Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday Creature Feature - Nifflers

It feels like it should be about time for another Fantastic Beasts movie by now. Alas, we still have some time to go. But since I've got Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts on my mind, I figured now would be as good a time as any to highlight the show-stealing furball we fell in love with immediately: the niffler.

The first time JK Rowling introduced us to a niffler has probably been forgotten by many fans (especially since it wasn't in the movie). In Goblet of Fire, Hagrid did a Care of Magical Creatures lesson on nifflers. Maybe you'll remember Hagrid hiding leprechaun gold in his yard for the students to find with the nifflers.

When the nifflers were shown in this chapter, I pictured them much differently for some reason (I couldn't tell you why). However, Fantastic Beasts gave us a nice clear picture of how they look. They look a lot like a platypus (minus the beaver tail). They don't seem to get their full black coat until they're full-grown, but as babies we saw them in a variety of colors in Crimes of Grindewald. They have a gentle disposition and they're drawn to shiny objects, which can often lead to some mischief.

Back in the 1920s, when Newt Scamander came to New York City, one niffler got loose and ended up causing some havoc at the bank and the jewelry store. They like to store their shinies in their pouches (does this make it a marsupial?) and they seem to have limitless space inside to hide coins and jewels and everything. Talk about bigger-on-the-inside technology.

Despite their gentle disposition, they can become dangerous. In Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge said that a niffler tried to take a chunk out of her leg when Lee Jordan levitated it into her office. But then again, who doesn't hate Umbridge?

One big question to finish off today: Would you keep a niffler as a pet? Hagrid said it was inadvisable, but would you take the risk to have this cuddle-buddy at home?

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