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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 3)

I doubt there is any inherent restriction on weather, it is probably just too enormously complex to try to control. I think clothes are probably one: if they could conjure clothes, then Madam Malkins would go out of business, the Weaslys would just enlarge Ron's small robes, and Lupin wouldn't just walk around with patched and frayed clothes. Dobby could also conjure his own clothes. Life is definitely one.

Regarding food, it is obviously canonical, but what defines food? Could it be that food falls under life, or living material - that would restrict the conjuration (?) of both plants and animals stopping you producing food AND potion ingrents which must be bought.

About money, again what defines money? Do precious metals count, if so, normal metals, if so, anything at all with value? I'm not saying its wrong, just needs better defining.

Information/knowledge would make sense, otherwise Hogwarts would go out of business.

I think living tissue would probably cover regrowth of cursed things, although Dumbledore's nose is an anomaly, because that isn't regrowth, it's mending, like when Madam Pomfrey mends broken bones. So...

1) Living material (ipso facto, food, potion ingrents, body parts)
2) Money (Needs better defining)
3) Clothes (Also needs better defining)
4) Information/knowledge (maybe emotions and love?)

Posted by Alex on May 4, 2008 11:54 AM

I think the fifth exception is houses (or any other building perhaps). because if houses were not one of the exception the weasleys could have had a better house. its clearly mentioned in the second book that more rooms seem to be attached to it but essentially it was not made by magic implying they can only be modified. also, if houses were not an exception the durmstrang school could've been as grand as hogwarts castle or beauxbatons' palace.

I dont think that anything about life, love and could be considered as an exception. because not bringing back people from the and unability to create love, etc could be called as basic rules of nature. no magic can therefore interfere with them and hence these would be the exceptions for all of magic. hence, i think the 5 exceptions would not contain any of these as it would slready be an established fact that these things are not included.

i think one of the exceptions could be wands. because when harry's wand is destryed, both (harry & hermione) never thought of making a new one by magic. all they tried was to repair it. also, since each wand contains a magical core and are specifically for a single wizard (except elder wand) they could not be transfigured for somebody.

Posted by Aakash on May 4, 2008 1:37 PM

There seem to be too many potential exceptions here (housing, clothes, wands, etc). I reckon several or all of these could just be "it's still possible to transfigure or create these, it's just really really difficult (which is why most witches and wizards buy them instead)".

Posted by PTSnoop on May 5, 2008 01:30 AM

David wrote:
Elemental transfiguration is the magical art of physically converting one thing into another.

Hence, the fifth exepection can NOT be love, love is not a physical entity. You can form something out of thin air, you can make something vanish into thin air, but since love is not a thing, but a feeling, transfiguration has nothing to do with it...

I wouldn't really know what would be the fifth exception though, I'm not even sure if I agree with the first four really...

Posted by Adinda Delporte on May 5, 2008 1:18 PM

I think that the 5th principal exception is time. A wizard cannot tamper with time (without a turner of course- all of which were destroyed) or else harry could put a stop to his parents from the get go. He'd be able to warn Sirius with his 2 way mirror.....etc. etc.

Posted by Bryan from Sturbridge,MA on May 5, 2008 1:25 PM

Since these laws are about transfiguration, i think it could not be about making one love you (as some were saying) or bringing back from the , because if those were possible, they would not require transfiguration. But, i think that one law could be transfiguring an object into a human with a conscience and feelings. Yes, witches and wizards have transfigured rats into teacups and vise-versa, but rats do not have the same level of intelligence as humans, and most likely no conscience, so it would just be transfiguring the object into something that can move and follow its instinct, but humans do not rely only on instinct, and can learn and make progress through intelligence.

Posted by Elan on May 6, 2008 5:12 PM

The lost one is "the love". Slughorn says that on his first potion class:"the love can't be created...". Thanks you

Posted by Héctor Núñez from Madrid on May 7, 2008 07:44 AM

Brian: In the third book, Harry and Hermione went back in time, with a time thingy clock or so. So I don't think that's the 5th principal exception.

Posted by Lucien from Netherlands on May 8, 2008 08:47 AM

since when do rats not have intelligence? (Elan)

Posted by scabbers on May 8, 2008 2:11 PM

To respond to a question on the first page, I think that bringing back the and creating new life are two totally different things. Creating new life could extend past just creating human life, and include the creation of animals and plants. I think that creating new life is the last exception.

Posted by china from Texas on May 8, 2008 3:17 PM

i think it's love... because it's mentioned in HP&DHBP; that you can't create real love, you can only produce an illusion of love or rather an obsession to a person but as it is mentionend in the book never true love

Posted by selina taferner from Carinthia, Austria on May 9, 2008 12:00 PM

Reply to scabbers:
Im sorry, I should have been more clear. Rats do have intelligence, but definitely not to the same level as humans. For example, if a human walked up to a bucket of water to drink some, but saw a human near it, they would probably understand that it was poisoned or something was wrong with it. However, to exterminate rats poison is placed in certain areas and rats mistake it for water, but if a rat is near it, they dont realize that the water is really poison. So to transfigure an object into a human with that level of intelligence would, according to my argument, be impossible. But i could always be completely wrong, and i hope JK soon make these laws more clear.

Posted by Elan on May 11, 2008 12:18 PM

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