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"An' anyway, yeh couldn' work any of them curses yet, yeh'll need a lot more study before yeh get ter that level."
—Rubeus Hagrid to first year Harry Potter[src]

A curse was a type of Dark charm[1] which was used for the worst kinds of Dark magic.[5] The most heinous of the three dark charms, curses came in many strengths and forms,[6] but were usually reserved for causing immense suffering to the victim,[7] such as excruciating pain, mind control, or even death.[6]

Nature

A curse was classified as a Dark charm, which was primarily defined as any spell that affected the object in a negative manner, typically associated with varying levels of discomfort.[1] A curse was the worst kind of dark magic, affecting the target in a severely negative manner.[5]

While curses came in many strengths and forms, they were generally the most wicked, strongest, longest-lasting, and least reversible of the Dark charms. The Unforgivable Curses were the strongest known Dark charms in existence, as their effects were very powerful and their use required skill.[6]

Blood maledictions were a specific type of curse that might not kill the target but could remain within the victim's body, and be passed down as a genetic defect that could resurface generations later. Astoria Malfoy suffered from such as curse, as her ancestor passed down a malediction that showed up in her, causing Astoria's body to be frail, and childbirth was what weakened her to the point of death a few years later.[8]

Drinking unicorn blood extended one's lifespan even if at the brink of death, but it cursed the drinker's life, for they had slain an innocent animal to selfishly extend their own life. It was said to be an act that only those who had nothing to lose and everything to gain would commit.[9]

Usage

Like jinxes, Hogwarts students studying Defence Against the Dark Arts only learnt a few minor curses in a defensive manner for duelling and defence against Dark creatures, but especially learnt how to deal with them using defensive magic. Curses might be blocked or deflected with a Shield Charm, and be removed with a Counter-curse. The two most notable exceptions to this were the Killing Curse and the Cruciatus Curse, two of the Unforgivable Curses, which could only be dodged, intercepted or blocked with physical objects. However, the Cruciatus Curse might be prevented by more powerful Shield Charms in combination with other protective enchantments.

List of Curses

Name Incantation Effect
A Antonin Dolohov's curse The curse is cast using "a sudden slashing movement with the wand," causing a streak of purple flame to strike the target.[10]
B Babbling Curse This curse is not fully understood but it is presumed to cause a person to babble whenever they try to speak.[11]
Blasting Curse Confringo This curse is a spell that causes anything that the spell comes into contact with to explode. This curse can be very dangerous and even deadly, if not used responsibly.[12][13] It was used in the murder of twelve Muggles.[14]
Tumblr n0oob0xVtb1qa3emao5 250
Blood-Bourne Curse A curse that resurfaces after many generations to affect descendants of the one who was originally cursed.[8]
C Conjunctivitis Curse A curse that causes irritation in the target's eyes, causing them to swell shut like the infection conjunctivitis,[15][16] commonly known as "pink eye". The Oculus Potion ends the effects of this curse.[17]
Cruciatus Curse Crucio A tool of the Dark Arts and one of the three Unforgivable Curses. It is one of the most powerful and sinister spells known to wizardkind. When cast successfully, the curse inflicts intense, excruciating pain on the victim.[6]
Voldemort crucio harry
Curse of the Bogies Mucus ad Nauseam A curse that gives the recipient a strong cold, that can make him or her collapse if not treated, as well as an extremely runny nose.[18][19]
Curse on Marvolo Gaunt's ring A powerful curse was placed upon Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, around the time that Lord Voldemort turned it into a Horcrux, as a defence against anyone who might try to destroy it. This curse was designed to quickly kill anyone who dared to wear the ring.[20][21]
Cursed barrier A curse used to prevent the members of the Order from interfering with Draco Malfoy's attempt to assassinate Albus Dumbledore.[22]
D Disintegration curse A curse that causes the person who is hit, to burst into small pieces and disintegrate.[23]
E Ear-shrivelling Curse This curse caused the target's ears to shrivel up.[24]
Entrail-Expelling Curse Its effects are unknown, but presumably it causes one's entrails to be expelled from the body.[4]
Expulso Curse Expulso A curse used to produce immense explosions, blasting the target apart with a burst of blue light; it has enough force to throw people into walls.[25]
F Fiendfyre

A bewitched flame of abnormal size and heat, infused with dark magic, capable of seeking out living targets despite being non-sentient.[26]

Fiendfyre
Flagrante curse A curse that causes objects to emit searing heat when touched.[27]
Full Body-Bind Curse Petrificus Totalus A curse that instantly paralyses the opponent.[28]
PetrificusTotalus PS
Floating Eye Curse Conjures a large, floating eye to hover stationary over an area.[19]
G Gemino Curse  

Geminio

Is a spell used to duplicate an object, creating an exact replica of the target entity. It can also be used to bewitch an object into multiplying repeatedly when touched.[27]

Gemino Curse 2
Gormlaith Gaunt's curse A powerful curse that puts people into an enchanted slumber and pretty much nothing is able to wake up.[1]
H Hair Loss Curse Calvorio A curse that removes the victim's hair or headdress.[1]
I Imperius Curse Imperio A tool of the Dark Arts, and is one of the three Unforgivable Curses. It is one of the most powerful and sinister spells known to wizardkind. When cast successfully, the curse places the victim completely under the caster's control, though a person with exceptional strength of will is capable of resisting it.[6]
Imperio1
J Jelly-Fingers Curse A curse that causes the victim's fingers to take on an almost jelly-like consistency.[29]
Jelly-Legs Curse Locomotor Wibbly A spell that causes the victim's legs to collapse.[1]
K Killing Curse Avada Kedavra A tool of the Dark Arts and one of the three Unforgivable Curses. It is one of the most powerful and sinister spells known to wizardkind. When cast successfully on a living person or creature, the curse causes instantaneous, painless death.[6]
L Leg-Locker Curse Locomotor Mortis Is a curse that is used to bind the legs of the victim together.[30]
Neville Longbottom under the effects of the Leg-Locker Curse
O Opal Necklace Curse A very deadly curse, when it makes physical contact on the victim, the curse would spread rapidly on the recipient, the level of the effect dependent on the amount of contact made.[31] It was known to have killed nineteen Muggles.[32]
R Reductor Curse Reducto A curse that can be used to blast solid objects into pieces. It is rather easy to reduce a target to a fine mist or a pile of ashes.[33][10]
OOTP DA Ginny Reducto
S Sectumsempra

A dangerous curse, its effect is the equivalent of an invisible sword; it is used to slash the victim from a distance, causing rather deep wounds.[34][1]

Sectumempra Curse
Sponge-Knees Curse Was a curse which presumably made the target's legs spongy, making it difficult for them to walk.[29]
Slug-Vomiting Charm Slugulus Eructo

[35]

A curse, that causes the victim to burp up slugs and slime.[36]

Ron vomiting slugs
T Tongue-Tying Curse Mimble Wimble

[3]

Binds the target's tongue to keep him or her from talking about a specific subject.[1]
Thief's Curse A spell that can be applied to books. Its effect is not fully understood, but it activates if someone tries to read a book for too long without paying for it.[37][38]
Taboo A powerful spell which designates a word as a key to revealing the speaker's location.[39]
Deatly Hallows - Taboo

Behind the scenes

  • Wizards may have the ability to send curses in the post. This is unconfirmed, but in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire a piece of Hermione Granger's hate mail claimed that it is possible.
  • According to W.O.M.B.A.T., it may not be possible to cure a curse victim without the correct counter-curse.
  • J. K. Rowling defined curses as "the worst kinds of dark magic".[5]
  • Even though Rowling herself specified the differences between curses, hexes, and jinxes, she states that "Within the Potter world, the boundaries are flexible and I imagine that wizards may have their own ideas."[7] This shows that the categorization of dark charms is not set and stone, and may sometimes be used interchangeably. This explains why some spells are known by multiple names, like why the Slug-vomiting Charm is a curse, and why the Jelly-Legs Curse is also sometimes known as the Jelly-Legs Jinx. This also explains why some curses, such as the Leg-Locker Curse, Jelly-Legs Curse and Full Body-Bind Curse, which don't cause any lasting injury, seem to fall more under the definition of a jinx or hex, while Voldemort's Jinx on the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher has had serious, lasting consequences for several of those affected, which would seem more like a curse.

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Pottermore
  2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 22 (St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 J. K. Rowling Official Site - Extra Stuff
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 14 (The Unforgivable Curses)
  7. 7.0 7.1 J. K. Rowling Official Site - Extra Stuff
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene Four
  9. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
  12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)
  13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 17 (Bathilda's Secret)
  14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 9 (Grim Defeat)
  15. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
  16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 20 (Hagrid's Tale)
  17. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
  18. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9 (The Midnight Duel)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  20. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
  21. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  22. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  23. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  24. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 7 (Bagman and Crouch)
  25. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 9 (A Place to Hide)
  26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)
  28. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
  29. 29.0 29.1 The Daily Prophet (real-world)
  30. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13 (Nicolas Flamel)
  31. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 12 (Silver and Opals)
  32. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts)
  33. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 (Dumbledore's Army)
  34. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 24 (Sectumsempra)
  35. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
  36. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 7 (Mudbloods And Murmurs)
  37. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  38. Quidditch Through the Ages
  39. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 20 (Xenophilius Lovegood)
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