21 Most Iconic Harry Potter Spells and What They Do

21 Most Iconic Harry Potter Spells and What They Do

Want to know which Harry Potter spells were the coolest? Learn more about this and what each Harry Potter spell does.

Even if you followed the Harry Potter franchise from the very beginning, it’s still difficult to keep up with the many spells and what each one does. The Harry Potter books alone mention 80 spells - more are shown in the Harry Potter films. 

To save you some time, we have curated a list of the most notable spells every Potterhead should know. Learn what each spell does, how to pronounce them, and more. We’ve even categorized them, based on how powerful and useful they are both in and out of battle. So, grab your Incendio wand here, and let’s practice some spells!

Most Iconic Powerful Spells

Incendio Harry Potter's Avada Kedavra Powerful Spell

Avada Kedavra

Pronunciation: ah-vah-dah keh-dav-rah

Type: Killing curse

What it does: Causes an instant painless death

Mostly used by: Lord Voldemort

Well known by the all too familiar flash of green light and rushing noise, Avada Kedavra is considered the most evil spell, even among the three unforgivable curses. The Killing curse is so powerful that it causes instant (albeit painless) death. It’s so powerful that there is no spell known to counter or block it. Harry and Voldemort were the only two people known to survive it. It’s no wonder this was the Dark Lord’s favored spell.  


Pronunciation: kroo-shea-oh

Type: Torture curse

What it does: Inflicts unimaginable, excruciating pain on a person

Mostly used by: Lord Voldemort

The Cruciatus curse is yet another one of the unforgivable sins. Unlike Avada Kedavra, Crucio is feared for the insufferable pain it causes by stimulating your pain receptors. According to the Harry Potter Compendium, the pain can be described as hot knives being driven into you. To successfully cast this spell, you need to have a strong desire to truly cause your victim pain. This speaks to how powerful such a spell can be, especially since there is also no known counter spell for it as well.


Pronunciation: im-peer-ee-oh

Type: Imperius curse

What it does: Places a person in a dream-like state, making them easily susceptible to your command.

Mostly used by: Death eater

Arguably the least of the three unforgivable sins, Imperio is still a powerful spell in its own right. To be able to control a person's will and mind requires great power. You would need an extremely strong willpower to resist this spell. Despite the penalty of using this spell, many wizards and witches in the Harry Potter universe have made use of it, including Harry himself. Thanks to the imperius curse, Harry, Hermione, and Ron were able to break into Gringott successfully. 


Pronunciation: sec-tum-semp-rah

Type: Lacerating curse

What it does: Inflicts deep cuts on a person that could lead them to bleed out.

Mostly used by: Snape

We don’t encounter this curse a lot in the franchise, which may be why its power is downplayed. In Half-Blood Prince, Harry uses this spell on Draco Malfoy, who almost dies, if not for Snape, who could reverse the spell. But this scene was enough to demonstrate just how fatal this lacerating curse can be.

Most Iconic Offensive/Defensive Spells

Incendio Harry Potter's  Bormbada Maxima Offensive/Defensive Spells

Bormbada Maxima

Pronunciation: bom-bar-dah max-ih-mah

Type: Exploding charm

What it does: Creates a large and powerful explosion.

Mostly used by: Dolores Umbridge

This is a more advanced variation of the bombardment spell taught to fourth-years at Hogwarts. Unlike the small explosion produced by the original spell, Bormbada Maxima produces a stronger explosion that’s enough to bring down an entire wall. Professor Umbridge demonstrated this when she used the spell to force her way into the room of requirements. While this could be a great offensive spell avoid using it on people unless you are looking to blow off your victim's limbs. But you could use it to escape captivity. 


Pronunciation: con-fun-doh

Type: Confundus charm

What it does: Clouds a person’s judgment by causing temporary confusion.

Mostly used by: Snape, Harry, Ron, and Hermione

While Confudo may not be as powerful as Imperio to manipulate a person’s thoughts, it’s a spell used to cloud your opponent's judgment. This could lead them to act hastily or make irrational decisions, making it a useful offensive spell. 

Expecto Patronum

Pronunciation: ecks-peck-toh pah-troh-num

Type: Patronus charm

What it does: Conjures up a patronus which is a spirit-like incantation of positive emotions that defends against dementors and dark creatures.

Mostly used by: Harry Potter

The patronus charm is a great demonstration of how happiness and light win against darkness. The patronus of each witch or wizard is unique to their memories and personalities. It is a great defensive spell, especially against Dementors and Lethifolds. You could also use it as a communication tool to pass secret messages. 


Pronunciation: ex-pell-ee-are-muss

Type: Disarming spell

What it does: Causes a person to release whatever they are holding.

Mostly used by: Harry Potter

The disarming charm is a preferred defensive spell especially in duels because it’s not a lethal or complicated spell. It will simply cause whatever your opponent is holding to fly out of their hands. However, in Chamber of Secrets when Snape uses this spell on Lockhart, it demonstrates the extent of this spell’s power based on how Lockhart is thrown across the room. 

Petrifius Totalus

Pronunciation: pe-tri-fi-cus to-tah-lus

Type: Full-body binding charm

What it does: Temporarily binds a person’s body making them immobile and rigid like a statue.

Mostly used by: Hermione Granger

As the name suggests, this spell temporarily paralyzes the victim such that they can’t move or speak. It’s somewhat similar to the full body bind curse, Incarcerous, only without the enchanted ropes. It would make a useful defensive spell in a duel to help temporarily subdue your opponent.

Protego Maxima

Pronunciation: proh-tay-go max-ee-ma

Type: Shield charm

What it does: Creates a powerful barrier against the dark arts that disintegrates anyone who tries to cross it.

Mostly used by: Horace Slughorn, Filius Flitwick, and Molly Weasley

This protective spell is a complex charm that was cast during the Battle of Hogwarts to strengthen the castle’s defenses. The death eaters were hesitant to approach the school until they were able to bring down the barrier. This is a testament to how powerful this shielding charm can be especially as a defense against dark magic.


Pronunciation: stoo-puh-fye

Type: Stunning spell

What it does: Immobilizes a person and could cause loss of consciousness.

Mostly used by: Harry Potter

According to Comic Book Resources, this stunning charm was cast a total of twenty-nine times in the Harry Potter series. It is also known as one of Harry’s favorite go-to spells, understandably so, since it makes for a simple yet effective defensive charm.  

Most Iconic Utility Spells

Incendio Harry Potter's Accio Utility Spells


Pronunciation: a-see-oh

Type: Summoning charm

What it does: Summons objects over a significant distance.

Mostly used by: Harry Potter

Accio is without a doubt a favorite among Potterheads in the magical community. The ability to summon objects to you easily makes it the coolest spell in the wizarding world. It’s also among the most useful, considering how it got Harry out of several sticky situations. 


Pronunciation: ah-gwah-men-tee

Type: Water spell

What it does: Conjures up a stream or fountain of clear drinkable water from the tip of the wand.

Mostly used by: Albus Dumbledore

This water spell appears pointless especially since it doesn’t help against the dark arts. But being able to conjure up water from thin air is no easy feat. Not to mention, it does come in handy when you need to put out fire from a certain Game Keeper’s hut, or if your Headmaster is in dire need of water to drink. 


Pronunciation: al-lo-ha-mor-ah

Type: Unlocking charm

What it does: Unlocks doors and other locked objects

Mostly used by: Hermione Granger

Whether it's a locked door, diary, or chest, the Alohamora charm will come in handy. It can easily unlock anything you want, as long as it's not enchanted or protected by powerful magic. Hermione used it several times, including freeing Sirius from his cell.  


Pronunciation: ah-par-ee-see-um

Type: Revealing charm

What it does: Reverses concealing charms and can be used to read invisible ink.

Mostly used by: Hermione

Aparecium is a spell used to reveal hidden messages. We don’t see it mentioned a lot in the Harry Potter series, but Hermione attempts to use it to reveal the hidden message in Tom Riddle’s diary. The spell is also believed to be useful in reversing a concealing charm or vanishing spell.


Pronunciation: ee-piss-key

Type: Healing spell

What it does: It is used to heal minor injuries.

Mostly used by: Nymphadora Tonks

This is a spell used for minor cases like mending broken cartilage, healing small wounds, and reducing swelling. While the spell may not be able to heal broken bones and other major injuries, it is useful in providing first aid or quick medical attention. 


Pronunciation: in-sen-dee-oh

Type: Fire spell

What it does: Creates fire and ignites objects.

Mostly used by: Hermione

The spell comes from the Latin word, incendere meaning, “to set fire to”. It is a versatile spell that can be used by a witch or a wizard to light candles or torches or to generate fire for various purposes. It is a useful spell when you’re in the middle of nowhere and need fire. Try out the Incendio spell with our real fire-shooting wand.


Pronunciation: loo-mos

Type: Lighting charm

What it does: Creates a narrow beam of light at the tip of the wand to be used as a torch.

Mostly used by: Harry and his friends

This is an essential spell that any witch or wizard should be able to cast. By creating a beam of light at the tip of the wand, it turns a caster’s wand into a torch. This would be useful in dark areas or during a blackout. 


Pronunciation: oh-bli-vee-ate

Type: Memory charm

What it does: Can modify, hide, or erase a person’s memory.

Mostly used by: Hermione

Keeping the wizarding world a secret from Muggles is of the highest importance. That is why this memory charm is fundamental. A good example of the spell’s effectiveness is when Hermoine uses it on her Muggle parents to wipe out any memories of her. 


Pronunciation: reh-pah-roh

Type: Mending charm

What it does: Repairs damaged or broken objects.

Mostly used by: Hermione

For those of us who are clumsy, this would be a great spell to have handy. You can use it to repair any broken object. It is worth noting, however, that the spell can’t be used to repair magical or enchanted objects. This is evidenced by the fact that Hermione couldn’t repair Harry’s wand using the same. 

Wingardium Leviosa

Pronunciation: win-gar-dee-um lev-ee-oh-sa

Type: Levitation charm

What it does: Lifts and moves objects in the air without physical contact.

Mostly used by: First-year students at Hogwarts

You’ll probably always remember this spell because of Hermoine’s popular line, “It’s Levi-O-sa, not Levio-SA!” This levitation spell is an essential taught to every first year in Hogwarts. It comes in handy if you want to move objects (especially heavy ones) with the simple swish and flick of your wand. 

Practice the Iconic Spells With Your Very Own Incendio Wand!

The first step to successfully casting a spell is choosing the right wand, and what better choice than the Incendio Magic Fireball Wand? This is no ordinary wand but the key to unlocking your inner wizard. Practice spells like Incendio and actually conjure up and command fire. Order yours here now, and immerse yourself in a world of magic and wonder!
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