Polyjuice Potion is changing based on someone's current physical state. It shows tattoos (or lack of) and such from DH when Ron changed to Harry.

"I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo,” said Ron, looking down at his bare chest.

What would happen if someone used hair of a dead person, taken from their body after death, and drank the potion? Would they die as well?

  • 1
    I reckon you'd explode.
    – Valorum
    Jan 28, 2016 at 19:57
  • 4
    or start puking rainbows? :P Jan 28, 2016 at 20:01
  • 1
    To clarify: You mean hair taken from a dead person after they've died, rather than hair taken from them before they die? (Although, I wonder if there's a difference)
    – user31178
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:08
  • 1
    yes. after they die Jan 28, 2016 at 20:08
  • 2
    All hair is dead to me, right @JackBNimble? Jan 29, 2016 at 0:14

2 Answers 2



Then I packed up Moody’s clothes and Dark detectors, put them in the trunk with Moody, and set off for Hog- warts. I kept him alive, under the Imperius Curse. I wanted to be able to question him. To find out about his past, learn his habits, so that I could fool even Dumbledore. I also needed his hair to make the Polyjuice Potion.

He states that he kept Moody alive to question him so he is able to fool Dumbledore.

This line is unclear as to what it targets,

I also needed his hair to make the Polyjuice Potion.

You can read this line as saying, "he needed Moodys hair", "so he put his body in the trunk", OR you can read this line as," I needed Moody alive so he kept growing hair that i could use for the Polyjuice Potion".

Neither option specify that the Polyjuice Potion NEEDS a living victim for the potion to work. That is pure speculation on our part via the text.

Its important to note that Barty Crouch Jr. needed a supply of hair for an entire school year, of potentially drinking the Polyjuice Potion every hour of every day. So would you risk just shaving his head and killing him, what would happen if you ran out of hair? Hence keeping him alive, to continue to GROW hair would be important.

  • Does it have to be hair from the head, or would any hair work? And how much hair is needed? Would a single hair work, or do you need more than one per potion?
    – Xantec
    Jan 28, 2016 at 22:40
  • @Xantec all valid questions, we've only ever seen hair from the head, per 1 hour in the books, so their is alot of speculation about how this potion works, what limits it has, ect.
    – Himarm
    Jan 28, 2016 at 22:41
  • 2
    @Xantec would you willingly drink a potion made from someone's hair, that comes from anywhere other than the head?
    – user32390
    Jan 29, 2016 at 1:28
  • @MathiasFoster desperate times call for desperate measures
    – Xantec
    Jan 29, 2016 at 1:29
  • 1
    @BolteAltamont but we already know he HAS to be alive to be questioned. First and foremost that is the reason hes still alive
    – Himarm
    Jan 29, 2016 at 18:49

It wouldn't work.

Simply because Barty Crouch Jr. kept Mad-Eye Moody alive in order to use his hair for the Polyjuice Potion. BCJ is not a nice man; he would presumably have killed Moody if he could rather than imprisoning him. He needed him alive for the Polyjuice.

"I kept him alive, under the Imperius Curse. I wanted to be able to question him. To find out about his past, learn his habits, so that I could fool even Dumbledore. I also needed his hair to make the Polyjuice Potion. The other ingredients were easy. I stole boom-slang skin from the dungeons. When the Potions master found me in his office, I said I was under orders to search it."

-- Barty Crouch Jr, HP and the Goblet of Fire (emphasis mine)

As for what exactly would happen if you tried to Polyjuice into a dead person, I don't think there's any canon info. Maybe you'd wind up dead yourself, in that person's body. Maybe the potion would simply have no effect: it works via a magical link with the biology of another living person.

  • 5
    I believe Dumbledore said that Barty Crouch Jr. kept Mad-Eye Moody alive because he needed him for questioning. But thats what had me ask question at first. What if you did it anyway, or someone forced u to drink it Jan 28, 2016 at 20:09
  • @VanjaVasiljevic Please see the latest edit. Besides, needing him for questioning so as to be able to impersonate him convincingly wouldn't explain why he kept him alive throughout the year, after he'd already been impersonating him convincingly for months.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:14
  • yeah there is no need to down vote just because you don't agree. Still the quote doesn't explain what would happen if you drunk it. Maybe he knew and didn't want it to happen to him. Jan 28, 2016 at 20:17
  • 1
    Someone on Reddit has a quote from Advanced Potion-Making which says "The donor of the aforementioned body piece must still maintain life for the effects of the potion to continue or function whatsoever." But I've no idea of the canonicity of this quote!
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 28, 2016 at 21:22
  • well AFAIK poly-juice potion isnt in advanced potion making, since that book is not in the restricted section, while most potent potion is, so id find that very suspect
    – Himarm
    Jan 28, 2016 at 21:29

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