16

The 2 main theoretical issues with an Animagus in an animal form doing magic would be:

  1. having the animal speaking human words - which isn't a complete impedimet due to ability of many wizards to cast Nonverbal spells.

  2. The inability to carry a wand - which again isn't as much of impediment due to ability to do Wandless spells.

Assuming they are proficient in both nonverbal and wandless spells, can a wizard in Animagus form do the same kind of nonverbal wandless spells they can do in a human form?

Canon based answers only please.

  • Did you mean for that "wandless spells" link to go to the main page? – Kevin Apr 10 '14 at 17:38
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    @Kevin - nope, but I was copy/pasting in my Animagus form – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 10 '14 at 17:45
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    Well, they can transform back to human form, which I guess counts as magic :D – Voldemort Apr 15 '14 at 0:29
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    Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/27597/… – Möoz Apr 23 '14 at 3:22
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Whether this proves or disproves the theory is up to you: We do not know of an account of an Animagus performing magic (in animal form), so we do not know if they can.

Rita Skeeter transforms into a bug, and bugs the hell out of people by bugging them... But at no point is she performing any inherent feats of magic; she probably merely remembers all of the info she hears, and then writes it down once back in human form. She also cannot escape from Hermione's jar trap; she (Rita) would need to know how to Apparate which I'm not sure if she can, but still...

Sirius (in Animagus form) fights Lupin (in Werewolf form). They are clearly bare-fisted(toothed) fighting; could Sirius have stunned Lupin? maybe, but he doesn't. Also, I seem to recall Padfoot opening a door with his paws (or was that the Movie version?).

Wormtail is in his Animagus form (Rat) for many years - almost the entire duration from Voldemort's first demise and all the way until the events of Prisoner of Azkaban. He does not seem to perform any inherent feats of magic.

Babbity Rabbity is a character from the Tales of Beedle the Bard who apparently transforms into a Rabbit; she doesn't actually perform any magic (in her Animagus form), but she does threaten to do so (Cruciatus curse?).

Also, from the Tales of Beedle the Bard, Albus Dumbledore states:

Animagi do not retain the power of human speech while in their animal form, although they keep all their human thinking and reasoning-powers.

-Albus Dumbledore (footnotes), Tales of Beedle the Bard (Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump)

Human 'thinking' and 'reasoning-powers' could mean their ability to perform magic, but all we know is that the only thing they lose is their 'human speech'.

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    Not conclusive enough to accept, sorry. But +1 for clear research. I THINK your data implies that they can't (otherwise Sirius would simply restrain Lupin magically), but unfortunately it's a weak implication, not a proof. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 25 '14 at 0:40
  • No that's fine. Like I said, all I've found is the absence of proof so far... – Möoz Apr 25 '14 at 8:26
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    I suspect that restricting Lupin with magic wasn't an option at all. Otherwise, one of the wizards present would simply have done so - no shapeshifting required. But instead, Sirius decided the best course of action was change into his Animagus form and go tooth to tooth with Werewolf Lupin. – Ellesedil May 15 '14 at 16:43
7

Let's have a look at every Animagi which is described with some details in the books. (I don't have the books right now, I'll add the quotes later, except if someone is faster than me in editing).

  • Minerva McGonagall does not appear that much in her feline form. Yet there is one clue that she may have been using magic while in this form (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone), when she first reads the map in front of Vernon Dursley but makes it disappear in a second. Of course, as a cat, she may also have given a small hit of her paw in order to make it slide out of his sight. I'd tend for this possibility in regard of what is coming.
  • James Potter is only mentioned in his stag form. Yet, when Lupin explains everything to Harry & co (in Prisoner of Azkaban), he clearly states that Sirius and James animal's form were big enough to handle him if he went as mental as you would expect a werewolf to be. I personnaly assume that if Animagi were able to perform magic in their animal form, the size problem wouldn't have been such a great deal.
  • Sirius Black follows the same reasoning as James Potter. As Mooz stated, the fight between WereLupin and Sirius was claws and teeth only. If Sirius could have just knocked his friend instead of injuring him, I bet he would have done it that way, given his personality.
  • Peter Pettigrew is said to be small enough to pass through the Whomping Willow's branchs and press on the knot on the roots. It is clearly stated in the books that one can use a spell such as Wingardium Leviosa to press than knot without losing an eye. If the Marauders could have avoided the whole "Change into a small animal to press that knot but lose a potentially helpful animal to handle Lupin's hairy problem", I guess they would have done it that way.
  • Rita Skeeter is IMO the best example of an Animagus unable to perform magic while in her animal form. When she is captured by Hermione and put in an Unbreakable jar, she could well have used magic whether to Disapparate or to open the lid. Yet she doesn't. Hermione used the Unbreakable Charm to prevent Rita tranforming back into her human form. Since Hermione is probably one of the people who read everything they could on any subject, and given that she hated Rita, she probably read everything that could be related to Animagi (in fact, she most probably did it in Prisoner of Azkaban, as she tells Lupin that neither James, Peter nor Sirius could be Animagi since they do not appear in the official list), so she must know how to handle and thus incapacitate Animagi.

To conclude, I'll say that :

  • No, Animagi can't perform magic in their animal form if you consider magic as "any charm/spell/jinx/whatever you want".
  • Yes, they can perform magic if you consider magic as "being able to cast at least one spell : in that case, transforming back into human (loophole in the question detected ?)
1

My thoughts are that wandless, nonverbal magic might be accessible, but it'd be something you'd have to work at. It seems that wizards in their animagus forms have various levels of complex thought, and I imagine that can be sharpened through repeated practice. Perhaps via something like occlumency to segregate their minds to harness the proper emotion and intent while in animal form.

And it probably wouldn't be much. Just little things like Minerva holding her map up to read as a cat and putting it away quickly. I think complex things like apparation would be well beyond their capabilities, which is why Rita was unable to escape. Even if they were super good at wandless, wordless magic, most of their magical potential is probably going towards maintaining the animagus transformation, so they'd just be working with the leftover dregs.

I also think the reason Sirius went toe to toe with Remus is because Werewolves are nearly impossible to restrain with magic. That's what makes them so dangerous. They're spell resistant just like trolls and dragons and giants are shown to be.

0

Here is my try at answering this question.

I do not believe that the Animagus forms are capable of performing nonverbal wandless spells.

My reasoning for this is because of the fact that to perform spells and abilities you have to have some form of intelligence and control over emotions.

Magic in Harry Potter is connected with emotion as stated in the wikia..

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Magic

A witch or wizard's emotional state can affect their inherent abilities. For example, Nymphadora Tonks temporarily lost her power as a Metamorphmagus after suffering severe emotional turmoil and sadness over her grief for the death of Sirius Black, and when Remus Lupin would not return her affections. In effect, the form of her Patronus changed to reflect her love for him. The form of her Patronus changed to reflect her depression. In 1995, when Mad-Eye called her by her first name, her hair temporarily turned red. Wizardkind are also weakened when in the presence of Dementors for prolonged periods, as said creatures attack their prey psychologically by making them recall their worst memories, leaving the victims physically vulnerable.

Also as far as we are aware, when they transform into their animal forms they transform into ordinary animals. This would mean that the only ability an Animagus form has is the ability to morph back into their human form.

Further evidence is here...

Being an Animagus is an ability, and Transfiguring requires a spell. An Animagus still thinks as a human does when they are in their animal form, seeing as Rita Skeeter was able to eavesdrop on others' conversations when she was in the form of a beetle. However, an Animagus' feelings are not as complex when they are in their animal form.

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    Isn't that actually the opposite - the main difference between animagus and transfiguration is that you retain your mental human capacity as anumagus? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 10 '14 at 17:50
  • You do realize you are taught the Animagus during transfiguration class right? – DoctorWho22 Apr 10 '14 at 17:52
  • It's clear from the scene in book one with McGonigal in the classroom in cat form, and from Rita Skeeter "bugging" people in book 4 that in animagus form you retain at least enough of your human intelligence to understand language. – Ward Apr 10 '14 at 17:52
  • You retain some but I don't believe you are capable of casting any spells other than being able to transform back and forth... according to WOMBAT it states that Animagus might actually be kind of a transfiguration / self charm spell... It's not clear whether or not it's fully not a transfiguration. – DoctorWho22 Apr 10 '14 at 17:54
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    @DoctorWho22 - "No canon answer" isn't a valid grounds for closing on this site. See meta. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 10 '14 at 18:53

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