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So, we see in GoF that wizards — albeit a very powerful wizard — can conjure better hands out of thin air — or at least, more powerful, and put it onto a handless stump.

Voldemort raised his wand again and whirled it through the air [...] formed itself into a gleaming replica of a human hand, bright as moonlight, which soared downward and fixed itself upon Wormtail's bleeding wrist [...] now attached seamlessly to his arm, as though he were wearing a dazzling glove. He flexed the shining fingers, then, trembling, picked up a small twig on the ground and crushed it into powder.

So, through this text, we clearly see that wizards, admittedly very powerful wizards, but nevertheless wizards can conjure better hands out of the air.

Why don't all wizards just cut off their hands? Would it be too advanced magic for most?

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  • 15
    I feel like the "it hurts" answer is just blaring too loudly at me.
    – Yehuda
    Jun 19, 2020 at 1:11
  • 4
    Getting a hand that is sort of alive and could decide to strangle me anytime... It's a big red flag in my book.
    – Roberto
    Jun 19, 2020 at 2:37
  • 2
    You can buy hands now that can crush a beer can. They have downsides though.
    – Valorum
    Jun 19, 2020 at 6:58
  • 2
    The magic hand may be strong - but does it have the same power of sensation as a real hand? Is there a danger of accidentally crushing things you don't want to crush - like your wand, a valuable magical ingredient, or your lover's hand? Jun 19, 2020 at 8:03
  • 2
    Reminds me of Data's question to Picard in the TNG Episode "Measure of a Man": 'Sir, Lieutenant La Forge's eyes are far superior to human biological eyes. True? Then why are not all human officers required to have their eyes replaced with cybernetic implants?'
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 19, 2020 at 21:26

3 Answers 3

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(1) The Process is likely painful

Chopping off your hand is easy but would withstanding the pain be ? It would be quite painful. Let's say you manage to do it in a painless way but it would still be gruesome ( remember the horror when Lochhart made all of Harry's arm bones vanish ? ) - you might not suffer physical pain but mental pain is unavoidable.

(2) You won't get the 'feel' with the new hand as you did with the old one

The new hand won't really feel like a part of you : as it isn't made of flesh ( when your rest of the body is ) - The hand might feel like some foreign object.

(3) You might not be in full control of your new hand

You can get a new hand but is it really yours ? -especially if you can't fully control it ? See what happened to Wormtail ( strangled himself to death ) . Quite dangerous.

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    item two is speculation - there's no indication that it doesn't feel normal. There's is however textual evidence for your first and third point (although. re: #3 - it's possible in Wormtails case that the hand was cursed / created by Voldy to behave the way it did, and that a 'new' hand from say, St. Mungo's wouldn't do that)
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 19, 2020 at 21:26
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I think it's just really advanced and possibly dark magic, because if it was that easy, wizards would probably just make human robots limb-by-limb.

also we see characters with parts of their body missing- why didn't Wormtail create a new finger for himself- it should be much easier than a whole hand!

Dumbeldore also says in the third book- "Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs."

that might suggest it involves dark magic, because otherwise any of the teachers could have restored his limbs. (in Harry Potter wiki it's stated that he had "one arm and half a leg." left).

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The hand isn't better in a way that is actually useful to wizards

The only shown property of Wormtail's magical hand is increased grip strength (as demonstrated by crushing a twig into powder). Unless you want to crush things with your hands (a cool trick, but otherwise not often useful), increased grip strength is really only useful for lifting heavier things, and then only when you otherwise have the strength to lift it (i.e. it's your grip strength alone that causes the lift to fail).

Wizards have magic to remove the need for physical strength. They don't need to lift heavy objects, because they can levitate, summon or animate objects to move instead.

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