Are there any spells that a wizard/witch can cast without a wand in the Harry Potter universe?

This question was "answered" by a post going off on a tangent about soldiers being able to fight without a sword. That post does in no way address the question asked if there are any spells that can be cast wandless and if so, how wandless magic works. It does not give "an in-universe explanation" (words and emphasis by the OP).

It fails to address the question.

Yet at least three separate "Not an Answer" flags (by users Gallifreyan, Mithrandir, and yours truly) were rejected.

declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

A screenshot showing the rejected flag of user Mithrandir

This post is not even wrong; it does not address the question and goes off on a tangent. It does not answer the questions, neither the one asked in the title, nor the ones in the body.

So why were these "Not an Answer" flags declined?

  • don't we have this discussion every time someone's NAA Flag is declined? The flag doesn't mean what you think it means. You think it means "this is not an answer to the question" -- not surprising, since that's what it says -- but that's not what it means. It means "this post isn't an answer to any question."
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:37
  • @KutuluMike so what question is answered by that post?
    – SQB
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:47
  • "do you think wizards can cast magic without wands?"
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:48
  • OP is asking what, if any, spells can be cast without a wand. "Answer" says wizards "should" e able to do something without their wands as well. No mention of actual spells. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:50
  • What OP is asking is irrelevant. You can tell if the NAA flag applies or not just by reading the answer. If you have to check the question to see if NAA applies, then it doesn't.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:51
  • Again from the SE FAQ: "Do not use this flag when: ... You have to consider the question, other answers, or even the comments on the answer itself in order to determine if an answer is not-an-answer"
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:51
  • 4
    @KutuluMike You're wrong. I check what the question asks, then I check the answer. If the answer doesn't address the question it was posted under, I don't check if it is an answer to some other question, I downvote and flag. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:53
  • 1
    I am not wrong, Stack Exchange is wrong, since I'm just quoting what their FAQ says.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


Because "NAA" doesn't mean what any reasonable person thinks it means. Most people assume "Not An Answer" means that the post does not answer the question being asked. It doesn't. It means "the thing that was posted is in no way, shape, or form an answer to any question".

The things that qualify for not an answer include:

  • An answer that's actually a different question.
  • An answer that's asking for clarification.
  • An answer that's just a "thanks" or "me, too"
  • An answer that's a comment or message to the OP or other users.

If the thing that's in the post is written in the form of an answer to a question, then the NAA flag isn't appropriate. In this case, the OP's answer is rambling, largely off-topic, and entirely conjecture, but they are in a very odd sense trying to say that yes, wizards can cast magic without wands. So, it's an answer.

  • 2
    Just to clarify: this isn't my personal opinion. This is the stated criteria that Stack Exchange wants mods to use to handle those flags. Downvoting me ain't gonna change that.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:53
  • 12
    The flag reason states: "This was posted as an answer, but it does not attempt to answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether. " Not any question - the question.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:53
  • @KutuluMike I know. And I don't blame you for quoting the SE policy.
    – SQB
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:55
  • 1
    Also see (and vote for): scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/a/11087/19561
    – SQB
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 17:20
  • So what is the correct flag if there is one? Cause I know when those answers hit the Very Low Quality Posts review queue they get swept away very quickly, so it seems equally the case that they aren't wanted on the site
    – Au101
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 19:41
  • 2
    Presumably 'very low quality' but I'm sure I've read discussions along the lines of, it's regrettable that a very low quality flag exists because it's essentially meaningless
    – Au101
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 19:42
  • 1
    If this is true it's a complete change from how flagging has been used since as long as I can remember.
    – Ram
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 18:54
  • that is kind of my point. no one does it right, and so people are always frustrated when a moderator "follows the rules".
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 23:17
  • 2
    This answer isn't entirely wrong, but glosses over the usual point of contention: that last bullet. Divining how (or if) a specific response is intended to solve a problem is prone to both errors and good ol' differences of opinion; that's why there are multiple moderators, multiple reviewers, multiple voters etc. Pretty much everyone agrees that "Buy ZapIT pills!" isn't an answer to most questions, but I'd guess a much smaller number of people know that some rant about the nature of magic and/or soldiering isn't an answer to that specific question. See: meta.stackoverflow.com/q/286366
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 20:28

Disclaimer: I declined two of the NaA flags on this post, and another mod declined the third.

The question includes the following:

What is the explanation for why some spells can be cast without a wand and is there an in-universe explanation for why this isn't done?

Akhil's answer attempts to address this by making an argument from analogy using soldiers:

In my opinion we should consider an example of a Soldier. a soldier use a weapon to fight, but he can also fight without any weapon by using only his arms. Still he is much more deadly and harmful with a weapon compared to the empty handed. [...]

Same things happens with a wizard as he is trained in magic but more powerful with a wand, and a muggle can not do magic.

This is surely at least an attempt to answer the question, even if a poor one (I don't even think it's that poor an attempt, but in any case that's not what NaA flags are for). The answerer is explaining why wizards tend to use wands even though they can do magic without them, by drawing a comparison with soldiers who use weapons despite being trained in unarmed combat.

In any case, thanks to the meta effect, the answer has since been deleted by three high-rep users.

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