"Carpe Retractum has two primary uses – to pull yourself towards something, or to pull something towards you."
Professor Lupin describing the charm in Defence Against the Dark Arts[src]

The Seize and Pull Charm[5] (Carpe Retractum) is a charm that produces a magical, retractable cord of light,[6] that can be used to pull nearby objects towards the caster, or, if the target is fixed in place, to pull the caster towards the target.


In order to successfully connect the charm, the target must be in direct line of sight of the caster, as well as being relatively nearby. Once connected, the caster can pull on the rope with their wand, quickly retracting it. Objects that are not fixed in place will be pulled towards the caster. If the target is immovable, then the retracting rope will swiftly drag the caster towards the object. Being pulled in this manner enables the caster to traverse through the air or over large gaps.[2]

While the charm is generally used on inanimate objects, it can also be used on living things such as Bubotubers and Erklings.[7]

Although the charm is easy enough to cast, it takes a fair amount of force to pull heavy objects or to hold on to the wand while being dragged through the air. For this reason, it is easier for stronger, more muscular individuals to pull heavy objects or to be flung through the air than it is for those with less strength. This can be negated to a certain degree if caster leans backwards while pulling heavier targets by allowing their body weight to carry a portion of the target's weight.


Third year witches and wizards were taught this spell throughout the 1993-1994 school year in charms class by Professor Filius Flitwick, as well as in Defence Against the Dark Arts by Professor Remus Lupin. The charm appeared in the third year exams for both classes.[2]



From Latin carpe, meaning "seize", and retractum, meaning "remote".

Behind the scenes


Ron using Carpe Retractum in his third year

  • In the PC version, only Ron could perform this spell, whereas in the console version only Harry could cast it; in the succeeding game, all of the trio can use it.
  • In the third game, Ron could use the spell as a form of grappling hook, to pull other things towards him, or to pull himself to other things. If he used it on a suspended target, he could swing from platform to platform, or hang in midair until he let go of the spell, as seen in the picture on the right. This feature of the spell was not reused in subsequent games.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game), the charm is purple in colour and used exclusively on similarly coloured objects, whereas in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game) it is orange and used in a variety of objects and creatures.


Notes and references

Charms (class)
PS Wingardium Leviosa feather
Charmbook writers and developers
Delfina Crimp · Miranda Goshawk · Jarleth Hobart · Basil Horton · Randolph Keitch ·
Levina Monkstanley · Orabella Nuttley · Mnemone Radford · Scarpin · Elliot Smethwyck ·
Felix Summerbee · Fred Weasley · George Weasley
Professors Fortinbras · Filius Flitwick
Textbooks The Standard Book of Spells · Achievements in Charming · Quintessence: A Quest
Charms studied at Hogwarts
Arresto Momentum · Banishing Charm (Depulso) · Bird-Conjuring Charm (Avis) · Cheering Charm · Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · Fire-Making Spell (Incendio) · Freezing Spell (Glacius) · Full Body-Bind Curse (Petrificus Totalus) · General Counter-Spell (Finite Incantatem) · Growth Charm · Knockback Jinx (FlipendoLevitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locomotion Charm (Locomotor) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Reductor Curse (Reducto) · Seize and Pull Charm (Carpe Retractum) · Shrinking Charm (Reducio) · Silencing Charm (Silencio) · Skurge Scouring Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Vinegar into Wine · Wand-Extinguishing Charm (Nox) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos) · Water-Making Spell (Aguamenti)

Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts
Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Professor's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Albus Dumbledore · Galatea Merrythought · Patricia Rakepick · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Barty Crouch Jr. (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape · Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher)
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · 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 · Magical Drafts and Potions
Spells studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Curse of the Bogies · Disarming Charm · Freezing Spell · Hex-Breaker· Hex-deflection · Hex Zapper · Impediment Jinx · Knockback Jinx · Nonverbal spells · Reductor Curse · Seize and Pull Charm · Shield Charm · Stunning Spell · Verdimillious Charm · Verdimillious Duo Spell · Verdimillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm · Cruciatus Curse · Imperius Curse · Killing Curse
Creatures studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Boggart · Cornish Pixie · Grindylow · Hinkypunk · Iguana · Inferius · Kappa
· Red Cap · Vampire · Vampire bat · Werewolf