Bubble-head Charm

The Bubble-head Charm is a charm cast by a wizard or witch usually upon themselves, to help them breathe underwater by creating a bubble-like structure around their face that prevents water from entering.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

The Bubble-head charm was cast by a wizard or a witch and a bubble-like structure filled with oxygen would form around the caster’s head. This helped them breathe in places where it is difficult to have a supply of fresh air, especially underwater. The bubble-head charm could also be used in other environments like when flying high or when there is a sudden drop in the air.

The Bubble-head charm was used by both Fleur Delacour and Cedric Diggory during the second task of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireThe Bubble-head charm is considered to be one of the most effective spells to provide its caster with a supply of fresh air when it is not available. It can also be used to protect a wizard or witch from bad-smelling environments like when dungbombs or stink pellets have just been set off in a place and they need to breathe fresh air.  

How It Is Performed

The Bubble-head charm is a spell usually cast by a witch or wizard upon themselves. The wand is pointed in the direction of their face from the front and it is waved in a shape resembling the greek letter ‘omega’ from left to right. Although its incantation is unknown, there is a chance that it is Sanuspirantes. So, the word Sanuspirantes is uttered simultaneously with the wand movement for the spell to perform its task.

A bubble-like structure appears immediately around the face of the caster and they can now go to any place where there is a lack of fresh air as this bubble provides an infinite supply of fresh air. It is believed that the Bubble-head charm is meant to remain intact for several hours. However, wizards and witches with ample experience and lessons may be the only ones able to achieve such precision. Some beginners’ Bubble-head charms are considered very fragile and dangerous as they are as easily destructible as an air bubble. 

How It Feels Underwater And While Flying

The Bubble-head charm is a great tool for underwater exploration. It can also be used for flying at great heights when the oxygen levels have depleted significantly. Unlike Muggles who use specialized equipment like oxygen tanks and masks, the Bubble-head charm is an easy fix for most breathing inconveniences in the wizarding world. It is believed that the Bubble-head charm does not inconvenience the caster as much as it looks, and feels like a light bubble attached to their face. An experienced caster of the charm can essentially make a bubble both strong as well as having a lighter weight. 

Appearance in the Harry Potter Universe

The Bubble-head charm first appears in the Harry Potter universe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireThe second Triwizard Tournament task involves saving the loved ones of the contestants from the merpeople who are keeping them hostage underwater in the Great Lake. During this task, both Cedric Diggory and Fleur Delacour use the Bubble-head charm to breathe for the time limit of an hour underwater. Harry uses gillyweed to breathe underwater as advised by Neville in the movie adaptations and Dobby in the books. and Viktor Krum transfigures himself partially into a shark. However, Fleur is unable to complete the task as she is attacked by a group of grindylows. She is awarded twenty-five points.

Cedric Diggory is the first to come out of the lake after successfully swimming back to the surface with Cho Chang. He wins forty-seven points for the “excellent use of the bubble-head charm” according to Ludo Bagman. Viktor Krum successfully swims back with Hermione Granger. Finally, Harry makes it to the surface after using the charm Ascendio with both Ron and Gabrielle, the sister of Fleur.

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenixin Harry’s fifth year, a lot of students use the Bubble-head charm in corridors to prevent the smell of dungbombs and stink pellets that are passed around by George and Fred Weasley. In the movie adaptations of Harry Potter, the Bubble-head charm does not cover the entire head but covers the face with a protective bubble, almost like an oxygen mask.

Related Charms

Despite magic being a very abstract field especially because it has no sound scientific basis, it can sometimes surprise us with how logically precise it is. For instance, the Bubble-head charm can be compared with several other charms to appreciate it. Silencio, for instance, is scientifically opposite to the Bubble-head charm in that all the air around the person talking must vanish for them to not be heard at all. This is similar in effect to the relationship between Accio and Carpe Retractum or Ascendio and Descendo.

Muggles Would Love this Charm

The Bubble-head charm despite being a basic charm to provide fresh air to wizards and witches in the magical world may be one of the most useful charms in the Muggle world. There are a lot of real-world applications for a magical solution to provide people with viable oxygen whenever in dire need of it. Be it underwater exploration, flight, space travel, or as a basic amenity during natural calamities and medical emergencies, the possibility of conjuring the Bubble-head charm in the Muggle world may be quite a relief to a lot of people in this world. Furthermore, it would significantly reduce the need for highly pressurized liquid gases to be stored in heavy containers and carried around for continuous supply. All a person has to do is cast this charm when they feel like they are running out of fresh air around them.


How do you breathe underwater Harry Potter?

In Harry Potter, there are several ways to breathe underwater. During the second task of the Triwizard Championship which takes place underwater, Harry uses gillyweed, a substance that gives its consumer gills and webbed feet and palms for about an hour. Viktor Krum transfigures his upper body to that of a shark, which gives him the ability to breathe underwater. Cedric Diggory and Fleur Delacour use the Bubble-head charm to breathe underwater.

Who helped Harry breathe underwater?

Harry was finding it very difficult to figure out a way to breathe underwater. Hermione and Ron helped him search for ways to do so but to no avail. Eventually, they were asked to meet Albus Dumbledore and were escorted out of the library. In the book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it was Dobby who helped Harry by giving him some Gillyweed. In the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Neville Longbottom helped Harry by suggesting he use Gillyweed. At the end of the story, it is revealed that it was Barty Crouch Jr, disguised as Mad-Eye Moody who helped Harry indirectly because he wanted Harry to win the tournament so that the trophy which was a Portkey would directly lead Harry to Voldemort.

What did Fleur use to breathe underwater?

Fleur Delacour, the champion from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic used the Bubble-head charm to breathe underwater. Although she was probably very quick to enter the water and make her way towards Gabrielle, her sister, whom the merpeople had kept captive for the sake of the second task of the tournament, she couldn’t make it to the end because she was attacked by a bunch of Grindylows. She had to eventually quit this task.

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