In Harry Potter, Inferi are reanimated corpses forced to do the bidding of dark wizards. They are repelled by heat. the Patronus charm is a conjured form of protection consisting of a witch or wizards best memory's and happy feelings. According to the wiki:

"The Patronus Charm (Expecto Patronum) is the most famous and one of the most powerful defensive charms known to wizardkind. It's an immensely complicated, very difficult spell that evokes a partially-tangible positive energy force known as a Patronus (pl. Patronuses) or spirit guardian. It is the primary protection against Dementors and Lethifolds, against which there is no other protection."

It says that it PRIMARILY protects against dementors and Lethifolds, so that means that it can be used on other things, right? but the main question, again, is "would Expecto Patronum work on inferi?"

  • 3
    There's an important grammatical difference between "the primary protection against" and "primarily protects against." The former means there are other ways to protect against something, the latter means this process can protect against other things.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 16:40
  • ooops. sorry about that. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 16:44
  • 1
    Note that Snape is dubious about the use of Patronus to repel dementors, strongly suggesting there are other methods.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 18:58

4 Answers 4


No. Inferi are only repelled by fire. So says J.K. Rowling on Pottermore.

Preserved indefinitely by Dark Magic, an Inferius can only be destroyed by fire, for no spell has been found to render dead flesh impervious to burning. Inferi are therefore enchanted to avoid flames by their master.

- J.K. Rowling

  • 2
    A small point, but it's possible to repel something without necessarily destroying it.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 18:57
  • 1
    I get what you're saying -- a creature can be both repelled and killed by the same thing. Inferi are both repelled by fire and killed by it. The OP asked if a Patronus "worked" against Inferi; I thought my answer covered both repelling and killing Inferi. :) Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 20:27
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    Yes, and although JKR states that Inferi can only be destroyed by fire, since Inferi are physical entities I think we can assume that a shield spell (or a large physical shield, for that matter) would protect you from them
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 20:34
  • yeah, I'm asking about repelling as well as destroying. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:43

Couple of points:

  • Main one: "It is the primary protection" does not mean what your question thinks it means. It means that it is the main way to defend against Dementors and Lethifolds (but there may be other auxilary ways - e.g. Resurrection stone :), and NOT that it is used mainly against those but also other things.

  • Secondary one: HP Wikia is user-generated content. Any facts - and especially any specific non-quote wording is liable to be between slightly incorrect to fully made-up.

    Specifically, the item you're questioning ("It is the primary protection") is clearly NOT cited or quoted (less obvious now after an unfortunately timed edit that removed cite brackets), since your paragraph shows all the cites. Therefore it's quite possible someone just made that wording up.

  • More on-topic, there is absolutely no canon information about possible effects of Patronus on Inferi or any other evil manifestation. I checked the books, interviews and Pottermore for both Inferi and Patronuses. Presumably, if they were effective, they would be listed - just as Lethifolds are explicitly listed.


Probably so, but with limitations

Although fire is the only thing that can destroy Inferi, they are not immune to physical attack:

“Petrificus Totalus!” Harry bellowed again, backing away as he swiped his wand through the air; six or seven of them crumpled, but more were coming toward him. “Impedimenta! Incarcerous!”

A few of them stumbled, one or two of them bound in ropes, but those climbing onto the rock behind them merely stepped over or on the fallen bodies. Still slashing at the air with his wand, Harry yelled, “Sectumsempra! SECTUMSEMPRA!”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Note that Harry was able to trip the Inferi with physical force (Impedimenta) and bind them with ropes (Incarcerous). He was also able to paralyze them with the Full-Body Bind, but that's not relevant to this point.

The Patronus seems to be able to exert a physical force. For example, it appears to have tossed a corporeal creature (Lethifold) into the air:

I looked up to see that deathly shadow being thrown into the air upon the horns of my Patronus. It flew across the room and slithered swiftly out of sight.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

In addition, Harry cast a Patronus at Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle in Prisoner of Azkaban, which may have knocked them over.

Lying in a crumpled heap on the ground were Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and Marcus Flint, the Slytherin team Captain, all struggling to remove themselves from long, black, hooded robes.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

As such, a Patronus could probably physically knock down an Inferius.

However, it would not possess any special power to repel them, as it would with Dementors, not would it be able to kill them (since, as previously mentioned, only fire seems to be able to achieve that).

  • that's true, but a patronus is created to fight specifically creatures of death (I'll comment a link to my source when I have time), and Inferi are definitely creatures of death. and if fire/heat harms or repels them, then surely a patronus, which produces light and heat would work? this is mainly speculation, but it is common sense. . . Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:48
  • @albusseveruspotter - Well, insofar as it produces light (no evidence of heat as I recall), it would also irritate Inferi.
    – Adamant
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 22:22

I don't think it would work (primarily because of the quote of the person who answered before me), and also because if you think about it, Dementors feed off of what I think is sadness, while also giving it to the victim , so they would naturally be repelled by happiness- hence Expecto Patronum, or the living embodiment of that person's happiness.

  • 1
    How does "Dementors are repelled by happiness" connect to "the Patronus won't work against inferi"? Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 14:47

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