Harry Potter Spells And What They Do

The Harry Potter series captured the attention and imaginations of readers of all ages. The series also served to cast “witchcraft and wizardry” in a whole new light. Many young people enjoyed re-enacting the various Harry Potter spells, and many still do. Following is a short list of some of the more interesting spells from the Harry Potter series, so Everyone: wands at the ready!

First up, how about the spell Accio? Although the two times it was used in the Goblet of Fire were memorable, it is a seriously underused spell. Accio is used to bring an object to the caster. Harry uses it twice, first while trying to escape his dragon by summoning his broom, thereby saving his life and winning the challenge. The second time was to summon the port key after the epic duel with Voldemort, during which Cedric is killed. It is hard to believe that this spell does not get used more often.

Sectum Sempra
 will cause lacerations to appear on the target as if the target had been cut by a sword. This one is interesting in that the effects are so specific. Not deep or life-threatening, the cuts are mainly meant to frighten the target, or so it would seem. Harry uses this spell against Draco in The Half Blood Prince, and attempts to also use it on Snape at the end of the same movie. You have to wonder if it was just the only one he could bring to mind at the time or if he really believed it would cause more damage than it did. Either way, there were many other spells that would have been relatively harmless but much more effective.

The spell Obliviate is another rarely used but interesting spell. This spell is used to erase the target’s memories of the caster. It is easy to understand why this spell is rarely used, as it is also quite unspecific. A lot of problems can be caused by wiping someone’s memories. In Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy attempts to use Obliviate on Harry and Ron using Ron’s broken wand, resulting in an epic and hilarious fail. The next time we see it used is by Hermione in The Deathly Hallows Part 1, first on her parents before the students leave on their quest, which borders on an evil trick to play. The next time is on some death eaters in a coffee shop. Apparently, Hermione “tweaked” the spell before casting it on her parents, allowing her to eventually reverse it.

Another little-used spell is Evanesca, which causes the target to dissolve away immediately as if it never existed. Well, that could explain why it is rarely used! However, you have to wonder at the evil characters in the series not using this spell more often on the heroes. It was most notably used by Snape in the Chamber of Secrets to get rid of the snake during Harry and Draco’s duel. That snake was conjured by Draco’s use of the Serpensortia spell which, of course, creates a snake! One has to wonder what prompted the creation of THAT spell!

Finally, we come to the pick of this list, Imperio. This spell is one of the three Unforgivable Curses, and for good reason. Imperio grants the caster complete control over the target. Naturally, this could be quite problematic and carries a heavy penalty for its use.

The fake Alastor Moody uses this spell during his Defense Against the Dark Arts class in the Goblet of Fire. Of course, he uses it only on an insect, thereby escaping any penalty, but all the students are shaken by the example, nonetheless.

One must again wonder why it is not used more often by the antagonists of the series. True, it is labeled “Unforgivable”, but if they are already inclined to the dark arts, that fact should not concern them that much.

Of the many Harry Potter spells you read about in the books and saw in the movies, there are quite a few that do extreme damage or protect casters from unfriendly spells. It begs the question: With all the spells for protection available, how did ANY of them die or get injured during the final, epic battle at Hogwarts? You may expect them to have had the power to protect themselves better. This, to me, is one of the greatest pieces of Harry Potter trivia. Alas, we may never know.