According to Toby's comment on this thread:

There was some mention (in Order of the Phoenix, I believe) about them being able to throw around raw magical energy without it actually being "focused" into a spell with a specific intended outcome. Much of the magical combat seems to degrade to this, much like bar fights turning into wrestling matches

Can anyone find the quote or give me more information, as I can't find it.

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    I wonder what that would look like. Energy is measured by what it can do, so something would need to be affected somehow. If it's via heat, it's a fire spell of sorts. If it's via electric shock, it's a lightning spell. Maybe if the results are random and unpredictable, one can say it's no spell - but that would be an insane way to fight.
    – Misha R
    Sep 13, 2017 at 12:16
  • I think maybe what's closest to using 'raw magic' without a concious effort and spell is accidental wandless magic or the recent obscurus phenomenon but in OotP... dont think theres anything like that
    – user68762
    Sep 13, 2017 at 14:21

5 Answers 5


No, this never happens.

Toby is wrong. All wand-magic is done through spells, of one sort or another. There's no such thing as "raw magical energy" and no way to use this 'energy' as a weapon.

I suspect that the passage that Toby was referring to was this one:

Dumbledore flicked his own wand: the force of the spell that emenated from it was such that Harry, though shielded by his golden guard, felt his hair stand on end as it passed and this time Voldemort was forced to conjure a shining silver shield out of thin air to deflect it. The spell, whatever it was, caused no visible damage to the shield, though a deep gong-like note reverberated from it - an oddly chilling sound.
(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36, The Only One He Ever Feared).

Evidently, this spell is extremely powerful. Because it's never named and is cast non-verbally it's possible that Toby confused it for miscellaneous "raw magical energy".

As the answers to the linked question point out, the films cause some confusion by having the characters perform non-verbal spells without this concept ever being explained in the movies. In the books, Snape explains that non-verbal magic is possible, at least for witches and wizards with talent and self-control.

"Yes, those who progress to using magic without shouting incantations gain an element of surprise in their spell-casting. Not all wizards can do this, of course; it is a question of concentration and mind power which some," his gaze lingered upon Harry once more, "lack."
(Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9, The Half-Blood Prince).

So spells can be performed non-verbally, which is what Dumbledore does at the Ministry. But they are still, nonetheless, spells.

Of course, whilst wand-magic always uses specific spells, there is also wandless magic - the sort which is done intuitively by magical children. These don't seem to use specific spells; the magic works subconsciously. For instance, Harry finds himself on the roof of his primary school when running away from Dudley's gang and he has no idea how he got there. However, this sort of magic is instinctive and tied to emotions. It isn't a substitute for legitimate spells and it certainly isn't the sort of thing you could use in a duel.

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    +1: Well, this coming by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself, a credible source when it comes to magic, I think we can trust this information. Heck, I'll never get tired of this joke.
    – Narusan
    Sep 13, 2017 at 12:18
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    The other annoying feature of the films is their insistence on using generic Star-Wars-blaster-like balls of glowy force rather than well-defined spells that actually do something.
    – Kevin
    Aug 9, 2018 at 6:54

There is not a single mention of the word "raw magic" in Order of the Phoenix. You can open the pdf, ctrl+F raw magic and see for yourself.

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    It looks like the OP is referring to the movies.
    – Mithical
    Sep 12, 2017 at 14:33
  • Ah, I see. I don't even remember any such use of these words in the movie as well. Sep 12, 2017 at 14:37
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    I'm not sure of the exact wording. It was mentioned in another question on this website (scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/4618/…)
    – Dwells
    Sep 12, 2017 at 15:03

The closest thing to this might be Ariana’s uncontrolled magic.

There’s no one in the seven books who uses raw magical energy without any specific intention as a purposeful weapon, but the closest thing we see to raw magic is the magic that explodes out of Ariana Dumbledore, after she was beaten by Muggles and stopped using it. She wasn’t trying to use any magic, so she wasn’t using any spells or having any intent on any specific outcome.

“She wouldn’t use magic, but she couldn’t get rid of it: it turned inwards and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn’t control it, and at times she was strange and dangerous. But mostly she was sweet, and scared, and harmless.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 28 (The Missing Mirror)

It was her own ‘inner’ magic exploding out of her when it couldn’t stay in any longer.

“They’d have seen her as a serious threat to the International Statute of Secrecy, unbalanced like she was, with magic exploding out of her at moments when she couldn’t keep it in any longer.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 28 (The Missing Mirror)

While it’s not something she was able to use as a weapon, this is the closest thing in the seven books to raw magical energy being used without spells or the intention of a certain result.

Obscurials, introduced in Fantastic Beasts, fit this even better.

In the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, there’s a phenomenon called an Obscurus that’s a young wizard’s bottled up magical energy that bursts out of them and attacks.

I met one in Sudan three months ago. There used to be more of them but they still exist. Before wizards went underground, when we were still being hunted by Muggles, young wizards and witches sometimes tried to suppress their magic to avoid persecution. Instead of learning to harness or to control their powers, they developed what was called an Obscurus.
(off JACOB’S confusion)
It’s an unstable, uncontrollable dark force that busts out and – and attacks . . . and then vanishes . . .”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

The Obscurus is actually described as being energy in the published screenplay.

“The Obscurus moves closer to GRAVES – we hear a scream from within the mass as its Dark energy bursts out once more, knocking GRAVES to the ground. The force sends a shockwave round the Square – NEWT dives behind a fallen car for cover.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

It’s also described by David Yates, the director, as being energy.

“While its nature and whereabouts baffle the top Aurors of MACUSA, Newt has a good idea that it is an Obscurus. He may also know how to deal with it – not that anyone is listening.

‘It’s a manifestation of Dark magic,’ explains Yates. ‘It’s really a wonderful idea that Jo came up with. When a young child is prohibited from developing their magic in a healthy, organic way, then this dark energy can develop, and the dark energy can suddenly get out of control and wreak havoc.”
- Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This same character who’s the Obscurial will be appearing in the sequel, and is even closer to being able to harness raw magical energy intentionally, seemingly without specific spells.

But not only is Credence in this film – definitely not dead – he’s more powerful and seething with rage. Or is that desperation? Credence is clearly learning to harness his intense powers… as we’ve seen in the previous trailer he seems to be able to control his Obscurus now.
- Everything we noticed from the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Comic-Con trailer (Pottermore)

This will likely be very close to the wielding of raw magical energy, especially in the next movie.

  • There’s also Harry’s own: somehow ending up on the roof of his school, growing his hair back out overnight, vanishing the glass at the zoo, and (perhaps most relevant, especially because it actually happens at the very beginning of OotP as the question mentions) giving off a kind of electric shock to make Uncle Vernon release him. I suspect the latter may be what the question is referring to. Aug 9, 2018 at 5:59

I believe you mean magic that is in its purest state and has no specific incantation. Such magic is influenced by emotions and not by reason or rationale. Essentially, it is a burst of magic that erupts out of a person due to some emotional stimulus, as in the case of Harry when he released unknown magic (Golden flames) on Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows. Such magic depends on emotional state as well as the wand links a.k.a. magical links that connect the people involved. It is a topic not broadened much in the books, but I have managed glean the above info from what i have read. In the movies, they show magic being used without incantations which is a separate controlled branch of magic which is practiced by trained wizards and witches. This is not raw magic, as you call it, but simply magic used without spells. An example of raw magic being used is Ariana, Dumbledore's little sister who could not control her magic and accidentally killed her mother. The stimulus in her case was her being presumably harassed by some Muggle boys at a young age.

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    I believe you are conflating accidental magic, wandless magic, and nonverbal casting in your answer. Accidental magic doesn't happen (much) after students start casting spells intentionally, wandless magic is simply the same spells cast without using wands, and nonverbal casting is casting a spell without using the incantation. The latter two are studied by upper-level students and adults, the former is completely different.
    – Jeff
    Sep 12, 2017 at 15:29
  • True. It does seem so. But his question was so vague, its really difficult to adjudge what he means by raw magic. So i felt it apt to explain about all three of the possibilities. Raw magic is only performed by Harry and Ariana, if you look at the story in general. All other magic is Non Verbal Casting
    – Sid Bodhi
    Sep 12, 2017 at 15:43

Well, with real magick, most of it is just internal energy that is being focused, with items such as wands, athames, and swords being used as a form of medium. However, in the Harry Potter canon, it is said that almost all magic needs to be performed through a wand, yet in the first book, it is mentioned that Harry was able to make the glass disappear without a wand, and at one point also teleported onto the roof of his school on accident. Also, in the Potterverse, apparation is performed without a wand, and the Death Eaters are able to fly without a wand. Along with that, witches and wizards saying 'up' to draw the broom to them does not require a wand. Lastly, though my memory may be foggy here, in their first battle, Dumbledore doesn't actually use a wand to battle Voldemort.

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