The Ten Coolest Harry Potter Spells
It should go without saying that using magic is infinitely important in the Harry Potter universe. As Harry, Hermione, and Ron navigate their educations, their pubescence, and their fight against the dark arts, There is an incredible variety of Harry Potter spells. Some are useful, some are defensive, some are dangerous, and some are unforgivable. The archetype of the wizard has always involved the magic wand and the incantation. Our introduction to Harry Potter Spells was way back in Sorcerer’s Stone with Professor Flitwick. He taught the kids the simple levitation spell Wingardium Leviosa. Since then, they have gotten more plentiful and more elaborate. Here are the 10 coolest Harry Potter spells used throughout the franchise.
Expelliarmus is the most prevalent and most benevolent of all the Harry Potter spells. When a wizard or witch is confronted, proclaiming the disarming spell is the benign way to de-escalate the situation. This is the spell good wizards use because they do not want to hurt their opponent.
The most significant use? When Draco Malfoy uses it against Dumbledore on the watchtower in Half Blood Prince. It is a seemingly innocuous use at first but eventually is revealed to be incredibly important. The most fun use? When Snape and Lockhart are dueling in Chamber of Secrets.
A simple spell, but one that shows us how much more advanced Hermione. In Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry and Ron are not very adept at wizarding yet. However, Hermione is far more advanced, being the overachiever she is. She uses Alohomora to open the forbidden third floor corridor during their first year, and it is a good thing she was there. Harry and Ron were not nearly ready for a spell such as that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in the flying key room. Good thing Harry is a hell of a broom rider.
Sure, among all of the Harry Potter spells, lighting up the end of one’s wand is incredibly tame. However, what this simple yet useful spell does is provide wonderful cinematic visuals. Think about the scene above from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It is simply a dark hallway that Harry is wandering around, then Professor Snape yells Lumos, and he lights up his pallid face. This interaction, while being Alan Rickman perfection, is a gorgeously realized scene that is nothing more than a teacher talking with his student. When Snape proclaims Nox and plunges the hallway back to darkness, we are instantly reminded of how creepy and possibly dangerous the magical halls of Hogwarts can be.
Of all of the Harry Potter spells, the killing curse is the most evil. It isn’t just the fact that Avada Kedavra kills its victim immediately. The gravitas the words carry when a character utters it really accentuates their darkness. Think about how horrible you think Bellatrix Lestrange is when she flings the curse at Sirius Black. When Voldemort uses Avada Kedavra against Harry Potter’s Expelliarmus, we know that the Dark Lord is bad enough to use it against kids. Even when Mad Eye Moody uses the curse against a bug to show his class…you feel the weight of the decision to kill something with almost zero effort.
Poor, Poor Neville Longbottom. He is the poor victim of this full-body-bind curse in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. When Neville tries to stop Harry, Hermione, and Ron from sneaking out to protect Griffyndor, Hermione unleashes Petrificus Totalus on him. He quickly freezes in place and falls over like a masonry statue. It is a charming scene, and it ultimately leads to Neville earning the winning house points. However, later in The Deathly Hallows Part 1, Hermione uses it in a much more dangerous situation as they are ambushed in the London cafe. It is spells like this that really show how good the heroic trio is. They want to immobilize their foes, not hurt or kill them.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, this spell arrives during the finale battle at Hogwarts. As Voldemort and the Death Eaters encroach on the school, Professor McGonagall heads out to the edge of the school grounds and utters Piertotum Locomotor. What follows are massive stonework knights hopping off the walls of Hogwarts, mobilizing to protect the grounds and the students therein. It is so different and grandiose among Harry Potter spells. Professor McGonagall says it so perfect with a sly little smile.
I’ve always wanted to use that spell!
It is a perfect bit of levity before the dark climax.
Seemingly, Accio may be the most useful among all of Harry Potter spells. It is amazing that a spell that ports objects to the caster was not used so much more throughout the franchise. Why aren’t students proclaiming Accio pencil! or Accio apple! for trivial convenience. What we do get are a few occurrences where the spell essentially saves Harry Potter’s life.
First, in Goblet of Fire, Harry was thrown into the Triwizard tournament far to early in his magical education. For his first task, he had to retrieve a golden egg from a Hungarian Horntail. He does this through Accio Firebolt, summoning his broomstick. Second, during the finale of Goblet of Fire, during a moment of Voldemort’s distraction, Harry dives toward Cedric Diggory’s body. Once there, he Accios the triwizard cup portkey to get him and Cedric back to Hogwarts.
Most people remember Obliviate during the incredibly emotional scene early on in Deathly Hallows Part 1. The Wizarding World is becoming increasingly dangerous and Hermione decides that she needs to protect her muggle parents by wiping their memories. It is a scene that truly proves that the young wizards and witches need to pull out all the stops to defeat Voldemort.
However, one of the funniest scenes of the series also involves Obliviate, but it was a while ago so you may have forgotten. While Harry and Ron are in the bowels of Hogwarts during Chamber of Secrets, Professor Lockhart is exposed as a fraud. Though, he reveals he is proficient in memory charms. Using Ron’s broken wand, Lockhart’s Obliviate backfires on him, and he loses his memory.
This violent curse is one of the scariest, most visceral among all of the Harry Potter spells. Harry learned of the incantation in the journal of the Half Blood Prince. Not quite knowing what the spell would do, Harry unleashed it on Draco Malfoy in a bathroom, causing one of the most graphic scenes in the entire series. It is a spell that causes lacerations all over the spell’s victim. Snape also uses the spell against George Weasley in The Deathly Hallows Part 1, causing him to lose an ear. If a wizard’s goal is to maim and not kill his enemy, Sectumsempra is a perfect weapon.
Expecto Patronum is probably the most emotional of all of Harry Potter’s spells. Professor Lupin first introduces Harry Potter to the spell since Harry has been attacked by dementors. The spell summons a patronus charm, specific to the caster, and the dementors feed off of it and can be chased off. Most of Prisoner of Azkaban surrounds this spell that taps into one’s emotions and focus. Dementors are surrounding the grounds because of Sirius Black’s escape, so there are many encounters with the gloomy monsters.
However, there are many other scenes later in the series that use the spell. One of the most significant is when Harry teaches his friends and classmates how to summon a patronus in the Room of Requirement. It shows us that Harry is advancing and earning the respect of his peers. It is important, and poignant, when you learn what it takes to unleash a patronus.