Switching is a sub-branch of Transfiguration and a form of transformation it is the art of magically exchanging physical features between two targets. Switching targets in this manner can be accomplished with Switching spells. The only known sub-group of switching is Cross-Species Switches[1].


Switching spells are taught to second or third year students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and wizardry, an entry on Switches can 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.

Hermione Granger knew quite a bit about Switching Spells already in her first year, and gained some house points for it from McGonagall.

Neville Longbottom wasn't particularly adept at these, managing to switch his own ears onto a cactus during Transfiguration class.

Hermione Granger brought up Switching to Harry Potter, while the two were discussing ways to combat dragons.

In a students fifth year of education they must sit the Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L.) examinations. On the Transfiguration O.W.L. a student most answer a written question that asks for the definition of a switching spell.


Switching greatly resembles general transformation, but with with two main differences: firstly, the features of the two targets are switched simultaneously; secondly, the change in one of the pair is 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 are learn 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 fourth year. Therefore, students must start learning switches in second, third or (early) fourth year (most likely third), earlier than almost all the other branches of Transfiguration save transformation.


The only known method of switching is through the application of Switching spells.

Known practitioners


Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22 (The Unexpected Task)

Transfiguration (class)
COS Vera Verto demo
Branches of Transfiguration Transformation · Vanishment · Conjuration · Untransfiguration
Known 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 · Dinner plate to mushroom · Goldfinch to Golden Snitch · Flobberworm to Fritter · Gnomes to Lawn Gnomes · Guinea fowl to guinea pig · Hedgehog to pincushion · 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) · 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 · Teacup to Rat · Teapot to tortoise · White Rabbits to Slippers
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