Why couldn’t Newt use ‘Accio’ to retrieve all his beasts?

‘Accio’ only works on inanimate objects. While people or creatures may be indirectly moved by ‘Accio-ing’ objects that they are wearing or holding, this carries all kinds of risks because of the likelihood of injury to the person or beast attached to an object travelling at close to the speed of light.

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It says that Accio-ed objects travel at close to the speed of light. Why do such objects not wipe out mankind from the face of the Earth (relativistic Kinetic Energy and air friction/ drag ju-ju)?

I know that electricity doesn't work well near magic, but it can't explain the above scenario.

closed as off-topic by Valorum, Bellatrix, amflare, Virusbomb, KutuluMike Apr 9 at 22:39

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    Because "magic". The spell itself is already out of the realm of physics, so the question why the spell is physically impossible is somewhat self-defeating, isn't it? – Polygnome Mar 19 at 22:05
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    Because JK Rowling can't remember how things work in the world she created. Accio has been shown to work on living things and has never been shown to work at the speed of light. – Legion600 Mar 19 at 22:32
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    Why would you think it is safe? It kinda seems like over half the things they are taught could be abused for massive destruction. I kinda wonder why someone could manage to use accio, or an adaptation of it make a Yondu style projectile. – Zoredache Mar 20 at 0:26
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    @Polygnome "Because magic" is a dismissive response. I often see people use it, then other people post answers that address the same question thoughtfully and fully. Generally speaking, narratives and universes have some foundational logic that can be scrutinized. Being physically impossible in the real world does not make for a free-for-all narrative structure. – Misha R Apr 9 at 13:34
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    @Valorum No sour grapes. The question can't stand the way you edited it because it is a duplicate. Again, I note that your edit changed the question, and your Meta answer describing it currently has a negative score. Additionally, the question had three reopen votes before your edit, but if people still think it's off-topic it can be closed again for that reason, though it would be nice if such voters would post an answer to the Meta. – Alex Apr 9 at 21:58

Summoned objects don’t travel that fast.

Objects summoned by Accio don’t move anywhere near light speed, despite JKR’s statement. They visibly move towards whoever Summoned them. Objects traveling at light speed wouldn’t be visible to the human eye, so therefore, objects summoned by Accio cannot be moving near light speed.

“Mrs Weasley pointed her wand at George’s pocket and said, ‘Accio!’

Several small, brightly coloured objects zoomed out of George’s pocket; he made a grab for them but missed, and they sped right into Mrs Weasley’s outstretched hand.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 6 (The Portkey)

They also don’t arrive instantly, which they would if they truly traveled at anything close to light speed. When Harry Summons his Firebolt, it gets to him quickly, but still takes enough time to arrive for him to wonder if he successfully Summoned it.

“Accio Firebolt!’ he shouted.

He waited, every fibre of him hoping, praying … if it hadn’t worked … if it wasn’t coming … he seemed to be looking at everything around him through some sort of shimmering, transparent barrier, like a heat haze, which made the enclosure and the hundreds of faces around him swim strangely …

And then he heard it, speeding through the air behind him; he turned and saw his Firebolt hurtling towards him around the edge of the woods, soaring into the enclosure, and stopping dead in mid-air beside him, waiting for him to mount.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)

Therefore, objects summoned by Accio don’t truly move anywhere near light speed, so it’s a relatively safe spell to use.

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    Well maybe Accio'd things do move at the speed of light, but Harry is so special that he can actually see that happening. Assumes the things coming from George's pocket was written from Harry's point of view. /sarcasm... – FreeMan Mar 20 at 13:20
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    FWIW, "he heard it, speeding through the air behind him" means that it's not even travelling at the speed of sound. – DavidW Apr 8 at 20:29

As shown in this answer, summoned objects do not actually travel at or near the speed of light. So in terms of that aspect of safety you don't have to worry.

However, summoning objects is still not entirely safe. Consider the following case from Chapter Twenty-Nine of Order of the Phoenix:

And before Umbridge could say a word, they raised their wands and said together, “Accio Brooms!”

Harry heard a loud crash somewhere in the distance. Looking to his left he ducked just in time — Fred and George’s broomsticks, one still trailing the heavy chain and iron peg with which Umbridge had fastened them to the wall, were hurtling along the corridor toward their owners.

Apparently, the summoned objects don't care about things in their way. If Harry hadn't ducked, he might have been The Boy Who Was Killed By His Friends' Summoning Charms. The brooms did in fact smash at least one thing in their way:

Then there were the two large broom-shaped holes in Umbridge’s office door, through which Fred and George’s Cleansweeps had smashed to rejoin their masters.

Similarly, when Sirius summoned Butterbeer in Chapter Twenty-Two the bottles plowed right through his meal that was on the table:

“That’s right,” said Sirius encouragingly, “come on, let’s all... let’s all have a drink while we’re waiting. Accio Butterbeer!”

He raised his wand as he spoke and half a dozen bottles came flying toward them out of the pantry, skidded along the table, scattering the debris of Sirius’s meal, and stopped neatly in front of the six of them.

In Chapter Seven of Deathly Hallows Harry was poked by a summoned object:

Harry seized the wand lying beside his bed, pointed it at the cluttered desk where he had left his glasses, and said, "Accio Glasses!" Although they were only around a foot away, there was something immensely satisfying about seeing them zoom toward him, at least until they poked him in the eye.

In addition to pulverizing innocent bystanders, summoned objects can also do damage to their intended targets. Flitwick was knocked over by parchment he summoned in Chapter Twenty-Eight of Order of the Phoenix:

“Quills down, please!” squeaked Professor Flitwick. “That means you too, Stebbins! Please remain seated while I collect your parchment! Accio!”

More than a hundred rolls of parchment zoomed into the air and into Professor Flitwick’s outstretched arms, knocking him backward off his feet.

So there definitely are occasions where summoning an object can be dangerous, either to bystanders or the caster.

However, it is not entirely clear what causes these dangerous behaviors. There are other examples where summoned objects appear to have traveled significant distances without smashing through things in their way. Harry summoned his broom from Gryffindor Tower to the dragon enclosure and there is no mention of any doors or walls being broken through as there were with Fred and George. Moreover, the broom came to a stop in front of him. In Chapter Twenty-Seven of Half-Blood Prince when Harry summoned Rosmerta's brooms, they also came to a stop, and not only that, we are told that the doors opened to let the brooms through:

"Accio Rosmerta's Brooms!"

A second later they heard a loud bang as the front door of the pub burst open; two brooms had shot out into the street and were racing each other to Harry's side, where they stopped dead, quivering slightly at waist height.

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    IMHO, the fact that some summoned brooms smash through things and others politely (sorta) open doors is down to JKR's inability to do maths. Or to remember how she wrote it last time. – FreeMan Mar 20 at 13:25
  • Doors bursting open with a loud bang sounds to me like the brooms are still smashing through things indiscriminately, they just happen to have hit a hinged object that lets them pass without too much trouble. – Nolimon Apr 10 at 14:01
  • @Nolimon I was interpreting it more like "The cupboard door burst magically open as he reached it." in Prisoner of Azkaban. – Alex Apr 10 at 14:04

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