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Over the ages, numerous people have learned how to use magic for various purposes. Magic, at times, applies beliefs, rituals, or actions to manipulate natural or supernatural beings and forces. Transfiguration in Harry Potter mainly focuses on changing objects from one form of thing into another; it covers a range of spells.

Harry Potter with a white owl. Photo: @harrypottermovie
Source: Facebook

Transfiguration is magic that changes one object into another. It is possible to change inanimate objects into animate ones and vice versa. Expert wizards can also perform the procedure on themselves. Interestingly, one can acquire the knowledge of magic through lessons from skilled teachers and professors.

Transfiguration in Harry Potter

Transfiguration was a branch of magic that focused on altering the form or appearance of an object. It was achieved by the alteration of the object’s molecular structure. It could be done to most things but was hardly limited to transfiguration spells.

Classification of transfiguration

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It is divided into four branches, some of which are further divided into sub-branches. The broad branches are as follows:

  • Transformation
  • Untransfiguration
  • Vanishment
  • Conjuration

Transformation

It is also referred to as transubstantial transfiguration, and it focuses on altering the physical features of an object. Transformation is the first branch that students will learn at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It has the following sub-groups:

  • Human transformation
  • Switches
  • Trans-Species transformations

Human transformation

What is human transfiguration? This was a sub-branch of transfiguration. It refers to transformation where either the target or end-product is a human being.

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Switches

During Switching, features were exchanged between organisms. A physical feature from one of the two targets was switched with another, hence the name. It targets two objects simultaneously. The change in one of the pairs was dependent on a change in the other.

Trans-Species transformations

This is the third branch in which one organism was transformed into something of a different species. It is one of the most challenging sub-branches of transfiguration, and transforming spells must be adapted to perform this magic.

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Untransfiguration

It is a type of counter-spell that is the exact opposite of transfiguration. In other words, it is reversing the effects of a transfiguration. An example of this magic was given in Harry Potter’s first transfiguration class in 1991.

Transfiguration in Harry Potter
Practical session of transfiguration. Photo: @harrypottermovie
Source: Facebook

Professor Minerva McGonagall changed her desk into a pig and the pig back to a desk in the class. Remus Lupin and Sirius Black changed Peter Pettigrew from a rat to his usual human appearance two years later.

Vanishment

It is the art of causing things to go into non-being. But, unlike the others, the difficulty involved depends on the complexity of the organism. For instance, snails, as invertebrates, were easier to disappear than mice, which are mammals.

Conjuration

This is the magic of bringing things into being, and it is the opposite of vanishment. It is considered to be advanced magic and sophisticated than vanishment.

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Limitations of transfiguration in Harry Potter

What is the true limitation of transfiguration? Even though transfiguration was a valuable branch of magic, it had its set of restrictions. Someone performing a spell would find it easier to change one thing into something else if the two states had something in common. For instance, a statue of a dragon turning into an actual dragon.

  • Transformation was limited by the fact that the dead could not be revived through magic. Therefore, a wizard could not bring the dead back to life, no matter how recently the death occurred.
  • Human transfiguration allowed one to transform another into different animals. However, the object being changed would possess the intelligence of the creature they became.
  • Conjuration was primarily restricted by the Five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration. There were restrictions that one could not conjure food. Though, pre-existing food could be charmed in specific ways.
  • Trans-species change was restricted by the fact that they could only transfigure into one kind of animal. An Animagus was monitored closely, as attempting to become such a thing was highly dangerous. If one succeeded, one had to register at the Ministry of Magic or face trial.

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A look at what transfiguration class was about

Transfiguration was a core class and subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was a required subject for all first-year to fifth-year students. It also had the option of a N.E.W.T. (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test) course in the sixth and seventh year.

Minerva McGonagall was the transfiguration professor from 1956 until 1998. Before her, Albus Dumbledore taught the subject. Unfortunately, it is unknown who became the professor after Minerva was promoted to being the headmistress of Hogwarts.

Transfiguration in Harry Potter
Professor Minerva McGonagall. Photo: @Minerva-McGonagall
Source: Facebook

Students were subjected to practicals during classes and would occasionally be given assignments. The curriculum was spread across seven years, and students would sit for a written exam and then complete a practical one.

How did the transfiguration classroom look like?

Classes were held around the Middle Courtyard. They included class 1 on the first floor, class 34 on the third floor, class 99 in the South Tower. Another space was classroom 1B on the ground floor.

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Classroom 1B was large. It was surrounded by high windows, had four rows of three desks, and still had enough room for cages and bookshelves. It also had two chalkboards and a desk for the teacher. Several lit candlesticks stood behind the desk.

What happens in Harry’s first transfiguration lesson?

Harry Potter’s transfiguration teacher, McGonagall, shows her students how magic is performed. As a demonstration, she turns her desk into an actual pig and back to the pig again without uttering any particular word.

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Can you use transfiguration on yourself?

Yes, it is possible, and it is called self-transfiguration. A skilled wizard can perform the procedure. Professor McGonagall’s appearance as a cat is an act of transfiguration is a perfect example. However, being an Animagus – having the ability to turn yourself into an animal – involves a lot of hard work.

Transfiguration in Harry Potter gives an insight into various categories of magic. One gets to learn the different concepts and types of magic. Also, one can familiarise themselves with restrictions present in different categories.

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Tuko.co.ke also published an article on ten fun facts about Borat. Borat is a 2006 comedy film directed by Larry Charles and stars Sacha Baron Cohen, who features as Borat Sagdiyev. The storyline is around Mr Sagdiyev, who is a fictitious Kazakh T.V. journalist.

He is dispatched to the United States to report on the greatest country in the world. The video appears interesting on the screens. However, what went on behind the camera was way more unbelievable than the stuff that went down in the actual film.

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