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Wards Theory

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Charles Crane, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Charles Crane

    Charles Crane Muggle

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    So we all know about wards, and what they are/do. Question is, how do they work? How are they made? How are they broken? In advance, I apologize for any rambling that may follow. I tend to write like I think in notes.

    Point 1 : Wards are primarily defensive magics (I say primarily as just because I haven't thought of a straight offensive use doesn't mean there isn't one). This suggests they do not move, but is it possible to ward a motile object and have the ward move with it?
    So we know that wards can be erected much like walls by moving about an area and casting the spells, so does this mean that one can simply create a 'ward wall' that isn't an enclosed shape? Might be useful as a sort of 'quick and dirty' defense.
    Main questions here would be :
    Is it possible to place a ward on an object, or only on an area?
    Does a ward have to be enclosed to be effective (ward walls)?
    How does one determine the height of a ward?

    Point 2 : Wards have a variety of effect, from security wards to anti-(x) wards. What sorts of effects might wards have?
    Security wards are a type of ward that when 'tripped' (presumably by crossing the ward's edge or by sensing an unauthorized presence inside the ward) notifies certain people. Presumably the ward can be 'programmed' to notify a certain person(s) rather than simply the ward maker as I'm fairly certain that the owner of a house protected by such wards wouldn't be casting the wards themselves unless they're cheap. You'd want a professional to do it, naturally.
    Anti-(x) wards (x being things like apparition, portkey, ect) are wards that limit the abilities of the people within them. A few questions for these : Can a sufficiently powerful wizard overcome the wards' effects? (ex: would Voldemort have been trapped by an anti-apparition ward?) Can the wards be programmed to allow certain individuals to be unaffected? (ex : would an auror anti-apparition ward keep the aurors from apparating as well?) Do the wards have a set size when cast? (it's a ward to be used quickly, not slowly built up like security or defensive wards.)
    Repelling Wards are presumably wards that cause unauthorized persons going near them to feel the urge to go somewhere else or avoid the area. Questions : How strong is the compulsion? If it's very strong, then wouldn't it be basically all you need to keep unwanted individuals out of an estate (barring things such as the floo)? Are there any limits to their targets? (ex: The muggle repelling ward presumably repels those without magic, but would it also effect squibs? Is there a similar spell that repels wizards?)
    Invisibility/Notice-Me-Not wards appear to exist, causing those within its effect to be invisible to the unauthorized. Would the Fidelus charm be considered a ward? Does one determine what within the ward is rendered invisible? (if not, you might have a tree suddenly appear to be growing out of a spot fifteen feet in the air, or all the grass in an area might be invisible).
    Also, what happens if someone not authorized to know where a fidelus protected place is happens to get in by grabbing hold of someone who does and enters it? Does the charm collapse? Even if they managed to gain the knowledge of the area via this manner, they shouldn't be able to tell others as only the secret keeper is supposed to be able to let new people in on it. Can a fidelus protected location be learned about vie legilimancy?
    Other types of wards appear to include defensive barriers which stop spells from passing through, or have certain other effects on people walking through them. Is this a property of the wards themselves, or might the wards act as tripwires to trigger another effect? What other effects might there be?

    Point 3 : Ward targeting. Some wards seem to have effects directed outward, such as repelling or invisibility wards, some inwards, such as anti-x wards, and some seem to only activate when the edge of the ward is crossed, such as a defensive ward.
    Are these targeting designs built into various ward types, or is this determined by the caster? If it is determined by the caster, what sort of interesting combinations of effect and target might there be? (ex : a ward that makes everything outside it invisible to those within)

    Point 4 : Ward Detection. How do some wizards detect when there is a nearby ward? Have they just trained themselves to be able to feel it, or is some sort of spell involved? Perhaps some equipment? (ex : some sort of goggles that allow one to see wards/magic/enchantments?) Conversely, how do wards avoid detection? Do wards with less power in them avoid detection more easily than powerful wards? If this is the case, security wards most likely would have very little magic in them so they can avoid detection as the only function they need is to notify someone that they've been tripped. On the other hand, more powerful defensive wards would be easier to detect. I would assume that ward power is indicative of the strength of the effect. For example, a weak ward with a fire effect might set your clothing on fire while a more powerful one might char your bones.

    Point 5 : How does one bypass/break a ward? One could do it through brute force of course, but that would also get one detected. How could one bypass a ward with more finesse? I've come up with a couple of ways.
    Ward Picking : A technique where a small hole is opened in a ward, allowing access through the hole to avoid the ward's effect. This is effective against wards that target along their edges or against wards that have an outward directed effect. If one remembers to patch the hole, there is little evidence of a break in. It is ineffective against wards that have inward effects and is very difficult to impossible to use on a dynamic ward.
    Spoofing : This is where an individual tricks the ward into thinking they are an authorized person. This can be done by tricking the ward via a confundus or similar, but is also possible to do by temporarily 'stealing the identity' of an authorized user. To do this, one must know how a ward recognizes the authorized users (ex : magical signature, wand, ect) and be able to imitate it. This technique would work on all three types of wards, but can be defeated by layered wards that use different recognition systems (ex : one might check magical signature, the next appearance, ect).

    Point 6 : How do wards power themselves? My personal view on it is that they may be initially charged when made, and then will absorb ambient magic to sustain or strengthen themselves. This would make wards placed in the muggle world fade over time until they break on their own, and would also explain why the wards at magical schools are so powerful as they would be absorbing magic from the hundreds of students daily.

    That's all I have for now. What do you lot think?
     
  2. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    1) There are no wards, only protective spells.
    2) Since there are only protective spells, there is as much variety between them as between other spells.
    3) Spells do lots of things. Protective spells can do lots of things.
    4) How can you tell if there's a spell nearby? Apparently by feeling the air with your hand.
    5) Counterspells exist.
    6) There are no magical cores.

    There we go. I think that pre-empts Taure quite nicely.
     
  3. Charles Crane

    Charles Crane Muggle

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    Protective enchantments, then. Would there be a difference in effect, or is it just a difference in naming?
    So would you say that detecting nearby spells is a sort of acquired talent? Dumbledore was good at it, but plenty of other people couldn't really tell. Curse breakers probably are skilled in that as well.
    Of course there are indeed counterspells, but those would probably eliminate the protective enchantments. I'm actually a bit more interested in how one might bypass them without being detected rather than how to bring them down.
    By magical core did you mean the 'magical signature' phrase I used? I'm not really sure what might be used to key someone to the spells. It was basically meant as a sort of magical fingerprint, if such a thing could exist. Do you have any other ideas for what could be used for identification?
     
  4. meev

    meev Groundskeeper

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    No, he's talking about the point he listed as responding to. How are they powered? By being cast, same as every other spell. Done. There's no evidence of some kind of energy needing to be 'absorbed' from a wizard for a spell to act or persist. They perform the spell, the spell does its thing. How does it do its thing? Magic.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  5. Charles Crane

    Charles Crane Muggle

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    Hmm. Would the age line count? It was a magical barrier designed to keep people out of an area.
    I assume the intruder charm was the one used by Slughorn and Umbridge? Slughorn said he didn't hear his though, so those might be different.
    There was also the barrier that was set up when Dumbledore was assassinated that only was letting the death eaters through.
    Would making something unplottable count as one? I'd assume it's a protective charm that affects an area.
    There's also the Anti-Intruder jinx that prevented Harry from climbing the gates of Hogwarts.
    And you forgot the Fidelius Charm.
     
  6. Punt

    Punt DA Member

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    There are no wards in canon. There are enchantments, jinxes, and charms that can be used for protection and other purposes but there is no need to label them all as 'wards'.
     
  7. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti High Inquisitor

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    Except that it's convenient. Same way as we can talk about Dark Arts, which can include all kinds of shit.
     
  8. esran

    esran Professor

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    There's also the thief's downfall, although being goblin magic it presumably works differently.
    It is worth noting, however, that in canon there is no category of wards, or even defensive enchantments. throughout canon things that fanon would call wards are referred to as charms or jinxes as appropriate. presumably they are classified based on what theory and skill-set is needed to be able to learn how to cast them effectively.
    The sacrificial protection that Lily gave Harry is not a jinx or a charm, probably because it is not cast with a wand, and according to word of god happened completely accidentally, because of a huge amount of contrived circumstances including Voldemort not planning on killing Lily but being willing to anyway. The sacrificial protection is referred to by Voldemort as old magic, which could refer to magic before wands existed. The blood protection cast by Dumbledore to keep the sacrificial protection alive, however, was a charm.
     
  9. Henry Persico

    Henry Persico Groundskeeper DLP Supporter

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    It's a Charm.

    Protection charm reinforced by a blood sacrifice, e.g. Nº4 Privet Drive, Harry Potter's body.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  10. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Professor

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    The charm in your quote refers to the charm Dumbledore cast on Harry, which was sealed by Petunia taking Harry in. The sacrifice itself is apparently a counter-charm. To quote Riddle in Chamber of Secrets...

    EDIT:
    In Deathly Hallows Moody calls it a charm:
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  11. Henry Persico

    Henry Persico Groundskeeper DLP Supporter

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    Counter-Charm it's still not a charm?

    Edit/ Lol. Fuckin' Rowling.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  12. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Professor

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    IMO, yes, a counter-charm is also a charm. The exact definition is a bit ambiguous in canon but I've always favoured something like...

    Counter-charm: a charm which will undo the effects of a specific other charm.
     
  13. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    In canon "counter-X" doesn't seem to refer to a different spell to X, just X used in an opposite fashion.

    E.g. a counter-curse is exactly the same spell as a curse, just used in a defensive rather than offensive context.

    Calling this situation absurd was the point behind the defence book Umbridge assigned; the fact that they're the same spell was used as justification to not teach the spells to children. Hermione disagreed on the basis that context was in fact very important.

    Also, people have forgotten to mention Fidelius and Unplottable charms in the thread. And disillisionment, unbreakable charms, the locking charm (colloportus). And whatever spell it is that makes Hogwarts look like a ruin to Muggles (not the same as the Muggle repelling charm, which makes them decide they need to be somewhere else).
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  14. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Professor

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    I don't think that is the correct interpretation to that scene.

    In Goblet of Fire Hermione had to look up the counterjinx to Jelly-Legs, not just cast Jelly-Legs differently.

    Far more tellingly is Half-Blood Prince where we have the following sequence.

    This is followed by:
    The jinx was Levicorpus. The counter-jinx was Liberacorpus.
     
  15. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    She uses the term inconsistently, then.

    The Umbridge scene is pretty explicit:

    In addition, at the beginning of Half-Blood Prince Dumbledore gives Harry permission to use any counter-curse he likes on Death Eaters if they turn up.
     
  16. Mr. Merriman

    Mr. Merriman Groundskeeper

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    I read that as 'The Counter-X Jinx is considered a Jinx in and of itself, and is not merely the defensive counterpart of the Jinx that it counters.'

    That, of course, is obviously incorrect if a Jinx is, as I recall, a spell used to irritate, aggravate, or inconvenience a target. Since the above position is supported by Umbridge, it's fairly safe to consider it shit.
     
  17. afrojack

    afrojack Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    If a counter-jinx's specific or only function was to undo another curse, both Umbrige's (Slinkhard's) argument and Hermione's objection to it cease to make any sense, don't they?

    Perhaps situations as with the Jelly-Legs and Levicorpus are specific to those spells, the exception rather than the rule.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  18. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Professor

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    My theory is that Counter-Xs work by producing an equal but opposite magic effect. In the case of jinxes, a counter-jinx is often a jinx itself (hence the argument).

    For example, the counter-jinx to the Jelly-Legs jinx would be the Stone-Legs jinx or something similar.

    Eh, it's the best I can come up with.
     
  19. T3t

    T3t Purple Beast of DLP ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    That's pretty much how Taure's magic system works, in fact.
     
  20. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Professor

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    Moving back towards the topic proper, Deathly Hallows gives us our best look at defensive magic.

    When defending the camp site, Hermione uses a number of spells, cast in sequence while walking a circle:

    Salvio Hexia
    Protego Totalum
    Repello Muggletum
    Muffliato
    Cave Inimicum

    Herminie later identifies some of these spells when she says,
    Later Flitwick is described "muttering incantations of great complexity" to augment the defences of Hogwarts. The only spell we're told is:

    Protego Horribillis

    This appears to indicate we have at least three different shield charms: Protego, Protego Totalum and Protego Horribillis, but I'm not so sure. Are these really three different spells or one spell cast three different ways? I used this to come up with something called 'subordinate incantations' for my Harry Potter: Agent of MI6 fic.

    Anyway: My Theory (or hypothesis if we want to be technical since I'm speculating with no canon proof).

    Imagine a circle. This circle represents all possibly magical effects for the Shield Charm. The point at the centre of the circle is the charm's default behaviour, the "temporary, invisible wall around [the caster] that deflect minor curses" effect described in Goblet of Fire. The better you are at magic in general and the Shield Charm in particular, the further you can go from the centre.

    There are many useful magical effects towards the edge of the circle: persistent walls of invisible force, shields that hurt what tries to cross them and shields large enough to cover enter buildings to name but a few. These effects are greatly prized and highly useful but the number of wizards willing (or indeed able) to master the Shield Charm to the required degree is small.

    To ameliorate these problem wizards developed subordinate incantations. These are extra bits on the end of some spells which narrow and focus a spell's effects. This is normally done to gain access to highly difficult effects which might otherwise be difficult.

    To return to our circle example. A subordinate incantation shrinks the circle and moves its centre. The range of possible magic is reduced but the magic now at the centre of the circle is comparatively easy.

    To give a concrete example: Protego Totalum moves the circle to the 'cover entire buildings' effect I mentioned above. Using this incantation, a wizard can cast this effect without the years of practise required to coax it out of the Shield Charm proper. They can also more easily reach 'nearby' effects but will be completely unable to do many basic Shield Charm functions like personal protection. Even wizards with the skill to use the Shied Charm to cover buildings will often use a subordinate incantation: it frees up their mind for other aspects of the task.
     
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