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"There are many ways to pass through locked doors in the magical world (see the Fire-Making Spell, Gouging Spell, and the Reductor Curse) where you wish to enter or depart discreetly, however, the Unlocking Charm is your best friend."
— The introduction in the Book of Spells[src]

The Unlocking Charm (Alohomora),[1] also known as the Unlocking Spell[5] or the Thief's Friend[1] was a charm that unlocked objects such as doors or windows.[1][4][6] It was also able to open doors locked by the Locking Spell (Colloportus), and as such, acted as its counter-charm. The Anti-Alohomora Charm could be used to prevent this charm from working on a locked target.[1]


"Welcome, everyone. Today you will learn the Unlocking Charm, Alohomora! It's the very best spell when a wizard forgets his keys. Come to think of it, with Alohomora, why would a wizard even need keys? A discussion for another day, I suppose. Wands up, everyone!"
Professor Flitwick to first-year Charms students[src]

A mechanical lock being broken with this charm

The Unlocking Charm had its origins in Africa, whereupon it was called the Thief's Friend. The first known person to have mastered the charm was an Ancient African sorcerer, who taught it to thief Eldon Elsrickle during the latter's trip to the continent in the 17th century. Upon returning to his native Britain, Elsrickle used it to terrorise London, stealing from homes of Muggles and wizards alike, until Blagdon Blay invented the Anti-Alohomora Charm. Before he died, Elsrickle gave knowledge of the Unlocking Charm in exchange for his freedom on the infrequent occasions he broke into a magical household, resulting in the spell being widespread in the country.[1]

Before the discovery of Alohomora, the most popular unlocking spell was Portaberto, which splintered the lock from a door but occasionally left a smoking hole where the key should have gone. Before Portaberto, however, the most popular opening spell was Open Sesame, which ripped doors from their hinges and tore them into firewood. All of these were more rudimentary and by far less subtle than Alohomora.[1]

Descriptions of this spell were written in numerous books, including the first volume of the Standard Book of Spells series, where it was described in chapter seven.[2] and a spellbook that could be found in the Hogwarts Library.[7] This spell was also taught in Charms class in the first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was one of the first spells students learnt.[8]

In the summer of 1992, Harry Potter considered using this charm to unlock the cage of his pet owl Hedwig at 4 Privet Drive, but did not, since he knew that underage wizards and witches were not allowed to use magic outside of Hogwarts.[9]

The door guarding the Philosopher's Stone was protected against the Unlocking Charm; a winged key was necessary to open it.[10] A single door in the Department of Mysteries was impervious to this spell as well; it is possible that it opened in the room where the British Ministry of Magic studied the power of love in the Department of Mysteries.[11]


There was a spell called the Anti-Alohomora Charm which was used to counteract this spell.[1] Magical locks also existed and were placed on several doors, but could be unlocked with this charm.[7][12][13]

Known uses[]


"'Oh, move over,' Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry's wand, tapped the lock, and whispered, 'Alohomora!' The lock clicked and the door swung open —"
— Hermione using this charm to unlock a door on the third-floor corridor[src]
Caster(s) Date Notes
Eldon Elsrickle 1600s The first wizard to use it in the western world. Elsrickle had learnt the spell from an Ancient African sorcerer and used it to ransack the houses of London, Muggle, and wizarding alike.[1]
Sebastian Sallow Before or in the 1890–1891 school year Used it to get into the Restricted Section before the librarian Agnes Scribner cast an Anti-Alohomora Charm on the lock.[14]
Eleazar Fig 1890 To unlock the door of San Bakar's Tower[15]
Unidentified 19th-century Hogwarts student 1890–1891 school year Taught the basic form of the spell by the caretaker Gladwin Moon in order to retrieve Demiguise Statues in the Faculty Tower without being seen.[16] Learnt more advanced forms of the spell from Moon after they returned more statues to him.[17]
Newt Scamander 6 December 1926 Used it to open a safe at Steen National Bank to retrieve Teddy, his niffler.[18]
1932 Used it to open the locked front gate of the Erkstag prison to get his brother Theseus out.[19]
Lord Voldemort 31 October 1981 Used it to break into the Potters' house, before murdering James and Lily Potter and trying to murder their son Harry Potter.[20]
Albus Potter Used it after time-travelling to the day his grandparents were killed to unlock the doors of St Jerome's Church in order to let Harry Potter's friends come and help him to duel Delphini.[21]
Jacob's sibling 1984–1985 school year Jacob's sibling and Rowan Khanna used this charm to unlock the door of the room that contains the Cursed ice.[22]
1985–1986 school year Used to unlock a cabinet in the Artefact Room.[23]
Jacob's sibling unlocking cabinet HM21
1986–1987 school year Used it unlock the door to Room 234-00.[24]
1986–1987 school year Used it unlock a cabinet in the Artefact Room which contained a Boggart.[25]
Jacob's sibling, Jae Kim or Nymphadora Tonks 1990–1991 school year One of them used it to open the door to the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher's office.[26]
Hermione Granger 1991 Used it to open a forbidden entrance on the Third-floor corridor of Hogwarts Castle.[27]
6 June 1994 Used it to open the window to Professor Filius Flitwick's office to rescue Sirius Black.[28]
2 August 1997 Used it to open Regulus Black's bedroom in 12 Grimmauld Place.[29]
Death Eaters 18 June 1996 One of the Death Eaters used it to open doors to Time Room shut by the Hermione Granger.[11]
St Mungo's staff (such as Miriam Strout) 25 December 1996 The Janus Thickey Ward at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries could only be entered by using this spell. Healers and visitors may have entered, but patients were unable to get out.[30]
Scorpius Malfoy 1 September 2020 Used it to open the Minister for Magic's office at the Ministry of Magic when he, Albus Potter and Delphini infiltrated the Ministry to steal a Time-Turner.[31]


"They tugged and heaved at the door, but it wouldn’t budge, not even when Hermione tried her Alohomora Charm."
— Hermione Granger's unsuccessful use of this charm in the Underground Chambers[src]
Caster(s) Date Notes
Eldon Elsrickle 1600s He eventually found that all wizarding households placed an Anti-Alohomora Charm on their doors and could no longer unlock their doors.[1]
Queenie Goldstein 7 December 1926 Tried to unlock Percival Graves's office at the Magical Congress of the United States of America using this spell and the Opening Charm, but was unsuccessful. She speculated that he had secured it with advanced spells.[18]
Jacob's sibling 1986–1987 school year Tried it to unlock a padlock belonging to Tulip Karasu on Jacob's room, but it was protected against it.[5]
Hermione Granger 4 June 1992 Tried to unlock the locked door in the Flying Key room, but the door could only open with the key.[10]
18 June 1996 Tried to unlock the locked door to the Love Chamber in the Department of Mysteries, shortly before the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.[11]
Harry Potter 1 September 1996 Tried to unlock the Hogwarts gates with no effect since Albus Dumbledore had bewitched them.[32]
17 June 1996 Harry Potter assumed that Umbridge's office door had been bewitched so that this spell wouldn't work.[33]

Known practitioners[]


J. K. Rowling stated that the word was from the West African Sikidy figures used in geomancy and has the literal meaning "Friendly to thieves".[36]

Behind the scenes[]


The hand movement promoted by Warner Bros.


Harry opening Dolores Umbridge's Office with this spell in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Alohomora as seen in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells


The wand movement shown in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery


The Harry Potter Wiki has 10 images related to Unlocking Charm.

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Wonderbook: Book of Spells
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film), Chapter 17 (Three-headed Sentinel)
  3. (see this video)dead link
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bloomsbury Glossary: A
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 5 (Tulip Karasu)
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - Fantastic Beasts: A Cinematic Yearbook
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 8 (Preparing for the Room) - Charms Lesson "Alohomora"
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 1 (The Worst Birthday)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Hogwarts Legacy, Main Quest "Secrets of the Restricted Section"
  15. Hogwarts Legacy, Main Quest "Percival Rackham's Trial"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Hogwarts Legacy, Main Quest "The Caretaker's Lunar Lament"
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Hogwarts Legacy, Side Quest "The Man Behind the Moons"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
  19. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
  20. 20.0 20.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film), Chapter 8 (The Boy Who Lived)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene Eleven
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 9 (Inside the Room)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, Chapter 1 (Year Two Begins)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 4 (Filching from Filch)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 7 (Jacob's Room)
  26. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 42 (A Study in Green)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9 (The Midnight Duel)
  28. 28.0 28.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)
  29. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
  30. 30.0 30.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 23 (Christmas on the Closed Ward)
  31. 31.0 31.1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act One, Scene Eleven
  32. 32.0 32.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
  33. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
  34. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 30 (Into the Vault)
  35. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
  36. Rowling, J. K. (2008-04-14). Statement of J.K. Rowling in testimony during the WB and JKR vs. RDR Books. Archived on 2008-04-16 from http://web.archive.org/web/20080423072217/www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2008/4/15/first-day-of-jkr-wb-vs-rdr-books-trial

See also[]

Charms (class)
PS Wingardium Leviosa feather
Charm-book writers and developers
Blagdon Blay · Daisy Pennifold · Delfina Crimp · Miranda Goshawk · Jarleth Hobart · Basil Horton · Helixa Hyslop · Syna Hyslop · Randolph Keitch · Levina Monkstanley · Orabella Nuttley · Mnemone Radford · Scarpin · Elliot Smethwyck · Felix Summerbee · Violeta Stitch
Professors Fortinbras · Filius Flitwick · Abraham Ronen · Unidentified male professor · Unidentified medieval professor
Textbooks Achievements in Charming · Extreme Incantations · Quintessence: A Quest · The Standard Book of Spells
Charms studied at Hogwarts
Anti-Alohomora Charm · Ascension Charm (Ascendio) · Banishing Charm (Depulso) · Blackboard Writing Spell · Blue sparks · Bombardment Spell (Bombarda) · Box Blasting Charm (Cistem Aperio) · Bubble-Head Charm · Cheering Charm · Cleaning Charm · Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Confundus Charm (Confundo) · Counter-charm for hiccoughs · Dancing Feet Spell (Tarantallegra) · Descendo · Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) · Disillusionment Charm · Drought Charm · Entrancing Enchantments (theoretically) · Eradication Spell (Deletrius) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · Extinguishing Spell · Fire-Making Spell (Incendio) · Freezing Charm (Immobulus) · Freezing Spell (Glacius) · Full Body-Bind Curse (Petrificus Totalus) · General Counter-Spell (Finite Incantatem) · Gouging Spell (Defodio) · Growth Charm · Ice Jinx · Impervius Charm (Impervius) · Knitting Charm · Knockback Jinx (Flipendo) · Leg-Locker Curse (Locomotor Mortis) · Levitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locking Spell (Colloportus) · Locomotion Charm (Locomotor) · Lumos Solem Spell (Lumos Solem) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Memory Charm (Obliviate) · Muffliato Charm (Muffliato) · Nonverbal spells · Pack Charm (Pack) · Red Sparks (Vermillious) · Reductor Curse (Reducto) · Scouring Charm (Scourgify) · Seize and pull charm (Carpe Retractum) · Severing Charm (Diffindo) · Shrinking Charm (Reducio) · Silencing Charm (Silencio) · Slowing Charm (Arresto Momentum) · Skurge Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Spell for growing legs · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Vinegar to wine spell · Wand-Extinguishing Charm (Nox) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos) · Lumos Maxima · Water-Making Spell (Aguamenti)
The Standard Book of Spells
Book of Spells 1
Grade 1 · Grade 2 · Grade 3 · Grade 4 · Grade 5 · Grade 6 · Grade 7
Charms included in the series: Dancing Feet Spell (Tarantallegra) · Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · Fire-Making Spell (Incendio) · Freezing Charm (Immobulus) · General Counter-Spell (Finite Incantatem) · Levitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locking Spell (Colloportus) · Memory Charm (Obliviate) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Nonverbal spell · Severing Charm (Diffindo) · Skurge Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos)