In Harry Potter 6 (the film) Slughorn talks about the fish he got from Lily. When Lily died the fish had disappeared.

What enchantments can we expect to go away when the original caster perishes?

Voldemort gave Wormtail a silver hand, did the silver hand go away upon Voldemort's death? Would the enchantments over the cave which held the necklace vanish?

Obviously some enchantments seem to last forever, such as the sorting hat.

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    such as the sorting hat : Unless Godric Gryffindor is still alive, which sustains the enchantment dun dun duuuuuuun – Xantec Apr 17 '12 at 18:56

TL;DR: It is likely that most permanently enchanted items not using magical materials would be destroyed by the death of their creator.

Magic in the HPverse appears to be divisible into two broad categories, that I will arbitrarily call Conjuration and Enchantment.

Conjuration-type magic, such as Vingardium Leviosa, Crucio, and indeed most spells cast with a wand, requires continuous effort on the part of the caster, or its effect ends. (Spells such as Reparo or Avada Kedavra also fall in this category; while the result of the spell is permanent, its active effect is temporary.) (Portkeys likely also fall into this category: While they are usually made without magical materials, they likely contain a reservoir of magical power, sufficient for their use as transport.)

Enchantment-type magic, such as paintings, photographs, wands, and other artifacts, on the other hand, seems to be sustained indefinitely by its own innate magical power.

There is a third type of magic featured heavily, which is the Horcrux-type magic: It's tied to and sustained by the life force of the caster. While the specific case of horcruxes seems to be the other way around, we've only really seen one example of horcruxes at work. It's not unthinkable that if someone who made a horcrux was somehow destroyed without first destroying the horcruxes, the horcruxes would still become unenchanted. (It is possible, though not proven, that the Veil would be able to achieve this.) (Magical secrets also appear to be of or related to this type.)

Although the creation of artifacts is not explored in any great detail, it is likely that it relates to the magi-physical properties of the materials used; such as is the case with wands; similarly, it is known that magical photographs are cured with different or additional chemicals than mundane ones, and it is possible that the chemicals contain materials with magical properties, and presumably paints used in living paintings use similar magical materials. (Wands are briefly touched upon in HP1; and photographs are touched upon in HP2; paintings are never given an explicit explanation.)

In other words; the fish Lily made was likely a crude form of horcrux, but instead of being inhabited by a fragment of Lily's soul, it was inhabited by and held together with a part of her aspirations, or simply her respect for Slughorn.

In the case of the silver hand, it was likely created in a similar fashion, and empowered by Voldemort's affection for Wormtail. This would also explain its reaction to his betrayal, which might simply have been an unintentional side effect of the force that empowered it. And yes, it likely disappeared when Voldemort died, or possibly even shortly after disposing of Wormtail, as his betrayal would effectively kill the power that bound it.

Edit: Regarding the Sorting Hat: Again, the exact details surrounding the sorting hat are vague, but it is similar to chess sets, and it is likely created by the use of magical cloth or thread, or simply cured using magical potions.


i think usually conjured items disappear and spells which can be associated with time as in those that you can tell if they are still cast(probably a barrier is a good example) will disappear. If you want specific details wait for more answers

  • -1 I don't really think this goes far enough in trying to answer the question to be an answer. – AncientSwordRage Apr 17 '12 at 19:45
  • I would like to disagree. I am laying out the general mechanics of the potter world based on the stories and evven if you get specific spells as answers, these mechanics form an important part and give a pattern to the data. – MozenRath Apr 17 '12 at 19:49
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    I'm not asking that it does, just enough to be considered a stand-alone answer. It's relying on other answers to complete itself. – AncientSwordRage Apr 17 '12 at 20:07
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    @MozenRath You are correct that, unless blatantly obnoxious, offensive or derogatory, most any answer that attempts to seriously answer a question is valid. Pureferret's vote (or any vote for that matter) is simply an indicator of a user's opinion on the quality of the post (form and/or filling). While you may not agree with all votes, they are simply the opinion of the person who cast it and are not necessarily meant to sway your opinion. Now, if a negative vote should tempt someone to try to improve the quality of their post, then everyone wins. – Xantec Apr 17 '12 at 20:22
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    I agree with @Pureferret. This answer has no sources and provides what MozenRath thinks. It's nothing more than a guess. This site is about answers that can be given as definitive, either through solid reasoning or because they're supported with facts. It is not about what we think happens. Note this answer has 2 down votes, no up votes, I've voted to delete it (and flagged it as more appropriate for a comment than an answer), and another user also finds it incomplete. That indicates there's a problem. The wise thing to do would be to fix the problem or delete it. – Tango Apr 17 '12 at 21:07

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