Harry Potter Wiki
Harry Potter Wiki

"The end of his wand exploded. Harry watched, aghast, as a long black snake shot out of it, fell heavily onto the floor between them and raised itself, ready to strike."
— Description[src]

The Snake Summons Spell[4] (Serpensortia)[1] was a transfiguration spell that conjured a live snake from the end of the wand.[1] Out of all of the spells used to conjure living things, The Snake Summons Spell was amongst the easiest, alongside the Bird-Conjuring Charm.[5] The counter-spell to this conjuration was the Snake-Vanishing Spell.[1]


"The 'Snake Summons' spell originated in India and is often illicitly used today by wizards who are called by the Muggle moniker, 'Snake Charmers.'"
— History of the spell, Cast-a-Spell handbook[6]

A snake summoned with this spell

The Snake Summons Spell was first created, sometime prior to 1987, in India, but was used worldwide (although usually in its homeland) by wizards known to Muggles as "Snake Charmers".[4]

During the 1987–1988 school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Transfiguration Professor Minerva McGonagall taught this spell to her fourth-years, including Jacob's sibling.[3]

This spell was utilised by Draco Malfoy during the first Duelling Club meeting in 1992 at the advice of Snape, summoning forth a black serpent in an attempt to attack Harry Potter. After a failed attempt by Gilderoy Lockhart to dispose of it, Harry spoke to the snake with Parseltongue, inadvertently revealing his status as a Parselmouth to the school. Snape's enjoyment at Harry's horror turned to horror himself at this discovery, and he obliterated the snake, vanishing it in a cloud of black smoke.[1]

Notable practitioners


Serpens is Latin for "serpent"; ortus is the past participle of the Latin verb oriri "to be created".[7]

In Spanish, serpiente means "snake or serpent".

In French, sortir is a verb that means to go out, in this case, the snake goes out of the wand.

Behind the scenes

  • Although the book states that the snake is conjured (brought forth into existence from nothingness), the Harry Potter Official Website states, when a user attempts to cast the spell at the farthest edges of the room, that: "It appears the snake did not hear you. Try to cast your spell in the centre of the room", suggesting that the serpent is brought forth from elsewhere.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Draco Malfoy casts the spell on Harry Potter during a duel organised by Gilderoy Lockhart, he makes wild, large movements similar to a snake's slithering pattern. It is unknown whether this is just for dramatic purposes to intimidate Harry, or if it modifies the effect to his desire.[8]
  • Gellert Grindelwald may have used this spell to conjure a snake with multiple heads during his escape in 1927.[9]
  • Despite the fact that the spell originated in India, the incantation is still derived from the very European language Latin, unlike Alohomora, which is African in origin and is derived from a local language.


Notes and references

Transfiguration (class)
COS Vera Verto demo.gif
Branches of Transfiguration Transformation · Vanishment · Conjuration · Untransfiguration
Notable practitioners Circe · Emeric Switch · Falco Aesalon · Mirabella Plunkett · Thaddeus Thurkell
Professors Albus Dumbledore · Minerva McGonagall
Textbooks A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration · Intermediate Transfiguration · A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration
Transfiguration spells studied at Hogwarts
Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Change of hair colour and style (Crinus Muto) · Hardening Charm (Duro) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Partial Vanishment · Reparifarge · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Switching Spell · Vanishing Spell (Evanesco)
Conjuring Spells Bird-Conjuring Charm (Avis) · Inanimatus Conjurus Spell · Bouquet Spell (Orchideous) · Snake Summons Spell (Serpensortia)
Transforming Spells Animal to Water Goblet (Vera Verto) · Armadillo to Pillow · Bowling Ball to Balloon · Beetle to Button · Cauldron to Badger · Cat to Cauldron (Felifors) · Cauldron Cakes to Cabbages · Chair to Cat · Cross-Species Switches · Desk Into Pig · Fairy Cakes to Fairies · Feather Duster to Ferret · Ferret to Feather Duster · Goldfinch to Golden Snitch · Flobberworm to Fritter · Gnomes to Lawn Gnomes · Guinea Fowl to Guinea Pig · Gobstone to Skunk · Hedgehog to Pin Cushion · King to Rook · Lovebird to Love Note · Match to Needle · Meddling Man to Monkey · Mice to Snuffboxes · Owl to Opera Glasses (Strigiforma) · Pawn to Queen · Porcupine to Pin Cushion (Hystrifors) · Puffskein to Paperweight · Small Child to Rat · Small Object to Dragon (Draconifors) · Snail to Teapot · Target to Bird (Avifors) · Target to Matchbox (Flintifors) · Target to Rabbit (Lapifors) · Teacup into Gerbil · Teacup to Rat · Teapot to Tortoise · Thimble to Thestral · Toad to Toadstool · Tortoise to Trumpet · White Rabbits to Slippers