Filius Flitwick is a part-goblin, part-wizard teacher of charms at Hogwarts. Thus, we can assume that goblins and elves may cast same charms and spells as witches and wizards. But it is mentioned several times that Goblins and Elves have exceptional magical powers, like Dobby's or Kreacher's apparations inside Hogwarts. Kreacher also escaped from the cave where Voldemort kept the locket. He was pulled under by the Inferi in the lake, and then had returned to his master, Regulus, as ordered.

How could that be?

Do they know such charms and spells which witches and wizards do not know?

Or they are not able to perform even if they know?

Or is it that goblins and elves have not passed the knowledge to witches and wizards?

Any reference or occurrence in Pottermore or the books?

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    Is there any canonical source for Flitwick being part goblin? I think it is somewhat implied by the movies, given his appearance, but I don't remember reading anything of that sort in the books.
    – lfurini
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 19:52
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    – captainsac
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 4:59
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    Thank you for the link, but I don't think wikia is canon, and the page cites no sources whatsoever (books, pottermore, JKR's tweets, ...) :-)
    – lfurini
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 6:27
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    @randalthor magical-creatures is not a proper tag for this question. Question is clearly about Goblins, Elves, Witches and Wizards.
    – captainsac
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 5:20
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    @lfurini: It's not in the books, but Rowling's old website claims “He is human but with a dash of goblin ancestry – something like a great, great, great grandfather.” web.archive.org/web/20120112040334/http://www.jkrowling.com/…
    – b_jonas
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 7:00

2 Answers 2


A short summary since the answer became a bit long

  1. House elves magic seems to be unique and bound to their nature. It is most probably not possible for a wizards to use/learn this magic.
  2. Goblin magic seems to be very similar to wizard magic but they keep it secret. Also they have developed the skills they use for a long time and it won't be easy for a single wizard perform the same magic.

Now the long story with some examples:

House Elves

The magic of House Elves is described as "different" without providing further direct information about it. Also they don't need wands at all although it is not clear whether they can use wands but are not allowed to or they just don't need them. As noted in a comment to the previous answer - house elves are capable of using wands because Winky was accused of casting the dark mark spell with the wand of Harry (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

Here an example from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 10:

"How did you get away?" Harry asked, and he was not surprised to hear himself whispering.

Kreacher raised his ugly head and looked Harry with his great, bloodshot eyes.

"Master Regulus told Kreacher to come back," he said.

"I know ... but how did you escape the Inferi?"

Kreacher did not seem to understand.

"Master Regulus told Kreacher to come back," he repeated.

"I know, but ..."

"Well, it's obvious, isn't it, Harry?" said Ron. "He Disapparated!"

"But ... you couldn't Apparate in and out of that cave," said Harry, "otherwise Dumbledore ..."

"Elf magic isn't like wizard's magic, is it?" said Ron, "I mean, they can Apparate and Disapparate in and out of Hogwarts when we can't."

Also in chapter 23 noone was able to disapparate outside of Malfoy's cellar

Ron was now trying to Disapparate without a wand.

"There's no way out, Ron," said Luna, watching his fruitless efforts. "The cellar is completely escape-proof. I tried, at first. Mr. Ollivander has been here for a long time, he's tried everything."

A bit later Dobby comes and saves everyone:

Harry hit Ron on the arm to stop him shouting, and Ron looked terrified at his mistake. Footsteps crossed the ceiling overhead: Draco marching Griphook to Bellatrix.

Dobby's enormous, tennis-ball shaped eyes were wide; he was trembling from his feet to the tips of his ears. He was back in the home of his old masters, and it was clear that he was petrified.

"Harry Potter," he squeaked in the tiniest quiver of a voice, "Dobby has come to rescue you."

"But how did you?"

An awful scream drowned Harry's words: Hermione was being tortured again. He cut to the essentials.

"You can disapparate out of this cellar?" he asked Dobby, who nodded, his ears flapping.

"And you can take humans with you?"

Dobby nodded again.

So most probably the magic of house elves cannot be repeated by wizards since its source is the very nature of the elves and their deep connection with their masters.


This looks different about Goblins. Their magic seems to be similar to the one of the wizards but they keep it secret.

"Well, goblins can do magic without wands," said Ron.

"That is immaterial! Wizards refuse to share the secrets of wand-lore with other magical beings, they deny us the possibility of extending our powers!"

"Well, goblins won't share any of their magic either," said Ron. "You won't tell us how to make swords and armor the way you do. Goblins know how to work metal in a way wizards have never "

This implies that:

  • Goblins can use wands but don't have the skills to craft them on their own. Most probably wizard craftsmen just refuse to sell wands to goblins since we don't see any goblins with wands.
  • Wizards could eventually reproduce the work of goblins but lack the knowledge (which the goblins keep secret) and the skills.

Additionally we see lots of magic used to protect the vaults in the bank. However it is not clear whether the goblins cast the spells on their own or employ the services of some wizards (like Bill Weasley).

Goblins seem to have some unique (to the wizzarding world) "muggle-like" skills. They are adept at finances since Gringotts holds absolute monopoly in banking in the wizard world. This however might have also an out-of-universe explanation - a second bank did not fit in the plot and JKR did not bother describing it.

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    I think it's in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them or it may be in one of the later novels but I'm certain that wizards are referred to as 'Wand Bearers' and that they completely refuse to allow other magical races to even own wands.
    – ThruGog
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 20:16
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    "it is not clear whether they can use wands but are not allowed to or they just don't need them" It's definitely, very clearly both. They can perform magic without wands (as shown multiple times in the books) but they could use wands if they weren't prohibited from owning them by Wizarding law (see the early chapters of Goblet of Fire). Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 12:18
  • "since its source is the very nature of the elves and their deep connection with their masters" well Dobby didn't have a master in your example and he didn't lose his magic, so the source can't be the masters... Then again maybe the cellar wasn't anti-apparition, it does say Ron tries to disapparate without a wand (and none of the others have one either) so maybe that's why he couldn't. So elves could have their own magic no matter what and maybe an order from their master is what gives them the ability to bypass the laws of "normal" magic ?
    – Cartolin
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 7:49

The nature of the magic which goblins are capable of is not a very well known topic. As per the Goblins page on the Harry Potter wiki:

Goblins can use magic without the aid of a wand, although they are insulted by the refusal of wizards to allow them to use wands. In turn, goblins conceal the secrets of their own magic from wizards.

Regarding House elves:

The upper limits of Elf magic are not known, however it is incredibly versatile and allows them to perform very powerful magic.


Their magic allows them to perform tasks, such as Apparating, where wizards literally cannot. They can perform charms, disarm their opponents, even duel witches and wizards and perform extremely powerful feats of dark magic if they so wished.

However when facing off against a House Elf, even the most powerful dark wizards have struggled; shown when Kreacher was still capable of apparating in and out of Voldemorts Locket Horcrux cave with ease, despite Dumbledore, one of the most powerful wizards of all time, being incapable of doing so. And when the House Elves took part in the battle of Hogwarts, many a dark wizard fell to their might.

Why wizards and witches cannot perform this sort of magic is unknown, potentially because:

House Elves do not verbally cast spells, rather their magic is performed through their sheer force of will and intent

However, elves apparently do have the capacity to wield a wand, according to the House elf article.

I cannot find any specific reason why house elf magic cannot be accomplished by wizards, potentially because house elves are so loyal to their masters they do not wish to spread the knowledge with the possibility it could undermine their ability to protect their masters.

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    I would say the reason wizards can't perform elf magic is because they are not elves. I believe it is established as entirely different magic and not something than can be learned and performed with a wand. Can you quote where an elf is able to use a wand?
    – ThruGog
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 20:21
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    @ThruGog it is stated on the Potter Wiki; I also recall reading it in one of the books but can't quite recall which one it was Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 23:37
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    Ah yes - the fact that Winky was accused of casting the Dark Mark with Harry's wand.
    – ThruGog
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 1:55

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