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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 19)

I agree with Megan, but... It is stated in the books that galleons are 'heavy GOLD coins'. However, the only law that we can be 100% sure of, is food.

Posted by Callum from Ravenclaw Common Room on July 13, 2009 04:16 AM

If the 5 exceptions included the ly Hallows, then Hermione would have known about them and wouldn't have had to learn about them through her inheritance from Dumbledore. I don't think the ly Hallows (DH) were part of ordinary magical knowledge. Therefore, I doubt that the DH are in the list of 5 exceptions.

Posted by Alice from Newark on July 14, 2009 05:15 AM

Um, whoever said on page 18 about our bos coming from dust, could you please explain?

Posted by aranel on July 24, 2009 07:48 AM

A bunch of you are saying it could be clothes or houses. But I think it's just something that you have buy with money. Maybe wizards and witches are like us muggles, they have to earn those kind of items. They have buy them. Perhaps it would be considered stealing to just make stuff you usually have to buy appear out of thin air. They might not be that much different than us after all.

Or it could be wands. They're not fixable, so it would make sense. Of course the Elder Wand is an exception.

That's just my view on it! Thanks for reading!

Posted by Ashlee from Michigan on July 24, 2009 4:16 PM

well it's not wands because you can repair minor damage it's just harry's and ron's that are unrepairable

i think its love, you cant make it, thats why they make potions to influence it. they make the potions because they can not transfigure it produce it ect.

ok well

1 - wealth=money, clothes, houses, anything of value
2- knowledge/information
3- love/feelings
4- can't repair cursed objects/objects broken by dark magic or curses
5- life/living things=u can't rase the /produce new life

you can make things such as chairs it says in order of the phoenix "dumbledore drew up a chair" literaly out of thin air
maybe they just dont do it so as to make business for everyone else

Posted by Dan from spain on July 28, 2009 05:39 AM

Things you cannot transfigure using magic. The point being that if you could do the following, magic would be so powerful that there would be no balance in the world. For example, if you could create food from dirt, or even medicine, then good-intentioned wizards would have solved all the world's problems years ago. Here's my list, in the form of "to this from that", since the rules are about transfiguration:

1. Anything that could provide sustenance (water, medicine, food, etc) from non-sustenance objects
2. *Real* money, ie other wizards could tell the forgery
3. Life from non-life
4. Uncursed items from cursed items
5. Magic objects from non-magic objects (then everyone would have an invisibility cloak, etc). For example, you cannot create a wand from a stick, or a potion from water.

What do you think?

Posted by Jama from Eastern USA on August 2, 2009 12:42 PM

Sounds good, mostly, except for your point number 1, what about the Auguamenti spell? It seems Wizards can conjure water out of thin air... We also know Wizards can make artificial rain (water again!) at least indoors.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on August 2, 2009 12:45 PM

Water - well, remember - there is water in the air, so perhaps that spell is actually pulling wtaer vapor out of the air, so there is no transfiguration actually happening.

Posted by Jama from Eastern USA on August 2, 2009 3:11 PM

It must be transforming people into one another - why else would they otherwise go through the painful and time-consuming Polyjuice Potion Transformation Process?

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on August 3, 2009 03:01 AM

What about Metamorphmagi? They would break that rule.

Posted by Ellimac from The Computer under the Stairs on August 4, 2009 10:25 AM

Really encouraging dispute here i see.:-)

I think that the crucial exception is that transfiguration does not change the magical properties of the subject itself. So that one cannot simply change one potion into another potion (or rather - it can change its physical properties i.e. color or smell), make an elder wand from a "normal" one, etc.

Posted by Kuba from EE on August 6, 2009 5:01 PM

I think Metaphorphmagi are an exception anyway - Tonks seems to have been born with that s, other Aurors have to learn it, as she tells Harry in Goblet of Fire. In any rate, it has got nothing to do with spell work - something that would be essential for Transfiguration. I suppose the same thing applies for Animagi.

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on August 8, 2009 04:31 AM

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