In the wonderful wizarding world of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, there are a myriad of dangerous charms, hexes, potions, and sports-related paraphernalia. The main characters are nearly killed within their own classrooms whenever a magical creature gets loose or someone’s cauldron blows up.
Obviously, I’m not the first one to point out how dangerous Hogwarts is. But I really want to focus on how the faculty is enabling these children with the most dangerous weapons of all: spells.
Every Hogwarts student is taught a number of powerful incantations that could easily backfire (and typically do) if handled incorrectly. Why these awkward, bumbling pubescents are taught how to levitate, transform, and set fire to anything or anyone they want is beyond me. But what is truly baffling about how Hogwarts operates is that the students’ education only omits three spells.
The so-called “Unforgivable Curses,” particularly the Killing Curse, are strictly forbidden by the Ministry of Magic to be taught in classes due to the fact they torture, brainwash, and, well, kill whomever they are directed at. However, if Hogwarts and the Ministry believe these are the only spells young, aspiring witches and wizards shouldn’t be taught, then they really needs to sort out their priorities.
There’s more than a few incantations the kids in the Harry Potter books and movies could have used to maim, maul, or mar one other, so I thought I’d share them with you. These are just some of the many ways you could off a few students and become the next Bellatrix Lestrange or Dark Lord Voldemort using only Ministry and Hogwarts-approved spells.
Spells taught in Year 1
1. Use the Levitation Charm to drop a rock, table, or Hagrid on someone’s head.
If Harry, Ron, and Hermione can use Wingardium Leviosa on a troll’s club, why can’t any 11-year-old take out a classmate or teacher with the heaviest object in sight whenever they’re pissed off?
Or you could levitate a person into one of those floating candles and wait for them to catch fire. Speaking of which . . .
2. Instantly light someone on fire.
Seriously. This is something these kids are able to do. Incendio is taught in first year and I wasn’t allowed to use my dad’s lighter ’til I was in High School. How does that make any sense?
3. Cast the Softening Charm on someone’s jaw so they can’t eat.
This spell lets you make turn any hard or blunt object bouncy and soft. I mean, you could use it on any of a person’s bones, but if you cast it on their mouth, they won’t be able to say anything to undo it. So, y’know. Win-win!
Spells taught in Year 2
4. Use the Severing Charm on someone’s extremities.
If the children can use this spell to cut fabric and ropes, who’s to say it doesn’t work on any person’s body parts? Oh, you’re gonna make fun of my parents being poor again, Draco? Well, guess who doesn’t have legs anymore!
5. Cast the Dancing Feet Charm and then . . . just never remove it.
The spell does exactly what you think it does: makes the victim dance continuously until the caster stops it. Just use this spell and let your victim exhaust themselves til they pass out. Also works with the Tickling Charm.
6. Freeze someone while they’re swimming.
Freezing is a bit of a misnomer since there’s no ice involved, but this spell does bind the victim’s body for several hours, so do this when someone’s in the Hogwarts pond and wait for them to sink to the bottom. If the lack of oxygen doesn’t get them, the freezing cold or the mermaids certainly will.
7. Jinx some killer bees to attack them.
The Oppungo jinx allows you to force any small object or creature to attack your victim. In the books, it has been used on birds, shards of glass, and Quidditch bludgers, all of which are things you wouldn’t want to have a death wish against you.
So, in theory, any 12-year-old at Hogwarts could start attacking everyone else with nails, cutlery, some manic pixies, those biting textbooks, some very small rocks, or just a bunch of bees. And even though this spell tends to only works on tinier things, there’s no reason you couldn’t cast Engorgio to bring those killer bees up to a more deadly size once they’re properly enraged. And that of course transitions us into . . .
Spells taught in Year 3-4
8. Inflate someone ’til they burst.
This one is pretty straight forward, but incredibly easy. Harry even accidentaly casts this spell without a wand in The Prisoner of Azkaban. While his Aunt simply starts floating out of the house, if Harry had continued to use the spell, she would have exploded. No, really. That’s canon. Harry could have blown up his Aunt just ’cause he was a little cheesed off. That’s terrifying!
9. Get someone to hold an exploding potion, then use the Revulsion Jinx
The exploding potion’s purpose is pretty self-explanatory and the fact that it it extremely volatile is not too surprising. So, once you’ve finished mixing the concoction, ask your victim to hold your cauldron for a quick second, dash out of the way, and fling a Relashio their way. It almost sounds like the set-up to classic prank, except they’ll be dead . . . Hilarious!
10. Erase someone’s memory of why the Forbidden Forest is so forbidden.
If Gilderoy Lockhart can use a Memory Charm to erase a person’s entire lifetime, than surely any student could use it to make that one bully forget where all the giant spiders and disgruntled centaurs are on the school grounds.
11. Make a person shrink, then step on them.
Reducio apparently works on any person or thing with no limitations, so you could cast it on someone who’s taking up too much space in the hallway, crush them under your foot, and keep walking without losing your stride.
12. Summon some vital organs!
The Accio spell lets you summon anything you can think of right into your hand. Most of the kids use this for grabbing brooms and textbooks, but who’s to say you can’t exclaim, “Accio that guy’s lungs!” or “Accio everyone’s livers!” Even if you just end up dragging the whole person rather than their specific body parts, you could still use the spell on the ground floor while they’re a few storeys above you. Accio splat! That’ll teach you to take the last bread roll at dinner, idiot!
13. Summon a really large object, then jump out of the way at the last minute.
You just need to make sure you’re standing in front of someone before you Accio a large desk or a nearby statue before you quickly dodge. It works a lot like Wingardium Leviosa, except . . . horizontally.
Spells taught in Year 5 and 6
14. Use the Banishing Charm to throw someone out the window.
Depulso is basically the opposite of Accio, so you could just start chucking heavy objects or even scalding cauldrons of who-knows-what. But since this spell makes things fly away, you may as well have some fun and defenestrate someone’s flailing torso all the way out to the Quidditch pitch.
15. Hoist a person up by their ankles and shove their head in a nearby toilet.
Levicorpus is an oddly-specific jinx that lets you levitate someone upside down. It would pretty useful if you want to stick their head into a boiling pot of soup or an owl cage. Or if you want to get two birds with one stone, you could make them repeatedly drop on top of someone else’s head.
16. Cast a Stunning Spell on a person and put them in a cage with a carnivorous animal.
Although the main characters use Stupefy in the first book, it takes a few years to master. But the ability to knock someone out cold for a few hours has limitless potential . . . which, when given to a bunch of teenagers is frankly horrifying. There’s no shortage of dangerous places you could wake up in at Hogwarts. There’s bound to be a dragon cage, or a Hipogriff pen, or some sort of Chamber of Secrets nearby.
17. Apparate someone 50 feet in the air, then apparate away without them.
This one works really well if you grab someone while they’re sleeping or just not paying attention. You can teleport with them to anywhere you want, then teleport away before they’ve figured out what’s going on.
Of course, you’re not supposed to be able to apparate on Hogwarts grounds, but that’s what Hogsmeade visits and Christmas holidays are for!
18. Explode someone.
I kid you not, there is spell Harry Potter himself uses that just straight up causes an explosion. Harry, who isn’t always the brightest lumos spell in the book, is able to cast Confrigo which makes whatever you point is at EXPLODE. Why this spell isn’t up there with the writhing-in-pain one or the instant-death one is beyond me.
Even if you don’t want to use this one on a human being directly (since it’ll probably make a pretty big mess), you can cause their book, a nearby corridor, or a chandelier above their head to detonate instead.
19. Have someone fight a boggart, then glue their tongue to the top of their mouth.
Boggarts are fairly dangerous but notoriously easy to beat. That is, if you can cast the Riddikulus charm. If you had just been attacked with the Langlock spell, which prevents you from speaking (or eating), then you might be in a fair bit of trouble. I mean, this really works with any deadly creature, but I’ve just never seen a boggart successfully take down someone before.
20. Trip them. Repeatedly. Forever.
Hogwarts students usually just use the trip jinx for pranks, but if you’ve really got it out for someone, you can trip them at just the right time so they fall down one of the moving staircases. And then, as soon as they climb back up, cast it again. Combined with a carefully planned Memory Charm, this can continue indefinitely.
And finally . . .
21. Make them fall in love with a Blast-Ended Skrewt
Now, technically this one doesn’t involve spells, but I thought I’d include it anyway. The Amortentia potion causes an extremely powerful infatuation between the person who drinks it and whomever the potion-maker chooses. It was used in The Half-Blood Prince to create some fairly ill-conceived and disastrous matchups. So if this potion can make just about anybody fall in love with . . . just about anybody, who’s to say you can’t play Robin Goodfellow and make some unsuspecting doofus chase after a ten-foot long, fire-farting crab-scorpion?
Obviously this is only just scratching the surface of the Quidditch pitch, but you get the moving picture. The point is hormonally-stressed teenagers probably shouldn’t have access to god-like powers. And maybe the definition for “Unforgivable Curses” should be broadened just a little bit.
OK, maybe a lot.