Quibble of the Week: Is Transfiguration Ethical?

Ever since the additions of the Alohomora! and Academia sections/podcasts to the site, fans have had a great deal to discuss regarding their favorite book series. All the while the MuggleNet Editorials section has been actively following this intelligent discourse, and some of the most thrilling arguments have been featured as the MuggleNet Quibble of the Week.

This week we’d like to do this again, and feature a quibble written in our Alohomora! section by Ali Wood about the ethics of Transfiguration. Read it at this link!

We know the imposter Moody turns Draco Malfoy into a ferret and bounces him around the entrance hall in Goblet of Fire. We can assume that Moody/Crouch was an accomplished enough wizard to complete this transfiguration completely. But did he really turn Malfoy all the way into a ferret, or just turn his body into a ferret? From Malfoy’s fear of Moody and terror after the event, I would conclude that just his body took on a ferret shape…

Is this ethical? Probably not. Though turning objects into other objects, or conjuring or vanishing things may be all well and good, the question of human and animal transfiguration is a tricky one. You could seriously damage a living creature with magic, perhaps even, in a way, kill them. Or are the inanimate objects, such as the slippers made out of bunnies, still possessed with a dormant kind of life?

Truly the implications of animal Transfiguration are quite frightening! But are they as grim as Ali believes? If you transfigure a living object into an inanimate object are you, in actuality, killing it? And could you bring it back to life. . .

To read more great quibbles like this one, or to learn how you can submit one of your very own, head over to the MuggleNet Quibbler Section!