Think you know everything about Animagi? Here’s everything a true Potterhead should know about these incredible shape-shifters!
From Werewolves and Dementors to Boggarts and Dragons, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is full of beautiful badass and terrifying beasts. Of all the weird and wonderful creatures that occupy J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, however, Animagi are without a doubt some of the most intriguing.
While the Harry Potter books and movies do a good enough job of explaining and introducing Animagi, there’s still a lot you might not know about these incredible creatures. For my latest post on The Blog That Must Not Be Named, I’m taking an in-depth look at these wonderful shape-shifters and explaining everything a true Potterhead needs to know about Animagi.
As taught to students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, an Animagus is a witch or wizard that has the incredibly rare ability to transform into an animal and back again at will. Unlike cursed creatures such as Werewolves and Maledictuses, Animagi have full control over their unique and undeniably badass transformation. The magic and skill required to become an Animagus, however, is remarkably complex and dangerous. The transformation can often backfire, which is why it is such an uncommon ability.
As I’m sure you’ve already discovered for yourself (kidding, don’t try this at home), becoming an Animagus is no simple task. Mastering the ability to transform into an animal takes a great deal of skill, practice and patience, even for the strongest witches and wizards. Even if an individual follows the necessary steps, there’s still a good chance that the transformation will go terribly wrong (picture a half-human, half-animal mutant), which is why most witches and wizards choose to spend their time exploring less complex areas of magic.
As for what a witch or wizard must do to complete the transformation, there are a handful of very bizarre and tricky steps. First things first, the witch or wizard must keep a single mandrake leaf in their mouth for an entire month (from full moon to full moon). If the leaf is removed or swallowed at any point between the full moons, the witch or wizard will have to start over.
The individual must then find a small crystal phial that receives the pure rays of the moon, place their saliva-soaked mandrake leaf inside and add one of their own hairs. The next step of the process requires the witch or wizard to add a silver teaspoon of dew from a place that neither sunlight nor human feet have touched for seven days, along with the chrysalis of a Death’s-head Hawk Moth.
The mixture must then be placed in a quiet dark location and left undisturbed until the next electrical storm. While waiting for lightning to quite literally strike, the witch or wizard must place their wand tip over their heart every sunrise and sundown and speak the following incantation: ‘Amato Animo Animato Animagus’. As soon as the electrical storm arrives, the witch or wizard must return to their hidden phial, which will now contain a mouthful of blood-red potion. It is then essential for the individual to find a safe place to transform (wouldn’t want anybody getting hurt), before speaking the incantation again and drinking the potion.
While we’re sure every Animagus would love to transform into the animal of their own choosing, an Animagi has no control over the creature they will become. The Animagus is instead chosen by the witch or wizards personality, reflecting who they truly are. For example, Minerva McGonagall, who was the first Animagi seen in the Harry Potter series, transforms into a tabby cat, whereas Peter Pettigrew is a rat. In many cases, a witch or wizards Animagus takes the same form as their full-bodied Patronus, as the form of a Patronus also depends on the individual’s personality.
You might think that becoming an Animagi makes you indistinguishable from other animals, but that’s certainly not the case. Once a witch or wizard transforms into their Animagus, there is often a distinguishing feature that remains. Features like birthmarks and even spectacles are sometimes visible in Animagi. A great example of this in the Harry Potter series is Rita Skeeter’s battle Animagus, which has glasses-markings around the eyes.
The traumatic transformation process isn’t the only thing stopping witches and wizards from becoming Animagi. Every with or wizard who succeeds in their transformation is required to register with the Ministry of Magic, which includes revealing one’s animal form and any distinguishing markings. The main reason for the Animagus Registry is to ensure that an Animagus isn’t abusing their power or causing trouble for the Wizarding World.
Fun Fact: In North America Animagi were sometimes known as ‘skinwalkers’. The legend falsely told of witches and wizards that gained the ability to transform into animals after sacrificing their family members.
There you have it, everything a true Potterhead needs to know about Animagi! If you were a witch or wizard in the Wizarding World would you want to transform into an Animagus? Which form would you like to take? Make sure you let us know in the comments section below this post!
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