Animated Character Database
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"This ancient and mysterious charm conjures a magical guardian, a projection of all your most positive feelings. The Patronus Charm is difficult, and many witches and wizards are unable to produce a full, corporeal Patronus, a guardian which generally takes the shape of the animal with whom they share the deepest affinity. You may suspect, but you will never truly know what form your Patronus will take until you succeed in conjuring it."

"A Patronus is a kind of positive force, and for the wizard who can conjure one, it works something like a shield, with the Dementor feeding on it, rather than him. In order for it to work, you need to think of a memory. Not just any memory, a very happy memory, a very powerful memory… Allow it to fill you up... lose yourself in it... then speak the incantation " Expecto Patronum "


It is evident from old woodcuts and scrolls that the Patronus Charm has been used since ancient times.[6]Therefore, it is unknown who created it, or when it was first invented.[6] The charm also has a long association with those fighting for lofty or noble causes (those able to produce corporeal Patronuses were often elected to high office within the Wizengamot and Ministry of Magic).[4]

Harry Potter took anti-dementor lessons in order to learn the advanced charm. During a Quidditch match against Ravenclaw in 1994 he cast his very first corporal Patronus and again in June when he along with Hermione Granger and Sirius Black were being attacked by over a hundred Dementors, he cast a corporal Patronus powerful enough to drive them all away.

In 1995, Harry cast the charm against a boggart that he thought was a dementor during the third task of the Triwizard Tournament. The following summer he came under attack by two Dementors and managed to drive them away with the charm, leading to him being put on trial for underage magic in an attempt to discredit him.

Harry also taught the members of Dumbledore's Army the charm and some were even successful in casting it.

The charm was used frequently to ward off dementors such as when the trio escaped from the Ministry of Magic after obtaining the Horcrux locket and during the Battle of Hogwarts. Severus Snape also conjured a Patronus to guide Harry to the hiding place of theSword of Gryffindor.

The Order of the Phoenix would send out messages with their Patronuses such as Kingsley Shacklebolt and Arthur Weasley who in 1997 delivered warnings.


The vast majority of witches and wizards are unable to produce any form of Patronus, and to create even an intangible one is generally considered a mark of superior magical ability.[4]

To successfully cast the spell, one must muster the happiest memory they can think of (the happier the memory, the better the charm will work)[1] and begin drawing circles with their wand so as to increase the power of their spell.[6] They must then say the incantation,Expecto Patronum; the Patronus will come from the tip of the wand and can be directed towards a target by pointing one's wand at said target.[7] It is possible to disguise the form one's Patronus takes, which was done both by Severus Snape to hide his love for Lily Evans, and by Remus Lupin, who felt it would give away his condition.[4]


The Patronus Charm is widely regarded as advanced magic, far beyond N.E.W.T.-level, in 1994 Remus Lupin stated that the charm was, in fact "ridiculously advanced".[1] It is very complex and many qualified wizards and witches have trouble with it.[4] In fact, Harry Potter is one of the youngest known wizards able to cast a Patronus; he was taught how to do so in early 1994 at the age of thirteen by Remus Lupin.[8] In a Dumbledore's Army lesson, Harry taught the members how to use the charm. Some were even successful in casting a corporeal form, though Harry said this might be because there was no Dementor to make them frightened.[9]  However, three members were later able to cast corporeal Patronuses in the presence of Dementors.[10] Being able to cast a patronus, whilst fighting Dementors or not, is not required to graduate from Hogwarts so it is something that is taught under special circumstances.

Amelia Bones and potential members of the D.A. were all very impressed when Harry Potter revealed that he could cast not only a Patronus Charm but a corporeal one to boot, which is notably more difficult than casting an incorporeal one. Given that the success of the charm is directly reliant on the caster retaining a particular mental state the Charm is more difficult to cast in emotionally trying circumstances. For instance, Harry Potter,Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger all had difficulty casting their Patronuses when under the negative influence of Salazar Slytherin's Locket, one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, and after witnessing the death ofFred Weasley in the final battle.[10] This feature of the Charm is particularly unfortunate since the Charm's primary use is to defend against Dementors, Dark creatures specifically equipped to mentally unhinge people (and hence is partly why it is regarded as such advanced, difficult magic).

Self-confidence may also play an important role in casting the spell. In 1994 Harry is able to cast the spellsuccessfully, driving off a large number of Dementors (which according to Severus Snape is only achievable by a very powerful wizard) thus saving Sirius and a younger version of himself, seemingly without recalling a happy memory, when he realises that he has already done it. Although Harry could have had a 'happy memory' upon realising that he had saved all three of their souls.


It is a general belief held by the wizarding world that only those who are pure of heart are able to cast Patronuses; this, however, is untrue, as several characters with negative personality traits are able to cast a fully-fledged Patronus.[4] Although generally Dark witches and wizards will not try to produce a Patronus, not having any need for one, most Dark wizards will be devoured by maggotscoming from their wand and consuming the caster.[6]

For this reason, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters were not able to cast a Patronus Charm (not that it was necessary, as they already had the dark creatures under their control via their affinity to darkness, and would have no use for Patronuses).[11] However, some witches and wizards of questionable morals, such as Dolores Umbridge, are able to produce corporeal Patronuses, Umbridge doing so despite the fact that she was considered an evil person; her wearing of Salazar Slytherin's Locket, which was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, was what enhanced her strength due to her evil affinity.[4] She was able to produce a corporeal Patronus due to the enhanced strength. Conversely, Draco Malfoy was unable to cast one despite his waning evil. Severus Snape is the only Death Eater capable of casting the charm, as his love for Lily Evans was his one redeeming point.


There are two known uses for the Patronus Charm. The first and main use of the Patronus is to drive off certainDark creatures such as Dementors and Lethifolds, and is the only known charm that will work against them. As Dementors feed on happy memories to render humans to drown in sorrow and sadness, the Patronus acts as a shield of sorts, of which the Dementor would try to feed off of instead — the Patronus is comprised exclusively of positive feelings and cannot comprehend negative emotion, so the Dementor's influence cannot harm it.

The other use was devised by Albus Dumbledore, who invented a way of using the Patronus (corporeal and non) as a means of communication. They can deliver messages, speaking with the voice of the caster. This source of communication is believed to be exclusive to the members of the Order of the Phoenix. Using the Patronus for communication offers great advantages in security, as Patronuses identify the caster and are Dark Arts-proof.[9] A good example of this was when Minerva McGonagall used her feline Patronus to call for help to the other heads of houses in 1998 when she found out Harry Potter had returned to Hogwarts in search of Rowena Ravenclaw'sDiadem. Multiple Patronuses can be cast for communication, as McGonagall was able to create three. Another is when Severus Snape used his Patronus to lead Harry Potter to a pool in the Forest of Dean in 1997, where he had laid Godric Gryffindor's Sword for Harry to retrieve. It is unknown if Snape had conjured the Patronus with instructions or if he was hiding and controlling it for this task. Harry's was able to follow his oral commands (in the book) and physical commands (in the movies). They also only remain active whilst the caster is focusing on them. If they are not protecting anyone, Patronuses seem to take on the traits of the creature they resemble and generally follow their caster around. This makes it unsure whether or not they are sentient.