Quintessential Magic: An Introduction To Charms (2nd Ed.)

A useful text for First Year Charms students, Quintessential Magic delves into the basic methods of casting a spell. From incantation to willpower, Wand-Lighting Charm to Severing Charm, this text covers all the basics.

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The Unlocking Charm & The Mending Charm

Chapter 13

The Unlocking Charm
Incantation: Alohomora (‘al-LOH-ha-MOR-ah’)
Wand Movement: Backward S curving up at the end
Focus: Visualization of yourself, unlocking the lock.
Willpower: None for simple mechanical locks; minimal to very high for locks ranging from complex mechanical to complex magical.
Concentration: None

The history of the Unlocking Charm begins with words so famous that almost all Muggles know them.Open Sesame, which I will refer to as the “Undooring Charm”, splinters the door into firewood. For safety reasons the wand movement for this charm will not be provided. 

After a time another charm was developed that was a bit more advanced but still had its problems. The incantation for this one is Portaberto, though I refer to it as the “Lock-blasting Charm” because its use was to either melt through locks or blast them off the door they were attached to.

The Unlocking Charm, Alohomora, hails from Africa and was brought to Britain in the 17th century where it was used in a string of burglaries. The incantation does not follow the standard for typical spells (which usually present with Latin origins). It is an example that demonstrates how new spells can be found anywhere language has developed. The words themselves possess a meaning that is understood by many, and it is this association between the words and the spell that is important.

As demonstrated, the charm’s wand movement is a backward S that curves back upward at the end. The caster must focus upon the lock to be undone, whether it is just a physical lock or of magical design. It's important to begin the wand movement as you begin saying the spell and end it as you finish saying the spell, regardless of how quickly you say the spell or perform the movement. Depending upon the particular spell used to create the lock, the Unlocking Charm may prove ineffective.

Assuming the Unlocking Charm will work on your target at all, the complexity of the physical or magical lock must also be taken into account. Complex physical locks aren’t much more of a challenge than simple ones. A magical lock, on the other hand, takes extra willpower to overcome. The power and skill used to make the lock as well as the age of the spell may all affect how difficult the task is. Especially important locks may even be sealed with multiple magical defenses, each designed to make breaking through more difficult, and typically a lock made with this level of detail will have the Anti-Alohomora Charm applied immediately. 

This spell is typically taught to first-year students to demonstrate the need for proper wand movements. The spell is fairly easy to pronounce; the difficulty is in making sure that you move your wand in a precise manner and that it is directed toward the target lock upon completion. Students should practice not only with simple physical locks but with various forms of Locking Charms provided by your professor.

The Mending Charm
Incantation: Reparo (‘reh-PAH-roh’)
Wand Movement: Inward pointed spiral, continued until the object is fully repaired
Focus: A visualization of the object undamaged.
Willpower: Minimal
Concentration: High. Visualization should be maintained until the object is repaired.

The Mending Charm can repair most mundane (non-magical) items simply enough, though depending upon the level of damage a sustained effort may be necessary or multiple applications of the charm. The caster must visualize the target of the spell as it would be fully repaired. This gives the magic, through you, an idea of what repairs to make. This visualization must then be maintained until the repair is completed; let this visualization slip and you risk the spell unraveling, in which case you’ll have to start again. The caster must also continue the wand movement after casting the spell until the effects are complete.

This charm originated from a witch who used it to repair damage that had befallen the famed Colloseum in Rome. It proved so basic yet effective that the witch was able to teach it to several Ministers of Magic and get the repairs finished promptly.

It’s important to remember that only non-magical fixes can be made with this spell. A broomstick repaired with this spell will not have the magical properties that had allowed it to fly previously. A wand fares even worse; the spell will mend the wand back together, but the moment the Mending Charm is complete the wand will simply fall apart again. Also, obviously, the magical spells that were once laid upon an object cannot be mended if they unravel due to age or force.

The spell also cannot restore something utterly destroyed or transformed. It cannot turn the ashes of a chair back into the chair. A half-burned candle cannot have its expended wax renewed (at least not via this spell). Especially large repairs, such as sections of a structure, require additional power and effort typically only seen in graduate students.

Despite these limitations, this charm is one of the easiest to cast and will allow you to fix the results of small magical mishaps with ease. It is recommended to always keep this charm in your repertoire.

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