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Shield Charm

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Shield Charm
Incantation

Protego
(pro-TAY-goh)

Type

Charm

Hand Movement

Protego movement

Light

Bright, transparent blue

Effect

Magically blocks spells & physical entities

"You wouldn't believe how many people, even people who work at the Ministry, can't do a decent Shield Charm [...] "
George Weasley[src]

The Shield Charm (Protego) as a term applied to several varieties of charms that create a magical barrier to deflect physical entities and spells. Conjurations may sometimes rebound directly off it back towards the caster, or, in other cases, may ricochet off in other directions or dissipate as soon as they hit the shield.

This was also the subject of a question of the Theory of Charms O.W.L. in 1996.[1]

Casting and effects

When cast, a bright blue transparent shield appears where the casters wand is pointed providing a protective barrier between themselves and their attacker. The only spell the Shield Charm can't defend against is the Killing Curse, since it's unblockable.[2]

The Shield Charm is a moderately difficult spell. Fred and George Weasley realised that most adult wizards, even those employed by the Ministry of Magic, could not produce a functional Shield Charm (something that not only could Harry Potter accomplish at age fourteen but, also impart to members of the D.A.). They used this to their advantage when marketing their line of protective clothing (hats, cloaks, etc.), upon which permanent Shield Charms were cast.

The incantation for the simplest Shield Charm spell is Protego. Incantations for other varieties of the Shield Charm include Protego Duo, Protego Horribilis, Protego Totalum and Protego Maxima.

Known uses

Harry Potter

"His Shield Charm was so strong Snape was knocked off-balance and hit a desk."
—Harry Potter's impressive mastery of the charm[src]
Stupefy block

Lucius Malfoy using the Shield Charm to deflect Harry's Stunning Spell.

Umbridge protego

Dolores Umbridge using Protego against the centaurs.

Sirius Protego

Sirius Black using a Shield Charm during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.

Minerva-796x4481

Minerva McGonagall using a Shield Charm against a giant.

Harry casting the Shield Charm

Harry casting the Shield Charm during the Battle of Hogwarts

Death Eater casting a Shield Charm to Deflect stupefy

Unknown Death Eater casting the Shield Charm.

1995

Harry Potter first learned this spell in his preparations for the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament, during which his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger shot spells at him so that he could practice shielding himself.[3] Although he later demonstrated an impressive mastery of this technique surpassing that of many Ministry employees, Harry initially had difficulty casting this spell as "Hermione was able to shatter it with a well-placed Jelly-Legs jinx."[2]

1996
  • Harry once used the charm to defend himself against Professor Snape's Legilimency during Occlumency training, and found himself unexpectedly seeing some of Snape's memories. This was most likely the reason why Snape was using a Pensieve to store his memories, and thus to preserve his privacy. [2]
  • Harry used the spell multiple times during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in order to protect himself and his fellow D.A. members from Death Eaters, and to prevent them from summoning the Prophecy from him that night.[4]
  • During his first sixth year Defence lesson, Harry and the other members of his class had to cast this spell non-verbally. When Snape tried to jinx him, Harry instinctively used a Shield Charm (verbally cast) that was powerful enough to throw Snape off his feet, against a table.[5]
1998
  • Harry cast this charm between Hermione and Ron after the latter returned, since Hermione was furious with Ron to the point of wanting to curse him.[6]
  • Harry used the charm multiple times during the Battle of Hogwarts to protect various fighters on his side, such as Molly Weasley after she killed Bellatrix Lestrange.[6] Harry's Shield Charms were so powerful they were able to block curses from Lord Voldemort himself.

Other

1489 Hannah Cockleford used the Shield Charm to protect a Muggle boy named Edmund Gaddlegate when he was forced to joust with the Earl of Paunchley.[7]
1992 Gilderoy Lockhart presumably attempted to demonstrate this charm, or something similar, to Harry during the first meeting of his duelling club, but all he truly wanted was to twirl his wand fancifully, which failed spectacularly, dropping his wand in the process.
1995 This charm was among those that Harry taught the members of Dumbledore's Army in his fifth year.[4]
1996
1997
1998
  • Severus later used a Shield Charm during his duel with Minerva McGonagall, knocking her off her feet.[6]
  • Voldemort also used many Shield Charms when duelling Harry Potter and many others during the Battle of Hogwarts.

Practitioners

Known Variations

Etymology

Latin protego, "I cover" or "I protect".

Behind the scenes

EPICNESS

Severus Snape using the shield charm against Harry Potter.

  • In the films, Shield Charms are used in nearly every duel shown, almost always used non-verbally and usually accompanied by a parry-like wand movement.
  • Also in the films, Shield Charms are shown to be able to deflect material objects such as arrows which were shot using a bow. Also it has shown to be able to withstand dragon fire from a Hungarian Horntail as seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:Part 1 The Video Game.
  • The book depicts the Shield Charm as only being capable of repelling "minor to moderate curses and hexes", although Harry Potter uses it to block the worst effects of Antonin Dolohov's curse in the Department  of Mysteries. However the film implies the Shield Charm to be significantly more powerful in that Harry is able to use it to completely deflect powerful curses cast by Voldemort himself.
  • In the early video games, Expelliarmus functions as a shield charm, due to a lack of enemies to Disarm. In these games, Protego is absent.
  • In the books Protego is also able to keep two quarreling wizards from going at each other when a shield is cast between them.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Protego is shown several times to be able to block the Killing Curse. Harry blocks multiple Killing Curses from Voldemort during their final duel and Bellatrix Lestrange blocks four Killing Curses while duelling Molly Weasley. According to the books this is incorrect as the Killing Curse is "unblockable" which is the main reason for its particular infamy, but within the context of the films the fact is never mentioned. As the Killing Curse would instantly end any duel if it were unblockable, this might just be done for dramatic effect and for longer duels. 
  • In Harry Potter for Kinect Harry and Voldemort can use this spell against each other in the final battle during Voldemort's Last Stand as they engage in a normal duel.

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. See this image
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GOF
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named HBP
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  7. Wonderbook: Book of Spells


Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
TDF-AGTS-P
Professors: Galatea Merrythought · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Barty Crouch Jr. (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape ·
Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher)
Textbooks: The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Break with a Banshee · Gadding with Ghouls · Holidays with Hags · Travels with Trolls ·
Voyages with Vampires · Wanderings with Werewolves · Year with the Yeti · The Essential Defence Against the Dark Arts · Defensive Magical Theory · Dark Arts Defence: Basics for Beginners · Confronting the Faceless · Magical Drafts and Potions
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts: Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Professor's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Spells covered under the subject: Curse of the Bogies · Knockback Jinx · Verdimillious Charm · Verdimillious Duo Spell · Verdimillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm · Freezing Spell · Seize and Pull Charm · Patronus Charm · Killing Curse · Cruciatus Curse · Imperius Curse · Impediment Jinx · Reductor Curse · Stunning Spell · Shield Charm · Nonverbal spells · Hex-deflection ·
Hex-Breaker · Hex Zapper
Creatures covered under the subject: Vampire bats · Iguanas · Cornish Pixies · Werewolves · Vampires · Hinkypunks · Boggarts · Red Caps · Kappas · Grindylows · Inferius

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