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When Dumbledore and Voldemort duelled, Lord Voldemort countered Dumbledore's attack with a "silver shield". I'm wondering what the exact nature of this shield is. In other words, is the shield a silvery, more powerful, version of Protego, or is it a tangible, physical silver shield?

I think it is indeed a physical object but J.K. Rowling is sometimes ambiguous in her descriptions, so I would very much like to hear your interpretation of canon.

Dumbledore flicked his own wand: the force of the spell that emanated 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

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    That's Headmaster Dumbledore for you. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 5 '14 at 0:42
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    The "Practical Defence Against the Dark Arts" textbook textbooks in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 depict a large physical shield on their covers; harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/… – Valorum Feb 23 '15 at 17:09
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The way I read this passage, and J.K. Rowling's description (yes, she can be totally ambiguous at times -- agreed), is that the shield is a physical object that is protected with magic. So, both. Whether it was actual sterling silver, I don't know, but I think that would be a poor choice of metal because silver is so easily pliable.

Mainly I think it's a real shield because Harry could see it. Dumbledore's spell did no visible damage to it.

I can't imagine Voldemort's shield wasn't imbued with magic. I don't think just a piece of metal would have stood a chance of protecting Voldemort from the power of Dumbledore's magic. Dumbledore was too powerful of a wizard to have been stopped by a plain metal shield.

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    Plus the fact that it made a gong-like sound would point to a physical metallic object. – Meat Trademark Apr 5 '14 at 9:14
  • I was also thinking that since gold can't be replicated for good execept with the philosopher's stone, the shield could be pure silver.It suggests that monetary metals have a high level of magical resistance just like dragons,and giants. Isn't Bowman Wright famous for being a metal charmer? The more precious the metal the more difficult it would be to conjure or charm it, so LV chose a silver shield because it's the next best thing after gold. There is leprechaun gold and the geminio curse but this is not real gold and therefore it wouldn't have the real properties. Thanks for answering – user24308 Apr 5 '14 at 15:59
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I think it is physical as well, given the wording of J.K. Rowling saying he "conjured" it. Conjuring as we know is a form of transfiguration that pertains to summoning a physical object from nothing, though as Slytherincess has stated it definitely magically protected. And I also agree that while it is colored silver, it is not actually made of the metal silver.

  • This does not answer the question. – Tritium21 Nov 13 '14 at 23:21
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    It's short and a lot of it is repeating/agreeing with Slytherincess' answer, but I'd say that the point about the word "conjure" being used, and the exact definition of conjuring, is a valid answer by itself. It's not a great answer, but saying it's not an answer at all doesn't seem right. – Anthony Grist Nov 14 '14 at 15:23
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Based on the chapter art for the original "Order of the Phoenix" hardcover books (hand-chosen by JKR but not illustrated by her), I'm inclined to believe that it was a physical shield which was silvery in colour.

enter image description here

Note also that it was "conjured", again suggesting that it had more presence than a simple Protego spell.

Whether it's actually made out of metallic silver (a metal that does have magical properties in the Potter-verse) is not made clear.


Moving down the canon scale, you may also wish to note that the "Practical Defence Against the Dark Arts" textbooks in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 depict a large physical (silver/grey) shield on their cover.

enter image description here

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