Beyond Hogwarts

Search Beyond Hogwarts:

Reference Desk:
Beyond Hogwarts FAQ
Wizard to Muggle Currency Converter
Harry Potter Spelling Reference

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.

> Read the full article

Pages:  <<  <  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 ...  >  >>

Reader Comments: (Page 8)

I don't really agree with '#3 Intentional Curse Damage'

When Harry used Sectumsempra on Draco, Snape healed it...
But, when Snape used sectumsempra on didn't heal.
On page 3 or 4- Someone had said that it was because Harry didn't mean to do that spell but snape did, Here I totally DISAGREE...

1) Harry didn't know what the spell did but he surely
wanted to use that spell on Draco.
2) Snape was able to heal draco's wounds because as the inventor of the spell, he must have known the counter enchanments. ( and molly didn't )

Posted by Apoorva from India on June 24, 2008 10:28 AM

Apoorva: You missed my point with #3.

The difference was a big one. When Harry did sectumsempra on Draco, he didn't know what the spell was, so it could not have been his expressed intention to badly physically harm him. But, it was definitely Snape's intention to harm George.

It's the INTENTION that makes the difference.

Posted by Dave H from Los Angeles, CA on June 24, 2008 12:32 PM


In the 3rd exception, you said that you can't transfigure something that's already been transfigured. couldn't that be a whole new law itself? you can't transfigure a watch into a whistle and then the whistle into a ring, can you?

Posted by chiqadie from bird's nest., the hollow tree on June 24, 2008 2:20 PM

Well... we're trying to use the books as the basis for these debates. Does it say or hint anywhere in the books that you can't do that?

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles on June 24, 2008 6:52 PM

i've started to read the whole series again.
right now i'm reading the Goblet Of Fire and i noticed something.
if one of the exception is that you can't make food appear out of thin air, how come Dubledore does that in GOF?
when harry ron and hermione go to hagrid's, forcin him to open up the door because he was ashamed of comin out because of rita skeeter's article about him being half-giant (sorry for the long sentence), they found themselves face to face with the headmaster, who opened the door instead of hagrid.
the weird thing is that Dumbledore, as soon as he sees the trio, he days "more tea" and he makes a plate of cakes appear, out of thin air, because it clearly says so.
so, how do we explain this?

Posted by Lorena from Italy on June 25, 2008 1:09 PM

In these instances where Dumbledore seems to make cakes or wine appear, it's unlikely he's conjuring these out of thin air. It's more likely he's just summoning them from someplace else, in the same way that the house elves make the feast "appear" when it really just comes up to the main hall from the kitchen below.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on June 25, 2008 3:42 PM

1. keep in mind as well that while you can't transfigure food, if you have some, you can make more of it, so this probably applies to money as well. it says that somewhere in DH where Hermione corrects Ron

2. The laws dont have to be about things that you can not transfigure, they could be about (and this is a lousy example but you see where im going) maybe you could only transfigure something a certain amount of times or how much bigger you can transfigure it, for example you could not transfigure a book into a planet

Posted by elan on June 25, 2008 8:13 PM

I don't understand how bringing a human back from the would be one. They are not the five limitations of magic, its the five exceptions to a law having to do with elemental transfiguration. How would bringing someone back from the have to do with transfiguring? Please explain.
-Prof. N. Longbottom

Posted by Neville from Hogwarts on June 25, 2008 8:41 PM

Neville: Yes, you could charm something that's back to life, but I believe it would also be possible (if it were allowed) to bring someone back to life with transfiguration. After all, the Minister of Magic transfigured something inanimate (a tea cup? i don't remember) into a live gerbil in the muggle Prime Minister's office.

Elan: It always bothered me that Hermione said if you have some food you could make more. But I'm sure that doesn't apply to money, because we know the Weasleys have a few Galleons, if they could take their small amount of money and transfigure it into more, why wouldn't they? (You may think the Weasleys are too noble and wouldn't do it anyway, but this question applies to all wizards. There wouldn't ever be any poor wizards, like Hagrid's family...)

Besides, I'm also sure that even though if you have some food you can make more, that's probably limited too. You couldn't feed the world with one loaf of bread...

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles on June 25, 2008 9:26 PM

I think it is transfigurating something that already has been tranfigurated. In OoP in the UGL-exam Susan Bones transfigurated something into some flamingos. They had to carry them out. Why not transfigurate them away?

Posted by Peter from Slagelse, Denmark on June 26, 2008 03:15 AM

WOW! That's a VERY good question you raise, Peter!

I think we're all loving and good people on this system, and generally HP fans are. Because of that, I think I can safely say we all agree ing animals for no reason, is immoral, that they have a right to exist.

So, if we accept the above is true, what if someone transfigures something that was inanimate into a flamingo? It's now a living thing. Is it moral to just transfigure it back? Wouldn't that be like ing it?

And if this point could be debated, is it easy to see at least some wizards might think the above is true? Therefore, they don't transfigure the flamingos back, they just take them outside.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on June 26, 2008 10:21 AM

But then what about all the times they have used animals in transfiguration? There they are all trying to transfigurate snails and kittens away? I dont think we can count it as ing, then they would learn how to ...

Posted by Peter from Slagelse, Denmark on June 26, 2008 11:57 AM

Pages:  <<  <  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 ...  >  >>

Featured Discussions | The Septology | Harry's World | Harry Potter Movies | Dumbeldore Is Not Dead | FAQ is not affiliated with or approved by
Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros., or J.K. Rowling
Original Content Copyright © 2006-2010 David Haber, All Rights Reserved