Wizards and witches
Species information


Related to
Alternative names


  • Typically wear long robes
  • Carry a wand
  • Don't use electricity
MoM Classification




"Wizards represent all that the true 'Muggle' most fears: They are plainly outcasts and comfortable with being so. Nothing is more unnerving to the truly conventional than the unashamed misfit!"
J. K. Rowling

Wizardkind are humans born with the ability to use magic. An individual male human with magical ability, is known as a wizard (plural: wizards), and an individual female human with magical ability is known as a witch (plural: witches), though "wizard" is sometimes used as a gender-neutral singular noun like "man".

Magical ability is an inherited trait usually passed from parent to child. While pure-bloods are born of two wizarding parents and half-bloods are often born of one wizard and one muggle or muggle-born parent, Muggle-born wizards and witches are born with their magical abilities because they are distantly descended from a Squib who often marries into a Muggle family. From this point on, that branch of the wizarding family often loses all traces of its wizarding legacy, which resurfaces many generations later in a Muggle-born descendant.

Wizard life expectancy in Britain reached 137¾ years in the mid-1990s,[1] although the oldest wizard in record reached the age of 755 in late 1991;[2] wizards have a much longer life expectancy than muggles[3]

In childhood, wizards and witches may exhibit random bursts of magic, called accidental magic, which are honed and controlled as they progress in maturity. To perform controlled magic, almost all wizards/witches need to use a wand, although the skill of wandless magic may be mastered in later life. A few highly advanced wizards can do controlled magical acts without a wand, such as Albus Dumbledore, who demonstrated the ability at the close of Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Lord Voldemort, who once demonstrated this ability during the Battle of the Seven Potters in 1997.

Sub-species[edit | edit source]

"I am a wizard, not a baboon brandishing a stick."
Filius Flitwick sets Seamus Finnigan lines.[src]

Some wizards exhibit special inborn (or acquired) attributes which mark them as unique amongst their kind. They are listed as follows:

Seers[edit | edit source]

Main article: Seer

Sybill Trelawney is a Seer and Professor of Divination at Hogwarts.

Some wizards are born with abilities beyond those of the average wizard. Seers, for example, have the skill of insight into future events. They may garner this insight through visions and dreams or through scrying physical objects like tea dregs, tarot cards, and crystal balls. Some seers include Sybill Trelawney and her ancestor Cassandra.

Animagi[edit | edit source]

Main article: Animagus
File:McGonagall Animagus.gif

Minerva McGonagall, a registered Animagus with the form of a cat.

While some wizards have the ability to turn into animals, it is not an inherent power, but rather a trained technique. This type of wizard is called an Animagus (plural Animagi). Babbitty Rabbitty was said to be an Animagus with the ability to transform into a rabbit. Sirius Black was an Animagus who could turn into a black dog named Padfoot. Professor McGonagall is an Animagus who can turn into a cat. Rita Skeeter is an Animagus who can turn into a beetle and used this for gathering information for her articles. James Potter was an Animagus who could turn into a stag. Peter Pettigrew was an Animagus who could turn into a rat. He masqueraded as "Scabbers," Ron Weasley's rat, in order to convince the wizarding world that he had been killed by Sirius Black. The Animagi have to register themselves at the Ministry of Magic, because human Transfiguration can go horribly wrong. The first recorded Animagus was Falco Aesalon.

Metamorphmagi[edit | edit source]

Main article: Metamorphmagus
File:Nymphadora Tonks Metamorphmagus 2.gif

Nymphadora Tonks is a Metamorphmagus, and can change her appearance at will.

Other wizards may have the ability to change only their physical appearance rather than their bodily form. This type of wizard is termed a Metamorphmagus. Such a wizard can change the shape of their noses, hair colour, and other physical attributes. Nymphadora Tonks and Teddy Lupin were known Metamorphmagi.

Communicating with animals[edit | edit source]


Harry unknowingly speaking parseltongue to a snake at London Zoo.

Some wizards and witches have the ability to talk to animals. For instance, a Parselmouth can speak to snakes. This ability is extremely rare. Salazar Slytherin was an infamous Parselmouth, and his descendants, such as Lord Voldemort, inherited this trait. Harry Potter also acquired this ability when part of Voldemort's soul bonded with him the night he tried to kill Harry. When the piece of Voldemort's soul inside him was destroyed, Harry lost this ability. Other wizards, like Rubeus Hagrid for example, have an innate ability to communicate and bond with all kinds of animals. Animagi have also demonstrated being able to subtly influence animals while assuming their animal forms.

File:Mrs Figg Trial 1.jpg

Arabella Figg, a squib.

Squibs[edit | edit source]

Main article: Squib

Individuals born to at least one magical parent who cannot perform magic at all past age 11 are called Squibs. Squibs are much less common than Muggle-borns.

Late-bloomers[edit | edit source]

There exist some individuals that continue to exhibit a lack of magical power past age 11 and yet spontaneously - in desperate circumstances - manage to perform magic later on in life. However, this is rare in the Harry Potter universe, possibly more so than squibs.[4]


Lord Voldemort using Legilemency on Harry Potter

Legilimens[edit | edit source]

Legilimens are people who can perform Legilimency. These people can tune into other people's minds, but have difficulty reading the minds of those people who can perform Occlumency. The act of Legilimens is referred to as mind reading in the Muggle world.

Occlumens[edit | edit source]

Severus Snape is both an accomplished Legilimens and Occlumens.

Some wizards have the ability to protect their minds from others who can perform Legilimency. This ability is called Occlumency. Severus Snape tried teaching Occlumency to Harry Potter during Harry's fifth year in Hogwarts.

Social habits[edit | edit source]

File:Wands of Hogwarts' students and staff 04.JPG

Wizards and witches raising their wands

As decreed by the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, wizards maintain a society entirely separate from Muggle society, with their own culture and traditions. Wizards populate areas all over the globe. At the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, over 100,000 wizards were in attendance. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, there are several hundred students in residence at any given time. It is unknown exactly how many witches and wizards are in the entire world, but chances are they are not counted in the seven billion population count of Muggles.

Wizards may live together in communities such as Godric's Hollow or Hogsmeade. Other wizards live in solitary locations such as Spinner's End or 12 Grimmauld Place. Most wizards maintain little if no contact with Muggle society and find Muggles strange and unpleasant. They are somewhat ignorant to the muggle world but in a different manner than muggles as of the Wizarding World. While Muggles are completely unaware of wizards, wizards appear to be ignorant of certain aspects of the muggle world, such as electricity and some modern technology. While certain aspects of muggle society are evident in the wizarding one, wizards seem to be a number of decades if not centuries behind muggles in other areas. In addition, wizards are sometimes just as progressive, if not more, on certain issues than their Muggle counterparts, such as women's rights.

Some wizards do not like to talk about their Muggle relatives, or even deny their existence altogether. Other wizards, such as Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort have even killed some of their Muggle relatives altogether. Other wizards, like Arthur Weasley, find Muggles to be highly intriguing. Hermione Granger, a Muggle-born witch, took up Muggle Studies at Hogwarts because she felt it would be fascinating to think about Muggles from a wizarding perspective.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes and References[edit | edit source]

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