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Albus Dumbledore - Former Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot

Warlock was a very old term that has two meanings: to describe a wizard of unusually fierce appearance or as a title denoting particular skill or achievement. It originally denoted one learned in duelling and all martial magic or was given as a title to a wizard who had performed feats of bravery (as Muggles were sometimes knighted).[1] It was sometimes incorrectly used as interchangeable with the term "wizard."[1]


In The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Albus Dumbledore mentions an old magazine called Warlock at War - this was written by Brutus Malfoy and was essentially concerning the war he felt was between pure-bloods and Muggles. The term here may have been used to draw on the fact that warlocks were skilled in warrior magic, as well as it being used synonymously with wizard.[1] Also in the book, there is a story called The Warlock's Hairy Heart, which concerns a warlock engaging in dark magic. Dumbledore claims this is to show that he was an accomplished wizard regardless of his darker inclinations.[1]

Harry Potter saw some "wild-looking" warlocks in the Leaky Cauldron in 1993.[2]

Known warlocks

Fictional warlocks


The Anglo-Saxon waerloga or "oathbreaker", which passed through a Middle English form of warloghe or warlach to become warlock, has two components, waer, "covenant", and loga, "betrayal". The latter is derived from leogan "to lie", and may consequently have commonalities with Loge/Loki, the Norse God of Mischief and betrayer of Asgard.

The word could possibly derive from the Norse word vardlokkur, meaning "Wise Man" or "Wise Wizard". More specifically, a man with the power of binding spirits by channelling or using tools such as runes and knot-magic, as well as a label for the Gate Keepers or Guardians who protected spiritual knowledge and wisdom.[11]


Notes and references