Protego Horribilis!

The Professor and I saw the latest Harry Potter movie, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have some of the others. It seemed to me a lot like a typical horror movie, only with less blood. What I mean is this: it seemed like there was no more than a thin thread of a plot, serving only to string together one scene of pursuit and violence after another. The audience sits there and thinks, “No, Ron! Don’t go back to the pond alone!” Meanwhile, it doesn’t even occur to Ron, who for six years has been evading threats and squeaking by with his life, that danger might lurk therein. It reminded me of a B-grade slasher film where the half naked sorority girl answers the door as the audience cringes, knowing the murderer is standing just outside. Minus the half naked sorority girl, of course, but plus a really huge special effects budget. This was the penultimate Harry Potter film.I will probably go to the last one because I’ll feel compelled, but I did find myself thinking a few times, “Oh, for godsake. Just kill him off already!”

I don’t want you to think I’m not a Harry Potter fan. I always have been, ever since the Professor and I read the first book aloud to each other as we drove a few thousand miles together on a road trip in our tan-colored Ford Ranger. It was a great trip, and Harry has always been a bit special to me because I associate it with that lovely time.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed is the spells, or more specifically, the words that Ms. Rowling chose to name the spells. Most of them are crafted from Latin roots, and they are good illustrations of her love for wordplay (think Diagon Alley or Knockturn Alley!) Below, I’ve made a little matching quiz of spell names, their roots, and what they do.

Spell name Etymology Effect
1. Anapneo a. Latin—light A. Produces fire
2. Crucio b. Latin—make hard B. Clears the target’s airway
3. Densaugeo c. Italian—name of a dance, plus happy C. Moves a tree from one place to another
4. Duro d. Latin—to burn D. Creates a duplicate of any object
5.Excelsiosempra e. Latin—to raise, plus body E. Ties target up with ropes
6. Flagrate f. Greek—breathless F. Makes the target object hard
7. Geminio g. Latin—burning G. Victim’s limbs move uncontrollaby
8. Glisseo h. Latin—tooth, plus to enlarge H. Sends the target up into the air
9. Incarcerous i. Latin—tongue plus English—to shut I. Beam of light emits from tip of wand
10. Incendio j. Latin—jail J. Teeth of target grow at an alarming rate
11. Langlock k. Latin—to torment K. Causes stairs to flatten into a ramp
12. Levicorpus l. French—to slide L. Victim dangled upside down in the air
13. Lumos m. Latin—motion, plus tree M. Caster’s wand leaves fiery marks
14. Mobiliarbus n. Latin—higher plus always N. Glues targets tongue to roof of mouth
15. Tarantallegra o. Latin—twins O. Inflicts unbearable pain on recipient

1.f.B; 2.k.O; 3.h.J; 4.b.F.; 5.n.H; 6.d.M; 7.o.D; 8.l.K; 9.j.E; 10.g.A; 11.i.N; 12.e.L; 13.a.I; 14.m.C; 15.c.G

Click here for the list of spells used to compile the quiz. and OED also consulted for etymologies.

About Verla

Wordfreak. Retired private investigator and Spanish court interpreter. Erstwhile librarian. Texan by birth, cheesehead by upbringing, latina by soul, in New Mexico by choice. Lover of things purple. Passionate participant in the Librivox audiobook recording project. We record books that are in the public domain in the U.S. The recordings are then placed in the public domain themselves.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Protego Horribilis!