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

Boggarts are defeated by laughter, so forcing them to assume an amusing form was 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 will vanish, and presumably re-materialise elsewhere.[2]

History

In 1993, Professor Remus Lupin taught this spell to his third year Defence Against the Dark Arts class in.[1] Thanks to Lupin's teaching, Harry Potter was able to use this against a Boggart in the Triwizard Maze in 1995.[3]

During the Calamity of the 2010s, members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force often used this charm to combat Boggart Confoundables in order to release Foundables.[4]

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 required the 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 was 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 was always advisable to first take one step at a time when practising this spell.[1]

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 1913 The student cast the spell on a boggart during a class taught by Albus Dumbledore immediately before fellow Hufflepuff Newt Scamander.[5]
Newt Scamander In a Defence Against the Dark Arts class taught by Albus Dumbledore, Newt successfully cast the spell against a Boggart.[5]
NewtRiddikulus
Unidentified student Used the spell to turn a Boggart in the shape of a shark into a flotation device in the same lesson.[5]
Unidentified student Used the spell to turn a Boggart in the shape of a Zombie into having the head of a pumpkin in the same lesson.[5]
Unidentified student Used the spell to turn a Boggart in the shape of a Vampire into a buck-toothed bunny rabbit in the same lesson.[5]
Lyall Lupin Late 1950s or early 1960s Banished a boggart for the Muggle Hope Howell after it turned into an evil, large looking man for her in a dense forest; he turned it into a field mushroom.[6]
Pomona Sprout 1986–1987 school year Used it to banish a boggart in the Hogwarts greenhouses, after it manifested as a Werewolf for Penny Haywood.[7]
Jacob's sibling Used it to banish a boggart in the form of Merula Snyde for Tulip Karasu.[7]
Jacob's sibling Used it to banish a boggart in the form of Lord Voldemort, in the Vault of Fear.[7]
Neville Longbottom September 1993 Used it to defeat a boggart in the form of Severus Snape, during a Defence Against the Dark Arts with Professor Remus Lupin.[1]
Ronald Weasley Used it to defeat a boggart in the form of a giant spider, by removing its legs.[1]
Seamus Finnigan Used it to defeat a boggart in the form of a Banshee, by silencing its voice.[1]
Dean Thomas Used it to defeat a boggart in the form of a Loose Hand, by trapping it in a mouse trap.[1]
Parvati Patil Used it to defeat a boggart in the form of a Mummy, by unravelling its sheets.[1]
Remus Lupin Used it to defeat a boggart in the form of a full moon, by turning it into a Cockroach.[1]
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.[8]
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.[9]
Molly Weasley August 1995 Molly tried and failed to use this spell against the boggart at 12 Grimmauld Place.[10]
Remus Lupin Used this spell to deal with the Boggart at 12 Grimmauld Place, after when Molly Weasley failed to.[10]

Known practitioners

Etymology

"Riddikulus" is an adaptation of the English adjective "ridiculous" as well as of the Latin noun ridiculum ("joke") and Latin verb ridere ("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.[11]
  • In LEGO Dimensions, Riddikulus is one of Hermione's abilities, though it does nothing more than break nearby objects and damage nearby enemies.[12]

Appearances

Spellpath ridikkulus 3 light

Spell path as seen in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Notes and references


Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
Subjectsdada
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts
Classroom 3C · Classroom 3C backrooms · 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
Spells studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Aqua Eructo Charm · Boggart-Banishing Spell · Cave inimicum · Counter-curses · Counter-jinxes · Counter-spells · Cruciatus Curse · Curse of the Bogies · Defensive Charms · Densaugeo · Deprimo · Disarming Charm · Ear-Shrivelling Curse · Everte Statum · Freezing Spell · Full Body-Bind Curse · Fumos Duo · Green Sparks · Hex-Breaker· Hex-deflection · Hex Zapper · Homorphus Charm · Human-presence-revealing Spell · Impediment Jinx · Imperius Curse · Imperturbable Charm · Killing Curse · Knockback Jinx · Lacarnum Inflamari · Langlock · Limbo Mist anticharm · Nonverbal spells · Patronus Charm · Red Sparks · Reductor Curse · Salvio hexia · Sea Urchin Jinx · Seize and Pull Charm · Shield Charm · Smokescreen Spell · Snake-Vanishing Spell · Softening Charm · Stretching Jinx · Tickling Charm · Tongue-Tying Curse · Trip Jinx · Twitchy-Ears Hex · Verdimillious Charm · Verdimillious Duo Spell · Verdimillious Tria · Vermillious Duo · Vermillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm
Creatures studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Banshee · Boggart · Cornish Pixie · Dementor · Erkling · Flesh-Eating Slug · 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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