Throughout the eight Harry Potter movies, characters cast spells ranging from mundane to magnificent. These magical moments lead to some of the most iconic and visually inspiring moments in the whole series.
A little magic certainly goes a long way. Here are our top 8 most memorable magical moments from each of the Harry Potter movies!
8. Rebounding Memory Charm – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry, Ron, and Professor Lockhart make their way toward the Chamber of Secrets in a desperate attempt to save Ginny Weasley from a gruesome fate. Professor Lockhart manages to get ahold of Ron’s wand and reveals that his famed heroics were in truth accomplished by other wizards and witches. He uses Ron’s wand to cast a Memory Charm against the boys.
Up until that points, Ron’s wand had been unreliable at best with its haphazard repair after the Whomping Willow broke it. Fortunately for the boys, the wand then causes Lockhart’s charm to rebound. Lockhart forgets where they are, why they are there, and even who he is. What started as a high-stakes and shocking betrayal in the movie became one of the most comical parts in the entire series.
7. Wingardium Leviosa in Charms Class – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
In addition to being perhaps one of the most quoted moments from the entire franchise, Hermione’s triumph in Charms class allows fans to see that she has the skills to back up her self-assurance.
Most of the first-year students struggle to make their feathers levitate. Ron begins to get frustrated, furiously shaking his wand at the feather. Hermione stops him before he “takes someone’s eye out.” She corrects his pronunciation, telling him, “It’s Levi-oh-sa, not Levio-sar” and proceeds to successfully levitate her feather as a gleeful Professor Flitwick looks on.
6. Duel at the Ministry of Magic – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Although there is much talk about what an accomplished wizard and duelist Dumbledore is, fans do not get to see him in action in earnest until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry stands alone and disarmed against Voldemort at the Ministry of Magic. In the nick of time, Dumbledore appears to give Voldemort a fair fight. Voldemort conjures a massive, fiery serpent that Dumbledore vanquishes. Using water from the fountain in the lobby, Dumbledore encases Voldemort in a giant watery orb before deflecting another one of Voldemort’s assaults.
The Dark Lord then shatters all the glass in the lobby, sending the shards hurtling toward Dumbledore and Harry. The glass is turned to harmless, sparkling sand as Dumbledore defends both Harry and himself. The duel only ends when Voldemort disapparates as wizards and witches begin to arrive for work that day. The skill and might of both Voldemort and Dumbledore are impressive to behold. In this moment, viewers truly understand how out of his depth Harry is in this war.
5. Memory Charm at the Granger Home – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
With Dumbledore dead and Voldemort at the height of his power since his return, the stakes have never been higher. Things have also never been more dangerous for Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their loved ones. While Harry’s parents have already perished and Ron’s family members are capable of defending themselves, Hermione’s nonmagical parents are in very real danger.
Setting the somber tone of the story early on, Hermione casts a memory charm on her parents to make them forget her. She watches on sadly after whispering “Obliviate” as she fades from the family photographs. Hermione’s sacrifice assures her parents’ safety while she fights on the frontlines of the Second Wizarding War.
4. Firestorm in the Cave – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry and Dumbledore travel to a cave that Tom Riddle visited as a child in hopes of finding and eventually destroying one of his horcruxes. The two wizards find a lake within the cave and go out to the small island at its center. To get to the horcrux, someone must drink the poison that covers it. Harry obtains the locket as Dumbledore finishes the potion, and Dumbledore requests some water to drink.
When Harry tries to get some from the lake, he is attacked by the Inferi, the reanimated corpses of Voldemort’s victims. Although he is significantly weakened, Dumbledore is still a force to be reckoned with. Using what remains of his strength, Dumbledore conjures a firestorm, warding off the Inferi and creating safe passage for the two wizards to escape.
3. Priori Incantatem in the Graveyard – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
At the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort has returned to his physical form. With his most loyal followers at his side, he insists on dueling Harry. Voldemort attempts to use the Killing Curse while Harry counters with a Disarming Charm. Despite Voldemort being a considerably more skilled wizard than the fourth-year Hogwarts student, he once again fails to kill Harry. This time it is due to a phenomenon known as Priori Incantatem.
As Harry and Voldemort’s wands share a core with feathers from the same phoenix, the two wands connect, forcing Voldemort’s wand to reveal its most recent spells. The spirits of Voldemort’s victims appear, including the recently murdered Cedric Diggory and Harry’s parents. Harry’s parents tell him that they can hold him off long enough for Harry to escape. As Harry runs back to the portkey, the spirits rush Voldemort. Harry narrowly escapes Voldemort’s Killing Curse for a second time.
2. Expecto Patronum in the Forbidden Forest – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry and Hermione, having traveled back in time using the Time Turner, hide in the Forbidden Forest as Sirius Black and the Harry from the past are swarmed by Dementors. Hermione recognizes that Sirius and Harry are dying across the water. Harry lived through this moment before and witnessed a Patronus in the shape of a stag drive the Dementors away. Knowing this was the form his late father’s Patronus took, he insists that his dad is going to come save them.
Eventually, Harry realizes that help is not coming and runs to the water’s edge. Using the lessons he learned from Professor Lupin, Harry casts his first fully formed corporeal Patronus Charm. He learns that his patronus also takes the shape of a stag just like his father. The charm is so powerful it drives the Dementors away and effectively saves the lives of both Harry’s past self and Sirius Black. Harry is amazed to learn that the figure he saw casting the spell across the lake was him all along.
1. Final Faceoff in the Hogwarts Courtyard – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
In their final faceoff, Harry and Voldemort wrestle one another through the air around Hogwarts, finally landing in the courtyard. They crawl toward their respective wands, simultaneously launching attacks on one another. Harry uses his signature Disarming Charm while Voldemort uses the Killing Curse. Their wands connect like before as the two wizards give their all to the fight.
Meanwhile, Neville destroys Nagini, the final Horcrux, and Voldemort is finally vulnerable. Knowing that the Elder Wand answers to him, Harry disarms Voldemort as Voldemort’s curse rebounds. In the end, Voldemort is his own final victim. After years of loss and sacrifice, Harry and his friends win the Second Wizarding War.
From the classroom to the battlefield, the spells and magic in the Harry Potter movies are behind some of the series’ most awe-inspiring and most beloved moments in the series. With moments that run from comical to triumphant and everything in between, fans continue to look forward to returning to these magical moments for years to come.