How can Harry Potter... (spoilers)

Spoilers, I said, spoilers! Jeez. Get out. And wipe your feet.

I was reading Order of the Phoenix the other day and I encountered the passage

where I made a realization about something unusual and I’d never really been curious about it before. Hey, you’re reading the spoilers, aren’t you? Shame on you. No peeking!

Seriously, now.

At the beginning of OotP, Harry is introduced to Nymphadora Tonks, who is a Metamorphimagus. Or something. Harry asked if this skill can be learned, and she laughs: “You’ll have to learn it the hard way. Metamorphimagi are born, not made.” She points out that most wizards cannot change themselves without a wand or a potion.

Most of Tonks’ transformations involve changing the color and style of her hair.

But Harry

has already shown in the very first book that he can change his hair. When Aunt Petunia cut his hair, it grew back overnight! What does this mean? Is Harry a Metamorphimagus? Or is that what it’s called? And why are you still reading these spoilers, you cheater? :slight_smile:

Okay, point two. Also in OotP, during the dementor attack in Little Whinging, Harry is able to cast the spell lumos

while his hand isn’t touching his wand. The spell ignites the wand several inches from his hand. What’s this all about? Are all wizards capable of doing this? Is this something Rowling is saving up for later? When do wizards really need wands, anyway?

In the very first book, Hagrid asks if Harry had ever done anything strange when he was angry or frightened: and he had. He vanished the glass in the boa constrictor cage, he jumped upon the roof of his school, he shrank an ugly sweater, he puffed his uncle’s sister up like a balloon.

What’s the significance of being able to perform magic without a wand? Why can Harry do this, and can other wizards do this as well?

Oh, and don’t bother with the spoiler boxes. I think we frightened away the faint of heart by now.

As for your first question, he’s not really changing himself, he’s just re-asserting himself. And puberty probably has a lot to do with it :wink:

Well for the first one, it’s commonly accepted that was just Harry’s magical abilities showing themselves for the first time, Neville remeber was dropped on his head the first time he showed wizarding ability, and he didn’t have a wand.
Also I think JK has said herself that the wand is to just focus the magic, you can still do wandless magic.

If Harry turned out to be a metamorphagus think how much that would suck, he’s already a parsel-tongue(sp?), The Boy Who Lived, etc. He’s damn special already I don’t want Harry to be too powerful.

The magic-without-wands thing seems pretty harmless, yeah. It just caught my eye when I read it again. I must have missed it before.

Rowling has already said, I believe, that Harry will not be an Animagus. I can’t decide (potential plot-wise) if making Harry a Metamorphamagus would make the plots more interesting, or less. It certainly seems like it would enlarge Harry’s overall bag of tricks so we won’t continue to see him using his dad’s Invisibility Cloak for another 2000 pages. But it might open too many opportunities and make things too easy.

I dunno, just thought I’d mention it.

re: look ma, no wand!

I think that most (all?) wizards are able to perform some very rudimentary magic without their wands. The wand focuses and directs their magic force (or whatever it is that separates a wizard from a muggle), making them much more powerful. The result is that even without a wand or gadgets, a wizard can do things a muggle can’t, and even with a wand, a muggle still can’t cast spells.

[hijack] Along the lines of “how can this be done,” something’s been bugging me since Book 2. If no one can apparate or disapparate onto the grounds at Hogwarts, how is Dobby doing it? [/hijack]

You may return to your regularly scheduled thread.

A technicality, but it probably has to do with his being a house elf. Don’t know if any Death Eaters would think of exploiting this little loophole.

I’ve run across the Harry-is-a-Metamorphagus theory on a couple of other boards, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot of evidence to support it. Growing hair isn’t really on par with being able to change your entire appearance.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if someone closely related to Tonks also turns out to be a Metamorphagus, and perhaps have had a secret identity all along (my money is on Regulus Black, since nobody has actually seen a corpse, but Bellatrix, Draco, or Narcissa would certainly add some interesting wrinkles to the story line!)

And it’s pretty strongly implied in the first book that all young wizards do the occasional bit of random wandless magic (e.g. Neville bounces after his great-uncle drops him out of the window), and that’s usually how they find out they’re wizards in the first place.

Just out of curiosity, from a guy who’s seen the first two movies but hasn’t read the books, is there anything to this “I shouldn’t have said that” stuff that Hagrid used repeatedly in the first film and Dobby used at least once in the second film, typically after dropping some bit of expository dialogue that gives Harry and his buddies some vital clue? If these bits are in the books, is it just poor deus ex machina writing or does Harry have some ability to make people tell him things?

Hagrid does have the tendency to say more than he should, and the kids do find it rather easy to wrangle information from him most of the time. But the “I shouldn’t have said that” line was added by the scriptwriter.

When he really works at it, as seen in books four and five, Hagrid can keep a secret. Even from Harry.

And there are plenty of scenes in the books during which vital information is kept from Harry by various people. So there’s not much evidence that he has any special powers in this regard.