Lesson 8) Murtlaps and Clabberts

In our previous lesson, we began discussing a sub-branch of the Fear of the Physical, looking at the Fear of the Internal Physical, focusing on the Mackled Malaclaw and the poison that it can inject into the bloodstream. Fearing poison is a natural thing and is in no way considered a weakness. That being said, making yourself aware of the ways in which you can protect yourself from the things you fear, or find a way to make your fears less frightening, will make you more confident and more capable of moving forward. That will be the emphasis of today’s lesson - looking at practical applications that both help defend against the Dark Arts and also provide a sense of security that will lessen the fears you may have. This lesson will only cover an extremely small percentage of the ways to lessen fear, but I hope it shows you that not everything in the world is dark and everything can have a positive spin, if you know how to look for it.

The first creature that we will be covering today is the Murtlap. The Murtlap, for lack of a better description, is an aquatic rat. It spends all of its time in the water, has bright blue eyes, and matching blue tentacles on its back. Rated XXX by the Ministry of Magic, Murtlap are not particularly dangerous and, should you find yourself in a situation where one is attacking you, you should be more than capable of sending it off with the spells you have already learned. Luckily, Murtlaps do not often attack and will only become aggressive towards humans if the human steps on them, at which time they will attempt to eat the feet of the threat.

The intricacies of these creatures are covered in much greater detail in Care of Magical Creatures, a course I highly recommend to you all, as much of the information learned there will be beneficial to your studies in many other courses; for our purposes, we are most interested in the bright blue tentacles on the Murtlap’s back and the essence that can be made from a Murtlap.

The tentacles, when treated properly and pickled, can be ingested and used as a form of defense against minor jinxes. When taken in high enough quantities, it is also possible for the pickled Murtlap tentacles to serve as a defense against many curses that fall under the umbrella of the Minor Maledictio; please note that you should not attempt to use pickled Murtlap tentacles to defend against curses of the Tenebrae Maledictio, it will have no effect and the curse will affect you as it normally would, which would be an extremely painful experience.

Looking at Murtlap Essence, we move from the realm of the magical, in many cases, and can look at physical repercussions of combat. During the course of a fight, it is quite likely that you will be dodging, ducking, diving, dipping, and dodging (otherwise known as the “Five D’s”). When performing these action, you will most likely get scraped. These scrapes and cuts will need to be cleaned out. That is what Murtlap Essence does - you soak the intended area with the essence and, after a time, the wound will begin to heal. There are many uses for the essence, though some of the more notable ones are cuts and boils. It will also work on cuts or scrapes caused by magical means, such as a Black Quill. The use of Murtlap Essence is much more common around the household than the use of Essence of Dittany because it is easier to obtain and store; it is also often recommended to save the Essence of Dittany for more major injuries, such as Splicing (the result of an Apparition gone wrong) or a werewolf bite (which we will discuss next term).

Both of these - pickled Murtlap and Murtlap Essence - can assist in the lessening of the Fear of the External Physical because they provide a layer of protection between yourself and some external force that will cause you harm. Particularly the pickled Murtlap tentacles, which protect you before the spell can affect you, though knowing ahead of time that you have a remedy for cuts, scrapes, boils, and maybe even bruises will certainly make you feel more confident going into a fight - better to know you can heal afterwards than to be unsure. Some people make the argument that the use of pickled Murtlap tentacles to protect from Dark spells can also be protection from the Fear of the Internal Physical, since some of the darker spellwork will affect the internal workings of your body; personally, I tend to disagree, since the source of the fear comes from outside, but everyone is welcome to their opinion.

Next, we move on to Clabberts. Clabberts are creatures that live in trees and look like a cross between a monkey and a frog. They originated in the southern United States (no record exists of which state, specifically, but I might speculate Louisiana or Mississippi) and they are rated XX by the Ministry of Magic. This rating is because Clabberts are rarely, if ever aggressive, and instead are most often used as a security system. Though not a common practice anymore, due to the International Statute of Secrecy, it used to be commonplace for witches and wizards to keep clabberts in the trees on their property to alert them to any threats that were approaching.

The use of the Clabbert as a security system works because of the red blob on its forehead that glows whenever it feels threatened. In many cases, this threat came from a Muggle being in the area, but Clabberts are also fine attuned to the Dark Arts and would feel threatened if a Dark witch or wizard approached the premises, which would cause their blob, known as a pustule, to glow ruby.

Even though they are not common now, the use at any time of the Clabbert to alert their owners of danger approaching shows the extent to which witches and wizards are willing to go to feel as if they are safer against the things that they fear. People will go further than anyone could ever expect if it means protecting their own lives; it does not matter who or what gets in the way or is negatively impacted. They will even go so far as to enslave creatures -- though the keeping of a Clabbert is hardly as cruel of a living condition as those of other creatures, such as house-elves -- if it means that the human can feel safe. As we move forward and begin to delve deeper into the Trifecta of Fear, looking more into the Fear of the Conscious and the Fear of the Subconscious, I want you all to be acutely aware of what the ends are to the means of defending or preventing the things that we fear. Though we may like to pretend otherwise, there is always a price to pay for our actions - will you be willing to pay that price when the time comes, should you choose to act in a way that negatively impacts others?

Other Boosts Against the Fear of the Physical
Though creatures are highly useful when it comes to the defense and prevention of the Fear of the Physical, they are not the only way. Many skilled magical people have developed spells, enchantments, and forms (a concept you have or will learn about in your Charms class this term) that will function as a method of protection against some of the physical fears we may encounter. Here I will talk about some of the more popular ones that are known to work.

Jinx-Off - It seems odd to start this portion of the lesson discussing an item sold at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, but I assure you that these items actually work. This kit comes as a set of three items: a cloak, a hat, and a pair of gloves. You can wear any of the three items to receive protection in the area that you wish to protect but the Weasleys recommend that all three items be worn for increased protection and I agree. You may be aiming to protect a specific area, let’s say your hands, but spells often are not aimed well and may unintentionally affect an area other than the target.

These items utilize many different enchantments, one of which being the Shielding Charm, a spell that will be taught in your Sixth Year, to protect the wearer from most incoming spells. Though sold at a joke shop, these items all adhere to all Ministry standards for the production and selling of defensive items. Therefore, you can trust that the use of these items will in fact protect you and not turn you into some unexpected animal.

Fireproof Trousers - These items come particularly in handy when handling dragons, fire salamanders, and any other creature that thrives on fire. For those who fear fire, these items are a must, as they are created using Muggle understanding of fireproofing combined with spells and enchantments that boost the material used and make them even more fireproof than they already were. These items can be bought from most clothing stores for high prices or bought from the Ministry of Magic itself.

It is important that you only purchase these items from approved clothes distributors or from the Ministry of Magic; many street vendors will claim to sell fireproof trousers, but these often so not comply with Ministry standards and have cause people severe injury when they believed themselves protected from fire. When purchasing these items, always ask to see the vendor’s certification from the Ministry to sell the items - if they cannot provide one, do not buy it.

Amulets - These items hold a particular interest to the Ministry of Magic, since even more people will attempt to sell these than the fireproof trousers. Amulets are small items that consist of a gemstone embedded within, usually, either a gold or silver holder. An amulet will hang around the neck and is most often worn like a necklace.

The reason that people tend to believe that these are effective, and can be effective when enchanted properly, is because gemstones are good at channeling magical energy. This also means that they can effectively store any magic that is “charged” into the amulet. Some amulets can be enchanted in such a way that they will activate when a certain type of spell is cast at the wearer while others will require the wearer to activate the amulet, most often through a touch.

The reason that there are very few Ministry approved amulets is due to the way in which they function. Though the person who cast the enchantments on the amulet put the magical energy into the gemstone, there is still a requirement of magical energy for the spell(s) from the amulet to be maintained. The more complex the spell, the more it will drain your magical energy to keep the spell going - it requires less energy to maintain a spell cast on an amulet, but you should still proceed cautiously. Many people have ended up in St. Mungo’s due to severe magical exhaustion while trying to make a true amulet work; others have ended up in St. Mungo’s because they put their faith in an amulet that had no true ability to protect them and they made no extra effort to protect themselves. Always take the extra effort, even if you believe yourself to be protected, either by an amulet or other defensive item.


The ultimate way to protect yourself is to accumulate as much knowledge about how to protect yourself. Before making purchases, be sure to do your research about how the items work and how to tell the difference between a quality item and a counterfeit item. If enchanting protective equipment yourself, be sure you know how all of the spells will interact with each other; some spells simply will not be compatible and can cause disastrous backfires.

And that brings us to the end of today’s lesson. Next week we will be having a shorter lesson so that you all will have adequate time to complete your final examination. We also will be taking a look at the next term as well as where we are headed as we move closer to O.W.L. examinations and beyond. Study hard and be prepared - the exam will not be easy.

Class dismissed.

Defense Against the Dark Arts Year Two will continue building upon the foundation set in Year One. We will continue our exploration of spellwork, covering more offensive spells and getting into the basics of curse theory. We also will look at creatures with practical defensive uses.

If you are interested in being a PA for Defense Against the Dark Arts, apply here: https://forms.gle/NznL8pJ7ayZqgRSJ9

Course Prerequisites:
  • DADA-101

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