"And all along the corridor the statues and suits of armour jumped down from their plinths, and from the echoing crashes from the floors above and below, Harry knew that their fellows throughout the castle had done the same... Cheering and yelling, the horde of moving statues stampeded past Harry; some of them smaller, others larger than life. There were animals too, and the clanking suits of armour brandished swords and spiked balls on chains."
—Description[src]

Piertotum Locomotor was the incantation for a charm used to bring life to those artefacts that had, previously, been inanimate and unmoving.[1] The target's movements could be controlled by the caster of the charm.[6]

Known uses

This spell was used by Minerva McGonagall to enchant the Chessboard Chamber in the Underground Chambers, in order to protect the Philosopher's Stone, prior to the 1991–1992 school year.[7]

In 1994, Molly Weasley used this spell to bewitch a dustpan to scoop potatoes off the kitchen floor at The Burrow.[3]

"Next second he had reappeared behind Voldemort and waved his wand toward the remnants of the fountain; the other statues sprang to life too."
—Albus Dumbledore animating the statue in the Ministry Altrium[src]

During the Duel in the Ministry Atrium, Albus Dumbledore used this spell to animate the statue of the Fountain of Magical Brethren, with the animated statues protecting Harry Potter, immobilising Bellatrix Lestrange and blocking a Killing Curse cast by Voldemort.[4]

The bewitched statues and suits of armour

On the 1 May 1998, during the ousting of Severus Snape, Filius Flitwick used this charm to animate a suit of armour that Snape was hiding behind to subdue him. After this, Minerva McGonagall used this charm to animate the Hogwarts suits of armour and statues to fight in the final battle of the Second Wizarding War, the Battle of Hogwarts.[1]

The suits of armour were used to aid the defenders of Hogwarts against Lord Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and the various Dark creatures that had sided with him.[6]

Known practitioners

Etymology

This incantation may derive from:

  • French "pierre", meaning "stone"[9]
  • Latin "pie", meaning "dutifully" or "affectionately"[10]
  • Latin "totum", which means "everything", "the whole" or "they all"[11]
  • Latin "loco", meaning "position" or "place"[12]
  • Latin "moto", meaning "moves" or "moving"[13]

The whole incantation could, therefore, translate to "The whole position dutifully moves," or any other combination of the translations. A less rigid translation: 'I move thee forth, all dutiful [soldiers]'.

Behind the scenes

  • In the eighth video game, when Professor McGonagall performs this spell and gives her orders, her voice makes an echo throughout the night, most likely for dramatic effect.[14]
  • In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Professor McGonagall does not bring the statues and suits of armour to life onscreen.[15]

Appearances

Notes and references

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