Roleplay Information

 

Merpeople

 

“A cluster of crude stone dwellings stained with algae loomed suddenly out of the gloom on all sides. Here and there at the dark windows, Harry saw faces... faces that bore no resemblance at all to the painting of the mermaid in the Prefects' bathroom...
  The merpeople had greyish skins and long, wild, dark green hair. Their eyes were yellow, as were their broken teeth, and they wore thick ropes of pebbles around their necks. They leered at Harry as he swam past; one or two of them emerged from their caves to watch him better, their powerful, silver fishtails beating the water, spears clutched in their hands.”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 The Second Task pg. 432

 

“He looked around. Many of the merpeople surrounding them were carrying spears. He swam swiftly towards a seven-foot-tall merman with a long green beard and a choker of shark fangs, and tried to mime a request to borrow the spear. The merman laughed and shook his head.
  “We do not help,” he said in a harsh, croaky voice.”
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 The Second Task pg. 433

 

“Dumbledore was crouching at the water's edge, deep in conversation with what seemed to be the chief merperson, a particularly wild and ferocious-looking female. He was making the same sort of screechy noises that the merpeople made when they were above water; clearly, Dumbledore could speak Mermish.”
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 The Second Task pg. 438

 

 

The first glance we have of a merperson in the books is the painting of a mermaid which hangs in the Prefects' bathroom which Harry visits shortly before the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament in his fourth year. This image of a mermaid fits, more or less, the common appearance of a mermaid as popular opinion and folklore dictate (think The Little Mermaid, or the Sirens of Greek legend). However, it is important to remember that the merpeople in Hogwarts' lake are NOT like that (see description above). It is probable that most witches and wizards have no idea what a merperson actually looks like. Clearly, they do not emerge above water very often.

Merpeople have their own language; Mermish. They perhaps can speak English, but this is probably a scattered talent which very few merpeople possess, if at all (due to friendship with Dumbledore, perhaps?). The Mermish language sounds almost unbearably horrible to human ears, a loud, screeching sound not unlike the musical saws at Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday party. However, it is unique in that when both the speaker and the listener are underwater, the screeching noise becomes a voice and the listener can understand what is spoken, without a knowledge of the language.

During the Second Task Harry discovers the true appearance of a merperson, and there are more hints at their lifestyle. Merpeople clearly live in a hunter-gatherer style community, with some knowledge of art and music (think native tribes of America, Africa or Australasia). Their dwellings are basic. Many carry spears, and there are lots of references to hunting; it is likely merpeople eat fish. They also, apparently, keep smaller water-dwelling creatures such as the Grindylow as pets.

If you are interested in roleplaying as a merperson, it is likely that you will have little contact with most human characters in the roleplay. You would certainly not travel onto the land. You can, however, breathe in the air, and human visitors to the lakeside might catch a glimpse of you; or, if they are lucky, get to talk to you! (Anyone speak Mermish?) It is also important to note that merpeople have no magical ability at all; when faced with an angry Harry's wand in the lake, they scattered.

 

Useful Links to Information About Merpeople

The HP Lexicon
Merpeople: http://www.hp-lexicon.org/bestiary/merpeople.html
Merchieftainess Murcus: http://www.hp-lexicon.org/wizards/wizards-non.html#murcus

 

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