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Thread: Wandless Magic

  1. #1
    Vittoria
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    Wandless Magic

    As far as I have gathered from the books, wandless magic can be performed by children of age eleven and above when they are in an emotional, for want of a better word, crisis.
    What I mean is, for instance Harry blew up Aunt Marge without a wand when he was in a rage.

    So, assuming that adults too can perform wandless magic, to what extent can they utilize their powers in this field? Does their emotional state matter too? In case of powerful wizards like Lord Voldemort, can he perform such magic to a level not attained by any other wizard or witch?

  2. #2
    Fourth Year Hufflepuff
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    Okay, lets see. The kind of wandless magic that you're talking about, I'd certainly associate it with the wizard or witches' emotional state. That being the case, we can say, Harry blew up Marge because he was beyond angry, or he grew his hair back overnight when Petunia chopped them off. If I am not wrong, Arianna's magic was wandless, and (though she had no control over it - hers being a very unique case) Aberforth admits that she'd remain calm when he was with her. So again stressed emotional state leads to wandless magic.

    The reason to say all this is simple: its the emotional state that triggers, and people like Harry, Arianna are shown to have not-so-mild temperaments.

    If you compare them with Voldemort and Snape, for instance, you'll see that these are people who are masters of controlling their emotions. Right?

    So: what am I getting at? I think that wizards generally who have complete authority of their emotions are mature not only in character but also in their magic. It's like the difference of using a wand to hurt somebody and when you use your fist. Snape is so incredibly furious at Harry when he calls him a coward (HBP), and so his anger channels through his wand in the form of Sectusempera. Voldemort when furious uses the Cruciatus.

    This will be a rather crude example, but you know when they say a learned person will use reason to explain something and not come downright to abusing or insulting someone who disagrees with them.

    So, assuming that adults too can perform wandless magic, to what extent can they utilize their powers in this field?
    In my opinion, if you are talking about a powerful wizard, they will not use wandless magic of the kind you're describing. To them, it'd be intutive to use their wand. The more powerful the wizard, the more challenging and possibly dangerous their magic can be. But wandless, I'm not so sure.

    Obviously, you can be talking about an AU situation. And that'd be mean I spend ten minutes writing this and convincing no one.

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  3. #3
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    There are two different kinds of wandless magic, which you may be muddling up. Firstly, the uncontrolled type, triggered by your emotions-- like the Harry and Marge example you gave. Harry was angry, frustrated and irritated, and his emotions came out through magic. He had no control over it-- he himself was shocked when that happened.

    I doubt that wizards like Dumbledore, Voldemort or Snape would do this kind of magic-- they can control their emotions, and they are certainly in control of their own magic. But this is not to say that powerful wizards are not susceptible to bursts of magic like this-- if there were to be an extremely powerful, yet extremely emotional wizard, I suppose accidental magic could be triggered.

    Now the second type of wandless magic-- one which is controlled. In Philosopher's Stone, Quirrel snaps his fingers, and ropes appear and bind Harry. Here, Quirrel knows exactly what he is doing, what he wants to do, and he goes about doing it-- without a wand. I assume he wouldn't be powerful enough to do such amounts of wandless magic on his own-- it's possibly with Voldemort's help.

    Now, I doubt if a very basic wizard (or even one suitably advanced) would be capable of perfectly controlled wandless magic, and to high degrees. I suppose an above-than-average wizard would be able to use basic spells like Wingardium Leviosa without a wand, on very small items to raise them to very low heights, while people like Dumbledore and Voldemort could possibly do basic hexes, jinxes and spells, though they mightn't be as strong as they would be with a wand.

    Whew, I hope I made sense in this incredibly here-there-and-everywhere post... >.>



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  4. #4
    Inverarity
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    It's not certain that Quirrel was doing magic wandlessly -- he probably had his wand on his person, but perhaps a sufficiently skilled wizard can cast some spells without actually holding his wand.

    We know children cast magic without wands, but it's directionless, uncontrolled, and usually the result of an emotional outburst. Adult wizards learn to control themselves so they don't go around accidentally blowing people up. Wands seem to serve as a means to focus their magic and make it more precise. It's likely that wizards can do magic without wands; if you assume wizards occur naturally throughout the world, and throughout history, then they certainly didn't evolve with wands. So wands must serve some purpose. In my opinion, it's to make spells reliable and reproducible. A wand is why a wizard can flick and swish and say "Wingardium Leviosa," and get the same result every time. Without a wand, a wizard might be able to reproduce the same feat of magic, but it would be more difficult and depend much more on the individual wizard's mental state, degree of focus, etc. I see wandless magic as more chaotic, more unpredictable, more driven by intuition. Wizards in cultures that didn't have wands (they can't all have developed the same methods) probably had other methods of controlling their magic, whether it be through other tools, or ceremonial magic, or meditation, or what have you.

  5. #5
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    I agree with the people saying you're talking about two different types of wandless magic--and with Inverarity on the focus thing.

    I think using a wand is all about controlling your magic easily. For those using wandless magic, focusing the magic would be much, much harder and would require a lot of concentration. Witches and wizards as children instinctively use magic without wands when they're really emotional, but I think a grown witch or wizard with enough skill at controlling his or her emotions and at focusing (like Dumbledore, Snape, and Voldemort, all skilled Legilimens/Occlumens) might be able to do wandless magic with some skill.

    In case of powerful wizards like Lord Voldemort, can he perform such magic to a level not attained by any other wizard or witch?
    I'm not sure what you mean by this question, but if by it you mean could he perform unconventional magic/magic that has not necessarily been given a spell, I think he could. I think part of doing wandless magic is on focusing on what you want to do, and probably (again, if you had enough skill and control) you could do a lot of magic that does not have a certain formula set down for it. For example, whoever created the Mirror of Erised most likely did not know any spells for doing what he wanted to do. However, I think it more likely that such magic would be channeled through a wand, to give it some measure of control.

  6. #6
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    I agree, the books mention all sorts of wandless magic, even if they don't call it that outright. Look at Divination. I don't think I've ever seen the students use their wands once in that class. And, as mentioned before, there is Legilimens/Occlumens.

    Other things that come to mind are wandmaking (how do you use a wand when the wand you are making has yet to be built), then there all those joke items (even a wand was used to make them, they can be used afterwards without a wand). Other methods I think of are VooDoo and potentially shamanism.

    But I sense this is more about actual, traditional spells. It is probably possible to use magic without a wand. We have seen so many examples of it. But it would have to be a pretty powerful wizard to do it with being under emotional duress.

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  7. #7
    Vittoria
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    Thank you for your thoughts and comments. It's just what I needed.

  8. #8
    Halgy
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    Oh dear; half of the reason I'm writing my current fiction is so I can have fun playing with wandless magic (and the 'laws' behind it).

    From my perspective magic is a 'force' (yes, I'm also a Star Wars fanboy) that exists within witches. At times, this magic can be used outright, without any other object (e.g. a wand) to help focus it. However, this often happens when the young witch is in a distressed state; just as a baby kitten will instinctively claw at an attacker, a young witch will lash out with magic. They are not in control of this magic; they just use it.

    However, the purpose of magical schooling is to help young wizards control their magic, with Hogwarts focusing on wands (and potions, I guess, but never mind that just now). As their skills with a wand grow, they learn to block out or harness any magic that may come with their heightened emotional state. Otherwise, any wizard who panics in the heart of battle would just start blowing people up. While this would seemingly be rather advantageous, no wizard does it in the books after Harry blows up Marge.

    However, despite the wizarding world (or at least magical Europe) not using wandless magic, the possibility is not ruled out. It should be possible--if highly difficult--to use magic without a wand, even in later life. However, the witch would need to be highly focused in order to do so. Just as a witch must concentrate to do some spells with a wand (e.g. a patronus), they would need to concentrate harder to use a spell--even a simple spell--without a wand.

    The best muggle example for this that I could think of was crying. When a baby is upset, it cries indiscriminately in an instinctual attempt to be soothed. However, as that baby grows, he will learn to control his emotions; even if he is sad, he will learn to repress the tears. However, some people--such as actors--can cry even without a genuine emotional stimulus, though it takes tremendous focus. Okay, that's not a perfect analogy, but it demonstrates my point.

    This necessity to concentrate is my justification for why it is not commonly used. Some witches--like those in Europe--have seen that wand magic is more powerful (which it is), and therefore tend to focus solely on it. After all, the concentration required may make the witch easy pickings on the battlefield, which is never advisable.

    However, other parts of the world may still use wandless magic. For example, isolated areas (like Pacific islands) would not have received wand technology until very recently. Likewise, some magical traditions (like Native American shamans) may have cultures built around wandless magic. As such, they would continue to use these methods, though perhaps as a supplement to rather than a replacement for, wand magic.


    I realize that I have just written an essay on the subject (and this isn't even all of my thoughts), but this concept is rather near and dear to me. As I see it, until J.K.R. says that I can't so something, then I can. This is especially true when I can find a logical reason why her characters don't use something and a logical reason why mind would. It is that sort of creation that drives me to write.

  9. #9
    Vittoria
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    This thread has served its purpose, it may be graved.

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