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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 18)

These are the laws of TRANSFIGURATION. I think everybody is forgetting about the fact that these are about transfiguration, (which is physical). So, people, please think about these. Love- not physical (that means it is not a law!) Briging back the (you cannot reanimate the soul, I think Inferni are bringing the back to animation.)So bringing back the is a law when you are talking about the soul, but not a law when talking about bos.

Posted by aranel on July 1, 2009 12:22 PM

We've discussed the disclosure by Hermione that food constitutes one of the five exceptions, but apparently alcoholic beverages are not included in the exception. Dumbledore and Snape appear to "magic" mead and wine into being in HBP--unless they're simply bringing those drinks from another area.

Posted by Alice from Newark (formerly Milton) on July 2, 2009 06:40 AM

Yes, I think I may have said somewhere else, but I have long believed they were summoning the liquor, not creating it out of thin air.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on July 2, 2009 06:46 AM

Along the way of the discussion, we lost the notion that wands could be one of the exceptions to the laws of transfiguration. Some good arguments were given to support the notion. I notice they didn't make the list atop p. 17. Any new thoughts on wands?

Posted by Alice from Newark (formerly Milton) on July 2, 2009 5:35 PM

A wand is only a tool, so I don't see why one couldn't be made by transfiguration. However, the magic required to do so must be very complex, because it seems only a few Wizards in the world make wands.

But this brings up a related question, which is: Surely, one cannot use magic to create magic. In other words, a Wizard, through any magical means, cannot give magical abilities to a squib or a muggle...

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on July 2, 2009 5:40 PM

I believe that it may be objects like clothes, and cauldron's, etc.. Because if you COULD transfigurate them, why didn't the Weasleys?

Posted by Callum from Hogwarts on July 3, 2009 8:36 PM

Very true. It could be said this is an extension of the second rule we already know about, you can't transfigure money. It follows then, that you wouldn't be able to transfigure the necessities you would normally buy with money, since that would be a loop-hole in not being able to make money.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on July 5, 2009 11:45 AM

A lot of people have said it, and it makes sense- love. I think Dumbledore said something like this about Tom Riddle sr, that he could never be made to truly love. I also believe that in his first class in book 6 Slughorn said that love potions don't cause true love, but rather infatuation and obsession. Thats just my two cents, but i think that it makes sense to be love.

Posted by Rick from his house on July 8, 2009 11:16 AM

Just to keep the discussion on track, I think we all accept there are strong magical restrictions on messing with love and human beings. HOWEVER, we're discussing the laws of TRANSFIGURATION here. Love, or any emotion, wouldn't be covered by transfiguration. It would most likely be potions or charms.

In other words, let's keep the discussion to McGonagall's class, and remember we're not in Flitwick's or Snape's classes...

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on July 8, 2009 11:22 AM

The definition of transfiguration states that it "is the magical art of physically converting one thing into another."

How about humans? Our physical bos could be transfigured, like how Mad-Eye Moody transformed Draco Malfoy into a ferret. Our bos came from dust. If we accord this to natural law, our bos should also return to dust after .

I'm thinking the 5th exception of Gamp's Law is that you can't make or transform the human body to become immortal.

Posted by Ria from The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole on July 10, 2009 01:46 AM

I said in an earlier post:
Well, On the whole, I have no idea, but i still think that my above idea was correct... 'I believe that it may be objects like clothes, and cauldron's, etc.. Because if you COULD transfigurate them, why didn't the Weasleys?'

WOOOOHHHH! Brain wave! If we think that Gold is one of the Five Principle Exceptions To Gamp's Law Of Elemental Transfiguration, how does the Philosipher's Stone work? (Sorcerer's Stone to the fans in the USA). So if gold ISN'T one of the exceptions, then maybe other magical lore is wrong? Maybe you COULD bring people to life? So I believe we are still looking for two more exceptions! =-D

"The Philosipher's stone.... Transforms and metal into pure gold"

(PS/SS, Sorry about no page number, can't find my book )

WOH. Another brain wave! How is healing Intentional Curse Damage transfigurating? So i believe that we still need 3, that's right, 3, to have the Five Principal Exceptions To Gamp's Law of ELEMENTAL Transfiguration.

Exceptions I am so far sure of:

1) Food
2) Bringing people back to SENTIENT life

Posted by Callum from Ravenclaw Common Room on July 10, 2009 05:12 AM

You can't bring people back to life, even the ressurection stone can't. It just brings back the ghost or the soul of someone maybe. Like in the book it says in DH
"They were neither ghost nor truly flesh, he could see that. They resembled most closely the Riddle that had escaped from the diary," P560/?

And if the Philosopher's stone can make metal and stuff into pure gold, maybe galleons aren't made of pure gold?

And the intentional curse damage doesn't really make sense either.

And how can you transfigure a human body to become immortal? That doesn't make sense to me.

I think the laws are:
Food is definately one of them, mentioned by Hermione.
Bringing people back to life.
Ghosts, maybe? You can't find a ghost out of nowhere...(unless im mistaken and you can summon them)
The ly Hallows. Nobody can reproduce them exactly, can they?

Posted by Megan from HK on July 10, 2009 10:00 PM

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