Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
List of spells in Harry Potter
This list is currently incomplete.
The Dark Arts
While most magic is neutral, the Dark Arts are evil in nature. Students learn Defence Against the Dark Arts to protect themselves from Dark wizards (unless they are being taught by Dolores Umbridge.) Draco Malfoy claims that in Durmstrang, they teach the dark arts themselves and not merely defence against dark magic.
Spells in the series seem to be enacted mostly by speaking a few words, typically in a modified form of Latin, and gesturing with a wand. Certain wizards can perform some of them without speaking the incantation. Certain spells are also known as charms, curses, hexes, and jinxes.
External link: Harry Potter Lexicon of Spells
Accio (The Summoning Charm)
This spell can attract an object to the caster. The necessary incantation is "Accio" which is usually supplemented by the spell's target (for example, to summon a broom, one usually needs to say "Accio broom"). The wizard also needs to concentrate hard on the object he is trying to Summon. Pointing the wand at the object's general direction doesn't hurt, either. "Accio!" (from "accire") is Latin and means "I call/summon".
The opposite of the Summoning Charm is the Banishing Charm (incantation unknown) which is supposed to repel an object away from the caster.
This spell is used to open a locked door or window. Pointing a wand at a door and saying "Alohomora" will unlock the door. This spell can also open doors which have been magically sealed with the Colloportus spell. Doors can be magically sealed with sufficiently advanced spells so that Alohomora can't open them, such as the door in the flying key room in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Incantation unknown. Causes the person whom the spell was cast upon to become happy and contented, though heavy-handedness with the spell may cause the person to break into an uncontrollable laughing fit.
This spell can magically lock a door, preventing its opening for a presumably limited amount of time. It is easily countered by Alohomora, however. The word is a combination of "colligere" (L.) - "bind together" - and "portus", which means "door".
Gets rid of spell echoes caused by priori incantatem. First seen in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Amos Diggory gets rid of the Dark Mark from Harry's wand.
Causes the humpbacked witch hiding the secret passage to Honeydukes to open up. First seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
The counterspell to the Stunning Spell. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Amos Diggory uses it to wake up Winky.
This spell conjures a Patronus, a silvery phantom shape, usually that of an animal, which is the embodiment of the positive thoughts of the caster. A Patronus will drive away Dementors and Lethifolds. Harry conjures a stag as his Patronus, while Hermione Granger conjures an otter and Cho Chang a swan. In order for the spell to work, the person must concentrate on a happy memory, which is especially difficult in the presence of a Dementor. Literally translated "expecto patronum", which is Latin, means "I expect a guardian"
See also: Patronus Charm
This spell is used to disarm another wizard, typically by causing the victim's wand to fly out of reach. As demonstrated in the novel Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, simultaneous use of this spell by multiple people on a single wizard can be powerful enough to knock back the wizard himself.
Makes something vanish. Used in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Snape makes Harry's Draught of Peace disappear from his cauldron.
Makes something lightweight. Harry contemplates using this in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to lighten his trunk so he can carry it by broom to Hogwarts. Before he uses it, however, he accidentally summons the Knight Bus.
The Fidelius Charm
This complex charm enables secret information to be hidden within a single living soul of someone known as a Secret-keeper. The information is then irretrievable until and unless the Secret-keeper chooses to reveal it; not even those who have the secret revealed to them can reveal it to others. It originates from the Latin word "fidelis", which means "faithful" or "trusting".
So far, there have been only two uses of the Fidelius Charm in the Harry Potter series. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it is explained that when Harry was an infant, he and his parents, Lily and James, were hidden from Voldemort by this charm. They initially selected Sirius Black to be their Secret-keeper, but Black recommended that they choose Peter Pettigrew instead. When they did, Pettigrew betrayed them to Voldemort. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the charm is used to hide the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix; Albus Dumbledore is the Secret-keeper, and is apparently able to use a letter to reveal the information. This implies that a direct, personal act is not required to bring a new person into the secret.
Stops the effects of spells. Snape uses it in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to restore order in the duelling club..
This hex makes something slow down momentarily. Used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Harry is practising for the third task.
Makes something repel water. Used by Hermione in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Harry's glasses.
Ties someone or something up with ropes. Used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Makes a fire. Used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Arthur Weasley to create a fire for Floo powder. In the video game based on the first book, this spell is used to temporarily stun dangerous plants.
Spell that enables the caster to read the thoughts of the target. Used by Snape in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
The leg locker curse. Malfoy uses this on Neville in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
This spell creates a narrow beam of light that shines from the wand's tip, like a torch. In fact the Latin word "lumen" means "light". Different versions of this spell used in the movie are: Lumos Solarum and Lumos Maxima.
This spell can move trees. The incantation is formed by the English "mobile", and the latin "arbor", for tree.
Levitates bodies. Sirius Black uses it on Snape in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It seems that Mobiliarbus and Mobilicorpus are variations of the same basic spell, since they share the "Mobili" root.
This spell turns off the light which is activated by the Lumos spell. Nox is Latin and means "Night".
Obliviate (The Memory Charm)
A Memory Charm is a spell used to bury or perhaps alter the victim's memories of an event. The person who wants to modify someone's memory points his or her wand at the victim and utters the word "Obliviate". "Oblivisci" (L.) means "forget". The spell is most often used against Muggles who have seen something of the wizarding world. The Ministry of Magic employees assigned to modifying the memories of Muggles are called Obliviators.
Gilderoy Lockhart was quite adept at performing memory charms and frequently modified others' memories in order to take credit for their accomplishments. The charm can be broken by powerful magic, as Lord Voldemort was able to torture Bertha Jorkins into remembering details that Barty Crouch had forced her to forget using the charm.
The spell was also used in Order of the Phoenix by the Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt to prevent Ravenclaw student Marietta Edgecombe from revealing the nature of the DA (Defence Association or Dumbledore's Army) meetings to Dolores Umbridge.
Petrificus Totalus (Full Body-Bind)
This spell is used to temporarily make the victim be frozen in a position much like a soldier at attention. Its incantation is "Petrificus Totalus", "Petrificus" of course coming from the English word "petrify", which comes from the latin word "petra", meaning "stone"; "Totalus" contains "tota" (Latin), meaning "whole, full".
"Point Me" (Four-Point Spell)
By saying "Point Me", the wand's tip points to the north cardinal point. This handy navigation spell was said by Harry in preparing for the third task in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Turns an object into a portkey. Used by Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
The Shield Charm's effect is self-explanatory. Causes minor jinxes to rebound upon the attacker. Used in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by Harry against Snape's Legilimens spell, which enabled Harry to read Snape's mind for a moment.
Makes a shadowy image of the effect of the last spell cast by a wand emerge from its tip. This is called an echo of the spell. The nature of the echo depends on the original spell; the echo of a conjuring spell, for example, is the object conjured, while the echo of an Avada Kedavra curse is its victim.
When two wands that share the same magical core are forced to engage in battle, a more powerful reverse spell effect called Priori Incantatem takes place. In this case, one of the wands will be forced by the other to gradually regurgitate shadows of all the spells it has cast, in reverse chronological order.
Makes something smaller. Moody uses it in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
The Reductor Curse can blast solid objects out of the way.
Used against Grindylows. Above ground it ejects sparks from the wand; below water it ejects boiling water from the wand. Seen in the 2nd task of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
This spell fixes broken objects. Seen in most books, starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Tickling Charm. Harry uses on Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the duelling club. In The Chamber of Secrets movie, Harry used this spell to fling Malfoy through the air and in the game Rictusempra is used to stun people or animals.
Spell used when fighting a Boggart, it forces it to take the appearance of what the spellcaster is thinking as amusing so that the laughter will weaken it. First seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Conjures a serpent from the spellcaster's wand. Used in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Malfoy.
Makes something silent.
Magnifies the spellcastor's voice. Ludo Bagman uses this in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to commentate at events without needing a megaphone.
The Stunning Charm . It puts the victim in an unconscious state. Described in the novels as a beam of red light. Countered by Enervate.
Used by Remus Lupin to make a wad of gum be expelled from the key hole Peeves put it in.
To cause something to levitate, someone points their wand at what they want to levitate and says "Wingardium Leviosa" and it will rise into the air. When First Years learn this at Hogwarts, they practise with feathers. "Wingardium" is a combination of the English word "wing" and the Latin word "arduus" - "steep" - and "Leviosa", which contains the Latin word "levare", meaning "ease, lift, pick up".
An extremely common spell in the Harry Potter video games used to knock objects a short distance, make something fall or to stun creatures.
This spell is used to freeze an object in place. This spell is used by Hermione in the movie version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to stop the pixies in Gilderoy Lockhart's Defence Against the Dark Arts class, and by Remus Lupin in the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to freeze the Whomping Willow. "Immobilis" means "immobile" in Latin.
The Unforgivable Curses
Use of these curses on a fellow human could land one a life sentence in Azkaban.
The Imperius Curse starts with the incantation "Imperio" and gives the wizard complete control over his victim. The experience of being controlled by this curse is described as a complete, wonderful release from any sense of responsibility or worry over one's actions, at the price of one's free will. It is possible for the victim to fight the curse, however; the series protagonist, Harry Potter, is shown to be better than average in shaking this curse off. "Imperare" (Lat.) means "order" or "command".
Associated with the incantation "Crucio", the Cruciatus Curse inflicts intense physical pain upon the victim. "Crucio" (Latin) means "I torture/crucify", originating from "crux" (genitive "crucis") (Latin), which means "cross". (In medical Latin in the names of the cruciate ligaments in the knee, "cruciatus" means "arranged in cross shape".)
Several Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange (and presumably Barty Crouch Jr.), used this curse on Neville Longbottom's parents in an attempt to get information on how Voldemort may be resurrected after his killing curse rebounded on him. They received no such information and were sent to Azkaban for their crimes, but the extensive torture drove Neville's parents insane.
Harry Potter himself attempted to use the curse on Bellatrix Lestrange during a climactic fight at the Ministry of Magic, but it did not have much effect — Lestrange reveals that the person performing the curse must genuinely desire to inflict pain, and that the "righteous anger" Harry was feeling at the time was insufficient. This may or may not be actually true, seeing that Lestrange had nothing to gain from informing Harry and that Harry hadn't had any opportunity to practise the curse (so he may not have applied it to maximum effectiveness). In any case, no-one but Lestrange saw him attempt to use it, and he has not suffered consequences as a result.
Avada Kedavra (The Killing Curse)
This curse, when performed properly, kills its victim instantaneously. When this curse is performed, a green light is emitted from the source wand. Avada Kedavra leaves no marks on the victim's body that might indicate a cause of death. The curse cannot ordinarily be blocked or countered, but it does require a certain amount of magical force behind it for it to work—merely saying the incantation is not enough. Arch-villain Lord Voldemort used this curse to dispose of his enemies, including Harry Potter's parents. The only known survivor of the curse is Harry himself.
According to J.K. Rowling, the phrase Avada kedavra "is an ancient spell in Aramaic, and it is the original of abracadabra, which means 'let the thing be destroyed.' Originally, it was used to cure illness and the 'thing' was the illness, but I decided to make it the 'thing' as in the person standing in front of me." The word "kedavra," probably coincidentally, is similar to the word "cadaver," meaning "corpse."
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