Messrs. and Mses. Howly, Digger, Sly, Babbitty, and Spike: Animagus Forms of the New Generation
I have been enamored with the concept of animal shape shifting ever since reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when the cat hanging around Privet Drive was revealed to be Minerva McGonagall. When more Animagi such as the Marauders were revealed, I became even more excited. I wondered, what if Harry, Ron, and Hermione decided to put their abilities and patience to the test and become Animagi? What would their Animagus forms be?
It is important to understand that, in J.K. Rowling’s world, witches and wizards do not get to choose the form their Animagus takes. Their animal counterpart is determined based on their personality and inner traits. It is very fitting that Professor McGonagall is a clever feline, and Rita Skeeter a pesky beetle. Similarly, the Patronus form of a witch or wizard can also be determined by one’s characteristics, which is why for McGonagall, the two are the same: a cat.
A character’s Animagus form can reveal more about them than meets the eye. For example, Peter Pettigrew took the form of a rat. Rats are comfortable in groups, but they are also considered dirty and sneaky and inspired the phrase “to rat someone out,” which he eventually did. At the time he and the rest of the Marauders became Animagi, no one thought much of it. Now, however, it is easy to see how appropriate his form is to his inner characteristics.
After a great deal of research and discussion with fellow Potterheads, I have created my own list of which animal forms the young heroes and heroines would take.
While the stag is an appropriate Patronus form for Harry because the deer as a spirit animal represents a strong intuition and an ability to overcome challenges with grace, I believe Harry’s Animagus form would differ from his father’s. I think his would be closer to Sirius’s black dog form. I can see Harry becoming a wolf. The wolf is involved in the creation myths of many cultures, and it is obvious that Harry was the beginning of the end of an era or terror. In Serbian epic poetry, the wolf is a symbol of fearlessness. There is a story in Serbian folklore that if a woman lost multiple children in succession, she would name her next son Vuk, the Serbian word for wolf, because witches were afraid to attack wolves. Wolves are traditionally pack animals; however, they are successful on their own as well. The Chechens believe the “lone wolf” is a symbol of independence, strength, and freedom. Harry is undoubtedly fearless and protective. He never shies away from an adventure or danger, even coming face to face with his own death. His caring and protective nature also causes him to try to leave his friends behind on adventures in order to spare them the dangers that lie ahead. He finishes the quest for the Stone on his own, he alone enters the Chamber of Secrets, he faces Voldemort in the cemetery alone after Cedric’s death, and he walks into the Forbidden Forest on his own in Deathly Hallows, ready for the end. Harry is the epitome of independence and strength. I also could not help but find the Vuk story fitting since Voldemort always feared Harry, though he never admitted it. He consistently sent his cronies after a teenage boy and never faced Harry alone. As a pack animal, or as a “lone wolf,” the wolf is a perfect fit for Harry’s Animagus form.
Though a lion represented his Hogwarts House of Gryffindor, I think the badger of Hufflepuff would have been Ron’s Animagus form. The reason J.K. Rowling chose the badger as the symbol for Hufflepuff is that the animal is often underestimated but when provoked, can take on animals even larger than itself, which we learn from the House welcome message on Pottermore. Ron spends his Hogwarts years in Harry’s shadow. He is underestimated by teachers, friends, enemies, and even himself. When Ron returns to Harry in the Forest of Dean, his first acts are to save his friend and destroy a Horcrux that preyed upon those insecurities. Ron’s bravery is imperative in the Battle of Hogwarts, and he even impresses Hermione with his cleverness and strength when they set out for the Chamber of Secrets to destroy the Horcrux inside Helga Hufflepuff’s cup. A badger would be a great fit for Ron’s Animagus form.
A clever and endlessly resourceful witch, I believe Hermione would take the Animagus form of a fox. The fox is well known for its intelligence, inspiring the popular phrase “to outfox” someone, meaning to beat them in a battle of wits. In many cultures, the fox represents a cunning trickster in mythology but is seldom considered evil. In Finnish mythology, the fox outsmarts both an evil and voracious wolf and a strong but less-than-clever bear, symbolizing the victory of intelligence over both malevolence and brute strength. This particular representation is a reflection of Hermione herself. She uses her intelligence to aid Harry through all of his adventures, defeating the evil and power-hungry Lord Voldemort as well as his blindly following band of brutes, the Death Eaters. She is effortlessly adaptable in every situation, using a Time-Turner to take extra classes and an enlargement charm on her purse to begin life on the run in Deathly Hallows. Hermione is the brightest witch of her age, and she would be the first in the group to successfully transform into her Animagus form, a rather fitting fox.
I believe that Luna’s Animagus form would be related to her Patronus, the hare, in the form of a rabbit. In ancient myths and folklore, rabbits often symbolize youth and innocence. In the Chinese zodiac, those born in the year of the rabbit are thought to be friendly, creative, compassionate, serene, and sensitive. They strongly believe in the value of friends and family. Luna fits very well into these character traits. She is a friendly and gentle character and keeps her emotions well in check. Luna is arguably the most creative character throughout the series, with her imagination circling around Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and devices like Spectrespecs to see the invisible Wrackspurts. She is a compassionate and sensitive character, one of the few to truly understand and sympathize with Harry over the loss of his parents and godfather. Luna already likes these little critters, as revealed by her golden hare bracelet, and they make perfect fits for both her Patronus and Animagus forms.
Similar to Ron, Neville was underestimated throughout his Hogwarts years. Another animal frequently underestimated is the hedgehog, which I feel would make an appropriate Animagus form for Neville. The Grimm brothers told a popular tale of the “Hare and the Hedgehog,” which depicts a race between the two animals. The hare is proud of his swift legs, but the hedgehog outsmarts him by teaming up with his wife who waits at the finish line. The hare is perplexed by his loss, and he runs the race over and over until he dies from exhaustion. The story is meant to illustrate the dangers of pride. The hedgehog is often depicted as an incredibly wise animal in different legends, and in the Balkan Slavic folklore, the wise hedgehog is the only creature that can find a magical plant, raskovnik. Aside from his aptitude for Herbology fitting perfectly with the wise hedgehog’s ability to find raskovnik, the race between the proud and the patient is also a match with young Mr. Longbottom. Neville is never the first to show up for a fight and is rarely considered a threat, but he is vastly underestimated. Neville’s patience and wisdom pay off in the end when he perseveres through his seventh year at Hogwarts, then into battle, and finally to behead Nagini. Neville would be shy and terrified to learn such advanced Transfiguration to become an Animagus, but he would find confidence in his hedgehog form.
Fred and George Weasley
Notorious tricksters, the coyote would make a perfect Animagus form for the Weasley twins. The creation myth among the Maidu of northern California claims that, as the Creator God was fashioning creatures out of clay, Coyote tried to do the same. Coyote laughed through the entire process, and none of his efforts worked out. Creator God told him if he stopped laughing, his work would turn out better. Coyote denied laughing, and thus, the first lie was told. Across many Native American cultures the coyote is perceived as a deceiver, a realist, and a goofball. Fred and George certainly know how to tell a lie. They are constantly deceiving their superiors and sliding beneath the radar on their hijinks. They are not very well known for taking anything seriously, though they are very bright. Perhaps if they had been more focused on their OWLs and schoolwork, they would have been top of their class, but they preferred the laughing life, as the coyote. The twins are widely recognized as pranksters and jokers and only perpetuate their reputation with the opening of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley. The coyote would be the perfect Animagus form for Fred and George. I imagine they would have a blast in their Animagus forms and would take their tricks to a whole new level as coyotes.
“Technically, it’s a ferret.” Barty Crouch Jr. may have been completely wrong to transfigure Draco as a punishment, but he was within the same family of what I believe Draco’s Animagus form would take, which is the stoat, or ermine. In many cultures, weasels are considered bad omens or to bring evil luck. They are clever, resourceful animals and can easily hold their own in a fight despite their size because they are very aggressive. Medieval Europeans believed that ermines would rather die than dishonor themselves since their coats change from white to brown in the summer, making it seem that the white ermines perished. Draco is certainly concerned with reputation, growing up in a notoriously proud ancient family. His allegiance with the Dark Lord can be traced directly to his perceived duty to uphold the “old ways” and his family standing. Draco is also often underestimated, though he received high marks throughout his time at Hogwarts and earned many OWLs. He is not a coward and is aggressive in single combat, as illustrated by the many instances in which Draco and Harry meet under fighting circumstances. Draco would have been ecstatic to become an Animagus to spy on his enemies and cause havoc, and he would have been most able to do so as a swift and clever weasel.
Perhaps the first thought for the Animagus form of the half-giant would be a bear or large dog, but I think that a misjudged character like Hagrid would take a similarly misunderstood Animagus form. I believe that Hagrid’s Animagus would be a bat. Because of their appearance and nocturnal nature, bats are often feared in myths and legends; sometimes they are even considered bad luck or a representation of death. In all reality, bats are gentle creatures. Bats are helpful animals as well, with some species aiding in the pollination of many plants. In Chinese and Polish mythologies, bats are actually depicted in a positive light and considered not only lucky but also a symbol of happiness and longevity. Arguably the most frightening bat species, the Vampire Bat, is particularly gentle. The vampire bat will actually adopt a young bat should something unfortunate happen to its mother. Hagrid is a gentle giant. He is often only seen for what he is, an enormous bear of a man that could knock you down with the lightest touch. Truly, Hagrid is one of the happiest and most gentle characters throughout the series. He looks after animals as well as students and never raises a finger to anyone until the Battle of Hogwarts. He even looks after Harry in his time at Hogwarts, almost as though adopting him after the tragedy that befell his parents. I believe that because they are equally frightening on the outside and vastly misunderstood for their characters, Hagrid would pair well with the Animagus form of a bat.
A revered man such as Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore would surely warrant an equally respected Animagus form. I think the most fitting creature for Dumbledore to transform into is the owl. In Greek mythology, the owl was a close companion to the goddess of wisdom, Athena. The owl would light up her blind side in order for her to speak the whole truth. In Japan, owls are said to warn of evil approaching. In Welsh culture, the owl is a night predator, the only bird capable of defeating the falcon, and is a symbol of death, renewal, and wisdom. Dumbledore is the perfect personification of these symbolisms. Dumbledore is widely regarded for his wisdom and often given prominent decision-making roles like Head Master and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, not to mention being the trusted companion of Nicholas Flamel. He is a very honest character and is always willing to reveal the whole truth in good time. He has a particular knack for knowing the precise time when he should say something, and when to allow others the opportunity to learn themselves, a prized trait for a successful professor. Dumbledore defeated Gellert Grindelwald in single combat and struck fear in the heart of the dreadful Lord Voldemort, feats that are unmatched by any other wizard. He greets Harry in death and inspires him to return to life anew and end Voldemort’s reign of terror. A wise owl would be the natural match for Dumbledore’s Animagus form.
Well, this was my personal list! What do you think your favorite characters’ Animagus form would take? Share your ideas with me in the comments! The possibilities are endless!