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While the trio are on the run in the Deathly Hallows, lack of food is a counting problem that causes the trio to be very unfocused and malnourished. This leads up to Ron quitting and leaving Harry and Hermione. But my question is why didn't they duplicate the good food they had. I am sure that they went to muggle supermarkets to get food from time to time and we see an instance where they get eggs and bread. But then why not duplicate this food? Then they could have a constant supply and really never go hungry? So why not?

I will also accept answers if they say why Rowling didn't let them duplicate it, because it seems like the most obvious thing to do.

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  • Do you mean the Doubling charm? harrypotter.fandom.com/wiki/Doubling_Charm Possibly something to do with the duplicate rotting and breaking down more quickly? Not sure how quickly food would be affected. – NiceOrc Jan 18 at 2:37
  • Well then they could eat it immediately after they duplicated it. – Hello Jan 18 at 2:46
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    Better yet, duplicate some muggle money and buy stuff from stores ? Or summon fish from a river as seen done by others in the book. Theres a multitude of different ways they could have got food that is also glossed over. – GamerGypps Jan 18 at 11:23
  • I'm just speculating here, but if doubling treasure made with the spell doesn't give real treasure (it's worthless), perhaps just doubling food doesn't give 'real' food? I know Hermione says you can duplicate it, but I think (although I'd have to check the books) there are specific food and household spell books — perhaps to double food you need a specific spell that they haven't learned? Home ec definitely isn't a lesson at Hogwarts :D – BeginTheBeguine Jan 19 at 11:52
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One of the few explicit rules of magic in Harry Potter is that food cannot be created from nothing. Specifically, it's one of the five exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration. Other things in Harry Potter that are known to create objects out of nothing, like the Room of Requirement are explicitly noted as not being able to create food. The magically appearing food in the Hogwarts Banquet Hall is notably not being created out of nothing, it is being made in the kitchens by house elves and summoned from elsewhere using charms.

Supposedly food can be magically duplicated, but it's never made clear how this differs from creating food out of nothing. One possibility is that duplicating it increases the amount of food but the nutritional and caloric content remains the same, so that all you'd be doing by duplicating food is partitioning your rations. This is never stated but it's the only thing I can think of to explain why duplicating food doesn't violate Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration. One would think that Hermione of all people would know if duplicating food was a safe thing to do.

Also note that Harry Potter magic is notoriously inconsistent even within the context of the story. Food may not be conjurable but wine and sauces can be (as is other potentially edible organic matter), and people living in poverty have been known to survive off of alcohol and ketchup until they can save up enough money for food. Honestly, there's much bigger problems given that it's established that inanimate objects can be turned into edible animals and plants. Given that Harry, Ron, and Hermione's third year transfiguration final in Prisoner of Azkaban was to turn a teacup into a tortoise, why didn't they just use that spell on a rock and have turtle soup with ketchup for flavor and a nice red wine?

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    I know about Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration, and how it relates to food, but Hermione does say that you can make it reappear (if it was vanished), summon it, or duplicate it. If you can find a good evidence that the nutritional value would be partitioned, then I will accept the answer. Also there might be a reason why Rowling didn't let them duplicate it, but I don't know why. – Hello Jan 18 at 2:45
  • @Hello It might also be that Harry Potter magic is notoriously vague and inconsistent. Food may not be conjurable but wine and sauces can be, and people in dire straits have been known to live off of wine and ketchup. Honestly, there's much bigger problems given that it's established that inanimate objects can be turned into edible animals and plants. Given that one of the trio's transfiguration finals had been to turn a teacup into a tortoise, why didn't they just do that to a rock and have turtle soup? – user2352714 Jan 18 at 2:57
  • I guess so. Add that to your answer and I'll approve it. Also I realized that this was probably a way to give Ron a solid reason to leave. Rowling made them have no food as to make Ron grumpy, and when wearing the Horcrux wanting to leave. – Hello Jan 18 at 5:44
  • Considered that the trio was on the run, and many uses of magic were monitored by the Ministry, using magic to conjure food from somewhere could attract some unneeded attention – TimSparrow Jan 19 at 18:34
  • Actually, they use plenty of magic, and none of it is detected. – Hello Jan 29 at 4:39

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