A Survey Of Standard Spells, Vol I

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Chapter 2

Charms, while often basic, also generally serve very well as everyday spells, and the Unlocking Charm is no different. The charm can be traced back to about 710 A.D. when it was first invented by a talented wizard known as Ivnor. Ivnor came up with the idea for the spell after the Ministry of Magic’s declaration of a contest for the best original spell. The Unlocking Charm was simple yet elegant, solving the common problem of many witches and wizards losing their keys. The as yet unrefined version of Accio tended to retrieve the keys, albeit with many broken objects in its wake.

 Not soon after his invention of the Unlocking Charm, Ivnor developed an addition to the charm, such that locks would only yield to a personalised version of the Unlocking Charm, which included an extra wand movement or an extra syllable in the incantation, thus making sure that thieves would be unable to abuse the spell.

 With the extra development, Ivnor’s charm won the contest and the Unlocking Charm became a household spell. Ivnor, using the reward money, went on to develop many other spells and eventually earn an Order of Merlin, Second Class, for his numerous contributions to the magical world.

 While the Unlocking Charm is, on its own, a very basic spell, its traces can be found throughout magical history. It gained a notorious name when thieves twisted the spell and used it to break into Gringotts in 1012 A.D., the third break-in in the history of Gringotts. For a period of time, the Ministry considered banning the charm, but a young witch, Tillor, approached Gringotts and offered a defence system that she had developed. Though doubtful at first, the Head of Security at Gringotts eventually tested out Tillor’s system, which worked beyond everyone’s expectations. Tillor went on to market a watered-down version of the defence system for witches and wizards through Britain.

 The Unlocking Charm can be used on chests, doors, boxes; indeed any object which has a lock, unless a defensive system has already been put in place. The basic Unlocking Charm is one of the simplest charms to learn. The incantation is Alohomora (a-LUH-huh-MOR-a), which translates to “friendly to thieves” in an ancient goblin dialect. Ivnor chose the incantation as a show of irony, although unfortunately, the spell did live up to its name in its early days. The wand movement is a jab forwards and a full twist. The jab should coincide with the syllable “lo,” and the twist should be through the syllables “mo-ra.” The twist should be centred on the wrist, and not the arm, and should be a one hundred and eighty degree twist.

 Common mistakes include mispronouncing the incantation, placing the emphasis on the wrong syllables, jabbing too gently or too violently, and not performing a full twist of the wand. Students are reminded to watch the teacher’s demonstrations clearly before attempting the spell on their own, and asking for help should they be unable to cast the spell after repeated attempts.

 Advanced learners may eventually revisit the spell in later grades to learn different variations, such as personalised versions of the spells, or variations which may bypass several weaker defensive systems.

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