The green and red side: Color symbolism in the Wizarding World

We have seen frequent clashes of red and green color lights during the 2nd wizarding war. Harry potter frequented the disarming curse, Expelliarmus, a spell which eventually helped him take down Lord Voldemort, which sent red flashes. Voldemort, on the other hand, used the killing curse, Avada Kedavra, which sent sinister green hues.

Most of the spells are either red or green with some exceptions. The Patronus charm, which is also one of the major spells, is white with a silver tint.

Is there a specific reason for the color associated with each spell? Are these colors symbolizing something?

There are three unforgivable curses: the imperius curse (Imperio), the cruciatus curse (Crucio), and the killing curse (Avada Kedavra). They are the most sinister and evil sort of dark curses known. These curses are only used by dark wizards.

Avada Kedavra is the evilest of the three unforgivable curses. This curse will kill the person it aimed towards instantly. The biological reason behind this is not known but some theories suggest that the victim’s internal organs cease to function after being struck or that the soul of the victim is magically ripped from their body.

No one has survived the killing curse except Harry Potter, and this incident gave him the nickname of “The Boy Who Lived”. Harry was one year old when this incident happened so he didn’t remember anything. The only thing he seemed to remember was a flash of bright green light.

Second War Magic discovered by Viola on We Heart It

Another spell, Morsemodre, also closely associated with Voldemort, also projects a green dark mark. Using these connections, it would be too easy to assume that the color green is associated with evil when it comes to magical spells. Because Avada Kedavra and Morsemordre are evil spells and produce shades of green color, it would not be unfair to conclude that green equals evil. But there might be more to it than that.

“Green has long had a supernatural connection in UK. Superstition says that it ought to be worn with care; the fairies are possessive of it as it is their proper color. It ought never to be worn at weddings, due to a further association with misfortune and death.”

“Green is the color of the much dark magic of the Dark Mark, of the luminescent potion in which Voldemort conceals one of his Horcruxes, of many dark spells and curses, and of Slytherin house.”

These reasons are enough to create a sort of dichotomy of internal color symbolism. Throughout the second wizarding war, the color green was associated with the evil side and red was associated with the good side. Green often gives the effect of death, greed, and suffering.

Unlike green, red has an effect of implying warmth, comfort, and security. The color of red exudes almost contrasting characteristics in comparison to green, especially in effect to the second wizarding war. Green is supposed to be associated with evil.

However, not everything green is evil, though it may seem to be. The founder of the Slytherin house, Salazar Slytherin might be evil himself but not all of the Slytherins are evil. Harry Potter, the literal epitome of the good side, has eyes colored green, while Voldemort’s eyes were described to be red.

harry and you know who

The second most horrifying curse among the unforgivable curses, Crucio, sends a red flash. The green color is a symbol of peace in Egyptian mythology. Colors are often a tricky part to be considered in storytelling because there is so much underlying symbolism to be uncovered.

Some much meaning can be derived from colors, whether intentional or unintentional. And that’s why, when it comes to colors, things aren’t so black and white.



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