Is your Patronus charm powerful?
In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, Azkaban is a fort on a remote island in the North sea. Azkaban is notorious for the creatures that safeguard it- Dementors. Dementors are dark creatures that resemble an apparition and thrives on the happy emotions and memories of those who come in contact with them. They suck the life-force out of their victims; leaving them soulless and in despair.
The Ministry of Magic saw the potential to use Azkaban as its prison because of the dementors. It was a win-win situation as the Ministry could save on expenses and the dementors could thrive on the prisoners' emotions.
J K Rowling’s inspiration for the dementors was the period of depression she experienced before her novel became a phenomenal success. It was a tough time for Rowling as she was living on benefits and as with anyone who has faced bouts of depression, she couldn’t foresee getting out of the rabbit hole.
Like Rowling, we all have our dementors.
They may not be dark, ghost-like creatures, but these formless entities keep us locked in the Azkaban of our minds. They are nothing but the constant stream of negative emotions and experiences we encounter in life.
Dementors are introduced in the 3rd part of the Harry Potter series- Prisoner of Azkaban. En route Hogwarts, on the train, Harry comes in contact with a dementor, who was searching for a prisoner who had escaped Azkaban. As the dementor begins to drain out Harry’s soul, Professor Remus Lupin (the teacher for Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA)) intervenes and rescues him.
Dementors cannot be killed, but they can be driven off with a Patronus charm. If cast correctly, the spell creates a silver, guardian animal that would shield the spellcaster from dark creatures.
Since Harry is vehement on learning to shield himself from dementors, Lupin teaches him the Patronus charm. Lupin warns Harry that it is difficult to conjure a Patronus, as the spell is complicated and it falls under advanced magic. Wizards who manage to conjure a Patronus charm successfully are considered a hallmark of magical prowess.
The success of the Patronus charm depends on the strength of the happy memory that is used while casting the spell. This is an interesting data point for us muggles. When we are caught in a period of severe misery or slump, we expect to be in a position to cast the Patronus charm easily and get out of the situation. But, we can’t. Since we get overwhelmed with the situation, the happy memories lose its strength and the Patronus doesn’t get created.
The Patronus charm can be looked at as the armor that would shield us from the dementors in our life. The armor is nothing but the mental fortitude that all of us need to develop. As the case with Harry, only consistent practice would help in building mental strength.
Additionally, it is also good to have someone like Professor Lupin who would hand out chocolates in the middle of such practice sessions!