"Stand back! ... Alohomora!"
-- Hermione Granger, rescuing Sirius Black from Professor Flitwick's Office on the seventh floor, thirteenth window from the right of the West Tower (PA21)
The Unlocking Charm is a charm that causes a locked door to open.
History and Notes
- The Unlocking Charm was invented in Africa (the origin of the incantation word is from the country of Madagascar (SDNY)). It was brought to Britain in the early 1600s by a wizard thief named Eldon Elsrikle (BoS1).
- Earlier unlocking spells were much more violent, resulting in damage to the lock ("Portaberto") or to the entire door ("Open Sesame") (BoS1)
References from the canon
- Hermione used this spell to let herself, Ron, and Harry into the forbidden third floor corridor during their first year (PS9).
- This spell wouldn't work on the door requiring the winged key in the chamber guarding the Philosopher's Stone (PS16).
- Hermione used this spell on Flitwick's window when she, Harry, and Buckbeak rescued Sirius (PA21).
- This spell is needed to open the door of the Janus Thickey ward in St. Mungo's, presumably so that Healers and visitors can get in and out easily, but mentally confused patients lacking wands cannot (OP23).
- Harry assumed that Umbridge's office door had been bewitched so that this spell wouldn't work (OP29).
- One of the doors in the Department of Mysteries not only was proof against this spell, but melted Harry's knife-blade (OP34).
- The Death Eaters used this spell to open doors shut by the D.A. during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries (OP35).
- The padlock on the Hogwarts Gates was bewitched by Dumbledore to be immune to the Unlocking Charm (HBP8).
- Used by Hermione on Regulus' door (DH10).
- Used by Newt Scamander to open a Muggle bank vault in New York (WFT).
- Queenie Goldstein attempted to use both Alohomora and a shortened form of the earlier "Portaberto" to break into the office of Auror Percival Graves in MACUSA Headquarters, but neither spell worked on his protected door lock (WFT).
- Albus Potter uses it to unlock the doors of St Jerome's Church in Godric's Hollow, so that Hermione, Ron, Draco and Ginny can join Harry to defeat Delphi (CC4.11).
The term ‘Alohomora’ comes from sikidy, a form of divination from the Malagasy people of Madagascar. It is the name of a magical symbol which means ‘favourable to thieves’ (trans.). (thanks to Rattlesnakeroot and her LJ friends for discovering this.)