What If an Owl, Rat, Cat, or Toad Just Doesn’t Do It for You?
When you’re 11 years old at Hogwarts, you can choose to bring an owl, cat, rat, or toad, but why just those animals? I had just finished reading another book when I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson when I was about eight) where the witches had familiars like octopuses, pigs, chickens, aardvarks, and even a cloud of flies! Frankly, the Hogwarts list felt very limited.
But was there logic in this madness? Was it limited because 11-year-olds can only be trusted with certain animals? Can you upgrade once you start Care of Magical Creatures in third year? Could you have a Crup or Bowtruckle (like Newt Scamander seems to) as a familiar only once you’d passed a test showing you knew how to care for them? Ginny Weasley brought her Pygmy Puff to school, so were pygmy puffs added to the list?
Understandably, Harry was probably too preoccupied to notice the finer points of which magical creatures you can keep, what with all that Voldemort hunting – and he seemed pretty happy with Hedwig because of the whole “Hedwig was his first birthday present” thing… but if you could choose, what would you get? And is choosing a magical pet/familiar regional? Considering Sirius Black used colorful parrots to send Harry letters, would the witches and wizards of Brazil bring macaws to school?
I’m Australian, and I would definitely want a microbat that would live in my hair. (This should in no way be taken as any kind of actual advice, and this bat would obviously be magical, and my hair would be its perfect habitat – if the rest of its family wanted to hang out on occasion, that would be fine too, although I would probably have to put a weightlessness charm on them.)
The other thing that didn’t add up was, why didn’t Harry get a pet snake? Maybe an adder or a ribbon snake… I always felt Harry’s skill in Parseltongue was very underutilized. Not all snakes are Voldemort Horcruxes or planted under a castle by Salazar Slytherin (and I still maintain Nagini and the Basilisk were both probably quite lovely once you got to know them… but I digress). The point is, Harry could’ve had another friend to have a chat to (and you never know – a snake might’ve helped come up with clues while they were on their very long camping trip).
If you could choose any animal – magical or otherwise – to be your familiar/friend, what would it be and why?