The magical world of Harry Potter was something that I first read in my school days. I remember seeing it at my school library and pouncing on it before another classmate, not realizing that the book I took was the third in a series – The Prisoner of Azkaban. But nonetheless, I got hooked to it and in the next three weeks, I had finished reading not just that book but the first two as well.
Being a bookworm, one of the first things that I loved reading about in the book was the list of books that Harry (and other students of Hogwarts) had to buy. I’m sure any fan of the series would remember Harry Potter being given his letter from Hogwarts by Hagrid, and the second leaf of that letter having a list of things he had to buy. In that list is Miranda Goshawk’s The Standard Book of Spells Grade 1. That’s the first time we hear of spells, because Hagrid doesn’t mutter an incantation to give Dudley his pig tail.
One spell, though it’s not the first one I read about in the series, was particularly interesting. That was the spell to open a locked door – Alohomora. Even then, I could imagine the possibilities if it was real, particularly given that my parents used to lock the chocolates my cousin got from the UK inside the closet. The first time it is used in the world of Harry Potter books is by Hermione (no surprise) in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, who uses the charm to open a locked door. If she had known that the banned third floor corridor with was on the other side of the door or that that corridor had a three headed dog, she might have not used it. Fans might remember the spell from the movie series better, when Ron runs across to the door in the room of keys and tries to open the door to the next room (the chess set).
Doors can be made Alohomora-proof. The door to Professor Dolores Umbridge’s office was made Alohomora-proof because of which Harry had to find another way inside (in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). The doors to Professor Snape’s office and store are also mentioned as being Alohomora proof. The doors in the challenging magical protection for the Philosopher’s Stone are also alohomora proof, as I mentioned earlier. The possibility of this makes me wonder why Dumbledore didn’t go to the trouble of having the door to the third-floor corridor made Alohomora-proof though. Then again, that’s the key scene where we discover the secret trapdoor and such, so possibly, it was important to the story and the whole series that the door to the corridor remained unsealed. Good on JK Rowling, eh?
Most spells have a counter spell or an opposite spell. The opposite spell to Alohomora is, as far as I remember, used just once in the entire series. The spell is used in the fifth book (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) by Hermione (once again). The spell seals an open door and keeps it locked unless Alohomora is used. The spell is called Colloportus.
It’s quite fun re-reading the Harry Potter books or even watching the movies as I write for this April A to Z challenge. The books opened a door to a magical childhood, and I’ve not looked back since. If you haven’t tried them, I urge you to try. Buy a book, open it, take a breath and read it. Let that magic open for you as it did for me. Alohomora!
(© 1st April 2016)