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The Five Exceptions to Gamp's Law (Revisited)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Taure, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. momo

    momo Seventh Year

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    I really don't like the idea of having clothes as an exception.

    For one, they are nothing special - just cloth.

    I think the reason people don't do it is because a lot of detail makes it hard to do unless you're actually good at transfiguration. Like think about it, would highly eccentric robes like the kind Dumbledore wears be available in a super small community like wizarding Britain.
     
  2. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter DLP Gold Supporter

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    My proposed exceptions and justifications:

    1. Food (canon)
    2. Weapons-grade plutonium (boom)
    3. Eucharist wafers and wine (sacrilege)
    4. Replacement organs/bodies (die)
    5. Guitar picks (no matter how many one buys, one always run short; this seems a universal truth that the magical world should follow)
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  3. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    I'm not sure about the others, but I've always considered one of the five laws "You can't transfigure something into a giver of knowledge." Thus, you can't transfigure something into a book that holds knowledge the person doing the transfiguring doesn't already have. Another way of saying it is, "you can't create knowledge through transfiguration."
     
  4. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Auror DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    I quite like the idea that you also can't transfigure books you have read, because of a taboo like copyright protection charm. However, in general I think it would be a good exception to say you can't transfigure words, or perhaps ink, or ink and paint or something. Similarly to Taure's artwork. Otherwise, why would they use quills and ink? We know they have all kinds of spells for daily conveniences but they never transfigure words or sentences onto paper. Copying is charm work. Transcribing is for enchanted quills.
     
  5. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    How so? I mean, I didn't think about it in any particular way, so wand wood is an idea as well, but wands do appear to be simple enough, mechanically speaking -- the wand and the core inside. Presumably you could transfigure something that looks like a wand, then, but isn't going to work as a wand. And the exception tells you this.

    Or are you arguing based on "elemental transfiguration", and that transfiguring something into a wand isn't elemental?

    Additionally, have you thought about how to square Rowling's quote that "conjured items don't last" with Hermione in DH using one of only five exceptions in DH to specifically refer to conjuring (not transfiguring) food? I don't quite get those two straight. You'd assume that if conjured items generally don't last, all Hermione would have had to say was, "conjured items don't last, everyone knows this".

    We always talk about transfiguring stuff, but the only times we ever see Gamp's exception in practice is when it comes to conjuration -- in the camp, and when the RoR can't create food.
     
  6. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Groundskeeper

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    I agree that is should be impossible to conjure up a book that, say, contains the secret locations of Voldemort's horcruxes or instructions to make a Philosopher's stone or so on. However tranfigurations can be used to create knowledge.

    Say I transfigure my desk into a pig. I then cut that big open and study how its heart works. I don't think Hogwarts students must study in-depth biology of every element of pig biology to create a pig, but they could certainly gain such knowledge by studying their transfiguration.
     
  7. momo

    momo Seventh Year

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    Or we can say that you can't transfigure books because to do that, you have to envision every word in the book

    So maybe you get the cover. But the book? I doubt it.
     
  8. Faun

    Faun Second Year

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    Will the transfiguration hold if one compromises the physical integrity of the transfigured object?
    --- Post automerged ---
    Five exceptions to Gamp's law:
    1) Food (canon)

    I suggest:

    2) Magical Artifacts
    It is possible to give the physical appearance, but not the essential functions.
    e.g.- transfigure a rock into sneakoscope, but it will not work like one.
    This includes wands, magical paintings, coins, potions, etc.

    3) Contents of Documents
    Creating copies is possible, but creating books and other documents without an original shouldn't be.

    4) Living Body and body parts
    If it was possible Voldemort wouldn't have tried to steal philosopher's stone, and Moody and Kettleburn would not have missing body parts.

    5) Gold
    Philosopher's stone wouldn't be impressive if any skilled wizard or witch could transfigure something in gold.
     
  9. Xepheria

    Xepheria The Benefactor

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    I have my five for things that I write as the following:

    1) Food - I'm of the school of thought that direct nutrition can't be created by transfiguration, but you could, for example, transfigure a pig and then butcher it, or vanish food and reconjure it.

    2) 'Noble' Metals, notably gold, silver and mercury, given their importance in Alchemy. I like to imagine that there is some kind of magical 'inertia' with these metals, particularly gold with its ties to dawn, which often served to cleanse magic in folklore and mythology.

    3) Knowledge - you can't transcribe information or transfigure a book from scratch, but you can duplicate them.

    4) Time - you can't give an object more time in its lifespan through transfiguration. The clearest example here would be that a wizard wouldn't be able to extend his lifespan by transfiguring himself into a younger body.

    5) The Soul - given the clear existence of a soul in HP, I'd postulate that you can't create a soul from nothing using transfiguration - attempting to turn a rock into a human will not give you a functional human being.
     
  10. Nerdman3000

    Nerdman3000 Seventh Year

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    I think it's important to note that money itself is more of a human concept than a actual physical thing, so ultimately it should be what's used as money (gold, silver, and bronze/various rare metals) that would be what is untransfigurable, which I think leads credence to it being more to do with noble metals or simple rare elements as others have pointed out in general. Of course, that assumes that such things are a part of Gamps Law, which I personally do not believe to be the case.

    That conclusion I will admit however, is tied to my personal headcanon that in whatever treaties were created after one of the Goblin Wars (likely the last one perhaps) basically made it so that only Goblin-made gold, silver, and bronze would be excepted as Wizarding Currency, which was perhaps done as a peace bargain. And, just as Griphook was able to notice easily that the fake Sword of Gryffindor in Bellatrix's vault was fake, any Goblin would be able to tell the difference between fake goblin gold, silver, or bronze from the real stuff.
     
  11. Donimo

    Donimo Groundskeeper

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    If we agree that human transfiguration only works with humans as the starting point than that's one. No transfiguring your body pillow into a living sex doll.
     
  12. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Oh, hell no. How else would evil Dumbles transfigure his ancient bunghole to carry out an mpreg that ends in world domination for the Greater Good?
     
  13. wordhammer

    wordhammer Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter

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  14. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    My point is that transfiguration can't create wand cores for the same reason that you can't cast the Cheering Charm with transfiguration. A phoenix feather is a magical object, of course you cannot create it with transfiguration - transfiguration only creates, changes and destroys physical structures. You could transfigure things into feathers in general, but your inability to create magical feathers is simply a result of transfiguration's general inability to imbue objects with magical qualities.

    If Gamp's Law says that it is possible to create any physical thing with transfiguration, then the inability to create magical things is not an exception to the rule, it is the rule, by virtue of the fact that the rule specifically relates to physical things.

    It's not, actually -- in DH Chapter 11, Hermione tries to transfigure mouldy bread into fresh bread and fails.

    -----

    With respect to knowledge, I would be wary in introducing this as a rule. Not only for the reasons Glimmervoid already stated (you can transfigure things despite not knowing how they work), but also because of this scene:

    Now, this is of course not an act of transfiguration. Nonetheless, it does show that there is no general rule against magic replacing human creativity. Another example would be the spell in PS used to play the harp.

    ------

    Given the food exception, I have no problem with anthropocentric concepts forming a part of the objective rules of magic. My proposal was in fact whatever counts as money from time to time, so not only would you be unable to create gold, you would also be unable to conjure a stack of dollar bills.
    --- Post automerged ---
    Incidentally, I am increasingly coming around to Sesc's position on food: that the exception is the inability to create the "finished product" and that it's perfectly possible to use transfiguration to make edible "potential food" (such as animals).

    Although Hermione makes a blanket statement "It’s impossible to make good food out of nothing!", I think we have to consider the context: they already have edible ingredients - fish and mushrooms - and their problem is their inability to turn them into anything they can stomach eating. So the nature of the exception would be not "you can't make things you can eat with transfiguration" but rather "transfiguration cannot bypass the need for human labour in preparing food" - as emphasised by Hermione telling Ron he can "try and charm them into something worth eating".

    This, then, explains what Hermione means by "good food". You can make things that can be turned into a meal, but you can't go directly to the end result. Of course, given that we know conjured items don't last, by virtue of that rule you can't conjure potential food, because it will disappear on you. So the ability to create potential food is limited to transfiguration.

    With this in mind, no convoluted logic regarding nutrition having magical properties is necessary to reconcile Gamp with wizards using transfiguration to make animals. Yes, a person with knowledge of the appropriate Charms could take a transfigured animal, butcher it, then prepare it into a meal. But the problem is that Harry, Ron and Hermione do not have the requisite skill in Charms to do this. And on top of that, they are probably not skilled enough with transfiguration to confidently make animals which retain no properties of the original object.

    The last thing to reconcile is the mouldy bread. Now, bread is of course the result of a cooking process, so you couldn't transfigure something into bread per the above. But Hermione already has bread, she just wants to alter it to being fresh again. I will need to think further on how to reconcile that.
     
  15. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Auror DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    @Taure if charms are required to make ingredients into food, and charm skill (like cooking ability) is the key factor then perhaps you already have your answer.

    We don't have any reason to suspect the process of making that food requires heat or what have you. Making mouldy bread into edible bread may require the same or similar charms as making dough into edible bread. The converse would be that charms are very Disney (picture: sword in the stone's crockery washing-up scene) and actually mundane. Cooking is cooking and charms may knead and bake and slice and shape but otherwise it's very similar to a muggle process just less hands on. We don't have a manual way to get rid of mould except to cut it. Hermione may not wish to do that nor to switch spell it onto another food product.

    Another angle could be the idea of disease. I suspect transfiguration is little used in the curing of disease or treating age-related problems. If the bread is 'diseased' by the mould, it may require charm work to excise without ruining the bread, or even restoring it back to when it was fresh.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  16. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    @Taure: Yup.
    And yeah, I'd probably argue in the same way that while it might be possible to charm or transfigure the bread fresh, everyone is just pants at basic household spells. Lol. (I mean, you'd surely think there would be a spell to keep the bread from getting mouldy in the first place.)

    Also, right, that was what I meant with "elemental". If the Law is something that says the physical nature of any one thing can fundamentally be changed in any other physical thing, then magical properties are excluded; and you don't also need to add exceptions regarding magical artefacts. I agree this is plausible; it fits with magical overrides mundane, and the limits of magic being magic, which we see throughout the books.
     
  17. MrBucket

    MrBucket Fourth Year

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    @Taure

    I agree with all that, but because I feel like being a pedantic little shit, the harp was only played in the movie. In the books, Harry plays a flute.
     
  18. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The thing about being pedantic is that it's important to be right :p

     
  19. MrBucket

    MrBucket Fourth Year

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    Well, fuck. I even went back to reread that part and somehow missed that. You are correct.
     
  20. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Harry Potter books have Harry with a scar and using magic. Zelda has Link wearing green and playing a flute. Just for clarification.
     
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