The potion was capable of mimicking the physical appearance of another person completely, and the effect of the potion would remain for an hour, after which the original features of the person would start to reappear. Preparing the Polyjuice Potion was considered one of the most complicated procedures in potion making. It was believed that even highly skilled wizards and witches would have difficulty brewing this potion accurately despite being highly skilled in magic.
It was a two-part process and required a month to be drinkable after preparation. The Polyjuice potion recipe had a long list of ingredients ranging from boomslang skin to a part of that individual whose disguise one was to ‘wear.’ It had the appearance of dark mud with a bubbling effect before its final ingredient, a part of the individual to imitate, was added. After that, it changed color depending on who the potion was meant to be off. It was used to great effect by Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to quiz Draco about the Heir of Slytherin.
It is believed that “Polyjuice” probably comes from the Greek “poly” meaning many, and juice, which probably stands for the liquids used in making this potion.
What Exactly Was Polyjuice Potion Made From?
The recipe for making the Polyjuice Potion was available in a book called Moste Potente Potions, which was hidden in the restricted section of the Hogwarts Library. The procedure for making the potion was divided into two parts. The first part of making the potion had four essential ingredients – Fluxweed, Leeches, Lacewing flies, and Knotgrass. The second part of making the Polyjuice potion involved ingredients like the horn of a Bicorn and Boomslang skin. Furthermore, the concoction also needed the addition of some body part of that person, which usually included hair, dandruff, or even toenail clippings.
How Could It Be Made?
The process of making the potion was very complex, and some individual ingredients took a long time to be procured, even before the process of making the potion. Three units of Fluxweed and two Knotgrass bundles were added into a cauldron, after which the mixture was stirred clockwise four times. After this, the wand is waved at the cauldron for the potion to brew till a stipulated time. Then four leeches and two measures of crushed Lacewing flies are added to the cauldron, and this concoction is heated for 30 seconds, and the wand is waved at the cauldron to ensure completion of the first part of this process.
The second part of this process involves adding three measures of Boomslang skin and one measure of the crushed Bicorn horn into the cauldron and heating this concoction for 20 seconds at a high temperature. The wand is waved for the potion to brew for 24 hours. Then, a scoop of extra lacewings is added to the cauldron, after which one is to stir the concoction three times anti-clockwise. Finally, the part of the person one wants to disguise themselves as, also known as their essence, is added, and the wand is waved to achieve completion of the potion-making process.
The Effects Of Polyjuice Potion
The drinker of the Polyjuice Potion would undergo a sudden transformation from their original appearance to the person they wanted to look like. The books mention the drinking of the potion being a very strange experience where the drinker feels like their insides are writhing with snakes. Polyjuice Potion displayed the ability of mutability of the body and also caused a person to shift through the idea of duality as they changed form. Depending on how well the potion was made, it could last from ten minutes to twelve hours. It is believed that while the potion could be used to transform oneself into a person of different sex, it was still not possible to transform into half-breed beings or for half-breed beings to transform into humans.
It was believed that the potion made to impersonate good-natured people tasted and looked very pleasant while that of terrible people looked and smelled bad. For instance, Gregory Goyle’s potion looked like bogies and tasted like overcooked cabbage. There are several other possibilities of tastes that different people’s potions were like including vodka, lime sherbet, and even ginger ale.
Appearances in the Harry Potter Universe
The first appearance of this potion was in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Hermione Granger decided to brew the potion before Christmas so that the trio could go into the Slytherin dormitory and ask Draco about the Heir of Slytherin. Hermione, being one of the most skilled witches, managed to brew this complicated potion. She did it in the abandoned girls’ bathroom. Eventually, Harry and Ron were able to look exactly like Crabbe and Goyle, but Hermione accidentally drank the potion after adding cat hair and, therefore, couldn’t go with them to the Slytherin dormitory.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Barty Crouch Jr. disguises himself as Mad-Eye Moody throughout the book and uses Polyjuice Potion to do so. He is only caught at the end of the book when he almost tries to kill Harry Potter.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco Malfoy uses it to disguise Crabbe and Goyle as Slytherin girls during a Quidditch match so that they could be lookouts for him when he is in the Room of Requirement. He tries to mend the Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement and eventually succeeds, which is how he smuggles Death Eaters into Hogwarts.
But nowhere in the entire series is it used as much as in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It is used very early in the book by the members of the Order of the Phoenix at Privet Drive to make six others look like Harry, thereby giving him protection during the Battle of the Seven Potters. It is later used by Harry to keep a low profile as Barny Weasley at Bill and Fleur’s wedding.
Eventually, it is used by the trio to infiltrate the Ministry in search of a Horcrux which is in possession of Dolores Umbridge. They disguise themselves as Ministry officials Albert Runcorn, Mafalda Hopkirk, and Reginald Cattermole.
They once again use it to break into Gringotts to get another Horcrux, Helga Hufflepuff’s cup from Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault in Gringotts. Hermione uses the Polyjuice Potion to transform herself into Bellatrix Lestrange.
Differences between Transfiguration and Drinking the Polyjuice Potion
The process of transfiguration and drinking the Polyjuice Potion have similar effects. They both involve changing one’s appearance in order to look like someone or something else. However, they are very different from each other. Primarily, transfiguration requires a lot of practice and skill for a wizard or witch to transform themselves into something or someone. However, the Polyjuice Potion could be taken by anyone as long as there is someone to make it. Furthermore, the effects of transfiguration are far more permanent unless reverted back through magic, unlike the Polyjuice Potion, which needs to be constantly taken to prevent going back to the normal form.
Who did Hermione, Ron and Harry turn into to infiltrate the Ministry?
Hermione, Ron and Harry had to infiltrate the Ministry to retrieve the Slytherin Locket that was a Horcrux made by Voldemort. Hermione brewed the Polyjuice Potion and eventually, they decided to turn into Ministry officials. Hermione turned into Mafalda Hopkirk, Ron turned into Reginald Cattermole and Harry turned into Albert Runcorn.
What is in the Polyjuice Potion?
Polyjuice Potion consists of several ingredients. It is made in two different parts. The first part consists of four essential ingredients which are Leeches, Lacewing flies, Fluxweed and Knotgrass. The second part of the potion-making process requires the horn of a Bicorn and Boomslang skin. It finally also requires a part of the person that one is turning into.
Who did Harry turn into with the Polyjuice Potion?
Harry turned into several different people using the Polyjuice Potion in the entire series. Harry first turned into Vincent Crabbe in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he turned into Cousin Barny Weasley, a fictional cousin set up by the Weasleys after taking a hair from a muggle boy in a nearby village to prevent Harry from being recognized at Bill and Fleur’s wedding. Harry finally turned into Albert Runcorn, a Ministry official, when he had to infiltrate the Ministry with Ron and Hermione.