36

When it appeared as a snake to Parvati, would it really be able to bite or choke her, or is it just scaring without actually being able to attack?

32

Unclear - but it can't do as much damage as the real thing.

Lupin decided to use a Boggart for Harry to practice the Patronus Charm on after rejecting the idea of practicing with a real Dementor, because bringing a real Dementor into Hogwarts would be too dangerous.

“Ah yes,’ said Lupin, when Harry reminded him of his promise at the end of class. ‘Let me see … how about eight o’clock on Thursday evening? The History of Magic classroom should be large enough … I’ll have to think carefully about how we’re going to do this … we can’t bring a real Dementor into the castle to practise on …”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12 (The Patronus)

In addition, Lupin described a Boggart turned into a Dementor as "the nearest we'll get to a real Dementor", which means that there is a difference between a Boggart in the form of a Dementor and an actual Dementor.

“What’s that?’ said Harry.

‘Another Boggart,’ said Lupin, stripping off his cloak. ‘I’ve been combing the castle ever since Tuesday, and very luckily, I found this one lurking inside Mr Filch’s filing cabinet. It’s the nearest we’ll get to a real Dementor. The Boggart will turn into a Dementor when he sees you, so we’ll be able to practise on him. I can store him in my office when we’re not using him; there’s a cupboard under my desk he’ll like.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12 (The Patronus)

So - the Boggart can have some of the effects of the creature it transforms into, but likely has a weakened version of their power instead of their full abilities.

Also, when the Boggart turned into a full moon, it didn't cause Lupin to transform into a werewolf.

“The legless spider had vanished. For a second, everyone looked wildly around to see where it was. Then they saw a silvery white orb hanging in the air in front of Lupin, who said ‘Riddikulus!’ almost lazily.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)

  • 1
    I'm not sure the second example proves much - after all, it could be possible to turn into a dementor, but there's only one moon. – Azor Ahai Oct 16 '17 at 16:15
  • I don't necessarily thinking that Lupin deciding to use a boggart instead of a dementor necessarily means that a boggart then has much weaker powers. It could simply be that a boggart will only be in the form of a dementor when focused on Harry, and so is much easier to control than a permanent dementor – shea Oct 22 '17 at 5:50
17

Yes, It can hurt you. When Harry is practicing his Patronus on them, he feels all the effects of a dementor. That’s why Lupin is giving him a chocolate like he did with Harry’s first encounter to a real dementor. He also asks Harry whether he heard James.

  • 27
    I'm not sure if this generalises. A Dementor is about the most “psychosomatic” kind of foe you can encounter (“...said Lupin thoughtfully ... ‘That suggests that what you fear most of all is – fear. Very wise, Harry.’ ”). I certainly wouldn't take this as evidence that a Snake-Boggart would be able to physically bite or choke its victim. And a Dementor-Boggart probably wouldn't be able to perform the Kiss, either (I seem to vaguely recall this was actually discussed somewhere). – leftaroundabout Oct 15 '17 at 13:35
  • 5
    Maybe boggart is not able to hurt you by touching you as it is merely a illusion but It hurts you anyway because hurting is not all pyhsical. – atayenel Oct 15 '17 at 16:21
  • 3
    @isanae this is exactly what fear does. With or without a boggart. But if we continue this, this becomes a topic for interpersonal skills... – atayenel Oct 15 '17 at 20:16
  • 4
    Fear can indeed hurt you in real life - there have been documented cases of people being scared to death. So, depending on physical health of the person, yes a boggart can hurt/kill you. – ivanivan Oct 15 '17 at 21:48
  • 3
    Consider Molly Weasley and the Boggart during the cleaning of the Order's headquarters (Sirius Black's old London house). Clearly, a dead son can't physically harm you in any literal, physical sense, but a Boggart transforming into a succession of dead sons can certainly have a severe psychological effect on someone. – alephzero Oct 16 '17 at 4:58

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