Study Guide

Jormungand (Jörmungandr) - Reptile Club

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Reptile Club

The members of this clique really like reptiles because, well, they are reptiles. These guys and gals are kind of dull most of the time. In fact, they spend long periods of time burrowed deep in their lairs to avoid chilly weather. If you wake one up from sleep, though, watch out. To quote Alice Cooper (ask your parents), their fangs are venomous poison. If spending most of your life eating, sleeping, and sunning yourself sounds pretty good to you, you'd probably enjoy hanging out with this clique.

The Basilisk

He may have started out as just an ordinary-sized snake, but by the time he battled Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets, the basilisk had become gigantic. That's because medieval writers were fascinated and horrified by the thought of a serpent that could kill with a single glance that they gradually added even more monstrous qualities to his description. In addition to being enormous, the basilisk could only be killed by its own gaze in a mirror or by a rooster's crow. He could also breathe fire and kill with the sound of his voice or his touch. And at a time when everybody's breath was really bad (remember, this is before toothpaste), the basilisk's was the worst of all—toxic enough to kill.


Sometimes when something is really big, people say it's a "leviathan." But Leviathan was originally the name of a huge sea-monster from the Hebrew Bible. The writer of the book of Job asks if a Leviathan can be caught, killed, or kept as a pet. He concludes that due to his enormous size, stomach made of jagged glass, armored backside, and ability to shoot flames from his mouth and eyes… no, he cannot. Good to know.


Building the pyramids in the Valley of Kings took hundreds of years—so long that the workers who built them had time to develop their own patron goddess. That would be Meretseger, who was either a cobra, a cobra-headed woman, or a creature with the heads of a cobra, woman, and vulture. Like fellow members of this clique, her venom could be lethal, especially to sticky-fingered tomb raiders. Lara Croft, take note.

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