Origin of spells in Harry Potter: Latin

J. K. Rowling, the author of the famous sagaHarry potter, was inspired by Latin to give shape to the many magic formulas that populate his work.

The students of Hogwarts, the illustrious school of witchcraft, take various courses to become real wizards. In botany with Professor Chourave, it's about having a green thumb. In the potions room with the obscure Severus Snape, it is better to stay focused, head down on his steaming cauldron. In Madame Bibine's class, who teaches broom flying, no magic wand. It's about knowing how to keep your balance! On the other hand, the magic lessons given by the Lilliputian professor Flitwick require above all a good articulation, a flexible wrist ... And certain bases in Latin!

Indeed, J. K. Rowling was strongly inspired by the language of Virgil to develop all these spells and incantations

Beginning with so-called defense or everyday use spells. The spell of Attraction "Accio" used to bring objects to oneself, literally means in Latin "I call, I make come". "Expelliarmus", a disarming spell very useful for removing the wand from the fingers of his enemy, is a word suitcase created by JK Rowling from two Latin words: "expellere", which means "expel", mixed with word "arma", which means "weapons". "Expecto Patronus", the enchantment launched to reveal his patronus, a protective spirit against dementors, creatures that feed on human joy, is also taken from Latin. It comes from the word "expecto" for "I wait" and from "patronus" which means "protector". It can therefore be translated as "I am waiting for my protector".

Albus, Sirius and Nimbus

Next come attack spells, such as the “Sectumsempra” spell, composed of “sectum” has the meaning of “cut” and “sempra”, taken from the adverb “semper”, meaning “always”. This spell was created by Severus Snape, and is used to cut objects or living things from the inside ... The torture spell, "Doloris", also has a Latin origin. Its incantation, "crucio" in the original version (English language), means "I torture". Finally, the spell of the Imperium which allows you to fully control a person, requires the incantation "imperius". This term comes from the Latin “imperare” namely “to impose, to order”.

From Latin, the author also had fun creating certain expressions, such as the famous levitation spell known since Harry's first adventures at Hogwarts, "Wingardium Leviosa". The incantation consists of the words "wing", "aile" in English, and "ardium", derived from a Latin word related to heights, coupled with the term "leviosa", derived from "levo", which means "I raise".

It's not just the spells! J. K. Rowling was also inspired by Latin for certain names of imaginary characters and animals. The first name of the venerable director of the school of witchcraft and one of the most powerful wizards of all time, Albus Dumbledore, is a Latin term. "Albus" indeed means "white" ... Like the color of his long hair and his endless beard. The first name of Sirius Black, Harry's godfather but also a black dog in his spare time, was not chosen at random either. In Latin, "Sirius" is the name of the largest and brightest star in the constellation Dog. Finally, "Nimbus", named after the fastest racing broom and owned by Harry, designates in Latin a cloud from which rain or snow falls.

There are also Aramaic and African origins…

J. K. Rowling was not only inspired by the language of Caesar! In the very first volume of the saga, Hermione Granger uses the Unlocking spell, "Alohomora", to open a closed door and escape the caretaker, Filch. She and her friends, Ron and Harry, discover the forbidden corridor on the third floor where Touffu, Hagrid's three-headed dog, is found. The word "alohomora" comes from an African dialect, sidiki, and is used in geomancy rituals, a method of divination. It literally means "friend of the thief".

The deadly spell "Avada Kedavra" launched by Voldemort against Harry Potter baby, of which his famous scar remained on his forehead, is him of Aramaic origin. It means in the strict sense: "let the thing be destroyed" and is the original version of the famous formula ... Abracadabra!

In mid-July, the Bloomsburry publishing house announced the publication of two new books from the Harry Potter saga, twenty years after the first volume was published in the United Kingdom. Harry Potter at the Wizarding School(Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone). Will Latin still be in the spotlight? The answer in October.


Source: Le Figaro

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