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"The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."
— Golpalott's Third Law[src]

Golpalott's Third Law was a law for making antidotes, which appeared to say that the antidote for a blended poison — that is, a poison created by mixing several other poisons together — could not simply be created by finding the antidotes to each separate poison in the blended whole and mixing them together. Instead, as Professor Slughorn explained, the potion maker had to find that single ingredient which, when added to the blended antidotes, transformed them near-alchemically into a combined whole which will counteract the entire blended poison. Simply put, according to this law, a true antidote to a blended poison was more than the sum of its parts. The book Advanced Potion-Making contained this law, but did not explain it. It is likely that this law is correct for just some poisons, as Professor Slughorn once asked his class to consider the law's validity.[1]

Antidote creation

This law dictates the protocol for making antidotes for all poisons. Creating an antidote following this law may be quite difficult--in the Potions class during which Professor Slughorn asked the class to make antidotes according to Golpalott's Third Law, Hermione Granger made an only half-finished antidote that included fifty-two ingredients, one of them being a chunk of her own hair.[1]

Classroom work

At Hogwarts, sixth year students studying N.E.W.T.-level Potions class learn to produce antidotes referring to this law, under the instructions of their Potions Master. In the 1996–1997 school year, Hermione Granger "recited this law at top speed," upon being asked about it by Professor Slughorn. While the entire class had trouble with concocting the antidote for the practical portion, Harry Potter daringly used a bezoar as his work, gaining praise from Slughorn.[1]

Behind the scenes

  • The existence of this law relates to the concept of synergy, or the idea that a whole product is greater than the sum of its parts. In particular, it brings to mind drug synergy; the combined effect of multiple drugs taken simultaneously is often greater than the effects of taking those same drugs separately.
  • The name of the law suggests that there is probably a Golpalott's First Law and Second Law, much like how the existence of Newton's third law implies the existence of the first two.
  • This may be derived from Newton's Three Laws of Motion (but not actually), the most famous being Newton's Third Law.


See also

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)