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Old 30-08-2005, 00:02   #1
Snuffles
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Question Transfiguration?

I was reading PoA again the other night.
A weird, random thought occured to me. It was so weird that I kind of wonder why i never thought of it before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by In Chapter Sixteen, "Professor Trelawney's Prediction," page 317; American Version.
Exam week began and an unnatural hush fell over the castle. The third years emerged from Transfiguration at lunchtime on Monday, limp and ashen-faced, comparing results and bemoaning the difficulty of the tasks they had been set, which had included turning a tepot into a tortoise. Hermione irritated the rest by fussing about her tortoise had looked more like a turtle, which was the least of everyone else's worries.
I know everyone is so into HBP and this is completely random, but this was really bugging me. how do the wizards and witches turn, say... a teapot into a tortoise? In other words, a very lifeless thing into a living creature? Do they have some kind of a power to actually "give life"? I mean, really. It is one thing to change a nonliving thing into another nonliving thing. But a living thing to a nonliving thing and vise versa? (remember, the students also had to turn a porcupine or something into a pincushion somewhere along the books) That seemed so weird to me. Even wizards and witches must have some limits!
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Originally Posted by The Deathly Hallows, Fallen Warrior
"How do you feel, Georgie?" whispered Mrs. Weasley.
"Saintlike," he murmured.
"What's wrong with him? croaked Fred, looking terrified. "Is his mind affected?"
"Saintlike," repeated George, opening his eyes and looking up at his brother. "You see...I'm holy. Holey, Fred, geddit?"
"Pathetic," he told George. "Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humor before you, you go for holey!"

"NOT MY DAUGTER, YOU B****!" -Mrs. Weasely

We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter's the one,
And Voldy's gone moldy, so now let's have fun!
"Really gives a feeling for the scope and tragedy of the thing, doesn't it?" said Ron.
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Old 30-08-2005, 01:58   #2
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Re: Transfiguration?

I guess it has to do with weather or not the life form is sentient, that is, is the life form self aware and thinking or is it reactionary,living on instinct and learned habbits. For example, I doubt that a wizard could turn a stool into a house elf as a house elf is a sentient being with more that reaction, instinct, emotion (and a couple of other technical things that I can't remember right now but you get the point). But to turn a bead into a bee does not require the creation of a thinking, reasoning life-form.

However, I'm now going to crush my own argument by saying, why didn't a DE transfigure a statue into a living but none-sentient version of Voldermort which Voldermort could then posses, after all we do know that he was able to posses other none-sentient creatures like rats!!!!!!


A little off topic here. If wizards/witches can transfigure inanimate objects to living things, how difficult would it be to transfigure one type of metal into another; eg. gold? This then begs the question, why did Nicholas Flammel (and no doubt others) spend so much time researching alchemy? (I know that the PS can also be used to create the elixir of life but that still does not account for the apparently pointless study of alchemy)
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Old 30-08-2005, 02:08   #3
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Re: Transfiguration?

A little off topic here. If wizards/witches can transfigure inanimate objects to living things, how difficult would it be to transfigure one type of metal into another; eg. gold? This then begs the question, why did Nicholas Flammel (and no doubt others) spend so much time researching alchemy? (I know that the PS can also be used to create the elixir of life but that still does not account for the apparently pointless study of alchemy)
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Old 30-08-2005, 05:48   #4
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Re: Transfiguration?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Frozen North
I guess it has to do with weather or not the life form is sentient, that is, is the life form self aware and thinking or is it reactionary,living on instinct and learned habbits
See. there's this thing about the word "sentient." Aren't all living creatures sentient? They all know the basic needs to survive. Taking it your way, you wouldn't think a little insect like a spider would be considered "sentient," would you? Then think of Aragog.

My point was that.. however the little the creature might be... a tortoise, a porcupine, a bee or a fly or even an ant, for example; these are all alive. As in breathing, living, and thinking in their own little way. Is it possible, then, by a type of magic called Transfiguration, to blow life into a completely nonliving thing or take it away from a living thing?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Deathly Hallows, Fallen Warrior
"How do you feel, Georgie?" whispered Mrs. Weasley.
"Saintlike," he murmured.
"What's wrong with him? croaked Fred, looking terrified. "Is his mind affected?"
"Saintlike," repeated George, opening his eyes and looking up at his brother. "You see...I'm holy. Holey, Fred, geddit?"
"Pathetic," he told George. "Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humor before you, you go for holey!"

"NOT MY DAUGTER, YOU B****!" -Mrs. Weasely

We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter's the one,
And Voldy's gone moldy, so now let's have fun!
"Really gives a feeling for the scope and tragedy of the thing, doesn't it?" said Ron.
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Old 30-08-2005, 06:23   #5
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Re: Transfiguration?

My feelings here are that say with Sluggy, in the house, he had turned himself into an arm chair, yet he was still able to think, hear, and act to change back to himself, so when living things are changed into "inanimate" objects, they must still retain their "sentience" even though they no longer breathe or have a heartbeat. Now, when an inanimate object like a goblet is turned into a rat, it is just a physical transformation, it may be able to breathe, and may "work" like a normal rat, but cannot have a soul, and would just work instinctualy, or better yet, mechanicaly if that makes sense.


But. . .
a point I see here, is that this seems as if it would be an extremely difficult form of magic! It took the Marauders 4 years to perfect their animagus forms, turning from one living being to another living being. . . basicaly just rearanging themselves, yet it is not considered that difficult to change living to non living? Of course we must remember that this is fiction, (as much as we hate to admit it sometimes!) and well fiction doesn't always have to make sense does it!
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Old 30-08-2005, 12:20   #6
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Re: Transfiguration?

You can take the argument even further here ... Why didnt Harry turn a glass into his Mum or Dad - why Didnt Voldemort turn a spoon into another him to fight Dumbledore - why didnt Dumbledore turn a leaf into another him ...
I think some things dont always make sense - and yes as much as JKR is a fantastic writer there are contradictions - you could say the fateful night could have been made impossible if someone made the Potters unplottable, put them in Hogwarts, placed them in with Dumbledore ...

Some things just need to happen - and will contradict other things we have learnt ...
My take I suppose
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Old 30-08-2005, 15:37   #7
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Re: Transfiguration?

How about the one I found last night in my re-read of CoS? (page 155 USPaperback)

Quote:
"It's not funny," said Ron, fiercely. "If you must know, when I was three, Fred turned my -- my teddy bear into a great big filthy spider because I broke his new toy broomstick. . . . You wouldn't like them either if you'd been holding your bear and suddenly it had too many legs and . . ."
This is Ron explaining his fear of spiders. Fred was FIVE!!!!!!!! Talk about amazing!
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:20   #8
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Re: Transfiguration?

So... transfiguration is not a difficult magic at all? Fred could do it at Five??? I thought McGonagall saying something along the lines that transfiguration is one of the most difficult type of magic.

I guess we would have to lay my original question as a mere JKR's humane mistake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Deathly Hallows, Fallen Warrior
"How do you feel, Georgie?" whispered Mrs. Weasley.
"Saintlike," he murmured.
"What's wrong with him? croaked Fred, looking terrified. "Is his mind affected?"
"Saintlike," repeated George, opening his eyes and looking up at his brother. "You see...I'm holy. Holey, Fred, geddit?"
"Pathetic," he told George. "Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humor before you, you go for holey!"

"NOT MY DAUGTER, YOU B****!" -Mrs. Weasely

We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter's the one,
And Voldy's gone moldy, so now let's have fun!
"Really gives a feeling for the scope and tragedy of the thing, doesn't it?" said Ron.
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Old 02-09-2005, 08:12   #9
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Re: Transfiguration?

I must say that I don't think there has been any error regarding Fred and George. Time and time again we have seen evidence of incredible talent from these two. Just because they are not (to use an american phrase) school smart it does not mean that they are not powerfull wizards.
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Old 02-09-2005, 12:17   #10
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Re: Transfiguration?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snuffles
So... transfiguration is not a difficult magic at all? Fred could do it at Five??? I thought McGonagall saying something along the lines that transfiguration is one of the most difficult type of magic.

I guess we would have to lay my original question as a mere JKR's humane mistake
Noo - I dont think for a second it was easy magic ... we have seen the students struggle with it ...
My point was more the whole concept of the lesson - changing and warping physical objects between animal, vegetable and mineral ...
It just seems that what is possible from the subject isnt exploited in the series - and in fact can cause more questions!
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'It's all my fault, all my fault'
'Please make it stop, I know I did wrong, oh, please make it stop and i'll never, never again..'
'Don't hurt them, don't hurt then, please, please, it's my fault, hurt me instead ...'
'Please, please, please, no ... not that, not that, I'll do anything ...'

Dumbledore - HBP Pg536

'Merely taking your life would not satisfy me..'
Dumbledore - OoTP "The only one he ever feared" Pg895
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