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The Animagus potion[3] was a potion that turned the drinker into an Animagus, a witch or wizard who could transform themselves into an animal that reflected their traits and personality, and back again at will.[1]

This potion was a key step to becoming an Animagus, and was very difficult, complex, and time-consuming to brew correctly, with frightening consequences if done incorrectly. Because of this, many wizards and witches would instead opt to invest their time into more practical uses of magic.


Because an Animagus could transform at their will at any time, no one person had to brew this potion more than once.[1]

The Animagus potion could not be bought from someone else, as brewing it involved including a piece of one's own hair and a Mandrake leaf soaked in the mouth of the person who was intended to drink it. Some of the ingredients, however, could be purchased.[1]

Although the potion could not be mass-produced to be sold at retailers, it was not quite clear why a master potioneer could not simply be hired by another to brew the potion for them.

The potion was completely blood-red in colour. One batch made approximately a mouthful and only held enough for one person.[1]


Almost every ingredient involved in brewing the Animagus potion involved careful preparation. For example, the Mandrake leaf had to be soaked in the drinker's mouth for an entire month without pause, and the dew had to be taken from a place previously untouched by sunlight or humans for at least seven days. Overall, at least a month of preparation was required.[1]

  1. Place the now-soaked Mandrake leaf in a small crystal phial where it is struck directly by the light given off by the moon (if the night is cloudy or the moon is otherwise obscured, the entire Mandrake Leaf process will need to be repeated).
  2. Add one strand of hair to the phial.
  3. Add a teaspoon of dew to the phial.
  4. Add one Death's-head Hawk Moth chrysalis to the phial and place the mixture in a dark, undisturbed place until the next lightning storm.

If executed correctly, the potion will turn blood-red at the instant lightning first strikes during the next lightning storm, signifying its completion.[1]


It was advised to drink the potion in an open, out of sight area, so as to not disturb or startle those nearby who were unaware of the transformation the drinker was about to undergo. They may have felt uncomfortable or panicked in a new body, and this may have caused them to destroy their surroundings.[1]

Instantly after consumption, they would feel "a fiery pain and an instense double heartbeat". The shape of the creature they would transform into would appear in their mind directly before the transformation.[1]

If successful, the drinker would now have had the ability to transform from human to animal by envisioning the animal with the intent of transforming in mind, and vice versa. If unsuccessful, the drinker may have experienced gruesome half-human half-animal mutations that were permanent, and could not be fixed.[1]

Successful users

Behind the scenes

  • It is possible that James Potter, Sirius Black, or Peter Pettigrew did not have to brew the potion because one of the other two did it for them. However, they still would've had to have held the Mandrake Leaf in their mouths for a month.
  • This appears to be the only potion identified in canon which is not brewed in a cauldron.


Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Chapter 1 (Minerva McGonagall)
  2. The potion was finished when the first lighning struck. which could take days, months or years.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Side Quest "Become an Animagus!"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs)
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 37 (The Beginning)
  6. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4