|“||It was surely one thing to speak of the Dark Arts as a worthy enemy, another thing to speak of them, as Snape was doing, with a loving caress in his voice?||„|
|~ Harry Potter's views of the Dark Arts.|
The Dark Arts are the collective term for the most evil forms of magic in the Harry Potter book series. Unlike normal magic, the Dark Arts is used for selfish or malevolent purposes.
Magic seems to be channelled through emotions, such as one can produce a Patronus through positive and pleasant emotions. The practictioners of the Dark Arts, namely the Death Eaters, are unable to make Patronuses, because they do not need good memories.
The first recorded known use of the Dark Arts was in Ancient Greece around 3,000 years ago although curses were known to be placed upon Pharohs' tombs in Ancient Egypt as early as 5000 years ago. It was practiced by wizards full of hatred and anger, channelled into bitterness and deadly precision, which made it all the more deadly.
The first known use of the Dark Arts was either a Basilisk being bred by Dark Lord Herpo the Foul or him creating the first known Horcrux.
The Dark Arts come in many forms, the most famous is the Aveda Kedavra, the Killing Curse, 2 of the the 3 aspects of the deadly sorcery known as the Unforgivable Curses. Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort are the only humans to have survived the Unforgiving Curses. The practitioners of the Arts are the equivalent of Muggle criminals, and are often wanted by Law.
The uses of the Dark Arts include:
- All forms of curses.
- Horcruxes, the "most evil" of all Arts.
- Breeding Dark creatures.
The practitioners of the Dark Arts were named Death Eaters in modern times. In the past, they consisted of such figures as Herpo the Foul, first Dark Lord, Morgan, Circe, and Hecate.
Even Albus Dumbledore himself meddled in the Dark Arts in his youth; he sought to subjudgate Muggles into a police state where wizards would rule. His friend Gellert Grindelwald helped him in his ideas. But when Grindelwald began a fight which killed his sister, Dumbledore had to abandon his ideas.
The suitability of a wand to perform dark magic depends, at least partly, on its core; dragon heartstring and phoenix feather have a reputation for being suitable for it, while it's hard to perform dark magic with unicorn hair wands.
Some of the Dark Arts are described by wizards as "impossible" and "foolish" because wizards have proven that resurrection in solid form is improbable. This makes the Dark Arts' branch necromancy obselete. Nonetheless, Grindelwald sought the Resurrection Stone, the Hallow, for this purpose. Also, the Philosopher's Stone could be seen as part of the Dark Arts given that immortality is against the laws of nature.
As stated above, Dark Arts are empowered by negative emotions, as powerful dark spells that categorized by one (especially Unforgivable Curses) require malicious intent in order to be successful. This was proven when Harry Potter's use of Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix severely limited to incapacitate her since he lacked evil in his heart, let alone evil intentions. Also, the trio's proficiency in the use of Imperius Curse shown to far inferior than that of average Dark Wizards, nothing more than hypnosis.