Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration

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Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration

Post  Potteraholic on Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:59 pm


This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing, which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. It was copied/saved by Julia H. and reformatted/reposted by Potteraholic. ~Potteraholic


Chemyst - Feb 9, 2009 8:14 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Feb 12, 2009 1:37 pm

Gamp's Law holds that there are five exceptions to elemental transfiguration. Hermione specifically names food. I remember a consensus opinion that wealth was also an exception - at least gemstones, since they are still rare, and durable money (allowing for the ephemeral Leprechaun gold). Transfiguration does not seem to be of great use in healing either.

That still leaves two more exceptions to debate, or three if you don't think that lack of ability to alter the elements for healing counts as an exception.

Additionally, there is the complication of creating life from inanimate elements. I don't recall seeing any of McGonagall's transfigured animals stick around, so they may be temporary like the gold. And most food was formerly alive, so it gets knotty. If you want to explore life from lifeless elements, please begin a separate thread. The purpose of this thread is to identify the missing exceptions of Gamp's law. When can a raw element not be transformed into something else?
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Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration - posts #1 to #50

Post  Potteraholic on Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:00 pm


mona amon - Feb 9, 2009 8:36 pm (#1 of 117)

I don't recall seeing any of McGonagall's transfigured animals stick around, so they may be temporary like the gold.

But didn't the Muggle prime minister give the teacup transfigured into a gerbil to his delighted niece? She wouldn't have been so delighted if it had turned back into a teacup after a while.


Solitaire - Feb 9, 2009 11:21 pm (#2 of 117)

She does turn her desk into a pig, but she changes it right back immediately. Interesting thread, Chemyst.

Edit:

Wikipedia had this to say about the subject: The Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration are five magical objects that are an exception to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration ? objects that cannot be created by magic. Out of the five exceptions, only four are mentioned in the series: food, love, life, and information. The fifth and final exception is likely money, as Rowling once remarked in an interview money is something wizards cannot simply materialise out of thin air, for the economic system of the Wizarding World would then be gravely flawed and disrupted.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_in_Harry_Potter


Mrs Brisbee - Feb 10, 2009 6:27 am (#3 of 117)

Love isn't an object, though, but an emotion. I'm not sure it would relate to Transfiguration magic at all. Doesn't Transfiguration pertain to changing something's physical properties?


Solitaire - Feb 10, 2009 7:01 am (#4 of 117)

I wondered about that, as well, Mrs. Brisbee. I'm also curious how information fits into it.

Edit: I took a look at the Lexicon page on Transfiguration and noticed something interesting. Look at how many times transfiguration lessons involve turning living things into nonliving things--rabbits into slippers; mouse into a snuff box; beetle into a button; hedgehog into a pin cushion. Why not the other way around? Then Harry has to vanish an Iguana in his OWL. I thought that was interesting.


Mare - Feb 10, 2009 7:54 am (#5 of 117)

I always skipped past those parts, because never does it say that the poor animals get transfigured back.


Quinn Crockett - Feb 10, 2009 9:03 am (#6 of 117)

For some reason it strikes me that it would be much harder to "un-animate" a living thing than to animate an inanimate object. Besides, you could almost argue that it's a form of DADA. If you could turn your attacker into a piece of furniture, think of the possibilities

I agree, though, that Love and Information seem to be strange interpretations of the Law here. I think by "information" what they might mean is that you can't magick someone who's gone missing or into hiding (i.e. Bertha Jorkins).

ETA: It is not simply DADA. It seems like Dark Arts to me. - Yeah, I suppose it could be. I guess, like anything else, it goes back to "intent".


Julia H. - Feb 10, 2009 9:06 am (#7 of 117)

It is not simply DADA. It seems like Dark Arts to me.


Madam Pince - Feb 10, 2009 9:42 am (#8 of 117)

The fifth and final exception is likely money, as Rowling once remarked in an interview money is something wizards cannot simply materialise out of thin air, for the economic system of the Wizarding World would then be gravely flawed and disrupted. --from Wiki

Someone should get this in a memo format to Congress, pronto...


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 10, 2009 1:19 pm (#9 of 117)

For some reason it strikes me that it would be much harder to "un-animate" a living thing than to animate an inanimate object. - Quinn C.

To me it's the other way around -- that the magic involved in making a shoe into a rabbit would require a massive amount of magical energy, focus and skill due to the complexity of living, breathing tissue as opposed to a fixed, wholly solid object with no nervous or circulatory system, for instance, let alone musculoskeletal.

Um, that's quite the run-on sentence


Orion - Feb 10, 2009 1:35 pm (#10 of 117)

You're forgiven. I agree, Shadow. Everybody can kill a fly, it's easy. But nobody on earth ever managed to construct one.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 10, 2009 1:47 pm (#11 of 117)

I can see simply making a shoe dance around the room (animating it), but not to actually *transfigure* it into a living being.

If it were the case, it would then get into the realm of creating food, i.e. making your sofa into a cow, etc.


Orion - Feb 10, 2009 2:24 pm (#12 of 117)

Hermione tries to transfigure lousy food into edible food in DH but she's not successful. I wonder whether it is only because she has just left school or whether it is generally impossible. On the other hand, Kreacher's cooking improves dramatically in DH, which leads us to the age-old question whether he actually leaves the house to go shopping and where the money comes from, for example whether Harry can give him a chitty to fetch money from Gringotts.

Apparently Gamp's law excludes every charm which would compensate the social imbalance between rich and poor wizarding families, to mirror the real social imbalance in real Muggle society.


legolas returns - Feb 10, 2009 2:34 pm (#13 of 117)

I think you can increase the amount and improve the flavour if you have some food in the first place.


Michael Franz - Feb 10, 2009 2:54 pm (#14 of 117)

Harry uses a Refilling Charm in HBP to make sure Hagrid and Slughorn had enough booze to get well and truly snockered. When I read that, though, I wondered why anyone would buy the booze in the first place. True, you do need some booze to start with; you can't just refill an empty bottle. However, once you bought one bottle, that would be all you'd ever need for the rest of eternity. There has to be some limit to how much you can "stretch" food supplies by magic.

As for transfiguring a teacup into a gerbil, then eating the gerbil: well, I'm sure it's nothing a few Slytherins haven't tried when their pet snakes were hungry. But the way I figure it, if you kill the transfigured animal, it reverts back to its original state. So, those Slytherins have probably lost a few snakes to internal injuries from teacup shards.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 10, 2009 3:09 pm (#15 of 117)

LOL, Michael.

Re: the booze, I'd venture to guess the law prevents replenishing "survival" sustenance as opposed to alcohol... Perhaps JKR was alluding once again to Harry in a Christ reference?


Julia H. - Feb 10, 2009 3:21 pm (#16 of 117)

LOL!

If my observation is correct, there is magic that wears off after a while and there is magic that is permanent. I wonder whether the Refilling Charm would be permanent if you did not drink the wine. I.e., when you refill the bottle, can you put it away without drinking all of the wine and still find something in it the next time you want to drink? If "refilled" drink disappears after a while, then you will sooner or later have to buy another bottle of it (unless you are willing to drink permanently). BTW, it is possible that the quality of refilled food and drink depends on the talent of the wizard/witch who is doing the Refilling Charm, rather than on the quality of the original food/drink.


Thom Matheson - Feb 10, 2009 3:26 pm (#17 of 117)

I'm still trying to get toothpicks into needles


Verity Weasley - Feb 10, 2009 6:18 pm (#18 of 117)

This is an interesting thread!

With the refilling charm, perhaps it only works if there is a supply of the same liquid somewhere nearby. In that case, the liquid, in this case wine, would be transported from one location to another, but not created. To me, the word refilling implies exactly that. Not conjuring the wine from nothing, but rather re-filling someone's glass or bottle or whatever from some other source. I hope that doesn't sound too confusing!


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 10, 2009 7:07 pm (#19 of 117)

Verity, it sounds like you are saying the liquid would disappear from, say, a bottle in Sluggy's office (the bottle would remain there) and the liquid would Disapparate then Apparate in the bottle you hold, which is empty? That's interesting... it would fall under the law that food can be moved from one place to another. Kreacher, of course, was changing food and not creating it. I'd imagine the pantry was stocked.

Edit: Kreacher's an elf! *clunks forehead* and maybe the laws don't apply? I can't recall what was said about the "Hogwarts kitchen staff"

It seems the only true Transfiguration of an object into living being that we have in the series was done by Cedric! Poor guy, what a waste.


mona amon - Feb 10, 2009 8:56 pm (#20 of 117)

Apparently Gamp's law excludes every charm which would compensate the social imbalance between rich and poor wizarding families, to mirror the real social imbalance in real Muggle society. (Orion)

Good point, Orion. I think you cannot use transfiguration to get any of the basic necessities, food, clothing or shelter. That would explain why Lupin had to go about in patched, shabby robes, and why Ron had to wear such ridiculous dress robes.


Solitaire - Feb 10, 2009 9:52 pm (#21 of 117)

if you kill the transfigured animal, it reverts back to its original state

Michael, I have often wondered about this in connection with Barty Crouch and Mrs. Crouch. She transformed herself into him via Polyjuice Potion. It would seem like she should revert to herself when she dies ... but she does not seem to do so. Do you suppose there is a difference between a transfiguring spell and the use of Polyjuice Potion?

I often wondered why Ron couldn't just spiff up his old, yucky dress robes in GoF. I just figured it was because he didn't actually know how to do it yet.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 10, 2009 10:13 pm (#22 of 117)
Edited Feb 11, 2009 12:02 am

I think you cannot use transfiguration to get any of the basic necessities, food, clothing or shelter. -mona amon

And yet it seems if you can get your hands on a crumb of bread or let's say a small piece, you could multiply it. DD told Harry that Merope did not feed herself because she did not want to. It seems like no one who was of an age to have a wand and to know and control magic would die of starvation in WW.

Re: Ron's dress robes, I bet Hermione could have fixed them... if she had wanted to

Re: Lupin's robes, I think it was more for dramatic effect, IMO. Same with the Weasley handed down items. It seems if you had a shabby robe you could Reparo it...? But it wouldn't fit with the plot of the Weasleys and Lupin being portrayed as outcasts (whether it is by the Malfoys or not).

Edit: I would consider healing/health one of the five exceptions. To me the Skele-gro and such are an extension or combination of Herbology, Potions and perhaps Charms (i.e. Hermione's teeth) but not Transfiguration as it is defined. DD's cursed hand was attempted to be healed by Severus by most likely, to me, a very advanced Charm along with the potion he was feeding him. He could not, however, have created a new hand (perhaps a silver one...).

Will have to ponder more....


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 11, 2009 12:08 pm (#23 of 117)

I don't know if it's ever been discussed but I feel the three Hallows are connected to the exemptions. These are three things that wizards cannot achieve, thus the Hallows were created and the legend went down in WW history / myth / folklore.

The Stone would be healing/health related -- any thoughts here?


PeskyPixie - Feb 11, 2009 12:15 pm (#24 of 117)

"If it were the case, it would then get into the realm of creating food, i.e. making your sofa into a cow, etc."

I think I'd Transfigure it directly into cheeseburgers.

I assumed that Mrs. Crouch had consumed enough Polyjuice potion to remain transformed until burial ... she probably does turn back into herself later ... and I think I'll leave it at that as this is getting a tad gruesome.

Perhaps there are only so many times you can Reparo clothes before they start looking shabby?


Steve Newton - Feb 11, 2009 1:24 pm (#25 of 117)

I may be getting people confused but wasn't Mrs. Crouch buried at a private ceremony? That is, no witnesses.

Edited to include a question mark.


Solitaire - Feb 11, 2009 8:38 pm (#26 of 117)

I thought Sirius said he saw her dead. No??? I wouldn't swear to it, but I thought he said it.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 11, 2009 9:07 pm (#27 of 117)

If the Hallows were connected to the exceptions, perhaps only two of them would be truly those which cannot be manifested magically: 1) always winning duels and 2) *permanently* bringing back that which has no life.

The third Hallow seems to represent humility which, to me, would not be part of a law of exemption... and, of course, we know that DD was capable of being invisible via his own power


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 13, 2009 9:20 pm (#28 of 117)

More thoughts on the exceptions...

1) Food - per Hermione: 'You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, you can increase the quantity if you've already got some - '

This seems to delineate *transform* from *transfigure*, or does it? Did Hermione mean you can take a sack of meat, potatoes and veggies and, with a wave of the wand, create stew instantly? Or did she mean you can take a sack of beef and turn it into pork? I believe the former, although even with that we see Molly having to make knives chop for her rather than an instant transformation. Odd, don't you think?

2) Wealth - the intro by Chemyst on this seems good.

3) Physical Health (Stone) - wizards can remedy curses with counter-curses and potions, and can alter certain superficial conditions such as topical wounds (abrasions and incisions) but not decaying/disease or so-called natural effects of aging. Also, perhaps it is easier to heal others than oneself.

4) Physical Appearance (Cloak) - Tonks had a rare gift being able to change her appearance at will. This seems to be important. Polyjuice Potion is another clue here. I do not think DD ever could be actually invisible. I believe he could use "glamour" as they say in magic-talk.

5) The Non-physical (Wand) - Since 'wands' in the tarot represent fire, and since the Elder Wand is used to transfigure your position in life in relation to power, I thought there might be a law exempting something relating to the non-physical elements? An exception regarding the mind or mental capacity?

Okay, I'll just keep talking to myself here until someone decides to join in... It wouldn't be the first time... Anyone? Bueller?


PeskyPixie - Feb 13, 2009 9:40 pm (#29 of 117)

I've always been curious about how the Weasleys run things. They've got their own pigs and chickens and stuff.

Do they ever shop for groceries? Do they farm their own food. Where does Gamp's Law fall into their scheme of things?


poohnpiglettt - Feb 14, 2009 2:29 am (#30 of 117)

"1) Food - per Hermione: 'You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, you can increase the quantity if you've already got some - ' "me and my shadow 813

I've always wondered about this statement. I immediately thought of the birds Hermione used to attack Ron. If I'm remembering it correctly, Harry was thinking that he admired her charm work. Just wondering where the birds came from--did she create them or did she actually pull them from somewhere else--and where did they go afterwards since she walked out of the room. I was wondering since if she could create birds out of thin air (if that's what she did) or if she pulled them from another place, why couldn't the same thing be done for, say, chickens (which they could eat while they were on the run)? Or do they simply disappear after the person working the charm stops concentrating on it? Just a thought.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 14, 2009 12:25 pm (#31 of 117)

Pesky, I'm not sure but we know that Ron sees his mother conjure food out of thin air so that would be Summoning I guess. But cooking and preparing food seems to take time in WW, so I'm not sure what Hermione meant by "transform it"...

pooh, the yellow birds in Hermione's "personal solar system" could have been like what Chemyst mentioned in her intro: that things tend to be temporary and either disappear or, in that case, perhaps were not literally birds in the first place. I would tend to believe the latter, although I'm not sure what form of spell "virtual birds" would fall under.


Julia H. - Feb 14, 2009 1:41 pm (#32 of 117)

It would have a disastrous effect on any ecosystem if wizarding kids could just conjure any number of birds and other living things out of thin air which would then stay real and alive afterwards.

The "summoning" version is interesting to imagine as well. It means whenever you summon something, it actually disappears from another place. Can you imagine a vindictive neighbor summoning the ingredients from your hand when you are making dinner? It probably counts as theft but an easy way of it, too.


Chemyst - Feb 14, 2009 3:12 pm (#33 of 117)

non-physical elements

In Muggle science, an element is substance that cannot be broken down by chemical means. You could not have an non-physical substance because ...well, it would not have any substance to it. I have always thought that Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration applied to fundamental substances that consist of only one kind of atom: hydrogen, helium, etc. So that what the wizards were doing with their wands was disassembling molecules into elements and reassembling them into new molecules. That is just the way my mind organized it as I was reading.

Now before modern science, there were still "elements," and they were still considered "substances." Wind, water, earth, and fire. At average room temperature, those will be gas, liquid, solid, and (I guess) "ether." This might actually make more "sense" in the wizarding world. Transfiguration would be disassembling substances into air, water, earth or fire and reassembling them into renewed substances, possibly occupying a new location.

"Element" can also mean component. Depending upon how you define component, that may or may not fit transfiguration. Does a successful transfiguration have to have "parts list" that must be met? Or is the magic of transfiguration that your "parts department" can be highly elastic?

So, when m & m shadow says, " 5) The Non-physical (Wand) - Since 'wands' in the tarot represent fire," I think that to be consistent with the physical laws of the wizarding world, (nebulous though they may be,) that it would still be wrong to call fire non-physical because in that world fire is a rarefied element found in the heavens. And as an element, it could be transfigured.

Is that wacky, or what?


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 14, 2009 4:28 pm (#34 of 117)

Chemyst, I enjoyed that post very much! I have a few comments and probably a few questions, as I have little background in chemistry but a fair amount in physics. Also, since the series revolves around the four elements I would like to stay with your suggestion to interpret "elemental" to mean just that: earth, air, water and fire.

So that what the wizards were doing with their wands was disassembling molecules into elements and reassembling them into new molecules. That is just the way my mind organized it as I was reading.

I love that you thought of this as you were reading. I was just thinking "ooh! magic!". I agree that what you describe is probably the extent of it.

As far as fire not being non-physical, I am torn. Since the HP series does so heavily emphasise the four elements I will assume we can use this as our model rather than the periodic table. My personal opinion is that earth and water represent the physical, solid matter while air and fire represent the non-physical or non-solid matter. I suppose a way of describing it would be that even if one could touch fire (i.e. if you wouldn't get burned) one still could not "touch" it. Same with air of course. So that is where my reasoning came from with the Exception relating to the Elder Wand. It is quite possible it could be something along the lines of power but not in the direction I am investigating.

I am by no means done pondering this concept but forgive me for stopping short here -- if anyone has any ideas or comments I'm all ears!


Hieronymus Graubart - Feb 15, 2009 8:44 am (#35 of 117)

Knowing nothing about alchemy, I have to ask: Wasn't there a fifth element? Five Elements and five exceptions from the Laws auf elemental transfiguration?

BTW, I never made this connection before, reading "elemental" as "most basic". But of course this would be "Elementary, my dear Watson" (and, looking this up to improve my English, I found that Sherlock Holmes never said these words).


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 15, 2009 10:38 am (#36 of 117)

Hieronymus, interesting thought about the five exceptions relating to the five elements. I suppose the fifth would relate to death since the "fifth element" refers to that which is ultimately achieved in the alchemical process and represents immortality. You might enjoy the Alchemy thread.

Regarding all this and whether to address the modern reference of elements versus the "classical" model, here is a clip from Wikipedia:

The Greek Classical Elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Aether) date from pre-Socratic times and persisted throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, deeply influencing European thought and culture. The concept of essentially the same five elements were similarly found in ancient India, where they formed a basis of analysis in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism, particularly in an esoteric context, the four states-of-matter describe matter, and a fifth element to describe that which was beyond the material world (non-matter). Similar lists existed in ancient China and Japan. In Buddhism the four great elements, to which two others are sometimes added, are not viewed as substances, but as categories of sensory experience.

The modern, scientific states of matter, and also (to a lesser extent) the periodic table of elements and the concept of combustion (fire), can be considered successors of such early models.

Perhaps this combustion idea is connected to what wizards can and cannot do with transfiguring: Floo Network, Disapparating, Portkeys, all these ways to move instantly seem to be related to disassembling molecules or at least *squeezing* them temporarily as they go into a sort of hyperspace. Could this be related to an exception about movement? Stream of thoughts there... I'd be interested in others' ideas.


Solitaire - Feb 15, 2009 10:45 am (#37 of 117)

Elanor is the Alchemy expert on the Forum. Perhaps you might want to post the question on the Alchemy thread. Just a suggestion ...


PeskyPixie - Feb 16, 2009 10:25 am (#38 of 117)

After murdering his father, Barty Crouch Jr. transfigures him into a bone and buries him. Does the bone change back into Bartemius Crouch once the spell wears off?

It's always rather sad when animals are transfigured into inanimate objects and we are not told whether they eventually change back to their original forms.


Solitaire - Feb 16, 2009 11:17 am (#39 of 117)

I've wondered about that, Pesky, as I've wondered whether Mrs. Crouch eventually transformed back into herself once she was buried. Regarding Mr. Crouch ... Barty was obviously a powerful Wizard. If the spell was powerful enough, is it possible that he would not transfigure back? What if he included some Dark Magic into the spell?

George's ear could not be re-grown, as it was the effect of Dark Magic. I wonder ... could Snape have grown back the ear, if he'd had the opportunity? He was able to fix Draco's injuries from Harry's use of the Sectumsempra! spell. Might that, however, have been due to (1) being on the spot, and (2) the fact that Harry, not knowing what the spell actually did, did not cast it with the intent to do any real harm? Just speculating here ...

This reminds me ... I've often wondered, since learning about Sectumsempra, whether it might have been the spell used on Hermione in the DoM.


legolas returns - Feb 16, 2009 12:27 pm (#40 of 117)

I thought that Hermione had internal damage rather than surface damage. She had to take lots of potions.


Solitaire - Feb 16, 2009 2:17 pm (#41 of 117)

I should think that a properly cast Sectumsempra spell could do far more than surface damage, if that is what the caster had in mind.


PeskyPixie - Feb 16, 2009 5:38 pm (#42 of 117)

I think that if Snape had had the opportunity to treat George immediately after the injury, he probably would have been able to re-attach the ear.


legolas returns - Feb 17, 2009 1:34 pm (#43 of 117)

I was wondering if it had been truly clarified if Sectumsempra is a Dark spell or not? Snape says that it is to Harry but is this just to stop him using it and because he is mad at him. Do people assume because Snape uses it that it is Dark Magic?


Mrs Brisbee - Feb 17, 2009 1:38 pm (#44 of 117)

Do people assume because Snape uses it that it is Dark Magic?

I think it is because it is used to cut and maim people. George's ear cannot be reattached, which coincides with the description we get of wounds caused by Dark Magic. The inventor of the curse says it is Dark Magic. Under the circumstances, I see no reason to think it anything but Dark.


Steve Newton - Feb 17, 2009 1:47 pm (#45 of 117)

Well, if it was Sectumsempra that Snape used to cut James' cheek in the Worst Memory chapter than it is not a curse. There is not mention of James having a scar and cursed wounds cannot be healed. I guess that it could still be dark magic.


Julia H. - Feb 17, 2009 2:05 pm (#46 of 117)

That is precisely why that cutting spell does not seem like Sectumsempra to me. Unless it is a controlled, "mild" and curable version. However, I think, if Snape says Sectumsempra is Dark Magic, then he probably thinks it is Dark Magic (I can't see him lie about this) and I also think he probably knows. But then he can heal Draco's wounds, which makes it possible that he could heal George's as well. (Hermione is also cured after the DoM injury - we don't know whether Snape plays any part in it, though.) So the question is, if the spell is not incurable any more - suppose Snape has invented the successful counterspell, which could be learned by others, - is the spell still just as Dark as it was? (Supposing Snape did not take the secret of the countercurse into the grave with him.)


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 17, 2009 2:12 pm (#47 of 117)

This is not the Spells & Curses thread, but I would like to interject that Sectumsempra, to me, is not different than a knife. A knife is not Dark. Sectumsempra could be used to cut your roast for a feast*. Intention is everything -- as JKR has explained via various characters -- in my opinion.

*Edit: granted, it would be like paring an apple with a machete! LOL

Does anyone have any ideas about Gamp's Exceptions?


Chemyst - Feb 17, 2009 3:59 pm (#48 of 117)

Well, if it was Sectumsempra that Snape used to cut James' cheek in the Worst Memory chapter then it is not a curse. There is not a mention of James having a scar and cursed wounds cannot be healed. I guess that it could still be dark magic. -Steve Newton

...that cutting spell does not seem like Sectumsempra to me. Unless it is a controlled, "mild" and curable version. - Julia

Now that ya'll mention it...

We saw that in the Pensieve, and it happened right after their O.W.L.S. so they were still end-of-fifth-year students and not fully qualified wizards, and Snape seems to have used it as a non-verbal spell. Either or both of these could be mitigating factors causing the Sectumsempra to be cast at less than full-force. Or, it could be that Snape had only recently invented it and had not fine-tuned it or figured out how to boost it to full power yet.

It could have been a 'mild' version of a dark magic curse. However, it is not transfiguration, nor is it an exception to transfiguration.

But, that does spur another thought: if there are weak versions of spells and curses, they will just be mild versions of a full-power spell. In low-power and amateurish transfiguration, we get odd new creations like teacups with legs. It could be possible that under-powered transfiguration would most often result in some "non-viable" form or an unsustainable form. Yet some get up and walk around like the teacup. A teacup with legs is not truly a new invention, just a poor transfiguration.

But could transfiguration be used to generate new inventions? Or would that be an exception?


Solitaire - Feb 17, 2009 8:16 pm (#49 of 117)

I thought someone had said of George's ear that it could not be regrown or repaired because it had been cursed off with Dark Magic. BTW, shouldn't this discussion of Sectumsempra be on the Curses, Hexes and the Unforgivables thread? I apologize for opening the discussion here and having it dragged so far off-topic.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 18, 2009 7:21 pm (#50 of 117)

Since the Lex doesn't have a lot to go on, following is a quote from the "Harry Potter Wikipedia":

Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration is a law of wizarding physics which states what powers magic has to create or destroy matter. There are five Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law; some are food and love. Food may be multiplied once a real food object is actually in hand, but cannot be created from nothing. Love cannot be created; it can only be imitated through a Love Potion or the Imperius Curse, in which case it resembles an obsessive infatuation.

It goes on to talk about "temporary" creation of life, citing Ollivander and Hermione creating birds, and the Leprechauns and the multiplying spell in the Lestranges’ vault being "temporary" wealth magic. To me, these would be classified as Charms rather than Transfiguration Spells. I thought the "love" concept above was a good one to explore further, perhaps going into what I had mentioned earlier about an exception related to the non-physical... ?

Edit: upon examination of the George ear issue as well as Harry's tooth, arm and ribs healed/regrown by Ted Tonks, I would speculate that healing non-life-threatening injuries is within the power of transfigurative magic. But I really don't think one could simply regrow a liver if one needed to. Thoughts? This is hard!
 
 
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Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration - posts #51 to #100

Post  Potteraholic on Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:06 pm


PeskyPixie - Feb 18, 2009 7:52 pm (#51 of 117)

Well, Dung would certainly be interested in regrowing a liver.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 18, 2009 9:01 pm (#52 of 117)

And perhaps dear Hagrid, hey?


legolas returns - Feb 18, 2009 11:12 pm (#53 of 117)

Perhaps giants have very robust livers and half giants may do as well. Hagrid strikes me as a little bit of a binge drinker.


Julia H. - Feb 19, 2009 1:07 am (#54 of 117)

Harry's bones are regrown in CoS by Madam Pomfrey.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 19, 2009 9:30 am (#55 of 117)

To me, Skele-gro is more of a "counter-curse" remedy, rather than in DH Harry's bone matter was broken/missing the "natural" way... Perhaps it makes no difference but that's how it seemed for me. In any event, it seems bone matter is not exempt from transfiguration, so that leaves trying to find where the line is drawn in the creation of life. Bones but not tissue? Tissue but not consciousness? I think consciousness is what cannot be created (back to the non-physical thing), thus a bird is temporary because when the wizard takes their consciousness/attention from the action, the bird disappears. In Hermione's case, she gave the birds a command and left the room. Once the command was executed, the birds must have ceased to exist. Any thoughts?


Orion - Feb 19, 2009 11:51 am (#56 of 117)

Gamp's law would be perfect for food in real life, IMO. Imagine that you buy a tasty but tiny McDisease burger, then you blow it up with an Engorgio charm and eat it, and one hour later it dwindles in your stomach and you don't feel stodged and only one tiny little burger lands on your hips. Heaven.


Julia H. - Feb 19, 2009 2:16 pm (#57 of 117)

ROTFL!


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 19, 2009 9:06 pm (#58 of 117)

But could transfiguration be used to generate new inventions? Or would that be an exception? -Chemyst

I don't think new "inventions" would be an exception, given the invention was something innocuous such as a teacup with legs. However, I am getting more clear about a possible exception. I believe that consciousness/intelligence cannot be created, that you cannot "invent" a sentient being. This is basically what the "wands" and "fire" ideas I was posting on earlier were leading up to, wasn't there yet and was having trouble putting the abstract concept into words (an ongoing challenge for me).

Symbolically, the air and fire elements are the non-physical and represent thought and "desire", for lack of a better term. Whether or not thought and desire are truly non-physical is debatable, because somewhere there is a scientist trying to create a formula or "pill" for intelligent thought. Certainly chromosomes are a physical formula for intelligence and desire. But that is the point: no one can invent or create a chromosome. To me this could be part of Gamp's Law, creating intelligence/soul/consciousness or whatever you want to call it... not making that which only nature and reproduction should be creating. I think the WW would even have MoM laws to such equivalents as cloning or artificially replicating sentient beings. In our world we know the danger of those experiments and, similarly, computers are the "artificial intelligence" that is supposed to be "as good" as or better than human intelligence, however there is no consciousness equivalent there for desire.

Regarding the bone issue, I believe it to be as stated earlier, that Skele-gro was used as a counter-curse type remedy and that the bones were there one minute and gone the next, and it was a spell that could be reversed, although painfully! In DH, the ribs and arm were broken but not absent so could be mended, and a tooth is an extension of the jaw bone which perhaps could be used to form a new tooth because the nerve is there already. Also, time matters in magic and these were both tended to quickly.

To end the rambling, my opinion so far...

1) Food, as Hermione stated it
2) Wealth, including coinage and gems
3) Health and healing beyond minor "structural" damage
4) Consciousness, also known as Intelligence
5) ?

Any comments, thoughts, ideas?


Julia H. - Feb 19, 2009 11:24 pm (#59 of 117)

Love?


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 20, 2009 12:08 am (#60 of 117)

Julia, this seems very possible to me. A few posts back I clipped a quote from Harry Potter Wikipedia, and it cited Slughorn's speech about the love potion and not being able to create real love. Given we have this hint in canon, I think it a likely candidate! And it would seem quite JKR-ish not to have all five exceptions be too obvious (i.e., food, immortality, money).

Now all we need to do is ask JKR if our guesses are correct

Chemyst, any thoughts on our speculations?


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 20, 2009 9:09 am (#61 of 117)

I would like to elaborate on the consciousness exceptions. To me it would include "power" and, in this way, would relate back to the Elder Wand and why a wizard would even need to create such a wand in the first place. To me part of consciousness/intelligence is magical ability. We are told by Ron that squibs are rare and, it seems, remain unable to do magic no matter what. It seems "gaining magical ability" is part of this exception, or most squibs' parents would have used a spell to change their child.

It's a bit obvious, but I would also like to add "blood status" as an example of the 'health' or body-transfiguration exception. Or perhaps it belongs in the consciousness exception as it has to do with how one is born, i.e. dna.

Thoughts?


Chemyst - Feb 21, 2009 5:24 pm (#62 of 117)

Ah, m&m shadow, I've had a busy past few days and planned for only a few minutes of quick-read to catch up tonight. I'll give your question some thought.

In the meantime, I considered Skele-gro a potion, not transfiguration. Potions seem to be self-limiting by their unique "recipe." For example, bone-growing potion would not work on soft tissue damage - absolutely everything a potion is not specifically formulated to work on would be an exception for that particular potion's use, whether it was health-related, or was for coatings and sealants on brooms, or was a magical mess remover.


Solitaire - Feb 21, 2009 7:58 pm (#63 of 117)

I considered Skele-gro a potion, not transfiguration.

I agree, Chemyst.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 21, 2009 8:50 pm (#64 of 117)

I agree, for the record -- I was using Skele-gro as a referral to CoS when Harry's bones were regrown, in contrast to Ted Tonks mending bones (we know not how) in DH. Two different contexts, and even in Ted's case merely mended broken bones (did not manifest them) in arm and ribs, and perhaps extended the jaw bone (i.e., multiplying food) and the nerve of the tooth was perhaps still intact.

To me, healing in WW is a combination of Potions, Herbology and strong Charms, not Transfiguration. I mentioned it in the "edit" segment of my previous post

(I am now fulfilling two tasks of referring to a previous idea while also trying to show off that I just learned how to *link* to a past post )


Solitaire - Feb 21, 2009 10:05 pm (#65 of 117)

Very good, Shadow!


Orion - Feb 22, 2009 5:40 am (#66 of 117)

Show-off.


me and my shadow 813 - Feb 22, 2009 10:13 am (#67 of 117)

Reposter’s note: I’m guessing there were smilies here, and have no idea what they were.

Soli:

Orion:


Krzysztof - Mar 30, 2010 10:25 am (#68 of 117)
Edited Apr 2, 2010 7:33 am

I have some theory about Gamp's law. I was thinking about this from some time, and constructed possibly formula of this law (but I'm not sure is it grammatical correct in English, because it is difficult for me scientific part of language).

Gamp's law of elemental transfiguration:

"Everything can be result of transfiguration propertied in any requested attributes, raised from any matter propertied in any undesirable attributes or after supply lacking elements."

Five principal exceptions: (what can not be result of transfiguration)

1)Food ñ in meaning: Food is source of chemical energy and matter for metabolism. You can create food but it will not be good food, You will not fill eating it.

2)Money ñ in meaning: Precious elements used to make money (precious metals, gemstones like platinum, gold, silver, copper, diamonds, sapphire, ruby and other). That why wizards are still using that old type of money. Muggle money generally can be transfigured but it contains precious elements too, so every goblin and wizard banker will notice the difference.

3) One free space for one more principal exception. Smile

4)Magical items ñ in meaning: Matter propertied with magical power/attribute. (eg.: dragon scale, unicorn hair, magical potion, etc.) Permanent magical attribute can't be created with transfiguration spell, item can be enchanted but it will loose magic with time.

5)Beings ñ in meaning: Every kind of being endowed with will of life/autonomous intellect/soul. You can transfigure something non life into pig, bird, flower, etc. but it will not grow/life independent.

Minor exceptions:

If we know about principal exceptions, there need to be any non principal exceptions, some other exceptions.

What do you think about this formula of law and exceptions, especially why it's wrong Smile


Orion - Apr 1, 2010 10:23 am (#69 of 117)

About No 3: Maybe water? So if DD uses water in the fight with Voldie, the water has been magically transported from some other place and will go back there (or not), or it's magical water, like goblin money, and disappears after some time.

Um, that Gamp's law - I don't understand one word. Is it possible with just a little less Latin? I had Latin in school, but you know how it is. It's goblin Latin and disappears in the morning after a few years.


Krzysztof - Apr 2, 2010 8:04 am (#70 of 117)

Orion, you confused me much. My native language is Polish not English, so this Gamp's law formula was created first in my native language, then translated into English with dictionary (not word into word, of course). I checked meaning of every word few times to be sure the formula is very precise and clear for everyone. I hoped this will be enough clear to understood for English native speakers. I had no idea, that in this formula are some Latin words.

Here is this formula in original: (maybe some one can read in Polish Smile )

îWszystko moøe byÊ wynikiem transmutacji posiadajπcym dowolne øπdane cechy, powsta≥ym z dowolnej materii posiadajπcej dowolne niepoøπdane cechach lub po dostarczeniu brakujπcych øywio≥Ûw/elementÛw.î

In English:

‘Everything can be result of transfiguration propertied in any requested attributes, raised from any matter propertied in any undesirable attributes or after supply lacking elements.’

Here, some alternative version (but it can be less precise than the first):

‘Everything can be result of transfiguration (and have any desired features), created form any thing (which have any undesired features), or after supply lacking components.’

About water, if we count water as the source of matter for metabolism (drank H2O is used mostly as solvent in our body) then it will be food and will have place in first exception (so there be no reason to make extra exception for water). On the other hand, we known there is Aguamenti spell which conjure water (maybe not out of thin air but out of wand only), but we don't known is this water created permanently or only for some time (then it will vanish). I need to think more about this water...


Julia H. - Apr 2, 2010 8:10 am (#71 of 117)

Something in my mind says, if you can produce fire with magic, you must be able to produce water with magic as well.

Harry advised Hagrid to extinguish the fire with magic when Hagrid's hut was on fire in HBP. If that magic was temporary only, would not it mean that the hut was automatically set on fire again after a while?


Orion - Apr 3, 2010 11:34 am (#72 of 117)

Krzysztof I understand the problem! English contains lots and lots of complicated Latin-based words. I just thought that for every stroppy Latin-based word there might be a plain one but then, maybe not.

Julia, I disagree about that one because fire is only a state whereas water is material. And anything material can only be transported from one place to another, you can't create it in the HP universe. But I'm not too sure about that.


Chemyst - Apr 3, 2010 7:27 pm (#73 of 117)

The alchemists of the 1500's, much like the ancient Greeks, thought fire was an element. It is quite possible that Gamp did too. Certainly modern science does not.

Fire can be thought of as a process, an event, or even energy depending on how you define your terms. But if you are going to call it a "state," (which is also a legitimate statement,) then the flames would be the gaseous state because fire is a mixture of hot gases, and that mixture will vary with the fuel source. Extremely hot fires where the gases become ionized might reach the plasma state.

So, if I start from the premise that fire is a state, then it is the gas state or phase. Water is the liquid state of H2O, but it has a vapor or steamy gaseous state, as well as an icy solid state. Now we have another question: if you perform the Aguamenti charm on a day that is below freezing, will you get water or icicles?

Anyway, since it is Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration, fire would have to be considered an element before it could be an exception.


Krzysztof - Apr 5, 2010 3:56 am (#74 of 117)

Julia H. wrote: ‘Harry advised Hagrid to extinguish the fire with magic when Hagrid's hut was on fire in HBP. If that magic was temporary only, would not it mean that the hut was automatically set on fire again after a while?’

We knew, the magical blue flames where hot, so the things created by magic react with world quite normal, so water from Aguamenti spell will do the same. Water will take energy from fire and scatter it into air even if water will disappear after some time. Hagrid's Hut will not set on fire again.

And again:

Chemyst wrote: ‘Now we have another question: if you perform the Aguamenti charm on a day that is below freezing, will you get water or icicles?’

Wand will create water, which have some temperature (and energy) then temperature of this water will start falling down until freeze (and equalize with environment).

We know some example: spark's (Relashio spell) made under the water.

All this not gave us the sure answer for question: Can we permanently create alone elements (water, fire, air, earth) with magic out of thin air/out of nothing? I will the answer is: yes, we can. So like wrote Chemyst elements will not be the exceptions.


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 6, 2010 4:12 pm (#75 of 117)

Interesting points. I suppose creating air is technically impossible unless the wizard was in a vacuum -- it could be "duplicating air", which falls under the magical category of being able to multiply things...? Creating earth seems believable enough.


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 7, 2010 7:26 am (#76 of 117)

Actually, I've been thinking about the earth element and I'm having my doubts about that one. When considering the exceptions I often think of the Weasley situation and limitations. So if the earth element would manifest as stone/rock, the Weasley's theoretically could have built themselves a beautiful stone manor rather than what is depicted as a crooked and slowly added-upon house. I don't think they built it that way because they prefer it. We are shown that there is such a thing as poverty in the WW, so it seems to me that there are limitations to creating the four elements along with food and clothing.

Any thoughts?


Krzysztof - Apr 9, 2010 10:52 am (#77 of 117)

Yes, I have two conceptions about Weasley's situation:

First concept: On the basis of the law of large numbers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers) we can say that anything created with magic have limited value in magical world because any other wizard can create it by oneself. Wesley's can create gold, gemstone's, furniture, pot, table cloth or anything that have any non zero value but they will not sell it to other wizards because every wizards can make those thing alone. Summary: In magical world wealth and poverty are not dependence on magic abilities, of course they can be dependence on magic power, magic skills, other skills. But this concept really don't ban the stone manor for Weasleys.

Second concept: There can be a rule of magic (and it's not only rule of transfiguration but rule of all magic) which is saying: "You can not create with magic anything's permanently out of thin air/out of nothing". This rule implicate that you can create some things out of nothing for some limited time. This can be table cloth for dinner (but after party cloth will disappear), this can be arrow (that will pierce someone's and then disappear), or over three hundred slipping bags that will exist for over 10 hours, but then all they will get back into nowhere. And again the important can be power or skills of wizard.

This concept is explaining why Harry, Hermione and Ron was using some normal tent (not created with magic - only enchanted), and why Weasleys are living in hovel, but I can be in wrong if we know about at least one thing permanently created with magic. Do anybody know that thing in Harry Potter canon?

Now I will get back to Gamp's law of Elemental Transfiguration with some concept about elements. Elements (air, water, earth, fire) are the magical timber of all things (things not substances) like different atoms are timber of all matter and the Gamp's law rules the moves of this elements in things - this moves and changes of elements make one things are transform into other things. Then you only move elements or add lacking ones (from magic, or from yourself). In this view fire element is not the same thing as blue flames, of burning wood, first and second contains fire element (in much amount) but they are matter and/or state they are things, not elements. More, earth is mixture of sand, biomass, and many, many other things but it's not the earth element itself, of course it contains earth element in much amount. What do you think about that concept?

Can someone explain to me the "WW" contraction?


shepherdess - Apr 9, 2010 11:14 am (#78 of 117)

Krzysztof, WW means the Wizarding World.

Were the Deathly Hallows made with magic?


Julia H. - Apr 9, 2010 2:15 pm (#79 of 117)

Interesting post, Krzysztof.

I like the idea of a table cloth conjured out of thin air for dinner and disappearing afterwards. You can have a new one every time and you never have to wash it. Perhaps even during dinner, when a glass/goblet of red wine gets toppled over on a white table cloth, you can just make it vanish and conjure a new one immediately.

Shepherdess, I think the Deathly Hallows must have been made with magic, but they were not necessarily conjured out of thin air. A lot of things are made with magic in the HP world, but these are usually based on things that already exist. Potions, for example, are made with magic but you still need the ingredients.


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 9, 2010 4:40 pm (#80 of 117)

More, earth is mixture of sand, biomass, and many, many other things but it's not the earth element itself, of course it contains earth element in much amount. What do you think about that concept?

Krzysztof, I understand your concept of earth as an abstract "energy" beyond simply rock/stone (but it is the most dense/physical of the 4 elements). But I do feel that, even if the earth element manifested as sand/clay/soil, the Weasleys would be able to use that matter and create any home they wanted. But they seem to be at the mercy of building their home with material that they purchase, or rocks/timber they collect. Hence their home is very rustic as opposed to the Malfoys, who are no more magically talented than the Weasleys...they are wealthier and probably imported/paid for the materials to build their Manor.

From the Lexicon about the Burrow: It is likely to have once been a farmhouse (though it looks more like it might have been a "large stone pigpen"), on top of which several crooked stories look to have been added (CS3). Currently the house has six bedrooms (DH6) and six stories, plus an attic, with a rickety uneven staircase climbing among the stories.

This must be related to an exception to magic. They are poor and cannot simply create a grand home with magic. The same concept seems to apply to clothing. The Weasley children wear handed down robes, so we might conclude it is magically impossible to create cotton or other plant-based fabric (which I would consider to ultimately be of the "earth" element) magically. Molly knits them sweaters every year, most likely by receiving wool from friends or because wool is inexpensive to purchase. So the poverty we are shown, to me, indicates some of magic's limitations.

I know this thread is really about "Transfiguration", but since Gamp's Law is linked to Hermione telling Ron and Harry about food only being able to be duplicated, I think this discussion is significant for our purposes...?

I agree with the table cloth analogy; however I feel even "Charms" which are temporary have their limitations. For instance, a table cloth is made of fabric. Why, then, wouldn't fancy robes be able to be made for one evening? To me, we have canon which proves otherwise.

edit: Krzysztof, if English is not your native tongue, please ask if some sentences make no sense to you. For instance, by "physical" I do not mean "of physics" -- rather, I mean the most dense in matter (water being the second most dense element). And sorry about the "WW" contraction. I try not to use many of those...


Julia H. - Apr 9, 2010 10:31 pm (#81 of 117)

Why, then, wouldn't fancy robes be able to be made for one evening? To me, we have canon which proves otherwise. (MAMS)

If I may give a down-to-earth sort of answer to this, I will say, with conjured items vanishing after a while, walking about in conjured robes seems a bit risky.

If the table cloth disappears before the end of the dinner, it may be a little embarrassing if you have guests, but no great harm is done. With your robes vanishing without any warning and earlier than you expect it (and perhaps wizards don't know in advance how long conjured items will last exactly, or it may depend on their skills), you could find yourself in a very unpleasant situation. (Remember how Cinderella ran from the Prince's ball? )

It is the same with your house: You don't want the stone and the clay to disappear from it, so you will buy whatever you can afford to buy instead of conjuring the building material or the house itself.

However, being able to (temporarily) conjure gems and gold (etc.), makes me wonder ... You can't sell them to other wizards, but you may be able to sell them to Muggles. By the time the purchased goods vanish, you will have vanished, too. Now, the Weasleys will obviously not do anything like that, but the Malfoys?


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 10, 2010 5:36 pm (#82 of 117)

Julia, the time limit might be a factor -- but I was giving just an example for the idea of limitations on "temporary" magic/spells of the four elements. For instance, when the trio were cold while camping, why didn't they create a "temporary" overcoat? In any event, I am hoping to address that the Four Elements would be one of Gamp's exceptions.

The Earth Element would manifest as the raw materials directly of and from the earth itself, in my opinion. This would include rock/stone, minerals/gems, and all crumbled aspects of them such as sand/clay/soil. Indirectly, to me, the Earth Element might include the entire "animal/vegetable/mineral" category -- which would mean plants (i.e., cotton, etc.) could be part of this potential exception. This would explain food as an exception.

In a nutshell, although we see the Aguamenti spell and the blue flame spell, I feel that the four elements cannot be created with magic in the HP world. I think the flames were blue in order to illustrate that it was not "natural" fire. I do not think Air could be created if one was suffocating, nor could you stick you wand in your mouth and use a nonverbal spell to create air if you were drowning. I think Aguamenti could be considered a "temporary" spell, but because water is absorbed into almost anything, one would not know it was temporary. I do not think Hagrid's hut would catch fire again, because while the water was manifest it served its purpose. Just as, had Dumbledore been able to drink water from Harry in the Cave, it would have been drunk and (we assume) quenched his thirst in that moment.

Julia, regarding your thoughts on the Malfoys gaining their wealth using "temporary" gold --- anything's possible But to me we are shown and told on numerous occasions that certain pureblood families are wealthy and have mass quantities of gold in Gringotts, etc. Just as the Potters and Blacks handed their gold down the generations, I personally assume the Malfoy ancestors were no exception. Have they deceived people? Most definitely. Is "counterfeit" gold how they built their Manor and/or uphold their lifestyle? Not in my opinion.


shepherdess - Apr 10, 2010 6:08 pm (#83 of 117)

Natural gas creates a blue flame. Is it possible that Hermione's fire spell had something to do with gas?


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 10, 2010 6:32 pm (#84 of 117)

shepherdess, I don't know but I do not think JKR intended Hermione's blue flame to be the equivalent of creating the Fire Element.

From the Lexicon: bluebell flames: Creates a quantity of blue flame which can be directed to a specific place.

Hermione cast a bluebell flame that could be carried around in a jam jar, sent out a short distance, then retrieved into the jar; she used it to set Snape's robes on fire during the first Quidditch match of her first year (PS11).

Hermione used this spell against Devil's Snare when working through the challenges surrounding the Philosopher's Stone (PS16).

Portable, waterproof fires are a specialty of Hermione's (CS11).

They are blue, portable, carried in a jar (no oxygen?) and waterproof... To me, this indicates a "conjured" artificial flame and not the Fire Element.


legolas returns - Apr 11, 2010 12:26 am (#85 of 117)

Dumbledore conjured sleeping bags from nowhere in POA. They lasted for the rest of the evening.


Hieronymus Graubart - Apr 11, 2010 2:05 am (#86 of 117)

Hermione saying that you cannot conjure food out of thin air, but "can increase the quantity if you've already got some -" (DH 15) confuses me.

Wouldn't this be the same as conjuring extra quantities out of thin air?

If this was really possible, it would have solved much of the trio's problems. For example they had to purchase only one egg to make as much omelets as Ron could eat. But it seems they didn't do it this way.

Might it be that the magical increased quantity only looks more, but doesn't have more nutrient content, so that Ron could eat hundred omelets made from a single egg, but still wouldn't get his fill?


Krzysztof - Apr 11, 2010 9:47 am (#87 of 117)

I see this topic start to live again Smile

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘I think this discussion is significant for our purposes...?’

I'm absolutely agree with you, there is no way to find Gamp's law in straight line, we need to check surroundings of transfiguration.

Personally I think You (me and my shadow 813) have very perspicacious mind, and I'm glad to discuss with you.

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘I agree with the table cloth analogy; however I feel even "Charms" which are temporary have their limitations. For instance, a table cloth is made of fabric. Why, then, wouldn't fancy robes be able to be made for one evening?’

I try to not divide magic into charms and transfiguration, so every law/rule should rule all magic aspects.

About fancy robes, Julia H. explained this very good (I don't even thought about this in that way).

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘To me, we have canon which proves otherwise.’

Can you give us any example?

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘The Earth Element would manifest as the raw materials directly of and from the earth itself, in my opinion. This would include rock/stone, minerals/gems, and all crumbled aspects of them such as sand/clay/soil. Indirectly, to me, the Earth Element might include the entire "animal/vegetable/mineral" category -- which would mean plants (i.e., cotton, etc.) could be part of this potential exception.’

You must be careful, because in this way you can include into earth element all chemical elements and automatically everything. But if mean elements as you wrote I need to agree with you they need to be an exception, otherwise the whole Wizard World will collapse.

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘This would explain food as an exception.’

Our formula of law and theory of magic shouldn't, more, it absolutely can't explain food problem. If it explains it and all other exception, what purpose is in creating any exceptions?

If for information only it will be no exceptions but examples. Exceptions are the break of rule so the rule can not include any of the exceptions. In real physic if something become law/rule it can not have the exceptions otherwise the law/rule is defective (for example: Only corpuscular theory of light postulated by Newton, braked by effect of interference of two light beams). We have defective Gamp's law with exceptions and it should be defective because JKR want it to be defective. (This is my base on which I constructed Gamp's law formula and it's exceptions).

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘In a nutshell... ...quenched his thirst in that moment.’

Summary You: Element are physical/real, elements are an exception for Gamp's law, anything conjured out of thin air is temporary (rule of magic not rule of transfiguration). Aguamenti and blue flames are not real elements/ not real water and fire.

Summary me: Elements are an abstract "energy", elements are not exception for Gamp's law, anything conjured out of thin air is temporary (rule of magic not rule of transfiguration). Aguamenti and blue flames are not real elements but they contain them in much amount.

Do you agree with me about this summaries?

I think we take different bases but with rule of temporary we get the same effects.

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘For instance, when the trio were cold while camping, why didn't they create a "temporary" overcoat?’

legolas returns wrote: ‘Dumbledore conjured sleeping bags from nowhere in POA. They lasted for the rest of the evening.’

Then we know the trio was able in theory to conjure temporary overcoat, because Dumbledore done that. Logically trio had some else barrier and most likely that was too small wizards skills and fear.

Hieronymus Graubart, we interesting point of view.


shepherdess - Apr 11, 2010 10:02 am (#88 of 117)

Would increasing the quantity be something like an engorgement charm?


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 11, 2010 3:24 pm (#89 of 117)

Thank you, Krzysztof -- ironically, I had to look up the definition of "perspicacious".

shepherdess, to me "increasing the quantity" means that you can multiply it and it is real food. I believe the trio could not do so because they did not know the spell.

Canon states in DH14: "Hermione had not packed any food in her magical bag, as she had assumed that they would be returning to Grimmauld Place that night, so they had nothing to eat except some wild mushrooms that Hermione had collected..."

Then in DH15 she explains: "Your mother can't produce food out of thin air...It's impossible to make good food out of nothing! You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, you can increase the quantity if you've already got some -"

And then she says: " you can find the ingredients and try and charm them into something worth eating..."

It seems, unlike Molly, Hermione is simply not yet adept at this type of magic, nor did she think to research it prior to leaving Grimmauld Place.

Krzysztof, I agree that the Law cannot contain the Exception. Was I doing that? I didn't intend to.

I also agree that in my delineation, *indirectly* the earth element could potentially contain everything on planet earth that is not fire/air/water. So I am saying the literal rock/stone/gem/gold is *directly* the physical manifestation of the earth element and plants/trees would be the *indirect* physical manifestation because they require fire(sunlight), air(CO2) and water in order to exist.

Regarding the clothing/tablecloth/sleeping bag comparisons, I firmly believe you cannot magically create clothing. My examples are the trio camping in the cold, Ron wearing his aunt's robes to the Yule Ball (a three to four hour event), and the obvious way JKR shows shabby clothing on certain people. Actually, Legolas' comment only reinforced my feeling about this topic. If the sleeping bags existed for 8 hours, then why not robes? Perhaps it is Dumbledore's skill, or perhaps the sleeping bags were Summoned to the Great Hall, just as the food in the Great Hall magically appears but is actually Summoned from the kitchen below.

My own "abstract reason" for my belief that the Four Elements cannot be created with magic is more of an esoteric one: because the Founders represent the four elements and, to me, they represent overlords or some type of semi-divine beings in this story -- so for me they symbolize what "always was but cannot be made". This is the foundation upon which I support my opinion. Does that make sense?


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 11, 2010 9:36 pm (#90 of 117)

I try to not divide magic into charms and transfiguration, so every law/rule should rule all magic aspects.

I forgot to address this idea. The most obvious in canon is Hermione "conjuring" the birds that attacked Ron in book 6 when he was with Lavender. This was not a bird one could roast.

I find differences between "Charms", "Transfiguration", and creation.

Not that this is canon, but in the HBP film, Hermione distinctly says it is a "Charm-spell" when referring to the birds that eventually attack Ron.

There must be a division in Gamp's Law... given this scene and (perhaps) others like it where a mammal/living thing was "Charmed", or it seems made of "thin air -- yet not REAL". It was not "Transfigured" (from a goblet to a mouse)...


mona amon - Apr 14, 2010 7:59 am (#91 of 117)

I just read through the recent discussion, which is very interesting, and has raised more questions than it answers.

Elements (air, water, earth, fire) are the magical timber of all things (things not substances) like different atoms are timber of all matter and the Gamp's law rules the moves of this elements in things - this moves and changes of elements make one things are transform into other things. (Krzysztof)

I know that air, water, fire and earth are considered elements in some classification (is it Alchemy?), but how do we know that JKR was not referring to the chemical elements (the ones in the Periodic Table)? In that case Hermione's conjuring of blue flames would not come under Gamp's law at all, since fire is not an element, but heat and light energy. I hope this is not wrong information. Like JKR I was taught Chemistry by Severus Snape and was not good at it!

So why are there exceptions to Gamp's Law? Why can't an old and shabby robe be transfigured into a new one? Why can't base metals be transfigured into gold? Why can't a piece of wood be changed into food? I doubt if we'll be able to find a scientific explanation, although it's fun to try.

JKR said in an interview that having decided to create a magical world, she had to set limits to what magic could do. She specifically mentions that she decided magic could not bring the dead back to life. I guess food, clothing, shelter and money, all the basic necessities of life, cannot be obtained by magic because JKR wanted magical folk to have almost the same problems that Muggles did. They wouldn't be very interesting to read about, otherwise.


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 14, 2010 4:54 pm (#92 of 117)

mona, I absolutely agree with your last paragraph. Without limitations there would be no story, no plot.

If anyone is interested, here is one page from wikipedia that links with related elements/subjects/history:

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_(classical_element)


Krzysztof - Apr 15, 2010 8:13 am (#93 of 117)

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘My own "abstract reason" for my belief that the Four Elements cannot be created with magic is more of an esoteric one: because the Founders represent the four elements and, to me, they represent overlords or some type of semi-divine beings in this story -- so for me they symbolize what "always was but cannot be made". This is the foundation upon which I support my opinion. Does that make sense?’

Yes it make sense, and somehow I agree with sentence ‘always was but cannot be made’ but for me it need some bigger more base rule than simple exception in Gamp's Law.

Now, I will show my way of think and it will have sense only in whole:

We agree that everything is made of elements (anything they are - abstract energy or defined matter). If we agree that the elements can not be create out of thin air, it mean (for me) that nothing can be made out of thin air at all.

We known that there was things conjured out of thin air/out of wand, but we can suppose (because we have not proof it's otherwise) they are temporary (after some time they will decay into nothing). It need more explanation, and it is my hypothesis: Things conjured out of thin air are not made of elements, and not made of normal atoms, they are made of magic, which like glue keeps together atoms made from magic too. Those atoms are made of elementary particles (electrons, protons, neutrons) glued by magic, and those elementary particles are made of magic instead of normal forms of energy. We known that normal spells have some liveliness and they can exhaust (like charmed poster of HP in common room), so my assumption is: every form of magic can exhaust.

Summary: Magic glue in things conjured out of thin air is exhausting so after some time they start to come apart and disappear, that's why things are temporary.

I invented alternative explanation, when I was writing text above: Magic is glue of atoms, particle elements and quarks (parts of particle elements) but quarks are temporary itself (on base of quantum mechanics) because they are not stabilized by normal forms of particle elements. (I can explain it better but it need some knowledge of quantum mechanics from my interlocutors). So when quarks start to vanish magic have nothing to glue and thing disappear.

Let's back for moment to Gamp's law. First exception from the law is ‘food’. This ‘food’ is given to us in form of one word, not as the whole sentence with explanation, but as one word. It suggest that all exceptions are given in the same way with just one word/one name of group of things. This words/exceptions can have wide range of meaning, but quite precisely defined. We know that there is five and only five principal exceptions, so they have character of something detailed not general/universal.

Now, back to elements. Elements are everywhere and in anything, nothing can't be conjured out of thin air (except for temporary), so they are general/universal. Exceptions from Gamp's law are not general/universal so elements don't fit here as exception. They are us much important and general/universal so they should find it's place somewhere higher than in rule of transfiguration. For me they fit ideally into general rule of all magic: ‘Nothing can't be conjured out of thin air permanently’, or: ‘Elements can't be conjured out of thin air permanently so nothing can't be conjured out of thin air permanently’.

I see, or more feel some errors in my own theories, but it's non science fiction and there can be million different reasons explaining every strange thing in books, but I hope it's enough logical and coherent for our purposes.

Mona amon wrote: ‘but how do we know that JKR was not referring to the chemical elements (the ones in the Periodic Table)?’

Yes, it's absolutely possible, and we can be in absolute wrong. I personally hope that my/your/ours theories will be enough correct to handle transfiguration effects from HP books Smile

Many question, but we can answer them with few assumption:

- ‘So why are there exceptions to Gamp's Law?’ - We don't know why, but we know they are so they must be necessary.

- ‘Why can't an old and shabby robe be transfigured into a new one?’ - Because old id old not new, and even after transfiguration things have they original nature (like Malfoy transfigured into animal and back into human without any mind or psychical harm). But we know they more or less can be changed (Severing Charm on the ruff and cuffs used by Ron, or buttons created by Hermione).

- ‘Why can't base metals be transfigured into gold?’ - Because JKR need that, or because it was impossible in medieval chemistry and even now it's only theoretically possible because it need use energy bigger that have our sun (gold and other heavy metals like lead, uranium are create only in explosion of supernova star).

- ‘Why can't a piece of wood be changed into food?’ - Interesting question especially the some leafs, buds, sprouts and bark of some trees are eatable. I think it's simply possible but you need to know first that the woods can be eaten (it's easy to think about that in front of PC, but it is not so simple in wood during magical war for couple of teenagers). But if we accept my formula of Gamp's law you will not create good food from not good wood because it will not gain nutritious.

‘I doubt if we'll be able to find a scientific explanation, although it's fun to try.’ - Magic is not scientific, magic is magical in nature Smile And it so magical in HP books and in this topic Smile

Ps.1. All this theories above are only my thoughts and I'm not trying to force you to them. I'm writing ‘we know...’ ‘we can...’ because I'm thinking, constructing sentences and talking this way. It's much simpler for me especially in not my native language and with so complicated things.

Ps.2. I'm not sure, is the sentence ‘...nothing can't be...’ correct? Or it should be ‘...nothing can be...’? In Polish both forms are correct and more I can tell it in almost ten different ways and it still be logically for Polish speakers.

Ps.3. It is very long post.


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 15, 2010 12:42 pm (#94 of 117)

...but how do we know that JKR was not referring to the chemical elements (the ones in the Periodic Table)?

mona, I forgot to address this. I personally do not consider the *Elemental* of "Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration" to refer specifically to the Four Elements. I was just jumping into a conversation about the Four Elements already in progress

To me the title of this law refers to the "base" or "essential" fundamentals of transfiguration. Here is a link of definitions (it wouldn't let me copy and paste):

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I will respond to Krzysztof's comments as soon as possible


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 15, 2010 4:05 pm (#95 of 117)

Krzysztof, your post has many ideas and I would like to respond to each one at length; it might take me a few days to ponder it all.

Let's back for moment to Gamp's law. First exception from the law is ?food?. This ?food? is given to us in form of one word, not as the whole sentence with explanation, but as one word. It suggests that all exceptions are given in the same way with just one word/one name of group of things. This words/exceptions can have wide range of meaning, but quite precisely defined. We know that there is five and only five principal exceptions, so they have character of something detailed not general/universal.

I agree about the "one word" for each exception. I gave my opinion a while ago, at the end of this post: me and my shadow 813[/b], "+ Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration" #58, 19 Feb 2009 10:06 pm You might find it interesting.

Regarding your thoughts on "temporary" magic, I wonder if you are familiar with the story of King Arthur's father, Uther. Merlin "glamoured" or "magicked" his face in order for Igraine to think he was her husband, Gorlois. This is what I believe the "temporary" magic of HP is. It is real/physical in that you could touch it. But, as you said, it fades or dissipates with time. To me, there must be exceptions to this type of magic that are exclusive to it and do not necessarily apply to exceptions to "permanent" types of magic. An example might be Hermione creating birds that can fly and potentially peck at and harm Ron, but they cannot be used as food even if they existed long enough to roast them.

Given the above Hermione example, I feel that the only reason to decide what is "temporary" magic is to exclude it from this Law of Exceptions. These 5 exceptions refer to "permanent" magic. Do we agree?

I will try to respond to more of your post later tonight.


Hieronymus Graubart - Apr 15, 2010 11:11 pm (#96 of 117)

Off topic:

Krzysztof, "...nothing can be..." seems to be correct English for what you want to express, while the double negation "...nothing can't be..." would be a kind of slang (often heard in movies when it fits the speakers role).

In PS, Peeves makes a joke on this when he says: "I won't say nothing until you say 'Please'". Filch suspects that Peeves is speaking slang and interprets the double negation to mean "I will say nothing until you say 'Please'", so he says "Please" to make Peeves tell him where Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville have gone.

But Peeves answers "Nothing!", pretending he had literally meant "I will not say 'Nothing' until you say 'Please'".

(I just had to explain to my niece why this joke doesn't work in the mistranslated german edition. Now I wonder if it works in Polish.)

But I don't want to interrupt this interesting discussion.


Krzysztof - Apr 15, 2010 11:18 pm (#97 of 117)

Of course, I'm waiting impatiently for your respond. Smile

me and my shadow 813 wrote: "These 5 exceptions refer to "permanent" magic. Do we agree?"

Absolutely yes.

I will refrain from more respond until you finish your own respond Smile

Hieronymus Graubart, thanks for this explanation, it is very helpful. In Polish version Peeve's joke works.


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 16, 2010 4:40 pm (#98 of 117)

Okay, Krzysztof, I will attempt to respond to your first concepts:

Now, I will show my way of think and it will have sense only in whole:

We agree that everything is made of elements (anything they are - abstract energy or defined matter). If we agree that the elements can not be create out of thin air, it mean (for me) that nothing can be made out of thin air at all.

Agreed -- this is what I referred to with the King Arthur example. Merlin used "glamour" rather than true magic, in my opinion. Similarly, Hermione refers to the conjured little birds as "charm-spell" rather than a true spell/transfiguration/magic. I will summarize to say that Hermione could not create life. Life, including food (plant or animal) cannot be created with magic. This is only created with the divine force that is beyond humans. A plant and an animal are both created with a *seed* and a place for that seed to grow. Only a female or the earth can do that, to me. Like Dumbledore said of music, the creation of life is beyond any magic wizards perform.

We known that there was things conjured out of thin air/out of wand, but we can suppose (because we have not prof it's otherwise) they are temporary (after some time they will decay into nothing). It need more explanation, and it is my hypothesis: Things conjured out of thin air are not made of elements, and not made of normal atoms, they are made of magic, which like glue keeps together atoms made from magic too. Those atoms are made of elementary particles (electrons, protons, neutrons) glued by magic, and those elementary particles are made of magic instead of normal forms of energy. We known that normal spells have some liveliness and they can exhaust (like charmed poster of HP in common room), so my assumption is: every form of magic can exhaust.

Summary: Magic glue in things conjured out of thin air is exhausting so after some time they start to come apart and disappear, that's why things are temporary.

I invented alternative explanation, when I was writing text above: Magic is glue of atoms, particle elements and quarks (parts of particle elements) but quarks are temporary itself (on base of quantum mechanics) because they are not stabilized by normal normal forms of particle elements. (I can explain it better but it need some knowledge of quantum mechanics from my interlocutors). So when quarks start to vanish magic have nothing to glue and thing disappear.

I am not well versed in quantum mechanics, so I can't respond to that analogy. But I like your "magic glue" idea, because it illustrates the "glamour" effect very well in concrete terms.

One might ask what is the point of having two separate classes at Hogwarts for Charms and Transfiguration? Why not simply have a class for "Spells"?

For our discussion, here is what the Lexicon says about the class "Charms" at Hogwarts:

Charms Magic

Charms are a type of magic spell concerned with enchanting an object to behave in a way that isn't normal for that object. For example, the Summoning Charm brings an object to the caster. Charms is also something of a catch-all for spells that aren't Transfiguration (spells that change the inherent nature of an object). In some sense, if a spell isn't Transfiguration, it's probably a Charm.

A Charm might cause something to flash different colors. It might cause an object to levitate or even fly through the air. Charms can make a person laugh or dance or even create a bubble of breathable air around a person's head. In all of these cases, the object or the person doesn't really change, they just do something unexpected.

So it could be said that Charms is more closely associated with "temporary" magic (i.e., enchanting items) than Transfiguration.

Here is what the Lexicon says about the class called "Transfiguration":

Transfiguration is magic which changes one object into another. It is possible to change inanimate objects into animate ones and vice versa. Some Transfiguration spells alter a part of something, such as changing a person's ears from normal into rabbit ears. ... Transfiguration spells were cast in ancient times as well. Circe, a witch who lived in the Greek island of Aeaea, was famous for turning lost sailors into pigs. ... Transfiguration is subject to rules, such as Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration, which has five Principal Exceptions, of which food is one, which means that food cannot be produced out of thin air. Food can be moved from one place to another by magic, or changed, but not created out of nothing (DH15).

Notice there is no class teaching how to "create" items. Could this magic exist but only for advanced wizards?

Regarding Transfiguration and its permanence: it seems sailors were made into pigs...was it permanent? Could Slughorn have permanently become an armchair in HBP? Or was that a charm?


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 16, 2010 5:31 pm (#99 of 117)

Sorry, I would like to clarify my statement:

I will summarize to say that Hermione could not create life. Life, including food (plant or animal) cannot be created with magic. This is only created with the divine force that is beyond humans. A plant and an animal are both created with a *seed* and a place for that seed to grow. Only a female or the earth can do that, to me.

Hopefully it is understood that I meant the female or the earth can create "a place for that seed to grow". I am aware the female is not wholly responsible for creation and I don't want anyone thinking I'm some radical feminist!

My point is I feel only the divine (beyond human) can make these *elements* of life, and creating life is far beyond Transfiguration.


Chemyst - Apr 28, 2010 12:09 pm (#100 of 117)

Perhaps it is Dumbledore's skill, or perhaps the sleeping bags were summoned to the Great Hall, ~ M&M

That makes perfect sense when summoning is enhanced with a second transfiguration spell. Every student already had a bed on the premises, so DD could have summoned a blanket from each bed and "poofed" it into a sleeping bag.
 
 
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Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration - posts #101 to #117

Post  Potteraholic on Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:10 pm


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 28, 2010 7:13 pm (#101 of 117)

Chemyst, I agree it does make perfect sense the way you described it. I think wizards and witches are very creative when it comes to getting around these exceptions. Why wouldn't they be? It's like they are a half-step between Muggle life and "divine" creation: transfiguration, a.k.a. magic!

So Dumbledore uses a Summoning Charm for the quilts, an Engorgement Charm of sorts to make them puffy and like a little pouch, and a Coloration Charm to make them all purple...? Sounds good to me. Did they come out of thin air for eight hours? Sounds plausable, too, but the whole "clothing" dilemma makes me wonder about creating fabric/coverings (as I've stated ad nauseum).

Did I scare off Krzysztof? I'll admit my post didn't make a whole lot of sense in certain areas... at times I lose the ability to write in a linear manner. For instance:

We agree that everything is made of elements (anything they are - abstract energy or defined matter). If we agree that the elements can not be create out of thin air, it mean (for me) that nothing can be made out of thin air at all. -Krzysztof

Agreed -- this is what I referred to with the King Arthur example. Merlin used "glamour" rather than true magic, in my opinion. Similarly, Hermione refers to the conjured little birds as "charm-spell" rather than a true spell/transfiguration/magic. - me

I wasn't very accurate here -- The "glamour" cannot be created out of thin air, and obviously it is not. I agree nothing can be created out of thin air by a wizard or witch. The "Charmed" conjured objects like Hermione's birds are the exception, but they are temporary magic so are excluded from Gamp's Exceptions. heh heh, confusing.


Julia H. - Apr 28, 2010 9:52 pm (#102 of 117)

As far as conjuring is concerned, it is difficult to tell what happens in the case of adult wizards when we don't see into their heads. Yes, there are many possibilities for Dumbledore to get those sleeping bags (and other items) to a given place. (I wonder where the rope that Snape conjures in PoA comes from - is it also summoned or transfigured from something?) We see Dumbledore and McGonagall apparently "conjure" food out of thin air, but then we are told that it is impossible, so they must have summoned all that food. That makes it possible that many, most or all instances of "conjuring" we see are summoning or transfiguration or some other spells. Therefore it would be worth collecting the examples where we know that something was indeed conjured out of thin air.

In DH: A flask, conjured from thin air, was thrust into his shaking hand by Hermione. Here we are told what happened exactly. Another candidate is Malfoy's snake in the Duelling Club - unless the snake was summoned from the forest. After all, conjuring something out of thin air must be very advanced magic and Malfoy was a second-year student. (Or was the snake conjured by Snape secretly? )

Can anyone think of any more instances where it is likely that what we see is indeed something being conjured out of nothing rather than summoned or transfigured?

I'd like to know what Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration is. We only know an exception - but if there is an exception (five, in fact), it suggests to me that Elemental Transfiguration (perhaps referring to the elements or perhaps referring to the basics only ) is in essence possible. Except for the exceptions.

Still another interesting problem is the problem of vanishing things. What is the relationship between conjuring and vanishing? I'd like to see a symmetry here, but I can't. It seems potions can be made to disappear (unless they only "go away" to a different place) but I don't think they can be conjured out of nothing. Any thoughts?


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 29, 2010 9:15 am (#103 of 117)

Julia, it certainly is tough to distinguish and I'm not sure we'll ever know. I recall in the Cave that Dumbledore conjured a goblet...

...Dumbledore raised his wand again, twirled it once in midair and then caught the crystal goblet that he had conjured out of nowhere.

Again we see him doing the "impossible" -- and as you pointed out, we see Severus doing the same and, in DH, Hermione. Is it because of their skill level? Perhaps!

Regarding Draco's snake, I thought of it as similar to Hermione's birds... a parlour trick taught to him by his father.


me and my shadow 813 - Apr 30, 2010 3:56 pm (#104 of 117)

I'd like to know what Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration is. We only know an exception - but if there is an exception (five, in fact), it suggests to me that Elemental Transfiguration (perhaps referring to the elements or perhaps referring to the basics only ) is in essence possible. Except for the exceptions.

I agree! We could try to figure out what the Laws of Transfiguration are, and that would help to clarify the exceptions.

For instance, we are told that a man was transformed into a pig. We saw Draco transformed into a ferret. And we saw Slughorn transform *himself* into an armchair.

Would all these people potentially remain transfigured permanently? Could Draco have transformed *himself* back? Or could only another wizard do so if they knew the correct spell? What happened to Slughorn while he was an armchair (assuming this was the "glamour" I mentioned earlier -- otherwise we'll have to discuss what happened to Slughorn's organs while he was an armchair ).


mona amon - May 1, 2010 9:01 am (#105 of 117)

I happened to find this quote from an old interview with JKR, and it seems to support some of the conclusions arrived at in this discussion -

Q: It seems that the wizards and witches at Hogwarts are able to conjure up many things, such as food for the feasts, chairs and sleeping bags. . .if this is so, why does the wizarding world need money ? What are the limitations on the material objects you can conjure up ? It seems unnecessary that the Weasleys would be in such need of money. . . (Jan Campbell)

A: Very good question (well done, Jan!!). There is legislation about what you can conjure and what you can't. Something that you conjure out of thin air will not last. This is a rule I set down for myself early on. I love these logical questions! ("World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000)

About vanished objects, we have McGonagall's answer to the Ravenclaw door -

"Where do Vanished objects go?"

"Into non being, which is to say, everything," (DH, Chapter 30)

So if conjuring is the opposite of vanishing, a conjured object will come from everything, into being!

I guess some transfigurations are permanent, and others last only for a while, just like some spells seem to last for centuries after they're cast, while others wear off after a short while. If all transfigurations were temporary, we wouldn't need exceptions to Gamp's Law.


me and my shadow 813 - May 1, 2010 6:56 pm (#106 of 117)

Mona, my assumption was that *most* Transfiguration is permanent, unless a counter-spell or undoing-spell was performed. That is why I've expressed my belief that "temporary Charm-type spells" (i.e., Hermione's birds) are not real Transfiguration. They are conjured and temporary, and thus do not fall under the Exceptions (i.e., you cannot create a roaster-chicken out of thin air, and yet Hermione created several birds. Therefore, we assume the birds were not "real" birds).

But I am interested in JKR's verbiage: "There is legislation about what you can conjure and what you can't."

Legislation implies a law created by man (MoM), rather than a natural law. I wonder if, like underage magic, had the Weasleys created new robes out of thin air, would the MoM send them a letter for a hearing...? Is Gamp's Law exclusively a legislative one? Hermione's comments in DH did not make it sound that way...

I think in Slughorn's case with the armchair, it would be a "Charm" similar to Disillusionment. Harry did not actually become invisible, it was a charm to make him appear invisible. In the case of Draco becoming a ferret, I wouldn't be surprised if fake-Moody was capable of something dark that was the equivalent of the Animagus spell and it could have been permanent. (IMO it is dark magic if you transfigure someone into an animal against their will)

PS: Love the McGonagall quote!!!

edited


Julia H. - May 2, 2010 12:32 am (#107 of 117)

So if conjuring is the opposite of vanishing, a conjured object will come from everything, into being! (Mona)

Yes, but does that also mean that vanishing is also temporary? If things can vanish truly and forever but conjured items are only temporary and not real, it seems to upset the balance for me.


me and my shadow 813 - May 3, 2010 3:35 pm (#108 of 117)

I don't believe conjuring is the opposite of vanishing, necessarily. I think there are "temporary" vanishing Charms that balance "temporary" conjuring Charms..."Something that you conjure out of thin air will not last. This is a rule I set down for myself early on."

...and then there are permanent Transfiguration Spells as well as permanent vanishing spells. All Vanished objects might "go" into non-being while they are "gone", but I think McGonagall's answer to the Ravenclaw Door was referring to the permanent variety. JM2K

I think it is important to note when JKR distinctly uses the verb "conjured", and that in those instances the object was temporary in existence.


mona amon - May 3, 2010 8:49 pm (#109 of 117)

it seems to upset the balance for me. (Julia)

It need not upset the balance if 'everything' is the more stable state. Things which are brought into being from everything by magic (conjured objects) are unstable and revert to 'everything' after a while. Things which are already in existence (without being conjured by magic) are held in a state of being by certain forces, and can be made to revert to the state of non-being or 'everything' by a magical spell, and once they're in this more stable state, remain there. Nothing is created, and nothing destroyed. I too love the McGonagall quote, especially the use of 'everything' instead of 'nothing'. Hope that makes sense, it sounded ok when I was thinking about it but now I'm not so sure.

Alternatively, as Shadow explains, there may be more than one way of vanishing things, just as there is more than one way of making things appear (summoning, transfiguration, conjuring). Severus makes the conjured snake in CoS disappear with a wave of his wand, but in OOTP he vanishes Harry's potion with the spell 'Evanesco'. Perhaps this is a sort of opposite of Accio. The potion, instead of being summoned, is being banished to some drain. I certainly hope that the kittens Hermione vanishes in class returned to their mother, or were only conjured (ie. not real) kittens to begin with.


me and my shadow 813 - May 3, 2010 9:45 pm (#110 of 117)

I too love the McGonagall quote, especially the use of 'everything' instead of 'nothing'. Hope that makes sense, it sounded ok when I was thinking about it but now I'm not so sure.

It makes sense to me and I agree. Especially coming from Minerva, it's a very spiritual statement; rather than her usual pragmatic comments, this one shows us (IMO) that the magical world is closely entwined with the spiritual, in other words the connectedness of the unseen. Her comment makes this point very concisely, without it being purely "scientific". How could magic be purely scientific anyway, eh?

Um, where were we?

edit: Okay, here's info from the Lexicon --

Evanesco (ev-an-ES-ko) "Vanishing Spell"

"evanesco" L. to disappear

Makes something vanish (not just become invisible, but go away completely)

When Colin was taking his picture and asking him to sign it, Harry wished he knew a good Vanishing Spell to escape the embarrassment (CS6)

Another form of this spell actually makes things go away. Neville did this by mistake to one of the legs of his desk when McGonagall announced that, in spite of the attacks on students and the banishment of Albus Dumbledore and Hagrid, they would still be given their exams (CS16).

Bill Weasley used this to make a stack of scrolls disappear while cleaning up after a meeting of the Order of the Phoenix during Harry's first night at number twelve, Grimmauld Place (OP5).

Snape used the Vanishing Spell to get rid of Harry's less-than-perfect attempt at a Draught of Peace (OP12).

The fifth years had to practice Vanishing spells for some of their first Transfiguration homework that year (OP13).

Fifth years work on the Vanishing Spell in Transfiguration, starting with snails and then working their way up to mice (OP15).

According to Professor McGonagall, Vanished objects go "into non-being, which is to say, everything" (DH30).

See Vanishing Magic for a more complete discussion of the uses of this spell and others like it.


Conjuring Spells

incantation unknown

A type of magic that creates objects out of thin air.

Conjuring spells are advanced magic; they are N.E.W.T. level at Hogwarts, taught in sixth and seventh years (OP13).

See AGUAMENTI, ARROWS, WAND, AVIS, CHAINS, MAGICAL, FERULA, FOUNTAIN OF WINE, INANIMATUS CONJURUS, INCARCEROUS, LEEK JINX, ORCHIDEOUS, ROPES, MAGICAL, SERPENSORTIA

See CONJURED ITEMS


Krzysztof - May 5, 2010 8:03 am (#111 of 117)

me and my shadow 813 wrote (post 101): ‘Did I scare off Krzysztof? I'll admit my post didn't make a whole lot of sense in certain areas... at times I lose the ability to write in a linear manner.’

Absolutely no. First I wanted to wait until you finish your answer, then few think fall onto me (promotion in job, trip under tent, announcement about me friend's wedding), so I simply had no time to think about Gamp's law. Sorry for that late, because this topic if quite important for me.

me and my shadow 813 wrote (post 98): ‘So it could be said that Charms is more closely associated with "temporary" magic (i.e., enchanting items) than Transfiguration.’

I think is it very good summary for your/mine/our theory about temporary and permanent magic :)

If you create something from nothing then it is temporary and you will learn about it at charm lessons ñ lessons about temporary magic. When you want to make something permanent you need something to transfigure and you will learn about it at transfiguration lessons ñ lessons about permanent magic.

In this light we can see that charms and transfiguration are not only some specialist lessons but they are entirely different in basis.

me and my shadow 813 wrote (post 98): ‘Notice there is no class teaching how to "create" items. Could this magic exist but only for advanced wizards?’

I can't find exact quote in books (for this moment) but I feel someone told about learning ‘creating spells’ during sixth or seventh year of school.

me and my shadow 813 wrote (post 98): ‘Regarding Transfiguration and its permanence: it seems sailors were made into pigs...was it permanent? Could Slughorn have permanently become an armchair in HBP? Or was that a charm?’

In first case I believe it was permanent even it is not nice thing.

JKR wrote in HBP4: ‘And without warning, Dumbledore swooped, plunging the tip of his wand into the seat of the overstuffed armchair, which yelled,

In Slughorn case I think it was simply charm because armchair yelled, and more after Dumbledore dispersed the professors charm he was in crouch position. I think normal and even transfigured armchairs are not yelling and can't not feel touching.

Oh, I need to agree with ‘me and my shadow 813î from post 106, my above answer is similar to your.

me and my shadow 813 wrote (post 99): ‘My point is I feel only the divine (beyond human) can make these *elements* of life, and creating life is far beyond Transfiguration.’

I agree with you and understood. Magic can speed up the grow of life but the act of creation can not be done by wand magic.

Chemist you theory about Dumbledore's sleeping bags is very nice, and as ‘me and my shadow 813’ wrote it solve the eventual problem of conjuring clothing, but then we lost one argument in discussion :(

With this explanation I can accept clothing as an exception, and give the formula (to put into my Gamp's law formula from post #68 of this topic):

Five principal exceptions: (what can not be result of transfiguration)

3) Clothes - in meaning: Things which are elastic, soft and isolate from heat flow. You can change stone into shirt but it will be the coldest shirt in world.

But I'm not sure about this explanation of clothes exception.

Julia H. wrote (post 102): ‘Still another interesting problem is the problem of vanishing things. What is the relationship between conjuring and vanishing? I'd like to see a symmetry here, but I can't. It seems potions can be made to disappear (unless they only "go away" to a different place) but I don't think they can be conjured out of nothing. Any thoughts?’

I think there is no symmetry at all. Even for us/Muggle it is more simple to break/destroy thing than create it. This non-symmetry effect is not only logical but it have support in physic especially in entropy and second law of thermodynamics. So if you are able to vanish some things, you are not necessary able to create them.

me and my shadow 813 wrote (post 108): ‘I don't believe conjuring is the opposite of vanishing, necessarily. I think there are "temporary" vanishing Charms that balance "temporary" conjuring Charms.’

I think identical.

JKR told: "There is legislation about what you can conjure and what you can't."

About word ‘legislation’ I think there is some natural law but described by some smart wizards and expressed through legislation, through rules in some wizards books. Like natural law of physic are expressed by scientists in book through some rules. Often our artificial rules are more complicated than their natural law. When you are checking ‘what is allowed and what not’ you can use natural law to find answer or use rules made by humans - use legislation. I think JKR was talking about that legislation and this is what we want to find, but we try to find natural law first and then create those legislations. (I wish my explanation is logical and grammatical).

Can someone explain more to me this quote? JKR wrote: ‘Something that you conjure out of thin air will not last.’ Is it mean that things conjured out of thin air are temporary?


me and my shadow 813 - May 7, 2010 3:44 pm (#112 of 117)

JKR wrote in HBP4: “And without warning, Dumbledore swooped, plunging the tip of his wand into the seat of the overstuffed armchair, which yelled, " In Slughorn case I think it was simply charm because armchair yelled, and more after Dumbledore dispersed the professors charm he was in crouch position. I think normal and even transfigured armchairs are not yelling and can't not feel touching. -Krzysztof

Excellent example of why it was simply the "appearance" of being a chair.

I think there is no symmetry at all. Even for us/Muggles it is more simple to break/destroy thing than create it. This non-symmetry effect is not only logical but it have support in physic especially in entropy and second law of thermodynamics. So if you are able to vanish some things, you are not necessary able to create them.

Interesting -- so essentially Evanesco would be a less complex spell than a Transfiguration spell. That makes sense to me and we might have canon to support this...?

Can someone explain more to me this quote? JKR wrote: ?Something that you conjure out of thin air will not last." Is it mean that things conjured out of thin air are temporary?

Yes, that is exactly what she meant, in other words "...will not endure."

...(promotion in job, trip under tent, ...

Congratulations on your promotion! And, if you are interested, "trip under tent" in English is "camping"

- - -

So, are we any closer to understanding Gamp's Law? If Charms and Transfiguration are two separate magical theories, with Transfiguration being much more complex and permanent, is there a limit to how much a wizard could transfigure?

This is slightly off the topic, but, for example, could a dark wizard, who does not like rabbits, turn each and every rabbit in Britain into a teacup? Or is there legislation which would punish the wizard, even if it is not an "exception" ...


me and my shadow 813 - May 7, 2010 11:01 pm (#113 of 117)

About word ?legislation? I think there is some natural law but described by some smart wizards and expressed through legislation, through rules in some wizards books. Like natural law of physic are expressed by scientists in book through some rules. ...

I think JKR was talking about that legislation and this is what we want to find ...

Forgot to say that I find this explanation a good one -- JKR used the term "legislation" because it is a written law in some huge textbook, but it was a natural law that was placed into books by the Ministry. I also think she used the term "legislation" loosely, in that she didn't think we'd analyse it to such a minute degree!


Krzysztof - May 12, 2010 12:43 pm (#114 of 117)

me and my shadow 813 wrote: "So, are we any closer to understanding Gamp's Law?"

I believe we are! I think we done some important thing when separate unstable charms from transfiguration. Even if we don't know what transfiguration is we know what it is not. (I'm not sure is this sentence correct and grammatical). This implicate direction of our further discussion, now we can reject facts and examples which are not part of transmutation and are not subject of Gamp's law (they are surely part of charms).

Other important success of this thread is statement that ‘elements’ are not exceptions from Gamp's law and nature of ‘elements’ is mainly not important.

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ìwe might have canon to support this...?î

We can easily give examples of destructing with magic, but can you give any example of creating with magic not only out of thin air (except Aguamenti and blue flames)?

me and my shadow 813 wrote: ‘is there a limit to how much a wizard could transfigure?’

In what sense? If about volume (grain of sand, mouse, tree, mountain, planet) I think it depending on wizard power, if about complexity (stone, wood, spider, mammal) I think it depending on wizard skills, if about amount (one table, few beetle, thousand grains of sand) I think it depending on wizard will/intentions but in most cases one thing in one time (but thousand grains are the same as handful of sand).

me and my shadow 813 wrote: This is slightly off the topic, but, for example, could a dark wizard, who does not like rabbits, turn each and every rabbit in Britain into a teacup? Or is there legislation which would punish the wizard, even if it is not an "exception" ...

And again, in what sense? He do that with all rabbits with one wand shake, or he travel around the Britain and hunt the rabbits? I think it is not possible at all with one wand shake, and mostly possible to hunt down all rabbits in country (we know all dragons in Britain was hunted down and closed in wildlife reserve and any magical force do not stooped that). But I think ministry of magic will punish somehow this wizard especially there is special office in Department of Magical Law Enforcement named: Improper Use of Magic Office.

All this thread confirm me in belief that my Gamp's law formula can be correct. Now I will quote it but in some changed form:

‘Everything can be result of transfiguration ñ gain any appearance, features and properties ñ from any things, which have any undesirable appearance, features and properties if they are made up from this same elements.’

Five Principal Exceptions: (what can not be result of transfiguration)

1) Food

2) Money

3) Clothes

4) Magical items

5) Beings

And the same thing in Polish:

‘Wszystko moøe byÊ wynikiem transmutacji ñ uzyskaÊ dowolny wyglπd, cechy i w≥aúciwoúci ñ z dowolnych przedmiotÛw posiadajπcych niepoøπdany wyglπd, cechy i w≥aúciwoúci, jeøeli sk≥adajπ siÍ z tych samych øywio≥Ûw.’

PiÍÊ g≥Ûwnych wyjπtkÛw: (co nie moøe byÊ wynikiem transmutacji)

1) Jedzenie

2) Pieniπdze

3) Ubrania

4) Magiczne przedmioty

5) Istoty

I think it is now more clear, simple and logical. Give me know if you see any holes in this formula.


me and my shadow 813 - May 17, 2010 10:24 pm (#115 of 117)

Krzysztof, your post is very well summarized. My only "hole" would be the #5 concept of beings. We see that a teacup was transformed into a gerbil in Half-blood Prince/Book 6 (and according to Rowling the Prime Minister gave the gerbil to his niece as a pet, so it was a permanent transformation)... and we have the Animagus "charm" which is actually a transformation because Wormtail was able to transform indefinitely, for 12 years. Do you have any examples and/or ideas about how this is an exception to transformation? For instance, I don't know if a less "intelligent" being (mouse) could be transformed into a being with "higher intelligence" (German shepherd). Any thoughts?

Also, #4 magical items, could you be more specific? I think we would need to distinguish between "enchanted items" versus "magical items"...? I'm not sure if enchanted items are "temporary" or if once they are enchanted, they remain so.


Julia H. - May 18, 2010 4:52 am (#116 of 117)

Isn't a gerbil more intelligent than a teacup?


me and my shadow 813 - May 18, 2010 8:34 am (#117 of 117)

LOL, Julia! I guess I should have worded my sentence more clearly. Although it is possible to make an inanimate object into a living being, it would be an exception to raise one living being's "consciousness" or "intelligence" or "evolution" (or whatever word you prefer) into a higher level. To me this would be an exception just as improving one's health with food/clothing/wealth is an exception.

In other words, to me, in most philosophies of the universe (whether it is Darwinian or more spiritual in nature) you would not be infringing on the course of the teacup's evolution/spiritual path by changing its destiny. But you would by taking it upon yourself to "improve upon" an animal's level of intelligence.

In the other direction, to me it is dark magic to change another human into a lesser mammal (like fake Moody did to Draco, or the witch who turned sailors into pigs) but it is not dark if one does it to oneself (Animagi).
 
 
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