Occlumency (2024)

"Point me!"

This article is about the skill of protecting one's mind from external penetration. You may be looking for the private lessons given to Harry Potter.

Occlumency (1)
Severus Snape: "The headmaster has sent me to tell you, Potter, that it is his wish for you to study Occlumency this term"
Harry Potter: "Study what?"
Severus Snape: "Occlumency, Potter. The magical defense of the mind against external penetration. An obscure branch of magic, but a highly useful one"
Severus Snape, an accomplished Occlumens, telling Harry Potter about Occlumency in 12 Grimmauld Place[src]

Occlumency is the act of magically closing one's mind against Legilimency. It can prevent a Legilimens from accessing one's thoughts and feelings, or influencing them. A person who practises this art is known as an Occlumens.


  • 1 Methods
  • 2 Examples
  • 3 Known Occlumens
  • 4 Etymology
  • 5 Behind the scenes
  • 6 Appearances
  • 7 Notes and references


"I told you to empty yourself of emotion! ... Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked this easily — weak people, in other words — they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Potter!"
Severus Snape to Harry Potter on the difficulty of learning Occlumency[src]

The most basic form of Occlumency, judging from Severus Snape's early lessons on the subject to Harry Potter, involves clearing one's mind — making it "blank and empty" — in order to prevent a Legilimens from perceiving one's emotions and thoughts. More advanced Occlumency involves suppressing only the thoughts, emotions, and memories that would contradict whatever it is an Occlumens wishes a Legilimens to believe; hence, it is not obvious that Occlumency is being used even if the person is lying. It requires a great deal of will power, as with resisting the Imperius Curse, as well as a high degree of mental and emotional discipline. It is also one method of resisting the influence of Veritaserum.[1]

Occlumency is not part of the normal curriculum taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and appears to be a rare and difficult skill.


Severus Snape: "It appears there is a connection between the Dark Lord's mind and your own. Whether he is, as yet, aware of this connection is for the moment unclear. Pray he remains ignorant."
Harry Potter: "You mean if he knows about it then, he'll be able to read my mind."
Severus Snape: "Read it, control it, unhinge it... Used properly, the power of Occlumency will help shield you from access or influence. In these lessons I will attempt to penetrate your mind. You will attempt to resist. Prepare yourself! Legilimens!"
— Snape and Harry during an Occlumency lesson[src]

In the 1995–1996 school year, Albus Dumbledore had Severus Snape teach Harry Potter Occlumency in an effort to prevent his mind from being penetrated and influenced by Lord Voldemort. Snape was a highly skilled Occlumens, being able to successfully deceive extremely accomplished Legilimens Voldemort, but his lessons with Harry were ultimately unsuccessful. Harry was not able to repel most attacks, though it is likely that the personal enmity between him and Snape as well as the stressful events in his life that year hindered his ability. He eventually gave up attempting to learn. Harry later managed to block his connection to Voldemort, on occasion, by focusing on feelings of love and grief, rather than by using Occlumency.

Hermione: "Dumbledore wanted you to use Occlumency! He thought the connection was dangerous... So you’re not even going to try to shut him out?"
Harry: "Hermione, I can’t. You know I’m lousy at Occlumency. I never got the hang of it."
Hermione: "You never really tried!"
Harry Potter and Hermione Granger arguing in 1997[src]

Snape himself also employed Occlumency to hide his loyalty to the Order of the Phoenix from Voldemort, and due to his well-known mastery, both sides had difficulty trusting him.[1]

In 1996, Bellatrix Lestrange trained her nephew, Draco Malfoy in Occlumency so that he could keep his mission to kill Albus Dumbledore a secret. Draco became skilled enough to repel Snape's attempts at Legilimency.[2] Draco's success was due to him shutting out his compassion to become the bully he is, making it easy for him to close his mind.[3]

Known Occlumens[]

File:Draco Mafloy Half-Blood Prince.JPG


The word "occlumency" comes from the Latin occludere, meaning "to shut up" and mens, for "mind".

Behind the scenes[]

  • On the subject of Occlumency, J. K. Rowling has discussed why Draco Malfoy would be skilled at it while Harry Potter was not:
    • "...I think Draco would be very gifted in Occlumency, unlike Harry. Harry’s problem with it was always that his emotions were too near the surface and that he is in some ways too damaged. But he's also very in touch with his feelings about what's happened to him. He's not repressed, he's quite honest about facing them, and he couldn't suppress them, he couldn't suppress these memories. But I thought of Draco as someone who is very capable of compartmentalising his life and his emotions, and always has done. So he's shut down his pity, enabling him to bully effectively. He's shut down compassion — how else would you become a Death Eater? So he suppresses virtually all of the good side of himself."[6]
  • Narcissa Malfoy may be an Occlumens, as she lied to Voldemort about Harry's demise without consequences.[7] However, Voldemort may not have been using Legilimency on her at the time, as he might not have believed she would lie to him with her family's lives at stake, a sign of Voldemort's greatest weakness: arrogance.
  • Gellert Grindelwald may also have been an Occlumens, as he lied to Voldemort about having owned the Elder Wand. However, this is unconfirmed.
  • According to W.O.M.B.A.T., it may be possible that Occlumency can guard against possession.
  • Voldemort employed Occlumency against Harry Potter to try and end the connection, but started to lose control during the events of 1997 and 1998.
  • Harry Potter briefly used Occlumency against Voldemort, although he has never been able to master it.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange was most likely taught Occlumency from Voldemort, since she stated in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries that he taught her the dark arts.
  • Draco was most likely taught Occlumency by Bellatrix Lestrange, a theory made by Severus Snape when he tries, unsuccessfully, to break into Draco's thoughts.
  • The Wizengamot believed that Sirius Black might have been an Occlumens, as they believed that even if they give him a fair trial under the influence of Veritaserum, he would still be able to resist it with Occlumency or other tricks.[3]
  • Since Occlumency requires one to close the mind and not necessary a wand, an attribute similar to potions brewing, it is possible that muggles are capable of becoming Occlumens.


Notes and references[]

Occlumency (2024)


Who is the strongest Legilimens? ›

Voldemort had been considered, mainly by his Death Eaters, to be the most accomplished Legilimens ever.

Who is the most accomplished Legilimens? ›

Legilimency might have been associated with Voldemort – the world's most accomplished Legilimens, according to Snape – but not every Legilimens was a terrible Dark wizard.

Did Harry ever get good at Occlumency? ›

According to W.O.M.B.A.T., it is possible that Occlumency can guard against possession. Harry Potter briefly used Occlumency against Voldemort, although he has never been able to master it.

Was Draco good at Occlumency? ›

Draco Malfoy excelled at Occlumency because he had learned from a young age to shut down his emotions and present a cold, strong exterior. Snape's success at Occlumency contradicts Harry's failure, as Snape had his own emotional outbursts but still managed to master the skill.

Who is the strongest occlumens? ›

Voldy is said to be the most powerful legilimen in the series. Snape was often in the same room as him and even made eye contact and was still able to hide his true intentions so that's why I think he is the most powerful Occlumen in the series. Grindelwald deserves an honourable mention for also outsmarting voldy.

Which wizard is stronger than Voldemort? ›

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort ever feared and the only one who could have defeated him in a duel. Albus Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard in the Harry Potter.

Does Harry do wandless magic? ›

On 2 August 1995, Harry Potter unknowingly performed underage wandless magic in an alleyway in Little Whinging due to the presence of Dementors, with Harry speaking the incantation for the Wand-Lighting Charm aloud (Lumos) despite not holding his wand which he had dropped in the darkness, which instantly illuminated ...

What did Bellatrix teach Draco? ›

Later in the book, it is mentioned by Snape that Bellatrix had been teaching Occlumency to Draco, in an effort to aid him with his mission.

Who did Draco Malfoy learn Occlumency from? ›

Draco also proved capable at Occlumency, which he learned from his Aunt Bellatrix. Rowling recalled a discussion with her editor about Draco having mastered Occlumency while Harry could not.

Is Draco smarter than Hermione? ›

Draco Malfoy is one of the most brilliant students at Hogwarts, only surpassed by Hermione Granger.

Who is smarter, Harry or Draco? ›

The answer to this question is simple. They are equally smart, brave and ambitious. As our sweet protagonist, Harry possesses immense kindness, care and intention to save the world from the dark because he has endured pain and ignorance as a child, which triggered him to stand up for the beaten and start a revolution.

Why Draco is not a villain? ›

Not A Villain: Draco Strong Bond With His Wife

He marries Astoria Greengrass, who similarly converts from pure-blood ideals to more tolerant life views. She also does not want to raise their son Scorpius to believe that Muggles are worse than pure-bloods.

Whose wand is the most powerful in Harry Potter? ›

Ollivander says, "it's the wand that chooses the wizard," and they've certainly chosen well.
  • 4 Snape's Wand Is A Powerful Enigma. ...
  • 3 Harry's Wand Was Made Of An Unusual And Complex Magic Combination. ...
  • 2 Voldemort's Wand Was Capable Of Terrible Things. ...
  • 1 The Elder Wand Was The Most Powerful Wand In The Wizarding World.
Feb 11, 2022

Who is the most powerful entity in Harry Potter? ›

First on our list is Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Known for his wisdom and powerful magical abilities, Dumbledore is respected and feared by many in the magical community.

Who is the most powerful professor in Harry Potter? ›

One of the most powerful and respected wizards of his time, Dumbledore was a natural choice to teach the younger generation, and held positions as both Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor before becoming headmaster.

Who are the strongest wizard? ›

Characters like Barty Crouch Jr., Lucius Malfoy, and Bellatrix Lestrange are some of the most powerful wizards, showcasing their talents through their actions and magic.

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