HP Fans: On wands and magic... What sort of magic could be performed without wands?

Remember on PS, Dumbledore clapped his hands and the decorations changed, Quirrel snapped his fingers and ropes suddenly sprang up and wrapped Harry? It just nagged me that Dumbledore could have performed some magic even if he was disarmed (nevermind his pact with Snape and all that), and this sort of wandless magic was mentioned at least twice in the series but wasn't expounded. So what magic could be performed wandless? Is it just simple ones like changing the House banners, yet, Quirrel's act wasn't that simple at all. Sorry for the not-so-straightforward question, I find difficulty simplifying this. :)

Update:

Yes, but Apparition, Occlumency & Legilimency requires more of concentration and being an Animagus requires practice and concentration, too. I liken them to Potions Making, where there is little magic involved, just the correct ingredients, method and patience. @Navigator, Summoning Charm and Lumos requires a wand.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I agree with JimPettis, I always assumed that Dumbledore's changing of the house banners by clapping was made possible do to a pre-existing charm, that would have been placed in on castle and made to respond to a gesture made by the Headmaster. Not unlike how the hour glasses filled with, precious stones of a specific color to represent each house, shift the number of stones on the upper or lower section of the glass, in response to the voice commands of a professor or prefect, when awarding or taking away points from a house. Same thing can be assumed about the ropes conjured by Quirrel. The measuring tape used by Ollivander to take measurements of Harry, which stopped at once, when he said "that will do", I would guess, was probably charmed itself to obey instructions before hand.

    However we do see lot of wandless magic preformed in the books without the need ofmuch concentration. By magical children, and mostly involuntarily, such as when Harry, made the glass keeping the boa caged vanish, or when he "blew up" his Vernon's sister Marge. Then you have the case like Lily's where she was able to preform small, subtle bits of magic like making a flower spin, at will. Another example of a child using magic at will is of course Tom Riddle, who was apparently applying his abilities to torment the other orphans, I doubt that was very subtle. :P Probably the only example I can think of that has an adult wizard preforming wandless, without the aid of a charm, at will and, with little to no effort is when Tom had made flowers come out of no-where, for Hepzibah Smith. Still whatever a witch or a wizard can do without, a wand. Seems to be for the most part weak, and un-precise in comparison to what they can do with one.

    So I do think they are capable of preforming some magic without a wand, since it is inherit to them, they are in essence magical humans. Only that, they aren't able to focus it, as well as other magical creatures such as house elves without wands. So unless it's something that takes intense practice and concentration such as legimency, or learning how to assume an animagus form. It won't really manifest itself how they want, or when they want, but instead come out in times of crisis....It's just like real life what are humans without their tools but the weaklings of the animal kingdom. :P

    P.S This question was driving me crazy, I wanted to answer it but I had to wait for an opportunity where I had enough time. Since I knew it's complexity was going to warrant a long winded answer. :P

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  • 1 decade ago

    The gist of the discussion out there (sorry, there are too many pages to provide all the links) is that wands help to focus the magic resident in the witch or wizard, but wandless magic is still possible, particularly for very talented people like Snape and Dumbledore. Some examples ...

    Apparition

    Assuming one's Animagus form (or Metamorphpagus)

    Accio (the Summoning Charm)

    Elves can do magic without using wands

    Lumos

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well a wand is used to channel the magic and make it more powerful so I think simple spells would be easier to do without a wand than more complex ones.

    I think that with wandless magic the magic isn't controlled very well so it would be difficult to direct it at one person. Like when Dumbledore changes the hangings it was directed at a whole room so you wouldn't have to use the effort to direct it at a specific point

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, sweetie, in theory I think any magic can be performed without a wand. The magic comes from the witch or wizard. The wand is just a tool with which to channel or focus the magic. Remember that both Harry and Voldemort were doing magic before they even knew they were wizards, much less had wands.

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  • aceix
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Remember when Harry and Dumbledore were returning to Hogwarts flying at the end of book 6 and Dumbledore was saying something that lifted up the protection from the castle allowing them to enter the grounds. I think that he didn't use a wand.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Certainly, we see from the first few books that HP is more than capable of working magic without a wand, although in his case it is completely uncontrolled.

    However, I much prefer the *idea* that Dumbly and Quirrel had established spells previously. Certainly, Dumbly could have been using the equivalent of a "clapper", and wouldn't it be a sound strategic decision on Voldy's part to arrange some traps in the room - ones that could be implemented much more quickly than a verbal spell - in case he were interrupted during his search for the stone?

    Don't forget Quirrel's magic affecting HP's broom during the Quidditch match - and Snape's counter-spell, which (if I remember correctly) seems to have been entirely verbal. This seems to invalidate the "pre-cast spell" idea...

    Jim

    http://www.life-after-harry-potter.com

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  • Linda
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Well, as it says in the earlier books, you can do magic without a wand, but only in situations that make you very angry, scared, etc. I think elf magic, however, is different. But other than that, I doubt she could apparate without a wand.

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  • 1 decade ago

    There is definitely alot that you couldn't do with out a wand like Occlumency (Snape's gift for reading minds), animagi (it came naturally to the person). It depends really on each character in the book, all of them had special talents the only I noticed that could do almost everything without a wand was Snape. Only he couldn't fly but he could levitate himself down a few floors. I remember him jumping out of one of Hogwarts windows.

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  • lalala
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I think that it has to do with the person's concentration... there was this part in the book where it said something like "Harry knew some wizards could summon their wands with their hands..." Harry tried this but he couldn't do it.

    I wouldn't know what to call it but it might be how a wizard could focus on an object and do something with it, not neccessarily attract it but make it do something or it could cause one object to affect another.

    Interesting question, tho

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The second or third answerer pretty much covered it all, but I think its the very advanced wizards that can perform magic with just their hands when they want to, like doing something at will or with their hands, just like Voldemorte flying.

    They never directly SAY what kinds of magic this is except when they have an example like the one you just provided, but its just simple stuff.

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