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The Five Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law

by David Haber

Elemental transfiguration is the magical art of physically converting one thing into another. But as with all types of magic, there are limitations to what you can do with transfiguration, as we learn in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Hermione mentions the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration. But she only tells us one of them. What are the other four? I think we know two more, and can guess another.

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Reader Comments: (Page 10)

Yeah, but knowledge doesn't have anything to do with transfiguration.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles on July 5, 2008 07:40 AM

if you transfigurate your brains a little bigger it has:p

Posted by Carni from the netherlands on July 5, 2008 2:56 PM

Bigger brain doesn't make you cleverer, we don't even use more than %90 of our brains anyway. There are easier ways to make you cleverer besides casting spells on your brain, even in the real world. There are a lot of brain exercises out there, like Rubik Cube (I am a solver by the way) or Sudoku.

Posted by İzzet from İstanbul,Turkey on July 6, 2008 04:06 AM

yeah okay okay I was just trying to say it wouldn't be impossible. I mean if you can make a potion for luck. I think intelligence shouldn't be a problem. only messing with your mind is quite dangerous....even in harry potter-world. man I once tried a rubiks cube and got bored after 5 minutes:p cool you can solve these things

Posted by Carni from the netherlands on July 6, 2008 11:04 AM

i think it is either age, or knowledge. i dont think you can magic yourself to know about something, and i dont think you can change your age. In my opinion, both of these make perfect sense.

Posted by victoria on July 6, 2008 7:36 PM

The wand itself... You see olivander says that the wand choses the wizard... you can acctually make wands out of nothing at all...

Posted by Granger95 from Singapore on July 7, 2008 02:33 AM

As an exception to food/beverage "rule," what about "Aguamenti"? Many times throughout the books, character spout water from their wands using this spell. Is it being "borrowed" from somewhere else?

Also, Dave, I'd like to mention to an earlier comment of yours that when Snape cast "Sectumsempra" on George, he wasn't aiming for him -- he was TRYING to get a Eater and make THAT look like an accident -- which I think explains the total, and incurable, severity of the curse.

Posted by Maggie from Philadelphia, PA on July 7, 2008 05:27 AM

I think that...

the 5th is: Being able to Transfigure something with non-magical properties into something magical.

Otherwise you could make a sneakoscope out of a shoe, a wand out of a twig, a potion out of a jug of mead.

Also, I like to think that in order to transfigure something you need to know a little bit about what it be turned into; this prevents old scrolls from being turned into Hogwarts, A History and stuff.

Posted by theOtherguy from London, UK on July 7, 2008 10:55 AM

Aren't portkeys non-magical objects that have been transfigured to have magical properties?

Posted by Anonymous from Arizona on July 7, 2008 5:14 PM

The essence of transfiguration seems to relate to its non-permanency - as leprechaun money 'reverts' after a time - or, put another way, to its tendency to non-permanency, to reversion. Thus it would be dangerous to eat transfigured food, or food created from transfigured non-food objects. Surely therefore the type of limitation required for a law is to have force under circumstances where transfiguration would be harmful to human life? A sort of innate tendency, within magical systems, not to work under such conditions. Creating a larger quantity of food is not quite on the same level - that is a 'projection' of quantity, to use the alchemical term, of something basically wholseome to humans. However the powers of the Philosopher's Stone seem to be somewhat of an exception to laws of transfiguration; by its ability to procure extra life and create gold or precious metal (which after all is little different from money), just as the operation of the Room of Requirement seems also to lie outside the normal run of the wizardly order of things. I imagine that it would be necessary to give transfigured flamingoes gingerly handling - could you tell when they would be likely to revert, or what stages they might by pure chance pass through in so doing? - let alone tempting fate by eating them! And of course dark magic operates to different rules: but not even that seems able to resurrect the . I think we should ask Hermione for the swot's definitive answers to all these questions since she always has the answers - does no-one have a direct line to her?

Posted by rigmarole from London England on July 8, 2008 2:08 PM

What if JK, never meant for there to be a 5th. Like in some movies a character is about to say something that never gets said; I don't believe the writer ever intended for there to be a 'something'

Posted by scout on July 8, 2008 5:53 PM

I don't think there are only these restrictions on makes it kinda limited don't you think? There be sub-preventions, or restrictions which aren't labeled [Gamp] but perhaps...the Redrick exeptions...

y'know, and there would be certain things that specify the exeptions, what differs Food from tool, beverage from bathingwater. Just my idea....

Posted by George from Earth on July 9, 2008 2:41 PM

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