The significance of Bertha & Florence (Condensed thread)

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The significance of Bertha & Florence (Condensed thread)

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:57 am

The significance of Bertha & Florence (Condensed thread)

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

Mare - Nov 18, 2003 2:08 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Jan 12, 2006 11:25 pm
What was Bertha talking about in the pensieve?

Liz Mann - Nov 13, 2002 & Lars Smedberg - May 18, 2003

In HP#4, Chapter 30 "The Pensieve", Dumbledore literally brings back an old memory of Bertha Jorkins, when she was a schoolgirl whom he was interrogating. I quote the book :

"When she spoke, her voice echoed as Snape's had done, as though it was coming from the depths of the stone basin : 'He put a hex on me, Professor Dumbledore, and I was only teasing him, sir, I only said I'd seen him kissing Florence behind the greenhouses last Thursday...' 'But why, Bertha,' said Dumbledore, sadly, looking up at the now silently revolving girl, 'why did you have to follow him in the first place ?'"

Do you think this episode from Bertha's past may be of some significance - it otherwise would seeme like a far too trivial matter for Dumbledore himself to mind about. Why recalling this after so many years - and why is he so sad ? Maybe young Bertha stumbled over some really foul play - maybe "he" is a future death-eater; a member of the Slytherine students who were intrested in The Dark Arts ?
Bertha was at school with James, Sirius, Lupin and Peter , maybe she saw James kissing another girl behind Lily's back? (Would he do that? We don't know anything about him).

But why is it important?
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The significance of Bertha & Florence (Condensed thread)

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:57 am

Marè - Nov 13, 2002

Maybe she saw Snape, he knew quite some good hexes apparantly! Wonder what happened to Florence.
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Mermista - Nov 13, 2002

I got the impression she was talking about Snape as well, even though the idea of Snape kissing anyone really disturbs me. Perhaps the aftermath of this little Florence fiasco was some sort of turning point in Snape's young life? Something that made him decide to join with the Death Eaters? That smacks of the whole unrequited-love-for-Lily-turns-Snape-bad nonsense though. Maybe Dumbledore was just lamenting over her nosy nature in general, and how it continued to get her into trouble even as an adult, and the Florence bit was just a random vignette from his memory of her that happened to echo his thoughts.
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Jami JoAnne Russell - Nov 13, 2002

The going theory is that Snape it was whom she followed. Though I always thought it was some other Slytherin who was kissing a girl against her will.
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liliaceae - Nov 13, 2002

I thought Dumbly was just sadly pondering that old event and Bertha's recent disappearance at the same time, because they both had to do with her inherant curiosity and COMPLETE lack of self-preservation. He probably realized she'd met foul play. And I don't know about Snape, because by the time a Hogwarts student got the the kissing age, they'd probably know some hexes of their own.
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Mermista - Nov 13, 2002

Against her will? Where would you get that impression? I don't think that's the sort of thing Bertha would be "only teasing" the perpetrator about, whoever it is.
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Wendelin the Weird - Nov 13, 2002

Do we know how old Bertha Jorkins is? Maybe she is older than James, Sirius, Snape, etc. Maybe it was Tom Riddle?
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Mermista - Nov 13, 2002

Sirius tells Harry that he knew Bertha Jorkins while he was at Hogwarts, and that she was a few years above them and Snape.
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Jami JoAnne Russell - Nov 13, 2002

Well, whomever it was, I still think it was probably someone who normally wouldn't be kissing someone like Florence. Maybe Flo was fat or had pimples but I bet she was a "mudblood" and it was a Slytherin kissing her. And maybe Bertha teased him when Flo smacked him across the face or hit him someplace much more sensitive.
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Audrey O'Connor - Nov 14, 2002

I always had the impression that Lucius was also a year or two older than James and the others. It seems to me that if Bertha were going to follow and then tease anyone it would be someone from her own year. I could see Lucius getting very angry at being caught, especially if Florence was from a "lower" class family. Mudblood, poor or both.
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Fifth Founder - Nov 15, 2002

It could be Peter pettigrew she saw...

It would explaine the reason that Wormtail knew Bertha was a witch and knew of 'things' in the wizarding world. It could also be important in that it could be Albus realising, or thinking that wormtail was evil, or able to do such a thing.
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Liz Mann - Nov 15, 2002

Just had a thought - what if Bertha did something wrong under the influence of the hex? It would explain why she was talking to Dumbledore about it.
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Kathy Lynch - Nov 18, 2002

I always figured it was just some random person. Although I DO find it interesting now that we're discussing it. But I don't understand the teasing part. I mean, most teenage boys I knew when I was a teenager would have been PROUD to be caught kissing someone.
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vdobbs - Nov 18, 2002

Not if the girl was someone else's girlfriend
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Marè - Nov 19, 2002

Or if you would have been known to think the girl was "beneath you"
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Mermista - Nov 19, 2002

Or if you're only 13 years old. The Bertha in the Pensieve looked about 16, and MWPP, et al., were a few years beneath her. Can you imagine how mortified PoA-aged Ron would be if someone were teasing him about kissing Hermione?

But it still think it was just an example of how "we should exercise caution with our curiosity" as Dumbledore says.
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Carina - Dec 4, 2002

I think the whole Bertha scene in the pensieve was to show she had a tendency to stick her nose where it didn't belong. I don't think what she says is relevant to the plot in any way.
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Lenka - Mar 20, 2003

Ha! What if we get a Dada teacher whose first name is Florence? That would be interesting.

How about: Florence Grubly-Plank? Smile
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Sly Girl - Mar 26, 2003

I've always thought the "him" was Snape. It makes sense- we have Sirius telling us that Snape knew more hexes and curses than any other student at Hogwarts. We have Bertha being a busy body and poking her nose about where it doesn't belong. Maybe Florence was a Muggle and Snape was embarrassed by it. I know a lot of people think this little bit is in the book just for background and won't have significance but, I think it might come into play later.
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Makgraf - Mar 28, 2003

I would really recommend reading this link: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] It's from a site that used to be on the lexicon. Basically it's a huge amount of crazy theories about Florance and they all have cool long acronyms. The rest of that site is worth checking out too.
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Olivia Wood - Apr 26, 2003

The Snape theory would also be supported by the fact that Dumbledore was thinking of Snape immediatly before Bertha came up, so it would make sense that he would have a thought pertaining to them both that is relevant to the situation.
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Zelmia - Jun 13, 2003

To my mind, the most telling thing about Dumbledore's reaction in this scene is that he knew that "he" would put a hex on Bertha. "Why did you have to follow him in the first place?" Why did you have to follow him?

I actually think Dumbledore was talking about Voldemort. I think this scene is a metaphor for what ended up happening to Bertha in Albania. Bertha followed Peter Pettigrew (and Voldemort) - ablbeit inadvertently - to Albania. She discovered him there, at which point he killed Bertha - after questioning her, etc. The memory Dumbledore conjurs is really the same scenario, but to a lesser degree.
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