- "A jet of green light issued from Voldemort's wand just as a jet of red light blasted from Harry's — they met in midair — and suddenly Harry's wand was vibrating as though an electric charge were surging through it; his hand seized up around it; he couldn't have released it if he'd wanted to — and a narrow beam of light connected the two wands, neither red nor green, but bright, deep gold... he felt his feet lift from the ground. He and Voldemort were both being raised into the air, their wands still connected by that thread of shimmering golden light."
- —Harry's and Voldemort's twin wand cores connect[src]
The Reverse Spell (Prior Incantato) was a charm that forced a wand to show an "echo" of the last spell it had performed. Its counter-charm was the Eradication Spell, which removed these images.
The Reverse Spell effect, otherwise known as Priori Incantatem, was an especially rare manifestation of this spell that occurred when two wands with the same core (that is, taken from the same animal) attempt to duel each other. The winner's wand forced the loser's wand to produce "echoes" of the most recent spells performed in reverse order.
- "The golden thread connecting Harry and Voldemort splintered; though the wands remained connected, a thousand more beams arced high over Harry and Voldemort, crisscrossing all around them, until they were enclosed in a golden, dome-shaped web, a cage of light..."
- —The dome of light, a side-effect of the spell[src]
As dictated by the subtle laws of wands, when a duel occurrs between wizards with wand cores harvested from the same creature, simultaneous spell-casting by both parties triggers a rare, powerful effect called Priori Incantatem. Both wands became linked through a single, golden thread. Hundreds of smaller golden beams shoot off from this central thread to form a cage around the duellers.
The two wand holders are then forced to compete in a battle of wills, by forcing golden beads of light to move along through the beam back towards their opponent. When one wand managed to overcome the other, it forced the losing wand to regurgitate "echoes" of the most recent spells it had cast, in reverse order.
If one of these spells was the Killing Curse, then a ghostly "echo" of the murdered person could emerge from the killer's wand. Such "echoes" retained the "appearance and character" of the deceased person. They were able to hold conversations and could remember the events leading up to and following their deaths. However, these "echoes" were not ghosts, nor were they considered to be returning the deceased person from the dead; indeed, they could only linger on the mortal plane for a few moments before they faded back into the Beyond.
Amos Diggory cast the Reverse Spell on Harry Potter's wand in the aftermath of the Death Eater attack at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup in order to determine whether he conjured the Dark Mark over the campsite.
Lord Voldemort was resurrected by Peter Pettigrew using the blood of Harry Potter in the Little Hangleton graveyard on 24 June 1995. A duel ensued between Voldemort and Harry, during which their wands (which both contained feathers from the phoenix Fawkes) became connected, triggering Priori Incantatem. Voldemort's wand was ultimately overcome by Harry's, causing it to release "shadows" of people he had murdered with it: Cedric Diggory, Frank Bryce, Bertha Jorkins, as well as Lily and James Potter.
Behind the scenes
- Throughout the film adaptations of the story, there are several instances of two wizards locking spells with one another, presumably for dramatic effect. Although similar to Priori Incantatem, these events did not actually result in a cage of light, nor the release of echoes of past spells.
- Instances of this include Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort during the duel in the Ministry Atrium in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; a Death Eater and Arthur Weasley in the Battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter (using Draco Malfoy's wand) and Lord Voldemort (using the Elder Wand) several times during Voldemort's Last Stand, also in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; and Porpentina Goldstein and Gellert Grindelwald in the film inspired by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor in 1998 Bellatrix Lestrange used this spell on Hermione Granger's wand to learn if she used a Stinging Hex on Harry Potter to make him unrecognisable.
- In the novel of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Bertha Jorkins' echo appears during Voldemort's duel with Harry, while in the film adaptation, her echo doesn't appear. This is because the character of Bertha Jorkins has been omitted entirely from the films.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Indirectly mentioned only)
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Wand Collection (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 9 (The Dark Mark)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 34 (Priori Incantatem)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 - “The Reverse Spell effect?” said Sirius sharply.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)