Is Polyjuice Potion a chemical transformation or a form of Transfiguration? I'm not a science genius and I genuinely can't decide if this is a chemical transformation or Transfiguration, or a combination of both. Yes, yes, I know it's a potion, which is chemical, but I've always thought the Polyjuice Potion has elements of Transfiguration magic to it as well. So I'm asking you fine people, which one is it?

For reference, see chapter 12 of Chamber of Secrets - The Polyjuice Potion.

  • "I'm not a science genius…" Turns out, neither is the author of Harry Potter. :)
    – Lexible
    Feb 7, 2021 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


According to the answer to this question, there will be a magical component, so Polyjuice potions won't be solely a chemical transformation. It makes sense that the magical component comes from transfiguration, then.


Transfiguration is the ability to change into another creature at will. This is not the same as being a werewolf because a werewolf is a monthly change and this is not something that everyone chooses due to the chance that they were bitten or otherwise. Transfiguration is something that is learned by the witch or wizard and they are able to do so whenever they choose and for however long they want (ex: Peter Pettigrew) and they also have to register their animal that they change into to the ministry of magic (Order of the Phoenix). Transfiguration does not give someone the ability to change into another person.

The polyjuice potion allows the drinker to take the form of another person for a limited amount of time. And this can only be done after the potion has been brewed for a month. The limitations for polyjuice potion is that the person cannot take the form of an animal (Ex: Hermione in the Chamber of Secrets)and they have to constantly be drinking the potion to maintain the other person's form. Making Polyjuice potion a chemically and magically induced temporary change, whereas transfiguration is a magically induced biological change that has no time limit.

  • you're thinking specifically of animagi. transfiguration involves transforming almost anything into something else e.g. they had to turn rats into teacups one year; this kind of transfiguration doesn't have to be permanent
    – childcat15
    May 24, 2013 at 1:12
  • Well, I appreciate your effort, but what you have given me is a broad overview of Transfiguration and Polyjuice Potion respectively. The question did not ask for definitions. Also, if you can point me to where in canon it says exactly that there is no time limit(s) on Transfiguration, I would like to see that. A person does not have to constantly drink Polyjuice -- that's only if they want to stay transformed longer than the potion will allow. What does the magic of Polyjuice do? It changes people. Transfiguration is also a form of magical change. Could there be a similarity? May 24, 2013 at 3:35

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