"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."

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.[2]


"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]
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, 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 obliterated the snake, vanishing in a cloud of black smoke.[1]

Known 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]


Notes and references

Transfiguration (class)
COS Vera Verto demo
Branches of Transfiguration Transformation · Vanishment · Conjuration · Untransfiguration
Known 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) · Reparifarge · Switching Spell · Vanishing Spell (Evanesco)
Conjuring Spells Bird-Conjuring Charm (Avis) · Inanimatus Conjurus Spell · Orchideous · Snake Summons Spell (Serpentsortia)
Transforming Spells Animal to Water Goblet (Vera Verto) · Beetle Buttons · Cat to Cauldron (Felifors) · Cauldron Cakes to Cabbages · Chair to cat · Cross-Species Switches · Desk Into Pig · Dinner plate to mushroom · Guinea fowl to guinea pig · Hedgehog to pincushion · Match to needle · Meddling Man to Monkey · Mice to Snuffboxes · Owl to Opera Glasses (Strigiforma) · Porcupine to Pin Cushion (Hystrifors) · 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 to gerbil · Teacup to Rat · Teapot to tortoise · White Rabbits to Slippers
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