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Golpalott's Third Law

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"The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."
—Golpalott's Third Law.[src]

Golpalott's Third Law is a law for making antidotes.

The law states: "The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."

Professor Slughorn and Hermione Granger attempt to explain the law in Harry's Sixth Year Potions class, but their explanations are so technical that their meaning escapes most the others in the room, including Harry.

The book Advanced Potion-Making also contains this law, but does not explain it further.

A more simple explanation of the law is as follows:

  • Potions are made of different ingredients mixed together.
  • Poisons are potions, so poisons are also made of different ingredients mixed together.
  • Several poisons can be made with their own ingredients and then be mixed together. This mixture is called a "blended poison." Doing this combines the bad effects of all the poisons into one.
  • For most poisons, there is a potion that can undo the effects of the poison, called an antidote.
  • Like poisons (and all other potions), antidotes are also made of different ingredients mixed together.
  • Since blended poisons are made from different poisons mixed together, it might seem natural to think that the antidote for the blended poison is also made from the antidotes to the different poisons mixed together.
  • This is false.
  • Instead, in order for the blended antidotes to work, all the different antidotes have to be mixed together AND there needs to be an additional ingredient.
  • That one additional ingredient binds all the ingredients in the antidotes together. (How, exactly, this works isn't explained, but Professor Slughorn calls it an "almost alchemical process.")
  • The trick for making an antidote for a blended poison is therefore to find out what all the poisons in the blended poison are, to make the normal antidote for each of those poisons and mix them together, and to add that special ingredient that binds them so they all work simultaneously against all the poisons contained in the blended poison.
  • This means that the antidote for a blended poison will contain more ingredients than the individual antidotes would, or, to put it more technically, "the antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."

Creating an antidote following this law may be quite difficult; Hermione Granger made a half-finished antidote that included fifty-two ingredients, one of them being a chunk of her own hair. The law dictates the protocol for making antidotes for all poisons. In the Potions class during which Professor Slughorn asked the class to make antidotes according to Golpalott's Third Law, Harry (under the directions of the Half-Blood Prince) used a Bezoar. While Slughorn was thrilled with Harry's "cheekiness," he explained that "the Bezoar would act as an antidote for most of the poisons in this room."

Classroom work

At Hogwarts, the Sixth years learn to produce antidotes referring to this law, under the instructions of their Potions master, Horace Slughorn. In the 1996–1997 school year, Hermione Granger "recited this law at top speed," upon being asked about it by the Potions master, Professor Slughorn. While the entire class had trouble with concocting the antidote for the practical portion, Harry Potter daringly used a bezoar as his work, gaining praise from Slughorn.

Appearances

Behind the scenes

  • The existence of this law relates to the concept of synergy, or the idea that a whole product is greater than the sum of its parts. In particular, it brings to mind drug synergy; the combined effect of multiple drugs taken simultaneously is often greater than the effects of taking those same drugs separately.
  • The name of the law suggests that there is probably a Golpalott's First Law and Second Law.
  • This may be derived from Newton's Three Laws of Motion, the most famous being Newton's Third Law.
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