The Philosophy of Harry Potter
"Ron!" said Hermione reproachfully, and she pulled out her wand, muttered "Reparo!" and the glass shards flew back into a single pane and back into the door.
(Ch. 11, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
This strikes me as a philosophically interesting phenomenon. How does the spell know what the repaired state of the window is? There are several possibilities I've considered.
- The glass' natural state is that of a window. It wants to participate in Plato's form of windowpaneness. Reparo sets things back to their Platonic form.
- Isn't the Reparo spell usable for initial creation of window panes as well?
- Time rewind
- The glass reverts to its state from five minutes ago, or perhaps back to right before its last major change of state. Determining a "state" for a shard of glass, however, seems it may require a collective state for all the shards. Perhaps by casting the spell on the shards and they have to go to the last time they all had a change of state at approximately (1) the same time. Targeting specifically a complete set of shards with out affecting anything else is difficult, but perhaps intention-based, similar to the next solution, but on a lower level.
- 1 Approximately the same time is a troubling word. What's a non-arbitrary way of choosing a period? I think the best would be however long it takes to cast the spell.
- Whatever you want
- Hermione clearly intended to have the glass reform the windowpane. Perhaps her "will" is what determined what the spell repaired the shards too. This gives the spell a lot of power though. Could this spell be used to form a pair of glass slippers if that's what she'd preferred? (Perhaps the shards wouldn't have fit together properly. . .)
Magic explained by idealism
Most Harry Potter spells are Latin-based. One notable exception is the "Point Me" spell used by Harry Potter in the maze (HP4, Ch. 31). Do completely non-Romantic languages such as Japanese have different words for the same spells? ('Point' has a Romantic etymology, but 'me' is Anglo-Saxon.)