Stupefy was a spell used in the Harry Potter series constantly, especially during duels between wizards or witches. It was one of the most frequently used charms and was known to have been used during the Quidditch World Cup riots, the Triwizard Tournament, the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, the skirmish at the Malfoy Manor, and during the Battle of Hogwarts.
In the Harry Potter books, the spell emitted a bright red light, but in the movie adaptations, there were instances where the spell emitted green or sometimes a bright blue hue. It was used by several of the wizards and witches in the series, including Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Albus Dumbledore, and Luna Lovegood.
The word Stupefy was derived from the Latin word “Stupere” However, the word Stupefy is already an English word in common usage, and it means the action of stunning or causing amazement. It is, therefore, safe to say that this is one of the terms J. K. Rowling used as is from English and is not a coinage derived from any other language.
The Stunning Spell has been used for several centuries by wizards and witches. One of the earliest uses of the Stunning Spell by a wizard in recorded history is that of Eldon Elsrickle, who was a skilled robber who lived before the 17th century. He stunned a Nundu, which he kept in his house illegally, and also used the Stupefy spell to stun people in the wizarding world from London whose houses he robbed.
Gellert Grindelwald used the Stunning Spell in the early Twentieth century on Mykew Gregorovitch to steal the Elder Wand from him. Leta Lestrange used the Stunning Spell in 1927 on a Matagot to prevent it from attacking her, Newt Scamander, and Tina Goldstein at the French Ministry of Magic.
Tom Riddle, who later became Lord Voldemort, used the Stunning Spell on his uncle Morfin Gaunt to steal his wand, which he later used to kill his father and his grandparents in the Riddle house. He would later modify Morfin’s memories and make him claim that he committed the murders.
More About the Spell
The Stunning Spell, or Stupefy was one of the most effective spells to be used during duels because it allowed one to neutralize their opponent without causing them any permanent damage or harm, unlike the Unforgivable Curses – Imperio, Crucio, and Avada Kadavra. Stupefy was ineffective on several magical beings and beasts like giants, dragons, trolls, dementors, and even half-giants, as in the case of Hagrid.
There was, however, a way to get past this by multiple spells being used on the same target. This could intensify the effect of the spell. There was also a magnified version of Stupefy, known as Stupefy Duo. This spell had double the effect of the Stupefy spell.
Another effect of the Stupefy spell was to prevent non-living or magical objects from moving. It was used frequently by wizards and witches to stop moving objects that were possibly in motion due to the influence of other curses on them.
Counterspells for Stupefy
There were several ways to counter the Stupefy spell. One of the easiest ways to counter it was to use the Shielding Charm, which would entirely block the spell before hitting the person. Another way to counter the Stupefy spell was to use the spell Rennervate, also known as the Reviving Spell. In the video game Hogwarts Legacy, the Stupefy spell worked as a counterspell itself, which meant that it could only be cast if the opponent in combat attacked the player first. Also, it was essential to hold the Protego Charm button while casting the Stupefy spell.
Furthermore, it was also possible to bewitch objects to not be halted by the Stupefy spell, as in the case of the Weasley twins, who used this to great effect on their fireworks, which immediately exploded when Dolores Umbridge used the Stupefy spell on them.
Appearances in the Harry Potter Series
Stupefy is one of the most used spells in the Harry Potter series. The first verbal use of the spell in the series was made in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when several Ministry Wizards tried to prevent an unknown wizard who cast a Dark Mark (later revealed to be Barty Crouch Jr) and Winky the house-elf from escaping during the Quidditch World Cup. A blinding series of flashes bounced through the forest as a lot of spells were cast at the same time. The first-ever use of the spell in the series is probably when Peter Pettigrew turns into a rat and tries to escape from the Shrieking Shack. Harry, too, used it several times in this book, most notably when he learned this spell for the Triwizard Tournament.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, this spell was used several times. One of the most notable occurrences involving this spell was when Hagrid was attacked by a group of Ministry wizards, including John Dawlish, on the orders of Dolores Umbridge. Hagrid, however, was unharmed as he was a half-giant and could withstand this spell. When Professor McGonagall tried to reason with them, they attacked her with a volley of spells, and she had to be taken to the Hospital Wing.
Harry and the other members of the Dumbledore’s Army used this spell several times during practice, including Neville Longbottom, who accidentally used it on Dean Thomas instead of Padma Patil. It was also used by Harry, Hermione, Luna, Ron, Neville, and Ginny on several Death Eaters at the Department of Mysteries. It is safe to say that most members of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff had learned this spell during their training with the Dumbledore’s Army.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Luna Lovegood used this spell to great effect on Alecto Carrow when she tried to attack Harry and her when they were searching for the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw.
Tasers – A Substitute for Stupefy in the Muggle World
Although it would have been very useful to have the Stupefy spell in the Muggle world, especially to catch thieves and burglars without hurting them permanently, there exists a substitute for it. Tasers were invented by a NASA researcher named Jack Cover in the year 1974. He named them TASERs to stand as a loose acronym for Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle, the title of one of Jack Cover’s favorite childhood books. Tasers are very useful in mimicking the exact effects of the Stupefy spell.
They incapacitate the victim for a short while without causing any permanent damage. In higher intensities, there is also a danger of permanent harm and even death, as several Taser-related deaths have also been reported in history. But this is similar to the Stupefy charm being almost lethal when more than one Stupefy spell hits the same person.
How do you cast Stupefy at an enemy?
Stupefy is cast at an enemy the same way most other spells are. The wand is set at the ready, and the incantation “Stupefy” is uttered simultaneously with a wand movement resembling a straight line perpendicular to the ground. The wand shoots out a beam of energy at the enemy, thereby causing them to be temporarily incapacitated.
How does Stupefy work?
Stupefy most likely works by incapacitating major nerve endings of one’s body, thereby preventing any muscle from movement. However, it is unlikely that it affects the brain in any way, as in order to not cause any permanent harm and for the body to keep functioning normally, it is essential for the brain to still be working properly.
How strong is Stupefy?
Stupefy is a decently strong spell meant to temporarily neutralize a person but to not cause any severe harm. However, Stupefy can be very strong, especially when more than one spell is targeted at the same person, as in the case of Professor McGonagall. Professor McGonagall was attacked with a volley of Stupefy spells by several wizards from the Ministry of Magic, and she dropped unconscious and had to be taken to the Hospital Wing.