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"The spell that defeats a Boggart can be tricky, because it involves making the creature into a figure of fun, so that fear can be dispelled in amusement. If the caster is able to laugh aloud at the Boggart, it will disappear at once. The incantation is ‘Riddikulus’, and the intention is to force the Boggart to assume a less-threatening and hopefully comical form."
—Description[src]

The Boggart-Banishing Spell[1] (Riddikulus) is a charm that is used to defeat a Boggart. It causes the creature to assume a form that is humorous to the caster, along with a whip-crack noise, thereby taking away the Boggart's ability to terrorise.

Boggarts are defeated by laughter, so forcing them to assume an amusing form is the first step to defeating them. However, because Boggarts are amortal, this spell does not truly destroy them, similar to the Patronus Charm, but merely "banish" them — meaning the defeated Boggart vanish, and presumably re-materialize elsewhere.

History

Professor Remus Lupin taught this spell to his third year Defence Against the Dark Arts class.[2] Thanks to Lupin's teaching, Harry Potter was able to use this against a Boggart in the Triwizard Maze in 1995.[3]

Casting

"...You will raise your wand -- thus -- and cry 'Riddikulus' -- and concentrate hard on your grandmother's clothes. If all goes well, Professor Boggart Snape will be forced into that vulture-topped hat, and that green dress, with that big red handbag."
Professor Lupin to Neville Longbottom[src]
A simple charm that requires force of mind, to cast, the spell caster must first acknowledge what they fear the most (as it will most likely be what the Boggart will take the form of) and then visualise it into something amusing. The problem is, because the Boggart would have assumed said form at the moment of direct encounter, the one attempting to use this charm would have lost concentration after seeing the Boggart manifest their worst fears, making this spell useless. As such, it is always advisable to first take one step at a time when practising this spell.

Known uses

"'R-r-riddikulus!' squeaked Neville. There was a noise like a whip-crack."
Neville Longbottom casts this spell[src]
Caster(s) Date Notes
Unidentified Hufflepuff girl Between 1908 and 1914 The student cast the spell on a boggart during a class taught by Albus Dumbledore immediately before fellow Hufflepuff Newt Scamander.[4]
Newt Scamander In a class taught by Albus Dumbledore, Newt casts the spell against a Boggart.[4]
Third years June 1994 The third year Defence Against the Dark Arts exam was an obstacle course of dark creatures which included; climbing into an old trunk and battling a boggart.[5]
Harry Potter 24 June, 1995 Harry used this against a boggart in the maze during the Triwizard Tournament.[3]
June 1996 Harry cast the spell "perfectly" during the practical part of his Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L.[6]
Molly Weasley August 1995 Molly tried and failed to use this spell against the boggart at number twelve, Grimmauld Place.[7]

Etymology

"Riddikulus" is an adaptation of "ridiculous" as well as of ridiculum (Latin, "joke") and ridere (Latin, "to laugh").

Behind the scenes

  • Despite the spell canonically producing no light, the July 2018 trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald shows a brief flash of white light upon the incantation being spoken, both times the spell is cast.
  • The effect of the Boggart-Banishing Spell varies throughout the series. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it has its stated effect of forcing a Boggart into an amusing form and otherwise does not harm it. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, however, Harry uses the spell to make a Boggart-Dementor explode into a wisp of smoke (though it is possible he found a Dementor collapsing into wisps of smoke "funny", and the Boggart was forced to take the form of an exploded Dementor, more than it actually exploded in earnest). Various anecdotes on Pottermore describe Riddikulus transforming Boggarts in a variety of ways, not all of which being directly related to making the Boggart funny.
  • The wand movement given for the Boggart-Banishing Spell resembles a large grin, likely on purpose.
  • In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, only Ron and Hermione learn this spell due to Harry being locked out of the class by Draco Malfoy while Lupin is teaching it to his class. Harry instead learns Expecto Patronum from Lupin to defeat his Dementor boggart, and in return Ron and Hermione do not learn Expecto Patronum.[8]
  • In LEGO Dimensions, Riddikulus is one of Hermione's abilities, though it does nothing more than break nearby objects and damage nearby enemies.[9]
  • In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, the spell was first appeared in the first Herbology class of Year 3, when Penny was confronted with one Boggart in the form of a werewolf, and Pomona Sprout used the spell to banish the Boggart. The spell was later taught by Filius Flitwick in Charms class instead of an absentee Defence Against Dark Arts professor.[10]

Appearances

Notes and references


Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
Subjectsdada
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts
Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Teacher's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Professors
Arsenius Jigger · Albus Dumbledore · Galatea Merrythought · Patricia Rakepick · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Bartemius Crouch Junior (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape · Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher)
Textbooks
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Break with a Banshee · Gadding with Ghouls · Holidays with Hags · Travels with Trolls · Voyages with Vampires · Wanderings with Werewolves · Year with the Yeti · The Essential Defence Against the Dark Arts · Defensive Magical Theory · Dark Arts Defence: Basics for Beginners · Confronting the Faceless · Magical Drafts and Potions
Spells studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Aqua Eructo Charm · Boggart-Banishing Spell · Counter-curses · Counter-jinxes · Counter-spells · Curse of the Bogies · Defensive Charms · Densaugeo · Deprimo · Disarming Charm · Everte Statum · Freezing Spell · Full Body-Bind Curse · Green Sparks · Hex-Breaker· Hex-deflection · Hex Zapper · Homorphus Charm · Impediment Jinx · Knockback Jinx · Knockback Jinx Duo · Lacarnum Inflamari · Melofors Jinx · Nonverbal spells · Orbis Jinx · Patronus Charm · Red Sparks · Reductor Curse · Revulsion Jinx · Salvio hexia · Seize and Pull Charm · Shield Charm · Smokescreen Spell · Snake-Vanishing Spell · Stunning Spell · Tickling Charm · Tongue-Tying Curse · Ventus Jinx · Verdimillious Charm · Verdimillious Duo Spell · Verdimillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm · Wand-Lighting Charm Duo · Cruciatus Curse · Imperius Curse · Killing Curse
Creatures studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Banshee · Boggart · Cornish Pixie · Dementor · Erkling · Ghost · Ghoul · Grindylow · Gytrash · Hag · Hinkypunk · Iguana · Imp · Inferius · Kappa · Nocturnal beasts · Red Cap · Snake · Troll · Vampire · Vampire bat · Werewolf · Yeti · Zombie
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