Basically my character is a wizard assassin who shrinks a watermelon down into the size of a grape. He slips it in with his target's bowl of grapes. After the watermelon gets to the stomach our assassin friend expands the watermelon to its full size.

What happens to the target?

  • $\begingroup$ What is the full size? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ 11 inches and 24 pounds average watermelon sized $\endgroup$
    – WindWelder
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 20:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ lingering painful death, rupturing the digestive system into hte body cavity does not end well. dumping stomach acid onto internal organs will not feel good either. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ Depends. Does the person grow larger at the same rate? ;-) $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ Out of curiosity, why not just slip in a poisoned grape? $\endgroup$
    – Priska
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 1:11

1 Answer 1


The target dies painfully, unless it's an incredibly obese person.

If it's an obese person, they're still in an incredible amount of pain, but might not die.

Things expanding within a person's stomach falls under the category of 'things you never want happening to you'. I'm also assuming this is a 'matter of seconds' thing and not 'matter of hours' because magic, and its more destructive that way. Let's figure out what happens. First, the stomach bursts open. Literally bursts open. A human stomach is the size of a the person's fist, and is actually pretty good at expanding / condensing food, usually. The problem here is that if the watermelon isn't chewed, the fact that the inside of the watermelon is basically water does not help here, as all that easily-disposed-of water is inside the fairly tough rind. So the first thing to go is the stomach. Then the nearby organs.

The nearby organs here are also important ones - liver and kidneys. (Also some more significant parts of the digestive system, but you can technically live without a pancreas.) Human organs aren't meant to take sudden impacts - that's what the skin and muscles are for, to stop that from happening. So the internal organs take shock damage, and also if this is a particularly large watermelon (and a small human), it might also be big enough to burst through the skin and chuck these very important organs out. Even if this doesn't happen, these organs are still pretty much mush. Oh, and now that the stomach is split open, you have stomach acid (gastro acid - pH of ~2.5) leaking all over the interior of his stomach.

The heart is relatively safe in this scenario, relatively safe here meaning that it probably doesn't get squished like a grape. If the person's lungs are full, they can help take some of the impact, the heart is pretty tough, and the stomach isn't that close. It'll still feel like a jackhammer hit it, but it'll keep pumping, so the target won't die from that, though it might be preferable to what comes next.

There will also be massive internal bleeding, because the abdomen now has a watermelon in it, destroying everything, so there's that. (The stomach acid doesn't help either.) I'd guess eventual death of blood loss as the target bleeds out from the abdomen and / or suffering from shock. In the event that the subject survives the initial injury, the loss of kidneys and liver will mean the subject dies from eventual blood poisoning because now his liver is missing. So, ah, not good.

Theoretically, if the target was obese enough, the fat may be able to act as a buffer, so when the stomach bursts (yes, it will still do that if it happens spontaneously), the damage might be mitigated, and emergency surgery might be able to keep the target alive. Though the level of obesity I have in mind would probably kill the target on its own from multiple heart attacks.

  • $\begingroup$ How long before they die? $\endgroup$
    – WindWelder
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ @WindWelder In a not worse-case-scenario, hours, especially if the target has experience with taking wounds (i.e. warriors). In a worse-case scenario, that would be minutes, dying from the pure shock. Most of the important parts of the human (i.e. heart, lungs, brain) are still there. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ More food for thought: what is the extent of magical capability in your world? Is it limited to simple transformations like shrinking / expanding objects, or are more complex manipulations possible? If death is not instant (minutes to hours), is it possible for the victim to be repaired by a skilled magical healer? Possibly having had to be put into magical stasis by a more journeyman mage until the master healer arrives. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ "The problem here is that if the watermelon isn't chewed" Isn't it tho? Presumably, when the victim was eating the grapes, he did chew them. So the watermelon in the stomach would already be broken apart and partially digested, especially the water content. Extreme diarrhea and stomach pains, but possibly survivable. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't really have thought the liver or kidneys would take much permanent damage. It's not as though the watermelon destroys everything it touches, the stomach will be destroyed because the watermelon is inside of it, however the other organs would just be pushed aside. It would be incredibly painful and uncomfortable and the victim may tear several muscles around their abdomen as their midsection bulges outward to accommodate the watermelon but otherwise I expect other organs would be able to continue to function until internal hemorrhaging killed them. $\endgroup$
    – BKlassen
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 16:58

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