"If only we'd done human Transfiguration already! But I don't think we start that until sixth year, and it can go badly wrong if you don't know what you're doing...."
Hermione Granger[src]

Human Transfiguration is a sub-branch of Transfiguration and a form of transformation in which one transfigures human body parts or an entire human being into another form.

Human Transfiguration is more difficult than any other form of Transfiguration, including Cross-Species Transfiguration and is therefore N.E.W.T.-level, taught only to sixth years and above at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[1]


"They had just embarked upon the immensely difficult topic of human Transfiguration; working in front of mirrors, they were supposed to be changing the colour of their own eyebrows."
Harry Potter regarding the difficulty of human Transfiguration[src]
Horace Slughorn, disguise himself as a chair

Horace Slughorn disguised by the use of human Transfiguration

Human Transfiguration can be used to essentially replicate the natural abilities of Metamorphmagi, allowing the practitioner or the subject to take on an entirely different form or make various individual changes to their appearance, such as growing or changing the colour, style or pattern of one's hair[2] or taking on individual animal body parts. However, while human Transfiguration can presumably be performed by any wizard who's skilled enough, on themselves as well as on others, a Metamorphmagus is born with the ability to make such changes to their own bodies with little to no effort and without the use of a wand.[3]

Although it is possible to transfigure humans into inanimate objects,[4] it is unknown how someone who had himself transfigured into an object would be able to untransfigure without the intervention of another witch or wizard. Probably, if witches and wizards perform this on themselves, they will do this with the intention of retaining their mental consciousness and abilities. Therefore, they could untransfigure themselves back to human form, both nonverbally and wandlessly.

Emeric Switch contributed an article on the scientific aspects of Human Transfiguration to a 1926 issue of Transfiguration Today.[5]


It has been stated many times that human Transfiguration can go badly wrong when performed poorly. The user has the risk of getting stuck in his or her transfigured state.

Known instances

Prior to 1991

Caster(s) Date Notes
Unknown 1473 During the Quidditch World Cup of 1473, all 700 fouls were committed, including one of the players transfiguring one of the Chasers on the opposite team into a polecat.
Thaddeus Thurkell 1600s During the 1600s, Thaddeus Thurkell had seven sons, all of whom were Squibs. Thurkell was so angry he transfigured them all into hedgehogs.
Mirabella Plunkett 1800s During the 1800s, it is possible that Mirabella Plunkett transfigured herself into a haddock in order to live with her merman lover, although it may be possible that she was an Animagus.
Gellert Grindelwald 1926 Using entirely the power of Human Transfiguration, Gellert Grindelwald disguised himself as MACUSA auror Percival Graves.[6]
Circe Unknown Circe, a witch who lived in ancient times, was famous for turning sailors into pigs.
McCliverts According to legend, after Quintius MacBoon, head of the MacBoon clan, killed the head of a the rival McClivert clan, Dugald McClivert, in a drunken duel, the MacBoons were attacked by the McCliverts and the entire family was transfigured into Quintapeds.
D.J. Prod D.J. Prod stated that he was able to turn his wife into a yak after he took a Kwikspell course.
Harry Potter 31 October, 1981 After travelling back in time Harry and Hermione used a transfiguration spell to disguise Harry as Lord Voldemort.
Hermione Granger

1991 to 1998

"Harry turned and saw something monstrous cutting through the water toward them: a human body in swimming trunks with the head of a shark.... It was Krum. He appeared to have transfigured himself — but badly."
—Description of Viktor Krum's use of human Transfiguration [src]
Caster(s) Date Notes
Rubeus Hagrid 1991 Rubeus Hagrid attempted to transfigure Dudley Dursley into a pig, but only succeeded in giving him a pig's tail (or, according to another interpretation, willingly gave Dudley a pig's tail and joked to Harry about turning him into an entire pig).
Human to pig
Unknown 1992 A Hogwarts student accidentally changed his classmate into a badger.
Fred and George Weasley 1994 Fred and George Weasley invented the Canary Cream, a prank item which, when eaten, automatically transfigures the eater into a large canary, which they used on Neville Longbottom.
Barty Crouch Jr Barty Crouch Jr transfigured Draco Malfoy into a ferret, and in 1995, transfigured his father into a bone.
Gwenog Jones Unknown Gwenog Jones, captain of the Holyhead Harpies, was particularly skilled at transfiguring anyone who disagreed with her into wood lice.
Viktor Krum 1995 While competing in the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, Viktor Krum attempted to transfigure himself fully or partially into a shark; ultimately, only his head was transfigured, the shark's teeth were misplaced.[4]

GOF Viktor partial shark Transfiguration second task

Horace Slughorn 1996 Horace Slughorn transfigured himself into an over-stuffed armchair in order to avoid detection from Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter.
Ron Weasley During a Transfiguration lesson in 1996, Ron Weasley accidentally transfigured a moustache on to his face.[7]
Harry Potter In a Transfiguration lesson Harry Potter transfigured his eyebrow bright yellow.[7]
Hermione Granger 1998 Hermione Granger used human Transfiguration to disguise Ron Weasley as "Dragomir Despard" before breaking in to the Lestrange Vault at Gringotts Wizarding Bank.[8]
Percy Weasley During the Battle of Hogwarts, Percy Weasley shot a jinx at Pius Thicknesse, transfiguring him into some sort of sea urchin.[8]


See also

Behind the scenes

  • In September 1994, when Draco Malfoy was transfigured into a ferret, he tried to get to the dungeons. Complete transfiguration into an animal makes a human think like the animal, except Animagus transfigurations.[10] This suggests that the attempted escape had nothing to do with him wanting to get to his common room and was coincidental.


Notes and references

Transfiguration (class)
COS Vera Verto demo
Branches of Transfiguration Transformation · Vanishment · Conjuration · Untransfiguration
Notable practitioners Circe · Emeric Switch · Falco Aesalon · Mirabella Plunkett · Thaddeus Thurkell
Professors Albus Dumbledore · Minerva McGonagall
Textbooks A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration · Intermediate Transfiguration · A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration
Transfiguration spells studied at Hogwarts
Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Change of hair colour and style (Crinus Muto) · Hardening Charm (Duro) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Reparifarge · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Switching Spell · Vanishing Spell (Evanesco)
Conjuring Spells Bird-Conjuring Charm (Avis) · Inanimatus Conjurus Spell · Orchideous · Snake Summons Spell (Serpentsortia)
Transforming Spells Animal to Water Goblet (Vera Verto) · Beetle Buttons · Cat to Cauldron (Felifors) · Cauldron Cakes to Cabbages · Chair to cat · Cross-Species Switches · Desk Into Pig · Goldfinch to Golden Snitch · Flobberworm to Fritter · Gnomes to Lawn Gnomes · Guinea fowl to guinea pig spell · Gobstone to skunk · Hedgehog to pincushion spell · Lovebird to Love Note · Match to needle · Meddling Man to Monkey · Mice to Snuffboxes · Owl to Opera Glasses (Strigiforma) · Pawn to Queen · Porcupine to Pin Cushion (Hystrifors) · Puffskein to Paperweight · Small Child to Rat · Small Object to Dragon (Draconifors) · Snail to Teapot · Target to Bird (Avifors) · Target to matchbox (Flintifors) · Target to Rabbit (Lapifors) · Teacup to gerbil spell · Teacup to Rat · Teapot to tortoise spell · White Rabbits to Slippers
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