There are many magical and confusing creatures and beings in the Harry Potter series. Those are usually very important ones, playing a specific role during the events, or only mentioned to break the tension of the situation.
There is one being that comes and goes, wreaking havoc and playing tricks on anybody on its path. That’s Peeves, the resident poltergeist at Hogwarts.
Who Is Peeves in Harry Potter?
Peeves is a poltergeist living in the Hogwarts castle, residing there since ca. 993.
The word “poltergeist” comes from the German language, and it means “a ghost or other supernatural being” responsible for noise and physical disturbances.
It is believed that poltergeist is created from a considerable concentration of mischief in the building. It is no surprise that the most notorious poltergeist in Great Britain lives in a magical boarding school filled with teenagers, where mischief is a daily occurrence.
Most poltergeists are invisible, but one at Hogwarts took the form of “a little man with wicked, dark eyes and a wide mouth,” although he can also become invisible if he chooses so. This is how Harry Potter first met Peeves.
The poltergeist was floating in mid-air, invisible, holding a bunch of walking sticks, and then revealed himself after Percy’s threats.
The name of this particular poltergeist, Peeves, is taken rather literally because he is a culmination of all pet peeves that angered every consecutive caretaker.
Is Peeves From Harry Potter a Ghost?
Peeves is not a real ghost, as many people believe. Ghosts can’t touch any objects that belong to the world of the living, although they can cause some disturbances if focused (Moaning Myrtle flooding toilets).
On the other hand, poltergeists can generate quite some damage by picking things up, trashing them around, and even grabbing people.
Many people think poltergeists are ghosts because, just like ghosts, poltergeists can float in mid-air and become invisible.
There is a considerable difference between them, though. A ghost is an imprint of someone’s soul that stayed in the world of the living instead of going forward to the afterlife.
A poltergeist, on the other hand, gets created by a high concentration of mischief. One can compare this creation process to how Dementors come to be.
Why Is Peeves Important in Harry Potter?
Peeves played a big role in the Harry Potter books. Even though he never made it to the big screen (preposterous!), he was an important figure in the series.
He was an annoying occurrence, always messing about, causing trouble, but we need to give Peeves some credit. He could summarise the situation with a short, sometimes nasty rhyme, breaking the tension.
Even though Peeves destroyed property 99% of the time, insulted everyone, and never listened to what he’s been told, Peeves did the right thing when the time came.
We have to mention two situations when Peeves really came as an asset to the school. The first time was during the rule of Dolores Umbridge at Hogwarts. When departing, Fred Weasley gave Peeves an order.
Fred looked across the hall at the poltergeist bobbing on his level above the crowd.
“Give her hell from us, Peeves.”
And Peeves, whom Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset.
After this, the promised hell broke loose. Peeves was wreaking the worst havoc since Harry started Hogwarts.
The second time Peeves stepped up to the task at hand was during the Battle of Hogwarts. He joined the battle in the best way he knew – tossing stuff on top of people’s heads.
He soared above fighting groups with an armful of Snargaluff pods, dropping them on Death Eaters, whose heads became covered in green tubers wriggling like giant worms.
What Did Peeves Do in Harry Potter?
Peeves caused all sorts of troubles throughout the series. The list of Peeves’ mischiefs is probably endless, but we know of few.
The first time Harry met Peeves, he was tossing walking sticks on top of students while being invisible.
Peeves was often found soaring through the air, blowing ink pellets or peas at students, dropping statues, or tripping bookcases and suits of armor on the floor. Peeves’ signature sound was blowing a bubblegum raspberry very loudly.
Peeves was very creative with inventing rhymes. Peeves was fond of making them up with rude words, and one year he hid in suits of armor and filled blank carrol’s words with his own indecent versions.
Many students were getting used to his tricks, but there was one that could scare just about anybody. It was when Peeves materialized out of thin air inches in front of somebody’s nose, often grabbing said nose.
Harry met with Peeves eye to eye a few times as well during his years in the castle. Most of those times, Harry was insulted by Peeves but not physically threatened.
Peeves is Hogwarts’s very own poltergeist. There was no way of getting rid of him, and any attempt was unsuccessful. Peeves might not be the most important character in the series, but we think that he was an important part of the castle. Once we met Peeves, we could not imagine Hogwarts without him.
Peeves is the personification of students’ behavior in the most concentrated way possible. All the trouble and mayhem he caused was, in reality, a magnified Troublemaker-in-Chief behavior.