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Magical forensics: Animagi and Polyjuice - Light One Candle

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October 18th, 2006


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02:23 pm - Magical forensics: Animagi and Polyjuice
So, here's a question that will probably never be answered in canon:

What happens to fur/feathers/etc that a wizard's Animagus form might shed? Do the bits stay as they are (Padfoot sheds, I assume)? Do they revert to, er, people hair?

What would happen if you picked up a bit that was (unknowingly) from someone in their Animagi form and used it in Polyjuice potion? Would you turn into the person? Or into their Animagi form?
Current Mood: curiouscurious

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Comments:


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From:jd3000
Date:October 18th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
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They go to the strange Animorphs dimension where all the extra mass from shape-changing is stored. :-D

-JD
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:October 18th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)
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N-Space!

Wow, Animorphs...it's been a very long time since I thought about that....
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From:jedibuttercup
Date:October 18th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)
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> What happens to fur/feathers/etc that a wizard's Animagus form might shed? Do the bits stay as they are (Padfoot sheds, I assume)? Do they revert to, er, people hair?

I can't tell you how many times I've seen badfic where Harry gains a magical/unusual Animagus form and immediately goes to Ollivander or some "more secretive" wandmaker to have him put the fur/feathers/scales from that Animagus form into an uber wand for him. *rollseyes*

That's a good question, though. I mean, what happens to someone who uses a hair from a Metamorphmagus? Do they Polyjuice into the form the Metamorphmagus was using when the hair was shed, or the Metamorphmagus' base form (if he or she has one), or does it just not work?

For simplicity's sake, I'd imagine that a Padfoot hair would just turn a Polyjuicer into some kind of doggy hybrid, like the cat's hair did to Hermione, rather than making them over into the image of Sirius. It would make sense for self-directed transformations to be more "permanent" than other forms of magic. Would it make sense to say that Polyjuice wears off because the magic of the potion is used up within the hour? But the Animagus (and Metamorphmagus) transformations seem to be more of the sort where the magic fuels the transformation itself, rather than requiring magic to maintain that transformation. Else Sirius' continual use of the Padfoot form while in Azkaban would have been impossible, because he'd have been burning energy like there was no tomorrow and probably died of starvation trying to replenish it on prison gruel.

Does that make any sense? =)
[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:October 18th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
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For simplicity's sake, I'd imagine that a Padfoot hair would just turn a Polyjuicer into some kind of doggy hybrid, like the cat's hair did to Hermione, rather than making them over into the image of Sirius.

I'd agree with that. We know that Polyjuice potion when used with non-human hairs goes all messed up, so I do think it would be reasonable that animagus animal hairs would also mess it up, though perhaps not in the same way.

I guess the basic question about animagus animal forms is, are they different from true animal forms? Well, we know that they are to this degree: that an animagus retains their intelligence (or at least, most of it) in animal form, because they understand human speech while in animal form.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:October 19th, 2006 05:17 am (UTC)
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I mean, what happens to someone who uses a hair from a Metamorphmagus?

LOL. Oh dear, yes. Imagine one of the CSIs drinking Polyjuice with a noticably human hair...but it's Tonks'. Hmmm. (i think i am totally doing this to greg now.)

For simplicity's sake, I'd imagine that a Padfoot hair would just turn a Polyjuicer into some kind of doggy hybrid, like the cat's hair did to Hermione, rather than making them over into the image of Sirius. It would make sense for self-directed transformations to be more "permanent" than other forms of magic.

Those statements make a lot of sense.

Would it make sense to say that Polyjuice wears off because the magic of the potion is used up within the hour?

Didn't it take a longer time for Hermione's cat tranformation to wear off, because Polyjuice is supposed to be specifically human? I'm not quite sure what you mean here--that because the sample is from a transformed human rather than an actual animal, it wouldn't mess up the formula quite as much? (DNA stays human, to use normal-world CSI-speak?)
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From:jedibuttercup
Date:October 19th, 2006 05:31 am (UTC)
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> Didn't it take a longer time for Hermione's cat tranformation to wear off, because Polyjuice is supposed to be specifically human? I'm not quite sure what you mean here--that because the sample is from a transformed human rather than an actual animal, it wouldn't mess up the formula quite as much? (DNA stays human, to use normal-world CSI-speak?)

I'm not quite sure what I was saying there, exactly. But what I was thinking was that it does get used up. The non-human DNA apparently alters the rate at which the magic decays, or whatever-- alters its effects. But it wears off. Whereas Metamorphmagy or Animagy (as far as we know) is just poof: change, no constant exertion having to be applied against the breakdown of the magic or whatever. Which, to me, argues for the idea that whatever the Animagus may have transformed into, it is more or less physically the same as a real dog or whatever, save for the bits required to hang on to human-level intelligence. So Animagus hair = virtually the same effect as actual animal hair to a Polyjuicer.

Was that better thought out? =)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:October 19th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
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Yes. :-)

Though I'm not sure I shall quite go that route--because the whole point of something like this would be that there should be some sort of difference, so that my CSIs can tell that the hair is from an Animagus.... *ponders*
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From:jedibuttercup
Date:October 19th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
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Hmmm. That is a problem.

Maybe if they had reason to test the DNA tag on the canine hair (maybe against pets kept by ministry officials) some bizarre markers would turn up in the DNA, suggesting the animal was not a common canine after all, and one of the team would remember some research that says that's what happens when wizards have an Animagus form-- the different bits are mostly those that affect the mind.

Just shooting in the dark here! I'll be interested to see what you do come up with.
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From:maevebran
Date:October 18th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
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I have never thought about that. Interesting point. Though I must say that like Willow, you have too many thoughts.
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From:izhilzha
Date:October 18th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
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Hee! Well, I'm writing a story about magical forensics, so technically this is research.... (but yes, i often have too many thoughts)
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From:trinityday
Date:October 19th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC)
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That's a cool question. I have no answer, nor an attempt of an answer, but I like the question.

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