Metamorphosis: Transfiguration For Beginners

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Switching Spells

Chapter 11

Switching is a sub-division of Transformation that is used to Switch two different objects. A common mistake many people make is that they believe a Switch swaps an entire object for another; rather, that is a normal Transformation. A Switch swaps a part, or parts, of an object with parts of a second object, so that both objects take on physical traits of each other. Switching is relatively easy, but the learning process can be complicated in some situations, as a Switch needs to be fast to be successful. Because you are simultaneously swapping parts of two objects for one another, you cannot do the process slowly, or there may be some unwanted splicing of the two objects. This means that beginners cannot slow down the process or even do it step-by-step.


The first record of a Switch came from a Muggle book named “Phenomena of No Logical Explanation,” which was published in 1822 and reported that “…several eyewitnesses did come forth to say that the young man did perform some task of great evil, for what sort of man could ride a horse with the teeth of a snake?”  Experts of the modern day agree that the man in question was indeed a wizard, and the most likely explanation of the horse with snake fangs was that the man had Switched the teeth of the animals to intimidate Muggles in his local village. Also, there are records from 1830 of a wizard who was arrested for killing several Muggles in a small village; his horse was later found to possess not only snake fangs but bird wings. and a wolf’s nose as well. It is believed that the same wizard was the subject of both cases.

The first record of Switching in a magical publication came about in 1824, two years after the previously mentioned Muggle book was published. Switching was said to be an indefinite and difficult type of Transformation in the book “Transformations for the Modern Wizard,” written by Edgar M. Yale. Since this book was written, Switching has been greatly developed and has become much easier. As it is still a relatively new type of magic, it is exciting to see what will happen with Switching, and where it will go in the future.


The obvious first step to any Switch is to know what parts of the objects you are going to swap. You also need to know where these objects should go once they have been swapped; otherwise, you may find they attach themselves to other random objects, or even yourself. If this does happen, a reversal spell should suffice in fixing the problem. A fair amount of concentration is required to pull off a Switch, so in a best-case scenario, you will be far away from distractions.

The reason Switching works is because matter can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be rearranged or moved. In a Switch, you are Transforming the part of one object back into its particle form. The particles travel in the air before being reformed on another object. For beginners, it is a good idea to have the objects you are using for the Switch close at hand. More advanced students may only need one object close by, but this is to be treated with caution, for if something goes wrong, you may Switch two completely different objects. In the worst cases, you may even breach the International Statute of Secrecy by Switching something onto a Muggle object.

Despite what many people think, it is by far easier when performing a Switch to actually swap one part of the object for a different part from the other object, rather than just transplanting. This is because there will be a lower number of particles than usual for the object, meaning that there is a ‘gap’ where particles from a different object can be transferred. It also stops you from accidentally putting the swapped part onto an existing part of the object, which can often look odd or abnormal.


The incantation to perform a Switch is "Shifus Modus." However, it is customary to perform the Switch nonverbally; in most formal situations and examinations, it is preferred that the spell is performed silently. The wand action itself is a quick upwards motion, followed by a sideways flick. This is usually remembered simply by the phrase “up and over.” It is important to make sure your wand is not held loosely or allowed to swish around, as this can lead to the wrong objects being Switched. Controlled imagination and mental discipline is highly important when performing a Switch. It is vital that you can fully imagine and understand where the different parts will end up. You also need to simultaneously be able to control both objects. This gets easier with practise, though, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work at first.

Switching Two Animate Objects

An animate object is anything that can be described as living and can move; this includes animals, plants and enchanted objects on occasion (although, this last categorisation is rare). Switching two animate objects is the hardest type of Switching. It requires you to sever a portion of something living, move it somewhere else, and then reattach it. It must be performed with the quickest and lightest of hands, to make sure that the parts remain animated whilst being Switched. You may also need to perform a fusion or attachment spell to ensure that the Switched part is properly attached. Texture and colour change spells may be applied to create a nicer appearance.

Switching Two Inanimate Objects

Switching inanimate objects is by far easier than Switching animate ones, due to the simpler molecular and, most importantly, cerebral structures inanimate objects have. This means that it is easier to separate certain parts of the objects.  When Switching two inanimate objects, the process is fairly straightforward and easy. The only additional steps may be texture change for aesthetics. Inanimate Switches may remain as you have left them, with some exceptions, such as Switching non-magic components with magic ones in a place where Muggles are likely to frequent. Beginners will generally start with inanimate Switches. It is vital to master these spells first, as you cannot continue with more advanced switching spells unless you can do this with ease.

Switching Between Animate and Inanimate Objects

When Switching an animate object and an inanimate object, you will need to be more careful of placement so that the Switch does not hinder any normal processes. Once again, extra steps may be taken to improve aesthetics, such as texture and colour changes. Additional enchantments may be required. When Switching between inanimate and animate, in most cases, laws will require that you reverse the change.

If you wish to make the animate part inanimate when you Switch it, an animation spell is normally required, and this is a more advanced form of Transfiguration. It is also worth noting that if you wish to have the transported portion still perform its regular function (e.g. a Switched ear still being able to hear when attached to an inanimate object) you will need to transport the entire system, which once again is a higher level of Transfiguration. This is because once you have severed the part from the system of which it relies to operate, it cannot function on its own. Once again, animation spells are occasionally required for the part to perform its normal tasks on an inanimate object.

Further Applications of Switching Spells

Once you have mastered these spells, you may begin to branch out into other forms of Switching. System Switching, sometimes known as Function Switching, is when you Switch an entire system to make an object perform a task using an organ it did not previously possess. When performing a System Switch from an animate object to an inanimate one, as talked about previously, it should not be confused with an animation spell. Although the Switched organ or system will still perform its regular task if Switched correctly, it cannot process the information. There has been no proven way to Switch a brain into an inanimate object, which means even if you do, say, Switch the hearing system into an inanimate object, it will not have the ability to process or remember anything it has heard. With this said, System Switching is still useful to many wizards, and remarkably easy once a proper hold on regular Switching has been achieved.


As with all types of magic, Switching is closely monitored for misuse. While there are few laws regarding Switching, the ones that are in place should be respected and followed closely. These include not being permitted to permanently Switch a part from or to a living creature, not being able to Switch parts of humans or human-like creatures without written and conclusive permission, not Switching something magical onto something non-magical in a place where Muggles frequent, and, obviously, not being allowed to perform a Switch in front of a Muggle.

This concludes everything you should need to know about Switching to be able to perform a Switch with some degree of accuracy. As long as you use the correct technique combined with accurate theory, and preferably some formal instruction, you should find that soon enough, Switching is no longer a daunting task, but rather a useful and easy one.

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