Switching is a sub-branch of Transfiguration and a form of transformation it is the art of magically exchanging physical features between two targets. The only known sub-group of switching is Cross-Species Switches[1].


Switching spells are taught to second or third year students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and wizardry, an entry on Switches can be found in either A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch or Intermediate Transfiguration. Students at Hogwarts should have Switches mastered before their fourth year.

In a students fifth year of education they must sit the Ordinary Wizarding Level (O.W.L.) examinations. On the Transfiguration O.W.L. a student most answer a written question that asks for the definition of a switching spell.


Switching greatly resembles general transformation, but with with two main differences: firstly, the features of the two targets are switched simultaneously; secondly, the change in one of the pair is dependent on a change in the other.

It is hard to gauge the relative difficulty of switches exactly compared to other types of Transfiguration because the exact year in which they are learn is not known. However, Professor McGonagall was impressed when Hermione knew about switches as a first year student but was disappointed in Neville for not being able to perform even simple switches by fourth year. Therefore, students must start learning switches in second, third or (early) fourth year (most likely third), earlier than almost all the other branches of Transfiguration save transformation.


The only known method of switching is through the application of Switching spells.

Known practitioners


Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22 (The Unexpected Task)

Transfiguration (class)
Professors: Albus Dumbledore · Minerva McGonagall
Textbooks: A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration · Intermediate Transfiguration · A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration
Known practitioners: Emeric Switch · Circe · Falco Aesalon · Mirabella Plunkett · Thaddeus Thurkell ·
Transfiguration spells studied at Hogwarts: Chair to cat · Match to needle · Snail to Teapot · Teacup to Rat · Switching Spell · Transforming Spell · Avifors Spell · Felifors Spell · Mice to Snuffboxes · Beetle Buttons · Rabbit Slippers · Vera Verto · Teapot to tortoise · Draconifors Spell · Lapifors Spell · Vanishing Spell · Owl to opera glasses · Guinea fowl to guinea pig · Hedgehog to pincushion · Porcupine to Pin Cushion · Small Child to Rat · Meddling Man to Monkey · Crinus Muto
Branches of Transfiguration: Transformation · Vanishment · Conjuration · Untransfiguration