Polyjuice Potion
Potion information

Allows a human drinker to assume the form of another person

Side effects

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


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


Known ingredients
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 over Little Whinging[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. It 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's investigation of the Chamber of Secrets in their second 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 over Little Whinging, and in Harry, Ron, and Hermione's Infiltration of the Ministry of Magic and their break-in of Gringotts Wizarding Bank in 1998.


  1. 12 lacewing flies that have been stewed for 21 days[2][3]
  2. 1 ounce of crude Antimony[3]
  3. 4 leeches that have been "unsucculated"[2][3] (possibly meaning their suckers have been removed)
  4. 16 scruples of fluxweed that were picked at full moon[2][3]
  5. 3 drachms of pulverised Sal Ammoniac[3]
  6. Pulverised blades of knotgrass[2][3]
  7. 1 pinch of powdered horn of a Bicorn that has been "lunar extracted"[2][3] (possibly meaning that, like the fluxweed, its collection time coincided with certain lunar conditions)
  8. Filings and rasplings of Saltpeter, Mercury and Mars[3] ("filings of Mars" may mean iron filings, as the symbol for the planet Mars, ♂, is also used to signify the element of iron[4] )
  9. Shredded dried skin of a Boomslang[2][3]
  10. Extract of The-Transfigured-Being-To-Be[2][3] (which means a piece of the person one wants to change into, typically hair)

Most of the ingredients are available in the students' cupboard at Hogwarts, although some of them are only available in Severus Snape's private stores.[2] It takes at least one month to brew properly.


"“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 over Little Whinging[src]
File:Polyjuice potion.jpeg

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[5], whereas Gregory Goyle's tasted like "overcooked cabbage"[2] and "looked like bogies"[5], Bellatrix Lestrange's tasted "disgusting, worse than Gurdyroots" and Mafalda Hopkirk's was a pleasant heliotrope colour[5]. It is likely that the taste differs from potion to potion.


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? ...Oopss ...Just trying to defuse the tension."
Alastor Moody and Fred Weasley before the Battle over Little Whinging[src]
File:Polyjuice Potion.JPG

The effects of a single dose last for an hour, however the larger the dose the longer the effects last as seen in 1997 and 1998 when Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger repeatedly take large doses of Polyjuice potion to facilitate them on the Horcrux hunt.

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.[6]

Polyjuice can be used by a person to transform into someone of the opposite gender.[5] 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.[6] In addition, congenital conditions of the person will apparently be replicated, as Hermione Granger required spectacles to see clearly after turning into Harry Potter.[5]

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]

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.[7] 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.[5] 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 usesEdit

Search for the Heir of SlytherinEdit

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]
File:CS C12.jpg

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.Edit

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.

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. Crouch was eventually exposed.

Plot against DumbledoreEdit

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 PottersEdit

"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.[5]

Infiltration of the Ministry and Gringotts Break-InEdit

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.

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.[5] 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 transformationsEdit

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[5]. To get into the Slytherin common room to spy on Draco Malfoy.
Ron Weasley Vincent Crabbe 1992


The potion was the colour of murky brown. 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.
Barty Crouch Jr. Alastor Moody 1994-1995[6] To infiltrate Hogwarts.
Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle Numerous disguises 1996-1997[8] 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[5]. 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[5].
Harry Potter Albert Runcorn 2 September, 1997[5] 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"[5]. To get in the Ministry of Magic without the use of an invisibility cloak.
Ron Weasley Reginald Cattermole 2 September, 1997[5] To get in the Ministry of Magic without the use of an invisibility cloak.
Hermione Granger Muggle woman December 24th, 1997[5] To safely navigate Godric's Hollow.
Harry Potter Muggle man December 24th, 1997[5] To safely navigate Godric's Hollow.
Hermione Granger Bellatrix Lestrange May 1st, 1998 The potion tasted "disgusting, worse than Gurdyroots"[5]. Used to access the Lestranges' vault in Gringotts.

Behind the scenesEdit


Notes and referencesEdit

Potions (class)
Professors: Vindictus Viridian · Severus Snape · Horace Slughorn
Textbooks: Magical Draughts and Potions · One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi · Advanced Potion-Making · Moste Potente Potions
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 Starky · J. Pippin · Laverne de Montmorency · Libatius Borage · Regulus Moonshine · Rubens Winikus · Sacharissa Tugwood · Tilden Toots · Dr. Ubbly
Potions Studied: Boil-Cure Potion · Forgetfulness Potion · Hair-Raising Potion · Shrinking Solution · 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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