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The Magic of Harry Potter - Taure's updated headcanon

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Taure, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. TheLazyReader

    TheLazyReader Seventh Year

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    I wonder if Rowling put as much thought into her magic as you have been. Still, a delightful read.
     
  2. Sataniel

    Sataniel Seventh Year

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    Way Back Machine -> Wayback Machine

    No Book of Spells and Book of Potions in canon? Those are partially written by Rowling and a lot of elements from them was later expanded upon on Pottermore.

    > For example, the Riddikulus Charm requires laughter.

    Nope, Riddikulus is used to help induce laughter that will finish the boggart. From PoA:

    Though that's ignored in OotP:


    >So we see that the Shield Charm varies considerably in behaviour. It is not the case that
    there exist many different Shield Charms

    There probably exist multiple shield charms, it's just that the old ones are depreciated which plays into your next part. The redundant spells just go out of use. The history of evolving charms is presented in Book of Spells on the example of the Unlocking Charm, which makes its omission here rather severe.

    In "Magical Theory" are you implying that for example there is a family of vanishing spells?

    That's a clear overinterpretation. He says it's "A and B" not "A because of B".
     
  3. Sivcere

    Sivcere Squib

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    Maybe Gamp's Law isn't a law set by the universe but an inability of all wizards to actually create food.

    "A third and final factor which we can discount as important to Transfiguration is knowledge of chemistry and biology. There is no evidence that either is taught at Hogwarts, and even if they were, it would be impossible for students to have a complete understanding of the biology of rabbits, turtles, and so on. Not even the most educated Muggle scientists completely understand the biology of these animals. Nonetheless, the students are perfectly capable of Transfiguring animals."

    What I'm inferring from this quote, is that transfiguration follows the spirit of the intent, not the reality of the user's knowledge. Magic in a sense fills in the blanks to create a imitation of a true animal. Say you created a rabbit, do you know what part of a rabbit's brain that affects movement? Or the molecular makeup of it's fur. What about the exact order it's DNA is organized? Every thousand minuscule part of a extremely complex creature, thousands of interactions are required to make a exact rabbit. Realistically no wizard can learn all of these factors, it's likely impossible or at the very least extremely impractical to spend hundreds of hours, studying and learning every detail of a rabbit. Just so you can turn a rock into a rabbit, let's be real no one likes rabbits that much.

    But wizards can create rabbits, or maybe a imitation of a rabbit. Something that looks, feels and acts like a rabbit but in reality is a really really good imitation. That's all transfiguration is, creating something that appears to have the properties of what you want. Everything bit that a wizard doesn't know about is patched over by magic to create a functioning imitation.

    So when wizards want to create food, what do they think about? Maybe the flavor, the texture of the flesh, the smell, the sense of fulfillment they feel after consuming it. What they're certainly not thinking is everything that makes food, food. The proteins, the carbs, the fats, all of that fun stuff that actually fills the body.

    If transfiguration creates a imitation following the user's intent, then a wizard whose's intent is to create something that has the properties of food but they think of food they think of the surface level parts of food, instead of the actual nutritional parts of food. So they create something that certainly tastes like food but when you body breaks that substance down into it's base parts, it finds nothing that looks like a protein or a sugar molecule. The substance you created passes harmless though the body because nothing in it is what you body wants.

    Okay but I personally know from a google search that a sugar molecule is made up of 12 Carbon atoms, 22 Hydrogen atoms and 11 Oxygen atoms. So that's a start right? Maybe I should skip the rabbit and go right for the sugar, but what I don't know is how those are arranged, maybe I stare at model of a sugar molecule for hours, learning every angle of the bonds, every position of every atom. Maybe then I can create sugar, let's be real no. There will always be something wrong with whatever I create, because regardless of all the knowledge I gather about a sugar molecule, science can't create a perfect picture and the picture I create will have it's filled in by magic and those holes will be filled in wrong. My body will take in something that's really really close to sugar, but the body doesn't look for a imitation of sugar, it's looking for sugar. Thus my creation passes though my body with no effect.

    TLDR: Inability to create food is not a law set by the universe but instead a law set by human ability.

    Something like a rabbit is impossibly complex to create perfectly, due to the sheer knowledge required about everything that makes up a rabbit. Since we know for fact, wizards can create something that looks, acts and feels like a rabbit, we can infer that magic fills in the blanks of a wizards knowledge to create an imitation.

    It's also impossibly complex to learn everything about nutritional substances like sugar and fat. Any creation a wizard creates will have flaws patched over by magic, since the body looks for a exactly perfect sugar molecule when digesting food, imitations created by wizards are not digested.
     
  4. Sataniel

    Sataniel Seventh Year

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    @Sivcere: You failed the moment when you started applying rules of mundane sciences to magic.
     
  5. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Would you extend the same to creating, say, fire? Do wizards have to think about how the transfer of energy and excitement of molecules can create combustion? You're thinking in terms of Dresden or DnD magic, which is about mechanics rather than concepts. Even if it were a simulation, it is a simulation that so perfectly replicates the original that there is no difference. The silencing charm doesn't create a constant vortex of inverted phase sound waves to stop sound from escaping, it simply silences. The invisibility cloak isn't shielding you from the visible light spectrum, it makes you invisible. The pensieve and legilimancy completely spit on everything we know of consciousness and memory.

    Rules lawyering the mechanics is how other systems work, but is explicitly not how HP magic operates. We know that the HP magic system has a sort of meta-perspective, in that magic has an almost consciousness and is able to interpret things. If the Defense Against Dark Arts class had its name, classroom, and professor changed, would Voldemort's curse have dissipated? It would not because magic sees it almost as a person does. It's the same class, just under another guise.

    As regards complexity, magic can do things like heal. Not only is it operating at a molecular level on complex biological structures, but it is doing so in a way that restores the previous state. It is only wounds that were caused by dark magic that cannot be healed like that. As was mentioned in the document, canonically wizards considered the creation of new species via transfiguration mishaps a perfectly reasonable explanation. Magic is able to transform a man every full moon into a monstrous beast, spontaneously generating additional mass and changing his appearance and mind, but reverting perfectly after the fact. Complexity as you've presented it is no barrier to HP magic. Distance and volume have an effect, but complexity as such seems to be limited to how closely things are associated by the user/culture/magic in the case of transfiguration. Porcupines and pincushions, teapots into tortoises. Having similar names or conceptual relations like "a thing that can prick you," and "a thing that you prick" are enough to make the connection.
     
  6. Sivcere

    Sivcere Squib

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    What a useless post.

    I think you missed the key idea I was trying to present.

    Complexity of a creation has been repeatedly been shown to not be an issue, examples of this being Transfiguration of animals and healing like you said. Since we have no evidence that biology or chemistry are taught at Hogwarts we can infer that these things aren't required to learn how to use make to create, or repair complex things like animals and people.

    So how do wizards successfully do such complex things? I think that Magic follows the spirit of the intent.

    You wish to create a rabbit, you do not know every detail of the complex system that make up a rabbit, yet you still can create a rabbit. Does magic know how to create a rabbit? Does it follow your desire for a rabbit and perfectly replicate an actual rabbit? Doubtful, what I'm proposing is instead of perfectly replicating a rabbit, magic creates something like a rabbit. It shouldn't really function but the magic fudges the details enough that all the properties you believe a rabbit has are successfully created and everything else you don't know about like the neuron system of it's brain are faked. Hence following the spirit of the intent, you wanted a rabbit, neither you or magic know how to actually create a rabbit so you get something that follows your desire for a rabbit (Intent) but instead of being a perfectly normal rabbit, you get this functioning fake (Spirit of the Intent).

    The other conclusion you could make is, yes magic knows how to perfectly replicate a rabbit. Which raises more questions than it answers, how does magic know this, why take my idea of a rabbit and then copy an actual rabbit, shouldn't it be copying my idea of a rabbit?
     
  7. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    If it were merely a facsimile, then the creation of new and enduring species through transfiguration wouldn't be a thing. Magic knows what truth and lies are. It even knows who your "enemies" are even if you don't as evidenced by the foe glass. Magic recognizes social constructs in that the Ministry and Snape have authority based on their positions. It knows what a rabbit is, and so it creates one. It recognizes things like harm, job positions, secrets, ideas, locations.

    Peter Pettigrew turned himself into a rat for over a decade, and that brought with it the requisite bodily changes needed to live as a rat. He was definitely not consuming enough calories to sustain a full grown human man, and that's because he didn't have the same physiological requirements. His anatomy was that of a rat's in all ways that mattered.
     
  8. Sivcere

    Sivcere Squib

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    Google tells me that facsimile means "an exact copy, especially of written or printed material." which isn't what I'm saying magic creates. I used the word imitation, "the action of using someone or something as a model." for a reason, it's not making a copy it's make something that appears to have all the important traits, shape, fluffiness, taste, alive and everything else the wizard doesn't know or care about is fixed with magic.

    Why?

    I keep saying that magic takes your idea and makes it into reality, even if it has to fudge a few of the details. Being alive and able to reproduce is just another detail.

    You have a outstanding ability to pull up examples that have zero relevance.

    None of these examples (Aside from the rabbit bit, which is what we're debating) contradict what I'm saying. The concept of authority, harm, job positions, secrets, ideas and locations all lie in the understanding of humans, thus they can be used in magic. The exact structure of a rabbit can't be learned or at least haven't been learnt hence why no one can create an actual rabbit. They're creating something extremely similar which has all the traits they know about, being alive, being able to move, being able to breed, etc. What it doesn't have though is nutritional value, which is sorta a massive hole ya know? You're saying magic knows how to create a rabbit, but clearly it doesn't because it can't create one that's eatable like all real rabbits. What can can conclude from this is magic creates something like a rabbit, even if it doesn't know how to create a real rabbit.

    I'm not actually sure what you're trying to say with this.

    "Peter Pettigrew turned himself into a rat for over a decade, and that brought with it the requisite bodily changes needed to live as a rat." I agree? Just in the sense he wasn't turning into a rat, just a extremely close imitation of a rat.
     
  9. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    You insist that the rabbit is not a real rabbit. Why? Live rabbits aren't considered food, and so Gamp's Law presumably would not apply. We know that transfiguration, done properly, is flawless. It can create creatures that are genetically compatible with one another, as evidenced by the creation of a breeding population via transfiguration. A rabbit is a rabbit is a rabbit. If it looks like a rabbit, smells like a rabbit, eats like a rabbit, shits like a rabbit, breeds like a rabbit, then what property is it that makes it not a rabbit? I bring up those examples because HP magic operates on ideas. Not even the individual's ideas(though sometimes it is), but societal ones. What we think of as a rabbit is what is made when you try to create a rabbit.
     
  10. Sivcere

    Sivcere Squib

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    Live rabbits are totally food, if I went and got a living rabbit and started eating it, it would be considered food. Society will look down on me for eating a rabbit alive but that doesn't change the fact that I ate a living rabbit and gained nutritional value from it, living rabbits are food.

    Gamp's Law then must apply, unless you're trying to say that once I attempt to eat a rabbit created from magic, it suddenly ceases to have nutritional value.

    Do we though? You can't actually disprove what I'm saying, at no point in the Harry Potter series did someone compare a real animal to one created by transfiguration.

    Because Gamp's Law exists, so rabbits created from magic aren't rabbits.

    Proof: Food can't be created, animals are food.
    Contradiction: We see things turned into animals all the time, examples Desk to Pig, Human to Ferret.
    Conclusion: If food cannot be created, then what we saw wasn't food, thus wasn't an exact copy of an animal.

    And I never contradict the theory of idea based magic, my entire argument is about how exactly magic converts these ideas into reality.
     
  11. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    If your idea of "food" is "things you can stick into your mouth and chew on it", "food" is also paper, mud and grass. Like I pointed out before, typically, in the English language, "food" describes the steak -- not the entire cow.

    Anyway, yes, you are raising arguments everyone has considered at one point. And like Taure's doc points out as well, there are two ways to make this work -- either you declare that in transfigured animals, some sort of vital component is missing (regardless whether you call it nutrition or some kind of magical part, which animals have, and transfigured animals don't), or a transfigured animal simply isn't considered "food".

    Seeing that I don't look at animals and go "food!11!", and that there are many ways to specify Gamp's exception, if that was the intention -- in particular, "magic can't create meat", or "magic can't create nutritional value" -- all of which were not taken, and that in DH, Harry & co. don't lack potential food, so going hungry isn't the problem, everyone being a terrible cook is (i.e., lacking actual, "good", as Ron says, food), my conclusion is the narrow idea of "food": Gamp's exception forbids it to whip up a five star dinner, or even just a burger. They are stuck eating "grey fish" (while, as everyone knows, cooked the right way, fish is delicious).


    If you really must separate animals and animals (and what about bread and bread, or apples and apples?), I'd want to go Taure's way, something magical is missing, but people have been stuck in their odd ways regarding HP since forever, so whatever. Just don't rewrite MoR and post it here.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
  12. Sivcere

    Sivcere Squib

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    I don't classify things I can chew as food, I classify things I can eat and gain nutritional value from as food, which is why I said "doesn't change the fact that I ate a living rabbit and gained nutritional value from it, living rabbits are food."

    You're right though, a cow isn't food. It's more really potential food, but that brings into question how is food defined in Gamp's Law.

    The easiest way of looking at Gamp's Law is it's impossible to create something with nutritional value, because that raises less questions than every other interpretation.

    See that raises more questions! Like what god out there decided, "yea you can have teleportation, time travel, immortality, seemingly infinite energy but the ability to make food taste nice? Don't be silly."

    It's just so arbitrary, why this one thing? It's not even adding to the whimsical feeling of magic, it's just out of place.

    How I see the fish issue in DH, is that Ron wants good tasting food, Hermione sucks at cooking, food tastes bad, Ron bitches about how his mum can make food taste nice, Hermione states she has to work with what she has due to Gamp's Law.

    I see no reason to rewrite a warcrime on literature.
     
  13. Sataniel

    Sataniel Seventh Year

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    Definitely not more than yours. You comment one small aspect of an analysis which whole central message is "magic doesn't work on rules of physics" with "and what if physics" in progress attacking also one major conclusion of the text which conflicted with your theory but without giving it any other support than your theory itself which in turn is rooted in... nothing. If you want to go physics you would have to polemize with the document as the whole as it is completely incompatible with that idea. And good luck with trying to find any support in canon for something like that.
     
  14. HPFicFan

    HPFicFan Muggle

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    If transfiguration is permanent, any idea on why Lupin and the Weasleys never fixed their robes? Is it because they were unskilled with the requisite spell (inanimate to inanimate, I presume) or simply because JKR wanted to highlight their backgrounds. I remember Dumbledore transfiguring his robes into a suit when he went to Tom Riddle's Orphanage.
     
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