Vanishment is the magical art of vanishing objects i.e., causing object to cease to exist. Vanished objects go "into non-being, which is to say, everything." It is one of the four branches of Transfiguration, and is the opposite of Conjuration, which brings objects into existence.
In 1992, Gilderoy Lockhart attempted to mend Harry Potter's broken arm after a Quidditch match with the healing spell Brackium Emendo; however his incompetence meant he ending up vanishing Harry's arm bones instead of mending them. Later that year, Severus Snape used the Snake-Vanishing Spell to vanish a snake that Draco Malfoy had conjured for Harry Potter during the Duelling Club.
Professor Minerva McGonagall introduced Vanishment to her class in the form of the Vanishing Spell in her very first Transfiguration class with the fifth year students in 1995, giving them a lecture and then setting them on vanishing snails.
In their second lesson, the students were given questions on the Vanishing Spell for homework. On the 6th, however, the students were given a break from this spell and instead were given a long and difficult essay on the Inanimatus Conjurus Spell.
Later on in the year, Professor McGonagall returned the class to Vanishing Spells, this time working to make mice disappear. However, in the week leading up to the Gryffindor-Slytherin match, she abstained from giving them homework so that the Gryffindor Quidditch team could practise. Later in the year during O.W.L. exams Vanishment was apart of the Transfiguration practical in, as predicted by Professor McGonagall.
Severus Snape also used Vanishment in 1995 as a means to get rid of Harry Potter's failed Draught of Peace potion. In the same year, Albus Dumbledore used Vanishment to counter Voldemort's fiery snake during their duel. In 1997 Harry Potter used a form of Vanishment to rid himself of a snake that had crossed this path during his Hunt for Horcruxes. Minerva McGonagall also later easily vanished Severus Snape's serpent he conjured during their duel.
Compared to the other three branches, Vanishment appears moderately difficult — it is taught in fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and up — and is considered one of the hardest transfigurations to be tested on in one's O.W.L. It must be performed with a clear and collected head, as demonstrated by Hannah Abbot who was supposed to Vanish a ferret during her exam but instead somehow managed to multiply it into a flock of flamingos.
The difficulty of the Vanishment to be performed positively correlates with the complexity of the organism to be vanished. For example, invertebrates are easier to vanish than vertebrates, whilst mammals are more difficult.
Vanishing sickness is a wizarding illness treated at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. It is unknown if Vanishing is the cause or effect of this illness though it appears to be related to the contraction of some sort of magical bug (since it is treated in the "Magical Bugs" section of St Mungo's).
There are several methods one can employ to vanish an object, described below.
Unlike Conjuring Spells, vanishing different things can all be accomplished with accomplished with the same Vanishing Spell - Evanesco. There can also exist spells for vanishing specific things, such as the Snake-Vanishing Spell.
The Vanishing Cabinet
The Vanishing Cabinet is a special piece of furniture in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that randomly Vanishes & reappears. As such, it be used to vanish things for a variable but finite length of time (since the cabinet always reappears at some point in the future). The condition of the cabinet, determines whether or not the vanished object will appear in its twin cabinet after the object has been vanished, if the cabinet is broken or defective then the vanishment will not be hundred percent effective and the object will be trapped in a limbo like state. A pair of Vanishing Cabinets will act as a passage between two places. Objects placed in one cabinet will appear in the other. The cabinets seem to ward off all known defensive spells, as, as they were successfully used to transport several Death Eaters from Borgin and Burkes into Hogwarts school in 1997.
The Room of Requirement
Like the Vanishing Cabinet, the Room of Requirement also appears and reappears, though in accordance with one's wishes. Things left in the Room after one no longer has need of it will be vanished along with the Room itself until a later date (when one has need of that specific object, at which point it will be conjured up inside the Room for them to retrieve).
Behind the scenes
- According to W.O.M.B.A.T., it may be possible to Vanish both inanimate and animate objects.
- It is interesting to note that Vanishment, rather than actually causing something to cease to exist, was said to go "into non-being, which is to say, everything." The implication seems to be that the arrangement of the atoms that gives the vanished thing in question a sense of shape and weight are simply being altered; with the distance between them expanding to the point where viewers can actually move between them, thus the object seems to disappear and causing it, in essence, to be everywhere and nowhere. This is consistent with the law of conservation of matter and energy states that matter, which states that matter and energy can neither be created or destroyed, only change form. Thus demonstrating that magic, rather than defying the laws of nature, simply exploits them in ways Muggle cannot.
- It is unknown if the Vanishment of a living creature would result in said creature's death, or merely send it into a conscious, intermediate state until it is naturally Conjured back into existence. According to Minerva McGonagall, vanished objects enter "everything", possibly suggesting that Vanished entities do have some form of existence, albeit an unknown kind.
- It may be possible to retrieve Vanished objects, as Bill Weasley vanished some of the Order of the Phoenix's plans in order to hide them.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)[Vanished objects go] into non-being, which is to say, everything." - Prof. McGonagall.
- (see this image)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 2 (The Vanishing Glass)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 19 (The Lion and the Serpent)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 12 (Professor Umbridge)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 22 (St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 5 (The Order of the Phoenix)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 (Dumbledore's Army)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 21 (The Unknowable Room)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard (real)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 20 (Hagrid's Tale)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 22 (Agent of Chaos) - Defence Against the Dark Arts Lesson "Vipera Evanesca"