69

Can Harry Potter ruin the Regeneration potion (the one of Flesh-Blood-Bone from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) by simply willing to share the blood?

B-blood of the enemy... forcibly taken... you will... resurrect your foe.

So, if Harry just went "I'm willing to share the drop of blood", would this ruin the potion?

  • 19
    Just saying it wouldn't count, he'd have to mean it imho – user16696 Mar 9 '15 at 14:44
  • 3
    If it were that easy, the death eaters could've just set up a blood donation drive. – Zibbobz Mar 9 '15 at 15:10
  • 13
    He wasn't really given a choice, so even if he had been willing, it would still be forcible. – PearsonArtPhoto Mar 9 '15 at 15:16
  • 3
    Funny, I always thought the "forcibly taken" part was just an afterthought on Wormtail's part, like an observation, not part of the actual requirements. – user11521 Mar 9 '15 at 19:02
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    Luckily, the old coward didn't tell the boy before cutting him and taking the blood. – Damon Mar 11 '15 at 18:08
70

There's no direct canon support, but the circumstantial evidence says "yes".

Much of this kind of old and powerful magic seems to be strongly affected by intentions.

The most clear cut example of course being Lily's protection magic that was triggered by her choosing to die to protect Harry and Voldemort giving her a choice.

Another example is Harry willingly letting Voldemort to kill him:

“But I should have died - I didn’t defend myself! I meant to let him kill me!”
“And that,” said Dumbledore, “will, I think, have made all the difference.”
(src: Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35: "King's Cross")

  • 3
    This makes the most sense, however, circumstantialy the blood has to be forcibly taken. As in: Harry has to refuse to give the blood, not refuse Voldemort's return. Thus if Harry knew that the blood had to be forcibly taken so Voldemort could be rebirth, then wouldn't he offer his blood just so that Voldemort couldn't regain his power? – Oak Mar 9 '15 at 17:11
  • 13
    I think this actually argues for "no" unless Harry actually wanted Voldemort to be resurrected, which of course he didn't. Simply agreeing to give blood because he thinks doing so would ruin the spell wouldn't count, IMO, precisely because it is about the intentions - the reasons that he gave permission, not just whether or not he did. – Harry Johnston Mar 9 '15 at 22:59
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    Exactly however Pettigrew only said that the blood must be taken by force, the usage of the blood wasn't tied in, per say. Imagine if not only Voldemort, but also Draco needed the potion. In this hipotethical case, let's say that the potion would save their lives rather than create a new body. Draco sees himself as Harry's enemy for most of the books, but Harry would willingly give blood to save Draco. Let's say the same vial of blood is used in both potions that were used to save Voldy and Draco. Both were willingly given, even though only one was truly meant, but they'd both work, right? – Oak Mar 10 '15 at 6:49
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    Another thought: “Flesh - of the servant - w-willingly given - you will - revive - your master.” - The stammer in that line indicates that Pettigrew wasn't really giving up flesh willingly but felt he has no choice. If intentions were at play, that small nervousness should have failed the potion just like his hesitancy led to his own death. – mustard Mar 13 '15 at 22:06
20

I fully agree with DVK's answer. Powerful magic (or a potion, as in this case) is usually very much dependent on the intentions of the caster/brewer.

To add to the list of such examples, consider Harry's decision not to murder Peter Pettigrew in PoA. Harry's mercy, although not magic, did make Peter's arm suffocate its master, when Harry and company were in Malfoy's manor.

Another example is none other but the Cruciatus curse. As described by Bellatrix Lestrange :

You need to really want to cause pain... to enjoy it... righteous anger won't hurt me for long...

The effectiveness of the curse seems to be very much dependent on the caster's mind set, and the intentions of the caster. That is if one was to cast the curse with "righteous anger" it doesn't seem to have its full power.

There are probably more examples, but bottom line is magic in the HP universe is highly linked with the intentions and desires of the people involved with the magic itself. So answer to your question is simply 'yes'.

  • 5
    Possibly the most obvious hint that there is more to spell casting than just saying the words is when they practice spells at school - some people say the words fine but the spell can still fail. – DoubleDouble Mar 9 '15 at 16:20
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    Note however that Bellatrix Lestrange is pretty much the poster child for Unreliable Narrator (as well as poster child for Dear God Stay Far Away From The Crazy Homicidal Psychopath)... – Shadur Mar 10 '15 at 13:51
  • @Shadur You’d be surprised, she’s answered quite a lot of questions! :P – Bellatrix May 10 '18 at 0:31
14

It really comes down to the chosen definition of forcibly, from Oxford Dictionaries:

"Using force or violence"

One possible definition of force is

"Coercion or compulsion, especially with the use or threat of violence:"

So, it may just mean it has to be taken in a violent manner, or it may mean it must be taken unwillingly.


I think it's true that "Much of this kind of old and powerful magic seems to be strongly affected by intentions" with the corresponding evidence as given in the linked answer.

However, unlike Lily's death, Harry does not have a choice and Harry is not casting a spell, so his intentions are really irrelevant.

Voldemort is the one who is creating the potion and so it is his intentions which the powerful magic is working off of. Even if Harry believed himself to be Voldy's best friend, Voldemort still believes Harry to be his enemy.

My interpretation is with the first definition, that the blood must be taken with violence. If that is the case, the spell would still work. Voldemort has blood of his enemy, and it was forcibly taken whether Harry agrees or not.

  • 2
    The quibble in the question wasn't about the "Enemy" part but about "Forcibly". As such, if Harry splits his own vein (or even simply says "I am giving you my blood to complete the ceremony"), it can't very well be "Forcible" – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 9 '15 at 17:25
  • 1
    @DVK The enemy part was more to show how I think the spell-casting works, but we are using two different definitions of "Forcibly" as my new edit discusses. – DoubleDouble Mar 9 '15 at 17:27
  • Though both definitions would agree that if Harry gave the blood with his own hand it wouldn't be very "violent" and not forcible. – DoubleDouble Mar 9 '15 at 17:43
  • 1
    I agree with this. Voldemort just has to use force, it doesn't matter what Harry does/feels/thinks. – Matthew Read Mar 9 '15 at 21:07
5

No.

Let's put it this way - if you and I met in a dark alleyway, and you didn't like the look of me and cried out (without me doing anything), "Don't hurt me! Here, take my money!" and then I whacked you over the head, knocked you unconscious and took it anyway, I think most people would agree that I took it forcibly from you.

Forcibly means with force or violence, not without consent (despite the fact that doing something without consent does often utilise some kind of force). Giving consent doesn't stop someone from using force against you. If Harry had given consent - even if he'd meant it 100% - Voldemort would still be free to tie him up and take his blood forcibly anyway, thus fulfilling the conditions for the spell.

4

I'm going to go with "no".

The reason why goes a bit into legal theory and the nature of consent. Specifically, it's becoming generally accepted that if you are not in a position to safely withdraw consent, you can't give it either.

Put simply, consent isn't just saying "yes". It's saying "yes" when you have the option of saying "no".

Harry was tied to a gravestone. They could take his blood whether he allowed it or not. No one cared about what he wanted; since he couldn't withdraw consent, he couldn't give it, so it'd still count.

Contrariwise, if true intent is the key here, and Harry somehow found it in his heart to willingly grant his blood to the person who betrayed his parents and just moments ago killed his friend before his eyes to be used in a ritual to resurrect the person who murdered his parents and had already tried to do the same thing to him at least twice in recent memory... Then, maybe, he could have spoiled the ritual. But freely giving something to someone just so you can screw them over doesn't seem very well-intentioned to me, so...

4

The magic seems to have an independent emotional mechanism at work, where the words are merely a guide to how to trigger that mechanism. That is, it isn't the physical sounds of the spell words, but rather the emotions and thoughts attached to the sounds (note that Dumbeldore can cast spells without speaking!). Hence, it would be the emotions in the situation that mattered, and would have to be discovered by experimentation! Particular definitions or interpretations of the words don't matter, as the words aren't the magic, but rather it is the feelings and the thoughts that trigger the magical manifestation.

In support of this view, from DVK, above:

"Lily's protection magic was triggered by her choosing to die to protect Harry and Voldemort giving her a choice." and Harry: “I meant to let him kill me!” “And that,” said Dumbledore, “will, I think, have made all the difference.”

and a followup answer:

"Another example is the Cruciatus curse, as described by Bellatrix Lestrange :'You need to really want to cause pain... to enjoy it... righteous anger won't hurt me for long...' "

These support the notion that the magic itself is something whose substance is the emotions of the people involved. For example the books describe students saying the proper words and doing the proper motions, but the magic doesn't work. Hence, the magic has an independent mechanism that is outside of the actual words used and the actions that trigger it.

Given that, we can't rely upon the wording of the spell, but rather must discover, by experimentation, what emotional mechanism exists independently from the exact wording. The words provide the clues, but as the students discover while learning, the caster has to fiddle around until they discover the right emotions plus actions that actually work.

In a nutshell, the spell caster has to experiment to find the underlying emotional mechanisms behind the words of the spell.

So, let's apply that understanding to the rest of the arguments, such as from Oak:

"Pettigrew only said that the blood must be taken by force, the usage of the blood wasn't tied in, per say. Imagine if not only Voldemort, but also Draco needed the potion. In this hypothetical case, let's say that the potion would save their lives rather than create a new body. Draco sees himself as Harry's enemy for most of the books, but Harry would willingly give blood to save Draco. Let's say the same vial of blood is used in both potions that were used to save Voldy and Draco. Both were willingly given, even though only one was truly meant, but they'd both work, right? – Oak"

Applying the above understanding to this hypothetical, we'd have to fiddle around, to find out what works in the "real" world. We can't debate the wording of the spell plus actions taken! Trying to use dictionary definitions and introduce alternative interpretations of the spell words just makes the spell caster less likely to succeed in triggering the magic! The spell words can be given many different interpretations.. but those have no bearing.. it's the underlying emotions that result in the magic manifesting.

My guess is that the potion required the feeling of power of forcefully taking your enemy's blood. That dominant triumphant feeling of power. Making them helpless and taking their life's blood by the power of your own force. In that case, the potion would be person specific. It was created on behalf of Voldemort, at his will, manifesting his domination of Harry, his power over Harry. So, the potion would have no effect if used on Malfoy. We can't create a hypothetical spell to make a point, because it's the underlying real world mechanism that manifests! A spell based on forceful taking of blood seems that it would rely on that dominance feeling and so would be person specific, and the potion couldn't be used to save two different people, only the one person it was created specifically for.

and starplusplus:

"Let's put it this way - if you and I met in a dark alleyway, and you didn't like the look of me and cried out (without me doing anything), "Don't hurt me! Here, take my money!" and then I whacked you over the head, knocked you unconscious and took it anyway, I think most people would agree that I took it forcibly from you."

This argument seems to follow the emotion underlying the words of the spell. By whacking and taking, you gain the feeling of complete power over your victim, taking what you want from them.

If this is, indeed, the underlying mechanism of the spell, then it is the circumstance of Harry being made completely helpless and powerless, and the feeling of the Death Eaters taking Harry's blood at the will of Voldemort directing them. That feeling is what triggers the mechanism of the spell. Harry can offer, and be willing, and plead, and do whatever else he wants, but taking away all Harry's power, and Voldemort feeling his mastery as he extracts Harry's blood according to Voldemort's own will is what makes the spell work.

3

It wouldn't have stopped the resurrection.

If Harry had simply stated 'I will give you the blood', or even given the blood willingly (extracting it himself and offering it), it would have been with the intention of stopping Voldemort's return.

This intention in and of itself means that he would be unwillingly giving it.

The only way that him giving the blood would stop Voldemort's return is if he was a true supporter of Voldemort, and would offer the blood with the intention of resurrecting him.

If this was the case, he would not be an enemy of Voldemort and so that would mean his blood is no longer the blood of the enemy.

  • Or maybe I want my enemy to rise in the era of technological might so I can use a sniper rifle to finish him shortly thereafter. – Joshua Mar 12 '15 at 16:20

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