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Disarming Charm

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"That was a Disarming Charm - as you see, I've lost my wand - ah, thank you, Miss Brown. Yes, an excellent idea to show them that, Professor Snape, but if you don't mind my saying so, it was very obvious what you were about to do. If I had wanted to stop you it would have been only too easy. However, I felt it would be instructive to let them see..."
Professor Gilderoy Lockhart teaching his second-year class about this charm[src]

The Disarming Charm (Expelliarmus) was a defensive charm which forced the victim to release whatever they were holding at the time, usually against his or her will. It is common to see this spell used in duels, to make an opponent release their wand.[1]


It is not known precisely who created the Disarming Charm, though it is known that it was not very popular until 1379, when Elizabeth Smudgling - the most likely inventor in the opinion of Miranda Goshawk - used it in a duelling contest in Dartmoor.[2]


"They made the most of the last few hours in which they were allowed to do magic before the holidays...and practised disarming each other by magic. Harry was getting very good at it."
Fred, George, Harry, Hermione and Ron's last few hours before they return home for the holidays[src]


The Disarming Charm always appears as a jet of red light; indeed, this is one of the things that makes it recognisable before the effects of the charm are seen.


The Disarming Charm causes whatever an opponent is holding at the time - usually a wand - to fly high out of their reach; however, more enthusiastic casts can result in the victim of the charm being knocked unconscious in a similar manner to the Stunning Spell. If done too weakly, however, it will merely blow them back a few paces, or make their hair stand on end. If one mispronounces the spell's incantation as Expellimellius, the victim's sleeves will be set aflame.

Priori Incantatem

If two wands with the same core are forced to do battle with each other, the effect is a magical connection called Priori Incantatem. All three of the times Priori Incantatem occured between Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter, the latter was using the Disarming Charm. Indeed, in the final fight between Voldemort and Harry it was the Disarming Charm that allowed Harry to win.


English expel, meaning "remove" and Latin arma, meaning "weapon" or "the weapon".

Behind the scenes

"Then a blinding, jagged jet of white light flew through the air: Harry thought of lightning, but Snape had dropped to his knees and his wand had flown out of his hand"
—Dumbledore's use on Snape[src]
  • This is the signature spell of Harry Potter.
  • When Dumbledore used this on Snape, it appeared as white lightning, and hence was probably a variation of it rather than the spell itself, or else an entirely different disarming spell.
  • The charm is described in The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 2, and has a spellbook purely for itself.
  • In the second film, it appears as a golden ring; from the fifth film onward it was a ball of blue light.
  • In the video games, the Disarming Charm worked rather like a Shield Charm, rebounding an opponent's spells upon them.
  • The Disarming Charm is mentioned on Doctor Who, when Shakespeare uses it to conclude a formula used to banish the villains from earth.
  • Wonderbook: Book of Spells describes the wand motion as a sharp slash from left to right; however, Pottermore shows the hand motion to be thus:


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Chapter 11 - The Duelling Club) (pg. 142 UK edition)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wonderbook: Book of Spells (See this video) (00:20 - 15:20)
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Chapter 33 - The Prince's Tale) (pg. 543 UK edition)
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Chapter 27 - The Lightning Struck Tower) (pg. 584 US edition)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Chapter 18 - Dobby's Reward) (pg. 250 UK edition)
  6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Chapter 13 - The Very Secret Diary) (pg. 178 UK edition)

The Standard Book of Spells
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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