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Unlocking Charm

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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, also known as the Thief's Friend (Alohomora) is a charm that unlocks and opens doors and windows[2] that are not protected by magic. It is also able to open doors locked by the Locking Spell (Colloportus).


Although it is unknown who invented it (the spell was created in Africa) it was brought to Britain and hence to the world in the 17th century by Eldon Elsrickle. He used it to terrorise London, stealing from homes of Muggles and wizards alike, until Blagdon Blay invented the Anti-Alohomora Charm.

Before Alohomora, the most popular unlocking spell was Portaberto (used to splinter a lock from a door; though known to occasionally leave a smoking hole where the key should have gone) and, before that, 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[3] and a spellbook that can be found in the Hogwarts Library.[4] This spell is also taught in Charms class to first years at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is one of the first spells students learn.


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.
Lord Voldemort 31 October, 1981 Used this spell to break into the Potters' house and murder James and Lily Potter. He also attempted to murder their son Harry Potter.
Albus Potter After time-travelling to the day his grandparents were killed, Albus Potter unlocked the doors of St Jerome's Church in order to let Harry Potter's friends come and help him to duel Delphini.[5]
Hermione Granger 1991 She used it to open a forbidden entrance on the Third-floor corridor] of Hogwarts Castle.
6 June, 1994 She used it to open the window to Professor Filius Flitwick's office to rescue Sirius Black.
2 August, 1997 She also used it to open Regulus Black's bedroom in 12 Grimmauld Place.
Death Eaters 18 June, 1996 One of the Death Eaters used this spell to open doors shut by the D.A..
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.
Scorpius Malfoy 1 September, 2020 While at the Ministry of Magic under the disguise of the trio, Albus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, and Delphini need to get into the Minister for Magic's office. Scorpius casts this spell, and it is successful.


Caster(s) Date Notes
Eldon Elsrickle 1600


He eventually found that all wizarding households placed an Anti-Alohomora Charm on their doors and could no longer unlock their doors.
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 Ministry of Magic studies the power of love.
Hermione Granger 1992 Hermione tried to use Alohomora on the locked door in the Flying Key room, but the door could only open with the key[6].
Harry Potter 1 September, 1996 Harry tried to use the spell on the Hogwarts gates with no effect since Albus Dumbledore had bewitched them.
Dolores Umbridge 1996 Harry Potter assumed that Umbridge's office door had been bewitched so that this spell wouldn't work.

Known practitioners


J. K. Rowling stated that the word was from the West African Sidiki dialect used in geomancy and has the literal meaning "Friendly to thieves".[8]

Behind the scenes


Harry opening Dolores Umbridge's Office with this spell

  • Alohomora Duo is a stronger version of this spell.
  • Although Dolores Umbridge's office at Hogwarts was (assumed) impervious to this spell in the novel, Harry Potter uses this spell to open it before attempting to use the Floo Network in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • As it was described in a textbook, this may be learned in Hogwarts Charms classes in the first year.
  • This may be the spell that Remus Lupin used to open a wardrobe containing a Boggart and the spell that Harry Potter used wandlessly to open his cupboard to retrieve his school supplies.
    Screenshot 915
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, instead of using the Unlocking Charm to help Sirius Black escape, Hermione used Bombarda to blast open his cell door.
  • In the Chamber of Secrets video game for GameCube, Xbox, and PS2 it's specified that the Unlocking Charm is for use on mechanical locks. In most other sources, it's used on magical locks and the Locking Spell as well.
    • Also in the manuals for the video games, it lampshades the fact that not everything can be unlocked with the charm (such as certain doors and inaccessible areas), and thus tells the player to not get frustrated over this fact.
      • It is only in Chamber of Secrets, that only chests can be opened with the charm, while in the previous game, almost anything can be unlocked as long as it had to symbol for the charm's use. This was mainly that in the second game, the charm was to be optionally brought at Fred and George Weasley's Shop in the video games, and thus it would have little impact on locations that involve the story of the game outside of sidequests and hidden locations.
  • In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Years 5-7, the Reductor Curse is used to blast open most locks, instead of the Unlocking Charm.
  • According to Book of Spells, the spell Portaberto was the most popular unlocking spell before this, and prior to that Open Sesame was.

See also


Notes and references

The Standard Book of Spells
Book of Spells 1
Grade 1 · Grade 2 · Grade 3 · Grade 4 · Grade 5 · Grade 6
Charms included in the series: Fire-Making Spell · Levitation Charm · Locking Spell · Mending Charm · Softening Charm · Severing Charm · Unlocking Charm · Dancing Feet Spell · Disarming Charm · Engorgement Charm · Freezing Charm · General Counter-Spell · Memory Charm · Tickling Charm · Summoning Charm · Banishing Charm · Substantive Charm

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