Lesson 3) You're Hot and You're Cold
Welcome to your third class, Fourth Years. I know we have spent much time thus far learning spells and working on theoretical situations, but I feel this has been important for your defensive education. Many aurors I have seen taken to St. Mungo’s arrived there because they were ill-prepared with their spellwork. They did not have the grounding that you all are going to have. However, I think you are now ready to tackle your first creature for this year.
Salamanders, Not Newts
These creatures come in two different forms - one which exists in extreme heat and the other that exists in extreme cold. Their lives depend upon these extreme temperatures and they will quickly die if they are away from the source of their life force for too long without being appropriately fed. Today’s lesson will cover salamanders. For those of you familiar with the Muggle creature with the same name, be sure to pay attention since these are different creatures. According to the Ministry of Magic, salamanders are classified as XXX beasts. However, they are much more dangerous than they appear because it does not take long for their numbers to grow and they can be fast when they want to be.
As previously stated, there are two species of salamanders that we will be dealing with. The first is the typical fire salamander. This type of salamander, which Muggles often refer to as a newt, has fire colored skin and black eyes. Their skin can be blue, though, depending on the heat of the flame from which they are born. They are born in fire and must either stay in the fire to survive or must be fed peppers regularly. Professor Anne gives an excellent description in her first lesson of the Year Four Care of Magical Creatures class about the proper care of fire salamanders. When it comes to fighting them, the best method of defense is to eliminate the fire from which they came. In fact, this is a necessity in order to completely eliminate a salamander problem. If the fire is not extinguished, then the individual creature can be dealt with, but more will be born from the fire.
The fire a salamander is born in is the life force for a fire salamander. When the fire is extinguished, any salamanders that have been born from it will immediately die. Therefore, it is critical to extinguish the fire as soon as one is discovered. To extinguish the fire, there are two spells that can be used. The first is the Water-Making Charm, which is an advanced spell that you will not be covering until later years in other classes. You will learn the second spell today: the Freezing Spell. When cast successfully, a blue light will emit from your wand and the air in front of you will become frigid. This spell will also cause your breath to come out in wafts of misty air due to your close proximity to the cold temperature. The air temperature within the proximity of the spell will become so cold that the oxygen molecules turn into a liquid, which fire cannot use as a fuel. This will be a visible shift, since a cloud will form around the fire in the area of effect of the Freezing Spell. This cloud, a liquid, provides no food to keep the fire burning and the fire will quickly be extinguished, killing all salamanders that have been born from the fire. However, it is important to note that, due to the rapid change of oxygen from a gas to a liquid, this spell should never be cast in the direction of another person. Frostbite would occur almost instantaneously and the unfortunate target would end up losing the limb. If the spell were to hit a major area of the human body (such as the chest, where the heart is), the body would effectively begin to shut down. For those of you familiar with the popular Disney movie Frozen, imagine what happened to Anna when Elsa’s ice magic struck her in the heart happening to a person for real. However, unlike the Disney movie, there would be no happy ending for the poor, unfortunate soul.
This spell is effective for extinguishing these fires, as well as freezing bodies of water that are several inches thick and creating ice blocks, but remember that the hotter the flame, the more willpower that you will have to exert in order to cast a strong enough spell that will completely extinguish the fire. If you are facing a blue fire salamander, you will have to exert more willpower than you would if you were facing a red fire salamander. It also is an effective charm for students to know because there is no dangerous backfire to this spell; the spell simply will not work. Some have claimed to feel a chill within their bones, but there is no concrete evidence to support this feeling and currently has been attributed to the caster mentally expecting to feel the chill, rather than actually feeling it.
The next type of salamander we will be talking about is the cousin of the fire salamander and has many similar properties. The frost salamander has blue skin, similar to the blue fire salamander, but it has blue eyes instead of black. It dwells in colder climates and loves ice, though it is born from piles of snow. For frost salamanders to exist away from their snow pile, they must be fed frozen food, such as frozen corn or peas. Similar to fire salamanders, a frost salamander will die if kept away from its pile of snow for longer than six hours. However, more frost salamanders can be born from the snow unless the snow pile is melted.
In order to effectively melt the life force of the frost salamander, there are (again) several spells that can be used to melt the snow pile. One is the Warming Charm that you learned back in your first year of Charms. This spell will effectively create a warm enough atmosphere to melt the snow pile, though this process will be slower and will allow the frost salamanders more time to retaliate. Another spell is the Hot-Air Charm, which is an advanced spell that has had very few successful casts. The only known successful practitioners of this spell are Hermione Granger and Albus Dumbledore. It is a beneficial spell to note for future studies, but it is not a spell that you can start using at the present time. The spell I am going to recommend is a spell that you learned back in your Year One Charms class. At the time you learned the Fire-Making Charm, it was expected that you would be incapable of producing more than a wisp of smoke when you started. By the end of Year One, it was expected that you could light a candle from a few inches away. By now, as Fourth Year students, it is not improbable that you should have advanced to be able to create a fire from at least a few feet away. However, this does require practice and a strong focus. If you cannot accomplish this task, I suggest that you start practicing, since you will need to be a few feet away from any frost salamander to remain safe and they will defend their snow viciously with the their frost breath.
The rules as stated in that Charms lesson still apply - you must be extremely careful when casting this spell. Playing with fire is never something to be taken lightly. You should all be familiar with the method for casting the Fire-Making Charm, but a spell block is provided at the end of the lesson anyways.
Once the snow pile has been melted, you can lessen your concentration and slowly put out the fire you have created. You do not want to put the entire magically created fire out all at once or, like a regular wood burning fire, the flames can come back and bite you if you lose your concentration and just let the magic go. The last thing we want to see is students ending up in the hospital wing or fully trained witches and wizards going to St. Mungo’s for first or second degree burns after overcoming a salamander infestation.
The Life Force
Before I dismiss you and allow you to complete the assignments for today’s lesson, I would like to return momentarily to a concept that I mentioned when discussing the existence of both types of salamander. This concept is the concept of a creature’s life force. The life force of a creature, or person for that matter, is the force that both gives the creature life and sustains that life. If a living thing were to lose connection to its life force, it is said that the living thing will die. However, this is not necessarily true, as proven by humans who can be separated from their life force, known as the soul, and yet are still alive. They may live a life that is worse than death, existing only as hollow shells that have no capability of doing anything beyond breathing, yet that breath they breathe continues to give them life. In the case of salamanders, their life force is the fire or snow from which they are born. If they are separated from this life force for too long without being properly fed, or the life force is destroyed, the salamander will die.
What makes the life force unique is that each one is handled in a different manner and can be associated with different terminology. For fire salamanders, we extinguish their life force by extinguishing their fire; with frost salamanders, we melt their life force by melting their snow; with humans, we “kill” them, since most often separation from the soul occurs with the death of the person.
As we move forward, I want you to consider the life force of the creatures you will face. Much of the time, dealing with Dark creatures requires the death of that creature. We, as moral human beings, should still be respectful of the lives of these Dark creatures and consider what gives them life. I do not teach an ethics class, but when taking the life of a creature, even one classified as a beast, it is important to remember that life is precious and taking that life should only be done when absolutely necessary. By contemplating and recognizing what gives a creature life, we allow ourselves to recognize the preciousness of that life and are more capable of determining the necessity of taking it. It also allows us to recognize that we should not take this dramatic step unless we are absolutely forced to. Considering what the life force of a creature is can also help us in other ways, though I will not disclose them as I want you to think about this.
Spell: The Freezing Spell
Incantation: Glacius (GLAY-see-us)
Wand Movement: Point your wand in the direction you want frozen.
Concentration: Low, on the effect of the spell, which is freezing the air in front of you.
Willpower: The amount of willpower required for this spell determines how long the air will remain frigid. The more willpower you exert, the longer the air will remain frigid.
Spell: The Fire-Making Charm
Incantation: Incendio (in-SEN-dee-o)
Wand Movement: A flame shape that starts on the lower left and ends on the lower right.
Concentration: Moderate, on a stream of fire coming out of your wand.
Willpower: Dependent on the distance from the target and how difficult the target is to ignite. Targets that are further away or more difficult to ignite will require more willpower.
Unfortunately, as much as I would love to talk more, we are out of time for today. For your homework, I would like you to complete the essay and quiz that have been assigned. The essay will be a two part essay, so please give your best effort to both parts. There is also an extra credit essay that I encourage you all to attempt. However, it is even more highly encouraged that you complete the required essay first, since the understanding you develop from there will assist you in the extra credit essay.
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