17

In Harry Potter universe we're given example of Amortentia usage in a scenario where a female gives the potion to a male. Has Rowling explicitly commented if a male can use the potion to seduce a female ? Furthermore can Amortentia be used in a same sex scenario, e.g. male to male, female to female ?

  • 3
    For anyone taking love potions in Hp as haha-funny: please read this very insightful essay: thats-normal.com/2013/11/love-potions-in-harry-potter – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 16 '15 at 21:42
  • @DVK - A key component of love potions is that they're largely ineffective. Even the most powerful wears off relatively quickly if the person isn't actually attracted to the person who made it. I think (or at least hope) that the commercially available versions have little or no ability to be used as a date-rape drug. – Valorum Dec 16 '15 at 22:03
  • @Valorum: We know that it's possible to rape someone via love potion (of questionable provenance, no less), because that's how Voldemort was born. In your own answer, you quote a line asserting that the joke-shop-level potions the Weasley twins were selling were good for 24 hours, which is more than long enough to rape someone (attraction to a person and consent to have sex with that person are two entirely different things, obviously). – Kevin Jul 8 '17 at 20:41
13

Male to female - Yes

Rita Skeeta suspects Bill Weasley of having used a Love Potion on Fleur. Regarding Love potions in general working in females:

The only one who is easy to recognize is Bill who, poor man, is grievously scarred from an encounter with a werewolf and yet somehow (enchantment? Love potion? Blackmail? Kidnap?) married the undeniably beautiful (though doubtless empty-headed) Fleur Delacour.
Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final

Additionally, in the semi-canonical play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne, Ron gives Albus a love potion with intent that he use it on girls (while Albus does have a certain 'gay vibe' in the play, there is no indication of that being the intended use of the potion)

RON: And a cracking one at that — gorgeous silver hair. Saw them on the roof together, near the Owlery with Scorpius playing the gooseberry. Nice to see my love potion being used well, I thought.
(Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne - Act 3, Scene 17)

We also see that the smell component of Amortentia (a particularly powerful Love Potion) works on females:

“It’s the most powerful love potion in the world!” said Hermione.

“Quite right! You recognized it, I suppose, by its distinctive mother-of-pearl sheen?”

“And the steam rising in characteristic spirals,” said Hermione enthusiastically, “and it’s supposed to smell differently to each of according to what attracts us, and I can smell freshly mown grass and new parchment and-

But she turned slightly pink and did not complete the sentence.

(Harry Potter and the Half-Blodd Prince - Chapter 9)

Same Sex - Unknown

I don't think that there are any canonical examples of Amortentia or any other Love Potion being used in a same sex scenario, considering the only LGBT character that we know of is Dumbledore.

  • 1
    Certainly the smell component works on female. The question is whether the actual effects (e.g. causing infatuation) work. – Valorum Dec 16 '15 at 20:51
  • @Richard I didn't know that they were separate. – ibid Dec 16 '15 at 20:55
  • 1
    They're certainly connected but I'd consider a love potion that smelled nice but didn't actually create feelings of love to be a bit of a failure. – Valorum Dec 16 '15 at 20:56
  • 8
    " the only LGBT that we know of is Dumbledore" - you clearly have not read many fanfics.... :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 16 '15 at 21:25
  • @DVK clearly we have different views regarding what's canon :) – ibid Dec 16 '15 at 23:58
12

In Canon

Unknown. As far as I'm aware, there are no references in any of the books, films, supplementary material or interviews that deal with the issue of a love potion being used on...

  • Someone of the same sex as the potion-maker (or)
  • A woman.

Guesswork

My instinct is that a love potion would work on just about anyone, however a potion used to create a same-sex infatuation, when used on someone heterosexual (or vice-versa) would probably run out very rapidly since the object of their affection would be deeply unattractive to them:

‘There you go,’ said Fred proudly. ‘Best range of love potions you’ll find anywhere.’
Ginny raised an eyebrow sceptically. ‘Do they work?’
‘Certainly they work, for up to twenty-four hours at a time depending on the weight of the boy in question –’
‘– and the attractiveness of the girl,’ said George, reappearing suddenly at their side. ‘But we’re not selling them to our sister,’ he added, becoming suddenly stern, ‘not when she’s already got about five boys on the go from what we’ve –’ - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Chapter 6, Draco's Detour


Notably, in an interview JKR indicated that both witches and wizards could take love potion and that wizarding scientists could then study the effects. No indication was given as to what those effects were:

SU: Well, we have a lot of questions, though, for you Jo. Like stuff about that mysterious Department of Mysteries. Can you tell us, what was in the Love Room?

JKR: Well, there was that mysterious room, we don't know what it is in the Love Room. Yet it was the-- (laughter, overtalk) What's in the Love Room. It's the place where they study what Love means. So that room, I believe, would have at its center, a kind of fountain or well containing a love potion, a very powerful love potion. You know that the first time they ever enter Slughorn's Potions class, and he starts talking about Amortentia, the Love Potion, and he says it's the most dangerous one in the room. That's what they would've found in the Love Room. So you would see wizards and witches taking it, they would study the effects.

  • 3
    would work on just about anyone But what about inter species! – Athena Widget Dec 16 '15 at 20:24
  • 11
    @AthenaWidget - Just out of interest, are you in the middle of writing a very saucy Firenze / Trelawney slashfic? – Valorum Dec 16 '15 at 20:30
  • 2
    Negative. I was shocked by the number of DV on the slave girl question. I didn't expect such a reaction, in retrospect I should have known. There is NO way I'll ever take anything on the internet seriously. BTW, you are one of the shining lights on this forum. I thank you for being a gentleman/lady. – Athena Widget Dec 16 '15 at 20:33
  • 1
    @AthenaWidget - You can have my +1. I was especially intrigued to find that I can't find a single (book canon) instance of a witch being given a love potion, only administering them to unsuspecting wizards and muggle men. I'm not sure what that says about JKR. – Valorum Dec 16 '15 at 20:36
  • 4
    @AthenaWidget - "negative" as in you're NOT in the middle? Finished writing? </ducks> – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 16 '15 at 21:27
4

There are two canon descriptions about how the love potion works:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince chapter 9

"Amortentia doesn't really create love, of course. It is impossible to manufacture or imitate love. No, this will simply cause a powerful infatuation or obsession. It is probably the most dangerous and powerful potion in this room - oh yes,"

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows chapter 6

‘There you go,’ said Fred proudly. ‘Best range of love potions you’ll find anywhere.’

Ginny raised an eyebrow sceptically. ‘Do they work?’

‘Certainly they work, for up to twenty-four hours at a time depending on the weight of the boy in question –’ ‘– and the attractiveness of the girl,’ said George, reappearing suddenly at their side.

So the "love" potion doesn't even generate sexual desire. It just makes you very obsessed with another person. Sexual attraction would be the usual result of such obsession because it is "natural" for humans.

It is possible that someone feels obsessed with another one from the same sex without any potion and without being gay or having sexual desires. There are many examples of someone being admired for his/her achievements or skills.

So I see no problem that the love potion works for "man to woman", "woman to man", "man to man" and "woman to woman" scenarios. Still it might not have the desired effect (i.e. sexual attraction). Everything will depend on :

  • strength of the potion
  • amount of potion taken
  • the person's "normal" desire for such things

I would rather speculate that a heterosexual man will be very unlikely to feel sexual desire for another man even under the effect of a strong love potion. He'll be very obsessed - yes - but not sexually attracted. A homosexual man on the other side will feel also sexual attraction.

The only canon example of someone taking a love potion is Ron in HPHBP and the sender was Romilda Vane. It worked "as expected" because:

  1. Ron is heterosexual
  2. Romilda is an attractive girl

Another 'semi-canon' example would be Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Sr. If the seduction was done by love potion then it must have been a strong one and taken in appropriate quantities. It worked again because Merope, while being not very attractive, is a woman and Tom Riddle Sr is heterosexual.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.