Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Magic/Sectumsempra

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Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Magic
Sectumsempra
Type Spell
Features Creates never-healing cut
First Appearance Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Overview[edit]

Sectumsempra is a very dark curse that causes a cut ("sectum" = "cut") which will not heal ever ("sempra" = "forever").

Extended Description[edit]

Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry finds this curse in the Advanced Potion-Making book that was previously owned by the Half-Blood Prince. There is no description of its effects, the only notation is "For enemies". Out of desperation, Harry used it on Malfoy, as Malfoy was preparing to hit Harry with the Cruciatus curse. It apparently causes the caster's wand to act as a very long knife, thus resulting in the target getting huge cuts across their body. The way the caster moves their wand when saying the incantation decides how the cuts are made. Since Harry's hand was shaking badly as he pointed it at Malfoy, Draco got large cuts across his chest and face. Severus Snape, summoned to this duel by Moaning Myrtle's screams, manages to close the cuts, and then takes Malfoy to the Hospital Wing, saying that he will need essence of Dittany to heal them up all the way. This evidently works, because when we see Malfoy again, there is no mention of scarring.

Snape used this spell on George Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, cutting his ear off. Mrs. Weasley remarks that as his ear was removed by Dark magic, it will be impossible to grow it back. Mentioning that it was Snape who did it, Lupin remarks that "Sectumsempra was always a speciality of Snape's."

Analysis[edit]

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

  1. Given that Snape was revealed to be the Half-Blood Prince, was it Snape that created this spell?

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Much later in the book, it will be revealed that Snape had been attempting to use this jinx on the Death Eater then targeting George, to remove or at least disable his wand arm. His hitting George and removing his ear is accidental.

Nothing in the books tells us who created this spell. It is true that Snape recorded it in his textbook, but we don't know whether he learned it from someone else (for instance Voldemort), or originated it himself. Internal evidence in the series suggests, weakly, that Snape recorded what someone else had told him.