When Harry Potter learns that he is a wizard it opens him up to an entirely new world full of exciting things. We’ve put together a handy guide of all the magic we encounter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Illustration by MinaLima © 2020 Scholastic Inc., from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (MinaLima Edition)

Psst! This article contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. So if you're only just starting the series, you may wish to avert your eyes.



A handy unlocking charm also known as the ‘thief’s friend’. Hermione used this spell to open a door on the forbidden third-floor corridor when she, Ron, Harry and Neville were hiding from Argus Filch. She probably regretted choosing that hiding place though, seeing as a certain three-headed dog was on the other side of that locked door!

Hermione’s bluebell flames

Hermione seemed to have a real knack for conjuring portable flames that could be carried in a jar. While we never hear the incantation for this spell – it makes quite a few appearances. From keeping Harry, Ron and Hermione warm when standing outside, to setting Snape’s robes on fire and even using them to escape the Devil’s Snare – this neat little spell is certainly versatile!

Locomotor Mortis

This is the Leg-Locker curse. Draco Malfoy used this spell on poor Neville, binding his legs together so he had to hop all the way back to the Gryffindor common room! It is also mentioned when Hermione and Ron prepare to use it on Professor Snape. They were worried that he might try to harm Harry during a Quidditch match. Luckily, they didn’t need to use it – we can’t imagine how they would have explained that to an irate Snape!

Petrificus Totalus

This is the full Body-Bind curse. Hermione used this spell on Neville when he bravely stood up to her, Harry and Ron and tried to stop them from leaving the common room at night. You really have to feel for Neville – not only were his legs bound by Malfoy, but he also had to deal with his whole body being locked together by someone who he considered a friend.

Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow…Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow

Ron used this spell to try and turn Scabbers yellow on the Hogwarts Express. Fred and George were the ones who taught him this – and we can’t help but think that it probably wasn’t a real spell and they were just pulling his leg. That’s siblings for you!


We don’t learn any incantations for Transfiguration spells in the Philosopher’s Stone, but we certainly see a lot of them. There’s Professor McGonagall turning herself into a cat, Hagrid giving Dudley a rather fetching tail and Harry’s first Transfiguration lesson where McGonagall turned her desk into a pig. All these spells were cast non-verbally – and all were rather impressive.

Wingardium Leviosa

All together now – swish and flick! Professor Flitwick taught this charm to his first-year students – and it certainly came in handy for our main trio. On the very day they learnt the spell (and of course Hermione was the first to crack it), they found themselves face-to-face with an angry troll in the girls’ bathroom. Ron successfully used the spell to levitate the troll’s club and dropped it on his head – knocking him out and saving Hermione in the process.


Illustration by MinaLima © 2020 Scholastic Inc., from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (MinaLima Edition)


Devil’s Snare

Devil’s Snare is a plant that thrives in the damp and dark but retreats from light and warmth. It was used as the first obstacle through the trapdoor – winding its way around Harry and Ron in a surprising turn of events towards the end of our adventure. Thankfully, Hermione paid attention in Herbology, and knows that the way to get out of Devil’s Snare is to remain still and create fire. This is certainly not a plant to be messed with.

Magical Creatures


We first meet the centaurs when Harry, Hermione, Neville and Malfoy find themselves in detention in the Forbidden Forest. With the head, torso and arms of a human and the body of a horse – these magnificent beings are highly intelligent and also highly secretive. They are mistrustful of humans and prefer to keep their distance. However, young Firenze the centaur is helpful towards Harry.

Fluffy the three-headed dog

Only Hagrid could look at a three-headed dog and think that Fluffy is the perfect name. This huge and frankly terrifying beast guarded the trapdoor which led to the Philosopher’s Stone. If you want to try and get past him, you better have a musical instrument ready – as only a soothing tune will send him to sleep. Be careful though – as soon as the music stops, he will wake up and we wouldn’t like to be you when he does!

Giant Squid

The Giant Squid lived in the lake at Hogwarts and seemed to be quite tame. In fact, it would even interact with students when it made its way to bask in the shallows. Fred, George and their friend Lee Jordan were known to give its tentacles a good tickle every now and then!


Unicorns are wonderful creatures with magical properties. When they are young, they are a gold colour before turning silver and eventually pure white. Unicorns are known to generally avoid humans, but they are more likely to allow a witch rather than a wizard to approach them. Unfortunately, our introduction to these magnificent beasts is rather sad. The first one we meet has been killed in the Forbidden Forest, but luckily, this isn’t the last unicorn we see, as some make an appearance later in the series.

Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback

Norbert was Hagrid’s baby Norwegian Ridgeback – hatched from an egg that he won in a game of cards. Norbert was one of the rarer types of dragon and had a nasty nip! In fact, poor Ron ended up in the hospital wing with a horrid bite thanks to those venomous fangs. This Norwegian Ridgeback is only the beginning when it comes to wizarding world dragons – there are many different types that we learn about in later books.


Illustration by MinaLima © 2020 Scholastic Inc., from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (MinaLima Edition)


Draught of Living Death

What do you get if you add powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood? The Draught of Living Death of course! While this powerful sleeping potion might not physically appear in the book, it is the answer to the very first question Snape asks Harry in his very first Potions lesson.

Elixir of Life

This handy potion makes those who drink it immortal! A product of the Philosopher’s Stone (which can also turn things to gold), it is the reason why Voldemort is desperate to get his hands on it. It is also the potion that allowed the alchemist Nicolas Flamel to reach his 665th birthday and his wife Perenelle to reach her 658th!

Potion to cure boils

A simple potion to cure boils – well, simple for some it seems! This potion was the first potion Harry ever made and at least his attempt was better than Neville’s. Who can forget how our favourite clumsy Gryffindor managed to melt Seamus’s cauldron, flood the dungeon with the potion and end up covered in angry red boils?

The potion puzzle

When Harry, Ron and Hermione go through the trapdoor, one of the obstacles on the way to the Philosopher’s Stone is a baffling potion puzzle. Faced with seven bottles, they must solve the riddle and select the right one to move on (easier said than done when three of the bottles would kill them outright!). This game of life and death was solved by a 12-year-old Hermione Granger – certainly the cleverest witch of her age.