I can definitely remember the series showing us animals being transfigured into objects, but what about the reverse? Do the books give us any examples?

2 Answers 2



McGonagall uses this type of transfiguration as a demonstration in her first lesson in PS/SS:

Then she changed her desk into a pig and back again. They were all very impressed and couldn't wait to get started, but soon realised they weren't going to be changing the furniture into animals for a long time.

Cedric does it to get the egg from the dragon in GoF, according to Ron:

“Cedric did this weird thing where he Transfigured a rock on the ground ... turned it into a dog ... he was trying to make the dragon go for the dog instead of him.”

We see Voldemort using this type of magic during OotP:

For a moment, it seemed Dumbledore had won, but then the fiery rope became a serpent, which relinquished its hold upon Voldemort at once and turned, hissing furiously, to face Dumbledore.

Fudge uses it to prove to the Muggle Prime Minister that he’s a wizard in HBP (see also a fuller excerpt):

And he had turned the Prime Minister’s teacup into a gerbil.

  • 1
    Was the serpent actually a serpent, or was it a fiery serpent?
    – Alex
    Dec 27, 2020 at 23:59

Yes, turning objects into animals is possible.

It is indeed possible to turn an inanimate object into an animal. It is not a uniquely difficult branch of magic, as turning a teapot into a tortoise is covered in Hogwarts’s third year Transfiguration class.

“The third-years emerged from Transfiguration at lunch-time on Monday limp and ashen-faced, comparing results and bemoaning the difficulty of the tasks they had been set, which had included turning a teapot into a tortoise. Hermione irritated the rest by fussing about how her tortoise had looked more like a turtle, which was the least of everyone else’s worries.

‘Mine still had a spout for a tail, what a nightmare …’

‘Were the tortoises supposed to breathe steam?’

‘It still had a willow-patterned shell, d’you think that’ll count against me?”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 16 (Professor Trelawney’s Prediction)

While this class of third-years did have some difficulty doing the transformation successfully, at least one student (Hermione) was successful in hers, and it being in the curriculum indicates that it is considered a spell that a third-year student would be able to perform effectively with practice.

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