Repairing the Vanishing Cabinet
So I've been thinking about it for a while, but I can't think of any good theories for how Draco might have tried — and eventually succeeded, of course — to fix the Vanishing Cabinet in HBP. A spell? It's not like he could use reparo. Any theories are welcome, because mine just keep getting worse and worse.
Well, I think that before thinking about fixing it, I would have thought we'd need to figure out in what way it was broken. Forgive me, I don't think there are any details in HP, are there?
I would've imagined a series of complicated spells and incantations. To me, I would think that perhaps the instructions to fixing/making a cabinet a vanishing cabinet would be in an ancient language. So that would mean that Draco struggled to translate and therefore get right the spells? That's just how I picture it though. Because how else could you fix it? I think the magic of it was broken/worn out rather than the cabinet itself. Maybe the connection between the two was broken?
Just some ideas! Sorry I can't help more!
I agree with Phily. Draco would've tried to figure out how it broke before he tried fixing it. He was, of course, trying to do the best possible job as quickly as he could.
Perhaps he took a jaunt to the Restricted Section for some help? Snape would've signed the note in a heartbeat. I'm sure the Vanishing Cabinet was full of powerful Ancient magic that would've required it.
Maybe, if he got desperate enough, he'd try a Muggle way of fixing it. Peeves did smash it. Who knows? Maybe he went beyond spells and tried it the old-fashioned way. Who said Wizards couldn't use hammers? (Wow, sounds like the title of a "Bailey School Kids" book...)
Hope this gave you some ideas! Good luck!
Let's find out what exactly happened to the Vanishing Cabinet first and the extent of damage:
The word "wreckage" is used - which makes it seem like th cabinet was in splinters after the episode. Peeves dropped it from a height, didn't he? And it was a wooden cabinet, I feel that it would have be crushed, or pretty badly damaged.
Originally Posted by Chamber of Secrets, UK Hardcover Edition, Page 99
I'm assuming that Flich cleaned up and set the Cabinet on the First Floor. Why? Didn't it look damaged? Would they really want something damaged lying around the school? Especially since the previous year Hogwarts was playing host to two other wizarding schools? Maybe the Cabinet repaired itself? We know that this is the same cabinet, because its partner is sitting in Borgin and Burkes. We saw it in PS/SS and in HBP.
Originally Posted by The Order of the Phoenix, UK Hardcover Edition, Page 553
Of course, something was still wrong with the cabinet (magically), because they found Montague in a toilet on the fourth floor in OotP (Snape's Worst Memory) (He had Apparated out, nearly killing himself, so he never made it to the other Cabinet). Montague didn't really come to his senses immediately after the event, so there's no chance that Snape fixed it and tossed it into the Room of Requirement to make sure no more Freds and Georges got a hold of it.
Then, in HBP (Draco's Detour) we hear Draco asking Borgin how to repair it - and Borgin says:
A couple of ways to take this:
Originally Posted by The Half Blood Prince, UK Hardcover, Page 121
1) It would really be a very difficult thing to repair.
2) Borgin is just saying this to squeeze some more cash from the Malfoys.
The second option seems more likely, because Draco didn't immediately believe Borgin and refused to bring it in, and we know he managed to repair it eventually.
Choose one, and stick with it.
Whoa. You mean the cabinet is still broken, visibly? What was it doing sitting on the first floor in fifth year, then? And doesn't Harry wonder what the thing is doing in the RoR anyway - considering that he's recognized it perfectly, even associating it with Montague?
Originally Posted by The Half Blood Prince, UK Hardcover, Page 492
Forget that. Okay. The Cabinet is still broken - like, you can see the damage (though this disputes evidence in OotP which suggests it was not visibly shattered because it was on display). Apparently, Draco has transported it to the RoR himself (strange no one saw, or stopped him).
I think this all gives you a basic outline of what Malfoy did. First, I think we would have used Reparo to fix visible damage to the cabinet - I remember someone using Reparo to fix something, and though it was repaired visibly, it didn't work magically. I don't know who or what was being repaired - maybe someone else can throw light on this?
Then, threatening Borgin a bit more, Malfoy found out from him the basics of repairing the cabinet magically - that is, repairing the vanishing (though it doesn't vanish anything, only shuttles them between cabinets) bit. Perhaps, Borgin told him various spells, which Malfoy then added to using the library and his teachers' knowledge on spells. He must have tested the cabinet regularly, trying vanish objects and see if they appeared in Borgin's cabinet. Judging by how much time Draco was spending in the RoR, this was extremely difficult for him.
Could Snape have helped? Maybe. But unlikely, as Draco seemed loathe to accept his help in HBP. We could assume however, that Snape pushed Malfoy in the right direction, perhaps left books for him, without actually specifing what the books were for.
Despite this long ramble, not much seems to have come to light. Sorry. >_< I hope this helped a little.