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Do vampires exist in the Harry Potter universe? Characters mention them at a few places, but we never meet an actual vampire, and I'm starting to think they are only a legend even in that universe.

We've had lots of opportunities for vampires to turn up, even for just an insignificant role, during the series, but it never happened. The students never seem to learn about vampires during their classes. Dumbledore has allowed a werewolf to study at Hogwarts safely, and sent Hagrid to contact the giants. Hagrid has supposedly grown werewolf cubs under his bed. The statue in the ministry shows a goblin but no vampire. We meet people with strange magical illnesses, including a werewolf bite, in St Mungo's hospital. Centaurs and merfolk turn up to pay respect on Professor Dumbledore's funeral – wouldn't an army of vampires circling over his grave have been a great sight? The Dark Lord has tried to get various strange creatures as allies, such as giants, Dementors and a werewolf. Some of these fight at the battle of Hogwarts. Some fans have suggested that Professor Snape could be a vampire, but that was before Hallows was published, and Hallows disproves the theory. If vampires never appear during all this, I think that's because they simply don't exist.

Let me collect some places where vampires are mentioned.

  • In Stone chapter 5, Hagrid mentions Professor Quirrell met vampires in the Black Forest. Stone chapter 8 mentions again that everyone says Quirrell's classroom smells of garlic to ward off a vampire he'd met in Romania. We, however, know that the Professor was lying about at least some of the details about his travels.
  • In Chamber chapter 4, we learn that one of Lockhart's books is titled Voyages with Vampires. His books don't always tell the truth though.
  • In Prisoner chapter 22, Dean Thomas hopes they'd get a vampire as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher next year.

See the related question What is a hag in Harry Potter? .

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I always got the impression that all of the stories in Lockhart's books were true, except for the fact they were other people's stories and not his own. – Anthony Grist Dec 25 '12 at 12:10
@AnthonyGrist: has evidence suggesting this is not so. – b_jonas Dec 25 '12 at 17:02
I remember reading about vampires being recruited by the dark lord after his return. Also in the movies I remember vampires attacking Hogwarts entering from the dark forest. – Madeyedexter Nov 3 '13 at 22:46
up vote 37 down vote accepted

In Half-Blood Prince at Slughorn's holiday party, Sanguini the vampire is a guest in attendance.

‘Harry, I’d like you to meet Eldred Worple, an old student of mine, author of Blood Brothers: My Life Amongst the Vampires – and, of course, his friend Sanguini.’

Worple, who was a small, bespectacled man, grabbed Harry’s hand and shook it enthusiastically; the vampire Sanguini, who was tall and emaciated with dark shadows under his eyes, merely nodded.

Half-Blood Prince - page 295 - Bloomsbury - chapter 15, The Unbreakable Vow

I particularly like this bit:

'Sanguini, stay here!’ added Worple, suddenly stern, for the vampire had been edging towards the nearby group of girls, a rather hungry look in his eye. ‘Here, have a pasty,’ said Worple, seizing one from a passing elf and stuffing it into Sanguini’s hand before turning his attention back to Harry.

Half-Blood Prince - page 296 - Bloomsbury - chapter 15, The Unbreakable Vow

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Heck, you're right. I've totally missed this. Thank you for your reply. I was worried there was something mentioned in a Defense Against the Dark Arts class or in Hogwarts: A History, but I didn't even consider this party. Apparently Lockhart isn't the only teacher to bring strange creatures to parties. – b_jonas Dec 23 '12 at 17:34
Of course! You're very welcome. I thought the Slughorn party scene was amusing -- it made me smile :) – Slytherincess Dec 23 '12 at 19:35
I suppose Sanguini might be just a wizard with an odd sense of humour and a knack with the Imperius Curse, but the text tells us plainly that he's genuine. But then the text is only telling us what Harry knows or believes. But the text is the text. I did like the idea that vampires don't exist and yet wizards are all afraid of them, but I have to give it up. – user19397 Nov 3 '13 at 13:05

Two proofs from Book 3:

  1. In Chapter three upon seeing a picture of Sirius in the newspaper, Harry's reaction is:

    Harry had never met a vampire, but he had seen pictures of them in his Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, and Black, with his waxy white skin, looked just like one.

Also, the kids do learn about vampires in DADA class. When Lupin is out "sick" due to the moon, Snape substitutes for the class and assigns them an essay on werewolves. When Lupin gets back, he assigns them an essay on vampires. (Chapter 14)

Some say Lupin may have done this as retribution ;)

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"Some say Lupin may have done this as retribution ;)" Why? That's an absurd statement. Snape assigned homework on werewolves because he wanted somebody to realise that Lupin was a werewolf; Snape, on the other hand, wasn't a vampire - setting homework on vampires isn't retribution in any conceivable way. – Anthony Grist May 23 '13 at 8:52
@Anthony: Snape was not a vampire, but until Deathly Hallows, many fans have speculated that he was one because Snape has a waxy skin, just like I mentioned in the question. Having the students spread baseless rumours about Snape would have been a great retribution. – b_jonas May 23 '13 at 10:24
@b_jonas That seems far too petty and childish for Lupin, though. That aside, I'm just really struggling to see how it would be "great retribution"; they're baseless rumours, as you said, and Snape was already hated by pretty much the entire school - doesn't seem to be any gain from it. – Anthony Grist May 23 '13 at 10:56
@Anthony: I guess you're right. If the kids started to carry garlic under their turbans to ward off Snape, that would hurt them more than it would hurt Snape. – b_jonas May 24 '13 at 7:48
If it's of interest, I always considered Lupin's setting of a vampire essay was a red herring, especially in a book in which we are introduced to werewolves. Snape has waxy skin, as vampires are described to have in Harry Potter; Harry also gets the impression that Snape can read minds (a popular vampire trait). I thought this was all a red herring to encourage us to suspect Snape is a vampire (he even turns into a bat in the last book) though since nobody addresses it I assumed it was just that: a red herring, and that Snape isn't. The similarities made me think it was intentional by Rowling. – Mac Cooper Feb 19 '14 at 18:30

They are never shown in the movies (as far as I am aware of), but in the book of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, while Harry is at one of Professor Slughorn's "Slug Club) parties, there is a vampire in attendance.

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