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Encyclopedia of Spells

Offensive and Defensive Magic

A wide variety of spells can be used as an attack, depending on the creativity of the caster. For example, an Aguamenti spell could be used to send a jet of water at an attacker, knocking them off their feet. The spells on these lists, however, are those which seem to be specifically designed to be used offensively in combat.

The relative strength of each spell depends to a large part on the inherent power and ability of the witch or wizard casting it (GF14). The caster's frame of mind and intention also seem to have a definite effect on the results of the spell. Some spells are themselves more potent than others. The Avada Kedavra curse, for example, is far more dangerous than a simple Sponge-Knees Curse. However, extremely powerful spells are beyond the ability of most witches and wizards (GF14).

Spells which conjure or animate objects can be used effectively in both an offensive and defensive capacity. McGonagall's use of a spell to animate the castle's statues during the Battle of Hogwarts is a good example of this. Those kinds of spells aren't included in this list since the conjured or animated object wouldn't have to be used for attacking. However, the Oppugno spell is specifically intended to direct such an attack, as we see when Hermione conjures a flock of birds (probably using the Avis spell), then orders them to attack Ron when he comes by with Lavender Brown a few moments later (HBP14).

(Note: Some of these are given specifically as "curses" or "hexes," but all curses and hexes aren't listed here since they aren't all used offensively in combat.)

The following spells are used in duelling and attacking:

The following offensive spells aren't canon (in other words, aren't known to have been created by J.K. Rowling herself). They come from the video games and films:

As with offensive spells, many spells can be used as a defense by an imaginative witch or wizard. For example, Hermione used Duro to cause a tapestry to turn hard as stone, injuring some Death Eaters who ran into it immediately thereafter (DH32). Some defensive spells are used as a preventative measure, not in combat; these are listed separately.

The spells on this list are used for defense during spell combat:

These spells are used to set up defenses and protections, but not during combat:

These spells are used for healing and undoing the damage from or effects of a spell attack:

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Original page date 16 June 2012; Last page update 16 June 2012SVA