The Patronus Charm is an ancient protection charm that creates the shape of an animal in its full corporeal form. It takes the shape of an animal with who the owner shares a great affinity which will act as a guardian. It is the main defence against Dementors.

On 22 September 2016, Pottermore released the Patronus Quiz. To find their Patronus, users follow the story and pick a variety of timed choices with their instinct. If the quiz determines the Patronus to be rare, they will be given an additional set of choices to clarify it.

New from J.K. Rowling

"The Patronus is the most famous (and famously difficult) defensive charm. The aim is to produce a silvery-white guardian or protector, which takes the form of an animal. The exact form of the Patronus will not be apparent until the spell has been successfully cast. One of the most powerful defensive charms known to wizardkind, the Patronus can also be used as a messenger between wizards. As a pure, protective magical concentration of happiness and hope (the recollection of a single talisman memory is essential in its creation) it is the only spell effective against Dementors. The majority of witches and wizards are unable to produce Patronuses and to do so is generally considered a mark of superior magical ability.

Some witches and wizards may manage an incorporeal Patronus, which resembles a mass or wisp of silvery vapour or smoke. In some cases a witch or wizard may choose to produce an incorporeal Patronus deliberately, if he or she wishes to disguise the form it generally takes (Remus Lupin, for instance, is afraid that his corporeal Patronus gives too much away). The incorporeal Patronus is not a true Patronus and while it will give limited protection, it cannot provide the defensive power of the corporeal Patronus, which has the form and substance of an animal.

The Patronus Charm is one of the most ancient of charms and appears in many accounts of early magic. In spite of a long association with those fighting for lofty or noble causes (those able to produce corporeal Patronuses were often elected to high office within the Wizengamot and Ministry of Magic), the Patronus is not unknown among Dark wizards. While there is a widespread and justified belief that a wizard who is not pure of heart cannot produce a successful Patronus (the most famous example of the spell backfiring is that of the Dark wizard Raczidian, who was devoured by maggots), a rare few witches and wizards of questionable morals have succeeded in producing the Charm (Dolores Umbridge, for example, is able to conjure a cat Patronus to protect herself from Dementors). It may be that a true and confident belief in the rightness of one's actions can supply the necessary happiness. However, most such men and women, who become desensitised to the effects of the Dark creatures with whom they may ally themselves, regard the Patronus as an unnecessary spell to have in their arsenal.

No reliable system for predicting the form of an individual's Patronus has ever been found, although the great eighteenth-century researcher of Charms, Professor Catullus Spangle, set forth certain principles that are widely accepted as true.


Lily Potter's Patronus - a doe

The Patronus, asserted Spangle, represents that which is hidden, unknown but necessary within the personality. ‘For it is evident,’ he writes, in his masterwork ‘Charms of Defence and Deterrence’:

‘… that a human confronted with inhuman evil, such as the Dementor, must draw upon resources he or she may never have needed, and the Patronus is the awakened secret self that lies dormant until needed, but which must now be brought to light...’

Here, says Spangle, is the explanation for the appearance of Patronuses in forms that their casters might not expect, for which they have never felt a particular affinity, or (in rare cases) even recognise.

Spangle is interesting on the subject of those unusual witches and wizards who produce a Patronus that takes the form of their favourite animal.

‘It is my firm belief that such a Patronus is an indicator of obsession or eccentricity. Here is a wizard who may not be able to hide their essential self in common life, who may, indeed, parade tendencies that others might prefer to conceal. Whatever the form of their Patronus, you would be well-advised to show respect, and occasionally caution, towards a witch or wizard who produces the Patronus of their choice.’

The form of a Patronus may change during the course of a witch or wizard's life. Instances have been known of the form of the Patronus transforming due to bereavement, falling in love or profound shifts in a person's character. Thus Nymphadora Tonks’s Patronus changes from a jack rabbit to a wolf (not a werewolf) when she falls in love with Remus Lupin. Some witches and wizards may be unable to produce a Patronus at all until they have undergone some kind of psychic shock.

It is usual, but not inevitable, for a Patronus to take the form of an animal commonly found in the caster’s native country. Given their long affinity with humans it is perhaps unsurprising that among the most common Patronuses (although it must be remembered that any corporeal Patronus is highly unusual) are dogs, cats and horses. However, every Patronus is as unique as its creator and even identical twins have been known to produce very different Patronuses.

Extinct Patronuses are very rare but not unknown. Strangely, given their long connection with wizardkind, owl Patronuses are unusual. Most uncommon of all possibly Patronuses are magical creatures such as dragons, Thestrals and phoenixes. Never forget, though, that one of the most famous Patronuses of all time was a lowly mouse, which belonged to a legendary young wizard called Illyius, who used it to hold off an attack from an army of Dementors single-handedly. While a rare and magical Patronus undoubtedly reflects an unusual personality, it does not follow that it is more powerful, or will enjoy greater success at defending its caster."[1]

Known Patronuses

Patronus Form



Ernie MacMillan
Minerva McGonagall
Dolores Umbridge
Lily Evans
Severus Snape
Snape's Patronus become a doe because he fell in love with Lily
Seamus Finnigan
Luna Lovegood
Jack Russell Terrier[2]
Ron Weasley
Ginny Weasley
Aberforth Dumbledore
The Patronus was considered small and weak until Illyius managed to prove it stronger than the others in his village when it was attacked
Kingsley Shacklebolt
Hermione Granger
Albus Dumbledore
Harry Potter
James Potter
Harry shared the same Patronus as his father, James whose Animagus was also a Stag
Cho Chang
Arthur Weasley
Remus Lupin
Nymphadora Tonks
Nymphadora's Patronus became a wolf when she fell in love with Remus

On Pottermore's Patronus Quiz

Aardvark Abraxan Winged Horse Adder Albatross Badger
Basset Hound Bat Bay Mare Bay Stallion Beagle
Black and White Cat Black Bear Blackbird Black Mamba Black Mare
Black Stallion Black Swan Bloodhound Borzoi Brown Bear
Brown Hare Brown Owl Buffalo Buzzard Calico Cat
Capuchin Monkey Cheetah Chestnut Mare Chestnut Stallion Chow Dog
Crow Dapple Grey Mare Dapple Grey Stallion Deerhound Doe
Dolphin Dragon Dragonfly Dun Mare Dun Stallion
Eagle Eagle Owl Elephant Erumpent Falcon
Field Mouse Fire Dwelling Salamander Fox Fox Terrier Ginger Cat
Goshawk Granian Winged Horse Grass Snake Great Grey Owl Greyhound
Grey Squirrel Hedgehog Heron Hippogriff Hummingbird
Husky Hyena Ibizan Hound Impala Irish Wolfhound
King Cobra Kingfisher Leopard Leopardess Lion
Lioness Little Owl Lynx Magpie Manx Cat
Marsh Harrier Mastiff Mink Mole Mongrel Dog
Mountain Hare Nebelung Cat Nightjar Occamy Ocicat
Orangutan Orca Oryx Osprey Otter
Peacock Pheasant Piebald Mare Piebald Stallion Pine Marten
Polar Bear Polecat Python Ragdoll Cat Rat
Rattlesnake Raven Red Squirrel Rhinoceros Robin
Rottweiler Runespoor Russian Blue Cat Salmon Scops Owl
Seal Shark Shrew Siberian Cat Snowy Owl
Sparrow Sparrowhawk Sphinx Cat Stag St Bernard
Stoat Swallow Swift Thestral Tiger
Tigress Tonkinese Cat Tortoiseshell Cat Unicorn Vole
Vulture Weasel West Highland Terrier White Mare White Stallion
White Swan Wild Boar Wildcat Wild Rabbit Wolf
Wood Mouse

Old Pottermore

The Patronus Charm is a charm described by J.K. Rowling in a special content for the third book. The content would be unlocked by clicking on Harry's patronus - the Stag.


The Patronus Charm is a highly advanced piece of magic, well beyond Ordinary Wizarding Level standard. When performed correctly, the spell produces a Patronus, a kind of guardian which acts as a shield between a wizard and a Dementor.

From the Story

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Discovered in chapter 12, The Patronus
The Patronus Charm is a highly advanced piece of magic, well beyond Ordinary Wizarding Level standard. When performed correctly, the spell produces a Patronus, a kind of guardian which acts as a shield between a wizard and a Dementor. A Patronus is a positive force, a projection of the things that Dementors feed upon - hope, happiness and the desire to survive - but as it cannot feel despair, it cannot be harmed by a Dementor. Each Patronus is unique to the wizard who conjures it. It is conjured with an incantation, Expecto Patronum, but will only work if the wizard is concentrating properly on a single, happy memory. It is a hugely difficult to perform, and many qualified wizards have difficulty with it.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Discovered in chapter 1, Dudley Demented
Harry attempts to use the Patronus Charm against the Dementors that appears in the alleyway between Wisteria Walk and Magnolia Crescent. The enormous silver stag erupts from the tip of Harry's wand on his third attempt, its antlers catching the first Dementor in the place where the heart should have been and throwing the creature backwards. Harry then directs his Patronus towards the Dementor attacking Dudley. The Patronus charges at the Dementor, forcing it to soar away, like the first one.
Discovered in chapter 27, The Centaur and the Sneak
The students taking DA lessons from Harry work on the Patronus Charm in the Room of Requirement. Several are able to produce corporeal Patronuses; Hermione's Patronus is an otter and Cho Chang's is a swan.

Behind the Scenes

  • J.K. Rowling revealed that when she took the Patronus Quiz while she was still working on it, she was given the Pine Marten as her Patronus. However, when she took it upon its completion, Rowling revealed that her Patronus changed to the Heron which she loves more for personal reasons.[6]
  • Evanna Lynch revealed that she took the Patronus Quiz twice and was given the Greyhound and then the Salmon.[7]

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Pottermore - Writing by J.K. Rowling - Patronus Charm
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Pottermore - What is a Patronus?
  3. Pottermore - Explore the Story - Harry Potter
  4. Pottermore - Explore the Story - James Potter
  5. Pottermore - Explore the Story - Cho Chang
  6. Pottermore - Discover your Patronus on Pottermore
  7. Evanna Lynch on Twitter