Lesson 5) Thief In The Night

Can you feel it students? That electric sense in the air? That, my dear students, is the feeling of midterms! Now now don’t panic, you won’t be taking your midterm until the end of class today so you have plenty of time to mentally prepare. We still have a bit more to address on the topic of home protection today, though, so please focus in and get your quills ready to take some notes.

We have learned much over the past few weeks about how to protect our homes from intruders. There are two more charms I would like to discuss; however, these charms are much more useful for the detection of intruders than they are for preventing their entry of a home. I am sure you recall last lesson learning about the Caterwauling Charm? We briefly mentioned the next spell we will be learning in that lesson - the Intruder Charm! Now this spell is also used like the Muggle alarm systems we discussed last week, similar to the Caterwauling Charm. You see, these two spells are very, very similar! The Intruder Charm is a small scale version of the Caterwauling Charm.

Incantation: Entrusus (en-TROO-soos)
Wand Movement: A point and flick at the door of the home.
Willpower: Moderate to strong; Determines the volume of sound to be made.
Concentration: Strong.
Category: Static.

The Intruder Charm creates a quiet alarming sound when intruders enter the home. It only activates when one enters your home, not when they enter your property. In this way, it can be more helpful than the Caterwauling Charm. Now you will not wake the entire neighborhood when your Caterwauling Charm goes off! Caterwauling Charms also are not practical in most areas as there are almost always Muggles within earshot. The Intruder Charm is a safe charm to use in a magical household near Muggles as it is quiet enough to not be heard, and, if it is heard, is quiet enough to be dismissed as a Muggle alarm system.

The biggest disadvantage of this charm is that sometimes, if you are not paying attention, you can miss the sound of the alarm! So be mindful of your concentration to ensure you cast it in such a way that you can hear the noise without it deafening you!

Now, say you suspect that you heard you Intruder Charm go off, but you aren’t quite sure. What then? That, my dears, is the ideal time to use our next charm - the Presence Revealing Spell. This spell does precisely what its name suggests; it reveals the presence of a being in the target area. This spell works best on humans as it was designed for them, but can also be used for creatures like House Elves. This spell can detect Muggles as well as witches and wizards.

Incantation: Homenum Revelio (HOH-mun-nuhm ruh-VAY-lee-oh)
Wand Movement: A point towards the home in question.
Willpower: Strong; Must overcome that of the target.
Concentration: Strong; Must be strong enough to reach throughout the entire target home.
Category: Dynamic.

This spell can be a bit of tricky magic, so listen closely. The incantation is rather long and means ‘reveal humans’ in Latin, hence why the spell works best on humans. The best place to cast the spell is from one of the perimeter edges of the area in question. Your willpower must be strong enough to overcome that of your targets in order to fully detect them. You must maintain your concentration until you believe you have detected all creatures in the home, and you must concentrate on the entire area in question in order to detect creatures in the entire area.

Now if you cast the spell and there is no one in the home, nothing will happen! If you cast the spell and there are humans in the home, you will feel a light sort of sparking from your wand to your hand. You will feel one spark for each being in the home. However, you will not be able to cast this spell without being detected - your targets will be able to feel a sort of swooping sensation, like a bird diving low above their heads. This spell works by targeting the sense of self and consciousness that all humans (and House Elves or other Beings) possess. This is why the spell can also work on Muggles instead of just magic folk.

Once you have detected a human in your home, what do you do? That is where your Defense Against the Dark Arts education comes in handy! There are some ethical concerns to defending yourself in your home though. You cannot just go firing off spells willy nilly - what if you accidentally curse your dear Grandmother over to drop off baked goods! Tsk tsk.

Here to discuss the ethics of home defense is your Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and a dear friend of mine, Professor Penrose!

Thank you, Professor Virneburg, for allowing me to join you all today in order to discuss the ever important concept of ethics when preparing defensive charms and enchantments on your house. It’s easy to take an aloof approach to defending your home and simply place the most powerful defensive spells on it (some of which we will be talking about in DADA); however, we cannot ignore the repercussions that our actions have. This is why we must consider the ethics of our defenses (the same way we began to consider the ethics of offensive casting in Year Four DADA when we talked about life forces).

First, we must consider how the defenses you apply to your home will affect the attempted intruder. At first thought, it may seem as though the best option is to apply the strongest defenses. However, it is not always ethically or morally right to harm another even for the sake of preemptive defense. Until the intruder has actually harmed you, it is not possible to claim self-defense. Until you are attacked, you cannot be acting in self-defense and, therefore, should not place wards with ill intent (for example, Alastor Moody placed a ward on 12 Grimmauld Place that would harm Severus Snape if he entered, but Severus had already done them previous harm, so ethically, it was justified).

Second, we must consider the ethical implications of how strong we make the defenses on our homes. While it is technically possible to put every imaginable defense up, it is not always necessary and expends unnecessary magical energy that may cause more problems than what you are attempting to prevent. To provide an example, my own home is warded with an Anti-Apparition Charm (to prevent unexpected visitors) and a Detection Ward, which will let me know if someone approaches my house and whether they have ill intent or not. As I live in a Muggle locale, I could choose to put the Muggle Repelling Charm and all kinds of enchantments to make my home Undetectable, but that would be above and beyond what I need - I simply need to be aware of who is approaching my house without completely going off the grid. If you use wards and enchantments in excess, you use more energy to cast the spells than you would to simply address the issue when it arises.

Finally, we come to the legal component of the ethical implications of defense. I hope by now that I do not need to tell you that, when protecting your home, you must follow all laws. You cannot put wards on your home that would reveal magic to a Muggle, as that would break the International Statute of Secrecy. Likewise, you can no longer use blood wards (such as the one placed on 4 Privet Drive), as those have since become taboo, due to the complex and questionable way in which the ward is activated. When Albus Dumbledore placed the ward on 4 Privet Drive, he did so at a time when laws were less strict because people feared for their lives, which meant that more extreme measures were taken than normal.

I hope you all have learned something here. While it is important to know how to protect your home, it is just as important to know when and to what extent you should do so. If you have any questions about this, I’m always willing to discuss the matter further and I’m sure Professor Virneburg can offer some insights, as well. I will leave you now in her very capable hands.

Thank you, Professor Penrose! That was very enlightening. If any of you have further questions regarding ethics and home defense, I encourage you to contact him!

We will cut the lesson off there for today, as you do still have your midterms to complete! There will be a test as well as an essay, so I hope you have been studying hard. Best of luck and see you in a few weeks dears!

Image credit: Buzzfeed, Twitter

Charms Year Five will discuss more practical areas of spellcasting that can be used on your home. We will discuss ways of keeping your home safe as well as touch upon methods of keeping yourself safe from intruders. We will end the year discussing methods of keeping yourself hidden in the Muggle world and touch upon some more advanced spellcasting. This year of Charms aims to prepare you for your OWLs at the end of the year.
Course Prerequisites:
  • CHRM-401

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