Dear Mr. Potter,
I hope this owl finds you well. First of all, I would like to wish you, Sir, a very happy birthday. I hope you had time to celebrate your birth with all your responsibilities within the Auror Department. I heard some dark wizards are gaining power. I hope we don’t get to see another Lord Voldemort rise, eh?
I had a question for you regarding the Patronus Charm. Now, I know that you can produce one, a corporeal Patronus which takes the form of a Stag. All I’ve been able to do so far is produce an incorporeal one. But one day, I was able to actually see my Patronus and it was a wolf. However, ever since that one time, I can’t seem to be able to produce it anymore. How is it that you keep holding on to the happiest memory you have? And what do you usually do when you just can’t find one?
I hope to hear from you soon.
All my best to the family,
P.S. I have put some enchantments on the letter in case it somehow fell in the hands of some of those dark wizards we’ve heard about. Couldn’t risk anything happening to you. Although I know the Ministry is going to double check this owl, but better safe than sorry, right?
From the Desk of Harry Potter, Head Auror
Ministry of Magic
Dear A. Rahman,
Firstly, thank you very much for the birthday wishes! Despite the Ministry keeping me busy (in the best way possible), I nonetheless had a very pleasant celebratory evening with my wife and children (I suspect I am to be subjected to a considerably more boisterous party this weekend).
I found your questions about the Patronus Charm intriguing, and my attention was especially caught when you mentioned that yours is a wolf. You see, only recently did I think to find out the Patronus of the person who taught me the charm. That man was Professor Remus Lupin, one of the most powerful and intelligent wizards I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. My mother-in-law recently informed me that his Patronus was, like yours, a wolf (she is one of few still living who ever saw it, as Remus was hesitant to make his Patronus corporeal, but had to use it to communicate when he was a member of the Order of the Phoenix). I initially thought it odd to hear that Remus, who was tragically afflicted with lycanthropy, had a wolf as his magical protector. Yet there is a belief that the manifestation of one’s Patronus represents a strength within us that can only take shape when it is most essential.
This is, perhaps, why your Patronus has yet to take shape consistently. Patronuses are more likely to take shape in our hour of need; I often find that, in the times I have been able to cast a fully-formed Patronus when not necessarily in need of it, it lingers for only seconds. However, in times of heightened emotion (be they happy or sad), my Patronus will remain at my side for many minutes. This could also be why you are having trouble with keeping hold of your happy memory when casting the charm; while we all have memories of happiness, you must fixate on a memory that absolutely engulfs you in its joy. The more vivid and powerful the memory, the stronger fuel you create to power your Patronus.
Personally, I also find that it helps to have a chocolate bar nearby. I’ve heard Muggles refer to chocolate as releasing something they call “endorphins,” and these things (whatever they are) apparently keep one in a consistent state of bliss.
I assume you ask me these questions as a student of magic. While I am certainly qualified to teach the Patronus Charm, I highly recommend that you ask your Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor any follow-up questions you may have. If you are fortunate enough to have a good instructor for this subject, as I did, you will benefit greatly from their knowledge and, potentially, hands-on lessons. For further research, I’d also suggest picking up a copy of Charms of Defence and Deterrence by Professor Catullus Spangle as well as The Book of Spells by Miranda Goshawk, although the latter may be difficult to obtain from a school library without written permission (or an Invisibility Cloak… not that I would know about such things).
Best of luck (and keep thinking happy thoughts!),