11

A simple enough question, assuming that one would need to see the Basilisk gaze to die, would a blind man's life be spared? What about someone suffering from neurological blindness (perfectly heathly eyes but damages to the brain prevents actual sight)?

Applying the same logic, would a deaf man survive an adult Mandragora or a Banshee scream?

Thanks for your thoughts.

11

While I do not have canon to back this up, I believe that there is a critical component to brain recognition of a direct stare between both the basilisk and the victim. This can be borne out by a couple of things:

  • Colin Creevy, Mrs. Morris and others viewed the stare through an intervening instrument (Camera, water, etc), and survived (albeit petrified).
  • The stare was nullified once the eyes of the basilisk were put out by Fawkes

Being that there would be no recognition on the part of the person suffering the blindness that they were being stared at by, well, anything, I don't believe that the necessary component is there to assume death would follow.

This is also partially corroborated by the way that the mandrakes are approached. When Neville misplaces his earmuffs, the cry of the juvenile mandrakes makes him faint. The rest are fine, so there is no real brain recognition of the sound. Since a deaf person has no brain recognition, I believe they would also be immune. (I have no conjecture on how it would affect a partially deaf person). There is nothing to indicate that a phsyiological blocking of a sense would be less effective than a mechanical blocking of a sense.

A banshee might be a different matter, as it is not only their scream, but their visage that can cause various effects. (Note: The banshee scream being fatal is not in the original Celtic legends of the bann sidhe or baen si from whence come the modern version of the banshee).

  • Nice theory! About the Banshee I was thinking as is it means"from the other side", originally "from the Sidhe" the fairy realm, the Banshee scream could be seen as coming from the world of the dead ripping away the life out of you. Using the same logic, as Mandragoras are creatures from the ground i think their scream might me interpreted as a "call to the grave". – user24308 Apr 9 '14 at 23:52
  • 1
    @user24308 - Actually, "Woman of the Sidhe" or "Woman of the Fairy Mounds" is a closer translation. And the lands of the Sidhe are not the lands of the dead, they are the home of the Fae court, from whence we get the Wild Hunt, Oberon and Titania, and the cast from "Midsummer Night's Dream". In some myths, the bann sidhe heralded death as an omen (Not by screaming at them) but that's as close as it gets. – JohnP Apr 10 '14 at 1:13
  • I know but I interpreted it considering the deadly effect of the Banshee's scream. ;) – user24308 Apr 10 '14 at 1:56
  • Where is it said in HP canon that the banshee scream is fatal, rather than not just disturbing like any exceptionally loud noise, albeit in a traumatising way? – N Unnikrishnan Jun 19 '14 at 17:54
  • Right, my query was only out of curiosity hoping someone may find a canon quote saying banshee scream is fatal. This may make another question. No offense to your answer which is the best in the situation. – N Unnikrishnan Jun 20 '14 at 22:09
5

I think the answer is even simpler than JohnP's good one.

You don't suffer from Basilisk's gaze if you don't look at it, even when it looks at you (e.g. if you turn away).

So, it's implied that Basilisk gaze must somehow enter your eyes, not just be on you.

If you're blind, it doesn't enter your eyes / optic nerves, and thus you wouldn't be petrified.

-2

I think such person would survive. Basilisk's gaze is deadly because it inflicts fear that person cannot stand.

  • Do you have any references for this assertion? – JohnP Apr 9 '14 at 22:41
  • Yes if you have any reference, canon or even original legends about the Basilisk I'd like to read them. – user24308 Apr 9 '14 at 23:42
  • my assumption is related to the specific word - petrify and the legend of Warsaw Basilisk. Victims of the basilisk were petrified (both in Harry Potter but also in the original myth). However word petrify has double meaning, it also means that someone may be frightened that they are unable to move. As for the original legend. The one I know is about Warsaw Basilisk (I am Polish, and this one is very popular in Poland). Story tells that the beast died because it scared of its own reflection in the shiny armour. – Dom Apr 10 '14 at 0:14
  • Yes,being petrified means being so afraid you can't move, but it's figurative. If the Basilisk's stare kill by scaring to death it would bill by leading to a heart failure wich is painfull and, recoverable from if adressed immediately. The Basilisk's stare kills instaneously, seemingly by casting a deadly "etheral subtance" or magical energy, it dates back to teh belief that sight came from eyes casting light onto object, rather than light being reflected onto objects and going in our eyes. – user24308 Apr 10 '14 at 0:22

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