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Inferius

They are corpses, dead bodies that have been bewitched to do a Dark wizard’s bidding. Inferi have not been seen for a long time, however, not since Voldemort was last powerful… He killed enough people to make an army of them, of course.
— Description of an Inferi

[src]

An Inferius (pl. Inferi) is a dead body, reanimated by a

Dark Wizard

‘s spell. They are similar, but intrinsically distinct from a

zombie

. Inferi are created through the magical branch of

Dark Arts

called

Necromancy

,

[6]

which is the art of raising the dead. The spells used to reanimate the corpse are complex.

[5]

Contents

  • 1 History

    • 1.1 Early history

    • 1.2 First Wizarding War

    • 1.3 Second Wizarding War

    • 1.4 2014 Quidditch World Cup

  • 2 Description

    • 2.1 Physical appearance

    • 2.2 Nature

  • 3 Defence against Inferi

  • 4 Etymology

  • 5 Behind the scenes

    • 5.1 Author’s comments

  • 6 Appearances

  • 7 Notes and references

History

Early history

In

1899

, it was mentioned that the

Dark Wizard

,

Gellert Grindelwald

, sought to create an army of Inferi, and believed that the

Resurrection Stone

could grant him such powers. It is unknown as to whether he succeeded, though his conception of the stone’s abilities was in fact incorrect, as it brings back souls from the realm of the dead as more-than-ghost but less-than-alive state, not as a living body.

[7]

First Wizarding War

Voldemort’s inferi, guarding the Horcrux cave

During the

First Wizarding War

, Voldemort was known to have created an army of Inferi from the large number of people he murdered. He placed such an army within the lake of

Salazar Slytherin’s Locket

‘s

hiding place

.

[1]

The Inferi in question were mostly vagrant, homeless Muggles murdered by Voldemort, but some of them were the earthly remains of wizards and witches who ‘disappeared’ during the war without explanation.

[5]

This could possibly include wizards from the Ministry, members of the Order that were never found, or just random unlucky witches and wizards.

In

1979

, when

Regulus Black

attempted to destroy the said

Horcrux

, he succumbed to the

Drink of Despair

‘s effects and tried to take a drink of water from the lake, only to trigger the Inferi and was killed by them.

Kreacher

, his house elf, managed to make it out of the cave with the locket.

[8]

Regulus’ body most likely remains in the crystal cave as part of Voldemort’s army.

Second Wizarding War

The

wandlight

had slid over a fresh patch of water and showed Harry, this time, a dead man lying faceup inches beneath the surface, his open eyes misted as though with cobwebs…

— Harry looks at an Inferius in the lake in the

Crystal Cave

[src]

The Ministry warned the community that

Lord Voldemort

may be using Inferi once again in the

Second Wizarding War

, and it was mentioned that he did use Inferi during the

First War

.

[9]

Many Inferi nearly overwhelm Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore

During the

1996–1997 school year

,

Professor

Severus Snape

taught his

sixth year

Defence Against the Dark Arts

class about the Inferi.

[10]

[3]

In his first lesson, he showed them gruesome pictures of a person killed by an Inferi, as a bloody mass upon ground.

[10]

In

1997

,

Mundungus Fletcher

impersonated an Inferius during an attempted burglarly, and was arrested and sent to

Azkaban

for it. It was reported in an article in the

Daily Prophet

.

[3]

Later that year, Harry Potter and

Albus Dumbledore

encountered the very same army of Inferi as Regulus in their attempt to destroy Voldemort’s locket Horcrux. At a point in time Dumbledore deduced the location of one of Voldemort’s

Horcruxes

and discovered its hiding place as a crystal cave by the sea. At first, the Inferi remained inert as the two sailed in the

boat

towards the

central island

. Harry saw something move below the water and at that time that was the most physical movement they showed.

[1]

Dumbledore and

Harry Potter

fend off a mass of attacking Inferi

When Dumbledore suffered from the Drink of Despair’s thirst-inducing effects, Harry had to take some water from the lake (as this was the only option available to quench the thirst). Contact with the water triggered the Inferi, whom nearly dragged Harry to the depths of the lake to drown. Dumbledore successfully repelled them by

conjuring

a

ring of fire

, big enough to surround both Harry and himself. Once all the Inferi returned into the lake they did not resurface when Dumbledore’s ring of fire faltered.

[1]

For some reason Voldemort did not have his Inferi Army join the rest of his forces to participate in the

Battle of Hogwarts

. It’s possible that he had no way to transfer them from

his cave

, though there is a distinct chance that they did participate and simply weren’t noticed by Harry. It’s unknown what happened to the Inferi after the end of the Second Wizarding War, though it is possible that since the magic animating them originated with Voldemort and said magic often dies when the wizard who cast it dies, the Inferi merely returned to being actual dead corpses.

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2014 Quidditch World Cup

​Malicious and baseless…
— The ICWQC on rumours that Haitian National Quidditch team

[src]

In

2014

, rumours that the

Haitian National Quidditch team

was using Inferi to intimidate other teams were dismissed by the

International Confederation of Wizards Quidditch Committee

as untrue. However, the rumours proved true when Inferi attacked crowds in the opening ceremony of the

2014 Quidditch World Cup

, devouring those who tripped. In the end, 300 casualties from shock, broken bones, and bites resulted from the disastrous opening ceremony, one being an infected

Sasabonsam

bite on Jamaican keeper

Kquewanda Bailey

.

[11]

Description

Physical appearance

Inferi up close

An Inferius is a grisly puppet. The Inferi are gaunt, skeletal beings that closely resemble

zombies

. Being human corpses, they have individual appearances based on the humans they were created from. For example, one Inferius may have dull teeth, while another may have sharp teeth. Some may have hair, others may not have any at all – depending on the age of the human at time of death and the corpse’s state of decay.

[1]

The most obvious sign that one is facing an Inferius rather than a living human are the white and cloudy eyes, indicating their owner is devoid of any form of life.

[5]

Nature

The Inferius is a corpse that has been reanimated by a Dark wizard’s spells. It is not alive, it is merely used like a puppet to do the wizard’s bidding.

Severus Snape

regarding what an Inferius is

[src]

Harry struggling through a horde of Inferi

The spells used to reanimate a human body are much more complex than those used, for instance, to make inanimate objects fly.

[5]

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.

[5]

Due to their status as being unfeeling dead, the Inferi are immune to bodily damages such as

slashing

, and have great physical strength, enough to kill a human or drag them away. Due to their superior strength and surprising speed, they are especially dangerous en masse.

[5]

As no spell can bring back the dead, the Inferi are not alive, just corpse puppets. Despite this, it may be possible that they can speak.

[12]

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.

[5]

Defence against Inferi

However, like many

creatures

that dwell in cold and darkness, they fear light and warmth… Fire, Harry.

— Albus Dumbledore on the defence against Inferius

[src]

A

firestorm

is the ideal way to fend off Inferi

Because Inferi are creatures of the dark, they dislike light and heat (no spell has been found to render dead flesh impervious to burning). The most effective

spell

against them is therefore a fire-summoning spell, such as

Firestorm

. Because of this, the Inferi are enchanted by their master to avoid flames.

[5]

Other spells might work against a few Inferi, but might not be useful against a whole army of them. It must be noted that Inferi are resistant to most spells: they cannot feel pain, and thus are unaffected by many attacks whose main effect is pain such as the

Cruciatus Curse

. This was evident when

Harry Potter

attempted to use the dark spell

Sectumsempra

on the Inferi in the

Crystal Cave

, as they had no

blood

to spill.

[1]

Etymology

Inferius is a tampered form of the

Latin

word for “underneath; below”, Inferus, but with an obvious connotation of being ‘lesser’ than a living human. Meanwhile, Inferi means “the dead; underworld”.

J. K. Rowling

has changed this real Latin words to form these

Creatures

.

[5]

Behind the scenes

  • According to

    W.O.M.B.A.T.

    , Inferi may have the ability to speak.

  • Inferi may have been briefly referred to by Voldemort in the Little Hangleton Graveyard as part of an “army of creatures whom all fear”.
  • Inferi may be incredibly strong as a picture in Snape’s

    Defence Against the Dark Arts

    class shows a bloody mass on the floor, attributing to a person provoking the anger of an Inferius. Alternatively, this could be attributed to their viciousness and implacability.

  • Zombies

    are different from Inferi, although they have much in common.

    [5]

    It seems that zombies are naturally formed, while Inferi are artificially created.

    J. K. Rowling

    decided against naming the Inferi zombies because zombies are not part of British folklore. Also, one tradition has the sorcerer using a zombie’s soul, or part of it, to sustain himself, which she decided conflicted with her Horcrux story.

  • In the

    first part video game adaptation

    of

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    , Inferi appear again, despite them not being in the mainstream storyline.

Author’s comments

  • Inferi have much in common with zombies, which are mentioned as separate creatures within Harry’s world. I had several good reasons for not wishing to call the guardians of the locket Horcrux ‘zombies’. Firstly, zombies are not part of British folklore, but associated with the myths of Haiti and parts of Africa. While the students of Hogwarts would learn about them, they would not expect to meet them walking down the streets of Hogsmeade. Secondly, while zombies of the Vodou tradition can be nothing more than reanimated corpses, a separate but related tradition has it that the sorcerer uses their souls, or part of their souls, to sustain himself. This conflicted with my Horcrux story, and I did not wish to suggest that Voldemort had any more use for his Inferi than as guards of his Horcrux. Lastly, zombies have been represented and reinterpreted on film so often in the last fifty years that they have a whole raft of associations that were of no use to me. I’m part of the ‘Thriller’ generation; to me, a zombie will al