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Tonks and metamorphosing - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Tonks and metamorphosing
Hmm. I just got a review on the FFN copy of "Detention", a brief little piece of fluff about Tonks getting into trouble with Snape and having to do detention, while he tries to make her break a morph he's sure she's in (just because he thinks she lies about everything--he has no real point except to try and make her admit something he thinks she's hiding). Only she wasn't morphed. The review was kind, but asked what I found kind of an interesting question: "[W]hy wasn't Tonks morphed in the first place?"

I think there seem to be two approaches to Tonks, one of which is that metamorphosing is a thing she can do, and another that it's a thing that defines her. I tend to be in the first camp, so in my stories, she morphs when she has a reason to do it, either a serious Order related reason or just because it strikes her as a fun thing to do, but she doesn't habitually run around with anything more serious than a hair-color morph. I'd support that from the fact that she stops doing it when she's depressed, and Harry's ability to recognize her when she's not morphed, just as Tonks-with-brown-hair, indicating that she hadn't done anything extreme before. On the other hand, I could see arguing that Harry had to think about it, and that she wasn't just choosing not to morph depressed, she literally couldn't, the first indicating that her face might only have a few regular markers and the second that it's not based entirely on what she decides to do.


Tonks's metamorphosing is...

...something she almost always does, and no one really knew her true face until HBP
...something that she does extreme forms of habitually (changing age, height, face, etc), but settles out of into a regular face
...something that she does situationally, when necessary for the Order, or just for fun, but is not her everyday practice (beyond things like hair color)
...something else entirely
13 comments or Leave a comment
petitecrivan From: petitecrivan Date: February 13th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I don't think I've ever seen a poll with 14 votes in which everyone agreed.
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: February 13th, 2007 11:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I clicked the third one, but I personally believe she morphs sometimes because she feels like it or if, say, she thinks a couple more inches of height will help her with an Order interrogation, so I think she almost always has at least something changed. So the third option, leaning towards the second. Maybe the second option without the word "extreme".
From: marciamarcia Date: February 14th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I rather liked the idea that she hadn't really been able to control the metamorphosing when she was young, had at some point settled on what she thought she looked like, but was never really sure what her "real" face was.

I liked it because it gave her something in common with Remus...this power you can't control, that you don't want to define you, but sort of does, that people fear...so she can better sympathize with (and call bullshit on) his drama.

HPB sort of threw a kink in it, but it could be an interesting idea, and provide a litte ironic hopefullness to her situation in that book, that losing her ability to morph was the first time she could PROVE she was using the her face.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: February 14th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm with you on Tonks's Metamorphosing - it's something she can do, but certainly doesn't define her. I would imagine having grown up with the ability all her life, she'd grow tired of changing appearances daily before she even went to Hogwarts.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 14th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I have one where she becomes terrified because her body keeps reverting, and she has to morph herself old to match her age, but because her body keeps remembering the shape it's supposed to be, she's afraid that she'll outlive all of her great grandchildren.
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: February 14th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
So you are assuming that the internal organs morph as well? That would be handy for recovering from injuries. The not ageing would be a bit of a double-edged sword. I wouldn't want not to look the age I actually am but it would be nice to avoid the aches and pains associated with getting older.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 14th, 2007 09:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think her ability to morph has any effect on her ability to recover from injuries. (It would be nice look at Clare in Heroes.) In OOTP Tonks is injured and does not seem to be able to use her ability to make herself better.

I have always had the feeling that she used her "natural look" except for times when she felt like "doing" her hair and sometimes to have fun like when she is entertaining Hermione & Ginny with different noses. (And of course during her undercover assignments as an Auror or for the Order.

tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: February 14th, 2007 09:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking that if Tonks doesn't age because her body reverts to a remembered form (I think this is what Fernwithy is getting at in her post) then the morphing must include all her organs as well as her appearance and bone structure. In which case, wouldn't an organ that got damaged through injury or sickness revert to the remembered form the same way as it does when it ages? I don't see how there can be the one without the other, though I can see how there could be neither. I suppose it would depend upon the injury as to how or whether this would occur and also whether this would be instantaneous or not (I doubt she could regrow an arm, for example). If this occurs, I could see Tonks's fall in OotP knocking her out but not causing any lasting damage to her brain as it would automatically right itself. For example, for Tonks not to age, brain cells must be replacing themselves (something that doesn't happen after about 25 years old, if I remember my pathology lectures correctly) or she'd end up with Alzheimer's, even if she still has perfect skin!

I don't recognise your reference (Clare) so I can't compare the two situations.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 14th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it would respond that way to a sudden trauma, but the slow changes of aging--this deteriorating there, that losing some cells over in some other place... yeah, I think an instinctive morph might well cover that. The body would have to have a lot more control over its cellular structure in order to naturally metamorphoze anyway. (Of course, it was mostly done for dramatic reasons; the story takes place not long after she loses Remus from old age, and she's really facing the possibility of God knows how long without him.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 15th, 2007 09:44 am (UTC) (Link)
The story sounds interesting. Is it somewhere we can read it?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 15th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's here. It was the last entry I did for last years rt_challenge.
dalf From: dalf Date: February 14th, 2007 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I suspect that (and part of this view is how you have written her in shades funnly enough since we dont have the same view), for her morphins is like putting on makeup and doing their hare is for many women. I don't see why should would top at her hair, but neitehr do I think she woudl make drastic changes. She is in her early 20's and even by then I coudl look in the mirrior and think about 5 or 6 small changes I coudl mke to my face that I woudl like. Eyes a bit too puffy, eyebrow shape, things womne usually deal with as makup. I suspect she does not own any makeup. SO she woudl be reconizable to Harry but only because even 30 or 40 small changes if they were small enough would still look like th same person only .... too depressed to bother.

Hence Fluer's statment "that tonks has really been letting her self go" (was that you or canon?)
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