MuggleNet’s Pottermore Feature of the Week: ‘Toads’
This week, our look at the new information provided by author J.K. Rowling on the interactive site Pottermore, examines the history of toads in the wizarding world.
The most famous of toads in the Harry Potter series is of course Trevor, Neville Longbottom’s toad. Given to Neville by his Great-Uncle Algie upon Neville’s gaining admission to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Trevor was notorious for escaping Neville’s clutches throughout the series, but came in handy in one particular Charms class when Professor Flitwick made Trevor fly around the room to demonstrate a proper levitation spell. Professor Snape on the other hand used Trevor to test Neville’s Shrinking Solution, which turned the toad into a tadpole.
Additionally, Harry had used Trevor as an object when practicing Summoning Charms before the First Task during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and finally who could ever forget the demonstration of Neville’s Mimbulus Mimbletonia plant on the Hogwarts Express. While Harry was holding Trevor, Neville successfully managed to show the plant’s defensive mechanism and completely cover the occupants of the cabin with Stinksap just before Cho Chang entered to say hello to Harry.
J.K. Rowling writes the following about toads in the wizarding world on Pottermore:
Of the three approved animals permitted to students as pets at Hogwarts, the toad is, and has been for many years now, by far the least popular. Centuries ago, in blood-thirstier times, when young witches and wizards were expected to personally pop out the newt eyes they were using in potions, they routinely brought boxes of toads to school for use in potions and in other charms. Over time, as the Ministry of Magic introduced legislation regarding animal cruelty (sub-sections 13-29 inclusive relate to potion ingredients and their production) such practices were gradually outlawed. The toad, never much appreciated for its own personal appeal, gradually appeared (alive) less and less frequently at Hogwarts, unless hopping and swimming wild in the grounds.
By the time Harry arrived at Hogwarts, possession of a pet toad conveyed neither cool nor status; indeed, it was something of an embarrassment. Trevor, Neville’s toad, had nothing to commend him except a propensity for getting lost, and when he finally slipped off to join his brethren in the Hogwarts lake, both owner and pet felt a sense of relief.
The toad has a long association with witchcraft, and was often believed to be a familiar. It occupies a special place in old folk cures, particularly (perhaps on the homeopathic principle of curing like with like) in the curing of warts. In the Dark Ages, a British toad could think itself lucky if it died of natural causes, because it was in constant danger of being boiled, powdered, skinned or tied around a sick human’s neck in a bag.
What was your favorite scene featuring Trevor? Let us know in the comments below.