Harry Potter Spells – Sectumsempra

Harry finds "sectumsempra" scribbled in his borrowed potions book. Photo from harrypotter.wikia.com

During the next couple of weeks, I would like to explore some spells utilized in Harry Potter. Sectumsempra is a curse created by Severus Snape, the Half-Blood Prince.

Sectumsempra can be broken down into two different Latin words – sectum meaning cut and semper meaning always. Sectumsempra most likely means “always cut.”

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry casts the spell, then watches in horror as “blood spurted from Malfoy’s face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword” (Page 522).

Harry Potter Characters – Severus Snape

Severus Snape definitely lives up to his name! Photo from harrypotter.wikia.com

Let’s explore another charactonym used in Harry Potter! If you recall, a charactonym is a name that suggests a certain trait about a fictional character. Severus Snape is the feared Potions Master of Hogwarts and later becomes the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher.

The Latin word severus means strict and Severus Snape definitely lives up to his name. Snape is described as a “teacher with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and sallow skin” (Pg 126). “His eyes … were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels (Pg 136). He “criticized almost everyone” (Pg 139) and especially loved to deduct points from Gryffindor for any minor offense. According to Ron, he could “turn very nasty” so it was probably best not to anger him (Pg 139).

*Quotes cited from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.