Accio! The Summoning Charm From the Harry Potter Universe

Accio! The Summoning Charm From the Harry Potter Universe

Accio, pronounced ‘Ahk-ee-oh’, is a Latin word meaning to send for, or to summon forth. It is used in the magical community as a summoning charm and is one of the oldest known charms in the wizarding world. Witches and wizards use Accio to summon objects that may be out of reach. 

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When Do We First See the Summoning Charm Used?

We see the first appearance of the Accio charm in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Harry was staying in The Burrow with his friend Ron Weasley and the rest of the Weasley family. 

The whole gang were up early, ready to set off to the Quidditch World Cup, and the Weasley twins were making their best attempt to smuggle out the Ton-Tongue Toffees they had invented. But Molly Weasley was wise to their tricks, and using Accio she summoned the sweets from all of the clever hiding places the twins had used, including the lining of George’s jacket! 

Is the Accio Charm a Useful Spell? 

The Accio summoning charm is one of the most commonly used spells in the wizarding world. It is an extremely helpful incantation for everyday use, as demonstrated many times over the Harry Potter series. 

Accio was once used by Professor Minerva McGonagall when she summoned her fallen books from the floor, instead of wasting time and energy picking them all up physically. She had dropped them when she realized that the terrified ferret being bounced around by Mad-Eye Moody was, in fact, a transfigured Draco Malfoy. 

Incendio Harry Potter's glasses

More instances of the summoning charms' usefulness are seen when Harry uses Accio simply to summon his glasses, or when it is used by a thirsty wizard called Sirius Black, just to summon some Butterbeer. It was also used by the Hogwarts Professor, Severus Snape, to summon his students' essays from their desks. If one was not careful with this spell, one could find oneself being very lazy indeed!

It’s Not Just Used for Being Lazy Though, is it?

Not at all, there are a lot of instances where the Accio spell has been used in dire emergencies and really helped the caster out of a sticky situation. Harry himself used it in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire quite a few times. He had just learned the incantation and had a little practice using it on various inanimate objects, as well as Trevor, Neville Longbottom’s toad (although it is not supposed to be effective on living things). His first time using the spell in earnest was the next day during his first task in the Triwizard Tournament.

Harry Summons His Firebolt

The first task involved a dragon, and he needed his broom to be able to steal a golden egg from beneath it. His Firebolt was inside Hogwarts castle, much further away from him than the inanimate objects the night before, but by concentrating hard he was able to summon the Firebolt even at that distance and complete the task quickly and relatively safely.

Incendio A dragon breathing fire on top of a castle

Accio Escape

Later he used the summoning charm to escape from Voldemort. They were in the graveyard in Little Hangleton, where Harry and Cedric Diggory had been transported by the portkey Triwizard Cup when they won the Tournament together. 

Cedric had been murdered immediately, and Harry had been forced to duel Voldemort until he finally got the chance to get to Cedric’s body. He used the Accio charm to summon the portkey and transport himself back to Hogwarts with Cedric’s body. 

Madam Rosmerta’s Brooms

Another example of Accio being a good spell for an emergency was in the Half-Blood Prince. Albus Dumbledore took Harry to a hidden sea cave to find one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. To reach the Horcrux Dumbledore had to ingest the liquid that protected it, which made him dreadfully weak and ill. 

When the Horcrux was retrieved, Harry apparated them both to the village of Hogsmeade where they were horrified to see that the Dark Mark had been cast in the sky above Hogwarts. 

They needed to get to Hogwarts as quickly as possible, so he cast the Accio charm and summoned Madam Rosmerta’s broomsticks from behind the bar in the Three Broomsticks. This enabled them to fly to the castle in time to fight off some nasty characters in the historic Battle of the Astronomy Tower. 

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Incendio Harry Potter's   Astronomy Tower

Saving Ronald Weasley With the Summoning Charm

Apparition is a method of travel that members of the magical community use. It is an advanced form of magic and can be dangerous, so a licence is required to perform it. A witch or wizard cannot acquire a licence until they are seventeen years old and have done a test. 

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione, Ron, and Harry apparated together while escaping the Ministry of Magic. They apparated to 12 Grimmauld Place, but there was a stowaway Death Eater holding on, so they cast a jinx and apparated away again immediately. 

In all the fuss, Ron was splinched. This happens when an apparition isn’t concentrated on properly, and parts of a person can get left behind. In Ron’s case, there was a chunk of flesh missing from his upper arm and he was bleeding profusely.

Casting Into Darkness

Hermione quickly began tending to his wound, tearing his shirt off and trying to stop the bleeding. She told Harry to get the bottle marked ‘Essence of Dittany’ from her bag so that she could use it on Ron’s injury. Harry could not find the bottle in her bag as it was enchanted to be huge inside, and it was dark and full, so he thought quickly and pointed his wand into it, using the Accio summoning charm to bring the Dittany to him. Hermione soon applied the Essence of Dittany to Ron’s wound and he began to heal. 

The Brightest Witch of Her Age

Hermione Granger has also been known to use the Accio summoning charm in very clever ways. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when the children battle Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries, Harry’s wand is thrown from his hand with an Expelliarmus spell. When Hermione catches up to him she quickly uses the Stupefy spell on a Death Eater, then summons Harry’s wand with the Accio spell and throws it to him.

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In The Deathly Hallows, she explains how she was able to summon all of the books on Horcruxes from the headmaster's office. 

She cast the Accio summoning charm to summon them through the open window of the office, and then in through her dorm room window in Gryffindor Tower, where she then simply packed them away in her case.  

Incendio Harry Potter's wand with the Accio spell


Getting the Better of Umbridge With Accio

One of the best things that has ever happened in Hogwarts history was the time that Fred and George Weasley decided they no longer wished to attend school under the tyrannical rule of Dolores Umbridge. 

Umbridge was a power-crazed lunatic who had taken over Hogwarts under the Ministry of Magic’s rule. 

She doled out punishments as if they were Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, and confiscated a lot of objects, including Fred, George, and Harry’s broomsticks, chaining them to the wall in her office. 

The twins had finally had enough of her and turned one of the school corridors into a huge swamp. Just as Umbridge was about to punish them, they both used the Accio spell to summon their broomsticks, which came to them still with chains on. They hopped on their broomsticks and flew away. 

In the movie we also see Umbridge getting chased by a firework dragon, which is a wonderful sight to behold. 

Couldn’t You Accio Any Objects to Yourself Then?

If a person was dishonest enough, they could use the Accio spell to take any objects they wanted, as long as those objects weren’t enormous. 

That is why a lot of valuable objects in the wizarding community will have a counter-spell placed on them so that they can’t be summoned by any old passer-by who takes a fancy to them. The life of a magical burglar or pick-pocket would be pretty simple then, wouldn’t it? 

Just “Accio, Accio, Accio!” and their day's work is done.

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