Quoting from Wonderbook: Book of Spells:

Water-Making Spell

The Water-Making Spell conjures clean, drinkable water from the end of the wand. Thus, with the Water-Making Spell the trained wizard is never without a source of water, whether they’re refilling their goblet at dinner, or managing a minor eyebrow fire after a carelessly-cast Fire-Making Spell.

However, we know that food is the first of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration.

"Your mother can’t produce food out of thin air," said Hermione. "No one can. Food is the first of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfigur—"
"Oh, speak English, can’t you?" Ron said, prising a fishbone out from between his teeth.
"It’s impossible to make good food out of nothing! You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, you can increase the quantity if you’ve already got some —"
(Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 15)

This would be easily answerable if there was a distinction between "food and "drink". Is such a distinction ever specified elsewhere?

  • 3
    Duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/24799/…
    – CHEESE
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:03
  • 3
    If you can increase the quantity of consumables given you have some, you could isolate some of the water vapor from the air and massively multiply it...
    – Sconibulus
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:03
  • @CHEESE edited question to specifiaclly ask about whether there is a canon distinction between food and drink.
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:08
  • Is the fact that aguamenti works an okay source to say that there is a difference?
    – CHEESE
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:29
  • @CHEESE That would pretty much just be restating my question. :) I'm looking for a canon statement that there is a difference. Either somewhere explicitly stating the difference or an abundance of examples proving it.
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:35

3 Answers 3


I don't know what the Wonderbook Wonder of Spells is -- is it a canon reference?

Anyhow, yes, Auguamenti produces water. So, there's that.

The way Gamp's law works is thus: Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration allows for food items that already exist -- such as a plate of rolls in the kitchen -- to be moved from Point A to Point B via transfiguration. So, by using transfiguration, the House-elves at Hogwarts can snap their fingers and make dinner disappear from the kitchen and reappear on the tables in the great hall. Pumpkin juice can be summoned via transfiguration:

Professor McGonagall raised her wand again and pointed it at Snape’s desk. A large plate of sandwiches, two silver goblets and a jug of iced pumpkin juice appeared with a pop.

Chamber of Secrets - Chapter five, The Whomping Willow - Page 65 - Bloomsbery

J.K. Rowling has said -- and I'm looking for the exact quote -- that food moved by transfiguration eventually disappears -- I believe after five hours.

Pumpkin juice is not water; it would seem it would disappear after the allotted hours.

There is no canon indication I know of that indicates water from Auguamenti disappears after any period of time.

I would say this demonstrates a distinct difference between transfigured food and magically produced water. They are not the same.

  • Wonderbook Book of Spells was written by Rowling.
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:55
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    Food moved by transfiguration disappears after five hours?! So about five hours after everyone has eaten in the Great Hall, the half-digested food they ate suddenly disappears from their stomachs? That sounds… utterly bizarre! Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:58
  • Not to promote my own answers, but I talk about Wonderbook: Book of Spells here, here, and here.
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 23:14
  • @ibid -- Yet here you are, promoting your answer ... ;) Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 11:04
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - I apologize, I didn't state that very clearly. Let me do a little more research. I'm afraid I got sidetracked with IRL stuff last night -- I had meant to tweak this answer. :) Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 11:09

As far as I understand, you can use spells not only to get water, but to get food (alive animals) quite easily:

From book 1:

"Swish and flick, remember, swish and flick. And saying the magic words properly is very important, too -- never forget Wizard Baruffio, who said 's' instead of 'f' and found himself on the floor with a buffalo on his chest."

From boook 2:

Malfoy raised his wand quickly and bellowed, "Serpensortia!" The end of his wand exploded. Harry watched, aghast, as a long black snake shot out of it, fell heavily onto the floor between them.

  • Rowling said in an interview that animals created through magic aren't real, and will disappear after a couple of hours.
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 23:17
  • As far as retcon goes, we can call those three spells "charms" -- not transfigurations. After all, how could Draco conjure a snake in CoS, if in book 6 "Most of the class had already left, although several twittering yellow birds were still zooming around the room, all of Hermione's creation; nobody else had succeeded in conjuring so much as a feather from thin air..." So much for Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration if you can simply point your wand and say "Avis" or "Serpensortia" and get real food. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:26
  • Book of Spells does say that birds & snakes are exponentially easier to conjure due to [name of magical law].
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:33
  • Thanks, @ibid, I have just downloaded the book of Spells -- I didn't even know it existed. I think JK should have added rabbits as well as an exception ;) Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:38
  • 1
    You do realize that it is a PS3 game, right? You are encouraged to dish out the ~$600 to buy a PS3 along with three necessary accessories and then play through the game, being on the lookout for canon. Reading the beautiful pdf that some redditer compiled is cheating.
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 7:01

It is very possible that water isn't created, but gathered, from the natural humidity in the air, or from nearby lakes and rivers. Even in low humidity, there is usually a certain amount of precipitation somewhere on Earth.

Also, most of everything in the books is from the collective knowledge of those present. At first, Sirius is referred to as a murderer. Not all information can be took at face value as true fact.

  • 1
    Hi there! :) Unfortunately, this question is rather aimed at an in-universe definite "difference" between the two, so your post doesn't really answer that - it should rather be a comment, or if you elaborate it a bit more, an answer to this related question.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 1:29

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