Metamorphosis: Transfiguration For Beginners

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Chapter 9

It should come as no surprise that when you Transfigure an object you must make certain considerations regarding its texture. It is not nearly enough that you merely change the way an object looks; in order to fully replicate that which you are trying to achieve as a Transformation, you must replicate how it feels to human touch. What good is a water goblet if it still has the bristling fur of a garden rat? Guests would be most displeased by such an unlikely combination of appearance and texture. Hence, as iterated so often in this textbook, concentration is absolutely vital.  There was never a wizard who did well in Transfiguration that did not also do well in concentration. The key to such concentration is to allow your mind to be filled with the idea of a texture itself.


If you are to Transfigure something, touch it first (if possible), so that you can truly understand the materials that you are working with, as a carpenter might feel his wood for strength and flexibility.

Then, you must have a complete representation in your mind of what texture your item will have once it is fully Transformed. For fur, you would do well to imagine the softness of the particular fur you need, as well as the way it bristles or how long it is. For metal, imagine the coldness of it in the winter and the way it heats up in the summer; then, imagine the smooth steadiness of it and the reluctance for pliability. Most metal, unless weaker like soft lead or tin, is quite rigid. For glass, one must blend the hard texture with its known fragility, creating a feel that is strong but also vulnerable. This process can be used for any particular texture, so long as you know and understand the physical feel of that which you are attempting to create. It is always a good plan, when initially learning how to change texture, to bring along sample swatches or fragments which will give you a clear knowledge of the feel you wish to create. If the texture is still fresh in your mind, it will be easier to recreate. Try not to become too reliant on these samples, however, or you will find yourself never able to improve. In the case of unusual Transfigurations where you may not know the exact feel of what you are creating (perhaps if an item has multiple textures to it), then you’d best hazard an approximate guess derived from your mental picture of what your end result will be.

The next step is to imagine in your mind how the texture of your original object will change into the texture of your new object. In the case of hair or fur becoming glass, you should picture the individual hairs interlocking and flattening down (transparency of the glass can be achieved when you have a good grasp on the State and Colour Change chapters), and losing the body warmth from the animal they are attached to. If you were to Transform metal into grass, then you should imagine the molecules of the metal slowly becoming less dense in nature and pulling away into individual blades of grass, which then become flexible and soft and absorb the coldness of the earth. These are but a few examples. It may seem like a strenuous amount of concentration at first, but with practise, the task will become second nature to the witch or wizard who devotes their time properly.


If there is a difficulty with texture that occurs in the initial Transformation, simply revert the object to its original state and try your incantation once more, focusing vividly on the changes that are to occur and how they will unfold. Be sure that your understanding of the texture is accurate. It is all too easy to give a hedgehog razor sharp spikes, unfriendly to a petting hand, or give a creature wings that are all feathers and possess no bones for support. When you are learning how a living organism is textured, remember that the bones and sinew beneath the skin also account for the complete subject. A creature is not merely skin, fur and feathers, after all; it has substance and mechanics going on beyond what we can easily see and must be approached as such.


There are, of course, instances in which some wizards may choose NOT to change the texture of something as they Transform it. This is usually due to the desire to pull some sort of practical joke. No doubt it would be disconcerting to somebody to be handed a hairy tea pot, or a scarf which feels distinctly squidgy and slimy like a snail or slug might. Needless to say that pranks of such sort are highly appealing, but be warned that any act which can be considered dangerous is an abuse of magic; do not, for instance, take an object that is extremely sharp and give it the appearance of being soft, and hand it to an unsuspecting victim for them to cut their hand open on. It is the sign of not just a cruel wizard, but a petty one.

Changes in texture are important in magic in order to make something come as close to the genuine article as possible.  Some people cannot do without the correct feel, whether it is of wood grain rubbing against their fingertips, or the cold, chiseled stone of a cliff face, or the wet nose and floppy ears of their favourite pet dog. There is a certain joy in recreating these textures that any witch or wizard should acknowledge.

CASE STUDY [Mouse to Goblet]: By now, you will be reading all of this and thinking, “Yes, the theory is all well and good, but I want to make my brother slimy whenever I turn him into a frog! Start teaching me the practical side!” To that, the reply is: “Start small.” In this exercise we will be turning a mouse into a goblet, which you are not obligated to drink from once the task is over (unless your teacher is hoping to amuse themselves, in which case, blame not this author for suggesting it).

Firstly, you must inspect your mouse. They are common enough to find lurking about should you lack one. Notice its fur in particular. Is it patchy? Is it rough and bristly or soft and sleek? Is this mouse bony and slender or rounded and plump? These are all aspects of the creature you must consider.

Secondly, you must decide on the sort of goblet into which you wish to turn your mouse. There are many different kinds of goblets made from many different materials. Glass, metal, stone, and carved wood are all excellent examples. Each will have a different molecular makeup, so it is wise to have a material predetermined before you attempt the spell. As mentioned before, it is advantageous that you have a sample of the material so that you can fully comprehend the end result of your Transformation, though it is not an absolute necessity. If you can picture it clearly enough, then you will be able to achieve the same results, provided the rest of the spell is performed properly.

In the initial stages of the spell, you must picture your starting and ending textures, and picture how the former will become the latter. In the case of turning a mouse into a goblet, you must picture the fur strands interlocking together to form one whole coating, which increases in molecular density. This new material must resemble one of the aforementioned materials from which goblets are made. It is easiest to begin with wood, but this is not compulsory. You will use the other components you have learnt in the State Change and Colour Change chapters to help in the completion of the spell, which need not be repeated here.

Perform the incantation (that you should have practised beforehand), which is “Fera Verto,” while you are picturing the process of change that is to take place. Do not be nervous or unconfident in your spell casting; this is the first step towards failure. It is unwise to perform this spell on a beloved pet as a first attempt, which is why schools will generally provide other creatures for use in spell experimentation. It was quickly discovered that the idea of turning their animal companions into goblets was emotionally taxing for most students, hence the provision of substitutions.

The wand movement for this spell involves a gentle gesturing forward of the wand three times in succession before finally pointing the wand directly at the mouse and casting the spell. It is sometimes best to count down from three to remember this.

If all steps of the spell have been completed successfully, then your mouse should now be a water goblet! Feel free to inspect it and use it; pick it up and feel it to be sure the Transfiguration is complete. If not, practise makes perfect. A few whiskers on a water goblet are to be expected for one’s initial attempts and are nothing to weep over. Congratulations to you if you have completed the spell on your first try – exemplary spell casting indeed!

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