HARPIES IN OUR COMMUNITY
The Hollywood Harpies is the official quidditch team of the Los Angeles Auror Brigade, a community chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance. One of the purposes of the HP Alliance is to encourage its members and chapters to get involved in their own communities. Since the Harpy itself is a magical creature, it is only logical that the team should be a champion to other creatures, magical or otherwise, that need help. One way that we are doing this is by participating in Twitter A Critter, a project of AdoptAPet.com, whose mission is to help get homeless pets out of shelters and into loving homes. We ask that you please help us help these animals- it’s quick and it’s free and it can make all the difference in the world to a homeless pet.
HARPY HISTORY, MYTHOLOGY & COMMUNITY
HARPIES IN THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS
In the magical world that J.K. Rowling created, there is a professional quidditch team in Holyhead, UK called the Holyhead Harpies. The team was founded in 1203 and their robes are dark green with a golden talon on the chest. Of the thirteen teams in the British and Irish Quidditch League, this is the only one that is all-female. (Source: Quidditch Through the Ages by way of The Harry Potter Lexicon
HARPIES IN THE HARRY POTTER FILMS
The Holyhead Harpies aren’t so much mentioned (though if you can find a reference, please email us) and neither are the mythological Harpies (again, if you can find a reference...). However, the artistic design for both Buckbeak the hippogryph and Fawkes the phoenix were inspired by the Harpy Eagle. (Source: Jungle Photos)
HARPIES IN MYTHOLOGY
In Greek Mythology, the Harpyiai (or Harpies) were the spirits of sudden sharp gusts of wind. They were known as the hounds of Zeus and were despatched by the god to snatch away people and things from the earth. Sudden mysterious disappearances were often attributed to the Harpyiai. The Harpies were once sent by Zeus to plague King Phneus of Thrake as punishment for revealing the secrets of the gods. Whenever a plate of food was set before him, the Harpies would swoop down and snatch it away, befouling any scraps left behind. When the Argonauts came to visit, the Boreades gave chase, and pursued the Harpies to the Strophades Islands where the goddess Iris commanded them to turn back and leave the storm-spirits unharmed.
(Source: Theoi Greek Mythology)
HARPIES IN NATURE
Harpy Eagles (Harpia harpyja) are considered to be one of the world’s largest and most powerful eagles, with a body length of 35 to 41 inches, a 6.5 foot wingspan, and a weight of 10-20 pounds. The scientific and common names of this bird come from the Greek word harpe, referring to a bird of prey mentioned by Aristotle, Pliny, and other Greek scholars, and probably also from the mythological harpies mentioned above. Their habitat ranges across the tropical lowland forests of southeastern Mexico, northern Argentina, and southern Brazil, preferring large expanses of uninterrupted forest. Harpy Eagles feed primarily on tree-dwelling animals like sloths, monkeys, reptiles, and other birds. Harpy Eagles are increasingly rare in the wild and are considered to be a threatened species (primarily due to loss of habitat), though not yet endangered. (Source: The Peregrin Fund)
King Phineus & the Harpies, Athenian red-figure hydria
C5th B.C., The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu (note the quaffle in the hand of the middle Harpy)