In the Harry Potter series created by J. K. Rowling , magic is depicted as a supernatural force that can be used to override the usual laws of nature . Many fictional magical creatures exist in the series, while ordinary creatures sometimes exhibit new magical properties in the novel's world. Objects , too, can be enhanced or imbued with magical property. The small percentage of humans who are able to perform magic are referred to as witches and wizards, in contrast to the non-magical muggles .
In humans, magic or the lack thereof is an inborn attribute. It is inherited, carried on "dominant resilient genes". Magic is the norm for the children of magical couples and less common in those of muggles. Exceptions exist: those unable to do magic who are born to magical parents are known as squibs , whereas a witch or wizard born to muggle parents is known as a muggle-born , or by the derogatory term "mudblood". While muggle-borns are quite common, squibs are extremely rare.
Rowling based many magical elements of the Harry Potter universe on real-world mythology and magic. She has described this as "a way of giving texture to the world". The books present the idea that the Muggle interpretation of these stories is a distorted version of what goes on in the wizarding world.
The magic of Harry Potter became the subject of a 2017 British Library exhibition and accompanying documentary. The exhibition, entitled Harry Potter: A History of Magic, is the first at the British Library to feature a living author as its subject.
* 1 Using magic
* 1.1 Spellcasting
* 2 The limits of magic
* 2.1 Death * 2.2 Principal Exceptions to Gamp\'s Law of Elemental Transfiguration * 2.3 Emotion
* 3 Magical abilities
* 3.1 Animagi * 3.2 Metamorphmagi * 3.3 Parseltongue * 3.4 Seers * 3.5 Legilimency and Occlumency * 3.6 Apparition and Disapparition * 3.7 Other teleportation * 3.8 Veela charm * 3.9 Magical resistance
* 4 Subjects at
* 4.1 Transfiguration
* 4.2 Defence Against the Dark Arts
* 4.3 Charms
* 4.4 Potions
* 4.5 Astronomy
* 4.6 History of Magic
* 4.7 Herbology
* 4.8 Arithmancy
* 4.9 Study of Ancient Runes
* 4.11 Care of Magical Creatures
* 5 Spell-like effects
* 5.1 Unbreakable Vow * 5.2 Priori Incantatem
* 6 Dark Arts
* 6.1 Unforgivable Curses
* 6.2 Dark Mark
* 6.3 Inferius
* 7 Portraits
* 7.1 Portraits in the Headmaster\'s office * 7.2 The Fat Lady * 7.3 Photographs
* 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
Witches and wizards need training to learn how to control their
magic. With young and untrained children, magic will manifest itself
subconsciously in moments of strong apprehension, fear, anger and
sadness. For example,
Harry Potter once made his hair grow back after
a bad haircut, set a boa constrictor on his cousin Dudley at the
London Zoo, and made Aunt Marge inflate to an enormous size. While
this reaction is usually uncontrollable, as an untrained child, Lord
Almost all magic is done with the use of a wand . On the subject of wandless magic, Rowling says:
“ You can do unfocused and uncontrolled magic without a wand (for instance when Harry blows up Aunt Marge) but to do really good spells, yes, you need a wand. ”
A wizard or witch is only at their best when using their own wand. When using another's wand, one's spells are not as strong as they normally would be.
Within the books, technical details of magic are obscure. Of Harry's lessons, only those involving magical creatures , potions or divination are given in any detail.
Severus Snape once told
Harry Potter that "Time and space matter in
magic" during Harry's first Occlumency lesson in
Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix and
Albus Dumbledore told Harry after finding the
magically concealed boat to reach the locket
Spells are the every-purpose tools of a wizard or witch; short bursts
of magic used to accomplish single specialised tasks such as opening
locks or creating fire. Typically casting requires an incantation ,
most often in a modified form of
It is possible to use a wand without holding it. In Order of the Phoenix, Harry himself performs Lumos to light his wand when it is lying on the ground somewhere near him. Additionally, Animagi and Metamorphmagi do not need wands to undergo their transformations.
Spells are divided into rough categories, such as "charms ", "curses ", "hexes", or "jinxes ". Although offensive and potentially dangerous curses exist in number, three are considered usable only for great evil, which earns them the special classification of "Unforgivable Curses ".
THE LIMITS OF MAGIC
Before publishing the first Harry Potter novel, Rowling spent five years establishing the limitations of magic—determining what it could and could not do. "The most important thing to decide when you're creating a fantasy world," she said in 2000, "is what the characters CAN'T do." For instance, while it is possible to conjure things out of thin air, it is far more tricky to create something that fits an exact specification rather than a general one; moreover, any objects so conjured tend not to last.
Rowling has described death as the most important theme in the books. Consequently, as Dumbledore states in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is no spell that can truly bring the dead back to life. While corpses can be transformed into obedient Inferi on a living wizard's command, they are little more than zombies with no soul or will of their own. However, there are some methods of communicating with the dead, though with limited results. For example, all Hogwarts headmasters appear in a portrait when they die, allowing consultation by future generations. It is also possible through the rare Priori Incantatem effect to converse with ghost-like "shadows" of magically murdered people. The Resurrection Stone also allows one to talk to the dead, but those brought back by the Stone are not corporeal, nor do they wish to be disturbed from their peaceful rest. Throughout the series, this limit is continually mentioned, and wizards try to transcend it at their own folly.
Likewise, it is not possible to make oneself immortal unless one
makes use of an object of great power to sustain life, such as the
Philosopher\'s Stone or horcruxes . If one were to possess the three
Death is studied at the Department of Mysteries in a chamber containing an enigmatic veil, which Rowling has described as "the divide between life and death". With regard to what is on the other side, she elaborated: "Do I believe you go on? Yes, I do believe you go on. I do believe in an afterlife, although I'm absolutely doubt-ridden and always have been but there you are." Sirius falls through this veil in Order of the Phoenix after he is hit with a curse from Bellatrix.
PRINCIPAL EXCEPTIONS TO GAMP\'S LAW OF ELEMENTAL TRANSFIGURATION
The PRINCIPAL EXCEPTIONS TO GAMP\'S LAW OF ELEMENTAL TRANSFIGURATION is a magical theory mentioned by Hermione and later repeated by Ron in the final book. She explains that food is one of these: witches or wizards can cook and prepare food using magic, and even multiply it, but not create it out of nothing. There are numerous examples in the series of food appearing to have been conjured from nothing, such as the sudden materialisation of ingredients in the pots of Molly Weasley's kitchen and when Professor McGonagall creates a self-refilling plate of sandwiches for Harry and Ron in Chamber of Secrets . In all cases, these events can be reasonably explained as food either being multiplied or transported from elsewhere. One example of the latter is banqueting at Hogwarts—the food is prepared by elves in the kitchens and laid onto four replica tables, directly below the actual house tables in the Great Hall. The food is then magically transported to the tables.
This is the only exception mentioned explicitly in the series. However, Rowling herself has stated once in an interview that money is something wizards cannot simply materialise out of thin air, or the economic system of the wizarding world would then be gravely flawed and disrupted. While the Philosopher\'s Stone does permit alchemy , this is portrayed as an extremely rare, even unique, object, whose owner does not exploit its powers.
As explained earlier, young untrained wizards can trigger
uncontrolled magic when they are in the state of heightened emotions.
But emotions also affect trained witches and wizards and their magical
abilities. For instance, in Half-Blood Prince, a heartbroken
Several magical spells require the use of certain emotions when
casting them. The Patronus charm, for example, requires the caster to
concentrate on a happy memory. (Force of will, under extenuating
circumstances, helps a lot. An example of this is when Harry is able
to conjure a corporeal Patronus when Sirius is in danger of being
administered the Dementor's Kiss.) Another example is the Cruciatus
Love (in its broadest meaning) is depicted as a particularly powerful
form of magic. According to Dumbledore, love is a "force that is at
once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human
intelligence, than forces of nature." Lily's voluntary sacrifice on
Harry's behalf saves him from
True love is impossible to create magically; Amortentia , a love potion, can only create a powerful sense of infatuation and obsession.
The following is a list of special abilities that a wizard or witch in the Harry Potter universe may have.
An Animagus (portmanteau of animal and magus ) is a witch or wizard who can turn into a particular animal or magical creature at will. This ability is not innate: it must be acquired by magical means. All Animagi must register at a central authority by law, though a number of characters are revealed over the course of the series to have remained unregistered illegally: James Potter , Sirius Black , Peter Pettigrew and Rita Skeeter .
Animagi transformation can be performed wandlessly. Sirius and Peter are left wandless for over 10 years, but both retain the ability with no apparent ill effects. When Animagi transform, they take on the appearance of a normal animal. However, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , it is noted that Ron's pet rat Scabbers (later revealed as Peter Pettigrew's Animagus form) has lived over twelve years when only expected to live three. Also, an Animagus in animal form retains the ability to think like a human, which is the principal difference between being an animagus and being transfigured into an animal. Otherwise, they would forget that they were a wizard and be trapped, unknowingly, in this form unless transformed back by another wizard. Characteristics of an Animagus' human form can manifest themselves in the animal transformation; for example, the markings around McGonagall's eyes as a cat resemble her glasses. When an Animagus registers, they must record all the defining physical traits of their animal form so that the Ministry can identify them.
Animagus has a specific animal form, and cannot transform into
any other animal. The animal cannot be chosen: it is uniquely suited
to that individual's personality, and in most cases the
change into the same animal used in the person's
Explicit emphasis is placed in the books on the differences between Animagi and werewolves . Animagi have full control over their transformations and retain their minds, whereas werewolves' transformations are involuntary and include severe changes in personality. After the person has transformed into a werewolf, he no longer remembers who he is; he would kill his best friend if he got anywhere near him. A werewolf only responds to the call of his own kind. The only way that a werewolf can retain his sanity, intelligence and memory while transformed is using the Wolfsbane Potion.
A METAMORPHMAGUS (a portmanteau of metamorph and magus ) is a witch or wizard born with the innate ability to change some or all of their appearance at will. The talent cannot be acquired; a witch or wizard who has it must be born with it.
The extent of these appearance-altering abilities and the limits thereof are not entirely clear. According to Rowling, a Metamorphmagus can alter his or her appearance completely, for instance, from black to white, young to old, handsome to plain and so on. In one example, Tonks changes her facial appearance by reshaping her nose into "a beaklike protuberance like Snape's", to "something resembling a button mushroom", and "one like a pig snout" which reminded Harry of his cousin Dudley. The emotional state of a Metamorphmagus can affect their abilities.
PARSELTONGUE is the language of snakes. It is often associated with Dark Magic, although Dumbledore stated that it is not necessarily an evil quality. Those possessing the ability to speak it ("PARSELMOUTHS") occur very rarely. People apparently acquire the skill through learning or via a method of xenoglossia , such as through genetic inheritance (or by use of Dark or dangerous Magic). Harry was a Parselmouth until the age of 18. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets explains this was because of Voldemort's passing on some of his abilities to Harry the night he tried to kill him. Deathly Hallows reveals that a part of Voldemort's soul within Harry grants him this ability, which is later destroyed leaving Harry stripped of the ability.
Other known Parselmouths include
Ron uses Parseltongue in the final book to reopen the Chamber of Secrets , but he is only imitating the sound of a phrase Harry used earlier in the book.
Rowling borrowed the term from "an old word for someone who has a problem with the mouth, like a hare lip ".
Professor Francis Nolan , Professor of Phonetics at University of Cambridge, designed the version of Parseltongue used in the films as an ergative-absolutive language featuring geminate consonants and VSO word order . It has a high frequency of fricative and pharyngeal consonants to acoustically approximate the physiology of a snake.
A SEER is a witch or wizard with the clairvoyant ability to predict future events. The predictions given through this ability can sometimes be self-fulfilling prophecies , and Dumbledore states in Order of the Phoenix that not all of them come true, depending on the choices made by those mentioned. This would seem to indicate that a Seer predicts possible or likely events, at least in some cases.
Hall of Prophecy
According to McGonagall, true Seers are extremely rare. Sybill Trelawney is the only Seer portrayed in the books, although it is mentioned that Sybill's great-great-grandmother, Cassandra Trelawney, was a renowned Seer in her day. Trelawney is considered an "old fraud" by her students, and is sacked by Dolores Umbridge in the fifth book for it. However, she has twice made true prophecies. Sybill Trelawney is noted to never remember that she has made a prophecy when it is a true one. She speaks in a hoarse voice, and only if a wizard is present will anyone know about it.
LEGILIMENCY AND OCCLUMENCY
LEGILIMENCY is the magical skill of extracting feelings and memories from another person's mind—a form of magical "telepathy " (although Snape, an able practitioner of the art, dismisses the colloquial term "mind-reading", as a drastic oversimplification). It also allows one to convey visions or memories to another person, whether real or imaginary. A witch or wizard possessing this skill is called a LEGILIMENS, and can, for example, detect lies and deceit in another person, witness memories in another person's past, or "plant" false visions in another's mind.
The counter-skill to Legilimency is OCCLUMENCY (and its user, known as an OCCLUMENS), by which one can compartmentalize one's emotions, or prevent a Legilimens from discovering thoughts or memories which contradict one's spoken words or actions. An advanced form of Occlumency is planting false temporary memories inside an Occlumens' own head while blocking all other true memories, so if a Legilimens, even a highly skilled one, were to attempt to read the mind, he or she would find false memories only and believe everything was right.
The skills are first elaborated in Order of the Phoenix. Legilimency and Occlumency are not part of the normal curriculum at Hogwarts, and most students would graduate without learning them.
Voldemort, Snape , and Dumbledore are all known to be skilled in
Legilimency and Occlumency.
Throughout the books, Snape is repeatedly said to be highly skilled
in Occlumency. This is how Snape was able to lie to
During the Order of Phoenix Snape is instructed by Dumbledore to give Harry lessons in Occlumency. Whether as a result of Snape's poor instruction, or poor aptitude on Harry's part, Harry did not make any progress. (Only once did Harry manage to overcome Snape with the use of Occlumency.) In Deathly Hallows, Harry finally masters Occlumency—shutting his mind to Voldemort—when Dobby dies. He realises that his grief—or as Dumbledore calls it, love—is what can block out the Dark Lord.
Queenie Goldstein, in
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
APPARITION AND DISAPPARITION
APPARITION is a magical form of teleportation , through which a witch or wizard can disappear ("DISAPPARATE") from one location and reappear ("APPARATE") in another. It is sometimes accompanied by a distinctive cracking or popping sound, though the most skilled wizards can Apparate "so suddenly and silently" that they seem to have "popped out of the ground" (Dumbledore). The act is also accompanied by a very unpleasant squeezing sensation, as though being sent through a tight rubber tube, according to Harry.
Ministry of Magic
Learning to Apparate is difficult, and students run the risk of splinching—being physically split between the origin and destination—which requires the assistance of the Ministry's Accidental Magic Reversal Squad to undo properly, although essence of dittany can also mend certain wounds. Splinching is quite common during lessons, and can be uncomfortable (and at times rather gruesome) depending on the body parts splinched, but is ultimately harmless if properly reversed. It is implied that though Ron can Apparate, he isn't terribly skilled at it, seeing as he splinches himself at least three times (once losing half an eyebrow, two fingernails and part of his arm.); Harry and Hermione both pick up the skill quickly in comparison. As explained in the Half-Blood Prince, there is no word spell to Apparate or Disapparate, but the caster has to concentrate on the location on which he has to apparate, needs to be fully focused on the spell, and also has to "feel" it through the whole body.
It has been indicated that it is considered rude to Apparate directly
into a private area, such as a home. Dumbledore states in Half-Blood
Prince that it would be "quite as rude as kicking down the front
door". For this reason, and for reasons of security, many homes have
Anti-Apparition spells protecting them from uninvited intrusions. The
accepted way to travel to a home is to Apparate to a nearby location
and continue to the final destination on foot. Apparition is
considered unreliable over long distances, and even experienced users
of the technique sometimes prefer other means of transport, such as
broomsticks . Rowling has stated that Apparating over long distances
depends on the skill of the wizard, and "Cross-continental Apparition
would almost certainly result in severe injury or death." Indeed,
even the prodigiously skilled
For reasons of security, the grounds and buildings of
A witch or wizard can use Side-Along Apparition to take others with them during Apparition. Dumbledore successfully transports Harry this way several times in Half-Blood Prince, and notably, Harry's first non-lesson attempt at the skill is the Side-Along Apparition with the weakened Dumbledore when they return from the seaside cave.
In the Order of the Phoenix film,
In the books, the words "Apparate" and "Disapparate", like many other
neologisms used by Rowling, are capitalised , whereas established
English words such as "jinx" and "hex" are not. The words themselves
are most likely derived from the French apparaître and disparaître,
meaning 'to appear' and 'to disappear'. Another possible derivation is
from the English word "apparition", meaning "a supernatural appearance
of a person or thing; anything that appears, especially something
remarkable or startling; an act of appearing", which comes from the
Some magical creatures have their own forms of instantaneous travel,
such as a house elf's ability to teleport or a phoenix's ability to
appear and disappear in a burst of flame. Unlike wizards, these
creatures are not restricted by anti-Apparition magic. Dobby ,
Some magical devices like the Floo Network , Portkeys and Vanishing Cabinets also provide forms of magical teleportation.
An ability attributed to Veela and those of Veela heritage, such as
As shown in Goblet of Fire, Veela hair can be used as cores to create magical wands. According to famed wandmaker Mr. Ollivander, these wands are a little "temperamental".
This refers to a certain degree of immunity against hexes and spells
found in powerful creatures such as trolls , dragons , and giants .
Hagrid is resistant to certain spells, like the Stunning Spell, due to
his giant blood. This type of resistance is not insurmountable; if
enough Stunning Spells, for example, are fired at a creature with
magical resistance at once, the creature may still be rendered
unconscious. Also, wizards and witches can resist certain spells with
the power of their own sheer will, such as Harry did in Goblet of
Barty Crouch Jr. disguised as
SUBJECTS AT HOGWARTS
At Hogwarts, students must study a core group of subjects for the first two years, after which they must choose between several electives. During their final two years, students are permitted to take more specialized subjects such as Alchemy.
Transfiguration, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Charms, Potions,
Astronomy, History of Magic, and Herbology are compulsory subjects for
the first five years, as well as flying lessons. At the end of their
second year, students are required to add at least two optional
subjects to their syllabus for the start of the third year. The five
choices are Arithmancy,
Muggle Studies, Divination, Study of Ancient
Runes and Care of Magical Creatures. Very specialised subjects such as
TRANSFIGURATION is essentially the art of changing the properties of an object. Transfiguration is a theory-based subject, including topics such as "Switching Spells" (altering only a part of some object, such as when Hagrid gave Dudley a pig tail); Vanishing Spells (causing an object to completely disappear); and Conjuring Spells (creating objects out of thin air). It is possible to change inanimate objects into animate ones and vice versa—Minerva McGonagall, the class's teacher, transfigures her desk into a pig and back in Philosopher's Stone.
DEFENCE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS
DEFENCE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS, commonly shortened to D.A.D.A., is
the class that teaches students defensive techniques to defend against
the Dark Arts , and to be protected from Dark creatures. In Harry
Potter and the
CHARMS is the class that teaches how to develop incantations for the
uses of bewitchment. Rowling has described Charms as a type of magic
spell concerned with giving an object new and unexpected properties.
Charms classes are described as notoriously noisy and chaotic, as the
lessons are largely practical. Many of the exposition sequences in
the books are set in Charms classes, which are on the second floor of
Hogwarts. The class is taught by
Further information: Potions in Harry Potter
POTIONS is described as the art of creating mixtures with magical
effects. It requires the correct mixing and stirring of ingredients at
the right times and temperatures. As to the question of whether a
muggle could brew a potion, given the correct magical ingredients,
Rowling has said, "Potions seems, on the face of it, to be the most
muggle-friendly subject. But there does come a point in which you need
to do more than stir." Rowling later confirmed on
ASTRONOMY classes take place in the Astronomy Tower, the tallest
tower in Hogwarts, and are taught by Professor Aurora Sinistra.
Lessons involve observations of the night skies with telescopes . No
astronomy lessons are shown in the books, but they are frequently
referenced. Rowling describes one of Harry's Astronomy exams in Harry
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Also, bits of the Astronomy Tower
are seen throughout the film series , such as HP2 and HP3, and
HISTORY OF MAGIC
HISTORY OF MAGIC is the study of magical history.
Cuthbert Binns '
lessons are depicted as some of the most boring at Hogwarts. They are
only lectures, given without pause, about significant events in
wizarding history. Topics have included goblin rebellions, giant wars,
and the origins of wizarding secrecy. This is the only class at
HERBOLOGY is the study of magical plants and how to take care of, utilise and combat them. There are at least three greenhouses described in the books, holding a variety of magical plants. Herbology is also the only subject Neville excels in. The epilogue to Deathly Hallows explains that he later replaces Professor Sprout as the Herbology teacher.
ARITHMANCY is a branch of magic concerned with the magical properties of numbers. As neither Harry nor Ron take this class; almost nothing is known about it. It is, however, a favourite subject of Hermione. Arithmancy is reportedly difficult, as it requires memorising or working with many charts. In Order of the Phoenix, it is mentioned that the study of Arithmancy is required to become a Curse-Breaker for Gringotts . The subject is taught by Professor Septima Vector.
STUDY OF ANCIENT RUNES
STUDY OF ANCIENT RUNES, more commonly known as ANCIENT RUNES, is a
generally theoretical subject that studies the ancient runic scripts.
Because only Hermione studies it, little else is known about this
subject, taught by Professor Bathsheba Babbling. In Deathly Hallows
Dumbledore bequeaths his copy of
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
DIVINATION is the art of predicting the future. Various methods are described, including tea leaves , fire omens , crystal balls , palmistry , cartomancy (including the reading of conventional playing cards and the tarot ), astrology , and dream interpretations . Divination is described by Professor McGonagall as "one of the most imprecise branches of magic". Supporters of the subject claim that it is an inexact science that requires innate gifts such as the "Inner Eye". Those opposed claim that the subject is irrelevant and fraudulent. Harry is first taught Divination by Professor Trelawney, and then later by Firenze after Trelawney is sacked by Dolores Umbridge in Harry's fifth year. In the sixth (and presumably seventh) year, Firenze and Professor Trelawney share Divination classes, divided by year.
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES is the class which instructs students on
how to care for magical beasts . Classes are held outside the castle.
In Harry's first two years, the class is taken by Professor Silvanus
Kettleburn who then retires "in order to enjoy more time with his
remaining limbs". Dumbledore then recruits the gamekeeper Rubeus
Hagrid to accept a teaching position along with his gamekeeping
duties. Although Hagrid is obviously very experienced and
knowledgeable, he doesn't "have a normal person's view of what's
dangerous", an example being that the Care of Magical Creatures
students were required to get a literally ferocious textbook called
MUGGLE STUDIES is a class which involves the study of the muggle
(non-magical) culture "from a wizarding point of view." The only need
for witches and wizards to learn about muggle ways and means is to
ensure they can blend in with muggles while needing to do so (for
example, at the 1994
ALCHEMY classes are not mentioned in the
Harry Potter series;
however, Rowling has used
FLYING is the class that teaches the use of broomsticks made for the
use of flying and is taught only to
APPARITION is an optional class for those in the sixth and seventh
years at Hogwarts, in preparation for obtaining their licence. In
Harry's sixth year,
Wilkie Twycross , a
Ministry of Magic
The UNBREAKABLE VOW is a voluntary agreement made between two witches
or wizards. It must be performed with a witness ("Bonder") on hand,
holding their wand on the agreeing persons' linked hands to bind them
with magic as a tongue of flame. The Vow is not literally
"unbreakable" as the person taking it is still able to go back on his
or her word, but doing so will cause instant death. The Unbreakable
Vow was first introduced in Half-Blood Prince, in which Snape made a
promise to Narcissa Malfoy to protect Draco, with Bellatrix as the
"Bonder", as her son attempted to fulfil the Dark Lord's task, and for
Snape to fulfil the task if something should prevent Draco from doing
it. Another example in
PRIORI INCANTATEM, or the REVERSE SPELL EFFECT, is used to detect the
spells cast by a wand. The spells cast by the wand will emerge in
smoky or ghost-like replicas in reverse order, with the latest spell
emerging first. It is first encountered in Goblet of Fire when the
house elf Winky is found holding Harry's wand. This spell is used to
reveal that it was indeed Harry's wand that cast the Dark Mark. In
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince , it is revealed that the
Forcing two wands that share the source of their cores to do battle
can also cause a more potent form of Priori Incantatem. The tips of
the two wands will connect, forming a thick golden "thread" of energy,
and the two wands' masters fight a battle of wills. The loser's wand
will regurgitate shadows of spells that it has cast in reverse order.
This phenomenon occurs during the duel between Harry and
The DARK ARTS are those magical spells and practices that are usually
used for malicious purposes . Practitioners of Dark Arts are referred
to as Dark witches or wizards. The most prominent of these is
Voldemort, known to them as the Dark Lord. His followers, known as
The type of spells characteristic of Dark Arts are known as curses,
which usually cause harm to the target. All, to a certain degree, are
in some circumstances justifiable. The motivation of the caster
affects a curse's result. This is most notable in the case of
Cruciatus: when cast by Harry, angered by the death of his godfather
at Bellatrix's hands and desiring to punish her, it causes a short
moment of pain. As Bellatrix herself comments, righteous anger does
not allow the spell to work for long. When cast by figures such as
Voldemort, who desire to inflict pain for its own sake, it causes
intense agony that can last as long as the Dark witch or wizard
desires. Use of Dark Magic can corrupt the soul and body; Voldemort
has used such magic in his quest to prolong his life and obtain great
power. The Dark Arts also cause
According to Snape, the Dark Arts "are many, varied, ever-changing
and eternal... unfixed, mutating, indestructible". In magical
dueling, there are any number of spells that may be used to attack,
immobilise, or disarm an opponent without causing pain or lasting
harm; however, spells such as the Cruciatus
The UNFORGIVABLE CURSES are some of the most powerful known Dark Arts
spells. They were first classified as unforgivable in 1717. Used by
the books' villains, such as
The Unforgivable Curses include:
* Avada Kedavra, the Killing Curse. The curse is used for murder.
This is one of the most powerful curses. Normally, it cannot be
stopped or deflected, but it can be dodged or obstructed with a
physical object. The spell causes immediate, painless death, and
cannot be reversed. Casting it requires immense magical power, so much
so that the combined power of an entire class of 4th year students is
not sufficient for it. The curse, when summoned, is shown as a bright
green light (a bolt or beam of green light in the films). Harry Potter
is the only person known to have survived (twice), nullified (once)
and deflected (once) this curse.
* Crucio, the Cruciatus Curse. The curse is used for torturing a
person by causing them physical pain and agony. The strength of the
curse is determined by the person who cast it. The curse is so
powerful that it can even torture a person to the point that they are
exhausted to death, or in a more sadistic case, it causes permanent
amnesia and insanity (the case of Neville's parents, who were tortured
by Bellatrix Lestrange). Effective casting requires the caster to have
sadistic desires. Harry finds out in Order of the Phoenix while
attempting to use the Cruciatus
The use of the Unforgivable Curses was authorised against Voldemort
and his followers by Bartemius Crouch Sr , during the First Wizarding
War. (Shortly after his resurrection,
The DARK MARK is the symbol of
Distinguish from Infernus .
An INFERIUS (plural: INFERI) is a corpse controlled through a Dark
wizard's spells. An Inferius is not alive, but a dead body that has
been bewitched into acting like a puppet for the witch or wizard; this
manifests itself as a white mist in the controlled corpse's eyes. They
cannot think for themselves: they are created to perform a specific
duty assigned by the Dark wizard who commands them, and as seen in the
Inferi guarding Voldemort's
Inferi are considered dangerous and frightening enough by the magical
world that impersonating an Inferius (as
Ministry of Magic
In Latin, the word inferus (plural: inferi) means "below", often referring in the plural to "the gods below" (see di inferi ) or the spirits of the dead. Inferius is a neuter singular form of inferior, a comparative adjective meaning "lower".
A HORCRUX is an object created using dark magic to attain effective
immortality. The concept is first introduced in the sixth novel, Harry
Potter and the
A horcrux is created when a soul-shard split from a murderer's soul is infused into an object, which is then hidden or in some other manner kept safe. (When a person commits murder, his soul becomes traumatized and splits into more than one piece. A horcrux is nothing more than the fused object/soul-shard created when the portion of the murderer's soul that was split off is infused into some material object.) The point of creating a horcrux is to prevent the passage of a soul to the afterlife (death) by anchoring a portion of the soul in the material world.
Ordinarily, when one's body is killed, the soul departs for the next
world. If, however, the body of a horcrux owner is killed, that
portion of his soul which had remained in his body will not pass on to
the next world, but will rather exist in a non-corporeal form capable
of being resurrected by another wizard, as in
In the Harry Potter series the subjects of MAGICAL PORTRAITS (even those of characters that are dead) can move, interact with living observers, speak and demonstrate apparent emotion and personality. Some can even move to other portraits to visit each other, or relay messages, or (if more than one painting of the subject exists) move between separate locations by way of their portraits. An example of this is Phineas Nigellus Black, who has a painting in the Headmaster's office and at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Many such portraits are found on the walls of Hogwarts.
Some portraits are used to conceal the entrance of a room or
passageway. For example, the Fat Lady's portrait covers the entrance
Portraits are enchanted to move by the artist, but the degree to which they can interact with others depends on the power of the subject. Rowling has commented that a portrait is merely a faint imprint of the deceased subject, imitating their basic personality and thought patterns. They are therefore "not as fully realised as ghosts". In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the portrait of Albus Dumbledore describes himself as only "paint and memory" and Professor McGonagall (his successor as headteacher of Hogwarts) comments that, although she speaks to Dumbledore to help her in making decisions, she is careful to remember that "portraits don't represent even half of their subjects".
PORTRAITS IN THE HEADMASTER\'S OFFICE
The portraits in the Headmaster's office depict all the former Heads of Hogwarts, with the exception of Dolores Umbridge. They advise the Headmaster and are "honour-bound to give service to the present headmaster" (according to Armando Dippet). Rowling has explained that portraits of past headteachers tend to be more realistic than most, as the subject in question usually imparts knowledge and teaches them how to behave before their death.
THE FAT LADY
The portrait of THE FAT LADY covers the door to
Wizarding photographs of people have similar properties to magical painted portraits: the figures within move about or even sometimes leave the frame. They appear in wizard newspapers and other print media, as well as on Chocolate Frog cards. Colin Creevey mentions in Chamber of Secrets that a boy in his dormitory said that if he develops the film from his Muggle camera 'in the right potion', the pictures will move. However, unlike portraits, figures in wizarding pictures cannot speak and display little sentience. It appears that they do have some knowledge of current events, as in Order of the Phoenix, the family photograph on Arthur's desk shows everyone except Percy "who appeared to have walked out of it", mirroring the deterioration of Percy's relationship with his family. It is also mentioned that in a photo taken by Colin Creevey of Gilderoy Lockhart and Harry, Harry's picture had walked out and was resisting all of Lockhart's efforts to pull him back in.
* ^ "FAQ jkrowling.com". Archived from the original on 21 July
2011. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
* ^ Harry Potter: A History of Magic. 28 October 2017. BBC.
* ^ Flood, Alison (8 August 2016). "Harry Potter\'s 20th birthday
to be marked with
* Highfield, Roger (2002). The Science of Harry Potter: How magic really works. New York: Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-03153-5 . * Teare, Elizabeth (2002). " Harry Potter and the technology of magic". In Whited, Lana A. The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a literary phenomenon. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. pp. 29–342. ISBN 978-0-8262-1549-9 . * Black, Sharon (2003). "The Magic of Harry Potter: Symbols and Heroes of Fantasy". Children's Literature in Education. 34 (3): 237–247. doi :10.1023/A:1025314919836 .
* Magic on