Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.
William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act Four, Scene One
Love potions, elixirs of immortality, sinister and undetectable poisons. Magical and Muggle communities alike have been drawn for thousands of years to the concept of the potion, a concoction of ingredients infused with magical energy that gives the creator an advantage over others. The brewing cauldron has been a romantic icon of the magical, mysterious, and even grotesque in Muggle culture, including the above harrowing scene in playwright William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. Even many witches and wizards see something romantic in the imagery of the potion master or mistress shut away in the dungeons, gleefully concocting some new creation that casts important consequences on our magical community.
Despite this affiliation of the potion with sinister intentions and death - owing not only to the effects of the potions themselves, but also the large number of slaughtered animals and animal parts used in the brewing process - potioneering is not only an art, but a science. Equally if not more complicated and nuanced as any Muggle chemistry class. As any young person who has grown up with potions knows, an error in even the simplest brewing instructions can lead to painful and potentially fatal consequences. Also, while witches and wizards are free to consume Muggle medicines and remedies, our own healing elixirs are fatal to non-magicals. As such, it has become our responsibility to educate young minds as to the importance and responsibility involved with ethical brewing of potions.
This brings us to the cause of this book, Magical Drafts and Potions. Within these pages the author seeks not to romanticize or glorify the profession of potioneer. Those who practice know well themselves how difficult their position is within the magical world, as they hold responsibility for most of our major medicinal mechanisms. They also know what glory can be found in the correct discovery and interpretation of ingredients and magical mixtures. Instead, the author hopes that this book will serve to assist young minds as they begin their own careers in the magical world, and will show them the fundamental aspects of brewing potions, and perhaps spark their curiosity to learn more about the “how” and “why” of this ancient technique of our kind.
With that, the introduction will come to a close in order to continue with the text, expanding young minds and encountering new and exciting experiences.