Lesson 9) Dementors, Part Two

The room has a clear chill to it today. The happiness has been sucked out of the room; you feel as though you will never be happy again. Around the edge of the room, there are figures that look and move like Dementors. You remember that Professor Penrose asked for your trust that he would not intentionally allow harm to come to you, and that you were safe in his classroom, but it is hard to believe looking at these figures. You take your seat and keep glancing nervously at the “Dementors.”

I see you all have noticed my enchanted figurines. They feel extremely life-like, don’t they? I assure you that they are merely enchantments, and that these are just for you to practice on in class today. In our final lesson of Year Six, I will teach you how to cast the Patronus Charm, as well as other information about how and why certain foods counteract the abilities of Dementors. I will then give a brief overview of your final term at Hogwarts, and then you will then sit your final examination.

The Patronus Charm
In the previous lesson, we learned about the ways that Dementors pull the happiness from your surroundings and fill you with a feeling of despair greater than any you have felt before. That is where the Patronus Charm comes into play. Upon a successful casting of the Patronus Charm, the caster creates a barrier of pure light energy that radiates nothing but happiness. This overwhelming abundance of happiness becomes the strongest emotion in the area, and therefore draws the attention of the Dementors who, as you will remember, are blind and guided by nothing more than the happiness and hope that they taste in the air. The Patronus effectively becomes a shield between yourself and the Dementor. This charm has two possible forms: the incorporeal and the corporeal form.

The incorporeal form of the Patronus Charm simply creates a solid wall of happy emotion. It has no distinct shape and can only be seens as wisps of white smoke that create the barrier between yourself and the Dementor. This form is the easier of the two to cast, but also the least productive. Though it creates a shield of sorts, the shield can only be aimed in one direction at a time. If you are being attacked by multiple Dementors, then the incorporeal form of the Patronus will be less helpful to you unless you have been back into a corner and cannot have Dementors behind you, a place that I do not suggest being. The willpower and concentration required to maintain even an incorporeal Patronus is far too great to be held for too long, and if the spell is broken before the Dementors leave, or are driven away by another person casting a corporeal Patronus, then you will most certainly be kissed.

The stronger, more effective form of the Patronus is the corporeal form. This form of the spell creates a guardian animal that protects you from the effects of a Dementor. This animal serves not only as a barrier, but is also capable of attacking Dementors directly. As opposed to the incorporeal form, the corporeal form of the Patronus can be directed at the Dementor and commanded to attack, driving the creature away. It moves swiftly and will attack multiple Dementors when it can; this makes it far more effective for protecting you on all sides. However, this movement comes at a cost. Because the Patronus is a dynamic spell, it requires a lot more concentration to make the corporeal Patronus move around and attack. It will take almost all of your available concentration, which will already be limited due to the required concentration to keep the spell in effect.

Before we move on, I want to talk briefly about the animal that will be temporarily created if you successfully cast the Patronus Charm. This animal serves as a representative of you; in some way, the corporeal Patronus represents all of who you are, or the overwhelming spirit that drives you and your happiness. However, we should not be associating the corporeal Patronus with the Native American tradition of the spirit animal. The tradition of the spirit animal is most commonly found in the Native American tribes of the United States, though can be found in a few other religions as well. To them, the spirit animal is a force that guides and advises a person through their life, as well as serving as a representation of their being. Therefore, I will not tolerate the use of the phrase “spirit animal” in relation to the animal form your Patronus takes. It is a guardian, and in some ways a warrior, but it does not guide nor serve you beyond fighting Dementors. If you would like more information about the true meaning behind the tradition of the spirit animal, I will provide some credible sources in the “Further Reading” section at the bottom of the lesson.

Aftermath of a Dementor Attack
After a Dementor has been repelled by a Patronus, or left the area for whatever reason, the average person will still feel a chill in their body, still feel drained of happiness, and still have remnants of the subconscious trauma that was brought out by the Dementors. While the Patronus Charm if effective at repelling the Dementors, it is not as effective at providing comfort in the aftermath. The best way to feel that sense of comfort, and therefore a feeling of happiness, after a Dementor attack involves a chemical in the brain: endorphins.

Endorphins fall within the group of chemicals known as neurotransmitters. They serve as a way for your brain to communicate a specific type of feeling in the body, particularly euphoria. There are many ways for endorphins to be released, but two of the leading causes are pain and stress. Placing the body or mind under stress will increase the amount of endorphins released, as the brain will recognize the body’s need for them.

While a Dementor attack will certainly put you under a fair amount of stress, your body will not release nearly enough endorphins to help you recover in a timely manner; scholars have yet to figure out why. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to release more endorphins. One way is to willingly place the body under further stress by exercising. By tearing apart the muscle tissue in your body, either by running, lifting weights, or any other form of exercise you can imagine, your body will naturally release more endorphins, making you feel calmer and more euphoric. However, few people want to go for a run immediately after a Dementor attack. Therefore, it is suggested to eat foods that will cause the brain to release a high amount of endorphins. Chocolate and spicy foods chili peppers are the perfect solution, if you happen to have any on hand.

Keep in mind, the body is highly individual. Every body will release a different amount of endorphins in different situations, and so it is helpful to know your own body and how to regulate it as best you can. Nobody is ever prepared for their first experience with a Dementor, but I hope that, after this class session, you will be more prepared than most. In order to equip you to the best of your ability, you will need to know the wand movement and incantation for the Patronus Charm. As in previous lessons, I expect you to be able to determine the necessary concentration and willpower yourself. If you have any questions, you may send me a message at any time. The incantation is “Expecto Patronum” (ex-PECK-toh pah-TROH-num) and the wand movement is simply a clockwise circular motion.

Year Seven Preview
Now, before you begin your final examination for the year, I want to give you a brief overview of what is to come next year. For your final year of study here at Hogwarts, Defense Against the Dark Arts will take the Darkest turn you have experienced yet. Some of the major topics that will be covered include the Unforgivable Curses, rituals, and horcruxes. All of these will be studied purely through the lens of human rights, natural laws, and how each of these forms of the Darkest Arts violate both human rights and natural rights. We will, at NO time, be learning the processes behind anything covered next year.

The Ministry has frowned upon many of my choices, but it is my belief that you need to be prepared for what is out there. Any career you pursue that brings you into contact with the Dark Arts will be dangerous, and the more prepared you are now, the better off you will be in the field. If you are not prepared for hard work and Dark magic, I suggest you find another class to take. Due to the nature of the content, I will be taking your work very seriously; even more seriously than I already have been.

And with that, you may now begin taking your final exam. After you have completed the required test and essay, there are two extra credit opportunities, should you wish to pursue them. Best of luck.

Further Reading
https://www.manataka.org/page291.html

Resources
https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55001

Year Six Defense Against the Dark Arts becomes more theory heavy as students begin their work at the N.E.W.T. level. This year focuses on mental magic, defense of the mind, and application of logic in order to overcome challenges. Sixth Year students will come face to face with their inner demons and be challenged to perform magic more difficult than they have thus far, all while proving their ability to grapple with the heavy theories behind their spellwork and defending themselves against the Dark Arts.
Course Prerequisites:
  • DADA-OWL

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