Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

J.K. Rowling borrowed her "magical" elements from all sorts of different mythologies. She had Phoenix from eastern one, she had centaurs from Greek one, she had Veela from Eastern Europe, she had Leperchauns from Ireland.

What about uniquely North mythology (Scandinavian) entities/elements in Harry Potter world?

share|improve this question
I would suggest Trolls, as they are originated in Skandinavia IIRC. But they are so widespread since the Norse days that I would hesitate to call them "uniquely North" at this point. Time for Slytherincess batsignal – DVK-in-exile Aug 7 '12 at 0:36
up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'm not quite up on my Norse mythology, but a quick read through Wikipedia's article on it showed that they have Giants, Elves, and Dwarves, though those aren't entirely limited to the Norse.

What did strike me as uniquely Norse and related to HP was the vicious giant wolf Fenrir. It's not a common name, nor based on pseudo-Latin like Lupin, so I think it's quite probable that Fenrir Greyback from the Harry Potter series was named after the creature from Norse mythology.

share|improve this answer

The Werewolf Fenrir greyback a reference to Fenrir the Wolf Nurmengard- Gards were traditionally fortresses in Norse Mythology (Asgard, Midgard)

Also a more in-depth look at the end of the series appears very similar to me to Ragnarok Norse end of days The death of the father (Odin, Dumbeldore) at the hands of the wolf Fenrir (the wolf, greyback) who crossed the magical (Bifrost Bridge, cabinets) to the great castle (Asgard, Hogwarts) which causes the son (Thor, Harry) the (god of, boy with .... shaped scar) lightning to defend the weaker beings (Humans, Muggles) from the great Serpent (Midgard serpent, Voldemort (connected multiple times with snakes)) but he dies in the process, as the world (Midgard, Hogwarts) burns a new world order emerges from the wrecks of the old after the defeat of the great serpent

share|improve this answer
AWESOME ethan, The best answer anyone can give – Geek Nov 6 '15 at 11:38

Dwarves are the main candidate as an import from Norse mythology, though I would suspect Rowling selected these from the modern day concept of them rather than their origins in Norse mythology. They only have a cameo or two in Harry Potter, but dwarves are generally attributed to being of Norse or Germanic origins.

In particular Tolkien derived his dwarves of the Hobbit from those of Norse mythology, reusing many names from his study of the Edda poem, so one can definitely argue that these Norse dwarves are the root of the modern concept of dwarves.

Giants appear in Norse mythology but are wide-spread through many different mythologies, so are hardly unique.

share|improve this answer
If you want to go for "genericised" north, Trolls would be a better example - they seem to be more prominent in HP. But frankly, I don't consider either of those 2 races to be "Norse" in HP for the reasons you eloquently stated - they seem to be a "Tolkien fantasy" imports for JKR. – DVK-in-exile Aug 7 '12 at 0:33
I'd argue that the difference is the "family tree" of the dwarf concept from Rowling to Tolkien is fairly clear, as is that from Tolkien to the Norse dwarves, but actually I just plain forgot that trolls appeared in Norse myths. :) – dlanod Aug 7 '12 at 0:37
the word itself is of Norse origin: – DVK-in-exile Aug 7 '12 at 0:38
Thank you both. The dwarves and the trolls both appear Skandinavian enough for me, despite Tolkien adopting them later. – Silver Fox Aug 7 '12 at 0:40

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.