JKR often refers to ghouls (ex. Gilderoy Lockhearts "Gadding with Ghouls", or in the attic floor of "The Burrow") but also describes inferi as mindless corpses controlled by a dark wizard.

As far as I know ghouls are controlled (but in other universes), too, by some kind of master (ex. a non-virgin which is bitten by a vampire turns into a ghoul, controlled by the vampire)

So whats the difference in JKRs Harry Potter?

  • 1
    In this universe, they seem, uh, completely unrelated?
    – chirlu
    Nov 8, 2015 at 22:48
  • so should i rather ask what a ghoul is? because in every other i know the definition of a JKRs Inferi would be somewhat congruent with a common ghoul
    – InsOp
    Nov 8, 2015 at 22:50
  • 2
    You have an overly limited understanding of the common characteristics of ghouls in myth and fantasy. Ghouls are not generally defined as mind-controlled servants. See this Wikipedia article: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoul
    – wyvern
    Nov 9, 2015 at 2:40

1 Answer 1


Among other differences, in the Harry Potter universe, there’s no implication that ghouls are controlled by a third-party.

This is the description of a Ghoul from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them:

The Ghoul, though ugly, is not a particularly dangerous creature. It resembles a somewhat slimy, buck-toothed ogre and generally resides in attics or barns belonging to wizards, where it eats spiders and moths. It moans and occasionally throws objects around, but it is essentially simple-minded and will, at worst, growl alarmingly at anyone who stumbles across it. A Ghoul Task Force exists at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures to remove ghouls from dwellings that have passed into Muggle hands, but in wizarding families the ghoul often becomes a talking point or even a family pet.

No mention that it’s based on corpses or controlled by somebody else. Knowing that a ghoul is being controlled like this might be useful information, so it would be surprising if it were true (in-universe) and omitted here.

The few ghouls seen in HP canon seem entirely autonomous. The second time Inferi are mentioned, we’re told that they’re reanimated corpses – the subject of controlling Ghouls never comes up.

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