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"Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts. Anyone messing around in my class will leave and not come back. You have been warned."
-- Minerva McGonagall, first lecture to first-years (PS8)


Transfiguration is magic which changes one object into another. It is possible to change inanimate objects into animate ones and vice versa. Some Transfiguration spells alter a part of something, such as changing a person’s ears from normal into rabbit ears. At Hogwarts, Transfiguration is taught by Professor McGonagall.

The opposite of Transfiguration is Untransfiguration, which would be returning something to its proper form (OP29).

Transfiguration is subject to rules, such as Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration, which has five Principal Exceptions, of which food is one, which means that food cannot be produced out of thin air. Food can be moved from one place to another by magic, or changed, but not created out of nothing (DH15).

Books about Transfiguration:

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch
    • Transfiguration will not work with wand-wiggling or twirling (Pm).
    • Requires a clear mental picture (Pm)
    • If you make a mistake such as leaving a rabbit’s head on a footstool, the spell “Reparifarge” will fix it (Pm)
    • The larger the creature, the harder it is to transfigure(Pm)
  • A Intermediate Transfiguration
  • Guide to Advanced Transfiguration
  • Theories of Transubstantial Transfiguration

History and Notes

  • Transfiguration spells were cast in ancient times as well. Circe, a witch who lived in the Greek island of Aeaea, was famous for turning lost sailors into pigs (FW).
  • Fifty years ago, Albus Dumbledore was the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts (CS13).

References from the canon

  • McGonagall's Animagus Transfiguration (PS1)
  • Hagrid tries to change Dudley into a pig (PS4)
  • McGonagall changes her desk into a pig (PS8)
  • students try to change match into a needle (PS8)
  • Hermione earning House points in class for knowing about Switching Spells (PS9)
  • students trying to turn a mouse into a snuffbox for their end of term Transfiguration practical - extra points for how pretty the snuffbox was, points off if it still has whiskers (PS16)
  • McGonagall Transfigured the chessmen to make them 'come alive' (PS16)
  • students turning a beetle into a button (CS6)
  • testimonial of a man able to turn his wife into a yak after a Kwikspell course (CS8)
  • Mrs. Norris Petrified (CS8)
  • gargoyle outside Dumbledore's office 'coming to life' when password is spoken (CS11)
  • students turning pairs of white rabbits into slippers (maybe you have to be familiar with bunny slippers to think this is funny) (CS16)
  • student accidentally changes his friend into a badger in class (CS11)
  • fat white rabbit changing into a top silk hat and back in the Magical Menagerie (PA4)
  • twins change Percy's badge to read 'Bighead Boy' (PA4)
  • McGonagall's first lecture on Animagi, with demonstration (PA6)
  • Transfiguration practical: transforming a teapot into a tortoise, concerned over whether they had spouts for tails, breathed steam, or still had willow-patterned shells (PA16)
  • Animagus transfigurations of the Marauders (PA18)
  • Wormtail transfigured into a human (PA19)
  • Padfoot Transfigures back and forth from Animagus form (PA20)
  • 'Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret' (GF13)
  • Ron fantasizes about Moody Transfiguring Snape into a horned toad (GF14)
  • changing a hedgehog into a pincushion (GF15)
  • considering using Switching Spells to change a dragon's teeth into wine-gums (GF20)
  • transfiguring oneself to acquire extra powers (post-O.W.L. level) (GF20)
  • Cedric Transfigures a rock into a Labrador retriever to distract the Swedish Short-Snout (GF20)
  • students changing guinea fowl into guinea pigs (GF22)
  • cross-species switches (GF22)
  • wishing to be an Animagus to be able to breathe underwater as a goldfish or a frog (GF26)
  • Krum's partial Transfiguration into a shark (GF26)
  • Sirius' Animagus transfiguration (GF27)
  • Crouch having been transfigured into a bone (GF35)
  • Rita Skeeter revealed as unregistered Animagus (GF37)
  • learn human transfiguration in the sixth year at Hogwarts (GF26)
  • Sirius' Animagus transfiguration (OP10)
  • Vanishing Spells, among the most difficult O.W.L. material - working on invertebrates (snails) (OP13)
  • Conjuring Spells mentioned as N.E.W.T. level (OP13)
  • long essay for McGonagall on the Inanimatus Conjurus spell (OP14)
  • Vanishing Spells, starting on vertebrates (OP15)
  • mention of Skeeter's status as an unregistered Animagus (OP25)
  • looking for a book on Partial Vanishment in the library (OP26)
  • Lupin studying for Transfiguration O.W.L. (OP28)
  • Healing requires at least an E on a student's Transfiguration O.W.L. (OP29)
  • Aurors frequently need to Transfigure or Untransfigure in their work (OP29)
  • McGonagall requires at least an 'E' on the Transfiguration O.W.L. for a student to enter her N.E.W.T. classes. Near the end of his fifth year, Harry was averaging only an 'A' (OP29)
  • series of diagrams in Intermediate Transfiguration showing an owl turning into a pair of opera glasses (OP31)
  • Griselda Marchbanks examined Dumbledore personally in Transfiguration and Charms when he did N.E.W.T.s (OP31)
  • Harry forgot the definition of a Switching Spell in his Transfiguration written O.W.L. (OP31)
  • Harry managed to vanish the whole of his iguana in his Transfiguration practical O.W.L. (OP31)
  • Hannah Abbott accidentally multiplied a ferret into a flock of flamingos (OP31)
  • Dumbledore brought the fountain statues 'to life' (OP36)
  • In order to prove to the British Prime Minister that magic was real, Cornelius Fudge transfigured the Prime Minister's teacup into a gerbil (HBP1).
  • Harry received an "E" for "Exceeds Expectations" in Transfiguration on his O.W.L. Exam, while Hermione received an "O" for Outstanding (HBP5). Neville received only an "A" for "Acceptable" and was not allowed into McGonagall's N.E.W.T. level class (HBP9). Ron must have received an "E" since he was in the class but received no Outstanding grades.
  • Nonverbal spells were used in 6th-year Transfiguration (HBP11).
  • Transfiguration is required for becoming an Auror (HBP15).
  • Dumbledore once had an article on trans-species transformation  published in Transfiguration Today (DH2,18).
  • While on the run from Voldemort, Hermione once tried to transfigure moldy bread to make it better, but failed (DH11).
  • To stop her from changing Time again, Harry Potter is transfigured into the shape of Lord Voldemort in order to lure Delphi into St Jerome's Church (CC4.11).
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