Do Wizards get to choose which animal their Patronus will be? If they don't get to choose, what determines their Patronus animal? EDIT - I didn't recall that there were any duplicate animals among the ones that were mentioned.

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    I'm like 90% sure it's an unconscious decision, based on what happened with Tonk's Patronus.
    – Izkata
    Apr 21, 2012 at 23:16
  • Harry didn't know that his father's Patronus was a Stag, but his (Harry's) Patronus also became a Stag.
    – Möoz
    Apr 11, 2014 at 3:01
  • Is there confirmation that James' Patronus was a stag, or even confirmation that he could conjure one? I thought Harry's Patronus was a stag only because James' Animagus form was a stag.
    – vynsane
    Aug 15, 2018 at 16:08

3 Answers 3


There is no indication in the books that a conscious decision is made. We see a significant number of students find their Patronus throughout the series, none of whom are noted as making a decision. There are also cases of duplicates - both James and Harry Potter are noted as having a stag as their Patronus, for instance, and Snape and Lily share a doe Patronus.

The closest indication we get of significance in the Patronus itself, other than some unconscious desire, is animagi - the two cases where we see both form and Patronus, they are identical: James Potter and Professor McGonnagal.

  • @dianod Thanks. Not sure how I spaced out on the duplicates. I edited my question! Apr 22, 2012 at 0:59
  • We never find out what James Potter's patronus was.
    – ibid
    Mar 14, 2016 at 0:45
  • It's now known (maybe it was even then? I have this memory it was in PoA) for certain that nobody knows until they first cast it successfully. So you could add that too (though after all this time maybe not). @ibid Not literally no; but it's strongly hinted that it is a stag.
    – Pryftan
    Aug 15, 2018 at 0:14
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    @Pryftan - Since I left that comment one of JK Rowling's was released which said that one's patronus animal is the same as their animagus animal, so we now have confirmation that James' patronus was a stag.
    – ibid
    Aug 15, 2018 at 2:23
  • @ibid Ah, interesting. Didn't know for sure although I suspected it was the case for James nonetheless. Thanks for the clarification!
    – Pryftan
    Aug 15, 2018 at 21:21

No, they do not. It is generally an animal that represents them, or a person they care greatly for.

Harry's was a stag which represented his father

Serverus' was a deer which represented Lilly

  • Best to say that it was a doe; because a doe is a female deer but a buck (also known as a stag) is also a deer but male.
    – Pryftan
    Aug 15, 2018 at 0:12

Professor Granger, in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, confirms how a wizard's patronus is selected.

HERMIONE: How dare you! Fifty points from Gryffindor. And I assure you if anyone interrupts me again it’ll be a hundred points . . .

She stares around the room. No one moves a muscle.

HERMIONE [continued]: Good. A Patronus is a magical charm, a projection of all your most positive feelings, and takes the shape of the animal with whom you share the deepest affinity. It is a gift of light. If you can conjure a Patronus, you can protect yourself against the world. Which, in some of our cases, seems like a necessity sooner rather than later.

I would guess that theoretically, if you became deeply disenamoured of a certain type of animal (for example, if you loved cats, but then for some reason started to really dislike them) then it stands to reason that your Patronus would change.

  • More evidence that CC is rubbish; Hermione has particular difficulty with casting the Patronus charm and yet - this? Maybe I don't have the full context but it seems rather silly that Hermione would be talking about Patronuses. Anyway the answer is of course no according to Pottermore.
    – Pryftan
    Aug 15, 2018 at 0:11
  • @Pryftan I don't understand your objection; if anything, having a complete and detailed theoretical knowledge of a spell she is actually unable to cast seems typical of Hermione. Moreover, Hermione had some initial difficulties with the spell, but after some DA meetings she was able to conjure her Patronus.
    – lfurini
    Aug 15, 2018 at 12:49
  • @lfurini You make a fair point, admittedly, yes. I just find it odd she'd be teaching that of any other subjects. Then again I find it odd she's teaching at all. As for initial difficulties? No. Look at it in Deathly Hallows when they all need to cast a Patronus inside the courtroom: 'Expec — Expecto patronum,' said Hermione. Nothing happened. 'It’s the only spell she ever has trouble with,' Harry told a completely bemused Mrs. Cattermole. 'Bit unfortunate, really . . . Come on, Hermione. . . .' You call that only initial? I don't.
    – Pryftan
    Aug 15, 2018 at 21:20
  • @Pryftan You are right, I had forgotten that she still had difficulties with her Patronus at the time of DH.
    – lfurini
    Aug 16, 2018 at 9:36
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    @lfurini You also keep forgetting your Remembrall too, yes ? :) Nobody is perfect, in other words :) But the other part of my comment(s) are also relevant but the one about Hermione having difficulty casting the spell makes it even more odd.
    – Pryftan
    Aug 17, 2018 at 0:18

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