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J.K. Rowling Talks Inferi in Today’s Pottermore Christmas Surprise!

J.K. Rowling Talks Inferi in Today’s Pottermore Christmas Surprise!

J.K Rowling released the tenth surprise from her Pottermore Christmas special, which is where she posts new writings and revelations to her website. Today she posted a really intriguing and creepy story that describes the zombie-like creatures called Inferi, which Harry and Dumbledore encountered in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The creatures were reanimated by Voldermort, then enlisted to guard one of his Horcruxes

Here’s the riddle of the day:

In the cave when Harry and Dumbledore try to escape, they are surrounded by zombie-like monsters from the lake, but can you remember the name of these creatures who have white cloudy eyes and corpse-like features?

And the answer: [spoiler]Inferi[/spoiler]

Here’s some of the writing posted about the creepy Inferi:

An Inferius (plural: Inferi) is a corpse that has been reanimated by a Dark wizard’s curse. It becomes a grisly puppet, and may be used as an expendable servant by the Dark wizard in question. The most obvious sign that one is facing an Inferius rather than a living human are the white and cloudy eyes.

The spells used to reanimate a human body are much more complex than those used, for instance, to make inanimate objects fly. The Inferius may be cursed to respond lethally if disturbed, to kill indiscriminately, and to undertake perilous jobs for its master. Its limitations are, however, obvious; it has no will and no brain of its own, and will not be able to think its way out of unforeseen trouble. As a warrior or guardian with no regard for its own safety, however, it has many uses.

The Inferi whom Harry and Dumbledore encounter in the depths of the lake in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were, when alive, mostly vagrant, homeless Muggles whom Voldemort had murdered for the purpose during his first rise to power, although some were the earthly remains of wizards or witches who ‘disappeared’ without explanation.

Preserved indefinitely by Dark magic, an Inferius can only be destroyed by fire, for no spell has been found to render dead flesh impervious to burning. Inferi are therefore enchanted to avoid flames by their master.

When you visit Pottermore, you can read J.K. Rowling’s thoughts on her creatures, and why she choose not to refer to them “zombies” instead of Inferi. This is actually a great read; our favorite so far—but we like ‘dark’ and ‘creepy.’

Also, when you head over to you can enter the interactive cave and see Harry and Dumbledore with the Inferi. Tip: Hover your mouse over Dumbledore’s want to see a wizardly explosion.

Have fun!