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Encyclopedia of Spells

"Swish and flick, remember, swish and flick. And saying the magic words properly is very important too -"
-- Professor Flitwick (PS10)

"Small wonder that spell means both a story told, and a formula of power over living men."
    - J.R.R. Tolkien, "Origins", from "On Fairy Stories"

Each spell is listed along with a description of the effects, the etymology of the incantation used, and notes from the books telling when and how the spell was used. NOTE: In case anyone might possibly wonder, JKR has stated very clearly that the magic in the books is completely invented by her for the stories. So no, these aren't real spells by any means.

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Spells by category:

And by popular request, we also catalog spells from the films and games, but as a separate section of the Encyclopedia of Spells.

NOTES: It is very difficult to create a complete catalog of the spells and magical effects in the Harry Potter saga. Canon sources are inconsistent in the naming of spells and in mentioning their components and use. Magic is so pervasive in the Wizarding world that many spells are cast non-verbally. It is not clear if these magical effects are separate spells or simply variations of others. For example, when McGongall uses her wand to slit open a letter, it seems likely that she is using the Severing Charm non-verbally. Some spells are only named with their incantation (e.g. Sectumsempra). Others, such as Stupefy, are refered to by a number of different names (Stunner, Stunning Spell, Stupefy, "flash of red light", and so on). Some spell effects are very similar (e.g. Rictusempra and Titillando). Magical effects might be called "spell," "charm," "hex," "jinx," or "curse" with no clear reason why one is different than the other.

In the Lexicon's spell encyclopedia, each spell will be named primarily by its English name (e.g. Levitation Charm). All the information about that spell will be found in that entry. The incantation for the spell ("Alohomora" for the Levitation Charm) will also be listed, since many will look up the spell using that term, and that entry will provide a link to the primary entry. Where the English name of a spell is not known, the primary entry will be that of the incantation (e.g. Delitrius). Every attempt will be made to avoid creating new names which are not canon (so we will not call Delitrius the Deleting Spell, since no such name is given in the canon). However, there may be entries which will discuss possible names for spells based on strong canon evidence, but these non-canon suggestions will not be used as separate entries (see the entry for Serpensortia, for example). When no name or incantation is given, the spell will be given a non-canon name for the purposes of listing in the encyclopedia.

Several canon sources for spells information have appeared besides the books themselves. In each case, they are known to be written by Rowling and are therefore to be considered official. Those sources are:

The Book of Spells (augmented reality video game)

Spell books on Pottermore:

Each of these sources provides the names and incantations for a number of basic spells. The information is relatively consistent between sources. Several of these spells appeared previously in video games and the Trading Card Game, but until now were not considered to be canon because it was impossible to verify their source.

Please note that the films and video games are NOT considered to be canon sources of information because many of the spells in them were not invented by Rowling.

The Encyclopedia of Spells will continue to be a work in progress as new canon material becomes available. The goal of the Lexicon is to provide the most complete information possible while staying within the canon created by Rowling herself.

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Original page date 27-December-2000; Last page update 5 January 2014 SVA