- "There was a dazzling flash of scarlet light and Lockhart was blasted off his feet: he flew backwards off the stage, smashed into the wall and slid down it to sprawl on the floor."
- —Snape uses it on Lockhart.[src]
It has been known to knock an opponent backwards in some cases, as well as disarming them. This may depend on whether the spell strikes an opponent's wand or body.
Appearance and effect
The exact effects of the Disarming Charm vary. Sometimes, especially when aimed at the opponent's chest, the spell manifests itself as a "jet of red light", and knocks the victim backwards as well as disarming him or her. This is what happened to Viktor Krum in 1995 and Severus Snape in 1993. On other occasions, the charm does not have a colour, and instead simply makes a wand fly from the victim's hand. When Severus Snape cast the spell on Gilderoy Lockhart, it was shown as a scarlet ring surrounding the wand, with a streak of scarlet light heading towards Lockhart. It may be that the effects are dependant on what it hits - if it hits a wand, the wand is launched, and if it hits a person, the person is launched.
When Cho Chang spoke the incantation incorrectly, Expellimellius, it set her friend Marietta Edgecombe's sleeve on fire. Sometimes when the spell is done weakly but not incorrectly it can make someones hair just stand on end or blow them back a few paces. When Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger all hit Severus Snape with the spell at the exact same time, the force of it was enough to knock him out for at least an hour.
Interestingly, this spell is one of the most effective way of swaying a wand's allegiance from its present owner to the one who disarmed it from them.
Use by Harry Potter
Many people considered the Disarming Charm to be the signature spell of Harry Potter. Despite being taught it by the teacher he despised the most (Severus Snape, until the events of 1997), Harry found it quite useful and utilised it often in direct confrontation with another wizard. He became highly proficient with it in 1994 when practicing for the Triwizard Tournament. At the end of the tournament, after he and Cedric Diggory were transported to the graveyard in Little Hangleton and Cedric was murdered, Harry faced the newly-restored Lord Voldemort in a duel. Voldemort used the Killing Curse and Harry used the Disarming Charm. Due to the natural brotherhood of Harry's wand and Voldemort's wand, both containing cores from the same source (that source being Fawkes, Albus Dumbledore's pet Phoenix), both duellers' spells proved ineffective, creating the rare Priori Incantatem effect which greatly contributed to Harry's subsequent escape.
Many Death Eaters witnessed this, and took to believing that it was Harry's signature move. In the Battle of the Seven Potters, they identified him as the real Harry Potter out of the "seven Potters" once he used the Disarming Charm against the Imperiused Stan Shunpike. Remus Lupin later chided Harry for using Expelliarmus in battle conditions, but Harry continued to value it; his argument being that hitting Stan with a stunning spell, as Lupin had suggested, could have ultimately killed him after falling from such a height.
When Voldemort attacked Harry, his wand recognised Voldemort as an enemy, despite the fact that the Dark Lord was using Lucius Malfoy's wand instead of his own in order to avoid causing Priori Incantatem. Harry's wand shot "a spurt of golden fire" at Voldemort, destroying Lucius's wand and allowing Harry and Rubeus Hagrid to escape to safety.. In his final duel with Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry again used a Disarming Charm against Voldemort's Killing Curse, repeating the event of 1995 with the exception of Priori Incantatem taking place.
- Albus Dumbledore
- Cedric Diggory
- Cho Chang
- Colin Creevey
- Dennis Creevey
- Draco Malfoy
- Dumbledore's Army
- Ernie Macmillan
- Fred Weasley
- George Weasley
- Gilderoy Lockhart
- Ginny Weasley
- Harry Potter
- Hermione Granger
- James Potter
- Lord Voldemort
- Luna Lovegood
- Neville Longbottom
- Remus Lupin
- Ron Weasley
- Severus Snape
- Sirius Black
- Zacharias Smith
- Hannah Abbott
The former half of the word "expelli-" bears resemblance to the Latin "expello" meaning "I drive away, eject or expel" or " to remove or repudiate" (though it may simply derive from the English "I expel" also). The latter half "-armus" is derived from "arma", a Latin word meaning "weapon" where the English word "army" comes from. Therefore, "Expelliarmus" mean "I remove your weapon [from your hand].
Behind the scenes
- In the Doctor Who episode 'The Shakespeare Code', the spell is mentioned in connection to the Harry Potter books, with the Doctor stating "good ol' JK" after Shakespeare uses the word Expelliarmus to conclude a 'magical' formula to banish the episode's villans, the Carrionites, from Earth.
- Expelliarmus has a surprising (possibly the highest) number of conflicting portrayals across the Harry Potter video game adaptations. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Expelliarmus conjures a shield, identical in its effects to the books' Protego (used to repel the opponent's attacks), and does not physically "disarm" the opponent at all, though it is still called the "Disarming Charm". In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Expelliarmus was used to finish (disarm) opponents. It doesn't appear in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire it is only seen in a cutscene and as part of Priori Incantatem. In the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince video game, it appears as a projectile cloud of blue and violet energy which blasts the victim off their feet, but does not send their wand flying. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 it acts somewhat like Stupefy, knocking the foe to the ground with a burst of golden light for a short period of time. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, it does not inflict damage (unlike in Part 1), but it breaks an enemy's Protego.
- In the film series, Expelliarmus is used many times. Snape uses it first in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the Duelling Club, blasting Gilderoy Lockhart through the air without actually disarming him which appears as a light golden light. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it regains its official effects, used many times to simply knock the wand from the target's hand which is a blue light that does not physically assaulting the target, except for when used by Harry against Snape, though this could be attributed to Harry using Hermione's wand at the time, an act which can have unpredictable effects for any wizard.
- Upon meeting with Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore used a possible variation of the Disarming Charm, which seemed to be a much faster version of the charm.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the text incorrectly uses the word Disarmed with a capital 'D' in referring to Ron's non-magical grappling of Peter Pettigrew's wand from the latter's grasp at Malfoy Manor: The silver tool that Voldemort had given his most cowardly servant had turned upon its Disarmed and useless owner... (chapter 23). Like other spells and incantations, Disarming is normally capitalised in the books. This error possibly occurred as a result of over-enthusiastic application of this style by the author or publisher during the copy-editing process.
- Though no mention of a particular hand motion is mentioned in the books, in the films, the caster often twirls his or her wand in a tight spiral motion.
- A spellbook for this spell could be found behind a portait in Hogwarts.
- According to Pottermore, the hand motion is thus:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter: Spells
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince