"The Levitation Charm is one of the first spells learnt by any young witch or wizard. With the charm a witch or wizard can make things fly with the flick of a wand. The charm is an excellent test of your magical skills, wand control and above all, patience."
— An excerpt from Book of Spells[src]

The Levitation Charm[4] (Wingardium Leviosa)[1] was a charm used to make objects fly, or levitate.[1] It was taught to first years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[1][5] There were a number of lesser variations of the Levitation Charm, such as: the Hover Charm, the Rocket Charm, and the Floating Charm, but the Levitation Charm remained the original and best.[3]

History

"The Levitation Charm was invented in 1544 by warlock Jarleth Hobart who mistakenly believed that he had at last succeeded in doing what wizardkind had so far failed to do, and learnt to fly."
Miranda Goshawk, Book of Spells[src]

Hobart's first public use of the charm, on himself

The Levitation Charm was first developed in the sixteenth century, and warlock Jarleth Hobart is credited with its creation.[3]

On 16 July, Hobart invited a large crowd of wizards, among which was the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, to witness his "maiden flight" — a public demonstration of his own revolutionary charm on himself. He climbed onto the roof of his local church and, after several speeches and a rousing performance of the national anthem he leapt and, having cast the spell, was left hovering in mid-air. At first, he seemed to have succeeded but, after having spent nearly three minutes watching him hanging in mid-air, the crowd grew impatient to see him move somewhere, and booed him.[3]

In response to the catcalls, Hobart tried to move in midair, and started performing vigorous swimming movements, which produced no effect. Mistakenly believing that his clothes were making him heavier and impeding his movement, Hobart stripped thus making him fall ten feet onto the ground below, as it were the clothes that were holding him up in the air — they had been charmed by the Levitation Charm, not Hobart himself. He fell completely naked on the ground, breaking sixteen bones, and received a fine for "outrageous silliness" from the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot in 1544.[3]

Hobart returned home, humiliated, where he realised that his spell could make objects levitate for varying lengths of time, depending on the skill of the spell-caster and on the weight of the object. He also concluded that small animals or even children could be levitated, but that they had no control whatsoever of their movement once airborne.[3]

He thus made a second announcement, and an even larger crowd gathered to see his second demonstration of the spell (hoping for another laugh at his expense). Hobart's demonstration was, at first, by far more successful than the first one: he showed the onlookers how he could easily levitate objects ranging from small rocks to fallen trees. Hobart decided that, for a finale, he would levitate the Chief Warlock's hat — what he managed to levitate, however, was the Chief's wig, exposing his bald head to the gathered crowd. The Chief was not amused, and was determined to duel Hobart, but the Warlock levitated the Chief's robes over his head, and ran for it.[3]

This is also the first spell students learn to cast during their Charms lessons in the first year.[1][5] They revise it in the second[6] and their third year.[7] The theoretical Charms O.W.L. exam includes a question on the Levitation Charm.[8] Hermione Granger was the first student in her class to levitate a feather much to Ronald Weasley's annoyance.[1]

Effects

"He eventually realised that he had invented a spell that would lift objects into the air and could cause them to hover for varying lengths of time, depending on their weight, and the skill of the spellcaster."
— An excerpt from the entry in Book of Spells[src]

The movement shown on a blackboard

The Levitation Charm appears to be an improvement on both the Levitation Spell and Locomotion Charm and/or the Hover Charm, being able to lift objects high in to the air but also allowing one to magically move them through it as well. It also conveniently defies gravity by lifting objects heavier than a normal person would otherwise be able to carry, as seen when Ron used this on a troll's club, something a first year Hogwarts student would otherwise never be able to do without magic.[1]

"This charm ought not to be seen as a joke spell. It can be most useful in duels and can lift physical obstacles and can even Levitate small creatures (though this is likely to confuse any poor animal and is certainly not to be encouraged)."
— An excerpt from Book of Spells.[src]

A feather enchanted with this charm

Despite its strengths, however, the Levitation Charm has one fatal flaw: it does not work on human beings. Though a human can be levitated using this charm, it is actually their clothing that is being affected. The charm is apparently not strong enough to allow a human to do anything more that float a few feet off the air using this method, and therefore does not allow the true flight afforded to most other objects.[3]

Almost anything can be lifted with this spell, although the object levitated depends on the skill of the caster and the weight of the object.[3]

Known uses

Ron Weasley: "Wingardium Leviosa!"
Hermione Granger: "You're saying it wrong. It's Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the 'gar' nice and long."
Ron Weasley: "You do it, then, if you're so clever"
— Hermione being condescending toward Ron[src]
Caster(s) Date Notes
Jarleth Hobart 1544 The first use of the spell was that of Hobart using it on himself as he leapt from the roof of a local church, remaining suspended in mid-air for a brief period of time before the crowd of wizards gathered to watch his new spell.[3]
Delphini 31 October, 1981 (alternate timeline) Delphini used this spell to attack Harry Potter with a church pew, but failed to do so as Harry rolled over to avoid being crushed under it.[9]
Draco Malfoy June, 1996 Used it during his Theory of Charms exam.[8]
31 October, 1981 (alternate timeline) Draco used this spell to elevate Delphini in the air and out of sight.[9]
Jacob's sibling 1987–1988 school year Used this spell to levitate themselves into the air in the Forbidden Forest, in order to see the Centaurs up high.[10]
Hermione Granger 31 October, 1991 Hermione was the first student in her charms class to master the spell in the first lesson; whilst doing so she attempted to teach Ron Weasley how to correctly cast the spell, much to his annoyance.[1]

PS Wingardium Leviosa feather.gif

Ron Weasley 31 October, 1991 Ron used this spell to defeat a Mountain Troll which Professor Quirrell had let into the school.[1]
2 May, 1998 He also used the spell again seven years later to levitate a twig in order to press the knot on the tree that was trying to beat him up which would freeze the aforementioned tree.[11]
Bill Weasley August, 1994 Used this spell to levitate the table to fight a table levitated by his brother Charlie.[12]
Charlie Weasley Used this spell to levitate the table to fight a table levitated by his brother Bill.[12]
Rita Skeeter 13 November, 1994 Used it non-verbally to levitate the candles in the Broom cupboard.[13]
Lee Jordan 1996 Lee used this spell twice to levitate Nifflers into Dolores Umbridge's office to annoy her; however, eventually another of his teachers, Rubeus Hagrid got blamed for it instead.[8]
Harry Potter June, 1996 Used it during his Theory of Charms exam.[8]
18 June, 1996 He later used it during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in the Brain Room in an attempt to remove some brains from himself, which managed to attack him.[14]
27 July, 1997 Harry used the spell during the Battle of the Seven Potters to levitate the side-car he was sitting in after it was separated from the motorbike it was connected too.[15]
Severus Snape (possibly) October 1996 Snape may have used this spell so that he could examine a cursed necklace without touching it, though that might have been a Hover Charm.[16]
Minerva McGonagall 1 May, 1998 McGonagall used this spell during the Ousting of Severus Snape, causing a torch to fly off of its bracket and spin around, creating a wild movement of flames similar to that of a lasso in an attempt to thwart the Death Eater.[17]

Known practitioners

Etymology

Wingardium is a composite word, based on: English to wing meaning "to fly" (e.g. the plane winged skywards);[27] arduus (meaning "high, tall, lofty, steep, proudly elevated")[28][29] or arduum (meaning "steep place, the steep");[28][30] and the common Latin ending -ium. Leviosa probably derives from Latin levo, meaning to "raise, lift up", or levis, meaning light (of weight).[28][31] Altogether, therefore, the incantation could best be read as "lift up high".

Behind the scenes

This spell as seen in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells

The wand movement shown in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells

Hermione Granger levitating a feather with this charm as a POP! Vinyl

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 10 (Hallowe'en)
  2. Pottermore - The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1 menu
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Wonderbook: Book of Spells - see this video
  4. See this image from J. K. Rowling's Pottermore.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 5 (The Duel) - Charms Lesson "Wingardium Leviosa"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene Eleven
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 13 (The Centaur's Arrow)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32 (The Elder Wand)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 5 (Weasley's Wizard Wheezes)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 18 (The Weighing of the Wands)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)
  16. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) - Chapter 11 (Cursed Necklace)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
  18. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump"
  19. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
  20. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) - Chapter 20 (Polyjuice Potion)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
  22. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
  23. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  25. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) - Chapter 27 (Kill the Spare)
  26. Harry Potter: Magic Awakened
  27. Wing, definition of
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Latin word list
  29. Arduus, meaning of
  30. Arduum, meaning of
  31. Levis, meaning of
  32. See this YouTube video
  33. Pottermore - What are the Harry Potter cast members favourite Hogwarts classes?


Charms (class)
PS Wingardium Leviosa feather.gif
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 male Charms Professor
Textbooks Achievements in Charming · Extreme Incantations · Quintessence: A Quest · The Standard Book of Spells
Charms studied at Hogwarts
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 · 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) · 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 Scouring Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Spell for growing legs · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Vinegar into Wine · Wand-Extinguishing Charm (Nox) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos) · Lumos Maxima · Water-Making Spell (Aguamenti)


The Standard Book of Spells
Book of Spells 1.png
Grade 1 · Grade 2 · Grade 3 · Grade 4 · Grade 5 · Grade 6 · Grade 7
Charms included in the series: Dancing Feet Spell · Disarming Charm · Engorgement Charm · Fire-Making Spell · Freezing Charm · General Counter-Spell · Levitation Charm · Locking Spell · Memory Charm · Mending Charm · Nonverbal spell · Severing Charm · Skurge Charm · Softening Charm · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm · Tickling Charm · Unlocking Charm · Wand-Lighting Charm
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