Author Topic:  magical portraits, chocolate frogs, and newspaper  (Read 502 times)

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94 Posts 32 CST (GMT-6)
magical portraits, chocolate frogs, and newspaper
« on: March 25, 2023, 11:41:52 AM »
Ok, so my mindless musings have led me to a question that I need community help to figure out. We all know portraits are sentient and able to travel between their own frames if there are two portraits of them in two different places. We also know that portraits can travel in the same building or space by moving via adjacent frames. Does this only function in this way if someone is dead? I don't know that we see a portrait of anyone living in the books, the only new portrait we see (I believe) being Dumbledore and that is clearly after he dies. Are there living portraits of people who are still around?

This leads me to number two, the portraits have sentience, they speak, they know and remember things. IF, and really only if, the portrait can be around while someone is alive, does the person who is alive have the knowledge of the conversation that their portrait had with someone else?

Related side question - wizarding cards and wizarding photographs seem to function similarly to portraits. The moving photo quality, but they dont seem to have sentience, and the card travelling away when Harry looks back down at it again. Can they only visit other places that are of the same media? Do they have the same or a limited version of sentience that they would if they were a portrait? What about newsprint, it obviously moves, but does it have any ability to see, hear, think, anything like that?

Thank you for humoring me with my mindless musings. Potter on everyone!

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Re: magical portraits, chocolate frogs, and newspaper
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2023, 06:32:48 PM »
i know the hp wiki isn't the most reliable, but most of the sources for this article are from pottermore, so i give it a little more weight. i don't particularly trust any info derived from the hp games, for example.

"The portrait would be able to use some of the subject's favourite phrases and imitate their general demeanour based on how the subject appeared to the painter; however, they were limited in what they could say or do."

as giovanna is a magical portrait restorer i imagined her dealing primarily with higher quality/more prominent/historical importance portraits so therefore more akin to this:

"A portrait knew little if anything of its subject's life, and therefore could not hold a very interesting conversation about its subject, as they were only representations of the living subjects as seen by the artist.[2] The exception to this was of the portraits of Hogwarts Headmasters, which were kept in a cupboard from the time of their painting, which was usually very old,[1] until the subject died.[2] The Headmaster could therefore teach their portrait to act and speak like them so that they could teach their successors."

so in my opinion yes there are living portraits
no they are not "connected" to the living person other than if they were to talk to one another and reveal information/conversations that way (though i feel like again, depending on the skill of the painter and/or subject, the retention of info might be low)
unsure re: chocolate frogs i just assumed they weren't imbued with speaking-ability charms
and for newsprint, i believe as they are PHOTOS not PAINTINGS, they do not have audio - kind of like black and white silent films is the vibe i always got?

that is my view anyway haha hope that helps, interested to see what others think
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903 Posts 30 🔮 she/her GMT+10
Re: magical portraits, chocolate frogs, and newspaper
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2023, 01:07:14 AM »
i had a character whose mum was a magical portrait painter and in my notes i made it out to be more like... not just anyone would get their portrait painted, you know? i always thought it would be more for the old, rich families, or people in high positions who may want to "impart wisdom" on the next generation, and that they're an imprint of the original subject.

a photograph works in the opposite way because it's meant to be quick and mass-produced. if all the newspaper photographs could travel and think i think it'd be quite disconcerting lmao, you'd never be able to truly dispose of anything printed! expanding on that, cameras/photographs can capture a long series of actions maybe due to the long exposure time of not-as advanced machinery + enchantment? think about how long the photography process took a hundred years ago, with all the posing done in advance to capture a perfectly still moment. maybe magical cameras just eliminated the posing and captures everything from the moment you press the button till the image/images are captured on film.

so yeah, just echoing what laura said + some personal thoughts hahaha

798 Posts 47 she/her GMT played by Carys
Re: magical portraits, chocolate frogs, and newspaper
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2023, 10:11:35 AM »
Wandering in here ridiculously late, but Sam Dickinson paints too, though rather than people he often adds animals to his pictures. While they behave like real animals (and theoretically I suppose if he painted, say, the same cat twice it could wander from one picture to another), they don't actually react to anything around them. This makes me think that there could be different levels of magical portraits, from the ones at Hogwarts which can clearly converse (Fat Lady, Sir Cadogan etc) to the frog cards which move but don't respond to what happens. I imagine anyone with a reasonable level of talent can create a basic magical painting, but it would take someone like Taylor's char's mother to be able to create a speaking interacting portrait.

...not sure I actually added anything but yeah... xD


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