At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Spoilers will be present within the article.
Switching was a sub-branch of Transfiguration and a form of transformation. It was the art of magically exchanging physical features between two targets. Switching targets in this manner could be accomplished with Switching Spells. The only known sub-group of switching was Cross-Species Switches.
Switching spells were taught to second or third year students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; an entry on Switches could be found in either A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch or Intermediate Transfiguration.
Students at Hogwarts should have switches mastered before their fourth year.
Neville Longbottom wasn't particularly adept at these, managing to switch his own ears onto a cactus during Transfiguration class.
In a student's fifth year of education, they must sit the Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L.) examinations. On the Transfiguration O.W.L. a student might answer a written question that asked for the definition of a switching spell.
Switching greatly resembled general transformation, but with two main differences: firstly, the features of the two targets were switched simultaneously; secondly, the change in one of the pair was dependent on a change in the other.
It is hard to gauge the relative difficulty of switches exactly compared to other types of Transfiguration, because the exact year in which they were learned is not known. However, Professor McGonagall was impressed when Hermione knew about switches as a first-year student but was disappointed in Neville for not being able to perform even simple switches by the fourth year. Therefore, students must have started learning switches in second, third or (early) fourth year (most likely third), earlier than almost all the other branches of Transfiguration save transformation.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (Possible appearance)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 15 (Beauxbatons and Durmstrang)
- As Albus Dumbledore was a former professor of Transfiguration.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22 (The Unexpected Task)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9 (The Midnight Duel)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)