4

Where does majority of the energy for the magical effect of a potion comes from?

Does it all comes from the brewer? Or does most of it comes from the ingredients?

I know JKR said that you have to use magic at some part of the process of brewing (hence no muggle potion brewers) [what about a squib?]

If brewer provides all of the energy then why aren't NEWT students magically exhausted after every potion class? Hermione successfully brewed batch of Polyjuice Potion (a very potent NEWT level potion) in first semester of her second year, and while brewing it was very time-consuming and required a lot of concentration she never showed any signs of exhaustion as far as I remember.

  • "What about squibs?" you ask? Well, that's why they suck, isn't it? ;) – Voldemort Mar 14 '13 at 0:00
  • ..... also, I don't think they mention whether students were exhausted or not after potion classes. I bet they were, but mostly because of that evil Snape professor rather than casting spells. As for Hermione's Polyjuice potion case, I think it took her several weeks/months/something to brew the potion, so she really had lots of time to rest. – Voldemort Mar 14 '13 at 0:02
  • true, but that's simply how long brewing of PP lasts (according to Moste Potente Potions). Even Snape wouldn't be able to brew it under a month (OK, Snape just might, being well... Snape!) – Fen1ks Mar 14 '13 at 0:13
  • In the HP Universe, no kind of magic, easy or sophisticated, seems to drain the wizard of energy, exhausting him. Are students magically exhausted after any class whatsoever, even DADA? – N Unnikrishnan Jun 19 '14 at 18:43
2

"As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses.... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death -- if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach." (Severus Snape to First Years, HP and Philosopher's Stone, CHAPTER EIGHT "THE POTIONS MASTER")

In Chemistry (which potion-making is a clear magical equivalent of), there's a concept of catalyst. A catalyst is a chemical which facilitates a given chemical reaction, without actually being consumed as part of it. Usually a fairly small amount of catalyst is enough to affect the reaction.

It seems to me, based on what small info was provided in the books/interviews, that magic in brewing the potions is strongly equivalent to the catalist in a chemical reaction. It aids the potion-making, but isn't there to provide "energy" to it.

This is confirmed by the fact that you tend to boil your cauldrons in Potions using fire - this is what would have provided the energy.

"I suppose you added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire?" (same source).

This pretty much answers your main question - the majority of the energy comes from the fire, as is frequently the case with chemical reactions. But some of it can come from the ingredients themselves when reacting.

As such, it seems unlikely that magic involved in making potions is in need of being especially energy-draining, even if it may be somewhat tricky or complicated.

  • Hm... spells acting as a catalyst. I never thought of it that way. Me gusta! – Fen1ks Mar 14 '13 at 8:49
1

Where does majority of the energy for the magical effect of a potion comes from?

Does it all comes from the brewer? Or does most of it comes from the ingredients?

I don't know where does the majority of the effect come from, but at least we do know that spells are usually required. I suppose that it really depends on the potion you're working on - I don't think a spell is required for all potions.

I know JKR said that you have to use magic at some part of the process of brewing (hence no muggle potion brewers) [what about a squib?]

I think it is clear, then, that it simply sucks for squibs. Which makes sense. This may contribute to explain why is Filch so inefficient identifying potions.

If brewer provides all of the energy then why aren't NEWT students magically exhausted after every potion class?

I don't think they explicitly mention whether students were tired or not after their potion classes. They probably were, but that would most likely be because of, uh, studying hard? XD

Hermione successfully brewed batch of Polyjuice Potion (a very potent NEWT level potion) in first semester of her second year, and while brewing it was very time-consuming and required a lot of concentration she never showed any signs of exhaustion as far as I remember.

Brewing that potion takes several weeks/months/whatever. She had plenty of time to rest. I think that this proves that the longer a potion takes to be made, the least exhausting it is, because most of the time it consumes is, well, waiting rather than casting spells on it too frequently. For this kind of potions, the highest requirement would probably be patience and intelligence - Hermione should do fine.

  • Ok, you have a point... – Fen1ks Mar 14 '13 at 8:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.