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" Petrificus Totalus, or the Full Body-Bind, stiffens a person’s limbs so they cannot move. Only the person’s eyes are free while the spell is in effect."
— Description of the Full Body-Bind Curse[src]

The Full Body-Bind Curse[6][7] (Petrificus Totalus),[1] also known as the Body Freezing Spell,[8] was a curse that temporarily paralysed the opponent.[2] It was often used by inexperienced or young wizards and witches in duelling.[8] This curse could be found in Curses and Counter-Curses by Vindictus Viridian.[2]


During the 1986–1987 school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Professor Filius Flitwick taught his third-years how to cast this particular spell in Charms class.[5]


"Essential Tip # 1: Whilst the Body Freezing spell will work on inanimate objects, it tends to prove less satisfying than when used on a moving object."
— Tips on casting, Cast-a-Spell handbook[8]

An individual paralysed with this curse

When used on a living subject, the victim's arms and legs snapped together, and they would fall down, stiff as a board.[1] However, the person's abilities to hear, see (albeit just straight forward), feel, and think still worked properly.[9]

Technically, the spell also worked on inanimate objects, but its effects were usually imperceptible, because the object was not moving in the first place.[8]

The effects of the Full-Body Bind Curse could be undone by use of the General Counter-Spell,[10] the healing spell Episkey,[11] an Anti-Paralysis Potion or the Reparifors spell.[12] The effects can also be undone by the death of the caster.[13]

Despite the incantation, the Full Body-Bind Curse was fundamentally different from petrification, which was highly advanced Dark Magic and which cannot be reversed by a simple counter-curse.[14]

Known uses

"Neville's arms snapped to his sides. His legs sprang together. His whole body rigid, he swayed where he stood and then fell flat on his face, stiff as a board. Neville's jaws were jammed together so he couldn't speak. Only his eyes were moving, looking at them in horror."
— Description of Neville Longbottom under the curse[src]


Caster(s) Victim(s) Date Notes
Newt Scamander Gilbert Bingley 6 December, 1926 Newt used it to immobilise Mr Bingley, in Steen National Bank branch in New York, after the latter wrongly deduced that he and Jacob Kowalski wanted to rob the vault.[15]
Eulalie Hicks Frank Doyle 1932 Used this curse nonverbally to paralyse Frank, one of her cousin Stanley's friends outside Kowalski Quality Baked Goods, as part of their scene to lure Jacob Kowalski to Lally's cause.[16]
Sirius Black Severus Snape June, 1976 Used it to bully him after an O.W.L. exam.[17]
Penny Haywood Chester Davies Start of 1986–1987 school year Used it to paralyse the prefect outside the Potions Classroom in the Dungeons, so she and Jacob's sibling could enter the classroom to continue their late night conversation.[18]
Jacob's sibling Ben Copper 1986–1987 school year Was asked to demonstrate the spell during a Charms lesson on the spell.[5]
Petrificus Totalus HM33c.png
Ben Copper[11] Jacob's sibling Start of 1987–1988 school year Used to make Jacob's sibling unable to react while the Messenger delivered their message.[19]
Ben Copper Charles Weasley and Rowan Khanna End of 1987–1988 school year Used this curse to paralyse both Rowan and Charlie in the Clock Tower Courtyard at night before duelling Jacob's sibling, while disguised as one of R's messengers.[11]
R's second messenger Ben Copper and Jacob's sibling Start of 1988–1989 school year This unidentified Dark Wizard paralysed both students with this curse in the Clock Tower Courtyard, warning Jacob's sibling that "death" was coming to Hogwarts and that one of their friends would die before the end of the school year.[20]
Hermione Granger Neville Longbottom 4 June, 1992 Hermione used it to immobilise Neville, when he tried to prevent her, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley from sneaking out of their dormitories, which they did in order to prevent the theft of the Philosopher's Stone.[1]
PetrificusTotalus PS.gif
Antonin Dolohov 1 August, 1997 During a skirmish at the Luchino Caffe.[21]
Hermione duelling Dolohov.gif
Neville Longbottom Death Eater 18 June, 1996 Used to paralyse a Death Eater during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.[22]
Neville casting Full Body Bind.gif
Draco Malfoy Harry Potter 1 September, 1996 Draco used it to immobilise Harry under the Invisibility Cloak on the Hogwarts Express.[9]
Harry Potter Jugson 18 June, 1996 Battle of the Department of Mysteries[23]
Antonin Dolohov[23] Harry used it to immobilise Dolohov, after he hit Hermione Granger with his curse, during Battle of the Department of Mysteries. He later used it again on him in the Death Chamber.[23]
Inferi 30 June, 1997 Harry used it to immobilise one of the Inferi, while looking for Horcrux in the Crystal Cave with Albus Dumbledore.[24]
Corban Yaxley Harry used it to immobilise Yaxley when escaping from the top of the Astronomy Tower during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower.[13]
Fenrir Greyback Harry used it to immobilise Fenrir when escaping from the top of the Astronomy Tower during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower.[13]
Albus Dumbledore Harry Potter Albus used it non-verbally to immobilise Harry under Invisibility Cloak at the Astronomy Tower.[25]
Parvati Patil Antonin Dolohov 2 May, 1998 Used to protect Dean Thomas during the Battle of Hogwarts.[26]
Tom Riddle Neville Longbottom Used it nonverbally to immobilise Neville in order to put the Sorting Hat on his head and then lit on fire during the Battle of Hogwarts.[27]


Caster(s) Victim(s) Date Notes
Ismelda Murk and her friends Chiara Lobosca 1988–1989 school year Used it to immobilise Chiara in order to capture her for being a werewolf, but Jacob's sibling used the Knockback Jinx on her first, knocking her out of the curse's way.[28]
Ron Weasley Vincent Crabbe 2 May, 1998 Used it nonverbally to immobilise Vincent Crabbe during the skirmish in the Room of Requirement during the Battle of Hogwarts, but was unsuccessful, because he missed.[7]

Known practitioners


  • The root of this curse's incantation seems to be the Latin words petra, "rock", ficus, "making or doing something" and totus, "whole" or "entire".
  • Also, pertrificus seems to come from the word "petrify", meaning to turn into stone, or describes a manner in which someone takes on the characteristics of a stone. Totalus likely comes from "Total", meaning complete or wholly. Following this, the spell likely means, entirely petrify.

See also

Behind the scenes

Petrificus Totalus (Trading Card)

  • In the Cast-a-Spell training room (found on the Harry Potter official site), the spell literally freezes the victim (a snake), covering it in ice.[8]
  • When Dumbledore immobilises Harry, the latter says, in wondering how it could have happened, that it was a Freezing Charm (Dumbledore had done so wandlessly and nonverbally). However, less than a few pages later, after Dumbledore is killed, he notes that the Full Body-Bind had lifted.
  • In the films and video games, this spell occasionally appears blue, white or purple.
  • When Hermione uses this on Neville a mist-like effect issued from her wand and there was a faint white flash around his body before the curse took effect.
  • It appears to be one of the few spells effective on Inferi aside from fire-making spells as Harry was able to stop an Inferi with it in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when none of his other spells would work.
  • The only instances in the films where a victim's arms and legs are snapped together as depicted in the books is when Hermione used it on Neville in Philosopher's Stone, when Draco used it against Harry on the train in Half-Blood Prince, and Newt's use of this spell on Mr Bingley in Fantastic Beasts; any other time it was used, such as when Neville used it on a Death Eater in Order of the Phoenix and when Hermione used it on Antonin Dolohov in Deathly Hallows: Part 1, they were either immobilised in their current position, or they were spread eagled.
  • In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, the Knockback Jinx and the Full Body Bind Curse are covered in Charms class. This seems unusual, as defensive and offensive spells have not been shown as being part of the Charms curriculum, but in Defence Against the Dark Arts class instead. Although jinxes, hexes and curses can be grouped together in a category called Dark charms, which explains why such spells were taught under Charms class.
    • When used in duelling, it creates a purple electric effect around the target and causing their arms and legs to briefly snap together while remaining upright with a chance to stun. In cutscenes, it causes the target to freeze and fall over, but inconsistent with whether their arms and legs are snapped together.
    • The game also depicts the healing spell Episkey as a counter-curse for this curse, but this is quite unusual, as it is used for healing minor injuries and not to reverse the effects of a curse
  • In the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 video game, the curse acts as a long-range, sniper like attack, it appears as a sharp, quick bolt of blue light that can immobilise a foe, stun a foe or shatter their Shield Charm, when used by enemies, the spell is made red and is sometimes believed to be the Cruciatus Curse, it has the ability to shatter the player's shield charm or weaken the player quickly.
  • In the Order of the Phoenix video game, the curse appears as a triangular jet of white light, when the player reaches the discovery level of 12, Harry will release two curses at once.
  • The Harry Potter Trading Card Game incorrectly depicts this spell as transfiguration.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pottermore - Curses and Counter-Curses
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) - Chapter 27 (Through the Trapdoor)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 3 (Three Broomsticks) - Charms Lesson "Petrificus Totalus"
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Cast-a-Spell kit found in the Library section of the Harry Potter Official Site
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
  10. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 15 (Dark Secrets)
  12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
  14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 15
  16. 16.0 16.1 Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
  17. 17.0 17.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Side Quest "Penny for Your Thoughts"
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 3 (All About Bowtruckles)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 1 (Year Five Begins)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 9 (A Place to Hide)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 26 (The Cave)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  26. 26.0 26.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32 (The Elder Wand)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, "THE QUIBBLER: FIGHT FOR THE FRONT PAGE" Achievement
  29. 29.0 29.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) - PS1 version
Charms (class)
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Charm-book writers and developers
Blagdon Blay · Daisy Pennifold · Delfina Crimp · Miranda Goshawk · Jarleth Hobart · Basil Horton · Helixa Hyslop · Syna Hyslop · Randolph Keitch · Levina Monkstanley · Orabella Nuttley · Mnemone Radford · Scarpin · Elliot Smethwyck · Felix Summerbee · Violeta Stitch
Professors Fortinbras · Filius Flitwick · Unidentified 19th-century professor · Unidentified male professor
Textbooks Achievements in Charming · Extreme Incantations · Quintessence: A Quest · The Standard Book of Spells
Charms studied at Hogwarts
Anti-Alohomora Charm · Ascendio · Banishing Charm (Depulso) · Blackboard Writing Spell · Blue sparks · Box Blasting Charm (Cistem Aperio) · Bubble-Head Charm · Cheering Charm · Cleaning Charm · Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Confundus Charm (Confundo) · Counter-charm for hiccoughs · Dancing Feet Spell (Tarantallegra) · Descendo · Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) · Disillusionment Charm · Drought Charm · Entrancing Enchantments (Theoretically) · Eradication Spell (Deletrius) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · Extinguishing Spell · Exploding Charm (Bombarda) · Fire-Making Spell (Incendio) · Freezing Charm (Immobulus) · Freezing Spell (Glacius) · Full Body-Bind Curse (Petrificus Totalus) · General Counter-Spell (Finite Incantatem) · Gouging Spell (Defodio) · Growth Charm · Ice Jinx · Knitting Charm · Knockback Jinx (Flipendo) · Leg-Locker Curse (Locomotor Mortis) · Levitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locking Spell (Colloportus) · Locomotion Charm (Locomotor) · Lumos Solem Spell (Lumos Solem) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Memory Charm (Obliviate) · Muffliato Charm (Muffliato) · Nonverbal spells · Pack Charm (Pack) · Red Sparks (Vermillious) · Reductor Curse (Reducto) · Scouring Charm (Scourgify) · Seize and pull charm (Carpe Retractum) · Severing Charm (Diffindo) · Shrinking Charm (Reducio) · Silencing Charm (Silencio) · Slowing Charm (Arresto Momentum) · Skurge Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Spell for growing legs · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Vinegar to wine spell · Wand-Extinguishing Charm (Nox) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos) · Lumos Maxima · Water-Making Spell (Aguamenti)
Curses and Counter-Curses
Spells included in the book: Full Body-Bind Curse · Leg-Locker Curse · Jelly-Legs Curse · Pimple Jinx · Stickfast Hex · Tickling Hex · Tongue-Tying Curse · Hair Loss Curse

Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts
Classroom 3C · Classroom 3C backrooms · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Teacher's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Storage room · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Duelling Club · Dumbledore's Army
Arsenius Jigger · Albus Dumbledore · Galatea Merrythought · 19th century professor · 1984–1985 professor · 1985–1986 professor · 1986–1987 professor · 1987–1988 professor · Patricia Rakepick · 1989–1990 professor · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Bartemius Crouch Junior (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape · Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher) · Unidentified professor · Brindlemore
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts · 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 · Defence Against the Dark Arts
Spells studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Aqua Eructo · Boggart-Banishing Spell (Riddikulus) · Cave inimicum · Concealment Charms · Counter-curses · Counter-jinxes · Cruciatus Curse (Crucio) · Curse of the Bogies (Mucus ad Nasuem) · Cursed barrier spell · Densaugeo · Deprimo Spell (Deprimo) · Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) · Ear-Shrivelling Curse · Everte Statum · Freezing Spell (Glacius) · Full Body-Bind Curse (Petrificus Totalus) · Fumos Duo · Green Sparks · Hex-Breaker· Hex-deflection · Hex Zapper · Homorphus Charm · Human-presence-revealing Spell (Homenium Revelio) · Impediment Jinx (Impedimenta) · Imperius Curse (Imperio) · Imperturbable Charm · Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra) · Knockback Jinx (Flipendo) · Lacarnum Inflamari · Langlock · Limbo Mist anticharm · Nonverbal spells · Patronus Charm (Expecto Patronus) · Protective enchantments · Red Sparks (Vermillious) · Reductor Curse (Reducto) · Salvio hexia · Sea Urchin Jinx · Seize and pull charm (Carpe Rectratum) · Shield Charm (Protego) · Smokescreen Spell (Fumos) · Snake-Vanishing Spell (Vipera Evanesca) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Stretching Jinx · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Tongue-Tying Curse (Mimble Wimble) · Trip Jinx · Twitchy-Ears Hex · Verdimillious Charm (Verdimillous) · Verdimillious Duo Spell (Verdimillous) · Verdimillious Tria · Vermillious Duo · Vermillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos)
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