Harry's first Apparition lesson

Wilkie Twycross gives the students a lesson in Apparition and casually explains the horrors of Splinching

Extract from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling

‘Thank you,’ said Twycross. ‘Now then ...’

He waved his wand. Old-fashioned wooden hoops instantly appeared on the floor in front of every student.

‘The important things to remember when Apparating are the three Ds!’ said Twycross. ‘Destination, Determination, Deliberation!

‘Step one: fix your mind firmly upon the desired destination,’ said Twycross. ‘In this case, the interior of your hoop. Kindly concentrate upon that destination now.’

Everybody looked around furtively, to check that everyone else was staring into their hoop, then hastily did as they were told. Harry gazed at the circular patch of dusty floor enclosed by his hoop and tried hard to think of nothing else. This proved impossible, as he couldn’t stop puzzling over what Malfoy was doing that needed lookouts.

‘Step two,’ said Twycross, ‘focus your determination to occupy the visualised space! Let your yearning to enter it flood from your mind to every particle of your body!’

Harry glanced around surreptitiously. A little way to his left, Ernie Macmillan was contemplating his hoop so hard that his face had turned pink; it looked as though he was straining to lay a Quaffle-sized egg. Harry bit back a laugh and hastily returned his gaze to his own hoop.

‘Step three,’ called Twycross, ‘and only when I give the command ... turn on the spot, feeling your way into nothingness, moving with deliberation! On my command, now ... one –’

Harry glanced around again; lots of people were looking positively alarmed at being asked to Apparate so quickly.

‘– two –’

Harry tried to fix his thoughts on his hoop again; he had already forgotten what the three Ds stood for.

‘– THREE!’

Harry spun on the spot, lost his balance and nearly fell over. He was not the only one. The whole Hall was suddenly full of staggering people; Neville was flat on his back; Ernie Macmillan, on the other hand, had done a kind of pirouet- ting leap into his hoop and looked momentarily thrilled, until he caught sight of Dean Thomas roaring with laughter at him.

‘Never mind, never mind,’ said Twycross dryly, who did not seem to have expected anything better. ‘Adjust your hoops, please, and back to your original positions ...’

The second attempt was no better than the first. The third was just as bad. Not until the fourth did anything exciting happen. There was a horrible screech of pain and everybody looked around, terrified, to see Susan Bones of Hufflepuff wobbling in her hoop with her left leg still standing five feet away where she had started.

The Heads of House converged on her; there was a great bang and a puff of purple smoke, which cleared to reveal Susan sobbing, reunited with her leg but looking horrified.

‘Splinching, or the separation of random body parts,’ said Wilkie Twycross dispassionately, ‘occurs when the mind is insufficiently determined. You must concentrate continually upon your destination, and move, without haste, but with deliberation ... thus.’

Twycross stepped forwards, turned gracefully on the spot with his arms outstretched and vanished in a swirl of robes, reappearing at the back of the Hall.

‘Remember the three Ds,’ he said, ‘and try again ... one – two – three –’


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling