Lesson 6) Wait, I'm Confused
Congratulations on the successful completion of the midterm, Fourth Years. I was overall extremely pleased with the results. Many of you showed a thorough understanding of how to handle the creatures we have learned about and an excellent ability with the spells we have learned. Some of you missed the mark a little and that’s okay. Actually, I want to address that before we move forward.
This year, Defense Against the Dark Arts has gotten harder. Each year it gets a little more challenging, but this year is really stepping it up. Some of you may not be thrilled with your grades and are disappointed because they aren’t perfect. I want you to listen. Nobody is perfect, yet everyone is perfect. If we all strive for the ideal image of perfection, we will all fall short and find ourselves disappointed. Yet we are all the perfect us. Some will find they are better at Charms, while others may have a strength in Potions or Herbology. As long as you are putting forth your best effort and are showing that you are doing the best you can, the grade will reflect that. If that means you get an E, then you earned that E and are just as good as the student who got the O. To put it more clearly, your grade does not define you as a student. The grade simply helps you understand where your strengths and weaknesses are. So whatever grade you got on the midterm, be proud of it as long as you can say you put forth your best effort.
Now, with that in mind, let’s put our best effort forth to learning the two spells we need to cover today. Lots to talk about. Since one spell confuses your opponent, today’s lesson will have a little more scientific information. I do not want to bog you down with too much scientific material, yet I feel it is important in this case to understand how the spell works. The second spell we will cover is an offensive spell known as the Stinging Jinx.
The Confundus Charm
So let’s begin with the Confundus Charm. The Confundus Charm is a difficult charm to cast because it requires a strong sense of willpower. When trying to affect another person’s mind, you must have the appropriate willpower to overcome that person’s willpower to resist the spell. There are always cases where this will be easier; it is obviously easier to cast the spell on an unsuspecting target than it is against someone you are in a duel with who is prepared for an attack.
This spell also requires that your will is in line with the effect you want to happen. If you don’t really want the person to become confused, the spell will be much weaker than if you want nothing more than for the person to become confused. This plays into the amount of willpower you will exert; if you want the person to be confused, you will be more likely to exert a stronger amount of willpower than if you don’t.
To cast this spell, you must concentrate on the effect of the spell. It seems simple, but this is the easiest part of the Confundus Charm. Without concentration, the effect does not happen. As previously stated, willpower is extremely important when working with casting this spell. You must exert enough willpower that you are able to overcome the willpower of the target. If you are not able to overcome the target’s willpower, they will be able to resist your attempt to confuse them. They will feel the mental attack, but will be able to exert their willpower against it and push off the attack.
The wand movement for the Confundus Charm looks like a backwards question mark, which makes sense when you’re trying to confuse a person. You start with your wand on the right and move it in an upward curve to the left, bringing it down and around before moving the wand straight down.
While completing this wand movement, you must say the incantation, “Confundo.” Some have tried to claim that the incantation is “Confundus,” but this is not accurate. The correct incantation is Confundo, which is pronounced con-FUN-doe. You should start to say the incantation at the same time you start the wand movement and end the incantation at the same time you finish the wand movement. As always, I will provide a spell block for you so that you may easily see the most relevant information to appropriately cast this spell, though you must keep all information provided today in mind.
We now know how to cast the spell, but what causes confusion? Why does this spell work the way that it does? Well, when breaking it down to the basics, confusion occurs when the synapses in the brain are not firing properly. Within our brains there are hundreds of synapses that are making connections with every memory we make. Our brains store these memories based on different categorizations of information that we ourselves create. When a person becomes confused, the synapses in their brain do not fire properly and will make them incapable of recalling the information that they seek. They may find that that they cannot remember simple things like their name, age, the date, or other information that is common and every person would normally know about themselves. This level of confusion commonly happens in the elderly. In serious circumstances, people who suffer from severe confusion or memory loss are hospitalized for their own safety and the safety of those around them.
This extended confusion or memory loss can occur if a person is affected by the Confundus Charm too many times, so I urge you all to take the utmost caution when making the choice to cast this spell. This is not a spell to be cast lightly. You must be certain that there is an appropriate use for it. It is not acceptable to cast it because you want to see your friend make a fool of themselves in front of a class, because you want to help you best friend get the Keeper position on the house Quidditch team, or to confuse an extremely powerful magical object. This spell should only be used in a dueling situation and only once. It can be cast more times, but the more times you cast it on the person, the more likely it is that their brain will become permanently addled. Do you want to be responsible for a person no longer being able to remember their loved ones?
The Stinging Jinx
That concludes our current discussion of the Confundus Charm. Remember, I do not want to hear that any of you are simply using this charm for fun. This is serious and I expect you to take it as such. Those who do use this spell for recreational purposes will find themselves having a conversation with myself and the Headmistress. Shall we move on, then?
The next spell I want to teach you today is the Stinging Jinx. The reason for teaching this spell so late in your educational career is that there has been much debate about the classification of this spell. It is most commonly referred to as a jinx, but some argue it should be classified as a hex and will refer to the spell as the Stinging Hex. If you remember back to your first year, we covered the three main classifications of Dark spells. We said that a jinx is the lowest form of Dark spell that does not cause much harm and is typically used as a practical joke. A hex, on the other hand, is a stronger form of Dark spell that causes moderate pain and can be seen as a major inconvenience.
Once we have studied the effects of the spell, I want you to consider for yourself whether you think it should be classified as a jinx or a hex.
The effect of the Stinging Jinx (which I will use since it is the currently accepted name by officials), causes a stinging sensation on the target’s skin which can result in scorch marks and cause swelling to occur. In extreme cases, it can cause the face to swell to the extent that the person’s eyes partially close. This can look like the person is having an allergic reaction, so it is important to figure out what has happened before you attempt to start any treatments. You don’t want to attempt to cure the wrong issue.
To cast successfully, this spell requires a moderate amount of concentration and willpower. You must concentrate on the effect of the spell, which is fairly standard. You must also exert enough willpower to affect the skin of another person. As you learned in Third Year Charms, this can be extremely difficult, since you may not always know the amount of willpower a person can exert in response to a physical spell. This makes the spell remarkably tougher to cast on an aware target than it is on a target that is caught off guard.
Once you have your focus and willpower in order, you simply need to point your wand at the target and say the incantation, Pungosus (pun-GO-sus). A white light will then shoot out of your wand and fly towards the target.
Spell: The Confundus Charm
Incantation: Confundo (con-FUN-doe)
Wand Movement: Start with your wand on the right and move it in an upward curve to the left, bringing it down and around before moving the wand straight down
Concentration: Moderate, on the effect of the spell
Willpower: Moderate to high. Must exert enough willpower to overcome the will of the target.
Spell: The Stinging Jinx
Incantation: Pungosus (pun-GO-sus)
Wand Movement: Point at target
Concentration: Moderate, on the effect
Willpower: Moderate to High. Must be able to overcome the opponent’s willpower.
And that brings us to the end of another lesson. We are rapidly approaching the final exam, so I hope you all are preparing. During the next class, titled “I Came in Like a Wrecking Ball,” I think I can safely say that things will be broken, so come prepared. For your homework you will find the usual quiz and essay. Until next class!
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