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Thread: Does magic "change" over time?

  1. #1
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    Does magic "change" over time?

    Hello!
    I've been wondering about this idea for and while and would love to get your input -

    How much do you think magic changes - as in, how many new spells and new treatments and such are being invented? Are old spells that were once really prevalent being replaced with newer more "efficient" ones?

    The wizarding world seems to be somewhat slow changing, but does this apply to magic, too? What is the state of new magical "technologies?"

    Any comments are greatly appreciated.

    -Claire

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    I think the fact that most spells in canon are Latin (or Latin-sounding) is a good indication that spell "technological" process is slow. Otherwise, there would be more spells in English, like Hermione's Point Me.

    On the other hand, the Ministry of Magic has a Committee on Experimental Charms, so this suggests that there is a formal process of inventing and perhaps patenting new spells. We also see amazing creativity regarding spells with the Weasley Twins, so the talent and capability to do so is definitely there. However, I still think new spells would have a hard time entering mainstream use, due to competition from older spells, and the decisions of publishers about what spells to include in Hogwarts textbooks.

    Tim the Enchanter

  3. #3
    Lovemagic
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    How much do you think magic changes - as in, how many new spells and new treatments and such are being invented? Are old spells that were once really prevalent being replaced with newer more "efficient" ones?
    I don't really think so. We've seen loads of spells in the books, and they seem to be quite efficient. For example, Reparo fully repares broken objects and such. How can you get more advanced with that? Spells like Stupefy are also quite useful against an opponent. There are many offensive spells to choose from, you just need patience to learn them all. Same with defensive spells, like the ones Hermione uses in DH when the Trio is camping. There was an enchantment for every kind of protection they needed, and they were efficient.

    As for treatments, Wizards seem to have a solution for everything. From spells to potions. Episkey to Essence of Murtlap. Cures for all sorts of poisons. They may be hard to attain or make, but it can be done. Sometimes Healers come across things that they don't know how to fix right away--remember Nagini's attack on Mr. Weasley? But they only had to do some research, try some things out and create a solution--they already had all the information they needed.

    There are some things that don't have a cure, and those would mostly be Dark Magic. Remember Dumbledore's withering hand after he put on the Ring Horcrux? I think it was an enchantment or something of the sort that couldn't be rid of, only held back.

    Of course, new spells will still be invented. I think Hermione showed Harry how to do the Point Me spell in GoF....But overall I don't think there would be any big 'development' in magic.

    If that made any sense.

    Hayden

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    Well, we know people create charms and spells because of what we learned in HBP. Snape invented Levicorpus and Sectumsempra. So people come up with spells, but I don't think spells replace other spells like technology replaces technology. And thinking about medical spells/treatments, there is the same research dedicated to finding cures through magic as there is through science I would assume. They don't have cures for everything. They can't cure Werewolves, they can only make them harmless. They can't reverse dark magic. But they continue to look for cures. Think of how many years it took for them to get the Wolfsbane potion. But once invented I think things stay the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rachelnotrach
    Think of how many years it took for them to get the Wolfsbane potion. But once invented I think things stay the same.
    Well for something like that, I don't see why they wouldn't continue to tinker. The Wolfsbane potion makes Remus's transformation harmless but he's still weak afterwards. An improved Wolfsbane potion could make it so that the day after the full moon, the werewolf doesn't suffer any ill-effects.
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    I don't think that magic itself changes, rather that wizards channel it in different ways over time. I think that back at the time of the Founders, if one of them were to take a wand and say 'point me' I reckon it would have worked, but the spell itself probably hadn't been discovered yet.

    As for treatments, Wizards seem to have a solution for everything. From spells to potions. Episkey to Essence of Murtlap. Cures for all sorts of poisons. They may be hard to attain or make, but it can be done. Sometimes Healers come across things that they don't know how to fix right away--remember Nagini's attack on Mr. Weasley? But they only had to do some research, try some things out and create a solution--they already had all the information they needed.
    But surely the fact that the Healer had to try things out to create a solution suggest that wizards actually don't have a solution for everything? The antidote wasn't immediately on hand- they had to go and make it themselves. Doesn't that show evolution of magical processes? They may have discovered that the antidote made was actually more effective than ones used previously and so decided to use that one more often.

    There are some things that don't have a cure, and those would mostly be Dark Magic.
    Not necessarily. Harry has to wear glasses throughout the books, and so does Dumbledore, and James Potter Snr. Defective eyesight isn't Dark magic, so it suggests that wizards don't have a cure for everything. Trying out new potions and spells would be necessary to heal those conditions. Also, Harry's bones have to be regrown painfully overnight. Ideally, bones could be re-grown as painfully and as quickly as mending them. Magic, or rather the spells, would have to be evolved and changed.

    Sarah x


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  7. #7
    hogwartsbookworm
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    How much do you think magic changes - as in, how many new spells and new treatments and such are being invented? Are old spells that were once really prevalent being replaced with newer more "efficient" ones?
    Well, I don't know about increasing 'efficiency' but I'm pretty sure that, at least in some cases, cures that were thought to work at one time must have been replaced with less mid-evil spells/potions/treatments.

    I have come to that conclusion because in OotP, when the wizard painting in the St. Mungo's stairwell is badgering Ron about having Spattergroit (which I have come to think of as a wonderfully ironic foreshadowing on JKR's part, since Ron uses Spattergroit as his excuse in DH), he says that the only cure for his affliction is to take the liver of a toad, bind it tight about the ill person's throat, and stand naked by the full moon in a barrel of eels' eyes. I highly doubt that the present day healers at St. Mungo's would make a patient do that.

    I think that the changes in magical healing, at any rate, would have improved as witches and wizards began learning more, just like Muggle doctering has. I mean, in Shakespeare's day, they thought that if you got anything from a common cold to a disease, they thought that your 'humours' were out of balance, and that you had 'bad blood' in your system, so they'd set leeches on you to suck out the 'bad blood' and restore the 'humours' to a balanced state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AidaLuthien
    Well for something like that, I don't see why they wouldn't continue to tinker. The Wolfsbane potion makes Remus's transformation harmless but he's still weak afterwards. An improved Wolfsbane potion could make it so that the day after the full moon, the werewolf doesn't suffer any ill-effects.
    That was the only example I could think of for a medicine that took forever to find. That was my only point is that it takes time to find remedies, even for wizards. Not that the potion was perfect. I agree that they could improve on it, even maybe find a cure. But it took them forever just to be able to do that. And I apologize for not making this clearer. I think once they find a cure that works they might not do much to improve it. Like the spell Tonks uses to heal Harry's nose (having a spelling block...).

    I wonder if they do try to improve on something like Skele-grow (hyphen or no hyphen?)... I mean it regrows the bone, though it is painful. Would they settle for that, or would they try to find a way to make it painless? Or would they focus their research efforts on something bigger like a cure for werewolves? Just throwing that out there.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rachelnotrach
    I wonder if they do try to improve on something like Skele-grow (hyphen or no hyphen?)... I mean it regrows the bone, though it is painful. Would they settle for that, or would they try to find a way to make it painless? Or would they focus their research efforts on something bigger like a cure for werewolves? Just throwing that out there.
    Just like Muggle medicine, it probably depends on what the individual Healer is interested in or has the money to research. There might not be much money in researching a cure for werewolves, so people aren't as interested or can't afford to experiment as much.

    Even though the wizarding world is significantly smaller than the Muggle world, there are probably enough Healers the world over to have a fair amount of different research fields.
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