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In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Harry Potter makes the glass disappear into the snakes enclosure. What did actually happen to it?

Was it an apparition or transfiguration? Or just untyped spontaneous magic not related to the mentioned two types?

  • By "laws of magic" do you mean the Statute of Secrecy? The Ministry doesn't go against uncontrolled magic by kids if that's what you mean - otherwise a bunch of Muggleborns would be at Azkaban from the age of 7. – Jenayah Sep 3 '18 at 11:05
  • @Jenayah added link to Wiki and explaining reference - what you mean are "magical laws" – J. Doe Sep 3 '18 at 11:07
  • I remain unclear on what "laws of magic" you think that this breaks? On numerous occasions we see things getting disappeared and then reappearing. – Valorum Sep 3 '18 at 11:17
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    I've edited out the confusing part. I'm intrigued to see if there's a canon answer... – Valorum Sep 3 '18 at 11:29
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    Regarding the part of the question that has been edited out: I'm going to take a wild guess here and suggest that perhaps you've read the fan-fiction Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and are confusing that with Harry Potter proper. Transfiguring anything into a gas is forbidden in HPMOR. It isn't forbidden in the real Harry Potter stories. That's just one of the many things Elizier changed in his version of JKR's universe. – Harry Johnston Sep 3 '18 at 21:43
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While this effect was clearly produced by instinctive magic, it seems most similar to the vanishing spell Evanesco, which by its inclusion in Professor McGonnagall's class would presumably be counted as a transfiguration. Indeed, in Order of the Phoenix, chapter 13 "Detention with Dolores" Professor McGonagall sets her fifth year students on a task to practicing vanishing spells on snails, categorising them as "among the most difficult magic [the students] will be tested on in [their] O.W.L".

And to answer the question in the comments as to where vanished objects go:

"Into non-being, which is to say, everything" - Professor McGonagall to the Ravenclaw door knocker, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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    Potentially worth mentioning the discussion between the new Gryffindors in book 1 where they discuss how they found out they were magical. Someone's uncle dropped them out of a first-floor window trying to make their magical ability manifest itself. I can't remember the exact quotes but it suggests that magic can just happen, which either couldn't be replicated with a spell, or would be significantly beyond the "caster"s abilities – Joe Sep 3 '18 at 13:29
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    @Joe the discussion you're mentioning is about Neville Longbottom. – Sam Weaver Sep 3 '18 at 19:35

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