Related: How did Albus Dumbledore get so old and remain so functional? [CLOSED]
Related: In Harry Potter, how old will a wizard live to be on average?
Related: How could Dumbledore live longer than normal humans without negative effects?

Although it's been closed as a duplicate question, How did Albus Dumbledore get so old and remain so functional? got me to thinking. J.K. Rowling has made it expressly clear that there is no magic that can bring back the dead as they were in life (There are the Inferi, but Inferi are only creepy reanimated corpses.).

JKR has also told us that witches and wizards have longer life spans than Muggles, so perhaps there might be some genetic component in wizards that has to do with longevity.

As far as magic goes, though, aside from the Sorcerer's Stone and Horcruxes¹, are there any magical means by which to delay death in Potterverse?

Spell, potion, transfiguration ... I'm interested in any form of magic that would help extend a wizard's natural life. I'm looking for an answer based on canon sources, such as the Harry Potter books, interviews with J.K. Rowling, or Pottermore. Barring a direct canon answer, subjective answers in the spirit of canon are welcome.

¹I almost posted this question with no references to Horcruxes! I'll be very embarrassed if I've missed something else as obvious as Horcruxes!

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    "JKR has also told us that witches and wizards have longer life spans than Muggles, so there must be some genetic component in wizards that has to do with longevity." Factually inaccurate: the fact that wizards and witches live in a different society means they have different exposures to health hazards and resources. Perhaps they live longer because of magical cures? Perhaps they don't breath, drink and eat all the toxic residue from our industrialized society as much as we do? And perhaps it is genetic. The point is: population health differences do not necessarily mean genetic differences.
    – Lexible
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 23:10
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    @Lexible Solid example: osteoporosis is a big issue in old age, but, more likely than not, a non-issue in the magical world
    – Izkata
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 0:05
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    Depending on your interpretation, the cloak of invisibility provides "everlasting protection to the wearer" and can enable one to "evade death until the end of his mortal days" - while it's still limited to "end of mortal days", it could be interpreted as extending life by preventing unnatural causes of death. One could also argue that if death cannot find a person, they must therefore be alive. Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 0:18
  • It is unclear how animaguses' life spans are affected by their animal state. We know something about it because Peter Pettigrew spent so many years in his rat state, but I can think of corner cases where it is not obvious what would happen.
    – user23919
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 3:48
  • @Lexible but its well established in the books that the wizarding world is within our own world, not set apart from it. Hogwarts is hidden, not in a magical realm. The Quidditch tournaments are held in hidden places, not in a magical realm. There are many more examples - so yes, they are breathing, eating and drinking all the same toxic residues from our society, there is no way around that as they breath the same air, drink the same water and eat food grown in the same environment as we do.
    – Moo
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 11:09

3 Answers 3


A couple of examples spring to mind:

  • Unicorn blood. As witnessed by Harry in his first visit to the Forest:

    “The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenceless to save yourself and you will have but a half life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.”

    Philosopher’s Stone, chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)

    However, like the Elixir, this seems to be something that only delays death; you need to take it regularly. Whether it was Quirrell or Voldemort who drank it; both of them ended up dead.

  • Time magic. In the battle in the Ministry of Magic, we see a Death Eater whose head is trapped in a belljar, and his head goes back and forth from being a baby to an adult. If you were to climb inside the jar entirely, you’d regress to being a child, and presumably gain the years back. Of course, this wouldn’t be very useful unless you preserve your adult memories in the process, but it is technically a way to get immortality.

And a few honourable mentions:

  • Some potions. Harry’s first Potions lesson includes this rather intriguing line:

    “I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death – if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”

    Philosopher’s Stone, chapter 8 (The Potions Master)

    I don’t recall the specifics of this potion being discussed anywhere in canon. Indeed, there’s no guarantee that it really exists – perhaps Snape was just trying to impress his students – but it’s one to consider.

    Edit: I initially interpreted this as meaning “stop somebody from dying”, but other people disagree – see the comments. I think it’s ambiguous, which is why it gets an honourable mention.

  • Phoenixes. You never specified that it had to be human life. ;)

    Anyway, phoenixes seem to have natural immortality (or at least as close to immortality as we see in Potterverse). Since its immortality comes from self-combustion and regeneration, a form of immortality that doesn’t appear in nature1, I assume that phoenix immortality is at least partially magical in nature.

Finally, there are hints that other methods may exist. Dumbledore tells Harry that at sixteen, “Tom Riddle was doing all he could to find out how to make himself immortal”, and at his rebirthing ceremony, he talks about “experiments” into immortality. We only see the one that worked – his horcruxes – but we don’t know whether there were any other plausible candidates.

1 There’s a species of jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula, which has functional immortality: when it’s dying, it reduces to a small blob until the danger has passed, then regenerates. But this isn’t as impressive as bursting into flame.

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    With regard to stoppering death, I assumed he was talking about something unicorn blood-based.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 21:01
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    @Richard: I interpreted stopper death, by analogy with bottle fame and brew glory, to mean to create a potion that causes death and put it in a bottle with a stopper. In other words, Snape was saying they could learn to make poisons. Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 2:19
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    @NateEldredge - This was discussed before (re: "even stopper death") - my opinion remains the same as yours: that what he was saying is "put Death in a phial and put a cork (stopper) in it" as opposed to "to stop death". Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 3:07
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    @DVK Death is the process of life leaving the body. To stopper death is to stop life from leaving the body. I'm 100% certain you're wrong in that answer
    – Izkata
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 11:55
  • 1
    @izkata... that seems way off but I'm ESL so what do I know? Wouldn't that have said stopper life ? Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 12:00

Unicorn Blood

The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenceless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips."
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Regeneration potion

"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son! Flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed, you will revive your master. Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe."
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Theoretically, you might also like to try

Polyjuice potion - This allows you to take on the appearance of another. It's not entirely clear what internal changes occur but it's possible that if you assume the likeness of someone fit and well, you may be able to partake of some of their vitality as well.


Basic Healing Magic done subconsciously could explain why wizards live longer and be a method other than horcruxes and the sorcerer's stone.

  • 1
    What's 'Basic Healing Magic'?
    – Mithical
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 7:23
  • Spells that heal bones, etc. Anything Madam Pomfrey does that is easy enough to be used subconsciously or with little effort by a wizard. As people get older things like cartilage wears down, it is likely that things like those are healed subconsciously by old witches and wizards.
    – guest
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 15:23

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