Patronus Charm

Expecto Patronum (ecks-PEK-toh pah-TRO-num)



Hand Movement

Point wand at the dark creature one is trying to repel




Repels Dementors and Lethifolds,
and if done correctly, can send messages

Clean TemplateEdit

{{Spell infobox


"A Patronus is a kind of positive force, and for the wizard who can conjure one, it works something like a shield, with the Dementor feeding on it, rather than him. In order for it to work, you need to think of a memory. Not just any memory, a very happy memory, a very powerful memory… Allow it to fill you up... lose yourself in it... then speak the incantation "Expecto Patronum"."
Remus Lupin teaching Harry Potter the Patronus Charm[src]

A Patronus Charm is an insubstantial animal protector created by the advanced Patronus Charm spell, and one way to defend against Dementors and certain other Dark creatures. The spell requires the use of a wand, concentration on a powerfully happy memory, and the incantation "Expecto Patronum". Presumably, certain physical gestures with the wand are also required, but they have not been specified. The Patronus Charm is advanced magic and difficult to master, especially in emotionally difficult circumstances.

The Patronus spellbook, owned by Remus Lupin, includes information and instruction on the Patronus Charm.


A Patronus that is completely and fully formed, or corporeal, takes the shape of fairly solid-looking animals; a non-corporeal Patronus appears only as wisps of silvery mist. It is a very complex charm and many qualified wizards and witches have trouble with it. Harry Potter is one of the youngest known wizards to cast a Patronus; he was taught how to do so in 1994 at the age of thirteen by Remus Lupin[1]. In a Dumbledore's Army lesson, Harry taught the members how to use the charm. Some were even successful in casting a corporeal form, though Harry said this might be because there was no Dementor to make them frightened[2]. However, some members were later shown to be able to use corporeal Patronus later on in the presence of Dementors[3].

The Patronus Charm, like Animagus forms, has been said to reflect the personality or feelings of the witch or wizard. They are, however, subject to change if the caster goes through an emotional upheaval of some sort. For example, Nymphadora Tonks's Patronus changed from its previous form to that of a four-legged creature which others guessed was a werewolf because then it would reflect her love of Remus Lupin, himself a werewolf[2]. Another example is Severus Snape, whose Patronus was that of a doe, the same as Lily Evans, though this may have been the case all along rather than a change from its original form, as Snape was in love with Lily for most of his life. If a wizard is an Animagus and can summon a corporeal Patronus, the two may take the same form, as was the case for Minerva McGonagall and James Potter[3]. Most Patronuses take the form of an ordinary animal, but magical creatures, such as Albus Dumbledore's phoenix Patronus, are not uncommon.

The CharmEdit

"Make it a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember. Allow it to fill you up… Just remember, your Patronus can only protect you as long as you stay focused… Think of the happiest thing you can."
Harry Potter teaching the Patronus Charm to Dumbledore's Army[src]

In order to cast this charm, one must think of an extremely happy memory or idea, and then say the incantation: "Expecto Patronum"[1]. Because of this, negative emotions can compromise a wizard or witch's ability to cast a Patronus. For instance, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger all had difficulty casting their Patronuses when under the negative influence of Salazar Slytherin's Locket, one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, and after witnessing the death of Fred Weasley in battle[3].

However self-confidence may also play an important role in casting the spell. In 1994 Harry is able to cast the spell successfully, driving off a large number of Dementors (which according to Severus Snape is only achievable by a very powerful wizard) thus saving Sirius and a younger version of himself, seemingly without recalling a happy memory when he realises that he has already done it.


There are two known uses for the Patronus charm. The first and main use of the Patronus is to drive off certain Dark creatures such as Dementors and Lethifolds, and is the only known charm that will work against them. As Dementors feed on happy memories to render humans to drown in sorrow and sadness, the Patronus acts as a shield of sorts, of which the Dementor would try to feed off of instead - the Patronus is comprised exclusively of positive feelings and cannot comprehend negative feelings, so the Dementor's influence cannot harm it. A non-corporeal Patronus only impedes Dementors, while a full-fledged one can drive them away.

The other use was devised by none other than Albus Dumbledore, who invented a way of using the Patronus to deliver messages. This source of communication is believed to be exclusive to the members of the Order of the Phoenix. Using the Patronus for communication offers great advantages in security, as Patronuses identify the caster and are Dark-proof.[2]

Severus Snape used his Patronus to lead Harry Potter to a pool in the Forest of Dean in 1997, where he had laid Godric Gryffindor's Sword for Harry to retrieve.

Minerva McGonagall used her Patronus to call for help to the other heads of houses in 1998 when she found out Harry Potter had returned to Hogwarts in search of Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem.


Patronus means "protector", "guardian", or simply "patron" in Latin, specifically reflecting the entire role that the Patronus Charm plays. In archaic Latin, it meant "father", which is very interesting, considering that Harry Potter's Patronus is the same as his father's Patronus and Animagus form, a stag. The Latin word exspecto or expecto means "I look out for" or "I wait for", thus the charm's incantation roughly translates into "I await a protector." The Charm's plural is 'Patronuses'.

Known PatronusesEdit

Witch/wizard Patronal form Notes
Aberforth Dumbledore Goat Summoned outside the Hog's Head in an attempt to convince the Death Eaters who had seen Harry's Patronus that they really saw a goat.
Albus Dumbledore Phoenix His magical familiar, Fawkes, was a phoenix. Also he used it in 1995 as a message to Hagrid when Krum was stunned. It was described as "a ghostly bird that flew off in the direction of Hagrid's house".
Andros the Invincible Something allegedly the size of a giant Stated on his Chocolate Frog Card as the only wizard to make a Patronus that size.
Arthur Weasley Weasel First seen when he sent a message about Rufus Scrimgeour's arrival on Harry's seventeenth birthday. Later seen when Arthur sent a Patronus to 12 Grimmauld Place to inform Harry, Ron and Hermione that the Weasley family was safe.
Cho Chang Swan Seen in the last Dumbledore's Army meeting in 1996.
Dolores Umbridge Cat While interrogating Muggle-borns at a trial, she had cast a Patronus to ward the Dementors from the prosecutors. Her favourite animal, as shown by the many plates with cats on them in her office. She was able to cast the Patronus due to her affinity with the locket Horcrux's evil influence.
Ernie Macmillan Boar Seen in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.
Flavius Belby "Something with horns" In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he stated he cast off a Lethifold by performing the Patronus Charm. It says the Lethifold was thrown into the air on the horns of his Patronus.
Ginny Weasley Horse[4] Seen in the last Dumbledore's Army meeting in 1996.
Harry Potter Stag Harry's Patronus is in the shape of his father's Animagus form and Patronus. He learned how to conjure a Patronus at an exceptionally young age.
Hermione Granger Otter Seen in the last Dumbledore's Army meeting in 1996. It is apparently the only spell Hermione has trouble with.
James Potter Stag James' Animagus form was also that of a stag.
Kingsley Shacklebolt Lynx Seen in 1997 when he warned the Order during Bill and Fleur's wedding of the downfall of the Ministry of Magic and Rufus Scrimgeour's death.
Lily Evans Doe Mentioned in conjunction with Snape's Patronus. It was also the female form of her husband's Patronus.
Luna Lovegood Hare[5] Seen in the last Dumbledore's Army meeting in 1996 and in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.
Minerva McGonagall Cat with glasses Just before the Battle of Hogwarts, she sent her Patronus out to alert the other Heads of House that Hogwarts Castle would soon be under attack by Lord Voldemort and his followers.
Nymphadora Tonks Werewolf (previous Patronus unknown) The form of Tonks' Patronus changed in 1996. It became a werewolf due to her love for Remus Lupin, though Harry Potter and Hermione Granger initially believed it was a black dog, triggered by the death of her cousin Sirius Black (whose Animagus form was a black dog). Changes of Patronus are rare and usually caused by devastating life traumas. Occasionally when a witch and a wizard are married, their Patronuses will match each other (most likely because the witch/wizard's happy thought will be that of their spouse).
Ron Weasley Jack Russell Terrier[6] Seen in the last Dumbledore's Army meeting in 1996 and in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.
Seamus Finnigan Fox He could not yet produce a fully formed (corporeal) Patronus in Dumbledore's Army, though in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998, he managed a Patronus in the shape of a fox.

Severus Snape


Acted as Harry's guide through the woods to where Godric Gryffindor's Sword was hidden. Snape's Patronus mirrored Lily's due to his unspoken love for her that began when they were small children.Also when Snape was unhappy when Dumbledore tells him about Harry Having to be killed by Voldomort.

Behind the scenesEdit

  • Both the Patronuses of James Potter and Minerva McGonagall match their respective Animagi form. These are the only characters whose Patronus and Animagus forms are known. It is uncertain whether all Patronuses will match the form of the Animagus, but so far, an instance of differing forms has not been revealed.
  • In the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a white peacock appears in the gardens of Malfoy Manor. Some fans believed this bird to be Lucius Malfoy's Patronus. However, J.K. Rowling stated that no Death Eater except Severus Snape could conjure a Patronus. This means that the peacock was in fact a living creature. It is stated in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that the creature was in fact an albino peacock.
  • In the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the more moderate Expecto Patronum is a ball of light (before cast, a white ring goes up Harry's arm and if it reaches top of the wand, Harry has to try the spell again) and is used only to attack Dementors. At the climax of the game, a stag (Harry's Patronus) jumps out of the wand and the player must control it to drive away all the Dementors nearby attacking Harry and Sirius.
  • It is possible that Patronuses can foreshadow a marriage. Lily Evans' Patronus was a doe, the female counterpart to her husband James Potter, whose was a stag. Also, Hermione Granger's Patronus is an otter. Her husband, Ronald Weasley lived with his family in Ottery St. Catchpole, though this last one might just be a coincidence as J.K. Rowling's favourite animal is an otter. And while not as explicit, when Harry first saw his corporeal Patronus he mistook it for a horse, which happened to be the Patronus of his future wife, Ginny Weasley.
  • The lecture that Harry gives on Patronuses to Dumbledore's Army in the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is extremely similar to the lecture Remus Lupin gave him in the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Dolores Umbridge's Patronus seems to emanate a shield that keeps the Dementors separated from everyone in the courtroom. In addition, Kingsley Shacklebolt's Patronus is described in the novel as taking the form of a lynx, however in the film it is depicted as a shimmering comet of light from which springs silvery images of witches and wizards screaming in terror as Kingsley's voice details the death of Scrimgeour and the fall of the Ministry.
  • In Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Voldemort, Lucius Malfoy, Walden Macnair, Barty Crouch Jr., and an unnamed Death Eater can all cast the spell, despite the fact that Rowling stated that no Death Eater besides Severus Snape could produce a Patronus.
  • According to W.O.M.B.A.T., it is possible that Patronuses vary in strength according to which animal's form they take.

The Patronus in the filmsEdit

  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry's and Remus' non-corporeal Patronuses are more like a shield. In addition, his corporeal Patronus, a stag, sent out a sort of omni-directional pulse, which drove the Dementors away, rather than running them down (likely because of the number of Dementors and their flight abilities in the film).
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, his Patronus physically attacks the Dementors by charging at them, as depicted in the books. Also, Patronuses produced by the members of Dumbledore's Army make noises and are capable of interacting with physical objects, such as Ron's dog Patronus knocking over Neville Longbottom.
  • There was a noted change in appearance of the Patronus in the Order of the Phoenix movie. In movies 5-7, the Patronus is very wispy and airy, while in the third film it looks more substantial and solid.
  • In Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Aberforth repels the hundreds of Dementors with a tidal wave Patronus.


File:Expecto Patronum 2

Notes and referencesEdit

Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
Professors: Galatea Merrythought · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Barty Crouch Jr. (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape ·
Amycus Carrow
Textbooks: The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Break with a Banshee · Gadding with Ghouls · Holidays with Hags · Travels with Trolls ·
Voyages with Vampires · Wanderings with Werewolves · Year with the Yeti · Defensive Magical Theory · Confronting the Faceless
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts: Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Tower · Professor's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Spells covered under the subject: Curse of the Bogies · Knockback Jinx · Wand-Lighting Spell · Patronus Charm · Killing Curse · Cruciatus Curse · Imperius Curse ·
Impediment Jinx · Reductor Curse · Stunning Spell · Shield Charm · Nonverbal spells · Inferius
Creatures covered under the subject: Vampire bats · Iguanas · Cornish Pixies · Werewolves · Vampires · Hinkypunks · Boggarts · Red Caps · Kappas · Grindylows

fr:Sortilège du Patronus pl:Patronus ru:Патронус fi:Suojelius