Animagi transformation retains the mind of the wizard, as opposed to simple transfiguration of said bodies which leaves the brain capability of a target animal (e.g. no intelligence). (source: my own answer on SFF, see that answer for sources).

We know that to save Hermione from Merepeople, Viktor Krum transfigured himself into a shark (1/2 done - head only).

But that means he would have lost his human brain and with it, his intelligence.

How could he have saved Hermione if he was as dumb as a shark?


Something went wrong with the Transfiguration which allowed Viktor to both complete the task and presumably have his human faculties intact.

‘Mr Viktor Krum used an incomplete form of Transfiguration, which was nevertheless effective, and was second to return with his hostage. We award him forty points.’

Goblet of Fire -- page 440 -- Bloomsbury -- chapter 26, The Second Task

It would indicate, I think, that until a Transfiguration spell is fully complete a witch or wizard retains his/her human mind.

  • That's pretty much what I was thinking, too. – David Stratton Jun 15 '12 at 4:09
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    I got the impression that the incomplete Transfiguration was unintentional. If that is the case, I wonder what he was planning to do if the spell had been entirely successful. – Anthony Grist Jun 15 '12 at 8:04
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    eat the hostage? :-) – Rory Alsop Jun 15 '12 at 9:36

I think your assumption about transfiguration is slightly incorrect. Mad Eye Moody turns Draco into a ferret in Goblet of Fire, and states that he is teaching. If Malfoy did not retain his human level intellect while as a ferret it would not have impressed any lessons on him, and other then being slightly sore coming out of the transfiguration would have completely missed the feelings of helplessness that he was in as a ferret.

“Not you — him!” Moody growled, jerking his thumb over his shoulder at Crabbe, who had just frozen, about to pick up the white ferret. It seemed that Moody’s rolling eye was magical and could see out of the back of his head. Moody started to limp toward Crabbe, Goyle, and the ferret, which gave a terrified squeak and took off, streaking toward the dungeons. “I don’t think so!” roared Moody, pointing his wand at the ferret again — it flew ten feet into the air, fell with a smack to the floor, and then bounced upward once more. “I don’t like people who attack when their opponent’s back’s turned,” growled Moody as the ferret bounced higher and higher, squealing in pain. “Stinking, cowardly, scummy thing to do. . . .” The ferret flew through the air, its legs and tail flailing helplessly. “Never — do — that — again —” said Moody, speaking each word as the ferret hit the stone floor and bounced upward again. “Professor Moody!” said a shocked voice. Professor McGonagall was coming down the marble staircase with her arms full of books. “Hello, Professor McGonagall,” said Moody calmly, bouncing the ferret still higher. “What — what are you doing?” said Professor McGonagall, her eyes following the bouncing ferret’s progress through the air. “Teaching,” said Moody. “Teach — Moody, is that a student?” shrieked Professor McGo- nagall, the books spilling out of her arms. “Yep,” said Moody. “No!” cried Professor McGonagall, running down the stairs and pulling out her wand; a moment later, with a loud snapping noise, Draco Malfoy had reappeared, lying in a heap on the floor with his sleek blond hair all over his now brilliantly pink face. He got to his feet, wincing.

If we assume that Draco did retain his intelligence, then it seems that its not weird for Krum to also retain his intelligence.

again we see Nevile turned into a canary, and appears to retain his intelligence through the experience, as he comes out laughing, instead of dazed and confused.

Just then, Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a large canary. “Oh — sorry, Neville!” Fred shouted over all the laughter. “I for- got — it was the custard creams we hexed —” Within a minute, however, Neville had molted, and once his feathers had fallen off, he reappeared looking entirely normal. He even joined in laughing. “Canary Creams!” Fred shouted to the excitable crowd. “George and I invented them — seven Sickles each, a bargain!”

We also know Human Transfiguration is a NEWT level skill, while the students already knew non-human transfiguration at grade 4.

“Of course, the ideal solution would be for you to Transfigure yourself into a submarine or something,” Hermione said. “If only we’d done human Transfiguration already! But I don’t think we start that until sixth year, and it can go badly wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. . . .”

Hermione's idea was also some form of human transfiguration to give himself what he needed.

  • Um... I'm intensely uncomfortable taking Barty Crouch Jr's word at face value regarding his motivations. I suspect he did it more out of hatred for Lucius than any "teaching" reasons – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 14 '16 at 17:53
  • @DVK seems a waste to punish a student you hate in a way he wont remember. could have just bounced malfoy himself around instead. – Himarm Jan 14 '16 at 17:53

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