It seems that, in Harry Potter Universe, there is an extremely major split between humans and "magical" creature races, and it has nothing to do with wandlore.

Humans, in their vast majority, are NOT able to do magic at all. Almost every human is a Muggle (doesn't matter what numerical estimate you use), even if some Muggles carry Wizarding genes.

On the other hand, it seems to me to be implied that ALL house-elves can do house-elvish magic, ditto all goblins etc...

Is that assumption somehow confirmed or denied in the canon? If supported, is there a reason presented for why that's the case?

To put it another way - is there any canon support for existence of "Muggles vs magic users" split in any other race/species in Potterverse as there is in Humans?

I would propose to exclude Werewolves from consideration, for 2 reasons: (1) They are not really a separate race/species from humans as they can interbreed, and (2) More importantly, even if you want to count them as separate, it seems that the only distinction between magical/non-magical ones is STILL - as per Slytherincess's answer below - due to distinctions between source humans.

  • They are magical creatures to begin with. It would be kind of silly for a magical creature to not be able to do magic. But if this is true, then I wonder if all magical creatures (at least intelligent creatures) have their own class of magic, like Giants and Centaurs.
    – Xantec
    Jan 12, 2012 at 15:25
  • Do you count centaurs? They try to read the future but that's it.
    – Kevin
    Jan 12, 2012 at 15:35
  • @Kevin - so they are ALL Muggle - I guess it makes them not really relevant to the conundrum of "all magic" race. Jan 12, 2012 at 15:57
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    Are you asking if there is the equivalent of Squibs amongst magical creatures? Jan 12, 2012 at 18:27
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    @Slytherincess - I'm asking "Are 100% - or 99% - of house elves able to do house-elf magic? Or, like humans, less than 1% of them? If #1, then why such a distinction between house-elves and humans?". Substitute for any "magical" sentient race that is shown to be able to do magic in-Universe. Jan 13, 2012 at 8:18

3 Answers 3


I suspect this won't constitute the droids you are looking for, but after reading up on the subject it's the best I can offer at this time.

Werewolves spend most of their time as humans (whether wizard or Muggle). Once a month, however, they transform into savage, four-legged beasts of murderous intent and no human conscience.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Page x - Scholastic (US) Edition

I can't give exact percentages, for the precise number of werewolves is likely known only to the Werewolf Support Services at the Being Division and the Werewolf Registry and Werewolf Capture Unit of the Beast Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Even then, I would suspect that not all werewolves register -- can you see Fenrir Greyback complying with any Ministry decree? I can't, at least not readily.

Several highly intelligent creatures are classified as “beasts” because they are incapable of overcoming their own brutal natures.

FBAWTFT - Page xiii - Scholastic (US) Edition

Humans turn into werewolves only when bitten. [SNIP] Once a month, at the full moon, the otherwise sane and normal wizard or Muggle afflicted transforms into a murderous beast.

FBAWTFT - Page 42 - Scholastic (US) Edition

Note: I interpret the above to mean that the werewolf bite is the usual means of passing on lycanthropy, but canon clearly states that it can be passed along genetically as well. Lupin notes that 'his kind' rarely breed, but it is possible for a werewolf to do so.

So in Potterverse, lycanthropy can be either brought upon a wizard or Muggle through a werewolf's bite or it can be passed on genetically. Voldemort references the genetic component in the chapter The Dark Lord Ascending in Deathly Hallows when he asks Draco if Draco will be "babysitting the cubs" in reference to Lupin's and Tonks's offspring. Lupin himself bemoans the fact that he could have possibly passed on his lycanthropy to his unborn child in the chapter The Bribe in Deathly Hallows.

So, given the two means of transmitting lycanthropy -- through bite or genetics -- within the population of werewolves, there will be a percentage of werewolves who will be incapable of magic under any circumstances -- Muggle werewolves for certain, but perhaps also the offspring from a Muggle and wizarding werewolves, depending on whether the wizarding gene manifests. Muggle and wizard werewolves are classified as werewolves without distinction to their origin (wizard or Muggle) and are overseen by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures (how a Muggle werewolf would know how to register I can't say.) If a half-blooded wizard werewolf bred with a Muggle werewolf and produced werewolf offspring, there is a chance the offspring might not be magical. Conversely, perhaps it would be possible for two Muggle werewolves to produce a wizard werewolf, just as Muggleborn witches and wizards occur. So here is a genus of magical creature that would presumably always have a percentage of non-magical specimins.

Disclaimer: I'm no rocket surgeon, so I'm coming from a layman's POV.

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    This is pretty insightful! I'm a bit hesitant to separate werewolves into a separate race from humans though... They seem to be interbreedable with humans and therefore the same species as per standard biology notions. Jan 13, 2012 at 15:20
  • @DVK - Oh, thanks! I totally understand the hesitancy. The only reason I ran with the theory is because in canon werewolves are classified as werewolves before they are classified as human, and the Ministry doesn't differentiate between Muggle or wizarding werewolves. It's almost like when one becomes a werewolf, one is not classified as human any longer. The prejudice against werewolves in Potterverse is deeply ingrained, which may also play a role in the classification of the werewolf by the Dept. of the Reg. & Control of Magical Creatures. FBAWTFT goes into the history of classification. Jan 13, 2012 at 15:33
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    I'm not really sure this answers the question though...
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 29, 2012 at 0:00

I don't think Giants were known spellcasters but I think the message Rowling was going for is that all creatures have capabilities in magic (they are likely a threat to wizards by being resistant to magics). The way they express it varies.

We know there are deer, wolves, cats and toads. Some creatures are channeled through a wizard as familiars, some just live their lives in peace.

Centaurs in the books never casted any spells yet evidently they had a detailed divination system regarding the stars. Hippogryffs never cast magic but are considered magical in nature. The Veela were relatively human and probably have their fair share of squibs.

Only humans (specifically Muggles) seem to be truly oblivious to the magical world.


I think that the idea of "house elf magic" is totally different from human wizard magic. House Elves can just do things. There's no evidence in the books that they have to learn spells, or necessarily even train these abilities. These abilities are "magic" only in the same way that the human's ability to see, or to do fine manipulation with their fingers, is "magic". There are humans born unable to do those things, or rendered unable to, but it is a base quality of who and what they are.

So, short answers, there's no evidence of "squib" magical creatures because this isn't the magic you're looking for. :)

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