Aparecium, or the Revealing Charm, was a spell in the Harry Potter universe that revealed messages written with secret ink or invisible ink.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

Aparecium was the eponymous incantation for the Revealing Charm, which ensured that anything that was written anywhere using secret or invisible ink would reveal itself. In the Book of Spells, written by Miranda Goshawk, she claimed that this spell was very easy to cast, and one only had to tap the book or parchment, which they suspected to contain the hidden message with a wand. This also helped reveal secret messages possibly written and masked by a concealment charm. 

The Revealing Charm And The Story Of Aparecium

In the Harry Potter Universe, the first appearance of the Aparecium charm is when Hermione Granger decides to use it to reveal any possible secret messages that might be hidden in Tom Riddle’s diary. However, nothing is revealed in the diary, and as is later found out, his diary was a Horcrux and was enclosed with a lot of extreme dark magic which made it difficult to know anything about it with a charm as simple as Aparecium. 

The Aparecium charm may have been used by Severus Snape to figure out what was present within the piece of parchment he confiscated from Harry Potter. Harry was out of his dorm at night and had followed a strange lead after he referred to this parchment which happened to be the Marauder’s Map. When questioned by Snape as to what it was, Harry claimed that it was nothing.

Sceptical of Harry’s response, Snape resorted to tapping his wand and muttering “reveal your secrets.” It is possible that he may have used the Aparecium charm non-verbally without advertising this useful yet simple spell to Harry. Eventually, Remus Lupin woke up to check out the reason for the commotion and defended Harry, asking him to immediately go to bed. Later, Lupin took the Marauder’s Map with him to examine it for possible Dark Magic even though he knew what it was already.

Invisible Ink

From the standpoint of Chemistry, a scientific discipline practised by Muggles, invisible ink is just a compound that is transparent and, therefore, not visible to the eye if used as ink. However, in the world of magic, Invisible Ink could both be the one used by Muggles or something in the magical world that conceals whatever is written using it.

Invisible ink has come in handy to Muggles on several occasions, including when their secret service MI6 division, with headquarters in London, used Roller ballpoint pens, specifically using invisible ink to write during important secret missions. While some invisible ink may have a time limit and fade over time, most magically created invisible ink may have permanent effects and remain useful until the Aparecium charm is used to reveal it.

How To Cast The Revealing Charm

Aparecium, or the Revealing Charms, is one of the easier ones to cast. It is cast by chanting the incantation Aparecium and waving the wand in a sinusoidal wave pattern starting from the left to the right by holding it close to the book, parchment, or paper on which you want the writing to be revealed. If there is any sign of writing written with invisible ink on that paper, it will show itself naturally when the spell is cast.

However, this spell works only on writings done with invisible ink and hidden through the Concealment charm. For more advanced writings, especially like the ones written with the help of Dark Magic, it is not a very useful spell.

Aparecium and Chemistry

Invisible Ink has been used for ages to conceal letters and other sensitive information from falling into the hands of undesirable people. The reason ‘intelligence’ works in espionage is that not only does it help collect information, but it also uses novel methods in the process of doing so. For instance, invisible ink developed with specific compounds had been used in several wars to prevent them from getting intercepted.

Several chemical combinations can work as secret ink or invisible ink and only show up when they are combined with another compound which facilitates the reaction that changes the color of the ink from colorless to a more visible one. So, in this context, the mixture used to reveal the writing in invisible ink is a lot like the Aparecium charm, which is for the concealment charm and invisible ink in the magical world. 

However, unlike the presence of a single magical charm that can reveal all possible writings in invisible ink or under concealment, in the Muggle world, the compounds used for this purpose are specific to the combination used to create invisible ink. Chemistry is a field of study in which compounds react with specific compounds to yield new products. Depending on how reactive one compound is with another, one can predict if it is suitable to be used to unveil what is written with invisible ink in this context.

It is especially the case that invisible ink makes clever use of chemical compounds known as indicators, which only react to certain specific compounds by suddenly changing color.


What does the spell Aparecium do?

Aparecium, or the Revealing Charm, reveals any writing on any surface, be it wood, parchment, paper, or something else, which was concealed using a concealment charm or was written with invisible ink. However, this charm cannot reveal the contents of writings that are concealed using more advanced methods like Dark Magic or any other advanced magic. Examples of these include Hermione’s inability to use Aparecium to reveal what is written in Tom Riddle’s diary and the possible use of this charm by Severus Snape to reveal the contents of the Marauder’s Map.

What is the wand movement for the Revealing Charm?

The wand movement for the Revealing Charm, or Aparecium as it is also known, is a movement resembling the tracing of a sinusoidal way with several crests and troughs. It favours a zig zag motion with a decent curvature from the left to the right. The one casting this charm usually taps their wand on the surface they expect to reveal writings and then move their wand in the aforementioned way as they utter the incantion ‘Aparecium’. If there is any writing on that surface that is written with invisible ink or concealed by a concealment charm, it will reveal itself.

What does Revelio mean in Harry Potter?

Revelio is a charm with a wide array of uses and is quite complicated to assign a specific purpose to. However, in general terms, Revelio is used to reveal any type of secret markings, passages, magical disguises and writings. Depending on what this charm is cast at, one can expect different results to occur. Unlike the Revealing Charm or Aparecium, Revelio had a wider scope of being used for a lot of purposes. When cast directly at a person, it was said to remove all magical disguises they used to look different than their true form.

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