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Animagi, werewolves, and wands - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Animagi, werewolves, and wands
I did a scene where Sirius shifts from Padfoot to human form, then pulls out a wand, and someone quite rationally said, "Yes, but where does he get the wand?" (In the context of the story, he's using a borrowed one; he does have it in his possession.)

So, theories on Animagi and wands?

I work on the McGonagall's Glasses Principle, which is that McGonagall has her glasses (and whatever she uses to keep her hair up in its bun) as well as her clothes when she transforms, so things that are external can be incorporated. But does this count for a wand, which is not, like clothing and glasses, worn, but more like a handbag, which is carried? And is it the same for werewolves, or did Remus have to go looking for his wand in the grass by the Whomping Willow the morning after the PoA transformation?

Poll #1021519 Animagi, werewolves, and wands

What happens to the wand when an Animagus or a werewolf transforms?

In either case, the wand, like McGonagall's glasses, is somehow "absorbed" into the shifted shape, and will be available when the wizard returns to human form.
Animagi alone are able to "carry" their wands, because it's part of the transformation, while lycanthropy is a curse over which there is no control.
Both Animagi and werewolves must go back to retrieve their wands after a transformation, as they have no way to carry them.
23 comments or Leave a comment
scarah2 From: scarah2 Date: July 14th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Animagi can keep all their stuff (as much as they can carry on their person but probably not trunks etc.), werewolves can't.

PoA movie screwed this royally. But I don't really think that McG is showing up naked to talk to Dumbledore at Privet Drive, or in front of her first year class when she demonstrates.
singingtopsy From: singingtopsy Date: July 15th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I know there's nothing explicit in canon (that I can think of) to prove this either way, but I think it's possible that a wand isn't absorbed, based on the Shrieking Shack scene. When Peter resumes human form he has robes on, but he doesn't draw a wand, does he? And when he goes for one later he tries to grab Lupin's wand, not his own.
But then, do you think it's possible that he deliberately left his wand behind when he transformed so that he would seem more convincingly dead?
It seems silly to me, though, that you'd have to leave your wand somewhere whenever you transform into an animal. That would be discourage many people from becoming an Animagus at all...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 15th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I thought about that. He'd be crazy to have dumped it at the scene, since they could do Priori Incatatem and find out he was guilty... but what if the huge explosion was caused by doing a spell that made the wand itself shatter and release all of its magical energy in a violent burst?
singingtopsy From: singingtopsy Date: July 15th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Also puzzling: If I were Minerva McGonagall and I was assigned (or chose) to watch Privet Drive all day 24 hours after You-Know-Who had *apparently* died there is no way I wouldn't have my wand on my person. I wouldn't even feel comfortable leaving it in a nearby bush while I played cat. No, probably your wand gets absorbed just like your clothes.
But that still does beg the question of what happened to Peter's wand (your idea seems in character to me because wouldn't it be just like Peter Pettigrew to attempt a powerful spell without realizing that he'd destroy his wand?). He didn't have his wand in GoF either.
From: the_merope Date: July 15th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree as regards Animagi; their transformation is benign to their bodies, and a controlled one, so it seems logical they'd keep their wands, clothes, and anything else they were carrying in their pockets. I think Peter didn't have a wand for ages; he probably lost it (either it got destroyed, as fernwithy said, during the explosion he caused, or afterward; he has a long time to lose it) or he put it away sometime during his thirteen years as a rat, and then couldn't get hold of a new one till after he'd brought Voldemort back to life. I find it interesting that he didn't take Bertha's wand to use, any more than he stole a wand. Perhaps he'd gotten used to doing without a wand, or perhaps he had some odd moral compunction- people who do terrible things do, sometimes, I think, even more than those who don't.

As for werewolves, I think the essential, magical "purpose" of lycanthropy- a Dark curse of sorts- is to twist and change the human body into something else, so it probably focuses on doing so, and in the process, completely ignores the wizard's (or witch's) comfort, needs, etc. Which is why I think it probably doesn't transform the wand or the clothes alng with him (or her).
sonetka From: sonetka Date: July 15th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I've wondered about how easy it actually is to use someone else's wand - it seems like they're so customized. Obviously, as events show, it's quite possible, but maybe it takes a level of skill and control that Peter doesn't have.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: July 15th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
But by the same token, they could have used Prior Incantato on Sirius's wand and found out that he didn't cast the explosion spell. I suspect that this is simply one of those implications JKR didn't hink about when she came up with Prior Incantato as setup for the later wand-connection scene, although it's possible to get round it by saying that, for example, it only gets the last spell cast and so doesn't necessarily prove anything if another spell has been cast in the meantime (and that the multiple spell echoes with Priori Incantatem only apply in wand connections).
rosetapestry From: rosetapestry Date: July 15th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it would be easy enough to explain away not using Priori on Sirius's wand - aren't we told that Sirius didn't even get a trial because of Crouch Sr.'s fanaticism during that period?
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: July 15th, 2007 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree -- but the point is that presumably Peter couldn't have known that would happen in advance?
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: July 15th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree, but presumably Peter couldn't have known in advance what the Aurors would do when he blew up the street? So either there would have had to have been a reason why it wouldn't help, or we're supposed to assume that Peter was just improvising and didn't think of that (and it does appear to have been planned out to an extent).
sonetka From: sonetka Date: July 15th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Or maybe he just set the wand to "self-destruct" :). (Seriously, it would be possible to have a self-destruct spell, wouldn't it? Or would that be one of those paradoxical, forbidden things?) And I agree with snorkackcatcher that since Sirius wasn't even given a trial, it's unlikely anyone thought of checking out his wand.

The only clothing inconsistency that really bothers me is in the PoA movie when Peter transforms into a man and then back into Scabbers. For the first transformation, he's fully clothed (thank goodness!) but when he transforms back his clothes crumple to the floor. I realize it's a nice visual and all, but did it never occur to anyone that this made no sense?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 15th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd have guessed a "self-destruct" spell, but, cheesiness aside, at some point, either Arthur or Molly in PoA says that they're no closer to finding Black than to inventing self-spelling wands, so I guess you can't put a spell on your wand.
eriathwen_bob From: eriathwen_bob Date: July 15th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always saw that to mean 'wands that do the spells themselves' rather than 'wands that do spells on themselves'. Doesn't Ollivander do some kind of spell on their wands in GoF?
rose_in_shadow From: rose_in_shadow Date: July 15th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I think in the books that they're obviously absorbed along with their clothes. As someone already said, I doubt McGonagall would transform back into her human form unless she had clothes.

The movies seem to have it both ways.

SS: McGonagall has clothes when she transforms.
POA: Pettigrew has clothes when Remus and Sirius force him to change back, but he loses them when transforming himself when the full moon comes out.
OotP: Sirius has to pull on some robe thing obviously at the HOgwarts Express station
toastedcheese From: toastedcheese Date: July 15th, 2007 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
OotP: Sirius has to pull on some robe thing obviously at the HOgwarts Express station

Oh, is that what happened? All I knew was that he was all of a sudden rather scantily clad and I was trying to figure out why. (Though I know plenty of people who don't need a reason for a scantily-clad Gary Oldman.) Apparently my movie comprehension is not so good.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 15th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't notice that he actually put it on there; I thought he was just in the habit of walking around in his bathrobe, a la Hef. ;p
rosetapestry From: rosetapestry Date: July 15th, 2007 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
A perfectly reasonable explanation, had we seen him in the robe at all in his own house... but wasn't he wearing the full suit every time we saw him at 12 GP?
rose_in_shadow From: rose_in_shadow Date: July 15th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
That's what I assumed happened. The camera stays on Harry for a minute and then as it pans to Sirius, it looks like he's pulling the robe closer, as if he'd just put it on. And it is a black robe with a remarkable resemblence to his fur as a dog.

But woah yeah on scantily clad Gary Oldman. LOL. He looked so much better in this movie than POA.
alkari From: alkari Date: July 15th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Wizards and witches don't go round clutching their wands all the time - there is obviously 'somewhere' in their robes to stash them, as you would a wallet, a hanky, a mobile phone, keys, etc. So if your clothes transform when you do, I am assuming that whatever it has in its pocketses will transform also!
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: July 15th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
In most of the examples of Animagi changing (directly or by implication) we've seen, they'd likely be carrying a wand -- McGonagall in class, Rita to spy, the Marauders sneaking out. (Peter presumably had to leave his wand behind after the confrontation with Sirius to add verismilitude.) And it's not just a wand, what about anything else they're carrying in pockets or wherever -- Rita's notebooks, for example?

I'd assume that anything 'on' the Animagus at the time they transform -- even if in a pocket, or carried -- gets incorporated and available when they transform back. On the other had, with werewolves it seems as if they don't have the control, even under Wolfsbane -- different magic, different effect.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: July 15th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Rita Skeeter's animagus form has markings like the glasses she wore.

I'm voting for possessions and clothes to be absorbed by the animagus transformation and restored after the transformation is reversed.
bonfoi From: bonfoi Date: July 15th, 2007 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
While lycanthropy is involuntary, for some, the fact that it's more like a shedding of self would make it difficult for Werecreatures of any sort to have material things stay on them without being a necklace/collar. The depiction of losing one's outer skin seems to lend itself to the idea that material things won't be found on a werewolf or others of that ilk.

Animagi by the very nature of the magical principle are casting a spell upon themselves, and the items upon their beings, namely glasses, wands(which upon one's person somewhere), rings, etc. The fur of animagi could quite possibly be the magical "fur" or "scales" representing their clothing. Remember, Pettigrew transformed and he still had clothing, although it was the worse for wear.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 15th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the PoA movie actually demonstrates the difference. The Animagi (Peter and Sirius) are shown transforming with clothes, whereas Lupin's clothes tear off during his transformation.

I think the difference is coz the Animagus transformation is a voluntary magical controlled change, whereas lycantrophy is a disease.

Though in the movie, Peter does use Lupin's wand to return to rat form before escaping. That may be coz he is a weaker wizard than the other animagi.
23 comments or Leave a comment