> Skip to content

Article  •  30 September 2022


A Scholomance Student’s Guide to Maleficaria

Something is coming after you! But what is it? This guide is a general explainer of Maleficaria (AKA, monster-like creatures that feed on students) in Naomi Novik's Scholomance series.

In Naomi Novik’s Scholomance series, readers are instantly transported to a magical school unlike any other. There are no teachers, no friendships, and – most distressingly – the school itself wants you dead. Once you step inside the hallowed halls of The Scholomance, there are only two ways out. Death or graduation.  

And with deadly monsters coming after you all the time, making it to graduation is no easy feat.

Ready to enrol? You’ll need this guide to the magic and mayhem you’re about to endure.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Naomi Novik (@naominovik)

A Scholomance Student’s Guide to Maleficaria

This student guide to Maleficaria will teach you what to look out for during your time in The Scolomance.

Maleficaria (common name: Mals)
Creatures who prey on young witches and wizards to suck out their Mana, a type of energy that generates the power to perform spells.

Types of Maleficaria*


You’ll want to watch out for wauria while showering. These mals slither up the shower drains and tries to latch on to the victim’s ankles before being noticed.


Sirenspiders are deadly mals that paralyse their victims with a melancholy siren song before slowly sucking out their blood. The sound they make sounds like melancholy windchimes. Fittingly, sirenspider shells make good magical instruments, but it’s essential you know how to handle them first.

Sirenspiders can be killed by combat magic and brute force attacks.


Digesters are sneaky mals, as they become translucent when they haven’t eaten in a while. They can spread themselves thinly over surfaces, making them very easily disguised. You might not notice that a digester until they have wrapped themselves around you. . . but by then, it's too late.


Soul-eaters might look enticing, due to their iridescent purple colouring, but beware – these are dangerous mals. Soul-eaters can attack multiple victims at once, and they can be difficult to stop.

Soul-eaters can be defeated by combat spells or incantations that destroy them from the inside out. When a soul-eater dies, it leaves a strong smell behind – an unpleasant reminder of a near-miss.


Groglers are best described as a mass of jelly-like tentacles. They have thin pink cords that run through their tentacles and a big red knot in the middle of the mass. Groglers aren’t very strategic creatures, but they can be persistent when they’re hungry.

They aren’t disturbed by physical force, but electric currents can shock them.  

Cutting the tentacles off groglers doesn’t stop them, but they can be defeated by a spell that freezes them.


A maw-mouth is a large-translucent mass, with tentacles and several eyes and mouths. Maw-mouths take on the facial features of their victims, some of which continue to scream after they have been devoured.

The only way to defeat a maw-mouth is from the inside. By getting to the core of the creature before it eats you, you can burst it from inside. However, the chances of survival are very slim, as it’s extremely difficult to get into a maw-mouth before it starts eating you.

The best advice for a maw-mouth confrontation is to get away from it before it kills you. ‘Once they’ve got you, even a little curl of a tentacle around your ankle, you’re not getting away. Not on your own.’


*There are countless types of Maleficaria, many of which don’t have names. This brief list is a general introduction to a few easily-identifiable ones. 


Check out the new book in the series,The Golden Enclaves

Featured Titles

A Deadly Education
From the leading talent in fantasy, a magical coming-of-age trilogy with a female anti-hero - for fans of Dark Academia and Harry Potter.
Read more
The Last Graduate
The exciting follow up to the Sunday Times bestselling A Deadly Education. Once you enter the Scholomance there are only two way out: you graduate or you die.
Read more
The Golden Enclaves
The exciting conclusion to THE SCHOLOMANCE Trilogy, from the bestselling author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver
Read more

More features

See all
QUIZ: Which dark academia book do you belong in?

Answer a few questions to find out which dark academia book you belong in.

QUIZ: Which character from The Invocations are you?

Zara, Jude, or Emer? Take the quiz to find out which witch you are!

Penguin Fantasy Fest was a magical night for fantasy fans and authors

The inaugural Penguin Fantasy Fest was a wonderful evening for all. Learn about the author panel, see photos of the event and find out how to be notified of future events.

Everything you need to know about the Inheritance Cycle series

An Inheritance Cycle summary, covering everything from the Ancient Language to the new book.

8 new and upcoming fantasy novels you won’t want to miss

We’ve found them for you: the 8 fantasy novels you simply need to add to your TBR!

What to know before watching Vampire Academy

Find out what Vampire Academy is about, how to stream it in Australia and more.

Quiz: Discover which Discworld book you should start with

This quiz will help you find the best starting point for your Discworld journey based on your personality and reading preferences.

11 fun facts about Gild by Raven Kennedy

Everything you need to know about TikTok’s most hyped fantasy series.

Lynette Noni shares sage advice for developing lifelike characters

Lynette Noni, bestselling author of YA fantasy The Prison Healer trilogy shares how she creates unforgettable characters that feel like real people.

Tabitha Bird's inspiration

The Emporium of Imagination author on the power of magical realism.

The allure of fantasy

The author of City of Lies discusses revisiting Silasta and exploring the traumas and triumphs of her characters in the sequel.

Classic of the month: One Hundred Years of Solitude

In March we revisited Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s ageless 1967 masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles