CHRM 201 Journal : Week One

So… Second year at last! Can you tell how excited I am?

We had our first Charms lesson today, by Professor Alex Quilmane, of course. We also have a co-Professor for Charms now – Professor Sarissa Greenwich. I haven’t had the opportunity to interact with her yet. Anyway, I have decided to continue writing my entries for this year in my last year’s Charms journal, for no other reason than to keep them in one place. As part of this week’s homework, Professor Quilmane has asked us to write about our favourite magical object. The first thing that came to mind was a wand, then after further deliberation over a few more objects (which even included a remembrall and a sneakoscope), I finally decided to settle for the broomstick, an object so characteristic of the magical community that it is probably our worst-kept secret. No Muggle illustration of a witch or a wizard is complete without a broom.

A broomstick, better known as broom, is one of the means employed by witches and wizards to transport themselves between locations [1]. It is ideal – portable, cheap and requires no license of ownership. A broomstick appears to have a bit of personality of its own, as it is able to respond to the simplest of commands, such as “Up!” (although recent more advanced brooms have the ability to hover at exactly the height at which one would mount it).

The first brooms were apparently regular brooms (wooden sticks with twigs tied together at its sweeping end) bewitched and were neither comfortable nor aerodynamic. Wizard families generally made their own brooms – with rough twigs in the end and unvarnished handles, the charms on the broom were also basic; they could only move at one speed, go up, down and stop [2]. Cut to current day’s fastest racing broom in the world – the Firebolt. Made of ebony wood with birch or hazel twigs, the Firebolt boasts an Unbreakable Braking Charm, superb balance and precision, and is capable of going from 0 to 150 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. And they proved ever so reliable, especially the one Harry Potter owned, which was stripped down to the last twig in 1993 A.D., to check for curses and jinxes and put back together as good as new [3].

Until the nineteenth century, broomsticks were of varying quality because they were still handmade by single wizards, and were generally incapable of achieving high speeds and were difficult to control at high altitudes. But with broomstick manufacturing companies entering the market and the advent of mass production, nearly every wizarding household in Britain owns at least one broomstick today. Many witches and wizards today travel by broomstick without being seen by Muggles through the use of a Disillusionment Charm [1]. The simple broomstick has come a long way in the wizarding world.

However, it is not just the brooms that have been bewitched to fly by wizardkind. Individual witches and wizards have tried it on various other objects as well. Like Arthur Weasley, who once bewitched a Ford Anglia 105E Delux car to be able to fly, as well as become invisible. It was also modified with a Undetectable Extension Charm so that it could fit eight people, six trunks, two owls and a rat comfortably [4].

REFERENCES:
[1] Harry Potter Wikia, http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Broomstick
[2] J. K. Rowling, Quidditch Through The Ages
[3] J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
[4] J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

(Image Source: Harry Potter Wikia)

 

CHRM 101 Journal : Part IV


WEEK EIGHT

Today was the last Charms class before the Final. Nervous and excited! Professor Quilmane did a quick recap of what we learnt about spellcasting over the duration of the term. We went over wand movements, incantations, focus, will power and concentration as the various factors that influence spellcasting. We proceeded to learn two more spells in class today- the Warming Charm and the Chilling Charm. Both these charms have very recently left the experimental stage, so they are fairly new inventions. The incantation for the Warming Charm is “Focillo” (pronounced ‘foh-SILL-oh’) and the wand movement is slow clockwise circles that continue as one concentrates. It produces gentle warmth that radiates outward from the tip of the wand in a small cone. I was asked to focus on the objet I was trying to warm, in my case a cauldron of oil. But the spell needs a great deal of concentration and will power to produce the kind of heat and keep it focused on the object. I was only about to barely heat the cauldron, not the oil. The incantation for the Chilling Charm is “Infrigido” (pronounced ‘in-Frig-ee-doh’) and the wand movement is slow counter-clockwise circles that continue as one concentrates. This spell is very similar to the Warming Charm, except that the wand movement is the exact opposite and the incantation differs. The effects are the exact opposite too. We were trying to cool a cauldron of warm water. I don’t know if the water cooled down on its own or it was my charm, but when I dipped my fingers in the cauldron at the end of class, it did appear quite cold, I swear. As part of our homework, Professor Quilmane asked us to create our own spell! I made a spell that generates a dense cloud of dust, smoke and mist to temporarily blind the opponent. Of course it doesn’t work, because I came up with it. And I’m still a first year. But it was fun imagining the possibilities, assuming the spell did work! And also the fact that I got a 100% on that assignment! YAY! Final next week. I can’t wait to finish it and get to second year after the vacations!

CHRM 101 Journal : Part III


WEEK SIX

Today was the sixth week of Charms 101, and I am loving it so far. In today’s class, we discussed about will power. Will is the power of the mind, it makes magic possible. We use our will power to shape and control our magical ability. Not all spells require will power though, the more complex ones do. The only drawback is if one attempts to do too much magic without sufficient magic, it results in a bad headache. The demand required by the mind to focus on several thoughts at once as well as direct the magic, consciously or subconsciously, is a mentally tiring exercise. I have experienced this for myself. All that use of will power, concentration and focus really saps your energy and makes you mentally tired. More practice is the only solution to this. To demonstrate this, Professor Quilmane told us about the Levitation Charm we had learnt in our second lesson. The reason the charm wouldn’t work for most of us (except geniuses like Gemma, Bronze and Isabel) beyond quills and parchment paper rolls was our inability to focus or will it. We tried it again in today’s class and I was surprised to see that I could levitate my Charms textbook and small stones pretty easily. That is what a month’s practice can do! Also, we learnt a new spell in today’s class- the Sticking Charm. The incantation for the spell is “Astrictus” (pronounced ‘a-strik-toose‘) and the wand movement is the infinity symbol starting and ending at the centre. This charm is not permanent, but the duration it lasts depends on the will power used. It does not work on living beings, sadly. I really wanted to stick Isabel’s and Clara’s braids together, but it looks like my wish will remain unfulfilled. I did try though, sneaking behind them during lunch at the Ravenclaw Table. I tried sticking unfolded parchment rolls together and they stayed together for a few seconds before falling apart. I will need more practice on this. For now let me go stick Mark’s boots on the dorm ceiling and watch it drop on his head as he sleeps.

WEEK SEVEN

In today’s class, we discussed all about concentration. Concentration can be broken down into two stages- one, keeping the mind on the effects of the spell even before you cast the spell, and two, keeping the mind and intent on the target once the spell is cast. Concentration is mostly focus, but maintained over a period of time. Spells vary with degree of concentration required. The Severing Charm requires that we concentrate on the effects of the spell and the target before casting the spell, while the Sunlight Charm or the Dancing Lights Charm requires us to continue to concentrate upon the spell after it has been cast in order to maintain the effect. The spell that requires the power of concentration the most, in the face of danger and adversity, is the Patronus Charm. It requires us to concentrate on a very happy, powerful memory in order to successfully defend against the Dementors. Other powerful spells that require enormous concentration, focus and will power are Riddikkulus, Imperius Curse and Cruciatus Curse.

In the second half of the class, we discussed about both spells which are modified versions of basic spells. They are called Spell Modifiers. The first spell we did was the Sunlight Charm, which is a modifier of the Wand-Lighting Charm. The incantation for this spell is “Lumos Solem” (pronounced ‘LOO-mos SO-lem‘) and the wand movement is a single counter-clockwise loop ending with the want pointed directly towards the target. When I tried this, it produced an intense beam of light. It required a lot of concentration to keep it focused and directed on the target. It looked more like a flashlight though. Professor Quilmane said depending on the will power put into the spell, the intensity can go up to resemble a bright golden yellow light at its maximum. Unfortunately, I got nowhere close to that. Will need practice.

The other spell modifier we discussed is the Dancing Lights Charm. Also a modified version of the Wand-Lighting Charm, the incantation for the spell is “Lumos Numerosa” (pronounced as ‘LOO-mos Noom-air-O-sa’) and the wand movement is a single counter-clockwise loop followed by several rapid clockwise loops. This spell requires immense concentration levels. I had to concentrate on each orb I had conjured to keep it alight. I had to choose between quality and quantity of orbs. I settled on 3 orbs and managed to keep them lighted for at least half a minute. Each orb was as bright as a candle. That was not bad for a First Year, Professor Quilmane said, making me beam with pride!


Continue to CHRM 101 Journal : Part IV.