A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration.

While this book should be in possession of every first year and second year at Hogwarts, the library also offers a few copies in the Magical Textbook Section.

Last Updated

05/31/21

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Basics of Transfiguration

Chapter 1
Whenever a witch or wizard first begins their journey through the mysterious art of Transfiguration, it is best to understand what, exactly is transpiring when you perform it. Transfiguration, at its core, is a genre - if you will - of spell-casting. It has its own spells and it takes years to master. Most likely, a Transfiguration professor at any magical institution will start off with simple tests and spells, to demonstrate the fundamentals of Transfiguration because it is a form of magic that is foreign to many beginners of Transfiguration. The reason for this, as I stated earlier, is that Transfiguration requires years to master, possesses its own slew of spells, and requires perfect technique. With this book, I hope to guide you in that general direction of perfect Transfiguration.

How does Transfiguration work? With the right combination of concentration, spells, and wandwork, you will be able to transfigure anything into something else. But, looking deeper into the physical nature of Transfiguration, what is actually happening is a change of molecular structure. With proper form and spell, you are not simply changing one object to another temporarily. You are transfiguring its entire molecular structure into that of another. It is no wonder that Transfiguration takes many years to perfect!

Within Transfiguration, there are different branches of Transfiguration that should be addressed. There are currently four, listed from easiest branch of Transfiguration to the hardest: Transformation, Vanishment, Conjuration and Untransfiguration. While you may not practice all four while attending your first few years at a magical institution, it is still wise to understand the different branches of Transfiguration and their importance.

First we will discuss Transformation. Transformation, at the basics, is changing one object into another, either by deformation or alteration. This form of Transfiguration ranges from simple tasks, such as changing a match to a needle, to more complex forms, such as Petrification. Yet, withing Transformation, there are still three more sub-categories. There is Human Transformation, where the target or end-result is a human being. This includes werewolves (sing. werewolf) and animagi (sing. animagus). As always, there are spells for this Transformation sub-category, and won't usually be learned until later in most magical institutions. Another Transformation sub-category is Switching, where one - quite literally - switches a single attribute from two different objects onto the other object simultaneously, such as switching the nose of an owl to that of a rat, and vice-versa. The change on the owl depends on the change on the rat, both occurring at the same time. Even within Switching, there is yet another sub-category, Cross-Species Switches, but this is beyond the scope of this book. Lastly, there is Trans-species Transformations, which also overlap into Switching and Cross-Species Switches. This form of Transformation either partially or completely changes a target into another species. This is very difficult magic and will be touched in later years.

Another category in Transfiguration is Vanishment. Like the name describes, this is the art of making objects vanish, or simply into non-being. This form of Transfiguration isn't learned until later years of a magical institution and is difficult. The difficulty is determined also by what is being vanished. It is well-known that invertebrates are easier to Vanish than vertebrates, due to the complexities that most vertebrates possess. Unlike Transformations and Conjurations, Vanishment only possesses one spell and is the only spell needed to perform Vanishment.

On that note, let us observe Conjuration. It is opposite from Vanishment, in that it brings things into being. This form of Transfiguration is also harder than its counter-part, mostly due to the concentration, spell-knowledge, and heavy wandwork required of the caster. Conjuration also has its limitations, as things that are conjured do not stay on this plane for long periods of time, no matter how well the caster performs the spell. There are also some laws set down by the Ministry of Magic as to the usage and limitation of Conjuration.

And, finally, there is the branch of Transfiguration called Untransfiguration. As its name details, it is the branch of Transfiguration focused on the reversal of Transfigurations on objects and targets. It is the most difficult branch of Transfiguration, learned by Transfigurists later in their school careers. All professors in Transfiguration know Untransfiguration as a requirement, especially when helping beginners undo their mistakes.

Transfiguration, in general, is a difficult discipline to master. It is systematic and very exact; one wrong move or spell incantation and the Transfiguration can go horribly wrong. There is little to no margin of error allowed in Transfiguration. So, there are a few things to keep in mind when attempting to transfigurate something. First, there is the intended transformation (t). It is directly influenced by bodyweight (a), viciousness (v), wand power (w), concentration (c) and spell incantation (Z), as described in the formula drawn below:

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If anyone of these factors are off, the Transfiguration will fail.

The levels of each variable are as follows:
t= end result. Most Transfiguration spell difficulties range from basic, somewhat basic, intermediate, somewhat difficult, difficult, expert
a= caster must be heavier than the object being transformed
v= mild, medium-mild, medium, medium-strong, strong, extreme
w= any, medium, strong
c= fair, moderate, complete
Z= well-spoken, perfectly-spoken - and - as clear as possible, completely clear

The limitations of Transfiguration are many, but are separated by Nature and Law. Nature Limitations are limitations that attempt to keep Transfiguration from defying nature or the rules of nature. For example, one cannot revive the dead (no matter how recently deceased) with Transfiguration, the object's size and mass must be taken into account (the larger the object, the more difficult to transfigure), an animagus form is limited to one animal form, one cannot conjure food, and, by will of nature, things that are conjured do not last. Law Limitations are limitations set down by the Ministry of Magic or other form of Wizarding Government to keep the over-use and empowerment of Transfiguration to a minimum through surveillance. This includes registration of animagi to Ministry of Magic, being watched by a Transfigurist while learning to become an animagus, and other laws beyond the scope of this book.

The dangers of Transfiguration can be very small, to very large. You might accidentally only half-Transfigure something or cause it to be permanently stuck in one state. This is why it is important to focus while in Transfiguration and to not take the class lightly. While the dangers are there, Transfiguration can be a rewarding experience, and I am proud to show you the many secrets on the matter and to help guide you through this wonderful art.
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