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What Do These Spells Do in Harry Potter?

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In Harry Potter's enchanting world of magic, monsters, Muggles, and malevolent unnamable arch-enemies, many spells are cast -- for good and evil. The series' author J.K. Rowling did study Latin while at the University of Exeter, but her spells often draw upon myth and other classical word origins. In this quiz, you'll be presented with incantation words used for a spell, charm, or curse and asked to identify what it does.

Too bad there’s no simple spell for having the correct multiple choice answer stand out, right? In the meantime, many thanks to the Harry Potter fans who have gathered this information on the web so that we didn’t need to reread 7 books to get this quiz together in time.

Quiz WriterJake

Jake didn’t think he’d become a writer when he was growing up in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, but fate had another idea. After barely squeaking through grade 9 English, by the luck of the draw Jake found himself with the most inspiring literature instructor his small town had ever known, and grade 10 English changed his life! Suddenly, evenings once spent at the hockey rink were spent curled up on the couch with the best of Hemingway, Dickens, and John Grisham. A valedictorian address and English degree at the University of Regina later, Jake is proud to call Heywise his favorite place to pen informative quizzes about all his passion projects. If you’re reading a post and pick up a hint of classic English literature, you’re probably reading something by Jake - especially if you come away feeling like a slightly better person for it.

Did you know?

The fate of Harry Potter as the

When Voldemort breaks into Harry's home and kills his parents with one of the three unforgivable curses. Any Harry Potter fan knows this. And you most likely know that this "killing curse" that Voldemort uttered was "Avada Kedavra." But do you know what that means? In the Harry Potter universe, the sinister and terrible spell "Avada Kedavra" is said to have been invented in the early Middle Ages by dark witches or wizards and is a means of quickly and efficiently killing one's opponent in a duel. With a flash of green light and a rush of noise from the wand, this curse rips the soul from the body. While "kedavra" fittingly sounds a lot like the English word "cadaver" which comes from Latin and means corpse, the phrase "Avada Kedavra" actually comes from Aramaic and means "let the thing be destroyed." In Aramaic though, the "thing" is actually referring to illness as it is a real ancient spell that was used to cure disease. Author J. K. Rowling just decided to change it up and make this a dark spell. Interestingly, the phrase "avada kedavra" has been connected to the world of spells in pop culture for years even before Harry Potter books as the phrase is the origin of the word "abracadabra" which has been used by magicians as their "magic word" when they perform tricks. So the next time you are at a magic show and the magician waves their wand and says "abracadabra" to pull a rabbit out of a hat, you may want to see if that bunny has a lightening bolt scar on its forehead.

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