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And another essay . . . the physics of magic

I’m just trying to make up for lost time over my busy holiday season! Here’s another great essay, this one by Dr. Immo Garrn, adapted from a presentation he made at the offsitePatronus conference in Copenhagen during the Summer of 2006 about the physics of magic.

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  • Jake

    Thanks for that great essay, very interesting.

  • Rob C

    I like the analogy of a wand acting like an antenna, used for focusing the energy of the wizard and the incantation. The wand is nothing more than a tool. Accomplished wizards don’t need wands for all spells; neither Quirrell nor Snape were using wands during the Quidditch match in Book One (PS11). If a Muggle were to find a wand, even if he knew what it was, he would be able to use if for no more than just a stick. As much as a radio will still work without an antenna any wizard can still perform magic without a wand, no matter how untrained the wizard is. An example would be when young wizards like Harry (who at the time didn’t even know he was a wizard) performed magic at the zoo in book one without training or a wand(PS2).
    The more skilled a wizard becomes the better he can perform magic without the use of tools. The wand is a tool, the motion of the wand is a tool, and the incantation is a tool. The concentration by the wizard is the real skill involved.

  • Moony

    In the nineties, I saw a film about Merlin and King Arthur, told from the perspective of Merlin. Map was the bad witch, and in a strange way she was the mother of Merlin (that was what I understood). Now to the point: at a certain moment, Merlin got lessons in magic: his tutor told him there were three levels of magic: 1 using a incantation and wand; 2using the incantation 3 only thinking of what you want. It’s possible I messed the things up. But I remember there are three levels. I think, Rowling has this in mind when she’s speaking about non-verbal spells e.d. Remember what I posted earlier about blind born wizards or witches (cf. essay about Snape using legilimency all the time).

  • John D.

    i love the essays that deal with the workings of magic! I dont know if jk thought as much as we have about it, though

  • Spies Like Us

    I too like the antenna theory, but I question how far a witch or wizard can go without having a wand. Is this a case in which the complexity of the magic that can be performed wandlessly is proportional to the strength of the witch or wizard? Or are there some spells that can never be performed wandlessly, even by the most advanced spellcaster? I find it hard to imagine someone saying “lumos” without using a wand and having the light come out of his or her hands or eyes. Still, I think this is a very interesting topic and one that merits further discussion.

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