The idea came from a now-deleted answer to another question (dealing with why people would/wouldn't use household cleannig spell).

In a typical fantasy RPG, spell casters are frequently limited in how many spells they can cast.

Usually this is implemented by giving the spell caster a finite amount of something called "mana" points, and casting each spell subtracts a certain amount of mana points from the caster (usually more complicated/powerful spells cost more points).

Is there a concept in Potterverse that a spell caster is limited in how many spells they can cast by some limited reservoir of a resource necessary for casting the spells?

(obviously, not implemented by mana points :). But perhaps a mention in canon that someone was utterly exhausted by casting many spells and couldn't cast more).

  • 1
    I think there's an interview question of Rowling or similar to this, let's find it. See also scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/8474 Is there any physical or mental cost to casting spells?
    – b_jonas
    Jan 9, 2014 at 17:54
  • @b_jonas - good find. Jan 9, 2014 at 19:15
  • 1
    Technically it's a different question... Mana = a pool of energy that if depleted means that you are no longer able to cast magic... A mental / physical cost is different I believe because it will end up affecting how strong / weak a spell is I don't think there's a point where the person is unable to cast magic due to not having enough mana... Jan 9, 2014 at 19:45
  • @DoctorWho22: I know. There was a better quote not mentioned there but I can't find it.
    – b_jonas
    Jan 9, 2014 at 21:25

1 Answer 1


There is no mention of mana in Harry Potter.

It is meant to be very different than an RPG or any sort of material that you are used to.

Magic in the Potter Universe, biologically is a genetic ability to practice witchcraft.

One of the main things that changes a user's ability to use magic is their emotional state... which affects the ability to use magic effectively one such example is Nymphadora Tonks..

an excerpt from Harry Potter Wikia on magic http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Magic

For example, Nymphadora Tonks temporarily lost her power as a Metamorphmagus after suffering severe emotional turmoil and sadness over her grief for the death of Sirius Black, and when Remus Lupin would not return her affections. In effect, the form of her Patronus changed to reflect her love for him. The form of her Patronus changed to reflect her depression. In 1995, when Mad-Eye called her by her first name, her hair temporarily turned red. Wizardkind are also weakened when in the presence of Dementors for prolonged periods, as said creatures attack their prey psychologically by making them recall their worst memories, leaving the victims physically vulnerable.

As related to Harry by Dumbledore during their private lessons, Merope Gaunt only demonstrated any magical ability when removed from her father's oppression, but then seemed to lose it again when her husband abandoned her."

So far I have not seen any instance that magic in Harry Potter has anything to do with a reserve pool of magic that a person can use, most times magic is done through the use of a wand as well.

Even in such instances where magic was done without one there is no decrease in power.

Also according to the Harry Potter Wiki there are only a few limits to magic power.

Rule of Conjuration: While it is possible to conjure things out of thin air, it is far more tricky to create something that fits an exact specification rather than a general one; moreover, any objects so conjured tend not to last.

Rule Against Resurrection: It is also impossible to resurrect the dead. While corpses can be transformed into obedient Inferi on a living wizard's command, they are little more than zombies with no soul or will of their own. It is also possible via the rare Priori Incantatem effect to converse with ghost-like "shadows" of magically murdered people. The Resurrection Stone also allows one to talk to the dead, but those brought back by the Stone are not corporeal, nor do they wish to be disturbed from their peaceful rest. The result of such a summoning is usually detrimental to the summoner.

Rule Against Immortality: Likewise, it is impossible to make oneself immortal unless one makes use of a mystical object of great power to sustain life (such as the Philosopher's Stone created by Nicolas Flamel or a Horcrux, the latter having been used by Lord Voldemort and Herpo the Foul). Becoming a ghost is also an option for wizards and witches; however, it is said that this is "a pale imitation of life". Whether or not ghosts are truly sentient beings possessed of an independent existence is unclear; Snape states that a ghost is merely "the imprint of a departed soul left upon the earth".

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