This question is based on the idea that Slughorn's impersonation of an armchair in HBP might be a Transfiguration, as is listed in the HP wiki, and was also considered to be so in the highest rated answer to the recent Can you transfigure a human into an inanimate object?

In Slughorn's stint as an armchair, Dumbledore pokes him with a wand, causing Slughorn to yelp and then he 'appears' as a man with a watering eye (indicating pain felt). This seems to have a bit of a horrifying implication for the animal-to-object transformations, which the Hogwarts students do fairly regularly.

If Slughorn's transformation is a Transfiguration, does this mean (proper and complete) animal-to-object transformations leave the animal in question capable of feeling? Is a canary-turned-into-a-teacup able to still sense anything?

It's obviously still alive, since it can be turned back into the canary and we know there is no magic that can make dead things alive again, but while it's a teacup, can it feel hot tea being poured into/over it and people sipping from it etc?!

Aka. is there any indication of how concious an animal transfigured into a object is, in object form?

  • 1
    Draco certainly seemed fairly conscious in his brief stint as a ferret!
    – Liath
    Jul 28, 2014 at 7:59
  • 3
    Draco was an animal before and after the transformation, never an object.
    – George T
    Jul 28, 2014 at 9:22

3 Answers 3


In canon, a human Transfigured into an animal does not retain their full consciousness; they gain the consciousness of that animal.
Slughorn didn't completely transfigure himself into a chair. He sort of "bursts" out of the fabric, indicating that he covered himself with the fabric and some other details to look like a chair.
Given this, the most plausible answer is that anything Transfigured into something takes on the consciousness of their new form, so an animal transformed into an object would probably not be able to feel things.

  • a human Transfigured into an animal does not retain their full consciousness - so how does Rita eavesdrop as a beetle?
    – Rawling
    Sep 20, 2014 at 13:19
  • 4
    @Rawling The beetle is not a human transfigured into an animal, but its Rita Skeeter's Animagus form. The two are completely different pieces of magic. It's been said in canon that in the case of Transfiguring oneself into an animal, "one would become the animal entirely, with the consequence that one would know no magic, be unaware that one had ever been a wizard, and would need somebody else to Transfigure one back to one’s original form." While Animagi they keep all their human thinking and reasoning powers while in their animal form (although they do not retain the power of human speech). Feb 22, 2015 at 11:51
  • @NUnnikrishnan ... good point, thank you
    – Rawling
    Feb 22, 2015 at 15:17

Professor Slughorn partially transfigured himself into a sofa (or in some way put an illusion of a sofa around himself), But he could feel as a sofa, so I'd say that an animal as an object would feel, but it would depend on what they were. For example a rat turned into a rock would maybe only have basic touch sense, while a rat turned into say a Styrofoam ball could feel pain if you broke a piece of the foam off.

  • Any canon reference?
    – Benedikt
    Jul 28, 2014 at 13:16
  • 1
    A sofa is not destroyed by touching it, and anyway slug horn feels something... And I doubt that Slughorn did a real transfiguration there, that's why I asked for a reference - animagi are transformations, but how should a inanimate object be able to decide when to transfigure back? So I would think of it as an illusion charm... As this is the only basis (and as you might agree, not a rock-solid one) of your answer, it sounded a bit like an opinion to me... I just doubt that the question is answerable on canon basis. Just my two cents.
    – Benedikt
    Jul 28, 2014 at 13:28

Most likely not, if they’ve been successfully Transfigured.

McGonagall tells Dean Thomas after he complains that fourth year is too early to start practicing for O.W.Ls that after he’s Transfigured his hedgehog into a pincushion, it curls up in fright, citing this as an example of improperly done Transfiguration.

“We don’t take O.W.Ls ’til fifth year!’ said Dean Thomas indignantly.

‘Maybe not, Thomas, but believe me, you need all the preparation you can get! Miss Granger remains the only person in this class who has managed to turn a hedgehog into a satisfactory pincushion. I might remind you that your pincushion, Thomas, still curls up in fright if anyone approaches it with a pin!”
- Goblet of Fire, Chapter 15 (Beauxbatons and Durmstrang)

Therefore, conversely, a properly done Transfiguration should result in the pincushion (no longer retaining any attributes of a hedgehog) being unable to feel pain and both unaware and unafraid of pins.

  • Or! fridge horror: be completely unable to move being a rigid/supposedly non-living object, but still feel all the pain without being able to do anything like scream or run away in response to the pain!
    – Shisa
    Apr 9, 2018 at 4:26

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