Nick and Grey Lady

The ghosts of Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington and Helena Ravenclaw, gliding across a hall mid-conversation

"Running? Dementors don't run, they glide."
Madam Bones[src]

Gliding is a method of magical locomotion where the beast, being or spirit moves at a walking rate slightly above the ground, but without using feet. It is similar to Levitation or Flying, but distance above the ground is limited.[1]


Several magical beings are seen to glide across a solid surface. This seems to be something other than a graceful walk to reduce or eliminate the normal jerky motions associated with walking. However, as witches and wizards often wear floor-length robes that cover their feet, grace in walking cannot be ruled out.

Not much is known about this magic; for instance whether one can glide where one could not normally walk, such as across a gap in the ground, or over water. If the latter is the case, then this would be another possible means for Hagrid to have reached the Hut-on-the-Rock, which was in the sea. (He said he flew.)

Ghosts mainly move about through gliding. However, as they are insubstantial and can move through solid walls, they may be able to fly through floors and ceilings instead of having to use the stairs. They may be able to move long distances very quickly. For instance, some ghosts were able to journey long distances to visit Hogwarts for Nearly-Headless Nick's 500th Death-day party,[2] and Myrtle Warren, as a ghost, was able to follow Olive Hornby to her brother's wedding.[3]


Before Harry Potter was sorted in 1991 in the Great Hall, twenty Ghosts streamed through the wall and glided across the room.[4]

Professor Trelawney on Christmas Day, 1993, entered the Great Hall and glided toward the table seating twelve.[5]

Dementors at Hogwarts in 1994, glided around the lake.[6][7][8]

A hundred Veela, mascots of the Bulgarian National Quidditch team, glided onto the field for their opening presentation during the final of the Quidditch World Cup.[9]

Fleur Delacour (whose grandmother is a Veela) turned and seemed to float out of Harry's room at The Burrow. When walking up the aisle at her wedding, Fleur glided while her father bounced alongside her.[10] She did not exhibit this gliding ability in front of Harry during her stay at Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament.

Lord Voldemort upon entering the Hogwarts grounds, glided alongside Professor Snape before sending him away so he could open Dumbledore's Tomb in private.[11]

Behind the scenes

  • The Dementors in the film series seem to possess the ability to fly, whereas in the book they only seem to glide.


Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 8 (The Hearing)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 8 (The Deathday Party)
  3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 25 (The Egg and the Eye)
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7 (The Sorting Hat)
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 11 (The Firebolt)
  6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 20 (The Dementor's Kiss)
  8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)
  9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 8 (The Quidditch World Cup)
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 27 (The Final Hiding Place)
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