Most of the spells learned in Hogwarts are a simple flow of:

  • Choose your spell
  • Point your wand
  • Say the words
  • Magic happens

But there are other spells that specify the need to do more than that.

  • For Expecto Patronum, one must think about a happy memory, and even if that might sound an easy task, it is still described as one of the hardest spells, one that even grown wizards are unable to perform.
  • For Avada Kedavra and Crucio, one must have malicious intentions and want to hurt one's victim.

What other spells require more than just words?

  • 7
    Do wand movements count as "more than just words"? I recall Professor Flitwick instructing students to "swish and flick" their wands in order to perform a certain spell (might have been Wingardium Leviosa, can't remember)
    – F1Krazy
    Jun 27, 2019 at 14:11
  • 1
    @F1Krazy I would include that in 'point your wand'
    – Mor Zamir
    Jun 27, 2019 at 14:19
  • 1
    The Cruciatus Curse is one where you need to mean it Jun 27, 2019 at 14:38
  • 1
    Does AK really require malicious intent? I don't recall either that being mentioned or an instance of AK failing because of lack of intent. But it's been a good while since I read the books, so I'm genuinely curious. Jun 27, 2019 at 17:15
  • 1
    @BrootsWaymb It definitely does. As Barty Crouch Jr. aka Mad-Eye Moody states, if all the class pointed the wand and said the words, he would expect nothing more than a nosebleed. Oct 3, 2019 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


There is always more to it. If it were simply a matter of pointing the wand and saying the words, then anybody could casts spells. (There would be no squibs, for instance, and any muggle could be taught magic.) Nor would some spells be more difficult than others, if casting them were purely mechanical processes.

The books do not delve too deeply into what exactly a caster needs to be doing or thinking when they are casting most ordinary spells, but there is certainly something additional needed. The additional requirements for specific examples mentioned in the question were discussed in the text because of their relevance to the plot and because they (presumably) were more difficult than typical spells. what precisely—specific wand movements, styling of the spoken incantation, or a certain state of mind—is needed for particular other spells is not explored, but there was always something.

  • 3
    In a lot of cases, that "something extra" really just seems to be focusing. I think that's explicitly mentioned for Accio (you have to really focus on the item you want to summon), and also for Apparating (have to clearly picture your intended destination). There's also a few instances where spells go wrong because either Harry or Ron weren't focusing entirely during classes. Jun 27, 2019 at 15:07
  • 2
    Magic in HP is genetic so regardless squibs and muggles can't just point and say words and do magic, but I don't think the OP is looking for 'genetics' as the answer here...
    – Skooba
    Jun 27, 2019 at 15:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.