The act of apparating or apparition is a means of transport through which magical beings teleport from one point in space to another with the help of magic.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

Apparition is one of the magical modes of transportation besides the Floo Network, Portkey, Brooms, or riding atop a creature. However, it is believed that apparition is the fastest mode of transport in the magical world as it is basically the teleportation of a person from one place to another without traversing the path in between.

Apparition is achieved by the person thinking very hard about their destination and eventually just reaching there: a very efficient and easy way to travel, once mastered. However, the effects of a botched apparition are very brutal and can range from small injuries to getting splinched or losing body parts. Apparition is said to cause a sound ranging from a small pop to a loud crack sometimes as an entire person disappears suddenly in thin air.

How To Apparate Properly

Wilkie Twycross, when he explained the mechanism of apparition to the class of students, claimed that the essential thing to keep in mind were the three D’s – Destination, Determination, and Deliberation. The one who wanted to apparate first had to decide on the destination, then determine with certainty, the need to reach there and then apparate without any pressure, but with deliberation. With practice, one could intuitively master the art of apparition. It was also required to apparate in discretion in possible muggle dwellings to maintain the statute of secrecy.

Side-Along Apparition

Side-along apparition is a type of apparition in which one wizard or witch guides another into a place they want to go to. In this type of apparition, unlike the normal one, only one person needs to apparate, while the other has to just be in contact with the one that is apparating. This was a recommended mode of transport by the Ministry in case of an emergency or dangerous situations, one of the people in danger is underage and does not know how to apparate. It was also used by house-elves to transport people as Dobby did in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Sometimes, the side-along apparition can also be forced, without the consent of the non-apparating person as in the case of Corban Yaxley disapparating with Hermione from the Ministry and Fenrir Greyback when he forced Harry with him into Malfoy Manor.

Apparition by Magical Creatures

Apparition was also performed by magical creatures, most notably house-elves. Dobby apparates several times through the series, first at Privet Drive into Harry’s bedroom, then at Twelve Grimmauld Place, and finally at Malfoy Manor. Kreacher, the house-elf, also apparated into the Crystal Cave when Regulus Black was sick after drinking the liquid that the Dark Lord Voldemort placed over his Horcrux. This cave probably had an anti-apparition charm on it, but Kreacher still managed to apparate and then side-along disapparate with Regulus Black. This was because house-elves were gifted with very different magic from witches and wizards as is evident from how often the house-elves of Hogwarts had to apparate and disapparate within the castle.

Appearance in the Harry Potter Universe

The first appearance of apparition being done in the Harry Potter universe is in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Dobby, the house-elf, apparates into and later out of 4 Privet Drive. Although described as disappearing with a crack like a whip and explicitly not mentioned as an apparition, this is the first time someone apparates in the Harry Potter series. The first mention of the act of apparition comes in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where an unnamed Ravenclaw student posits that Sirius Black must have apparated into Hogwarts. However, since the grounds of Hogwarts including the castle are protected by a lot of enchantments that prevent someone from directly apparating into or disapparating out of Hogwarts, it couldn’t have been the case. It is eventually found out that Sirius Black came to the castle by turning into his Animagus form of a black dog.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Cornelius Fudge apparates into the Prime Minister’s office to inform him of the Quidditch World Cup and the security measures taken.

Percy, Fred and George, all apparate several times to and from the kitchen at Twelve Grimmauld Place in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Several Death Eaters and the members of the Order of the Phoenix apparate and disapparate throughout the book in several instances. 

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry and Dumbledore apparate from London to Slughorn’s place, and later from there to The Burrow through side-along apparition. This is the first experience that Harry has of apparating. Later, in the same year, a 3-month apparition course is held at the Great Hall where the wizened wizard from the Ministry, Wilkie Twycross, teaches apparition to students who will be of age by April 1996. Harry, Draco, Neville, and a few other students are among the ones who wouldn’t be of age by then and were therefore not allowed to take the apparition test. Hermione passed the test on her first attempt and was given the license to apparate. However, Ron left behind half an eyebrow and therefore wasn’t granted the license. Harry apparates with great finesse despite not having a license when he gets a very tired and weak Dumbledore back from the cave where they went in search of a Horcrux.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsHarry apparated several times into Twelve Grimmauld Place under the Invisibility Cloak. While he was alone at least one of those times, several other times, he was with Ron or Hermione or both. Since they were all of age by then, there was no trace on them to detect performing magic, and the Ministry which was then under the control of Death Eaters, couldn’t track them down. Pius Thicknesse who became the Minister after the Death Eaters started controlling the Ministry, closed all possible means of travel including apparition and Floo transport from Privet Drive to prevent Harry from being transported away. This is the reason that the trick of the ‘Seven Potters’ had to be implemented. Mundungus Fletcher disapparated mid-air causing Mad-Eye Moody to be killed when Voldemort suddenly appeared during the Battle of the Seven Potters.

The film adaptation of Harry Potter shows apparition almost similar to most teleportation scenes in movies, but the effects are reminiscent of some magical or enchanting mechanism rather than a scientific one. Even the Fantastic Beasts series shows apparition as a magical effect visually.

Why Apparition is not Possible in the Real World?

Apparition, or teleportation, in this case, is considered impossible because it requires several impossible scientific phenomena to occur. A physicist would claim that an easy mechanism for this, if it were to occur, would be for the person apparating to be transported at the speed of light, through a wormhole from one point in space to another. If wormholes existed and could be manipulated to send people to specific points in space, this is still not far-fetched.

However, imagining the place in one’s mind and immediately being able to reversibly transport oneself there is probably always going to be impossible. Other than the light speed option, there also could be a way where an advanced computer could map every detail of a human body, after the full description of a human being is fed into it and reintegrated it somewhere else in space, as the original body disintegrates, thereby creating an exact copy of the person. However, this too could never let a person alone perform the mechanism and is therefore not a viable solution.


Why can’t Harry apparate?

Harry, unlike Hermione and Ron, is not seventeen years old by the time the apparition tests are conducted and it is essential for a wizard or witch to be of age before they are given the apparition license. This may also be because apparition risks breaching the statute of secrecy when not done properly, and is also dangerous magic when performed by untrained individuals. By regulating the age, just like keeping a trace to detect underage magic, the Ministry ensured safe protocol. However, Harry eventually did apparate without the license and must’ve eventually applied for a license.

What happens to Ron when they apparate?

Ron gets splinched when he apparates away from the Ministry after taking the Slytherin locket from Dolores Umbridge. Since Ron had not passed the test for apparition, it is possible that he may not have had sufficient practice to apparate. This led to him getting splinched and leaving behind a chunk of his arm back in the Ministry. However, Hermione’s quick thinking and treatment with the Essence of Dittany helped stabilise his wound and regenerate his arm.

Who can apparate in Hogwarts?

In the Harry Potter books, only house-elves can apparate and disapparate within Hogwarts, as their job requires them to do so, and the jinx preventing apparition is improvised accordingly. Interestingly, in the Harry Potter movies, despite there being security measures to prevent apparition in Hogwarts, the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore was capable of performing this feat. So was Fawkes, the phoenix, and the house-elves.

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