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Sectumsempra

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Sectumsempra Draco 2
Sectumsempra
Incantation

Sectumsempra
(sec-TUM-semp-ra)

Type

Curse

Hand Movement

Slash

Light

White

Effect

Cuts

"Blood spurted from Malfoy's face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword. He staggered backward and collapsed onto the waterlogged floor with a great splash, his wand falling from his limp right hand. Slipping and staggering, Harry got to his feet and plunged toward Malfoy, whose face was now shining scarlet, his white hands scrabbling at his blood-soaked chest."
—Description[src]

Sectumsempra is a curse invented by Professor Severus Snape, during his childhood, when he was known as "The Half-Blood Prince"[1]. He created it with the intention of using it against his enemies[2], and it soon became one of his specialties[3]. A rather dangerous curse, when the incantation is uttered its effect is the equivalent of an invisible sword; it is used to slash the victim from a distance[4]

Wounds inflicted by this spell can be cured by the incantation Vulnera Sanentur[5]; the first time, the flow of blood eases, the second causes the wounds to knit and the third removes the worst effects of the curse[4]. The victim would still require medical treatment, and if dittany is applied immediately, scarring can still be avoided.

Though the healing spell Vulnera Sanentur may heal the wounds and dittany may prevent scars, any body parts that have been severed by this curse cannot be grown back, as demonstrated by George Weasley when he lost his left ear to the spell[3]

Practicioners

"You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? It was I who invented them - I, the Half-Blood Prince! And you'd turn my inventions on me, like your filthy father, would you? I don't think so... no!"
Professor Snape to Harry during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower[src]

Etymology

Sectumsempra derives from the Latin sectum, "having been cut" (comparable to the English word "section" or "segmented"), and possibly semper, "always." It can be translated as "always cutting" or "sever forever", the latter being a pun on Snape's first name, Severus, as well as indicating that severed body parts cannot be regrown.

Behind the scenes

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Chapter Twenty-Eight - Flight of the Prince)
  2. As the book says "for use on enemies", and the Marauders were the ones he hated the most as they constantly bullied him, it is highly likely they were the enemies he meant.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Chapter Five - Fallen Warrior)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Chapter Twenty-Four - Sectumsempra)
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Chapter Twenty-Four - Sectumsempra)
  6. In Flight of the Prince in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Snape says "You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? It was I who invented them - I, the Half-Blood Prince! And you'd turn my inventions on me, like your filthy father, would you?", hence implying that James used this on Snape at one point.

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