Lesson 4) Full-Body Physical Charms
Last week we discussed multi-layer charms, those spells that affect more than the outermost layer of the skin but, at the same time, do not delve too deeply. These spells typically require a bit of time and patience to cast but aren't too difficult. The spells we'll be going over today, the full-body charms, are the hardest human-based physical magic to cast. However they can also be some of the most useful and fun to cast.
Third Degree Physical Charms
Today's lesson will be a bit shorter than usual since we've already discussed at least some of the concepts of physical spells, so you should be familiar with how they work. To review, the spells we've discussed this year all work on living material, specifically people. Spells that work on living things are harder to cast because there is a much greater variety of material to deal with. Unlike metal or stone, which is composed of only one kind of material or perhaps a few types, living things are composed of thousands of different materials in different configurations. Not only are materials a concern, living things also contain their own magical energy which must be accounted for. You've already had a chance to get used to these differences with the First and Second Degree charms.
Most spells that are called full body spells don't actually affect the entire body. They affect a large area of the body but are usually restricted to one thing, like muscles. Take the Full Body-Bind Curse, Petrificus Totalus. This spell causes most skeletal muscle (responsible for movement) to become unable to move. It doesn't freeze the entire body (like stopping the movement of blood or thoughts or other organ function), but it does affect the entire body's ability to move.
Another spell, the Dancing Feet Charm, Tarantallegra, affects more than a small area of the body without changing the entire body. While not the entire body, it's considered a Third Degree physical charm because it affects the muscles of the leg in a complex way. The Full Body-Bind paralyzes muscle, but the Dancing Feet Charm causes random uncontrolled muscle movement.
Why Are Some Charms Easier?
This is a good time to discuss what makes some human-targeted spells easier to cast than others. I have learned that you have practiced a variety of dueling spells in your Second Year through my visits with Professor Penrose. I can imagine that you're confused about why we have potentially taken a step back by talking about these kinds of spells now in Charms. The truth is, spells that are commonly seen in dueling are simply easier to cast than the new spells we've learned this year. Dueling spells are made to be quick and easy to cast in the heat of battle. For example, targeting the Full Body-Bind is relatively simple because all you have to do is hit the person's body. The spell has enough finesse that it doesn't take particular talent to cast well. Such spells are easier to cast because they do not require much raw talent, just decent aim and an ability to speak an incantation.
Think back to First Year when we were learning about the Levitation Charms and all of the somewhat-effective spells that came before it. Those spells required touching or had limited effects, and it took several iterations to arrive at the most effective Flight Charm, the Levitation Charm. A lot of the spells we've looked at, from the Tattoo Charm to the Cut-Mending Charm, are fairly useful but not yet fully refined. Most dueling spells, on the other hand, have been honed through the years to produce magic that is easy to cast and has the most useful effect. Some spells are therefore easier to cast because they are farther along in their development as a spell than others.
Of course there are also many examples of spells that are much more complex than you may be used to. The Stunning Spell, for example, requires a good deal of practice to work effectively. You may be able to stun someone with little experience, but it’s likely that it won’t last for very long and could potentially be very dangerous.
The Quick-Drying Charm
Incantation: Sharakus (shah-RAHK-us)
Wand Movement: A spinning motion above the head.
Willpower: Moderate; The caster must maintain the spell to create the wind.
Concentration: Moderate; Concentration must be maintained as long as the spell is in effect. Keep your clothes drying in mind.
The Quick-Drying Charm allows the soggy witch or wizard to quickly dry their clothing, cloak, and other possessions they may be carrying, such as a kitten. The spell, once cast, causes air to blow away from the caster’s body in all directions, originating at the surface of the skin and billowing out. The air, warm but fairly dry, is sufficient to dry anything from slightly damp to completely soaked clothing in just a minute or two. If the caster doesn’t maintain proper concentration and willpower, however, the wind might die down or go out, requiring repeated castings.
If the spell is cast improperly, the wind could be cold or wet, making the task even more time consuming and the caster more miserable. Apply too much power and loose articles (like necklaces, quills from bags, or papers) can go flying around.
That’s all for today’s class! I apologize for its brevity, but I think the point of physical Charms has sunk in. Your assignment for this week is just a worksheet. Next week we’re going to begin delving into spells of the mind and will have the midterm (which will cover physical charms). Please make sure you study up and practice your spells before then and I hope you all enjoyed this week’s kitten invasion!
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