Boggarts were considered amortal creatures as they were never alive, to begin with, but could never die. Other amortal creatures include Poltergeists and Dementors. It was considered the safer practice to go in at least pairs while confronting a Boggart as that would confuse it to present itself in the form of one’s deepest fear. As Remus Lupin claimed in his first class for the third year, he once encountered a Boggart that turned itself into half a slug because he was with two other people who feared flesh-eating slugs and headless corpses, respectively.
Boggarts were never dangerous in any way and were devoid of human feelings except that they took the form of the worst fear of the one confronting it, thereby causing extreme emotional trauma. While it never presented itself as anything other than a representation of one’s fear, the evidence of its presence was based on the rattling, screeching, and screaming noises it made inside the object it was trapped in, usually cupboards.
Famous Boggarts in History
Several Boggarts have inhabited, especially in muggle dwellings, and caused havoc until a wizard or a witch came there and neutralized it. Examples of it include the Bludgeoning Boggart of Old London Town, which was a Boggart that took the form of a murderous thug and walked around the back streets of nineteenth-century London but was reduced to a hamster after a wizard used an incantation. Another one was the Screaming Bogey of Strathtully, which was a Scottish Boggart that had changed its form based on the fears of local muggles several times till it turned into a black shadow with terrifying white eyes. It was eventually trapped in a matchbox by Lyall Lupin of the Ministry of Magic. Another famous Boggart was a small Boggart dubbed the Old Boggle of Canterbury, which muggles believed to be a cannibalistic hermit.
Defeating A Boggart
Defeating a Boggart required the utterance of the incantation Riddikulus with a clear mind. It also required ample concentration and would only work if the caster of this spell was as unperturbed as possible by the Boggart. Interestingly, the Boggart would immediately vanish if it was laughed at by the caster of the spell. It was also difficult for a Boggart to take form if more than one person stood before it, as the Boggart would be very confused. Human emotions are very complicated, and the Boggart gets glimpses of a person’s soul to read what their innermost fears are. Therefore, defeating a Boggart would require confusing it with emotions opposite to fear, like happiness or laughter-inducing humor.
Appearance in the Harry Potter Universe
The Boggart first appeared in the Harry Potter Universe in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In Remus Lupin’s first Defence Against the Dark Arts class at Hogwarts, he introduced the third-year students to the Boggart. The Boggart in question had earlier entered a wardrobe in the staffroom the previous day. Professor Lupin explained the ways of tackling the Boggart to the students and made them recite the incantation Riddikulus several times before facing the Boggart. Neville Longbottom was the first to face the Boggart. It took the form of Severus Snape. He then used his imagination to turn the Boggart in the form of Professor Snape into a Snape dressed up in his grandmother’s clothes after uttering the spell Riddikulus. When Ron faced the Boggart, it took the form of a giant spider, and it became evident that Ron’s worst fear was spiders, as was seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. However, Ron used the Riddikulus charm and made the spider wear skates, making it trip and fall.
After most of Gryffindor’s students were done and Harry’s turn came, the Boggart turned into a Dementor, to the surprise of everybody, but Professor Lupin was quick to shield Harry from the Boggart. As he did that, the Boggart suddenly changed into the full moon, which made sense later as it was revealed that Lupin was, in fact, a werewolf. Lupin reasoned with Harry that the reason he shielded him from the Boggart was that he thought it would take the form of Lord Voldemort. However, he was happy that the Boggart turned into a Dementor because this implied that Harry only feared fear itself, as Dementors were the embodiment of fear. Professor Lupin later taught Harry to ward off Dementors by teaching him the use of the Patronus Charm with the help of a Boggart found in Mr Filch’s filing cabinet as a ‘target scarecrow.’ Harry eventually managed to cast a full Patronus. Lupin used another Boggart as a final hurdle in his third-year Defence Against the Dark Arts final examination. It is revealed that Hermione’s Boggart took the form of Professor McGonagall conveying to her that she had failed the examinations.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry faces a Dementor in the final task of the Triwizard Tournament. After casting the Patronus, he realizes that it is, in fact, a Boggart as it trips and falls instead of shifting away as a Dementor would.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Molly Weasley comes across a Boggart in a cupboard in Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, where she just comes out of the party celebrating Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger being made prefects. After getting confirmation from Alastor Moody and his magical eye that there is, in fact, a Boggart in there, she opens the cupboard, and the Boggart turns into a dead Ron. Hearing a sobbing noise, Harry enters the room. To his shock, he sees Ron’s dead body, and after Mrs Weasley casts the Riddikulus charm, it changes into Bill Weasley’s dead body. She casts the Riddikulus charm again, and the Boggart changes form again into Arthur Weasley’s body, and the cycle continues with the Boggart changing into the corpses of Fred, George, Percy, and finally, Harry sees his own corpse. Harry tries to console Mrs Weasley. Lupin and Sirius then enter the room, and Lupin cast the spell Riddikulus and the Boggart vanishes.
It is believed that Albus Dumbledore’s Boggart takes the form of his sister Ariana’s dead corpse. Interestingly, it is also believed that Dumbledore saw his sister Ariana in the Mirror of Erised in the later years of his life. Also, in the movie series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it is shown that the protagonist Newt Scamander’s boggart takes the form of an office desk, signifying his fear of being restricted to an office job. Also, the Boggart of Leta Lestrange takes the form of a white veil signifying her dying brother Corvus Lestrange. Interestingly, while each character’s Boggart is usually different as it depends on their innermost fear, during the Second Wizarding War, the Boggarts of several people in the wizarding world, including Draco Malfoy, were all that of Lord Voldemort.
Boggarts and Dementors
An interesting relationship exists between Boggarts and Dementors in that they are both indicators of fear in a wizard or witch. While the Boggart materializes the one who encounters it, thereby causing a strange sense of danger in them, a Dementor usually creates a sense of fear by sucking all the happiness out of the person it encounters. Both are entities lacking a core in their own way. While a Boggart takes the material form of a person’s fear, the Dementor has no soul of its own. It is, therefore, very interesting when Harry’s Boggart takes the form of a Dementor. It implies, as Professor Lupin rightly claims, that Harry fears fear itself. This is probably why Harry is one of the, if not the bravest, characters in the Harry Potter Universe.
What is Sirius Black’s Boggart?
It is believed that Sirius Black was one of the people whose Boggart assumed the form of Lord Voldemort. However, it is also speculated from the understanding of Sirius’s character that his Boggart might also have been a different version of himself. More specifically, a version of himself that his family wanted him to be. Sirius feared the possibility of being a Pure-blood fanatic like the rest of the Black family and carrying around the Dark Mark on his hand.
What would be Draco Malfoy’s Boggart?
While it was believed for a long time that Draco Malfoy’s Boggart would take the form of Lord Voldemort, a deeper analysis of his character would illustrate that his Boggart could somehow reveal how dysfunctional his relationship was with his father. Despite his constant cover-ups pretending to be very proud of his father and the Malfoy family heritage, it is evident that Malfoy grows doubtful about his own identity as is shown in his later actions.
What would Hermione’s Boggart be?
As is shown in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione’s Boggart takes the form of Professor McGonagall telling her that she has failed all her examinations. When Professor Lupin sets up the final test for the third year, he keeps the Boggart as one of his final questions, and Hermione comes out crying and narrates the story of her Boggart turning into McGonagall claiming that she failed all her exams.