How Well Do You Remember the Spells From Harry Potter?


By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Warner Bros

About This Quiz

It's been more than 20 years since the first Harry Potter novel debuted (really!) but the cultural juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down. The winter of 2018 will see the second Newt Scamander film, "The Crimes of Grindelwald," and "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" continues to be a big draw at the amusement park Universal Orlando. 

And what's at the heart of the Harry Potter series? What accounts for its staying power? Memorable characters and riveting plots, you say? Well, OK, sure. But we were thinking about the spells! After all, who doesn't daydream about being able to heal a sprained ankle with an incantation, or cause the office gossip to vomit up slugs? Imagine the power! 

But it took Harry and his friends seven years at Hogwarts to master all the spells that they needed to be competent witches and wizards. So we ask, in the years you spent devouring the novels (and impatiently waiting for the next one to come out) were you as good a student? We're got a quiz to help you find out! Bear in mind, spells came in several different varieties, so you'll see references in this quiz to charms, hexes and curses ... but they all fit under the umbrella of "spells." 

Show us how many you remember now ... Accio quiz!

Which of these is the classic spell for disarming somebody of their wand?

This one's used early and often in the Potter books. Harry seems to like it a lot -- he's a "defense is the best offense" kind of wizard.


The first-year Hermione annoys Ron and Harry by correcting their pronunciation of which spell?

This spell makes objects float in the air (note the similarity to "levitate"). Hermione masters it right away and officiously gives Ron and Harry unasked-for help with it.


The name of the famous "killing curse" is adapted from which of these cheerful stage magician's phrases?

The name of the "killing" spell is "Avada Kedavra." In this way, J.K. Rowling took an innocent, well-known magic phrase and made it something very sinister.


You would use "Riddikulus" to fend off what?

Remus Lupin teaches the third-years this trick in Defense Against the Dark Arts. It's a practice run for learning to fend off dementors.


A spell with serious negative effects is known as a ______.

The negative effects need to be intended for a spell to be a hex. That is, if a spell misses its target and breaks something, it's not necessarily a hex.


Which of these is NOT an Unforgivable Curse?

Aqua Eructo makes water spout from the user's wand. This, presumably, is forgivable -- though it might take a while if the person in the way had spent a long time on their hair that morning.


"Sectumsempra" is a spell strongly associated with which Hogwarts professor?

"Sectumsempra" is a harsh spell that causes slashes to appear on the victim's body, as though they were being cut by an invisible sword. It's appropriate, then, that it's associated with the moody, sometimes scary, Snape.


Which of these opens locks?

"Alohomora" is put to good use by Ron, Harry and Hermione in the series. After all, they're always in places they're not supposed to be!


To summon your patronus, you'd say, "________ patronum!"

"Expecto" is Latin for "I await." The use of this verb suggests that the spellcaster is confident his or her patronus will appear -- and confidence seems to be important to this spell.


"Confundo!" causes the target to become _______.

"Confundere" means "to confuse" in Latin, and this is the sense in which the Potter books use it. However, the English word "confound" has evolved to mean "frustrate expectations" or even "prevent."


Which of these spells acts as a kind of supernatural stun gun?

Naturally, it's "stupefy." In English, this means to make passive or nearly unconscious. In the Potter world, it's a useful, nonlethal defensive spell.


Which of these spells comes in handy for Harry during the dragon challenge of the Triwizard Tournament?

Harry uses it to call his broom to him. After that, it's possible for him to outfly the fierce Hungarian Horntail dragon.


What symbol do you create with the "Morsmordre" spell?

The "Morsmordre" spell is essentially a form of magical firework. It creates Voldemort's glowing-skull symbol in the sky. Death Eaters shoot it off when they're feeling rambunctious.


Which of these characters successfully used the Bubble-Head spell?

Cedric uses this spell in the Triwizard Tournament. It creates a kind of diver's helmet around his head when he is diving in the lake.


When someone casts Avada Kedavra, what color light comes from their wand?

Harry remembers the blinding green light from his infancy. He saw it when Lord Voldemort tried to kill him and failed.


Which is the first spell that we see successfully used by a student in the Harry Potter films?

In the first film, overachiever Hermione uses this to fix Harry's glasses on the Hogwarts Express. Pretty impressive, given that she hasn't had an hour of formal instruction in magic yet!


"Reducio" is the counter-spell to which of these?

"Reducio" is used to come to the rescue when someone or something has been hit by the "Engorgio" spell. Although it could come in handy when packing for trips!


True or false: A wand is always required to cast a spell.

Though a wand is a witch or wizard's essential tool, it isn't always necessary. The students of Hogwarts learn wandless magic, and sometimes simply whisper a spell to make it happen.


A negative spell with less serious effects is known as what?

Jinxes are unpleasant, but not as bad as hexes. And certainly not as bad as curses.


To end a spell, you'd use ...

"Finite Incantatem" essentially means "Finish (the) incantation." It's useful for getting magical mayhem under control.


What is the opposite spell from "Lumos"?

"Nox" is Latin for "night." That's why it bookends "lumos," which creates a magical light for the spellcaster.


If you want to avoid non-magical people, you'd use "Repello ________."

Of course, the answer is "muggletum," taken from J.K. Rowling's well-known word for non-witches and non-wizards. "Mundanii" would almost work -- "mundanes" is a sci-fi and fantasy lover's term for people who don't read or watch those genres.


"Sonorus" does what for the spellcaster?

This one comes in handy at the Quidditch World Cup. Ludo Bagman uses it to project his voice out over the stadium, without use of a sound system. Nifty!


What does the "Levicorpus" spell do?

Remus Lupin remembers this one fondly in "Prisoner of Azkaban." He says that back in his Hogwarts days, there was a period where you could "hardly move for being hoisted into the air by your ankles."


The "Tarantallegra" spell causes the target to do what?

This name is derived from the "tarantella," the wild, fatal dance people supposedly did after being bitten by a tarantula. (Really, people believed this!). The second half, "allegra," is a musical instruction means "quickly" in Italian.


What does the "Diffindo" spell do?

This word might (confusingly) remind you more of "diffident," the English word for shy, than the Latin "diffindere," for "to split." A little Latin goes a long way in the Potter world.


If you're the object of a Fidelius spell, you will become a ______.

"FIdelius" is adapted from the Latin word for "faithful." This "faithful" person then protects the secrets of the spellcaster, as Peter Pettigrew did (and then didn't do) for James and Lily Potter.


The "Locomotor Mortis" spell is better known as what?

The Latin-derived name for this one makes it sound worse than it is. It sounds a bit like the victim is being forced to ambulate toward his or her death! But no, it just means the legs are stuck together. (Whew).


Which of these characters likes to use the Bat-Bogey Hex?

This spell causes bats to come out of a person's nose and fly off. (Seriously!) Ginny once used it on Draco Malfoy, who probably deserved it.


Which of these is the Vanishing Spell?

You probably knew that this is closely related to the English word "evanescent," meaning "fleeting or disappearing." Ah, all becomes clear (maybe literally!)


What is the name for the spell that causes people to be temporarily happy?

While many charms, jinxes and hexes have Latin-derived names, this one is quite simple. It's said to wear off within a few hours.


A spell that alerts people to intruders using a high-pitched shriek is called a _______ Charm.

The correct name for this spell is the Caterwauling Charm. The adjective was probably chosen because it starts with C -- Rowling likes her alliteration.


Which of these is a medical/healing spell?

Oculus Reparo, if you'll remember, was the glasses-repair spell Hermione used early in the series. But "Episkey" is a catchall spell for minor injuries, while "Ferula" creates a splint for broken limbs.


Who teaches the fourth-years about the Unforgivable Curses?

Yes, this one is a bit of a trick question. It's Barty Crouch Jr, disguised as Mad-Eye, who gives the colorful lecture on the Unforgivable Curses.


Which of these historical witches or wizards enjoyed the Flame-Freezing charm?

This witch only appears in a Hogwarts textbook. The book notes that true witches used the Flame-Freezing Charm to escape injury when being burnt at the stake. Wendelin is said to have enjoyed "the tickling sensation" of the flames.


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