"You wouldn't believe how many people, even people who work at the Ministry, can't do a decent Shield Charm."
George Weasley regarding the charm[src]

The Shield Charm[3] (Protego)[1] was a charm that protected the caster with an invisible shield that reflected spells and blocks physical entities.[3] There were multiple variations of the Shield Charm.

Casting and effects

A magical shield produced by this charm

When cast, a (usually) invisible shield is conjured in front of the caster's wand, creating a protective barrier between themselves and their attacker. This shield can block and reflect a multitude of spells, such as most jinxes, hexes,[7] and minor curses,[8] as well as block physical forces. Exceptionally powerful Shield Charms are even able to knock people off their feet.[1][9][10] However, this shield isn't completely impenetrable, as it cannot block Unforgivable Curses.

The difficulty of casting a Shield Charm is relatively moderate. Fred and George Weasley realised that most adult wizards, even those employed by the Ministry of Magic, could not produce a functional Shield Charm (something that not only could Harry Potter accomplish at age fourteen but, also impart to members of the D.A.). They used this to their advantage when marketing their line of protective clothing (hats, cloaks, gloves), upon which permanent Shield Charms were cast.[11]


The Shield Charm's origins are unknown, but was in use by the 15th century.[7]

The most famous use of the charm took place in 1484, in the town of Poppleton, where the tyrannical Earl of Paunchley held a jousting match. He insisted that all the nobles for miles around must come to cheer him on at the tournament and "no excuse would be acceptable" for missing the event. But young Edmund Gaddlegate fell out of a tree that day and broke his leg, and his mother put him to bed. The Earl wouldn't hear of anyone staying home, so he dragged Edmund and his mother to the castle, and said the mother had to watch while her child was tied to a horse and forced to compete in the jousting.[7]

The other knights left the tournament "in disgust" at the idea of jousting with a small injured boy, so the Earl vowed that he himself would attack Edmund. But a witch in the crowd named Hannah Cockleford had other ideas.[7] Fed up with the evil Earl, she cast an extremely strong Shield Charm between Edmund and the Earl, who was "squashed flat in his armour" when the Shield Charm knocked him backwards and his horse landed on him. The Earl of Paunchley did not die, but when he came-to he was under the impression that he was a donkey named Hairy Cyril.[7]

Patricia Rakepick taught this charm to Jacob's sibling on the Training Grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in order to teach them how to defend themselves whilst they tried to break the curses on the Cursed Vaults.[12]

Harry Potter learned this spell in his fourth year, in preparation for the third task of the Triwizard Tournament.[3] Harry also taught this charm to Dumbledore's Army during the 1995–1996 school year, so the members would be able to protect themselves when the time came.[13] This was also the subject of a question of the Theory of Charms O.W.L. in 1996.[14]

This spell was used frequently during the Second Wizarding War, the Battle of the Department of Mysteries,[15][16] the Battle of the Astronomy Tower,[17] and the Battle of Hogwarts,[10][18] as well as on many other occasions.

During the Calamity which occurred in the 2010s, volunteer members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force frequently used this protective charm when duelling enemies in Fortresses or fighting aggressive magical creatures in their missions to overpower Confoundables and release Foundables.[19]

Known variations

Horace Slughorn casting Protego Maxima

Other varieties of the Shield Charm include as followed:

Known uses

"His Shield Charm was so strong Snape was knocked off-balance and hit a desk."
— Harry Potter's impressive mastery of the charm[src]
Caster(s) Date Notes
Hannah Cockleford 1489 Hannah Cockleford used the Shield Charm to protect a Muggle boy named Edmund Gaddlegate when he was forced to joust with the Earl of Paunchley.[7]
Gellert Grindelwald 8 December, 1926 Gellert Grindelwald, disguised as Percival Graves, used this charm in the New York City Subway to fend off Newt Scamander.[23]
Gellert Grindelwald, disguised as Percival Graves, used this charm to fend off former Auror Tina Goldstein, whilst duelling her on the street.[23]
After a confrontation with President Seraphina Picquery of MACUSA, Grindelwald used massive in size Shield Charms to counter various spells fired at him by the MACUSA Aurors present.[23]

Grindelwald fighting Aurors.gif

Gunnar Grimmson September, 1927 Gunnar Grimmson used the charm to cast a spherical shield around him and protect himself from the angry assaults of the Obscurial Credence Barebone.[22]
Jacob's sibling Start of 1987–1988 school year Was taught this charm by Patricia Rakepick on the Training Grounds, in order to help them face the Cursed Vaults. Rakepick used the Blasting Curse against them, which they successfully blocked with the charm.[12]
Jacob's sibling End of 1987–1988 school year Used it to shield themselves from a spell cast at them by Ben Copper disguised as one of R's messengers in the Clock Tower Courtyard, but were knocked over regardless.[24]
Chiara Lobosca 1988–1989 school year Used this charm to defend herself and other students from several jinxed Ever-Bashing Boomerang that had been released in the Great Hall.[25]
Patricia Rakepick End of 1988–1989 school year Rakepick used this charm to create a powerful protective shield around herself, to shield herself from the spells of Jacob's sibling and their friends when they tried to retaliate against her.[26]
Harry Potter 1995 Harry Potter first learned this spell in his preparations for the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament, during which his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger shot spells at him so that he could practise shielding himself.[3] Although he later demonstrated an impressive mastery of this technique surpassing that of many Ministry employees, Harry initially had difficulty casting this spell as "Hermione was able to shatter it with a well-placed Jelly-Legs jinx."[3]
March, 1996 Harry once used the charm to defend himself against Professor Snape's Legilimency during Occlumency training, and found himself unexpectedly seeing some of Snape's unhappy childhood memories. This was most likely the reason why Snape was using a Pensieve to store his memories, and thus to preserve his privacy.[1]
18 June, 1996 Harry used the spell during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in the Hall of Prophecy in order to protect the Prophecy.[15]
Harry used the spell during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in the Death Chamber in order to protect the Prophecy.[15]
September, 1996 During his first sixth year Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson, Harry and the other members of his class had to cast this spell non-verbally. When Snape tried to jinx him, Harry instinctively used a Shield Charm (verbally cast) that was powerful enough to throw Snape off his feet, against a table.[9]
1998 Harry cast this charm between Hermione and Ron after the latter returned, since Hermione was furious with Ron to the point of wanting to curse him.[27]
Harry used the charm multiple times during the Battle of Hogwarts to protect Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnigan and Hannah Abbott from Voldemort, and did the same with Molly Weasley after she killed Bellatrix Lestrange. Harry's Shield Charms were so powerful they were able to block curses from Lord Voldemort himself.[18]

Harry casting the Shield Charm during the Battle of Hogwarts

Hermione Granger 24 November 1994 In an alternate timeline, Hermione Granger used the charm to stop Scorpius Malfoy's other self intervening in the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament.[28]
1996 Hermione Granger managed to cast this nonverbally against Neville's Jelly-Legs Curse in their first sixth year Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson.[9]
1997 Hermione Granger cast the Shield Charm when Harry and Ron got into an argument during their search for the Horcruxes. Hermione cast the shield before they could draw their wands against one another. When Ron subsequently left, Hermione was hampered in trying to follow him and persuade him not to leave by her own shield.[29]
1 May, 1998 Hermione Granger used a Shield Charm during the Gringotts break-in, to disrupt the Thief's Downfall.[30]
Draco Malfoy Early May, 1997 Draco used it nonverbal to deflect Harry Potter's nonverbal Levicorpus spell during their brief duel in Boys bathroom.[31]
Scorpius Malfoy 24 February 1995 In an alternate timeline, Scorpius Malfoy used the charm to stop his other self intervening in the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament.[28]
Gilderoy Lockhart 1992 Gilderoy Lockhart presumably attempted to demonstrate this charm, or something similar, to Harry during the first meeting of his Duelling Club, but all he truly wanted was to twirl his wand fancifully, which failed spectacularly, dropping his wand in the process.[32]
Harry Potter 1995 This charm was among those that Harry taught the members of Dumbledore's Army in his fifth year.[13]
Death Eaters 1996 During the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, the fighting Death Eaters cast many Shield Charms to protect themselves from Dumbledore's Army's Stunning spells.[4]

Lucius Malfoy using the Shield Charm to deflect Harry's Stunning Spell

An unknown Death Eater casting the Shield Charm

Bellatrix Lestrange During the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Bellatrix used the Shield Charm when Harry tried to stun her in the Atrium.[16]
Sirius Black Used it to defend himself whilst duelling Death Eaters in the Death Chamber.[4]

Sirius Protego.png

Lord Voldemort 2 May, 1998 Voldemort used the Shield Charm when forcing himself into Hogwarts Castle during the Battle of Hogwarts.[6]

Deathly Hallows - Voldemort Protego.gif

Severus Snape 30 June, 1997 Severus Snape cast this charm to deflect Harry Potter's spells during their brief duel after he killed Albus Dumbledore.[17]

Snape's shield charm in 1997

1 May, 1998 Severus later used a Shield Charm during his duel with Minerva McGonagall, knocking her off her feet.[10]
Remus Lupin 1 August, 1997 Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, and various other guests at Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding cast shield charms after Kingsley Shacklebolt's Patronus arrived to warn those at the Burrow that Lord Voldemort had taken over the Ministry of Magic.[33]
Nymphadora Tonks
Hogwarts staff 1998 A magical shield was cast around Hogwarts just before the final battle in the hopes of delaying Lord Voldemort and his army, in order to give Harry Potter time to find the Horcrux hidden there.[10][6]

the shield that surrounds Hogwarts prior to the Battle of Hogwarts

Known practitioners


Latin protego, "I cover" or "I protect".

Behind the scenes

This spell as seen in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells

Umbridge using the Shield Charm to block an arrow in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Minerva McGonagall using the Shield Charm against a giant in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)

  • In the films, Shield Charms are used in nearly every duel shown, almost always used non-verbally and usually accompanied by a parry-like wand movement.
  • Also in the films, Shield Charms are shown to be able to deflect material objects such as arrows which were shot using a bow. Also it has shown to be able to withstand Dragon fire from a Hungarian Horntail as seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game).
  • The book depicts the Shield Charm as only being capable of repelling "minor to moderate curses and hexes", although Harry Potter uses it to block the worst effects of Antonin Dolohov's curse in the Department of Mysteries. However, the film implies the Shield Charm to be significantly more powerful in that Harry is able to use it to completely deflect powerful curses cast by Voldemort himself.
  • In the early video games, Expelliarmus functions as a shield charm, due to a lack of enemies to disarm. In these games, Protego is absent.
  • In the books, Protego is also able to keep two quarrelling wizards from going at each other when a shield is cast between them.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Protego is shown to be able to block the Killing Curse. Harry blocks multiple Killing Curses from Voldemort during their final duel. According to the books, this is incorrect as the Killing Curse is "unblockable" which is the main reason for its particular infamy, but within the context of the films, the fact is never mentioned. As the Killing Curse would instantly end any duel if it were unblockable, this might just be done for dramatic effect and for longer duels. Although it's very probable that this was respectively because of both Harry's mastery of the Elder Wand and Harry's blood being in Voldemort's veins, and because Bellatrix merely prevented Molly's curses from hitting her with either a Stunning Spell or the Disarming Charm, that they were able to block the Killing Curse. Bellatrix also uses the Shield Charm to block several curses cast at her by Molly Weasley in their duel.
  • In Harry Potter for Kinect, Harry and Voldemort can use this spell against each other in the final battle during Voldemort's Last Stand as they engage in a normal duel.
  • As Shield Charms can be used as a bewitchment on objects, animals or wizards' clothing to indirectly protect them against many physical and Dark forces, it could be that this way of casting Shield Charms, along with their extended theory, is taught in Charms class.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 31 (The Third Task)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Wonderbook: Book of Spells
  8. Pottermore
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9 (The Half-Blood Prince)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 6 (Draco's Detour)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 1 (Year Four Begins)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 25 (The Beetle at Bay)
  14. See this image
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 14 (The Thief)
  21. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 22 (The Deathly Hallows)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 15 (Dark Secrets)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 26 (Chaos Ensues)
  26. 26.0 26.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 30 (Into the Vault)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 19 (The Silver Doe)
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  29. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 15 (The Goblin's Revenge)
  30. 30.0 30.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)
  31. 31.0 31.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 24 (Sectumsempra)
  32. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 9 (A Place to Hide)

Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts
Classroom 3C · Classroom 3C backrooms · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Teacher's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Storage room · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Duelling Club · Dumbledore's Army
Arsenius Jigger · Albus Dumbledore · Galatea Merrythought · 1984–1985 professor · 1985–1986 professor · 1986–1987 professor · 1987–1988 professor · Patricia Rakepick · 1989–1990 professor · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Bartemius Crouch Junior (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape · Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher) · 21st-century professor
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts · 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 · Defence Against the Dark Arts
Spells studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Aqua Eructo · Boggart-Banishing Spell (Riddikulus) · Cave inimicum · Counter-curses · Counter-jinxes · Cruciatus Curse (Crucio) · Curse of the Bogies (Mucus ad Nasuem) · Cursed barrier spell · Densaugeo · Deprimo · Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) · Ear-Shrivelling Curse · Everte Statum · Freezing Spell (Glacius) · Full Body-Bind Curse (Petrificus Totalus) · Fumos Duo · Green Sparks · Hex-Breaker· Hex-deflection · Hex Zapper · Homorphus Charm · Human-presence-revealing Spell (Homenium Revelio) · Impediment Jinx (Impedimenta) · Imperius Curse (Imperio) · Imperturbable Charm · Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra) · Knockback Jinx (Flipendo) · Lacarnum Inflamari · Langlock · Limbo Mist anticharm · Nonverbal spells · Patronus Charm (Expecto Patronus) · Protective enchantments · Red Sparks (Vermillious) · Reductor Curse (Reducto) · Salvio hexia · Sea Urchin Jinx · Seize and pull charm (Carpe Rectratum) · Shield Charm (Protego) · Smokescreen Spell (Fumos) · Snake-Vanishing Spell (Vipera Evanesca) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Stretching Jinx · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Tongue-Tying Curse (Mimble Wimble) · Trip Jinx · Twitchy-Ears Hex · Verdimillious Charm (Verdimillous) · Verdimillious Duo Spell (Verdimillous) · Verdimillious Tria · Vermillious Duo · Vermillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos)
Creatures studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Banshee · Boggart · Chameleon Ghoul · Charmed skeleton · Cornish Pixie · Dementor · Erkling · Flesh-Eating Slug · Ghost · Ghoul · Grindylow · Gytrash · Hag · Hinkypunk · Iguana · Imp · Inferius · Kappa · Nocturnal beasts · Red Cap · Snake · Troll · Vampire · Vampire bat · Werewolf · Yeti · Zombie
*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Fandom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.