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"Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc.

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"Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc. Empty "Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc.

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:38 am

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing, which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. It was copied/saved by Lady Arabella and reformatted/reposted by Potteraholic. ~Potteraholic

MoonRider - Feb 7, 2005 4:07 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 17, 2005 1:52 pm

Hi All!

I haven't been able to find this anywhere-----if I didn't look hard enough, I apologize.....

I've been wond'rin' for some time now, what might be the difference between "spells", "hexes", "curses", etc. I wonder if it has t'do with good vs. bad, i.e. if one wants t'do harm----vs. perform a spell that is, like, "helpful"----like, "Occulus reparo". I think I read a post where somebody said they thought that a hex was, maybe, not as bad as a curse-----I'm thinkin' along that line, too!

Also, what is a "charm" as compared to a "spell"?

.....and, what about "jinx"?

There doesn't seem t'be any "rhyme or reason" to the naming-----like, charms are performed on "things"-----vs. a spell being performed on people.

I wonder, also, if, maybe the word "spell" isn't used interchangeably with the other words.

Anybody out there got an opinion on this?
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"Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc. Empty "Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc. (posts #1 to #50)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:40 am

Choices - Feb 7, 2005 6:43 pm (#1 of 138)

Throw "enchantment" into that mix. I, too, have wondered what the differences are. Also, how about wizards, witches, hags, warlocks? OK, I can figure out witches and wizards, but how about the others? LOL

Solitaire - Feb 7, 2005 8:44 pm (#2 of 138)

Interesting topic, MoonRider. I've wondered the same thing before. Curses seem to be a bit more malicious in intent--or at least aimed at disabling their target. Consider the Unforgiveable Curses. Then again, the Jelly-legs and Leg-Locker Curses don't seem especially harmful, although they certainly do temporarily disable their victims. The terms hex and jinx also have negative connotations.

I checked Magical Theory and read the essay Spells & Charms: The Nature of Magic. The last paragraph talks about hexes, jinxes, and curses. You might find it interesting. Another essay in Magical Theory, Familiarity Key to Understanding Spellwork, also has some interesting ideas on levels of power and why certain spells work with some objects and not others. The other essays linked there are interesting, too, and might answer some questions.

I suppose you could go through the Encyclopedia of Spells, look at each one, and decide which are positive and which are negative magic ... although it sounds kind of tedious, to me! Good luck!


Loopy Lupin - Feb 8, 2005 7:34 am (#3 of 138)

Interesting topic. It does seem that most charms are directed at manipulating the physical world. The Summoning and Banishing charms attract or repel objects. The levitation charm makes things levitate. Of course, there is also the cheering charm which seems to have an effect on emotions.

Liz Mann - Feb 8, 2005 7:53 am (#4 of 138)

The annoying thing is that I can tell the difference between all the different types of spells (hexes, charms, curses etc) but I can't describe them.

MoonRider - Feb 8, 2005 9:51 am (#5 of 138)

Thanks, you guys!

Choices: "Throw "enchantment" into that mix."

Yeah, there's another one of those little buggers!

"Also, how about wizards, witches, hags, warlocks?"

Me too----ME TOO! I'd loved t'know what a warlock is-----AND, a hag!

.....and-----what's the difference-----when related to a witch or wizard!

Thanks, Solitaire! That encyclopedia sounds a bit daunting, you're right!

Loopy Lupin - "It does seem that most charms are directed at manipulating the physical world."

Yeah, I know whatcha mean----but, what about that "Disillusionment" thingy? I'm thinkin' that was a "charm". I mean, I know Harry is "physical"-----but....

I dunno.....

Maybe it has something t'do with, like, longevity? Like, if what is performed is meant t'be "permanent"-----I think people touched on this on another thread.....

like, I think they also mentioned the "Jelly-Legs" one.....

I wonder if it would have just "kept-on-goin'" if Lupin hadn't've taken it off of Neville? I dunno......

What about those people at St. Mungo’s----like the guy who had an arm stickin' out of his head-----or, somethin' like that? Maybe that's only got t'do with spells that have been misguided/performed incorrectly, or whatever, though.

Liz Mann - Oh----try----please?

Madame Pomfrey - Feb 8, 2005 11:18 am (#6 of 138)

I think a warlock is the male counterpart of witch at least on the sitcom Bewitched the magical male folk are referred to as warlocks. As for hag I had always imagined mean old ugly witch. What is a banshee?

ex-FAHgeek - Feb 8, 2005 11:35 am (#7 of 138)

---quote--- What is a banshee? ---end quote---

I'm going to endanger myself by making an assumption that this was meant to be "banshee" (if not, I have no idea what a banshee is). A banshee is a female ghost equipped with a wail/scream/cry that has nasty effects on those who hear it (typically death.)

Loopy Lupin - Feb 8, 2005 11:55 am (#8 of 138)

Well, if disillusionment is a "charm" it still fits into the physical word manipulation category, sort of. It is simply a charm that makes a particular physical object invisible. Scientifically put, one might say that the charm magically prevents the particular objection from reflecting any light allowing light to pass on through. Thus, the item can't be seen (reflected light being the basis for vision) and appears to blend in to its surroundings.

Of course, come to think of it, many kinds of magic would manipulate the physical world in some sense or another. Phooey.

(Again, I must say good topic. It's rare, these days, to come across something that, at least in my memory, we haven't explored before.)

Matilda the Pygmy Puff - Feb 8, 2005 12:03 pm (#9 of 138)

I think spell might be a word that includes all the others. In the books, you don't hear much of the "silencing spell" or the "jelly-legs spell" the actual things they perform are called charms, jinxes, curses or hexes. I also think enchantment is general, things that are enchanted are under a spell.

Loopy Lupin - Feb 8, 2005 1:21 pm (#10 of 138)

Yes, but you hear about "switching spells" and I believe Expelliarmus is the disarming spell. This doesn't mean that "spells" still can't be a catch-all term, but there are things which have been referred to as only "spells." Aren't stunners also simply called "stunning spells"?

GryffEndora - Feb 8, 2005 1:45 pm (#11 of 138)

As far as Hags go it's been my understanding that a Hag is witch who's physical appearance prevents them from mixing with Muggles. I'll have to go through the books before I can say where I got that impression from though.

Fred Cringe - Feb 8, 2005 2:23 pm (#12 of 138)

A Banshee is a female spirit that foretells of a death.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Incidentally, I live about 20 miles from the Bandon Banshee. If I'd known Gilderoy Lockhart was in the neighbourhood I'd have gotten him to autograph his books for me.

Loopy Lupin - Feb 8, 2005 2:30 pm (#13 of 138)

The lexicon gives this bit on hags:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

MoonRider - Feb 8, 2005 3:31 pm (#14 of 138)


Here's one I found-out----"Jelly-Legs" is a jinx!

....course, that doesn't help us any!

Okay, I thought I'd throw a few out there:


Banishing Charm - opposite of summoning ("Accio!")

Disillusionment Charm - what Moody did t'Harry t'make 'im blend-in with the environment.

Enlarging Charm - what Mundungus put on the car he "borrowed" so that it would have an extremely large interior; it was "similar to the spell Mr. Weasley had put on the Ford Anglia."

Flame Freezing Charm - what witches and wizards would use if they were being burned at the stake.

Hair Thickening Charm - what Snape accused Alicia Spinnet of performing on herself when her eyebrows grew so thick & fast that they obstructed her mouth.


Babbling Curse - Lockhart had cured a simple Transylvanian villager from this.

Impediment Curse - stops & obstructs attackers; AHA!---"not permanent".

Reductor Curse - allows you to blast solid objects out of the way.


Hurling Hex - what Professor Flitwick thought Harry's Firebolt might be carrying.


Anti-Disapparation Jinx - what DD used to bind several DEs down in the Death Chamber.


Extinguishing Spell - what Charlie, et al would use if a dragon set something on fire.


Madame Pomfrey - I agree with you on the warlock thing----cuz isn't DD Chief Warlock of something? I still wonder how it differs from a wizard, though-----if it does.

Matilda Jones - EXCELLENT! I'm thinkin' that's what "enchantment" means too!

Choices - Feb 8, 2005 6:15 pm (#15 of 138)

Here's another - If you "bewitch" something, what do you do to it? Does that just mean you cast a spell on it?

Wand Maker - Feb 8, 2005 7:44 pm (#16 of 138)

Wow. This is an interesting thread subject. My thoughts...

A curse seems to be what someone does to another, something bad.

A hex might be more like a spell placed onto an object that results in an action later. This fails at the end of GoF when Harry threatens to hex Fred and George if they don't take the Tri-wizard winnings.

Charms seem to be beneficial (non bad/evil) spells placed on objects.

Spell seems to be a general term for all magic performed with a wand.

A jinx or counter-jinx appears to be a spell cast that will act on a fellow human, in either an active or passive mode.

MoonRider - Feb 9, 2005 7:53 am (#17 of 138)

Fred & Loopy Lupin - thanks for those links----they were cool!

Choices - that's a great question! I dunno the answer, though! LOL

Wand Maker - I especially like your opinion on hexes and spells:

Hex - "placed onto an object that results in an action later"----that sounds about right t'me!

....and, Spell - "all magic performed with a wand"----that you specifically said "wand" provoked another thought, for me:

what was it called when Harry set the boa on Dudley?

....and, what was it when Harry blew-up Aunt Marge?

Catherine - Feb 9, 2005 8:16 am (#18 of 138)

what was it called when Harry set the boa on Dudley? ....and, what was it when Harry blew-up Aunt Marge? Moonrider

Quite funny!

No, seriously, here on the Forum we've been calling it "wandless" magic or "emotional magic." Harry has done magic accidentally when he cannot completely control his emotions. Other examples include growing his hair back after a horrible haircut, shrinking the ugly, hand-me-down sweater, or jumping on the roof to escape Dudley's gang.

Steve Newton - Feb 9, 2005 8:28 am (#19 of 138)

I like 'wandless' magic but don' think that 'emotional' works.

KWeldon - Feb 9, 2005 10:01 am (#20 of 138)

A hex might be more like a spell placed onto an object that results in an action later.

If this is true, then what is Ginny's bat-bogey hex?

wwtMask - Feb 9, 2005 11:02 am (#21 of 138)

It seems to me that, like some words/phrases in English, the only rule is that it sounds right! Many of the words can be used interchangeably without really changing the underlying actions they represent. The only thing they seem to really do, for us at least, is give the bit of magic a positive/negative/neutral connotation. A cheering charm, hex, curse, or spell all would effectively do the same thing, but charm and spell sound a lot more in line with the actual effects of the magic than hex or curse. Likewise, you can have a charmed, hexed, cursed, bewitched, or enchanted broom; even though the magic might be all the same, which would you rather have someone offer to you?

GryffEndora - Feb 9, 2005 6:22 pm (#22 of 138)

wwtMask, I'd agree with you entirely if the Wizarding World hadn't already taken a group of spells classified them as Charms and made it a course separate from others. So what makes Charms different from the spells learned in transfiguration, or DADA? Are Charms used in Charms class, Jinxes and Hexes learned about in DADA and transfiguration do they use enchantments or transfiguring spells. There have to be some distinctions between the different kinds of spells or they wouldn't use one of the types of "classification" to describe the magic taught in a specific class.

The giant squid - Feb 10, 2005 2:35 am (#23 of 138)

kweldon, etc.,

Building on Loopy's definition, I think a "hex" is something bad that's cast on an object, as opposed to a curse, which is cast on a person. Ginny's bat-bogey hex fits because it transfigures the bogeys, not the person (presumably, it wouldn't work on someone who keeps his/her nostrils clean...). Since Harry doesn't specify, we don't know how he intended to hex Fred & George; it could have involved casting a spell on the money.


Her-melanie - Feb 10, 2005 6:32 am (#24 of 138)

In Snape's pensieve memory, James says, "Aw, Evans, don't make me hex you." I think the difference between charms and jinxes/hexes is that jinxes/hexes are reactive. They are used against another person in a potential fight. Charms seem to be used to affect an object or (to some extent) a person, but not for any offensive/defensive purpose. This really is a great topic.

wwtMask - Feb 10, 2005 10:24 am (#25 of 138)

Until we get some kind of explanation of the method or system by which magic is classified, I'll still have to say it's arbitrary. Even with the Charms class, can we be totally certain that only Charms are taught? Or, even better, why aren't there classes taught for the other types of magic? I feel certain that charms are also taught in other practical Magic classes though, of course, I can't prove that.

Choices - Feb 10, 2005 11:09 am (#26 of 138)

Her-melanie - "I think the difference between charms and jinxes/hexes is that jinxes/hexes are reactive. They are used against another person in a potential fight."

But, in COS Quirrell was "jinxing" Harry's broom.

There are obviously spells that can be used on people and objects, spells that can only be used on people and spells that can only be used on objects. I think perhaps they should be categorized as harmful spells, helpful spells, unforgivable spells, humorous spells, etc.

Catherine - Feb 10, 2005 1:40 pm (#27 of 138)

But, in COS Quirrell was "jinxing" Harry's broom. --Choices

I think you meant to type SS or PS.

Choices - Feb 10, 2005 6:32 pm (#28 of 138)

Right you are Catherine - COS was the Bludgers chasing Harry. SS was the broom being jinxed. Thanks!

MoonRider - Feb 11, 2005 11:31 am (#29 of 138)

Choices: Remember when Harry was in the Triwizard Tournament maze? Well, remember that golden mist that he walked through that turned the world upside down (when he thought he heard Fleur scream)? It was called "Golden Mist Enchantment".

wwtMask: "I feel certain that charms are also taught in other practical Magic classes though, of course, I can't prove that."

SURE YOU CAN! "Riddikulus" is a Charm! Lupin taught them this in DADA.

Also, the fake Moody "....had given them such a rigorous test of hex-deflection that many of them were nursing small injuries." (GoF/Page 547 [American hard-back]).

Solitaire - Feb 12, 2005 11:27 am (#30 of 138)

Catherine, you mentioned wandless and emotional magic several posts back. I realize this could be a distinction that only I am making, but emotional magic seems almost like the one doing it (Harry, in the case of Aunt Marge) is "blowing an emotional gasket," as if his emotions are completely beyond his control.

On the other hand, some of the incidents we have been calling emotional magic seem more deliberate, to me--and perhaps they really should be called Wandless magic. For example, Harry used Lumos! to deliberately light up his wand, so he could find it in the pitch-dark street. Prior to this, he also seemed to concentrate on shrinking that sweater, moving himself up on the roof and out of Dudley's reach, and regrowing his hair--even though, at the time, he did not realize that he was actually doing something. All he knew was that the things he was concentrating on actually did happen. The hair regrowing incident, in fact, makes me wonder if he might not be a Metamorphmagus, since he was able to concentrate and actually change his appearance.


Choices - Feb 12, 2005 1:59 pm (#31 of 138)

Solitaire I think you have hit on the difference between wandless magic and emotional magic. One is deliberate (wandless) and one is just out of control emotions. I do have to disagree about the hair regrowing - I don't think Harry is a Metamorphmagus, he wasn't changing his appearance, he was just putting his hair back the way it was - with emotional magic.

Wand Maker - Feb 12, 2005 6:41 pm (#32 of 138)

I can't find a reference, but I thought it was stated that a wand merely directed/concentrated the magic within a witch or wizard. It didn't produce the magic itself. A passage in PoA where Arthur says "we're no nearer catching Black than inventing self-spelling wands." seems to reinforce this. Because of this, I think a well-disciplined witch or wizard could perform directed magic without a wand.

wwtMask - I agree that the many magical 'creations' can probably be referred to by more than one definition. Im my last listening of the books, I have heard examples that break my opinion on defining which is which.

Amilia Smith - Feb 19, 2005 7:14 pm (#33 of 138)

In another favorite series of books (The Tales of Alvin Maker, Orson Scott Card) a hex is created using a specially formed hexagon. For example, one character had a hexagon tattooed on his backside that rendered him invulnerable to others.

However, this idea does not seem to transfer over to Potterverse very well. In the Occlumency chapter of OotP, after Harry has repelled Snape from his mind for the first time, "he looked up at Snape, who had lowered his wand and was rubbing his wrist. There was an angry weal there, like a scorch mark. 'Did you mean to produce a Stinging Hex?' asked Snape coolly." Based on this, a hex seems to be something you do with a wand, not something having to do with shapes or runes. Can anyone else think of a time we have seen a hex actually cast, not just talked about?


Solitaire - Feb 19, 2005 8:25 pm (#34 of 138)

Hexes seem to leave marks. Remember at the very end of GoF, Draco, Goyle and Crabbe are described as "still lying on the floor, covered in hex marks."


Round Pink Spider - Feb 21, 2005 7:10 am (#35 of 138)

I think this is a neat discussion! I'm going to throw in my two cents' worth.

I would say that curses are spells that have no other purpose than to violate or cause real physical harm to another person, for example Imperious, the Curse, Cruciatus, and whatever that purple spell was that Dolohov used. I suppose some curses probably could be used in self-defense, to save one's life.

Hexes are minor curses, that can be used in self-defense or sometimes as practical jokes. They are unpleasant, but they don't cause actual physical harm.

"Charm" seems to be mostly applied to spells used to make objects (or sometimes people) do things, like float, tap-dance, do cartwheels, change color, get bigger or smaller, etc. Although other spells might be called "charms", that seems to be what they learn in Charms class. Charms don't harm things, and they don't change their essential nature. Harry hit Malfoy with a "Tickling Charm" during their duel in the Dueling Club. It caused uncontrollable giggling. This would explain why "Riddikulus" is a charm -- it doesn't change the nature of the Boggart. It just forces it to change its appearance in the way the witch or wizard wants it to.

"Transfiguration" spells actually change the nature of things. One can turn animals into objects or vice versa. One can turn one kind of animal into another, or people into animals. And apparently conjuring and vanishing spells fall into transfiguration.

The word "spell" seems to be just an all-purpose word that covers all magic incantations.

Amilia Smith - Feb 22, 2005 8:52 pm (#36 of 138)

Solitaire: Hexes seem to leave marks.

So the connection with the hexagonal shape could still hold up? :-)

RPS: Great summary!


vball man - Feb 26, 2005 10:48 am (#37 of 138)

Excellent post, RPS. Take "fifty points." I had been thinking that these were just interchangeable words, but I think you have the "measure of it."

Round Pink Spider - Feb 27, 2005 3:23 pm (#38 of 138)

Thank you. So here's another question for debate or discussion. I don't think we can really answer this one, and it's academic anyway, but it could be fun to bat it around for a little while.

We saw Cedric transfigure a rock into a dog, and the students have turned teapots into turtles. Given that transfiguration spells change the nature of the creature or object, can one really transfigure a living creature into an inanimate object, or vice versa? Is the inanimate object still alive, but dormant in some way (so that it could be restored)? Likewise, if one is turning an inanimate object into an animal, is it really alive? (Keep in mind that the "bewitched" turquoise car began behaving as if it were alive in the magic-rich environment around Hogwarts.)

In other words, can magic give "life" to something? (We're not talking about a soul -- DD said that "no magic can bring back the ", presumably meaning people whose souls have departed -- just life, as plants and animals have.)

vball man - Feb 27, 2005 9:30 pm (#39 of 138)

Didn't B Crouch Jr. transfigure his dead father into a bone and bury it?....checking...yes.

But I guess that doesn't answer your question, because he was dead. Inanimate.

Solitaire - Feb 27, 2005 11:22 pm (#40 of 138)

Given that transfiguration spells change the nature of the creature or object, can one really transfigure a living creature into an inanimate object, or vice versa?

Didn't McGonagall change her desk into a pig and back again the first time her class met ... in PS/SS?


Round Pink Spider - Feb 28, 2005 7:17 am (#41 of 138)

Yes, there are a lot of cases where an inanimate object has been turned into something apparently animate. But was the pig alive, or was it just charmed to appear alive? Could it have had little piglets? That's why I pointed out the question of the turquoise car. It acted like something alive, but that was probably just a charm created by the excess magic in the area. You can't imagine the car needing to eat anything...

This is a strictly philosophical question. There isn't enough evidence that we can answer it from the books. I just thought it would be an interesting idea to discuss, sharing our opinions and thoughts on the subject.

There are a lot of objects that we see with charms on them that act alive, like the robe that tried to strangle Ron in Grimmauld Place. That was probably charmed to attack strangers, so that wouldn't really be life.

But transfiguration spells really change something. The pig no longer had anything in common with the desk. But did the spell actually give it life, so that it would need to eat and drink? Could it grow and reproduce?

(Note that the Weasleys keep chickens and have a garden; apparently they need to buy or grow food like everyone else.)

wwtMask - Feb 28, 2005 8:21 am (#42 of 138)

I think that it's pretty clear that you can, indeed, turn a non-living thing into a living thing. But I also think that the object will eventually revert back to its original form once the magic has worn off. Transfiguration seems to actually change the nature of matter itself, so I would say that any non-living object that is transfigured into a living thing would, indeed, need to behave like a living creature, though how the living processes would change it once it reverted to its original form is unknown.

TwinklingBlueEyes - Feb 28, 2005 5:03 pm (#43 of 138)

My desk resembles a pig without magic! :-) I think it would be classified as a curse!

Choices - Feb 28, 2005 6:46 pm (#44 of 138)

I have to refrain from an in-depth answer, for to do so would involve getting into the area of religion and that is a no-no here. I can only say "No" - I do not believe that transfiguration can create life - only the appearance of life.

Solitaire - Mar 3, 2005 7:10 am (#45 of 138)

LOL Twinkles! I always think the same thing when I read that passage! However, I think mine is terminal ... it will never change back to a clean desk!

I suppose that vanishing something means it will eventually reappear. Remember the kids had to work on vanishing snails. I guess it would get expensive to buy various supplies, if they vanished for good! LOL Hmmmmm. I wonder if one could make a person vanish--with a spell, I mean, and not a vanishing cabinet. That could come in handy when someone is being a pill.


Cornelia - Mar 23, 2005 1:46 am (#46 of 138)

At the Wandless/Emotional Magic thread I was wondering if, for example the Impedimenta-curse only effects the body, so you have to stop or slow down, or also your brain and your ability to do magic?

I don’t know where this question fits in, to be honest...

Cuivienen - Mar 27, 2005 3:53 pm (#47 of 138)

Jinxes, Hexes and Curses are all, obviously, malicious in intent. The Trip Jinx, the Bat-Bogey Hex, the Imperius Curse, etc. are all meant to cause harm. Curses are more dangerous and more harmful than Jinxes and Hexes, however; neither the Trip Jinx nor the Bat Bogey Hex would cause any lasting damage.

Conversely, Charms are always at least neutral, usually good: the Patronus Charm, the Cheering Charm, the Summoning Charm. They also seem to act on their own, nothing is there for them to act. The Summoning Charm summons an object, but it can do so even when the wand isn't pointed directly at the object or even when the location of the object is unknown. (Mrs. Weasley just points at the twins and summons their trick sweets in GoF.) The Cheering Charm acts on the intangible emotions and the Patronus Charm creates a sort of angelic guardian.

Spells seem to always be somewhat 'neutral' - the Four-Point Spell being the only example that I can come up with, though Lumos is probably a Spell as well. They seem to be small tricks with minor effects, though I don't have a lot of evidence for that.

Finally, Enchantments "possess" something with magic, and the magic stays there, then wears off. Unfortunately, Charms can do this too -- the Cheering Charm does it, and (IIRC) Fred and George Charmed the front page of The Quibbler in OotP. Nonetheless, Enchantments seem to be spells that instill magic into something.

Round Pink Spider - Mar 31, 2005 6:09 am (#48 of 138)

Nice observation on "enchantments" there! That wasn't one of the original words listed, and I think you're quite correct.

Solitaire - Apr 2, 2005 1:02 am (#49 of 138)

Do we know that "enchantments" need to be renewed every so often? Remember that Hagrid and the kids all mention and/or discuss enchantments that are protecting the Stone in PS/SS. If they had to be renewed periodically, wouldn't each professor have to pass or "break" each other professor's "enchantment" in order to get past it and renew his own? Or do they all get together and go down every so often and do them together? It seems kind of odd to me to consider it happening that way. JM2K, of course ...

I realize that fairy tales are not necessarily consistent with HP, but when things are "enchanted" in most fairy tales, the enchantments must be deliberately broken, or the person or thing remains enchanted indefinitely (Sleeping Beauty, the spinning wheel, etc.). Just a thought ...


Dumbledore - Apr 2, 2005 7:01 am (#50 of 138)

I think what Cuivienen is referring to is more of the "Beauty and the Beast type" of enchantments, in which objects in the castle now have their own magic, as opposed to the type of enchantments guarding the Sorcerer's Stone.
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"Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc. Empty "Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc. (posts #51 to #100)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:43 am

Matilda the Pygmy Puff - Apr 2, 2005 1:57 pm (#51 of 138)

The objects in Beauty and the Beast did not have any kind of magic but the enchantment on the castle lasted until it was broken by Belle. I agree with Cuivienen that enchantments can last until someone breaks them.

Dumbledore - Apr 2, 2005 2:21 pm (#52 of 138)

Exactly, Matilda. I agree with you.

Cornelia - Apr 2, 2005 10:55 pm (#53 of 138)

But why were the chess game, the keys and the firewalls still working after Quirrell passed them, or didn’t he break the enchantment?

ƒhm, how do you actually break an enchantment?

Solitaire - Apr 3, 2005 1:24 am (#54 of 138)

Possibly Quirrell's knowledge of the Dark Arts was sufficient to allow him to pass without disturbing the enchantments. He did have Voldemort living in the back of his head, after all, and I'm quite sure he would have told Quirrell what to do. Or maybe each of the teachers knew about the others' enchantments and would have been able to repair or "reinstate" them after they were broken. Hard to say ...


MoonRider - Apr 3, 2005 5:29 am (#55 of 138)

Cornelia: "But why were the chess game, the keys and the firewalls still working after Quirrell passed them, or didn’t he break the enchantment? ƒhm, how do you actually break an enchantment?"

Perhaps it takes a separate "spell" to break an enchantment? (I guess this is sort of like what Solitaire was saying: "....the enchantments must be deliberately broken....".)

HRH "used" the things the way they were enchanted-----they played the chess game-----they solved the riddle to get through the fire, etc.------they didn't do any "spells"-----if that makes sense.

Another example is the "Golden Mist"-----Harry first used the "Reductor Curse" on it ("The spell shot straight through the mist, leaving it intact."), then he ran through it, and the world turned upside down; then, after he stepped out of it, and "hurried foreword", he looked back over his shoulder and it was still there. So, again, he "used" the thing the way it was enchanted.

Choices - Apr 3, 2005 10:08 am (#56 of 138)

Yes Moonrider - I agree. The spell remains intact, but it can be solved and passed through. Solving it doesn't cancel the spell, it just allows you to go forward while the spell remains viable and keeps out anyone else until they solve it correctly, then it would allow them to pass also.

Solitaire - Apr 3, 2005 1:20 pm (#57 of 138)

Solving it doesn't cancel the spell, it just allows you to go forward while the spell remains viable and keeps out anyone else until they solve it correctly

The problem here is the chess set. It would need to be "self-repairing" for this to be true, wouldn't it? Once it was "disarmed" by having been played through, that particular barrier would have been overcome. Unless it "self-repaired" or was reinstated by the one who solved it, then anyone following would not have to deal with that barrier. Actually, the same thing would be true for the potions riddle, wouldn't it? Didn't they have to drink the correct potion? I think I'm confused ...


Dumbledore - Apr 3, 2005 3:03 pm (#58 of 138)

Well I'm not sure about the chess one - maybe it magically puts itself back in place for the next player after the game has been beaten? But the potions riddle was not an enchantment in the first place, it was logic.

Solitaire - Apr 3, 2005 4:39 pm (#59 of 138)

Yes, as I said, the chess set would have to be self-restoring. And wouldn't Hermione need to play back the other way to get out, if it had repaired itself? Just wondering about that one ... because I do not believe she did have to play. Or maybe the "seeker" of the stone only had to play in one direction.

Regarding Snape's "riddle," what if the first "seeker" to pass it put the bottles back in the wrong order? In order for that task to work for the next person, it would have to be self-restoring, as well. This must have been the case, because we know Harry had to pass that task. Remember there was very little left--barely a swallow. Was that intentional, or did Quirrell drink all but a swallow? The troll was already knocked out, so they did not have to deal with it. Interesting that this was Quirrell's task.

We know Quirrell tried to kill Harry with the troll and again in the Quidditch game. After he failed at those two attempts, was it Voldemort's intent that Harry get all the way through to the Mirror?



Joanne R. Reid - Apr 4, 2005 10:43 am (#60 of 138)


I would guess that the giant chess set was no different from any other set of pieces of Wizard Chess. In every game we've witnessed, the pieces attack, maim and destroy each other. Then, when the game ends, the pieces are restored and ready for the next battle.


Solitaire - Apr 4, 2005 12:00 pm (#61 of 138)

That makes sense, Joanne ... but what about the troll? He was still out, wasn't he?


Joanne R. Reid - Apr 5, 2005 9:29 am (#62 of 138)


Yes, the Troll was out cold, which was a very good thing. I don't think Harry, Ron and Hermione would have been as lucky a second time. However, I think there is a big difference between using a Stupefy curse on a Troll and manufacturing (if that's the right word) a set of magical chess pieces.

The Troll is ... a Troll. It is alive and has the characteristics of a live creature. It eats, sleeps, walks and does those things consistent with creatures that are alive.

The chess set, on the other hand, was not and never will be alive. It was created to have certain characteristics, such as moving to a specific square on command. A second characteristic would be the chess piece's ability to capture some other piece already residing within that square. But, even wizards enjoy a video-game aspect, wherein the pieces actually struggle with each other.

Yet, the game must end. When it does, there must be some mechanism (Reparo, for instance) that will reassemble the pieces and march them onto the correct squares to begin the game anew. I would suspect that this renewal process is initiated the moment the King concedes checkmate.

The Troll, on the other hand, will be out cold until he recovers. Obviously, this depends on the power of the Stunner and the rejuvenating capacity of the Troll. Quirrell himself said that he had unique powers over Trolls. This combined with Voldemort's great power would have been enough to stun even the most robust of Trolls and left it senseless for quite some time.

Finally, we know that our Trio were hot on Quirrell’s heels. For instance, the harp was still playing and Fluffy was still sleeping when they arrived to open the trap door. Later, when Harry arrived to face Quirrell, it appeared that the Professor had only just arrived and was still contemplating the operation of the Mirror of Erised.

So, I think I can draw a differentiation between live beings and animated objects in this instance.



Eponine - Apr 5, 2005 12:32 pm (#63 of 138)

Finally, we know that our Trio were hot on Quirrell’s heels. For instance, the harp was still playing and Fluffy was still sleeping when they arrived to open the trap door. - Joanne R. Reid

Actually, that's movie contamination. In the book, they arrive under the invisibility cloak, and Fluffy is sniffing around, trying to find them. They play the flute that Hagrid gave Harry to put him to sleep.

Joanne R. Reid - Apr 6, 2005 6:58 am (#64 of 138)

Hi, Eponine,

EEK! You're absolutely right. I've been contaminated! :-((

Thank you for diagnosing this horrific malady at such an early stage. It may still be curable.

I shall atone! I shall seal myself in a closed place, far removed from others so that I shall not spread this disease to them. I shall bring with me my trusty tomes ... the canon of our existence. I shall begin the with words, "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number 4, Privet Drive ..." and I shall not terminate my interment until I have read, "...and led the way out of the station toward the sunlit street, with Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and Dudley hurrying along in his wake."

Then, I will be cleansed. I will return into the world, renewed. I will think only pure thoughts. I will eschew the siren call of the cinematic celluloid. I shall just say, "No!"

Than, having atoned for my heresy, I shall seek those who know and understand me. I shall seek out the blessed ones who know and love Harry Potter. I shall seek their forgiveness, knowing in advance that these kindest and most charitable of folk will welcome my return to the fold of the truly enlightened. And, I will once again take up my station as a font of only pure canon.

Until then, fare thee well. Carry on in good spirits. Accio, Half-Blood Prince!


PS. Thanks, Eponine, for the excuse to read them all again. Everyone thinks I'm nuts when I do this. They ask, "Haven't you already read those books already? Why would you want to read them again?" Little do they know! Ha! ;-D

MoonRider - Apr 6, 2005 12:09 pm (#65 of 138)


I forgive you!

Eponine - Apr 6, 2005 1:35 pm (#66 of 138)

Me too! I'm sorry for making you atone yourself. Although, reading the books over isn't really punishment, so you go right ahead.

Joanne R. Reid - Apr 7, 2005 11:18 am (#67 of 138)


Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Yes, it will be a brutal punishment. I shall have to enwrap myself in each and every word. I shall be forced to relive each scene. I shall be required to reread each and every book until I have completed my pilgrimage.

It's a dirty job, but I'm up to it! ;-))


penguin patronus - Apr 10, 2005 6:36 pm (#68 of 138)

I was just thinking: It's said there is no counter spell for Avada Kedavra, but does that also mean that you can't send another one of those back at it and I dunno, like have them explode in mid-air?

Ydnam96 - Apr 10, 2005 7:13 pm (#69 of 138)

Well, I'm not sure about that Penguin Patronus, but you can shield against it, at least I think that's what Dumbledore was doing in the MoM...but then again I thought "Moody" said you couldn't shield against it....hmmmmm can't be both.

Now I'm gonna have to go look it up cause I'm confused.

Choices - Apr 11, 2005 9:57 am (#70 of 138)

The AK cannot be blocked with another spell, but you can get behind something or use an object to keep the AK from hitting you - like Dumbledore did in the MOM.

penguin patronus - Apr 11, 2005 3:58 pm (#71 of 138)

It would be cool if a patronus could block it, or at least get in the way so it wouldn't hit the person. But probably not...

Joanne R. Reid - Apr 12, 2005 9:24 am (#72 of 138)


According to Barty Crouch, Jr., AK is unstoppable. He also states that Harry is the only person who has ever survived AK. So, whatever it is that Harry received from Lily was unique ... or, at least, had never been used before.

However, we now know that AK can be stopped. Again, whatever Lily did was effective. All need to do is determine what it was and "bottle" it. ;-)


Choices - Apr 12, 2005 9:29 am (#73 of 138)
Edited Apr 12, 2005 10:30 am

Technically the AK was not stopped - it actually hit Harry and was deflected back to Voldemort. Something very special and unique happened at that moment, and I doubt if those particular circumstances could be duplicated again.

Joanne R. Reid - Apr 12, 2005 12:08 pm (#74 of 138)
Edited Apr 12, 2005 1:09 pm


Well, something hit Harry, that's for sure. It's equally for certain that Harry survived, albeit scarred for life. And, as far as we know, this is the only time that AK has ever been stopped, deflected, deterred, defeated or whatever without some evident physical barrier or object. Regardless, it did happen.

I would consider it imperative to determine the hows, whys and wherefores of such an occurrence. I would consider it imperative to determine how to duplicate such events, making those unique circumstances commonplace. I would consider it imperative to free the world of the effects of AK forever.

Let us remember that we have cured diseases because we observed unique circumstances that ultimately led to cures. Our modern world exists because we studied seemingly special and unique circumstances until we understood them. Then we recreated those circumstances until they became routine and normal. We overcame doubt, replacing it with certainty.


Ms Amanda - Apr 15, 2005 3:55 am (#75 of 138)

Hmmmm. We've been leaning toward jinxes being malicious, haven't we? But didn't Hermione disagree with that in OoP? She was reading a jinx/anti-jinx book in the Room of Requirement and had a disagreement with Umbridge about jinxes in class.

Ms Amanda - May 22, 2005 11:55 am (#76 of 138)

Ok, so what's the difference between a hex and a jinx?

It seems to me that a hex is harder to remove... I've never heard of a counter-hex.

We have heard of counter-jinxes, though. It seems to me that jinxes are spells used to slow someone down... and a hex is something that actually attacks.

Solitaire - May 22, 2005 4:57 pm (#77 of 138)

Do hexes leave marks? I seem to remember Draco & Co. being "covered in hex marks" on the train. And didn't Harry use a "stinging hex" on Snape during an Occlumency lesson?


hells456 - May 23, 2005 6:38 am (#78 of 138)
Edited May 23, 2005 7:40 am

My thoughts:

Spell = term encompassing all magic performed with a wand.

Enchantment = term encompassing all magic, i.e., potions, spells, charms.

Charm = spells that add properties to objects or people.

Jinx = malicious spells that can be reversed with magic.

Hex = malicious spells that can't be reversed and must wear off in time.

Ms Amanda - May 23, 2005 5:11 pm (#79 of 138)

Hells, why malicious in your definition of jinx? Hermione specifically stands up to Umbridge on this one. For example, isn't it called the Anti-Disapparation jinx?

How about this instead: a jinx and a hex are spells that are used on people, not objects jinxes have the specific job of slowing a person down and have a counter-jinx to remove them hexes have no counter and leave marks

Choices - May 23, 2005 6:23 pm (#80 of 138)
Edited May 23, 2005 7:25 pm

In book one I think it is, Hermione says that Snape is jinxing Harry's broom. A broom is an object.

Just when you think you have it figured out, someone comes along and messes up your theory. LOL Go ahead, I think a dung bomb in my direction would be appropriate.

Ydnam96 - May 24, 2005 7:25 am (#81 of 138)

I think a lot of the terms are vague and can be pretty interchangeable. Hexes and Jinxes are probably usually thought of as malicious even if not all of them are...

Joanne R. Reid - May 24, 2005 8:03 am (#82 of 138)
Edited May 24, 2005 9:05 am


I was just reading GoF. As you remember, Gred and Forge had created Canary Creams. On page 367 of the Scholastic edition:

'Just then, Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a large canary.

'"Oh - sorry, Neville!" Fred shouted over all the laughter. "I forgot - it was the custard creams we hexed --"'

So, a hex in this case was mischievous, and it did wear off almost immediately. So, I'm still as confused as I was.


Ms Amanda - May 24, 2005 10:23 am (#83 of 138)

And I found out, soon after, that in PoA, authorities were concerned that the Firebolt could have had a Hurling Hex put on it. Oops. So my theory is gone, Choices. Thanks for pointing out another instance. Also, hexes must not always leave marks. Of course, if Harry was hurled off a broom, it might leave a mark...

How about: Jinxes and hexes are defensive and offensive spells used to impede or distract an opponent.

Ew! It sounds like a dictionary. Well, it's a start.

hells456 - May 25, 2005 8:08 am (#84 of 138)

I count anti-Disapparation as malicious. I don't think it's really nasty, and I know it's useful for those who are good as well as bad, but in effect, it is not that different from a leg locker curse. Both are used primarily to keep people where you want them. I know it can be used with good intentions, like DD did in the DoM, but it still takes away someone's freedom.

Oh, and I forgot:

Curse = umbrella term that covers jinxes and hexes.

Ms Amanda - May 25, 2005 2:15 pm (#85 of 138)

Well, I think a more precise term might be antagonistic, instead of malicious. Malicious things ARE very nasty and arise from malice (that last bit comes from dictionary.com). Yes, I knew I sounded too much like a dictionary last post, so I checked one for real.

Antagonistic and adversarial moments come during times that might not call for malice. There are often two sides to things.

For example, I doubt that Ginny learned her favorite hex while feeling true malice toward her brothers. Rather, she felt that they were antagonizing her... and she, like many of us, ran out of non-physical ways to communicate her desire for them to cut it out. It might not be nice, but she does not intend to do them REAL harm.

A curse, however, does seem to do mostly harm. I agree that the leg-locker curse takes away freedom. Gee, am I forgetting a useful curse?

Choices - May 25, 2005 5:28 pm (#86 of 138)

Hells - "I count anti-Disapparation as malicious"

I count it as the wizard answer to Muggle handcuffs. LOL

hells456 - May 26, 2005 1:23 am (#87 of 138)

LOL Choices, very true :-)

Ms Amanda, I don't mean the intent of the person casting them must be malicious. I agree that Ginny is probably feeling antagonistic or irritated when she uses them, as I imagine most kids would be. What I was looking at was the nature of the jinxes and hexes, which I think is malicious.

I might sound a bit clearer if I use an example. We all know that the Cruciatus curse is an Unforgivable and using it means an automatic life sentence in Azkaban. Well Harry used this curse on Bellatrix in the MoM in front of Aurors. Why was he never punished in some way? We understand why Harry did it, and that he was angry and didn't really want to cause pain, but Harry's intentions here do not change the fact that the curse was an unforgivable. What I'm trying to say (badly) is that I define spells by their nature and effects, not by the intent of the caster.

Ms Amanda - May 26, 2005 6:22 pm (#88 of 138)

I guess I'll just have to agree to disagree.

I think Harry might not be punished because it wasn't REALLY successful, his Cruciatus curse, because he couldn't form the intent. He couldn't want to cause harm to the extent he needed to make the curse work.

And the problem I realize we've hit is . . . I define a spell's nature by the intent required to cast it.

hells456 - May 27, 2005 1:50 am (#89 of 138)

I don't disagree with you Ms Amanda. I personally think that the important thing is the intent behind the magic. What I was attempting to say was that the wizards don't see it that way.

E.g., in PS McGonagall says something about DD being too noble to use the same magic as Voldemort. Effectively saying it's the actual spells you use that matter, not what you want to achieve with them.

The Unforgivable curses could be used with good intentions, but although the consequences will probably be very different this won't change the fact that the curse was an Unforgivable.

I was trying to define the types of spells as the wizarding world appears to, not according to my personal feelings, which are the same as yours.

Hermionefan(#1) - May 30, 2005 3:37 pm (#90 of 138)

Wow, everything that's been said on here is really interesting, and it all makes since, which means that it all adds up to something that doesn't make sense--does that make sense? Well, quite a while back, Solitaire mentioned Vanishing, I've just been scanning through and skipped some long posts, but I think that Vanished stuff comes back, like in OP, when Bill Vanishes that scroll of parchment at Grimmauld Place. However, Harry's potion certainly did not come back when Hermione Vanished it during that one Potions lesson, when Snape smashed the vial.

My thoughts on the terms--

Curses-- these seem to be harmful in some way.

Jinxes-- kind of the same as hexes, probably kind of like a minor curse.

Hex--pretty much the same as a jinx, just a minor curse, but maybe a little worse than a jinx.

Spell--I think this is mostly just a term to cover every type of magic.

Charm--I think this is sort of like a spell cast on an object, like for making inanimate objects do stuff, like a pineapple tap-dancing, or a teacup growing legs, something like that.

Enchantment-- this is I think kind of a long-term spell, like in Sleeping Beauty, that was an enchantment when everybody had to sleep for 100 years.

Just my thoughts.

Solitaire - May 30, 2005 6:48 pm (#91 of 138)

I have always considered enchantments to be some sort of "obstacle" that can only be broken when someone accomplishes a particular task or act--in other words, when someone finds the "magical key" to whatever "unlocks" the enchantment. Does that make sense?


Ms Amanda - Jul 2, 2005 4:06 pm (#92 of 138)

I figure that there will not be so much of a difference between hexes, jinxes, and charms once the war is on. Maybe none of us will even bat an eye as these teens fling curses.

I think the definition of each magical spell has to do with the situation. I think back to the DA meetings, when the Expelliarmus was first referred to as the disarming spell, then later as a jinx.

Kevin Corbett - Aug 12, 2005 8:00 pm (#93 of 138)
Edited by Aug 12, 2005 9:16 pm

What I thought was strange: conjuring yellow birds out of thin air is transfiguration, but conjuring water ("Aguamenti") is a charm. Hmm...let's see...possibly, conjuring the bird is transfiguration because it creates something with a specific form, like a bird; and water conjuring is a charm because water is a basic substance, rather than a concrete thing.

It's also worth noting that a good deal of jinxes, hexes and curses produce a beam of light. I can't think of any charm that I definitely know to produce a beam of light. Also, if a hex, jinx, or curse (in the form of a light beam at least) doesn't hit a human, it tends to blow up whatever else it hits.

O ho, I think I remembered a charm with a light beam. Isn't "Diffindo", which if I recall correctly is what the D.A. shot at the prophesies in the Dept. of Mysteries? And isn't Diffindo "the severing charm"? Correct me if I'm wrong here.

Choices - Aug 15, 2005 8:32 am (#94 of 138)

I think it's transformation because the birds are living things, whereas it's a charm because the water is an inanimate object. At least, let's hope there is nothing living it. Ugh! LOL

Paulus Maximus - Aug 16, 2005 7:01 am (#95 of 138)

And isn't Diffindo "the severing charm"? Correct me if I'm wrong here.

Not sure what the proper name is for that charm, but yes, Diffindo is pretty good at cutting things apart...

...so I wonder what the difference is between "Diffindo" and "Sectumsempra"...

Sparrowhawk - Aug 16, 2005 3:12 pm (#96 of 138)
Edited Aug 16, 2005 4:13 pm

In Latin, "secare" means "to cut", and "semper" means "always", therefore "Sectumsempra" should mean something like "a permanent cut", a cut that will stay wide open forever...

BTW, wouldn't it be useful for Hogwarts students to get taught some basic Latin (and a few other languages as well, particularly French)? Harry would certainly have avoided using the Sectumsempra curse, had he just listened to a few lessons previously... ;o)

Paulus Maximus - Aug 17, 2005 1:57 pm (#97 of 138)
Edited Aug 17, 2005 2:58 pm

Only, that's not what Sectumsempra does. Snape patched up Malfoy's wounds in a matter of seconds...

Maybe some spells that work well on inanimate objects don't work on flesh. After all, AK, which works frighteningly well on flesh, does not work on inanimate objects...

Ms Amanda - Aug 17, 2005 3:32 pm (#98 of 138)

Or maybe the results of the curse are reparable only with a lot of care. Or only with immediate care.

Snape went right to work on Draco. He also gave directions to repair the wound to be given to Madam Pomfrey. He was concerned there would still be scars.

I think Sparrowhawk is right.

On the other hand, Paulus has a point. Some spells do seem to be intended only for inanimate objects. The theory is that these are called "charms." Then the spells for flesh are considered transfiguration, for the most part. It seems that the charm for flight, Wingardium Leviosa, does not work on beings, since there is not a spell to make wizards fly without the aid of a charmed object. However, some things for charms seem to be solely for people, such as the Cheering Charm.

Paulus Maximus - Aug 17, 2005 6:33 pm (#99 of 138)

It seems that the charm for flight, Wingardium Leviosa, does not work on beings, since there is not a spell to make wizards fly without the aid of a charmed object.

I am reminded of Levicorpus, although the target of that spell isn't really "flying"...

Nevertheless, it seems like Wingardium Leviosa is another of those charms that only works on inanimate objects, or Snape wouldn't have needed to invent Levicorpus.

Of course, Levicorpus is nonverbal (and pretty easy for a nonverbal spell), and Wingardium Leviosa isn't...

Sparrowhawk - Aug 17, 2005 11:08 pm (#100 of 138)
Edited Aug 18, 2005 12:09 am

Paulus Maximus, don't forget also that Snape was the man who invented the Sectumsempra curse - if anyone knew of a counter curse, he would be the one, wouldn't he?

Otherwise, I entirely agree with you that some spells appear intended only for inanimate objects... Surprised)
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"Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc. Empty "Spell" vs. "Hex" vs. "Curse" vs. "Charm", etc. (posts #101 to #138)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:44 am

rambkowalczyk - Aug 26, 2005 6:15 am (#101 of 138)

I don't think Transfiguration applies only to living things. Wasn't the first transfiguration lesson in SS was changing a matchstick to a needle?

Size seems to matter. They always seem to start with small things before doing large things. Therefore Wingardium Leviosa is easier to do on a feather than a human being. Ron was able to use the spell on a club.

Paulus Maximus - Aug 26, 2005 7:45 am (#102 of 138)

And a feather (which Ron couldn't levitate) is much lighter than a club (which he could)...

M A Grimmett - Aug 26, 2005 12:21 pm (#103 of 138)

Ron had a pretty pressing need for the spell to work with the club vs. spending much of the class time in annoyance.

Pinky Prime - Nov 12, 2005 4:38 am (#104 of 138)

Psychic powers may be intentional or unintentional magic. It may enhance or limit the power of usage by the castor. These powers start off as inherent magical ability, then one must learn how to control them.

Scholastic Interview (#1), Feb. 3, 2000:

Q: Also how does the Ministry of Magic find out these kids have powers?

A: The Ministry of Magic doesn't find out which children are magic. In Hogwarts there's a magical quill, which detects the birth of a magical child, and writes his or her name down in a large parchment book. Every year Professor McGonagall checks the book, and sends owls to the people who are turning 11.


DD's Aura of Power (A visible Shimmering)

Trelawney’s Prophesies and the Tarots (Lightning Struck Tower)

Voldemort’s - Possessing animals and people (Wandless Magic Psychic in origin) including his experimentation with spells have a lingering effect on the psyche (Looked at LV's appearance lately?) He may think he’s close to being a snake. For that matter look at Snape!

Harry blowing up Aunt Marge (intentional emotion but not specifically designed by him might be due to the power of his psyche)

Choices - Nov 12, 2005 11:03 am (#105 of 138)

I don't think Snape's looks can be equated with Voldemort's at all. Snape's lack of hygiene (greasy hair, yellow teeth) is a mental thing and his hook-nose the result of genetics, whereas Voldemort's snake-like appearance is a result of his quest for immortality.

SilverMoonLady - Jul 10, 2006 2:34 pm (#106 of 138)

Hope I've got this in the right thread... The Disillusionment charm that Moody uses to 'disguise' Harry on their trip to London, would you agree (from text) that it works on fooling the eyes of both Muggles and wizarding folk? And do you think that something similar is used by the rest of the advance guard?

I mean it would make little sense to hide only Harry, if it's Muggles they are worried about. Then again, maybe it is only Death Eaters they are worried about, and therefore a random group of wizards on brooms could go on unmolested if they didn't have Harry in their midst...



Choices - Jul 10, 2006 5:20 pm (#107 of 138)

SilverMoonLady - "Then again, maybe it is only Death Eaters they are worried about, and therefore a random group of wizards on brooms could go on unmolested if they didn't have Harry in their midst..."

I think that's it.

TheSaint - Jul 10, 2006 8:31 pm (#108 of 138)

I agree it works on both... as Harry saw his body had blend into the background.

SilverMoonLady - Jul 13, 2006 2:33 pm (#109 of 138)

Thank you:) Glad to see I interpreted this reasonably:)

Madame Pomfrey - Jul 19, 2006 10:12 am (#110 of 138)

It is said that Pettigrew killed 13 Muggles with 1 curse. What curse could it have been. Muggles were told it was a gas explosion so it had to be a whopper. Couldn’t have been an A.K. What’s scary is that it's used to mass murder. Will we see this curse again?

Choices - Jul 19, 2006 10:20 am (#111 of 138)

I always thought that maybe he just caused the gas line to explode, killing everyone in the area. The Muggles thought the line had exploded on it's own, but actually Peter caused it.

Madame Pomfrey - Jul 19, 2006 1:50 pm (#112 of 138)

I had mentioned that question on another thread and got about the same answer, so that's probably right, Choices. I was hoping that I had stumbled onto something that we might see happen in book 7.

Choices - Jul 19, 2006 4:17 pm (#113 of 138)

You never know, Madame Pomfrey, we just might. I think book 7 is going to be full of surprises - at least I hope so!! :-)

Anoriell - Jul 20, 2006 8:02 am (#114 of 138)

Hi! I'm new to the forum and on my first posting... hoping I do this right. ;o)

If I may jump into this discussion about spells and such, though my questions may not particularly follow the thread.

Would anyone happen to know for sure, or have an opinion on the following (and I do apologize if it's a repeat question from previous posts as I have read many -VERY interesting- but not all 113 of them; also, sorry if any of you are on the harry_potter LJ forum, where I've recently posted similar questions):

Here goes...

- can a wizard cast any intended spell without the use of his wand **I believe this has been discussed but was any conclusion reached?**

- can a wizard cast any spell without verbalising the incantation (ex: Professor McGonagall casting a Shield Charm without uttering a word)?

- if "yes" to both above questions... then I guess it means that one could cast a "silent" spell without the use of his wand? Now I realise that a student may not be able to achieve this; in fact, I'm sure that most will say that if at all possible, only a powerful wizard/witch could accomplish such a feat (ex: Dumbledore).

- would Lucius Malfoy have had any skills at Legilimency? (I don't recall any mention of this in the books; I'm guessing it'll be more a question of personal opinion... which I'm interested in hearing)

- how long would a Shield Charm last? Is it just for an instant, as a counter-spell to a hex/curse? Or could it be cast beforehand (ex: Dumbledore walks into Borgin & Burkes expecting trouble so he casts the Shield Charm before stepping through the door)? Can a wizard intentionally cast it on himself and another at the same time (ex: same Dumbledore scenario but Harry is along with him and he shields him as well)?

- while we're on the Shield Charm subject... does it work against any magic? Even Imperius or Cruciatus? Except, the AK, of course.

- any idea what the process of creating a portkey entails? is it just a quick spell (Portus)? could it be done without the others in the vicinity ever knowing (that is, if they don't notice the object in question glowing blue and trembling briefly before returning to its normal appearance -got that last bit on the HP Lexicon-)? I realise that the caster must be authorized to turn anything into a portkey... but if he had authorization from the Ministry (or Dumbledore, at the least) to do so, can it be done in an emergency situation (ex: Lupin having to get himself and Harry out of Death Eaters' grasps quickly... so he turns something into a portkey, having had the authorisation to do whatever necessary in order to get Potter out of the enemy's hands)? or perhaps an alternative would be to have Lupin (as per my example) carry a portkey at all times... though I guess it would have to be something that one does not touch by accident so as to avoid being transported left and right at any accidental brush of said item?

- can a wizard simply resist the Imperius curse? or would he have to counterspell in order to not be affected by it?

Thank you in advance for those who will take the time to reply. Your input/opinions are most appreciated. I may be back with more questions, if it's all right with everyone.



N.B. I've only read the books once, and it has been a while. Hence, forgive me if any of these questions are easily answered by the books' contents; I've simply forgotten, else I wouldn't ask. On a positive note, I just started re-reading them t-h-o-r-o-u-g-h-l-y.Surprised)

haymoni - Jul 20, 2006 8:44 am (#115 of 138)
Edited Jul 20, 2006 9:45 am


My first reaction to the wandless/silent magic is that Dumbledore could probably do it. I'm guessing Snape & Minerva could also. I agree that a student probably couldn't but probably could after years of practice.

I think Lucius would be good at closing his mind for the same reasons JKR gave us for Draco being good at it. He's shut down certain emotions. I don't know how well he'd do "reading" other people. We don't really know how powerful Lucius is, however.

I agree on the portkey - you wouldn't want to accidentally touch it - "Whoops! I did it again!" But I think there is something to the Ministry watching all these portkeys. I don't think they have a problem with wizards using them. I think it may be more of a concern that a Muggle may find it.

We are told that there is nothing to block the AK - if there was a spell to block "Imperio", then I think Moody/Barty would have told it to Harry instead of making him throw it off repeatedly. I don't know about Crucio - seems like you might be in so much pain, it would be hard to concentrate on a spell.

Anoriell - Jul 20, 2006 10:11 am (#116 of 138)

Hi Haymoni!

I, too, would personally think that wizards/witches such as Dumbledore, Snape, Minerva... Voldemort and other powerful DEs COULD do spells without their wands and without uttering a word. Unless, that is, the books state otherwise?!

I didn't remember that bit about Draco being good at closing his mind; hmmmm... interesting. And it's true, we really have no idea how powerful Lucius really is; we've been pretty much kept in the dark about him, haven't we? In my own little world of imagination and fantasy, I like to think of him as Snape's match (in wizardry and the dark arts). In fact, I would've loved to have them face-off in Book 7! But, that's surely wishful thinking.

Regarding portkeys, yeah, apparently the Ministry keeps a tab on all of them... and you need their authorization to create one. Loved your "Whoops! I did it again!" comment; priceless!

So Harry resisted "Imperio" before? Why can't I remember that?! Must be age. ::chuckles:: Ok, when does this happen? So basically, if Lucius were to attempt to put an Imperius Curse on Snape or McGonagall, either could have a chance to throw it off if they saw it coming? Sort of? Or maybe some form of instinctive immunity to it? Or, yet again, in relation to my question about Shield Charms, could a wizard who's under the protection of a Shield Charm be unaffected by the Imperius Curse? Yet the caster of Imperio did not know it backfired?

Yeah... I'm stubborn and persevering.

Thanks so much for your input. Surprised)

Choices - Jul 20, 2006 10:16 am (#117 of 138)

Good answers Haymoni - I agree with all you're said.

I tend to think that Lucius' power is not so much magical as it is financial and old family. I am sure he is an adequate wizard, but I doubt he is in Snape or Minerva's league - he could be, but we have certainly seen no evidence of it. He appears to use coercion or just verbal threats more than magic.

haymoni - Jul 20, 2006 10:18 am (#118 of 138)

When Fake Moody was showing them the Imperius Curse, Harry almost threw it off and then Moody made him do it over & over again until he could.

When he was in the graveyard, he just shut Voldy right up when he yelled, "No!" - I think it was when he was trying to make Harry bow.

Something more permanent must be available with the Shield Charm, because I'm guessing that is what Fred & George used on their Shield Cloaks. They wouldn't be worth very much if they were a 1 shot deal.

I believe the comment about Draco being good at closing his mind is in the Emerson/Melissa interview with JKR. There was a thread on that interview somewhere on the Forum.

Anoriell - Jul 20, 2006 10:34 am (#119 of 138)

Hiya Choices!

You know, part of me believes that too about Lucius... that he's more a man of influence, with financial power, and a supporter of pure-blood dominancy. Not a wizarding genius.

But then, the "creative writer" part of my brain tends to think that it's just too easy. There's gotta be more to it. I mean, he's a Malfoy! What you see can't be what you get! He's just too cowardly; an adult bully! So I'm hoping that such a lack of evidence (as to his wizarding powers) is precisely there to fool us until we discover his true nature... the layers and complexities of his dark character. And a match for the likes of Snape and Minerva. ;o)

::rolls eyes:: In my dreams! But considering that they're mine (dreams), I'll keep enjoying such a colorful theory.

Anoriell - Jul 20, 2006 10:37 am (#120 of 138)

Thanks for pointing me towards the sources Haymoni! I'll check it out. Surprised)

Gina R Snape - Oct 31, 2006 11:05 am (#121 of 138)

Well it looks like JKR has given us an answer to this question about the differences!

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Finn BV - Oct 31, 2006 5:24 pm (#122 of 138)

As I was reading her response I wonder if we had any influence over it? Thanks, Jo!

S.E. Jones - Oct 31, 2006 6:43 pm (#123 of 138)

I was wondering the same thing, Finn. We asked the question of what the difference was on Oct 26 on the 'Eileen Prince' thread and got the answer Oct 31 on her site.... Weird....

Jo... are you there?....

wynnleaf - Oct 31, 2006 7:35 pm (#124 of 138)

Yes, I saw this, too. So now we know that a curse is reserved for the worst kinds of dark magic. Okay, all well and good, but what was going on when JKR labeled some spells "curses," and allowed some of her good characters to use them? I'm thinking of things like impediment and body bind.

Finn BV - Oct 31, 2006 7:39 pm (#125 of 138)

Perhaps those two can be used for darker things, but in some contexts they're acceptable? I dunno - may be another slip of the finger.

S.E. Jones - Oct 31, 2006 7:46 pm (#126 of 138)

Well, she pointed out that hexes are just sorta annoying, though funny, so I see curses as being something that, in and of itself, is simply more than simply annoying and could easily be dangerous or somehow impedes something "good" like the person's free will. If you look at the full body-bind, it takes away the victim's free will to move. The person is now completely at the caster's mercy. Look at what Draco did to Harry while he was frozen on the train, he could sit there and do anything to Harry and there was nothing Harry could do to stop him. That seems pretty dark to me. I don't think we have to go as far as the Cruciatus to define something as "dark".

Here was the full text of her definitions, as it hasn't been posted here yet:

Spell Definitions

Every now and then somebody asks me for the difference between a spell, a charm and a hex. Within the Potter world, the boundaries are flexible, and I imagine that wizards may have their own ideas. Hermione-ish, however, I’ve always had a working theory:


The generic term for a piece of magic.


Does not fundamentally alter the properties of the subject of the spell, but adds, or changes, properties. Turning a teacup into a rat would be a spell, whereas making a teacup dance would be a charm. The grey area comes with things like 'Stunning Spells', which on balance I think are Charms, but which I call spells for alliterative effect.


Has a connotation of dark magic, as do jinxes, but of a minor sort. I see 'hex' as slightly worse. I usually use 'jinx' for spells whose effects are irritating but amusing.


Reserved for the worst kinds of dark magic.

wynnleaf - Oct 31, 2006 7:49 pm (#127 of 138)

I agree. But JKR also had one of the Marauders (James or Sirius) use what looks like a body bind on Snape in the pensieve scene. And I'm fairly sure I recall Harry or friends using impedimenta. Is JKR just making mistakes about what she calls a curse, hex, jinx, etc. or is she trying to say something else?

Just checking some. Harry and DA members have used Impedimenta, Reductor, and full body bind (Petrificus Totalus). James used Impedimenta on Snape in OOTP pensieve scene, and even DD probably used the body bind on Harry in HBP.

S.E. Jones - Oct 31, 2006 9:50 pm (#128 of 138)

From my post on the Eileen Prince thread (see this multiple discussions thing is why we try to group discussions into a single thread, it makes it easier):

It's probably due to either a slip of the quill or to the spell originating in a dark manner (I find the sheer idea of a spell that can render a person completely at the mercy "dark") but could be used in lighter ways and so, over time, became seen as lighter than it was originally intended.

Laura W - Nov 1, 2006 2:08 am (#129 of 138)

"If you look at the full body-bind, it takes away the victim's free will to move. The person is now completely at the caster's mercy. Look at what Draco did to Harry while he was frozen on the train, he could sit there and do anything to Harry and there was nothing Harry could do to stop him. That seems pretty dark to me." (SE Jones)

Which makes me feel rather uncomfortable about the 12-year-old Hermione using Petrificus Totalus on her friend Neville (even though we know it was a necessary(?) move in order to get past Neville and retrieve the Philosopher's Stone and keep Quirrellmort from getting it). Hmm. I really am getting confused about all this.

We know that the Dark Arts are not taught at Hogwarts, as they are at Durmstrang. Although the fake Moody *did* show the kids the Unforgivables with Dumbledore's permission. But they would not be taught how to do those curses, right? However, all the other spells one might consider kind of dark - I told you I'm confused - *are* taught as defence against the dark arts. This includes the Stunning Spell, the Full-Body Bind, etc. Not to mention all those nasty spells that the students use against each other, such as growing tentacles out of the face, elongating teeth, vomiting slugs, excessive bleeding, enlarged noses, etc. (Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle resembled nothing so much as three giant slugs squeezed into Hogwarts uniform ... OoP).

So, if you use a not very nice - but legal - jinx or hex which is taught at Hogwarts or found in Hogwarts textbooks, is that considered using a dark art?

(Things were so much easier when I thought of the Unforgivables as being the only three actual Dark Arts - which would land one in Azkaban for life and quite rightly so -, and all the other hexes and jinxes as the equivalent of a fist fight or even beating someone up. Sigh)


S.E. Jones - Nov 1, 2006 2:47 am (#130 of 138)

The Hogwarts students are taught the Dark Arts, although it is for the purpose of knowing what you're fighting against. Remember the restricted section where books like Magick Most Evile are shelved? The book with the Polyjuice Potion in it contained pictures of people in horrible pain, so it would seem it contained some dark things as well. I'm still thinking that some things are no longer considered as "dark" despite the intent with which they were created. Of course, it's also very possible that JKR made one slip of the quill in one chapter in one book which labelled a spell as a "curse" which was not originally intended as such and we've therefore labelled it evermore as "curse".

You know, I looked at all the Lexicon's citations under the Full Body-Bind and it was called the "Body-Bind Curse" in PS (17, p306, US) and the "Freezing Charm" in HBP (27, p584, US). Other than that we see it called the "full Body-Bind" by Hermione along with the incantation "Petrificus Totalus" in PS (16, p273, US) and just the incantation in OP (35, p792, US), HBP (7, p153; 28, p597). So, are the Freezing Charm and the Full Body-bind and the Body-bind Curse all the same spell or three separate spells?....

Laura W - Nov 1, 2006 3:50 am (#131 of 138)

"The Hogwarts students *are* taught the Dark Arts, although it is for the purpose of knowing what you're fighting against."

"... are taught the Dark Arts." I would say rather, "are taught *about* the Dark Arts." Significant difference.

That book is in the restricted section of the library for a reason. At Durmstrang, it would be a mandatory textbook. I think Jo makes this point deliberately because of how she wants her readers to view Hogwarts and, by extension, Dumbledore.

GoF, Chapter 11, p.147 (Cdn. Ed.): (Draco) "Father says Durmstrang takes a far more sensible line than Hogwarts about the Dark Arts. Durmstrang students actually *learn* them, not just the defence rubbish we do ..."

And then again, it depends on how dark the arts have to be to be considered Dark Arts (Unforgivables aside), which brings us back full circle.


Chemyst - Nov 1, 2006 5:22 am (#132 of 138)

S.E. Jones thought my post on the Eileen Prince (aka Madam Pince Is Snape's Mum) would also fit over here:

Most spells seem to be tools in the same way that money is a tool. You can use galleons to buy medicine to save a life or you can use sickles to buy poison to take a life. Would you call a knut "dark" when it is spent at Borgin & Burkes? Not necessarily.

I think it goes a step past mere "intent" to how it is put into practice.

Since I'm reposting anyway, I'll add what I restrained myself from writing over there because it would have been even further off-topic:

Apparently JKR allows relatively harmless spells to be called curses for alliterative purposes if they 'kontain' a "k" sound, or rather dark spells to be called charms if it sounds good with the consonant team of "ch."

By the way, there are about 382 English words with the "ch" as in charm, (as opposed to 146 having the Greek derived chaos, or 40 with the French parachute )

* Reference: The ABC's and All Their Tricks by Margaret M. Bishop ñ numbers based on the Hanna Research Project

wynnleaf - Nov 1, 2006 7:22 am (#133 of 138)

Impedimenta is called both a curse and a jinx, but it seems to do the same thing regardless.

Body bind (which I can't reach on the Lexicon right now -- too busy??), appears, regardless what the names, to achieve the same of two results. The person is either frozen like Petrificus Totalus, or bound as though with invisible cords. Maybe it's the same effect, just described differently, I don't know.

But we see it used by both supposedly bad characters and good characters, and not necessarily for correspondingly good or bad reasons.

But with JKR saying this is Dark Arts, it makes me wonder where she's ultimately going with the books and what perhaps she may eventually say about her characters on the side of the Order.

She's definitely had Harry attempt an unforgiveable, even though unsuccessfully. She has written the Trio, the twins, and other "good guys" engaging in ethically very questionable behavior which we argue about here on the Forum. I wonder if her allowing her good characters to use curses, and just now telling us all curses are dark arts, is going to play a part in what she wants to say in Book 7.

S.E. Jones - Nov 1, 2006 5:40 pm (#134 of 138)
Edited Nov 3, 2006 3:53 am

Laura W. --"... are taught the Dark Arts." I would say rather, "are taught *about* the Dark Arts." Significant difference.--

That's more what I meant, Laura W.

wynnleaf --Impedimenta is called both a curse and a jinx, but it seems to do the same thing regardless.... She's definitely had Harry attempt an unforgiveable.... I wonder if her allowing her good characters to use curses, and just now telling us all curses are dark arts, is going to play a part in what she wants to say in Book 7.--

I always kinda figured the reasons the Unforgivables were unforgivable is that they can't be used in a good way. Sectumsempra (think I spelt that right) can be used to slash a person's face, which I think we would all agree is definitely in the "dark" category, but it could also potentially be used to defend against an attacker (human or animal) or to cut something (fruit, firewood, whatever), which isn't so dark. (Dumb example, I know, but just follow me with this for a minute.) The Unforgivables are purely dark, in my opinion. Maybe where she's going is that spells, like people, can be white, black and grey (I know people are tired of my color analogies, but stay with me). The black hats are "black" because their ends justify their means (so they can do whatever they want to reach their goals). The white hats are "white" because they realize that the "greater good" isn't just an ending product but is made up of all the "little goods" along the way, therefore it is the means that justifies the ends. Someone who is grey, neither one nor the other, can deviate from the "white" path and use a mean that is not wholly justifiably as long as he redeems himself somehow. Now, how this would apply to the spells. I think JKR is trying to show us that something like the AK is wholly dark and thus can't be used by the "white hats" (Harry's one attempt didn't succeed because he doesn't have it in him to really want to hurt someone), but they can use a spell that is grey (the Full body-bind is referred to as both the "body-bind curse" and a "freezing charm") as long as it isn't used in a malicious manner (Hermione uses Petrificus Totalus on Neville so they can save the Stone and Dumbledore uses it to prevent Harry from being harmed on the tower top, etc., but Harry couldn't use it to freeze someone so he could push them through the veil more easily). Basically, I think it is an affirmation of the ethics and morality that her books and characters are comprised of.


wynnleaf --Body bind (which I can't reach on the Lexicon right now -- too busy??), appears, regardless what the names, to achieve the same of two results. The person is either frozen like Petrificus Totalus, or bound as though with invisible cords.--

I don't believe the spell that uses Petrificus Totalus (which causes the body to freeze and become rigid) and the spell that binds the victim with ropes from a wand are the same spell.

wynnleaf - Nov 1, 2006 6:13 pm (#135 of 138)


I think I would agree with you prior to yesterday. But her quote below, to me, is contrary to that.

Curses are "Reserved for the worst kinds of dark magic."

It's the "reserved" that gets me. What she seems to be saying on her website is that when we see "curse" we're seeing "the worst kinds of dark magic."

So when JKR has a good character use a "curse," according to her comment yesterday, that person is using the "worst kinds of dark magic," because otherwise she wouldn't have had that character use a "curse."

I mean, she either "reserved" the word "curse" for the "worst kinds of Dark magic," or she did not reserve it for that -- instead, she also uses curse for magic that is not the "worst kinds of Dark magic." But according to her comments yesterday, when she uses "curse" she just means "the worst kinds of dark magic," and that's all.

Now in light of that, I think her use of curses in the hands of good guys has to be considered either 1. an oversight or 2. an intentional use of "the worst kinds of dark magic" from a good guy. Because JKR did not in her comments distinguish between "gray" curses and "the worst kinds of dark magic."

S.E. Jones - Nov 1, 2006 7:34 pm (#136 of 138)

I see what you mean, but she also says that it's a working definition and that "the boundaries are flexible, and I imagine that wizards may have their own ideas" which, to me, says that she might unintentionally call something a curse once in one book and we, being the crazed fans that we are, tend to apply it to the thing forevermore.

While I still feel the full Body-bind is "dark", I looked up all the citations the Lex gives and it was only ever called a "curse" once, by Harry (and we don't have any proof that the "full body-bind" that Hermione uses is the same spell as it is only mentioned in relation to how someone appears, we're not actually seeing the spell), in PS. It's also called a "Freezing Charm" in HBP and is otherwise simply referred to with the incantation. She could easily have made a mistake (in her first book) that we are trying to hold her to several books later.

TheSaint - Nov 7, 2006 1:33 am (#137 of 138)

wynnleaf -Now in light of that, I think her use of curses in the hands of good guys has to be considered either 1. an oversight or 2. an intentional use of "the worst kinds of dark magic" from a good guy. Because JKR did not in her comments distinguish between "gray" curses and "the worst kinds of dark magic."

I think by stipulating that 'I imagine that wizards may have their own ideas' indicates the 'gray area' is different for each one of them (as it is for us) depending upon circumstances and their own experiences. If intent is the definition, then James using a Full-Body Bind on Snape with the intent of preventing him from retrieving his wand as opposed to serious bodily injury would perhaps place that 'curse' in the gray area for him.

If Harry is the only one that has ever referenced it as a 'curse' and he said it in the first year we may have to chalk it up to 'rookie mistake.' It was his first year, he didn't know squat about the magical world and his definition would seem to be unreliable.

Solitaire - Nov 25, 2006 12:16 pm (#138 of 138)

Regarding the body bind curses ... Incarcerous is a spell that causes ropes to materialize out of thin air and bind someone. Umbridge used it on Magorian when she went into the forest with Hermione and Harry ... right before the Centaurs broke her wand and carried her away.

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