hide the face of Lord Voldemort on the back of Quirrell's head, as he was possessing Quirrell at the time. It is therefore unlikely that Quirrell's story about the zombie was true, and the fact that the native range of zombies is America makes the veracity of the tale regarding the African prince even more dubious.
Behind the scenes
- "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."
- —J. K. Rowling.[src]
- Zombies are a creature from Haitian folklore comprised of a human corpse resurrected from the dead by a sorcerer to be an unwilling slave, though the creature is used in modern times to describe a corpse resurrected by any means and has become a staple of horror media.
- In most of the media, the only ways to kill a zombie are destroying the brain and burning them. It is unknown if this works in the Harry Potter Universe (the fire appears to work on the Inferi)
- Inferi have much in common with zombies, but they are not the same thing. J. K. Rowling presented her reasons for not calling the guardians of the locket Horcrux 'zombies', on Pottermore: firstly, zombies are not part of the British folklore (and, as such, would not be something a wizard would come across in Britain); secondly, there are some traditions that have it that the sorcerer that created the zombies uses their souls (or part of their souls) to sustain himself (Rowling wanted to distance herself from this, since it could potentially have implications in her Horcrux story); lastly, and perhaps more importantly, zombies have been such a big part of horror films and other media, that they had several associations that she did not see fit.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Daily Prophet Newsletters
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)