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Thread: Animal Transfiguration

  1. #1

    Animal Transfiguration

    I have been doing some pondering on animal Transfiguration lately, and I have a few things that have me stumps.

    We knoe that inanimate objects can be turned into animals from the scene in the first book, but according to Gamp's Law, we know that magic can't be used to conjure food. Although, why people couldn't just kill the pig is a mystery to me, but I do have a few theories as to why this might be.

    Could it be that animals conjured from inanimate objects just have the nutritional value of whatever they are transfigured from: like a bar of soap turned into a duck would really just still be the same as soap if a person tried to eat it?

    What do you all think?

  2. #2
    That's one of Rowling's many inconsistencies. Magic can't create food, but it can apparently create slugs, snakes, canaries, and other creatures (which are really no different from "food" in any material sense).

    Two possible explanations:

    (1) As you suggest, transformed/conjured creatures aren't "real" and thus have no actual nutritional value.

    (2) Conjured creatures aren't really being created, but summoned from elsewhere.

    The latter theory is the one I prefer, but it still doesn't explain why the Trio couldn't just cast Serpensortia and throw a few snakes on the barbie, if they were so hungry during their camping trip.

  3. #3
    Something else I wonder about is the mental capacities of these transfigured creatures, as well as how long these creatures can stay transfigured. How long would it be before a bird transfigured from a bar of soap begins to act like a bar of soap once again?

    Does anyone have any thoughts or opinions on this?

  4. #4
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
    First Brush With A Dementor

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Although it doesn't answer all of your questions, you still might find this thread helpful.

    As for what the "animals" would think... I can't get the whale from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide out of my head.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
    "Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet. And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more. This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it. Ah ... ! What's happening? it thought. Er, excuse me, who am I? Hello? Why am I here? What's my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Calm down, get a grip now ... oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It's a sort of ... yawning, tingling sensation in my ... my ... well I suppose I'd better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let's call it my stomach. Good. Ooooh, it's getting quite strong. And hey, what's about this whistling roaring sound going past what I'm suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that ... wind! Is that a good name? It'll do ... perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I've found out what it's for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What's this thing? This ... let's call it a tail - yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can't I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn't seem to achieve very much but I'll probably find out what it's for later on. Now - have I built up any coherent picture of things yet? No. Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I'm quite dizzy with anticipation ... Or is it the wind? There really is a lot of that now isn't it?

    I think if you transfigure something into an animal, it's as though the animal has come from out of nowhere, and therefore it must be quite confused about what it is, and what all the extra limbs and brainspace are for. If you gave it time, I believe the bar of soap would rather get used to being a duck and start behaving like one than turn back to soap bar behaviour. Like.. mh, like Peter Pettigrew gets used to life as a rat with the Weasley's and behaves like a very ordinary rat for 13 years. Of course he does that consciously, but it's the closest example I could think of... I believe if your spell is powerful enough, the creatures stay creatures until you turn them back. Which makes me feel sorry for all the Transfiguration-abominations (the teacups with the short legs, for example. Poor things).
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