At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Spoilers will be present within the article.
The Animagus Spell (Amato Animo Animato Animagus) is a spell used in the process of becoming an Animagus. While the incantation is necessary for the process, it is not all that is needed to become an Animagus, with the full process requiring skills in Transfiguration and Potions, and also a remarkable amount of patience.
The incantation has to be recited at sunrise and sundown, every day before the consumption of the Animagus potion. The incantation is also recited just prior to the consumption of the potion, which has to take place just after a lightning storm starts. The incantation is recited while placing the wand's tip over one's heart.
As the potion can only be consumed during a lightning storm, prospective Animagi may have to recite the incantation for weeks, months, and even years. Failure to adhere to the daily recitations of the incantation will result in failure of becoming a fully functional Animagus, though the precise consequences are unclear.
Amato is a conjugation of the Latin word amo, which means "I love" or "I am obliged to". Animo and animato are both different conjugations of the Latin word animo, which can mean "I animate" or "I fill with breath or life". Animagus on the other hand appears to be a portmanteau of animo or "animal", and magus, which is Latin for "wizard". Overall, the incantation can roughly mean "My love brings me life, I am obliged to become an animal wizard."
Behind the scenes
Amato Animo Animato Animagus is the only known incantation with four words. It therefore is also the longest incantation revealed.
The four different words of the incantation share similar sounds, akin to a tongue-twister. This perhaps underscores the complexity and intricacy of the process of becoming an Animagus, which is can be a fiendishly long and difficult process.
Three words of the incantation, animo, animato and animagus also share the same root Latin word animo. This is a unique property as other known incantations do not consist of multiple words containing a similar etymological root. Also, the progression of the incantation from animo to animagus seems to mirror the smooth and transformative process of the witch or wizard transfiguring into their Animagus form.
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