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Harry Potter creature names & descriptions"The Care of Magical Creatures" class at Hogwarts is very popular with students and fans.

Hagrid teaches the class, which consists mainly of introducing everyone to his favorites.

Through the Harry Potter books and Harry Potter movies, JK Rowling introduces us to creatures of fantasy that have been popular in mythology throughout the ages -- including dragons, centaurs and griffins, fairies and elves, as well as the legendary phoenix which bursts into flames and rises from its own ashes in a continuous cycle of renewal.

In fact, everything old is new again as Harry Potter introduces these ancient beasts to modern generations. Just up ahead, check out some of the more popular creatures that inhabit the world of Harry Potter along with their roots in ancient mythology :

Harry Potter creatures picture gallery

The phoenix in Harry Potter and in myth

Dumbledore's pet phoenix explodes into fire and rises from the ashes in a scene from "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". Based on the ancient Greek myth about death and resurrection, the symbol was also adopted by early Christianity.

The centaur in Harry Potter and in myth

2. Symbolizing a wild and untamed nature, centaurs were half-men half-horse in Greek mythology. In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" they eventually triumph over strict disciplinarian Dolores Umbridge.

Dragons in Harry Potter and in myth

3. Author J.K. Rowling imaginitively spun the legend of dragons into different species within the Harry Potter saga. They feature prominently in the Triwizard Tournament, in which Harry must face the fiercest dragon of all, the fire-breathing Hungarian Horntail.

The griffin in Harry Potter and in myth

Buckbeak, the hippograff, is based on the ancient Greek myth of the griffin who was half-bird and half-beast.

cerberus in Harry Potter and in myth

5. Fluffy guards the sorcerer's stone hidden beneath a trap door at Hogwarts in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Fluffy was modeled on Cerberus, the three-headed dog who in Greek mythology guards the entrance to the Underworld.

The basilisk in Harry Potter and in myth

6. In "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", Harry bravely does battle with a giant snake, or basilisk. Based on the Greek myth, the King of the Snakes was the most poisonous and deadly. Even looking directly into his eyes could bring instant death.

More about Harry Potter creatures around the Web:

Around the Web, discover names, pictures, and how to's on drawing Harry Potter creatures, plus more about which are friendly and which are dangerous (do any of them make good pets?) - along with descriptions of creatures loyal to Dumbledore - and those who serve Voldemort and the forces of evil.

Harry Potter Creatures - A growing creature-feature from Harry Potter Wiki with a treasure-trove of knowledge, pictures and information on giants, goblins, owls, house mascots, Fluffly the Three Headed Dog, and lots more on Harry Potter pets and magical creatures.

Harry Potter Fan Zone - Magical Creatures - Excellent HP site, with a list that includes names and brief descriptions of each creature with their Ministry of Magic (M.O.M.) Classification.

Care of Magical Creatures - All about the class at Hogwarts with facts and information on the curriculum and a profile of popular creatures and where they appear in each section of the Harry Potter saga.

Mythical Creatures in Harry Potter - For the serious Harry Potter scholar, featuring discussions on the symbolism of Buckbeak, unicorns, the Basilisk, trolls, giants, and more with their mythical and religious meanings.

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