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Polyjuice Potion Vials
Polyjuice Potion
Potion information
Effect

Allows a human drinker to temporarily assume the form of another person

Side effects

Attempts to transform into animals or part-humans will not reverse automatically

Characteristics

Before addition of final ingredient:

  • Thick and mud-like
  • Bubbles slowly

After addition of final ingredient:

  • Taste and colour vary depending on the person being turned into
Brewing time

One month

Difficulty level

Advanced

Known ingredients
"Immediately, his insides started writhing as though he'd just swallowed live snakes -- doubled up, he wondered whether he was going to be sick -- then a burning sensation spread rapidly form his stomach to the very ends of his fingers and toes -- next, bringing him gasping to all fours, came to a horrible melting feeling, as the skin all over his body bubbled like hot wax -- and before their eyes, his hands began to grow, the fingers thickened, the knuckles were bulging like bolts -- his shoulders stretched painfully and a prickling on his forehead told him that his hair was creeping down toward his eyebrows -- his robes ripped as his chest expanded like a barrel bursting its hoops -- his feet were agony in shoes four sizes too small --"
—Description of the feeling of drinking Polyjuice Potion from the point of view of Harry Potter turning into Gregory Goyle[src]

Polyjuice Potion is a very complicated potion that allows the drinker to assume the form of someone else. While it can account for both age and gender, Polyjuice Potion cannot be used for a human to take an animal form or for a half-breed to assume human form.

Noticeably, the Polyjuice Potion was used many times in the events leading up to, and during, the Second Wizarding War (and possibly the First Wizarding War, although there are no documented instances of it). The potion also played a crucial role in Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley in their second and fifth year. It was also used in Draco Malfoy's plot to smuggle Death Eaters into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1997, in the Battle of the Seven Potters, and in Harry, Ron and Hermione's Infiltration of the Ministry of Magic and their break-in of Gringotts Wizarding Bank in 1998.

Polyjuice Potion is among the products sold by the Apothecarium of Horace E. F. Slughorn.

Recipe

Preparation

Independent of its actual brewing process, the Polyjuice Potion requires a good deal of preparation prior to making it. For example, the lacewing flies must be stewed for twenty-one days prior to making the potion, and only fluxweed picked at the full moon is acceptable. The total process takes approximately one month to complete.

Part 1

  1. Add three measures of fluxweed to the cauldron.
  2. Add two bundles of knotgrass to the cauldron.
  3. Stir three times, clockwise.
  4. Wave your wand then let potion brew for eighty minutes (for a Pewter Cauldron. A Brass Cauldron will only require sixty-eight, and a copper one only sixty.)
  5. Add four leeches to the cauldron.
  6. Add two scoops of lacewing flies to the mortar, crush to a fine powder, then add two measures of the crushed lacewings to the cauldron.
  7. Heat for thirty seconds on a low heat.
  8. Wave your wand to complete this stage of the potion.

Part 2

Anytime after brewing the first stage above, make the following additions:

  1. Add three measures of boomslang skin to the cauldron.
  2. Add one measure of bicorn horn to the mortar, crush to a fine powder, then add one measure of the crushed horn to the cauldron.
  3. Heat for twenty seconds at a high temperature.
  4. Wave your wand then let potion brew for twenty-four hours (for a Pewter Cauldron. A Brass Cauldron will only require 1224 minutes, and a copper one only eighteen hours.)
  5. Add one additional scoop of lacewings to the cauldron.
  6. Stir three times, counter-clockwise.
  7. Split potion into multiple doses, if desired, then add the pieces of the person you wish to become.
  8. Wave your wand to complete the potion.[1]

Appearance

"“Ooh, you look much tastier than Crabbe and Goyle, Harry,” said Hermione, before catching sight of Ron’s raised eyebrows, blushing slightly, and saying, “Oh, you know what I mean – Goyle’s potion looked like bogies.”"
—Before Hermione Granger took on Harry's appearance for the Battle of the Seven Potters[src]
Polyjuice potion

Harry, Ron, and Hermione drinking Polyjuice Potion in their second year.

A piece of the person who is to be imitated — usually hair — is needed for the transformation. Before this final ingredient is added, Polyjuice looks like thick, dark mud that bubbles slowly. When the piece of the person to be imitated is added, however, the potion changes colour; it seems to react according to the nature of the person to be imitated, once even described as the 'essence' of the person.[2] Good-hearted people result in more attractive colours and tastes, while mean people cause the opposite effect. Harry Potter's was a pure golden colour[3], whereas Gregory Goyle's tasted like "overcooked cabbage"[2] and "looked like bogies"[3], Bellatrix Lestrange's tasted "disgusting, worse than Gurdyroots" and Mafalda Hopkirk's was a pleasant heliotrope colour[3]. It is likely that the taste differs from potion to potion.

Effects

Mad-Eye Moody: "For those of you who haven't taken Polyjuice Potion before, fair warning. It tastes like goblin piss."
Fred: "Have a lot of experience with that, do you, Mad-Eye? ...Just trying to defuse the tension."
Alastor Moody and Fred Weasley before the Battle of the Seven Potters[src]
Polyjuice Potion

Instructions on how to make the Polyjuice Potion seen in Moste Potente Potions.

The effects of a single dose last anywhere from ten minutes to twelve hours, depending on how well the potion has been brewed.[4]

If a person dies while under Polyjuice Potion, as Mrs. Crouch did, then they will retain the form of whoever they have transformed into, rather than reverting back to their original shape.[5]

Polyjuice can be used by a person to transform into someone of the opposite gender.[3] It appears to adapt to account for the age of the person being turned into, as well as any injuries they have acquired, as Barty Crouch, Jr. needed a magical eye and wooden leg when he used the potion to turn into Alastor Moody.[5] In addition, congenital conditions of the person will apparently be replicated, as Hermione Granger required spectacles to see clearly after turning into Harry Potter.[3]

Hermione

Hermione suffers from partial cross-species transfiguration due to including cat hair in her potion.

The potion is complicated and can go awry. For example, when Hermione brewed Polyjuice in her second year, she intended to take the form of Millicent Bulstrode, but she mistook a cat's hair for Millicent's. The resulting potion caused Hermione to partially transform into a cat. As the Polyjuice Potion cannot be used to successfully transform into an animal, Hermione's change did not reverse after an hour. She went to the hospital wing and did not recover until after the winter holidays.[2]

Remus Lupin: "I'm sorry Harry, but I had to check. We've been betrayed. Voldemort knew that you were being moved tonight and the only people who could have told him were directly involved in the plan. You might have been an impostor."
Rubeus Hagrid: "So why aren't you checkin' me?"
Remus Lupin: "You're half-giant, Hagrid. The Polyjuice Potion is designed for human use only."
Remus Lupin while checking Harry Potter after the Battle of the Seven Potters[src]
Likewise, the potion cannot be used by a non-human or half-breed individual to turn into a human, as Remus Lupin informed the half-giant Rubeus Hagrid.[6] However, it seems that individuals whose non-human ancestry is less than half can successfully use Polyjuice, as quarter-Veela witch Fleur Delacour transformed into Harry Potter in 1997.[3] However, it is also possible Lupin meant that a person cannot transform into a half-breed using Polyjuice Potion, but half-breeds themselves can.

Known uses

Search for the Heir of Slytherin

3748

Hermione brews Polyjuice Potion in the second-floor girls' lavatory in 1992.

Harry: "Look at his family. The whole lot of them have been in Slytherin, he’s always boasting about it. They could easily be Slytherin’s descendants… But how do we prove it?"
Hermione: "There might be a way. Of course, it would be difficult. And dangerous, very dangerous. We’d be breaking about fifty school rules, I expect… What we’d need to do is to get inside the Slytherin common room and ask Malfoy a few questions without him realizing it’s us."
Harry: "But that’s impossible."
Hermione: "No, it’s not. All we’d need would be some Polyjuice Potion..."
— Harry, Hermione and Ron planning[src]
CS C12

Harry Potter turning into Gregory Goyle.

In their second year, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger came to suspect that Draco Malfoy was the Heir of Slytherin. To investigate this, Hermione suggested the use of Polyjuice Potion to enable them to take on the form of Slytherin students and question Malfoy. Masterminding the effort, Hermione obtained the advanced potion's recipe (by getting Professor Lockhart to sign a note authorizing her to borrow the book Moste Potente Potions from the library's Restricted Section), pilfered two of the rarer ingredients from Snape's cupboards, and undertook the complex and lengthy brewing of the base Polyjuice Potion. She also directed how the trio were to acquire the final ingredients - hair from their targets - as well as clothing to complete the disguise. Ultimately, however, though Harry and Ron successfully assumed the appearances of Goyle and Crabbe respectively, Hermione's own attempt to take on the guise of Millicent Bulstrode went awry when Hermione used a cat hair that she had mistaken for Millicent's.[2]

Barty Crouch Jr.

When Barty Crouch Jr. was sent to Azkaban for life by his father, his mother requested that her husband allow her to switch places to save their son. The switch was made with Mrs. Crouch and Barty Jr. each taking a dose of Polyjuice Potion with each other's hair. Mrs. Crouch was careful in drinking her remaining of the potion, until she died, so she could keep the prisoners fooled by maintaining her false appearance.

Seamus Finnigan: "What's that he's drinking, do you suppose?"
Harry Potter: "I don't know, but I don't think it's pumpkin juice."
— Harry and Seamus when they see Crouch drinking from the hip flask.[src]

Between September of 1994 and June of 1995, Barty Crouch Jr. used Polyjuice Potion to take on the appearance of Alastor Moody, Hogwarts' new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, in order to enter Harry Potter into the Triwizard Tournament as part of Lord Voldemort's plot to return to power. Throughout the year, Crouch stole the potion's ingredients from Severus Snape's cupboards, leading Snape to suspect that Harry himself was behind the theft; he drank the potion periodically from Alastor Moody's hip flask, to prevent suspicions. Later that year, when Crouch cornered Harry, he forgot to take the potion in excitement (ran out in the film version), and was eventually exposed.

Plot against Dumbledore

After Horace Slughorn showed a cauldron of the Polyjuice Potion to his first N.E.W.T. Potions class, Draco Malfoy stole some, and forced Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe to use it continuously throughout the 1996–1997 school year. They would stand watch outside the Room of Requirement disguised as young girls, while Malfoy repaired a Vanishing Cabinet inside, as part of his assignment to assassinate Albus Dumbledore and let Death Eaters into Hogwarts. Draco also imperioused Madam Rosemerta and Katie Bell so that they would help kill Dumbledore.

Battle of the Seven Potters

7-potters

Harry and his six decoys before the Battle of the Seven Potters.

"Fourteen of us won’t be flying to Tonks’s parents. There will be seven Harry Potters moving through the skies tonight, each of them with a companion, each pair heading for a different safe house."
Alastor Moody on the plan to move Harry to safety in 1997[src]

The Order of the Phoenix made use of Polyjuice in 1997 in order to safely remove Harry Potter from 4 Privet Drive before his seventeenth birthday. Six people — Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Fleur Delacour, Fred and George Weasley, and Mundungus Fletcher — impersonated Harry in order to act as diversions when they were ambushed by Death Eaters. Soon after, Harry himself used it to disguise himself as "Barny Weasley" at Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding.[3]

Infiltration of the Ministry and Gringotts Break-in

Infiltration

From left to right: Hermione Granger (disguised as Mafalda Hopkirk), Harry Potter (disguised as Albert Runcorn), and Ron Weasley (disguised as Reginald Cattermole)

The trio used Polyjuice that they stole from Moody to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic to search for Salazar Slytherin's Locket in September of 1997. Harry, Ron and Hermione disguised themselves as Albert Runcorn, Reginald Cattermole, and Mafalda Hopkirk, respectively.
Bellatrix in Gringotts

Hermione using Polyjuice to impersonate Bellatrix at Gringotts

The following year, Hermione used the remaining Polyjuice Potion again as part of the trio's plan to break in to Gringotts in order to retrieve Helga Hufflepuff's Cup from the Lestrange Vault. Using a strand of Bellatrix Lestrange's hair that had fallen on her sweater while Bellatrix interrogated her at Malfoy Manor, Hermione assumed her form.[3] However, there wasn't enough, so Ron had to simply use cosmetic design to disguise himself. The effects of the potion were washed away by the Thief's Downfall at the bank.

The lack of suspicion in anyone in all these incidents leads one to the understanding that Polyjuice Potion is very uncommon. Granted, Severus Snape knew someone was stealing the ingredients from his cupboards and suspected Harry Potter, but that is more indicative of Snape's eagerness to blame Harry for anything than any actual guilt.

List of Polyjuice transformations

Disguised individual Assumed identity Date Flavour/Appearance Reason
Barty Crouch Jr. Mrs. Crouch 1982 To switch places with his mother.
Mrs. Crouch Barty Crouch Jr. 1982 To switch places with her son.
Harry Potter Gregory Goyle 1992 The potion tasted like "overcooked cabbage" to Harry[2] and looked like "bogies", according to Hermione[3]. To get into the Slytherin common room to spy on Draco Malfoy.
Ron Weasley Vincent Crabbe 1992

[2]

The potion was the colour of murky brown. Tasted like bogies. To get into the Slytherin common room to spy on Draco Malfoy.
Hermione Granger Humanoid cat 1992 It turned a sick sort of yellow.[2] To get into the Slytherin common room to spy on Draco Malfoy, but the hair sample Hermione obtained belonged to Millicent Bulstrode's cat instead of Millicent Bulstrode herself.
Harry Potter Lord Voldemort January 7, 1995[5] The potion looked like "muggle urine and dragon earwax"
Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle Numerous disguises 1996-1997[7] To keep lookout for Draco Malfoy while he worked on fixing the vanishing cabinet inside the Room of Requirement.
Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Mundungus Fletcher, Fleur Delacour, Fred Weasley and George Weasley Harry Potter 27 July, 1997 The potion was a "clear, bright gold" in colour and appeared "much tastier" than both Crabbe's and Goyle's[3]. To transport Harry Potter safely from 4 Privet Drive to The Burrow.
Harry Potter A red-haired Muggle boy 1 August, 1997 As a disguise at the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour[3].
Harry Potter Albert Runcorn 2 September, 1997[3] To get in the Ministry of Magic without the use of an invisibility cloak.
Hermione Granger Mafalda Hopkirk 2 September, 1997 The potion was a "pleasant heliotrope colour"[3]. To get in the Ministry of Magic without the use of an invisibility cloak.
Ron Weasley Reginald Cattermole 2 September, 1997[3] To get in the Ministry of Magic without the use of an invisibility cloak.
Hermione Granger Muggle woman December 24th, 1997[3] To safely navigate Godric's Hollow.
Harry Potter Muggle man December 24th, 1997[3] To safely navigate Godric's Hollow.
Hermione Granger Bellatrix Lestrange May 1st, 1998 The potion tasted "disgusting, worse than Gurdyroots"[3]. Used to access the Lestranges' vault in Gringotts.

Behind the scenes

  • The various adaptations of the series add multiple ingredients not present in the canonical potion recipe, such as Sal Ammoniac, Mercury and Mars, cherries and even urine.
  • In the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Polyjuice Potion does not cause the drinker's voice to change as well as their appearance. This was most likely done to avoid confusing the audience due to the change in appearance. However, Barty Crouch Jr.'s voice does change to Moody's in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film). However, it is possible he could have just been imitating Moody's voice or there was no need to make this change since the fake Moody was not exposed as Crouch Jr. until the end of the film. It does say, however, in the Chamber of Secrets book, that Harry, Ron and Hermione's voices changed after taking it. It also seemed like it was very painful when Crouch changed back.
  • The name "Polyjuice" probably comes from the Greek poly, meaning "many". This is supported by the fact that in the Spanish translations, it is called "multijugos," literally "multi juice."
  • In the PlayStation 2 and Xbox video game adaptations of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Draco Malfoy uses the potion to turn into Ron to trick Harry into following him into a trap while trying to find Sirius Black.
  • In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Polyjuice Potion is used to turn into any playable character you have unlocked (e.g. if you needed to get into the Slytherin Common Room, you could use Polyjuice to turn into Voldemort, Marcus Flint, or any other Slytherin). It cannot use the potion until the player has completed the third level of The Chamber Of Secrets, "Crabbe and Goyle." Ingredients to make the potion include hair, two cherries, and a green apple. The potion is found rarely throughout the main-story line, but is often found in and around Hogwarts and in Bonus Levels. You know it is a Polyjuice Cauldron because they are the only potion's cauldron that is gold. Outside of Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions is one that you do not have to make. This cauldron is here so that the player can test out characters that they have created and/or purchased.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, before the Battle of the Seven Potters, Alastor Moody warns the people taking the potion that it tastes like, "goblin piss".
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry and Hermione do not disguise themselves with Polyjuice Potion for their trip to Godric's Hollow on 24 December, 1997.
  • In the films, Polyjuice Potion does not appear to have a different taste depending on the person they are changing into, as they are all depicted as tasting disgusting.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry does not use the Polyjuice Potion to change into a red haired Muggle boy for Bill and Fleur's wedding, he stays himself.
  • Considering its difficulty of brewing and overall rareness of its ingredients, Polyjuice Potion is used and mention quite a few times. The Trio uses it numerous times, particularly in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as do members of the Order of the Phoenix. By the end of the series, almost every single main or supporting character has used it at least once.
  • While previous evidence seemed to suggest that the effects of a single dose last for an hour or longer if a larger dose is used, Pottermore indicates that the length of the effect is based entirely on the quality of brewing.[4]
  • Primum ens Melissae is created during the process of brewing this potion.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ron comments "I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo" after transforming into Harry and observing his bare chest, suggesting that the Polyjuice Potion is capable of replicating cosmetic changes made to a person's body. It is possible, however, that Ron was simply being facetious.

Appearances

Notes and references


Potions (class)
Books chapterart hbp 09
Professors: 16th century Professor · Vindictus Veridian · Severus Snape · Horace Slughorn
Textbooks: Magical Drafts and Potions · One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi · Advanced Potion-Making · Moste Potente Potions · A Collection of Above Three Hundred Receipts in Cookery, Physick, and Surgery
Potions at Hogwarts: Potions Classroom · Potions Staircase · Potions basement · Potions Club · Potion Master's office · Potion Master's storeroom · Dungeon Five · Cauldron cupboard
Potioneers: Arsenius Jigger · Damocles · Glover Hipworth · Golpalott · Gregory the Smarmy · Gunhilda of Gorsemoor · Hector Dagworth-Granger · Hesper Starkey · J. Pippin · Laverne de Montmorency · Libatius Borage · Regulus Moonshine · Rubens Winikus · Sacharissa Tugwood · Tilden Toots · Dr. Ubbly · Zygmunt Budge
Potions Studied: Boil-Cure Potion · Forgetfulness Potion · Hair-Raising Potion · Shrinking Solution · Undetectable Poisons · Wiggenweld Potion · Girding Potion · Antidotes · Strengthening Solution · Everlasting Elixirs · Felix Felicis · Draught of Living Death · Amortentia · Elixir to Induce Euphoria · Hiccoughing Solution · Poison Antidote · Swelling Solution · Draught of Peace · Wit-Sharpening Potion · Polyjuice Potion



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