Looking at the questions and answer to these two questions. Why is the Burrow so cramped on the inside? & Why are there "dilapidated" buildings in Harry Potter? and neither mentions the longevity of magic. I recall several instances of magic failing to last; the money that was spread at the big quidditch game and the broken Cabinet that Malfoy worked on. If I recall correctly when Voldemort died, the curses on several people were lifted. I don't recall if any other spells fell apart with his death.

Is there any canon evidence on the the length of time a spell will live?

  • 1
    Canon seems to demonstrate that it depends on the spell and the skill of the caster.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 18:19
  • 2
    The answer to my question, Did the creators of the Marauder's Map rediscover lost magic?, seems to cover this
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 0:30
  • One example would be that other Invisibility cloaks slowly deteriorate while only Harry's is said to last without flaw... apart from Moody's eye, and Mrs Norris smell, etc.
    – Zikato
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 9:57

3 Answers 3


We know alot of spells have apparently infinite life time. Permanent sticking charms

“My dear old mum, yeah,” said Sirius. “We’ve been trying to get her down for a month but we think she put a Permanent Sticking Charm on the back of the canvas.

and the spells in Egypt that Bill works for Gringotts to break, which are most likely 3+ thousand years old, bordering on 5k years.

Bill, works as a curse breaker for Gringotts Wizarding Bank.’

Bill’s taken us round all the tombs and you wouldn’t believe the curses those old Egyptian wizards put on them. Mum wouldn’t let Ginny come in the last one. There were all these mutant skeletons in there, of Muggles who’d broken in and grown extra heads and stuff.

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    A good contrasting example is Lily's fish, Francis, given to Slughorn. It vanished when Lily died.
    – user31178
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 22:24

There seems to be evidence of both outcomes. In HBP, Dumbledore's freezing charm on harry is broken when he dies whereas Mood's protective spells cast on Grimmauld place last after he dies. So I believe the answer depends on the spell.


If you consider potions to be spells, the answer would likely be "generally no"; I can't think of any potion used in the series that didn't have a definite (or at least fuzzy) time limit.

If you expand to other magical effects, "no" seems to be even more prevalent -- see gilliweed.

It's entirely likely that a skilled wizard (or a group of them) that devotes some time and effort to a spell could make it "permanent" (or nearly so). Surely the Floo Network requires more than just the Floo Powder, for example. Horcruxes and Lily's love protection spell are two other examples of (near-)permanence, and the magic used to animate paintings and photographs lasts for an exceedingly long time, as well.

It seems to me that the answer depends on the scope of what you consider "spells," and how long is long enough to be "permanent" or "forever."

  • 1
    "I can't think of any potion used in the series that didn't have a definite (or at least fuzzy) time limit." How about the potion that is used to animate photographs.
    – xXGrizZ
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 0:51
  • Also much of the magic in and around hogwarts castle seem to have been around since it was founded.
    – xXGrizZ
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 1:10
  • @xXGrizZ, Was that a potion? It's been some time since I read the novels.
    – Brian S
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 2:20
  • @brain S- Yeah its explained that the reason the photos can move is because they are developed in a magic potion (I believe Colon Creavy says this in CoS.)
    – xXGrizZ
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 4:18
  • @BrianS there are many examples on other answers here of spells and magical objects which may be permanent. "I can't think of any potion used in the series that didn't have a definite (or at least fuzzy) time limit" is not a proof that there none that exists. Maybe some exist and are not mentioned? BTW what about the philosopher stone? Not a potion but probably pertinent. You conclude that if you don't have evidence for something existing it does not exist. If we go by this assumption before we discovered the atom it did not exist?
    – havakok
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 14:33

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