|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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- "For a moment, it seemed Dumbledore had won, but then the fiery rope became a serpent, which relinquished its hold upon Voldemort at once and turned, hissing furiously, to face Dumbledore."
- — Description[src]
This spell was a transforming spell that transfigured a source of fire, such as a fiery rope, into a large, black snake that would attack a target, possibly under the manipulation of the caster.
During the Duel in the Ministry Atrium on 18 June, 1996, Albus Dumbledore conjured a fiery rope from the tip of his wand, hoping to counter a silver shield Lord Voldemort had just conjured. Voldemort prevented any damage from the rope by using this spell, transforming the fiery whip into a serpent, which instantly turned against Dumbledore, serving as both a threat to the wizard and a distraction for Voldemort to attempt a Killing Curse against Dumbledore, without any other objects intervening. Dumbledore destroyed the serpent with a wave of his wand a mere instant before it struck him, vanishing it into a puff of dark smoke after sending it high into the air.
Almost two years later, during the ousting of Severus Snape from Hogwarts Castle, Severus Snape used this spell to transform a much larger lasso of flames that Minerva McGonagall had summoned forth from a nearby torch into a serpent. McGonagall vanished the snake in a similar manner that Dumbledore had, but followed up the vanishment by Transfiguring the smoke it left behind into a swarm of daggers to send at Snape.
Behind the scenes
- This spell is not present in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. However, Voldemort's conjuration of a giant serpent made of fire (possibly a use of Fiendfyre) may have been inspired by this spell.
- Interestingly, the only times this spell was known to have been used were both in the self-defence of powerful dark wizards, against a rope-like source of fire cast by professors of Transfiguration who later went on to become heads of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (which is also ironic in both cases too, since the efforts of transfiguration professors would have therefore been thwarted by the magic they specialise in).