Traditionally we think of unicorns as pure white, beautiful creatures, similar to horses but with a long horn protruding from their heads and white or silver manes and tails.
Unicorns can be seen in mythology and stories throughout the world for hundreds of years. In fact they used to be written of as if they were real, perhaps there used to be such a creature, but like so many other species we hunted them all down. Unicorn’s horns were said to contain incredible healing properties, they could protect the owner and cure all poisons. In Europe it was believed that unicorns couldn’t be caught be men, they would only be drawn to virgin women.
I remember unicorns as they were described to us in Harry Potter:
“The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something so pure and defenceless to save yourself, you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.” – Rubeus Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
They are powerful magical creatures who live away from humanity. As foals they are gold and turn white when they reach adulthood. Unicorn hair is used as wand cores and in some potions.
Huge scaled creatures who can fly, breath fire and roar. In most stories dragons are hoarders, they hoard treasure in caves and sleep amongst it. They can burn whole cities to the ground, but they’ll keep to themselves if left alone.
Dragon mythology has existed almost as long as humans have. From all over the world we have myths and legends about dragons and their destruction.
A few of my favourite books have dragons in them; Harry Potter, The Hobbit and A Song of Ice and Fire.
“My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!” – Smaug, The Hobbit
Smaug is the evil dragon in the Hobbit who took the home of the dwarves and hoarded all of the gold for himself. Bilbo, Thorin and their companions attempt to slay the dragon and take back their home.
“For the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons.” – A Game of Thrones
We see the dragons in ASOIAF since their birth, they’re not yet threatening any of our favourite characters in Westeros so for me they don’t seem horrible at all. Although George R.R. Martin once compared using a dragon as a weapon to the use of an atomic bomb in our time, so…not so great.
Mermaids have the torso and head of a human but the bottom half of a fish. I love the sea and swimming and I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid! In modern day we think of mermaids as beautiful creatures who live peacefully in their underwater kingdoms. But historically mermaids and sirens would lure sailors to their deaths by singing to them.
“The merpeople had greyish skins and long, wild, dark green hair. Their eyes were yellow, as were their broken teeth, and they wore thick ropes of pebbles around their necks. They leered at Harry as he swam past; one or two of them emerged from their caves to watch him better, their powerful, silver fishtails beating the water, spears clutched in their hands.” – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
In Harry Potter the mermaids are depicted far more realistically than Disney’s films! They have gills for breathing underwater, dark green hair and they are fierce protective creatures. They have their own language which sounds beautiful under the water but above it sounds like screeches. I still want to be them!
Tiny winged creatures, with the bodies of humans but as small as insects. I love fairies, I used to believe in them and look for them in my garden. Again I’d love to be one, especially the fairies I know the best, Flower Fairies.
By the peaceful stream or the shady pool
I dip my leaves in the water cool.
Over the water I lean all day,
Where the sticklebacks and the minnows play.
I dance, I dance, when the breezes blow,
And dip my toes in the stream below. – Willow Fairy
The Willow Fairy is my favourite, me and my sisters shared a big book of the Flower Fairies. It had the beautiful pictures and the poems of all the fairies. They all look so happy and peaceful living in their plants, I wanted to join them (and still do).
Large beautiful birds with crimson feathers, when they die they’re reborn from the ashes.
“Phoenixes burst into flame when it is time for them to die and are reborn from the ashes.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The only phoenix I know of is Fawkes from Harry Potter. He’s loyal to Albus Dumbledore and he saves Harry’s life in The Chamber of Secrets with his healing tears. When Dumbledore died he sang a heartbreaking song whilst circling the castle before flying away forever. Sounds like a great companion to have and will probably live longer than you!
I have loved making this list, what are your favourite magical creatures?