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The Harry Potter Canon

"My own brother, Aberforth, was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat.

-- Albus Dumbledore (GF24)

Charms are a type of magic spell concerned with enchanting an object to behave in a way that isn’t normal for that object. For example, the Summoning Charm brings an object to the caster. Charms is also something of a catch-all for spells that aren’t Transfiguration (spells that change the inherent nature of an object). In some sense, if a spell isn’t Transfiguration, it’s probably a Charm.

References from the canon

  • A Charm adds properties to an object or creature, while Transfiguration changes the object or creature into something else (Pm).
  • Curses, jinxes and hexes are known as Dark Charms, and therefore not included in The Standard Book of Spells 1 by Miranda Goshawk (Pm).
  • This is not to say that regular Charms are weaker magic; a well-chosen Charm is a powerful magical tool against curses, jinxes, and hexes. Professor Flitwick, the Hogwarts Charms teacher, was rumored to have once been a duelling champion, after all (CS11).
  • Many of the early charms learned by young wizards can be broken easily, and wear off within hours or days (Pm).
  • Creatures of a large size such as trolls have thick skin which can repel charms (Pm). This fact probably applies to giants and dragons as well.
  • A Charm might cause something to flash different colors. It might cause an object to levitate or even fly through the air. Charms can make a person laugh or dance or even create a bubble of breathable air around a person's head. In all of these cases, the object or the person doesn't really change, they just do something unexpected.
  • Some Charms can be extremely powerful. The Fidelius Charm, for example, can completely hide a person or a place in such a way that no one can find them unless they are given the location by a Secret Keeper (PA10). Memory Charms can be so strong that they completely remove a person's memory or even damage his or her mind permanently (CS16).

Charms classes at Hogwarts

      • First Year:
        Hallowe'en: started Wingardium Leviosa
        Exam: make a pineapple dance across the desk
      • Second Year:
        During Duelling Club Snape taught the Disarming Charm
      • Third Year:
        Cheering Charms
        In private lessons, Lupin taught Harry the Patronus Charm
      • Fourth Year:
        Summoning Charm
        Banishing Charm
      • Fifth Year
        Silencing Charms
        Create legs on teacups
        O.W.L.: Colour Change Charms, Summoning Charms
      • Sixth Year
        Aguamenti

Charms Spells

    • Alohomora Charm
    • Anti-Cheating Charms
    • Anti-Gravity Mist
    • Armour-Bewitching Charm
    • Atmospheric Charm
    • Banishing Charm
    • Bird-Conjuring Charm
    • Bond of Blood
    • Braking Charm
    • Bubble-Head Charm
    • Caterwauling Charm
    • Charm To Cure Reluctant Reversers, A
    • Cheering Charm
    • Colour Change Charm
    • Concealment Charm
    • Confundus Charm
    • crop-related charms
    • Cushioning Charm
    • Defensive Charm
    • Disarming Charm
    • Disillusionment Charm
    • Drought Charm
    • Engorgement Charm
    • Fidelius Charm
    • Fixing Charm
    • Flame-Freezing Charm
    • Flashing Paint Charm
    • Freezing Charm
    • Gripping Charm
    • grooming charms
    • Growth Charm
    • Hair-Thickening Charm
    • Hardening Charm
    • Homorphus Charm
    • Horton-Keitch Braking Charm
    • hot air charm
    • Hover Charm
    • Imperturbable Charm
    • Invisibility Charm
    • knitting charm
    • Levitation Charm
    • Locomotion Charms
    • Memory Charm
    • Mending Charm
    • Muggle-Repelling Charm
    • Obliteration Charm
    • Patronus Charm
    • Permanent Sticking Charm
    • Peskipiksi Pesternomi
    • Protean Charm
    • Revealing Charm
    • Scarpin's Revelaspell
    • Scouring Charm
    • Severing Charm
    • Shield Charm
    • Shrinking Charm
    • Silencing Charm
    • Slug-Vomiting Charm
    • Softening Charm
    • Stunning Spell / Stupefying Charm
    • Substantive Charm
    • Summoning Charm
    • Supersensory Charm
    • Talon-Clipping Charms (dragon care)
    • Tickling Charm
    • The Trace
    • Unbreakable Charm
    • Undetectable Extension Charm
    • Unlocking Charm
    • Wand-Extinguishing Charm
    • Wand-Lighting Charm
    • Water-Making Spell

Commentary

Etymology

"to recite or cast a magic spell," from Old French charmer

Notes

When asked which teaching post at Hogwarts she would most like to teach, Rowling responded, "Oh I think definitely Charms - I see that as the most imaginative bit of magic because you're adding properties to an object." (Nr)

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