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This question, Are boggarts able to take the form of abstract fears? mentions that Boggarts are stated to be able to "take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most."

We know that a Boggart would represent a fear of death via the viewer's dead body...

But how about a fear of drowning (as opposed to fear of death by drowning which could be easily represented by a drowned dead body)?

Would it be possible for the Boggart turn into a giant body of water that really engulfs the victim, so that the victim really experiences the state of drowning in 'real time'? Or would it be limited to showing the victim a 'copy' of their body struggling/drowning in a body of water?

What about a fear of being buried alive? Could it turn into a coffin around the actual body of victim; or would it be limited to showing a coffin (with someone thumping it from the inside)? Or falling from a great height? Or being stuck blind, dumb, deaf and paralyzed?

All these are things where the terror comes internally from the sensations which the situation makes the victim feel - watching a body drown or fall or be unable to move or watch a coffin from the outside, would be uncomfortable - but it would hardly engender terror the way seeing a giant spider in front of their face would terrorize someone deathly afraid of giant spiders.

Do we have any information (or calculated speculation) on what might happen in case a Boggart faces one with such types of fears?

  • As a agrophobe, I too have wondered this. My idea was always that a fear of height would be represented by a Vertigo Shot (like in films), you know where the camera dolly moves towards the character but zooms out at the same time? I would imagine the Boggart would become a distortion in the air which simulates this, which would, to me, be pretty terrifying. Pure speculation, but a personal one at least. – Mac Cooper Aug 1 '14 at 22:33
  • Ooo, I really like this question! How interesting! @MacCooper - I can relate. I'm fortunately functional, but, on occasion, I'll be out somewhere and just get blindsided by irrational fear. I've had it all my life! As for fear of heights, for example, venturing out onto that glass bridge at the Grand Canyon would kill me dead. Bridges in general can represent a fear of heights. Sometimes when I'm driving I get stuck on an overpass that shakes and sways and makes me highly uncomfortable. :) – Slytherincess Aug 2 '14 at 18:32
  • @Slytherincess, I get you. On a school trip we had to cross the Milenium Bridge, and we kept stopping to take photos. Was horrible. Even walking up exposed staircases can destroy me. As a Scouter, climbing walls have been a personal peeve of mine: perhaps my boggart would simply be an inanimate harness. :) Also, I'm not agrophobic at all, I'm ACROPHOBIC -- scared of heights, not the outdoors, always mix em up XD – Mac Cooper Aug 2 '14 at 19:55
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Good question. I have thought about this before.

I think the Boggart would just be forced to become something that represents the person's fear. For example, Lupin's Boggart is the full moon, but I doubt his worst fear is the full moon, it is more likely that his worst fear is turning into a werewolf at the full moon. So if the person's worst fear is drowning like you say, possibly the Boggart would turn into a big tank of water or something, being the closest thing to the person's fear as possible.

Another example is Harry, whose fear of fear causes the Boggart to assume the shape of a dementor (the closest thing that is associated with Harry's fear), but it obviously can't manifest itself as fear itself

Lupin doesn't seem too afraid of the Boggart, as he steps confidently before it:

"(...) Lupin, who said 'Riddikulus!' almost lazily" (Prisoner of Azkaban - page 105)

so maybe people whose worst fear is a state of being are simply at an advantage, as they would be less affected by the Boggart.

  • Lupin's assessment of Harry's fear is similar – Izkata Aug 2 '14 at 1:36
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    @Izkata I always thought Lupin gave Harry too much credit on that subject. The Dementors just look legitimately terrifying, and they only get worse the more you learn about them. Harry's fear of them doesn't necessarily have to reflect a deeper fear; sometimes a boggart is just a boggart – Jason Baker Aug 2 '14 at 6:47
  • Harry doesn't fear the dementor, he fears the way he felt on the train. He thinks of Voldemort, then remembers the night on the train and "a cold so penetrating that it felt like drowning" (Prisoner of Azkaban - page 103) – ZenLogic Aug 2 '14 at 10:12
  • @ZenLogic That's how I've always thought of it too. If Harry fearing the way Dementors makes him feel, makes his Dementor!Boggart have the ability to make him feel the same way, could a Lake!Boggart really drown someone or make them at least really feel like they were really drowning? – Shisa Aug 2 '14 at 12:38
  • I don't think so. Think about someone who fears drowning; a lake or a lot of water would scare them, but it certainly wouldn't be their worst fear, because that is drowning. I suppose if a boggart could really engulf someone, then that would certainly have the effect of feeling as though one is drowning. I guess it begs the question "can a Boggart interact with someone by way of actually touching/engulfing them?" – ZenLogic Aug 2 '14 at 12:43
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I always felt like it would almost dissipate and surround the person, like smoke or fog, and show them an image of what they fear most. For example, a claustrophobe would see 4 walls closing in on them, or for someone afraid of heights, it would make it look like they were up high. For a person with a fear of drowning or suffocation, the Boggart would simply make it feel like they were, despite the rational part of their brain knowing it's not really happening, therefore creating fear without doing actual physical harm to your body.

Dispelling it with Riddikulus could look something like:

Small spaces - making the walls clear and adding disco wallpaper
Heights - trampolines at the bottom
Drowning - A bubble or something
Suffocation - A nice breeze on a summer day

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    I'm confused by your answer. What do you mean "Dispelling it would be like", could you edit your answer to make it clearer? – Edlothiad Jul 9 '17 at 22:27
  • We've never seen a Boggart do anything like that, it stays in a solid form for everything we've seen it turn into. So this doesn't quite seem likely to me. But that's a really interesting theory! – Bellatrix Jul 9 '17 at 22:44

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