"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), also known as the Thief's Friend, is a charm that unlocks objects such as doors or windows.[3][4] It is also able to open doors locked by the Locking Spell (Colloportus), and as such, acts as its counter-charm. The Anti-Alohomora Charm can be used to prevent this charm from working on a locked target.


The Unlocking Charm has 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.[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.

Descriptions of this spell are written in numerous books, including the first volume of the Standard Book of Spells series, where it is described in chapter seven.[5] and a spellbook that can be found in the Hogwarts Library.[6] This spell is also taught in Charms class in the first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is one of the first spells students learn.[7]


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

Known uses


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]
Newt Scamander 6 December, 1926 Used it to open a safe at Steen National Bank to retrieve his escaped Niffler.[8]
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.[5]
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.[9]
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.[10]
Hermione Granger 1991 Used it to open a forbidden entrance on the Third-floor corridor of Hogwarts Castle.[11]
6 June, 1994 Used it to open the window to Professor Filius Flitwick's office to rescue Sirius Black.[12]
2 August, 1997 Used it to open Regulus Black's bedroom in 12 Grimmauld Place.[13]
Death Eaters 18 June, 1996 One of the Death Eaters used it to open doors to Time Room shut by the Hermione Granger.[14]
St Mungo's staff Unknown The Janus Thickey Ward at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries can only be entered by using this spell. Healers and visitors may enter, but patients are unable to get out.[15]
Scorpius Malfoy 1 September, 2020 Used it to open the Minister for Magic's office at the Ministry of Magic. He want to get into with Albus Potter and Delphini under the disguise of the trio.


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' office at the Magical Congress of the United States of America using this spell and Aberto, discovering he had secured it with advanced spells.[8]
Hogwarts staff 1991 The door guarding the Philosopher's Stone was protected against the Unlocking Charm; a winged key was necessary to open it. A single door in the Department of Mysteries was impervious to this spell as well; it may be presumed that it opens in the room where the British Ministry of Magic studies the power of love in the Department of Mysteries.
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.[16]
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.[14]
Harry Potter 1 September, 1996 Tried to unlock the Hogwarts gates with no effect since Albus Dumbledore had bewitched them.[17]
Harry Potter 17 June 1996 Harry Potter assumed that Umbridge's office door had been bewitched so that this spell wouldn't work.[18]

Known practitioners

See also


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".[22]

Behind the scenes


The hand movement promoted by Warner Bros


Harry opening Dolores Umbridge's Office with this spell


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Wonderbook: Book of Spells
  2. See this video
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bloomsbury Glossary: A
  4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - Fantastic Beasts: A Cinematic Yearbook
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  7. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene Eleven
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
  11. 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9 (The Midnight Duel)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)
  13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 23 (Christmas on the Closed Ward)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor) - "They tugged and heaved at the door, but it wouldn’t budge, not even when Hermione tried her Alohomora Charm."
  17. 17.0 17.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
  18. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
  20. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  21. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
  22. 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
  23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 1 (The Worst Birthday) - Harry considers the possibility of unlocking Hedwig's cage using magic.

Charms (class)
PS Wingardium Leviosa feather
Charmbook writers and developers
Blagdon Blay · Daisy Pennifold · 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 · Violeta Stitch
Professors Fortinbras · Filius Flitwick
Textbooks Achievements in Charming · Extreme Incantations · Quintessence: A Quest · The Standard Book of Spells
Charms studied at Hogwarts
Banishing Charm (Depulso) · Blackboard Writing Spell · Bubble-Head Charm · Cheering Charm · Cistem Aperio · Cleaning Charm · Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Confundus Charm (Confundo) · Dancing Feet Spell (Tarantallegra) · Descendo · Disillusionment Charm · Drought Charm · Eradication Spell (Deletrius) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · Exploding Charm (Bombarda) · 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 · Knitting Charm · Knockback Jinx (Flipendo) · Leg-Locker Curse (Locomotor Mortis) · Levitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locking Spell (Colloportus) · Locomotion Charm (Locomotor) · 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 Scouring Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Spell for growing legs · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Tickling Charm (Rictusempra) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Vinegar into Wine · 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: Banishing Charm · Dancing Feet Spell · Disarming Charm · Engorgement Charm · Fire-Making Spell · Freezing Charm · General Counter-Spell · Levitation Charm · Locking Spell · Memory Charm · Mending Charm · Severing Charm · Softening Charm · Substantive Charm · Summoning Charm · Tickling Charm · Unlocking Charm
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