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The Pensieve!

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The Pensieve! Empty The Pensieve!

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:58 am

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. It was copied/saved by Lady Arabella and reformatted/reposted by Potteraholic. ~Potteraholic

Gregory welch - Jan 13, 2005 11:28 am
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 17, 2005 1:52 pm

In the books Dumbledore and Snape use the Pensieve to store their thoughts. So if Harry is so depressed about Sirius and Cedric dying, why doesn't he just use the Pensieve to store those bad memories, then he could live a normal life?

Anybody have any other thoughts?
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The Pensieve! Empty The Pensieve! (posts #1 to #50)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:00 pm

Choices - Jan 13, 2005 11:05 am (#1 of 232)

We don't completely know how the Pensieve works, but I don't think it is able to permanently store bad memories. It appears to be a temporary way to place a memory, perhaps to study it objectively or to unclutter the mind, but then the thoughts and memories have to be retrieved. We don't know what would happen to them if they were just left there or for how long they can be left in the Pensieve. Even bad memories have their function - we are supposed to learn from them and grow wiser as a result. To blot them out would leave gaps that would probably be mentally unhealthy for us. We need to face our fears and bad memories and learn to deal with them, not sweep them under the rug.

timrew - Jan 13, 2005 3:43 pm (#2 of 232)

I must admit, I find it hard to accept the reasons for using a Pensieve.

I've never felt that my brain is full up, or cluttered; or that I need to dispose of some memories somewhere else.

I also admit, right now, that I don't consider myself as having a brain 'the size of a planet'.

So why wizards have the need for a Pensieve is beyond me - except as a device for Harry Potter to see the thoughts of other people.

hells456 - Jan 13, 2005 3:54 pm (#3 of 232)

I'm only 26 and I often find my head so full of thoughts that I can't turn my brain off to sleep. Dumbledore is around 150 years old, imagine that many years of memories, thoughts and dreams. There may be times when it would be hard to see the wood for the trees. DD also said that using the Pensieve helped him to make connections between things that he hadn't noticed before.

vball man - Jan 13, 2005 5:22 pm (#4 of 232)

Its more than just storage. In GoF, the Pensieve is used to organize thoughts, and see patterns.

"At these times," said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, "I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form."

TomoÈ - Jan 13, 2005 5:31 pm (#5 of 232)

I would have needed a Pensieve quite a few times, especially when I had a 10 pages long homework to produce and keep thinking to anything but the subject of my homework.

Gina R Snape - Jan 14, 2005 7:52 am (#6 of 232)

Sometimes I wish I had a Pensieve. Homework certainly comes to mind. But a Pensieve could also be a therapeutic devise for examining one's own behavioral patterns.

Dumbledore certainly uses the Pensieve for memory reflection. Snape, on the other hand, used it as a temporary storage device. We've no way of knowing, though, if he was also using it for therapeutic purposes or other purposes when Harry wasn't around.

Her-melanie - Jan 14, 2005 8:19 am (#7 of 232)

I would use a Pensieve in the way you suggest, Gina, definitely. Not only for therapeutic reasons, but in general to look at myself more objectively. Think of what a Pensieve could do for all kinds of legal disputes; you could whip one out and compare two people's accounts of the same occurrence. That's what Harry should do with Snape's Worst Memory; he should ask Lupin to come use DD's Pensieve so he can see the Marauder's side of the story.

TomoÈ - Jan 14, 2005 11:08 am (#8 of 232)

b<>Gina -> A Pensieve could also be a therapeutic devise for examining one's own behavioral patterns.

Oh, good idea, it could be use for all kinds of legal disputes, like Her-melanie said, but also for checking "why do I do wrong that keep my back hurting", "how comes my golf swing is that pathetic", "in what situation do I gnaw my nails" or "what can I improve when doing a job interview", the possibilities are endless!

MickeyCee3948 - Jan 14, 2005 3:03 pm (#9 of 232)

I think the Pensieve would be very good for extremely stressed people who are having trouble sleeping. Sometimes I just wish I could empty out my mind just a little so that I could get just a little rest.


Gina R Snape - Jan 14, 2005 8:25 pm (#10 of 232)

I still want to know if Harry will ever learn to get out of a Pensieve. He'd better learn that quick if he intends to go snooping around other people's memories again!

MickeyCee3948 - Jan 14, 2005 10:19 pm (#11 of 232)

I certainly hope that after the events he witnessed in OotP that he thinks twice, no make that trice before looking in anybody else's Pensieve.


Her-melanie - Jan 15, 2005 9:21 am (#12 of 232)

LOL Gina, I have always thought the same thing...why would Harry go in a SECOND time, knowing he doesn't know how to get out?! One day I'm going to start a thread called "Stupid things you wish they hadn't done," and that will be one of them.

azi - Jan 15, 2005 12:52 pm (#13 of 232)

I agree that Harry was stupid in entering the pensive for a second time when he didn't know how to get out. However, I'm glad he did it because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to read one of the most interesting chapters in the whole book (in my opinion)! Smile

I was wondering what happens when a pensive breaks. If it was to smash on the floor, presuming that there was no charm on it that would prevent it smashing, what would happen to the thoughts contained in it at that particular time? Would they disperse, never to be seen again, or float around until such time that someone took them back? Or would every thought re-enact itself like the prophecies did in OoP?

Any ideas?

vball man - Jan 15, 2005 1:06 pm (#14 of 232)

"As to that, I have no idea."

Prefect Marcus - Jan 15, 2005 2:03 pm (#15 of 232)

The thing that bugs me the most about the Pensieve is how do you get out of one? Harry has been in it twice. Each time another wizard had to come in and get him out.

TomoÈ - Jan 15, 2005 3:27 pm (#16 of 232)

I believe it's like The DoM's doors, you get out when you ask for it.

I Am Used Vlad - Jan 15, 2005 6:33 pm (#17 of 232)

If you are viewing your own memories, which I would guess is the primary purpose of the Pensieve, it may be possible to put the memories back into your head, thus removing yourself from the Pensieve. Harry, to this point, has only seen the memories of others, and in that situation, one may have to wait for the memories to end or for someone to take you out.

Just a thought.

Choices - Jan 15, 2005 7:08 pm (#18 of 232)

We have been told in OotP that the Murtlap that Hermione gave Harry for his hand ("I will not tell lies") was gone when the bowl dropped off the table and broke. The bowl could be "Reparo'ed", but the Murtlap could not be saved. Perhaps the same would happen if the Pensieve dropped and broke - it could be repaired, but the contents would be gone forever. Just a thought.

While we're on the subject, I wonder what the silvery stuff is in the Pensieve and where does it come from?

Solitaire - Jan 15, 2005 8:30 pm (#19 of 232)

Azi, I've wondered that before ... what if a Pensieve was stolen or broken while it was still holding certain memories? I think I asked this back on the old thread. It worried me that Dumbledore hadn't yet taken the memory of the Prophecy and put it back into his head. Would this mean that anyone could take that Pensieve and check out that Prophecy? It isn't a memory I'd want to leave lying around in a Pensieve, especially with Voldemort on the loose.

Her-Melanie, I think having Remus put his memory of that day into the Pensieve so it could be compared to Snape's memory is a great idea. I'm surprised Harry hasn't thought of it.


Ann - Jan 15, 2005 8:40 pm (#20 of 232)

Solitaire, I'm not sure Remus would be up for that. He didn't seem terribly proud of his behavior that day. Wouldn't it be simpler for Harry to ask Dumbledore (or Snape! That might produce some interesting results) how objective such memories are?

Solitaire - Jan 15, 2005 8:51 pm (#21 of 232)

He might not be up for it ... but he might then look at his memory himself and see how closely it resembled what Harry saw. If Remus thought doing this might help Harry understand Snape a bit better, I think he might be willing to risk it.


Her-melanie - Jan 18, 2005 5:57 am (#22 of 232)

Thanks Solitaire. The possibilities abound. Choices, I like your comparison to the Murtlap essence; I always wondered if that part had more significance than meets the eye. It always feels so poignant, but not overtly important.

Winky Woo - Jan 21, 2005 12:04 pm (#23 of 232)

This is my first post!

Why didn't DD use the Pensieve to find out what had happened to Harry in GOF? Was it because he felt it was something that Harry has to share, even if it caused him so much pain, in order to come to terms with what had just happened?

As for objectivity, we all know that memories change as time goes on, sometimes for the better, that really was the most fantastic holiday ever, the sun shone every day, (When really it poured with rain half the time!) but it was the good times that we remember! The same goes for bad memories too. So what exactly does the Pensieve show the current or original memory?

My head hurts thinking about it, may be I need a Pensieve to ease the pressure.....

Solitaire - Jan 21, 2005 1:26 pm (#24 of 232)

Winky, I think there are probably as many "tweaks" to the understanding of how Pensieve operate as there are posters on the subject. Each of us seems to have his or her own unique idea of exactly how they work. I agree ... it makes my head hurt to think about it sometimes, too!


Gina R Snape - Jan 21, 2005 8:25 pm (#25 of 232)

I think it was healing for Harry to tell the story of what happened, just as it helps for victims of crimes to talk about their experiences, emotions, fears, etc. This was an overwhelming situation, and the sooner Harry started to process it, the better.

This argument about perspective and the Pensieve keeps coming up and it is so frustrating that we have no real way of knowing. But I still stand by my idea that the Pensieve provides what actually happened. The brain takes in much more than we are aware of. Yet the Pensieve shows more than what we'd think a person could see---precisely for this reason. Harry was able to walk about Snape's memory and hear things Snape wasn't directly paying attention to. I think that's precisely because Harry was seeing and hearing what Snape was hearing and seeing, just more than what Snape had been paying attention to at the time. Does that make sense?

Solitaire - Jan 22, 2005 1:13 am (#26 of 232)

I believe Snape heard all the Marauders refer to themselves and each other by their Animagus (and werewolf) names--Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs--in that scene. That's why I think he summoned Remus years later--in PoA when he discovered Harry in possession of the Marauders' Map which proceeded to insult him. I believe Snape remembered every detail he ever heard/saw about the Marauders and dwelled on it year after year, nursing his grudges and feeding his resentment.


vball man - Jan 22, 2005 7:54 am (#27 of 232)

Solitaire, that's the way I read it, too. Snape's reference to the "manufacturers" seems to say that he was implying that Lupin should confess to what he knows about the map. Clearly Snape also has had experience with the marauders in the vicinity of the one-eyed-witch.

Gina R Snape - Jan 22, 2005 3:20 pm (#28 of 232)

I've no doubt he knew their nicknames for each other. Probably a lot of people knew those boys' nicknames for each other. I love rereading that scene because there is so much to pick up on that doesn't register on the first read.

But this doesn't really get to the Pensieve question.

Weeny Owl - Feb 16, 2005 12:16 pm (#29 of 232)

How about this for a Pensieve question?

When Hermione stole the boomslang skin in CoS after Harry had tossed the firework into Goyle's (Crabbe's?) cauldron, why didn't Snape just borrow Dumbledore's Pensieve, retrieve his memory, and then look around until he saw who had done what that day?

vball man - Feb 16, 2005 1:51 pm (#30 of 232)

Well, it's magic. One of the main things about it is who the magic works for. It works not for Harry, or for even Dumbledore or Fawkes. It works for JK Rowling. It does what she wants when she wants. Cool, huh?

dizzy lizzy - Feb 16, 2005 2:10 pm (#31 of 232)

It would seem logical for Snape to use the pensive, but perhaps it wasn't a 'good enough cause' to convince Dumbledore to loan it to Snape. Come to think of it, Snape could have been asking DD to borrow it for years in order to prove his suspicions.

Mrs Brisbee - Feb 16, 2005 2:59 pm (#32 of 232)

Snape asking Dumbledore for the Pensieve so he could review student shenanigans might be a bit like asking to borrow the sword of Godric Gryffindor in order to cut up a piece of really tough meat. It just doesn't strike me as something that Dumbledore would loan out for any old reason. I wonder how many Pensieves exist? It might be a one of a kind item, or extremely rare.

Paulus Maximus - Feb 17, 2005 9:29 pm (#33 of 232)

And besides, Snape had all the proof he needed to get Harry expelled. All he had to do was look into Harry's eyes... and Harry helped by looking right back...

Solitaire - Feb 19, 2005 8:33 pm (#34 of 232)

We hadn't been introduced to the Pensieve in CoS, Weeny. I suppose that is the most logical answer.

Madam Pince - Mar 8, 2005 8:36 am (#35 of 232)

Well, it looks like now we may have another picture of the Pensieve, if the US cover art of "HBP" is, in fact, a Pensieve.

About getting out of the Pensieve, I think Tomoe has hit the nail on the head -- probably all you have to do is ask to get out. That seems to be a device of JKR's: the doors at the DOM, Dumbledore telling Harry & Ron in PoA that help would come to those who ask for it, etc. There are several occasions in the books where HRH are stuck with a problem, and I find myself yelling at the book "Just ask for help, you silly!" (What does it say about me that I talk to my books???)

Somebody asked earlier about what the silvery stuff was that's inside the Pensieve....my take on it was that the silvery stuff was actually the "thoughts," because Dumbledore pulls silvery wisps out of his head and puts them into the Pensieve. Which begs the question of why Mary GrandPre's art now has the Pensieve with stuff in it that has a greenish tint? I'm reminded of Voldemort's AK, so perhaps it's now Harry's thoughts in the Pensieve?

karebear811 - Mar 8, 2005 9:41 am (#36 of 232)

Maybe Harry is given a Pensieve by DD, who is now teaching him Occlumency, to help him block out certain information from DD.

Solitaire - Mar 8, 2005 8:43 pm (#37 of 232)

What does it say about me that I talk to my books??

I'm not sure what it says about you ... except that, perhaps--like me--you insinuate yourself into the story and become a sort of sideline character who tags along after Harry wherever he goes. What it really says, IMO, is that the books are so good that we want to be a part of the adventures hidden in their pages!


Hollywand - Mar 9, 2005 7:47 pm (#38 of 232)

It looks to me as though the Pensieve on Book Six is Voldemort's and not Dumbledore's. If you look at the figures, there are no bodies beneath the mist. The tone of the mist suggests Voldemort's vision.

Wendelin the Weird - Mar 9, 2005 8:31 pm (#39 of 232)

Well, actually, unless they are mass produced items Wink its probably Dumbledore's again. I'm only saying that on basis of the drawings. The Pensieve on the pedestal in the new book cover is identical to the one GrandePre drew for OotP as a chapter image. But then again we don't know how rare an item it is or if you had enough galleons you could go pick one up at Dervish & Banges....

Perhaps the green is that Harry is putting his visions of Voldemort into the Pensieve to examine them? You know, like the dream he had in GoF at the Riddle House, and when he saw Rookwood through Voldemort's eyes. Maybe... *shrug*

"In essence divided..." Harry and Tom are of the same power yet they remain separate. If Harry could learn to control his visions and protect his thoughts he could steal Voldemort's thoughts, drop them in the Pensieve and have a look at them with Dumbledore?

Just mind-babble. I could use a Pensieve right now. Think they have a miniature version to take with you? I'd love a Pocket Pensieve! ha haa

Hollywand - Mar 9, 2005 9:10 pm (#40 of 232)

I understand from the discussion on the HBP Thread that Dumbledore's Pensieve is shaped differently, Prefect Marcus made a comparison.

To me, a more significant clue is that the bodies are clearly not visible in the lower half beneath the mist. The pedestal makes this detail very apparent. A bit of the room architecture is visible on the left side where Harry's body should be.

Madam Pince - Mar 10, 2005 11:24 am (#41 of 232)

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to post this here, because the mods want us to keep "cover art" discussion to the HBP thread. But it's about a Pensieve, so.... anyway, please feel free to delete if inappropriate placing!

Wendelin, Marcus pointed out that GrandPre's two previous depictions of the Pensieve show a smooth (i.e.: not cracked) bowl-shaped basin, with the runes on the side of the top rim. This picture shows (highlight to see cover spoiler) a shallow basin with a flared rim, more trumpet shaped, with a rim that is more like a "lip" with the runes on the downward side of the rim. Marcus is 100% correct in his observation. Personally, I think it's just artistic license on GrandPre's part in order to make the art a bit more interesting, but it certainly could mean a totally different object.

HungarianHorntail11 - Mar 13, 2005 1:28 pm (#42 of 232)

I would like to mention how odd it seems that JK Rowling described both the invisibility cloak and the contents of the Pensieve in much the same way. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

Hollywand - Mar 13, 2005 1:41 pm (#43 of 232)

Many of the alchemists feel that there is a connection suggested with mercury, as mirrors were once coated with mercury, and quicksilver is a good metaphor for rendering the body invisible and desire and memory visible, which the Pensieve does. Mercury a messenger reference.

Ponine - Mar 13, 2005 2:26 pm (#44 of 232)

So, I know this rather abstract, but for some reason I have been thinking a bit about the Pensieve lately, and as I am just digging into OoP for the umpteenth time, I would like your three hundred knuts on this; It has been discussed whether Harry could through diving into the Pensieve see only things Snape was aware of (Harry hoped that Snape would stick around so that he could watch the marauders more) or if he could see everything that was in the vicinity, beknownst to Snape or not (what James wrote on his paper). While I don't know what to think myself, I think the whole discussion opens for some interesting debate (like pretty much everything else in Potterverse...). If we stick to the above example, with Harry delving into Snape's memories, in what is assumed to be Dumbledore's Pensieve.

- Is Harry physically still in Snape's office? Personally, I lean towards not, because if we compare to Floo head travel, Harry is very aware of his aching knees, and being uncomfortable. Furthermore, Harry has no idea that DD is with him, until he joins him in DD's own memory. Likewise, Snape appears in his memory, yanking Harry back. Both incidents include a description of a traveling sensation similar to a portkey. Now, THIS is where I think things could get very interesting. Supposing you do actually physically 'enter' the memory:

a) what would happen if someone siphoned the thought back into their mind? Would you then be trapped in that person's mind forever, as simply - part of a memory?? What when that person dies?

b) What would happen if someone smashed the Pensieve before the person returned?

c) Could this in theory become the ultimate trap? Imagine if someone supposedly stored - oh - a prophesy or potion or answers to something you really wanted to know in a Pensieve, and you waited until you knew the time was right and you dove right into that puppy. Only to have your means of returning cut off forever? Trapped in a memory where no one could see or hear you, I would say would be worse than death...

d) If we had also siphoned Remus' memory of that day in another Pensieve, would the memory have been the same, or would they vary, as most people's eyewitness accounts and memory of events do? If Ron entered Remus' and Harry Snape - would Ron and Harry then be able to see each other?

Fun fun fun!! I must admit that I somehow feel it could be a wonderful trap... Would love your Knuts Smile

Steve Newton - Mar 13, 2005 2:31 pm (#45 of 232)

If Harry wasn't still in Snape's office I don't think that the confrontation would have occurred. Snape would not have seen Harry, probably figured that he had already left.

Ponine - Mar 13, 2005 2:36 pm (#46 of 232)

Exactly, Steve! But then what would have happened if Snape put his memory back in his head, so to speak? Or broke the Pensieve? Then what about Harry?

Steve Newton - Mar 13, 2005 3:18 pm (#47 of 232)

Well, Harry being standing in Snape's office would lose the experience of any more of the memory. Just a guess.

Choices - Mar 13, 2005 6:35 pm (#48 of 232)

I don't think it would be possible for Snape to place the memory back in his head with a "visitor" (Harry) still in it. I believe somehow it would be blocked from reentering Snape’s mind until Harry was removed. If the Pensieve were dropped, I think Harry would reemerge from the spilled liquid on the floor. Possibly the memories in the liquid could also be retrieved.

Professor Dumbledore - Mar 14, 2005 4:51 am (#49 of 232)

Well actually, Harry isn't 'in' the thoughts, it's somewhat like virtual reality. It just seems that he's in the thoughts, but to an outsider it would just look like harry had his head in a big gray bowl.

Ponine - Mar 14, 2005 6:07 am (#50 of 232)

Do we know that though, Professor Dumbledore? It then strikes me as odd how both Snape and Dumbledore 'enter' the memory Harry currently finds himself in, rather than merely grabbing him by the arm or neck like Umbridge did when Harry had his head in the fireplace.
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The Pensieve! Empty The Pensieve! (posts #51 to #100)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:11 pm

Choices - Mar 14, 2005 1:24 pm (#51 of 232)

Exactly Ponine - Harry isn't "in" the memory in the sense that he can participate or interact with those in the memory, but he isn't in Dumbledore's office or Snape's classroom either. He is a witness, but is neither seen nor heard by those in the memory. To get Harry out, someone has to enter the memory and lead him back. I figure they (Dumbledore and Snape) can look into the Pensieve and see Harry down inside viewing their memories, and thus they know to go in and bring him out.

Steve Newton - Mar 14, 2005 2:01 pm (#52 of 232)

Choices, are you sure of this? I can't check right now but I thought that Snape just sort of grabbed Harry.

pottermom34 - Mar 14, 2005 3:55 pm (#53 of 232)

I think you're right about grabbing Harry.

What if Snape would've stuck his head in with Harry, waited a minute or two then said Peek-a-boo! Harry jumps six feet, then say, "What do you think you are doing?"

Madame Librarian - Mar 14, 2005 4:18 pm (#54 of 232)

I don't think the viewer's actual body leaves the room and goes into the Pensieve. I think it feels to them like they've gone completely in, but another person walking into the room would just see some kid with his head stuck into the bowl, eyes glazed over, totally entranced.

However, here's what happens at the end of the scene in OoP, chapter 28, "Snape's Worst Memory"--

...But whether James really did take off Snape's pants, Harry never found out. A hand had closed tight over his upper arm, closed with a pincer like grip. Wincing, Harry looked around to see who had hold of him, and saw, with a thrill of horror, a fully-grown, adult-sized Snape standing right beside him, white with rage.

"Having fun?"

Harry felt himself rising into the air. The summer's day evaporated around him, he was floating upward through icy blackness, Snape's hand still tight upon his upper arm. Then, with a swooping feeling as though he had turned head over heels in midair, his feet hit the stone floor of Snape's dungeon, and he was standing again beside the Pensieve on Snape's desk in the shadowy, present-day Potions master's study.

I suppose on reconsideration, that Harry's whole body and Snape's whole body could have been "in" the memory, in the basin at the same time, Snape having entered it to yank Harry out, but I'm not sure it isn't just the magic of the whole thing, making the user feel like that's what occurs. If it were actually happening that one is completely in the basin, then it's a form of time travel. You'd be missing from action. I'd like to see someone else using the Pensieve while Harry observes. Then we'd know for sure. One last thought--maybe it's different for when you're reviewing thoughts--you stay outside and just peer into it; for reliving memories, you have to be in the basin and in the memory completely. Could be.

Ciao. Barb

Choices - Mar 14, 2005 5:43 pm (#55 of 232)

We did see Dumbledore cause a "memory" person to rise up out of the basin - Trelawney and Bertha Jorkins. Perhaps he is able to view some memories like this rather than looking down into the basin or entering it.

Ponine - Mar 14, 2005 7:03 pm (#56 of 232)

Barb - Choices - gang -

I guess I am so stuck on exactly how the Pensieve works, is its potential ramifications. I am not sure how detailed I can talk about this here, but, according to your post, Choices, someone hanging around a Pensieve for various reasons, could then see whoever dove into the Pensieve's contents, and then choose what to do. They could leave. Watch. Break the Pensieve. Or...? Because, like Barb, I strongly believe that Harry was missing in action while in Snape's memory. I am just unbearably curious as to what you can do to a person who is currently 'in' a Pensieve...

Archangel - Mar 15, 2005 7:30 am (#57 of 232)
Edited by Mar 15, 2005 7:31 am

Will the Pensieve be able to show the entire even as it happened even if the person who's supposed to have that memory cannot particularly/easily recall that memory?

I'm asking because of the Dementors' ability to make their victim relive their worst memories and Harry kept reverting to the night when his parents were murdered.

Clearly, he doesn't remember that whole thing but do you think if he extracts that memory and deposits it in the Pensieve, the Pensieve will be able to show him the whole event as it happened?


I'm not sure if you've noticed this but Riddle's diary and the Pensieve have something in common. The two objects were able to suck the reader/viewer into a memory and have them observe the event in a 3rd party sort of way. Imagine, Voldemort creates his own "Pensieve" by the age of 16. Scary!

Madame Librarian - Mar 15, 2005 8:22 am (#58 of 232)

Archangel, good observation there. I, too, have this slowly dawning feeling that somehow Harry re-living or visiting the past will be a key element of the final confrontation and the story's resolution.

In addition to these two devices, there's the Time Turner--a way to visit the recent past, but definitely another device. Then there's that trick with the matched wands during the graveyard scene in GoF--providing just a peek, but here are people from the past that Harry sees again. The Mirror of Erised sort of gives Harry a glimpse (but is it just a desired portrayal or a real one?), and the last one I can think of is the photo Moody shows Harry. Again, a visual only, but yet another magical device that offers a way to visit the past.

Harry's possession by Voldemort and the subsequent dreams or visions are yet another way the past is brought out, though this does not depend on a device. Nonetheless it's a very important way that Harry experiences his past, his mother's and Voldemort's. Then there are the Dementors. Their effect on Harry is to produces a whiff of a horrible experience from the past.

So, maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree here, but it might be that JKR is waving a huge clue in front of us about what happens in the future is really something that happened in the past. I mean more than the truth that everything is dependent on past occurrences. I mean something more like Harry changing something or finding something, or even just knowing it all. Gaaaa! Hard to pin it down, this twisty idea I'm trying (badly) to express.

Ciao. Barb

GryffEndora - Mar 15, 2005 11:00 am (#59 of 232)

Barb, I like your idea, if I'm following it correctly. Sort of an expansion on the idea that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Life has cycles and patterns to it. It ebbs and flows and sometimes recycles lessons the world needs to learn that we haven't quite mastered yet.

This is one of the reasons I was so angry with DD for keeping the truth from Harry about so many things. At the beginning of OotP the Order acknowledges that knowledge and information are powerful weapons (LV is looking for a weapon, the prophesy, which is information he needs) and then they turn around and DON'T arm Harry. Harry, left weaponless and searching for answers, unknowingly leads himself, part of the DA, and the Order into a battle which results in Sirius' death. All of which could have been prevented simply by arming Harry with the truth, if not before the attack on Arthur, then certainly after it. The Pensive gives a wizard the ability to really examine the past and look for patterns and lessons they need to learn, and hopefully not repeat.

What I like about the pensive is it's potential for self-discovery. Harry is offended by his father's behavior in the pensive, he can't understand it. However, his next thought is that the same behavior might be understandable against someone who truly deserves it, like Malfoy. These kinds of examinations could help Harry see himself from someone else's perspective, and perhaps, if Harry can see Malfoy as a person instead of a Slytherin he might find a way to unify the houses after all.

(I hope this is somewhat on topic, I think I got carried away.)

Choices - Mar 15, 2005 11:00 am (#60 of 232)

Ponine - That is just my interpretation of the Pensieve - that Dumbledore or Snape could look into it and see Harry down in the "memory". Otherwise, why didn't they just assume that Harry had left the office and would return later. I figured they must be able to see him in there. It could very well be that Harry is just standing over the Pensieve - that it is only his mind that enters it - but then why do Dumbledore and Snape seem to enter the memory to get Harry to leave? The way it is written makes me think that Harry does physically enter it and has to be brought back out.....very much like he entered and left the diary in COS.

Madame Librarian - Mar 15, 2005 11:23 am (#61 of 232)

GryffEndora, yes, that's partly what I'm trying to say, but I also think there's an even stronger and stranger thing going on than learning from the past by studying history. It's more like Harry actually has to fully experience the past. He has to live it through his parents' emotions, through Tom's, Voldemort's, the snake's. I don't know who else. Will he have a DD flashback, Snape? Or has his visits to the Pensieve stood for those? Maybe he'll have to have a particular insight into these people from the past that he couldn't have learned simply by hearing about things from someone else. Will we find out later that DD never intended to tell Harry the complete story because he knew that it would not have had the power of what Harry is going/will go through via these actual magical visits to the past?. In fact, might there be some subtle damage done to the experience should Harry hear about certain things second hand rather than re-living them? Maybe it's only when he has re-lived through it all (whatever "it" is) that he will be able to do what needs doing.

Well, another rambling and confusing post that has only used the Pensieve as a jumping off point, so I'm sorry if it's OT. If this sub-thread continues, maybe it should be relocated to the "Time Travel" thread or a new one started. If so, maybe we should call it something like "Harry's Visits to the Past."

Ciao. Barb

GryffEndora - Mar 15, 2005 11:27 am (#62 of 232)

It's very interesting Barb. I'll have to think on it some more.

Madam Pince - Mar 15, 2005 12:17 pm (#63 of 232)

For what it's worth, and without going back and doing more research on the scenes in question, I always had the impression that Harry's head (physically) was just stuck in the bowl, and the rest of his physical body remained in Snape's office. I did not get the impression from reading that passage that Snape "entered" the memory in order to get Harry out -- it seemed to me that Snape just stood in his office and put the ol' Vulcan nerve pinch on Harry's shoulder to bring him back to earth, as it were.

As for Dumbledore being able to access memories differently, I attributed that more to Dumbledore being the ultra-powerful wizard that he is, rather than to an attribute of the Pensieve. For example, I was thinking that Dumbledore could "swirl" the Pensieve like a prospector looking for gold and could come up with a memory, but that maybe someone less experienced like Harry would be unsuccessful with merely "swirling." (I have no basis in fact for this; it was just my impression.)

Ponine - Mar 15, 2005 1:40 pm (#64 of 232)

Madam Pince - Harry felt someone pinch his arm, turned to see a full grown, furious (yum...) Snape next to him, a few harsh words were exchanged, and he felt something of a tug, similar to a portkey, some wobbly sensations, and he fell back onto his feet in Snape's office, or something similar to that. I still think you can trap someone in a Pensieve...

Madam Pince - Mar 15, 2005 4:52 pm (#65 of 232)

You could be right. It still feels possible to me to interpret that scene that your physical body would remain in the room where the Pensieve was. Snape would've been "standing right beside" Harry either way, whether inside the Pensieve or simply in Snape's office. The whole sensation of flying through air and landing on your feet, etc., could just be your mind "rejoining" your body or something.

It sure is an interesting thought about trapping somebody in a Pensieve, though! It reminds me of an old "Night Gallery" comic book I read, where the man went back in time using a Time Machine which was subsequently destroyed. Awkward, mmmmm?

Thora - Mar 16, 2005 4:40 pm (#66 of 232)

So if one sees a memory in a pensive could they then replay their memory of that memory in the pensive later? So a message could be passed down exactly from one wizard to another through the ages? All the subsequent wizards who heard the message would be on hand to, wouldn't they? Each one being added in as he views it? That could explain a few theories that are floating around...


Madame Librarian - Mar 16, 2005 5:34 pm (#67 of 232)

Thora, that is very interesting. A bit mind boggling to contemplate. Would you necessarily be aware when or if you were viewing a "hand-me-down" memory?

While I'm at it, I wonder if we can be so sure that everything seen in the Pensieve is a true memory. Muggles for sure are prone to false memory. What about Wizards? How ironic if some of the things Harry sees are not as they truly happened.

Also, handed down memories might be especially vulnerable to corruption. Each time the memory became a memory for someone else viewing it, it might be altered every so slightly in some way. Kind of like that old game "Telephone" where you sat in a circle and one person started by whispering a sentence to his or her neighbor, who then had to repeat it to the next person, and so on. By the time the statement made it around the circle, it was practically unrecognizable.

I can't imagine how JKR might use this sort of situation, and I think I might just be rambling on about this in order to kill time till July. Then again, JKR was probably not planning to elaborate this much on how the Pensieve works. It just lets you see your own or others' memories and that's that.

Ciao. Barb

Thora - Mar 17, 2005 6:42 am (#68 of 232)

I know she's said they are biased memories, but I wonder about things like the prophecy having a copy made from a memory, and with all the details of a pensive experience that the original person could not have been aware of at the time I'd say a pensive memory is more accurate than simple recollection.

I think a hand me down memory would be identifiable because one or more people would either be doubled, acting strangely, or trying to and not be able to interact with the others.

So if Harry pulled out his memory of viewing Dumbledore's memories of the trials and showed it to Hermione she would see Harry go to the pensive, enter the memories (however that happens), try to talk to the younger Dumbledore, witness all the things he witnessed see another Dumbledore appear on Harry's other side and them leave. Don't ask me how she would get out, I have no clue. But if she then took her memory of viewing Harry's memory and showed it to Ron then he'd see Hermione, Harry, and 2 Dumbledores.

It's about as complicated as the time turner sequence, so who knows if Jo would use something like this but I'm just pointing out that this is a way for Harry to be introduced to people from the past that pre-date even Dumbledore himself.

Just a thought, and I must admit that's my quota of heavy thinking for the week.


Choices - Mar 17, 2005 10:13 am (#69 of 232)

Madame Librarian - "Would you necessarily be aware when or if you were viewing a "hand-me-down" memory?"

That would depend on whether or not you used one of the Pensieve models that imprints the time and date on the memory......LOL

Gina R Snape - Mar 20, 2005 8:40 pm (#70 of 232)

If Harry's body were sucked into the Pensieve, Snape would not have been able to see Harry, and would not know to pull him out. I think Harry's head was in the bowl and the rest of him was standing in Snape's office.

Think about dreaming. When we sleep and dream, it feels like we are in the dream. But the body is really lying on a bed (or the beach or on a chair, in maths class, etc. ) And when we wake up immediately after a REM cycle--or are woken up in the middle of a dream, it feels as though we are being wrenched from the dream. This is how I see a Pensieve operating. The brain is magically transported to the reality of the memory. But the body stays where it is. Eventually, through force or by choice, or at the end of the memory, the mind "returns" to the body as it were.

Solitaire - Mar 21, 2005 5:02 pm (#71 of 232)

I agree with you, Gina. (Gee, can you believe I said that? ) What's more, I think it would have been incumbent upon Dumbledore to tell Harry about the danger of getting stuck in a Pensieve that first time, if it were a real possibility. That is something one should know--especially a "nosybody" like Harry--if one is going to be spending time around Pensieves.


TwinklingBlueEyes - Mar 22, 2005 1:06 am (#72 of 232)

"I agree with you, Gina. (Gee, can you believe I said that? )"

I'm marking that one the wall, two times. For once I agree too!

azi - Mar 22, 2005 1:17 pm (#73 of 232)

Hmmm, interesting concept. I've never heard of it before. However, I feel I might disagree. It could be that Harry's entire body was in the pensive and when Snape returned from dealing with Montague and went to recollect his memories he could see Harry within the pensive. Plus, when Harry first entered the pensive in Dumbledore's office, only his nose touched the thoughts and he felt as though he was sucked in and then had a feeling of falling. This suggests to me that Harry actually physically entered the pensive somehow.

Of course, I may be wrong and you may be right. Smile

Madam Pince - Mar 22, 2005 1:22 pm (#74 of 232)

I've had dreams where I feel like I'm falling, and I actually jerk backwards in my sleep to catch myself, even though I'm not really falling. I tend to think this is similar to what's happening with the Pensieve, so I go along with Gina.

The part in the text where it talks about Harry's feet hitting the floor of Snape's office after Snape yanks him back goes against this a bit, but it could also be explained as Harry just "feeling" as if his feet were hitting the floor, as in a dream. I still think it was only his head in the Pensieve. But I could be wrong!

Choices - Mar 22, 2005 5:56 pm (#75 of 232)

I'm with you azi - I think Harry goes in physically, but we won't know for sure until JKR tells us that's how it is.

Ponine - Mar 23, 2005 4:54 am (#76 of 232)

He goes in, he goes in, he goes in!!! Smile

Snuffles - Mar 24, 2005 12:55 am (#77 of 232)

I’m sure he goes in. I haven't got the book to hand but I’m sure it says something like his nose touches the silver liquid and the room lurches forward sending him in feet first. (I could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time!)

TwinklingBlueEyes - Mar 24, 2005 3:01 am (#78 of 232)

"The tip of his nose touched the strange substance into which he was staring.

Dumbledore's office gave an almighty lurch - Harry was thrown forward and pitched headfirst into the substance inside the basin - But his head did not hit the stone bottom. He was falling through something icy cold and black; it was like being sucked into a dark whirlpool -".

I think he was in it.

Snuffles - Mar 24, 2005 4:02 am (#79 of 232)

Thanks for the quote TBE. I hate not having my books to check, I feel like I have left part of me at home!

Thora - Mar 24, 2005 10:46 am (#80 of 232)

Or maybe the glow coming from the pensive when someone is in it changes colors (hint hint)....so that's how they knew he was in it, I'm not sure if he was, I'll have to re-read the scene with Snape's memories too.


Solitaire - May 10, 2005 8:25 am (#81 of 232)

I am wondering if, perhaps, we will see Harry learn to use the Pensieve in HBP to examine his own thoughts and memories. Dumbledore would certainly be the one most likely to teach him this skill, given the fact that Dumbledore has used it with Harry on more than one occasion.

If, as many suggest, the Pensieve can allow the viewer to see peripheral events that were happening around him--even though he might not have been aware of them at the time--the contents of Harry's Pensieve regarding the night his parents died could be most illuminating!


Choices - May 10, 2005 11:13 am (#82 of 232)

Good idea solitaire. We have seen several instances where Harry has vague memories of things, but can't quite remember them clearly enough to know what they mean. The Pensieve would surely come in handy for things like that, especially the night James and Lily died. There are probably details stored in the vast recesses of Harry's brain that he isn't even aware are there.

Good Evans - May 11, 2005 9:41 am (#83 of 232)

I would love a scene where Harry uses the Pensieve to go back to "that night". But at the same time (speaking as a mum) would he be able to handle it? can he emotionally handle the truth of that night? I suspect reliving that night would be harrowing for him, but Solitaire I love the idea - two things have foreshadowed this - he does remember the night - the Dementors have made him listen to it, and the Pensieve has been shown to us through two books now that thoughts and memories can be revisited. Chilling but oddly compelling....

Solitaire - May 11, 2005 10:05 am (#84 of 232)
Edited May 11, 2005 11:05 am

I confess ... it was the collection of things you mention--as well as seeing the "greenish" cover featuring Harry and Dumbledore with the Pensieve--that made me wonder if this might happen in HBP.

As for Harry's ability to handle what he might learn ... unless he sees that a friend other than Peter was in on the betrayal, I believe he will handle what he has to handle. It will be difficult, since flashbacks to that night seem to almost "paralyze" him. Remember that casting that Patronus was not a simple thing for him. Had it been Harry alone in that alley with the Dementors, he might not have survived. But he knew that he alone could save Dudley, so he mustered the courage and strength to do what he had to do.


Mattew Bates - Aug 2, 2005 9:32 pm (#85 of 232)
Edited Aug 2, 2005 10:33 pm

So now we know, definitively, that memories can be preserved after death. I can't remember exactly where, but didn't Dumbledore hint that Harry had learned quite a bit in his time at Hogwarts that would aid him against Voldemort? Somehow, I took this to mean that Harry would use the Pensieve to search his own memories for clues as to what the unknown horcruxes might be and where they might be hidden. Any thoughts?

Victoria Sinclair - Aug 3, 2005 11:24 am (#86 of 232)

Another question (trying to avoid grave HBP spoilers):

When a memory is placed in a Pensieve, or given to somebody else (as happens in HBP), does the original person still have that memory? When DD puts the trial memories in the Pensieve, does he still have those memories in his head as well? When DD gets other's memories, do those people still have them (if they're alive)? Is the Pensieve memory just a copy?

I would initially have said yes, but if that's the case, what was the point of Snape's removing his awful memories before the Occlumency lessons? That is, if some form of them would still be in his head, couldn't Harry theoretically see them? If the point of the Pensieve was to keep Harry from seeing these particularly horrible memories, doesn't a residual copy defeat that purpose?


Finn BV - Aug 3, 2005 2:06 pm (#87 of 232)

That's a very good question, Victoria. I'll have to reread the OoP Occlumency chapters. Perhaps it temporarily defeats the memory in your mind, but you can put it back later? Or you have some recollection that there is a memory but it will be avoidable during and Legilimency? Maybe?

Also, the Spoiler period is over, so go ahead and give away anything from HBP you want!

Viola Intonada - Aug 12, 2005 6:49 pm (#88 of 232)

HBP has raised many Pensieve questions in my mind, too. The only way I can rectify HBP Pensieve usage with the OoP usage is that it must be able to work a bit like your computer in that you can copy a file onto a disk or something or you can transfer a copy onto the disk without leaving a copy on your hard drive.

It must be very difficult to use a Pensieve, requiring a very well trained mind. Otherwise, you could end up removing your entire memory and be left with nothing. I doubt that JKR will clarify any of this in book 7. The exact nature (and method of using it) will probably always be a mystery.

Troels Forchhammer - Aug 13, 2005 7:19 am (#89 of 232)

Viola Intonada wrote in message #88

The exact nature (and method of using it) will probably always be a mystery.

Very likely.

I think part of the problem is that we would want more from Rowling than she will ever be capable of ó even if she spent the rest of her life detailing the nature and history of her magical world.

I am inevitably reminded of Tolkien, who wrote about the planned appendices in 1956 (the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings had already been published).

But the problems (delightful if I had time) which the extra volume will set, will seem clear if I tell you that while many like you demand maps, others wish for geological(* indications rather than places; many want Elvish grammars, phonologies, and specimens; some want metrics and prosodies ó not only of the brief Elvish specimens, but of the 'translated' verses in less familiar modes, such as those written in the strictest form of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse (e.g. the fragment at the end of the Battle of the Pelennor, V vi 124). Musicians want tunes, and musical notation; archaeologists want ceramics and metallurgy. Botanists want a more accurate description of the mallorn, of elanor, niphredil, alfirin, mallos, and symbelmyn; and historians want more details about the social and political structure of Gondor; general enquirers want information about the Wainriders, the Harad, Dwarvish origins, the Dead Men, the Beornings, and the missing two wizards (out of five). It will be a big volume, even if I attend only to the things revealed to my limited understanding!

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #187, Humphrey Carpenter, Ed. HarperCollins Publishers, London 1995

Despite his lapse into the narrative device of the stories ("only to the things revealed to my limited understanding!"), Tolkien touches on two fundamental things here.

First of all this world is limited to that which has been envisioned by they author: this is a sub-created world, and only so far as the author has actually sub-created something does it have an existence and a meaning in that world. If Rowling hasn't envisioned/decided what Anthony Goldstein's eye colour is, then there is no meaningful answer to the question of his eye colour!

Secondly this world is being investigated in detail by experts of nearly every conceivable field, physicists, geographers, historians, social scientists etc. etc. and basically we all expect (or at least hope for) the author to fulfill our own requirements. It would not only require that Rowling was herself an expert on all these diverse fields of study, but also that she spent a lifetime detailing the information for each . . .

That said, we will obviously continue to wonder, "how would Rowling envision this if she ever was to turn her attention to it?" but we should remain aware that our answers don't have a meaning inside Rowling’s sub-creation ó they only apply to our own private reflections of that world.



Lina - Aug 19, 2005 2:00 pm (#90 of 232)

Well, to me, it seems just obvious that the Pensieve can be used in more than one way - either you can dive in the memory, either the memory can grow out from the Pensieve and talk to you. These are at least two ways of using the Pensieve that we saw in the books. But nobody explains how you can choose the way to use the memory? It seems that you don't have to say any spell to dive into it, because Harry did it when he knew nothing about Pensieves and memories. And I feel sorry that DD didn't ever explain to Harry how it is possible to extract the memory from the mind or how to put it back.

TwinklingBlueEyes - Aug 19, 2005 11:49 pm (#91 of 232)

"...I feel sorry that DD didn't ever explain to Harry how it is possible to extract the memory from the mind or how to put it back."

Agreed, also a flick of Dumbledore's wand calls up a memory, but Harry doesn't know how to do it. He does know how to fall into a Pensieve memory, but you ever notice he never learns how to get out of it? Either Dumbledore or Snape takes him by the arm and snatches or guides him out.

Worries me he may fall into a memory and no idea of how to escape it :-(

haymoni - Aug 20, 2005 4:14 pm (#92 of 232)

I'll bet 50 galleons that Hermione knows how to use one.

Hogs Head - Aug 22, 2005 3:35 pm (#93 of 232)
Edited Aug 22, 2005 4:36 pm

But how likely is it, though, that the purpose and use of the Pensieve in our beloved little tale is now at an end?

Solitaire - Aug 27, 2005 11:32 pm (#94 of 232)
Edited Aug 28, 2005 12:32 am

I posted the following on the Harry Potter thread:

At some point, Esther Rose, I suspect Harry will attempt to place the few shards of memories he has of GH in the Pensieve in order to look for clues to that night. Like others, I believe he has not yet learned how to remove them from his head. Former DADA teacher Remus may be able to help him there, since a Pensieve would seem to be an important tool in defending oneself against the Dark Arts ... don't you think?

The Pensieve seems an indispensible piece of Wizard technology when it comes to the kind of tasks Harry must complete. I cannot believe we have seen the last of it. More to the point, I think Harry will learn to use it for his own thoughts and memories.


Merlin's Beard - Sep 2, 2005 6:53 am (#95 of 232)

Why can't anyone just use the Pensieve like the WWW Instant Daydreams (HBP6)? It only says that it can store your thoughts and memories. Why can't you just think up a scenario, put it in the Pensieve, and then jump in and watch it! it would be better than the cinema. for that matter, what would happen if someone didn't remember something properly, and tried to put it in the Pensieve? Would it automatically dig out the parts you'd forgotten, or would it stay corrupted?

Soul Search - Sep 2, 2005 9:03 am (#96 of 232)
Edited Sep 2, 2005 10:19 am

My sense is that there are two separate things going on.

The first is using one's wand to remove (erase) memories from ones' mind (Snape in OotP) or to copy memories (Slughorn in HBP.) The memories can be put in a pensive, or even just a jar.

The second thing is the pensive, which can be used to store memories, view stored memories, or relive stored memories. The memories can come directly from someone's mind, or from a jar. Presumably, although I don't recall seeing it, memories can be moved from a pensive back to a jar.

Sounds like the wizard equivalent of the thing I am typing on now.

My strong feeling, and that's all, no cannon, is that Harry will discover some more stored memories that will help him with the horcrux search. Dumbledore spent, at least, from CoS (the diary clued him in to horcruxes) researching Tom Riddle and possible horcruxes. While he had shown Harry everything he was sure of, there must be more to his research.

Perhaps, Harry can use the pensive to relive one of his own very early memories, and discover something important.

Also, maybe Dumbledore will have left him a stored memory that helps Harry understand Snape.

Maybe Aberforth will have some memories he needs to show Harry.

The pensive will play a role in book 7. Perhaps a crucial one.

timrew - Sep 2, 2005 2:45 pm (#97 of 232)

Soul Search:- The pensive will play a role in book 7. Perhaps a crucial one.

So, Harry will make extensive, and continuously comprehensive, use of the expensive Pensieve? I'll look forward to it!

Hogs Head - Sep 3, 2005 11:49 am (#98 of 232)

That's probably right, timrew, and may finally explain why JKR has not yet permitted Harry to find the Flying Motorbike. If a 16 or 17 year old Harry had a Flying Motorbike, he'd waste all his days and nights (like any boy that age would) cruising around with Ginny hanging on the back, and would never spend any time absorbed in the Pensieve or tracking down Horcruxes or destroying the Head Bad Guy. Beer or butterbeer or something stronger would probably be involved too. If you drink, don't fly.

timrew - Sep 3, 2005 2:17 pm (#99 of 232)

"Wassat, Occifer? Of courshe I'm not under the affluence of incohol! Wha' girl on the back? (looks behind) Aaaargh! How'd you get there? Gerroff!. I'm shorry, must've got carried away lissnin' to Steppenwolf playin' Born To Be Wild on me ipod.

Waddya mean yer takin' me to the slammer to sleep it off..........Don't you know who I am!!??"

Stephanie M. - Sep 4, 2005 6:33 pm (#100 of 232)

LOL that was really funny!!!

I don't really have anything to say regarding the Pensieve but I really like all of your ideas and I will keep reading (maybe posting if I come up something interesting to say) along so I can stay posted with all of the brilliant ideas on this thread (and other threads like this that I never have anything to say or add to).
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The Pensieve! Empty The Pensieve! (posts #101 to #150)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:13 pm

RoseMorninStar - Sep 4, 2005 9:11 pm (#101 of 232)

I keep hoping Dumbledore will have left a will and one of the things he bequeaths to Harry is the Pensieve... complete with a special message or two.

I wonder how much information Harry would be able to retrieve from his memories to view in a Pensieve, given that he was an infant (in a crib?) and his father was in another room, etc...

HungarianHorntail11 - Sep 17, 2005 6:27 am (#102 of 232)

RoseMorninStar, since thoughts in a Pensieve give actual accounts, rather than a biased point of view, it could be very helpful; but his direction seems to be to return to GH, so I don't know if he will try anything else first. Unless of course, he inherits DD's Pensieve and tries it out in his room at 4PD.

timrew causes spew.

Madam Pince - Sep 26, 2005 5:49 am (#103 of 232)

In another thread, Finn linked to an interview in the Sarasota Herald with Mary GrandPre, the cover artist. Either the author of the article is confused, or this is interesting info:

For the book jacket of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Sarasota resident GrandPrÈ painted an ethereal, misty green image of Harry and his school headmaster Albus Dumbledore peering over a stone basin called a Pensieve. The device looms large in the book as Harry and Dumbledore use it to revisit important memories that drive the plot.

Before the book came out, I thought that was a picture of the Pensieve also. But after I read it, I thought it was the basin in the cave. Hmmmmm...

Madam Pince - Sep 26, 2005 6:22 pm (#104 of 232)
Edited Sep 26, 2005 7:23 pm

I e-mailed the author of the article in the Bradenton Herald (it wasn't Sarasota Herald, after all) to ask her if the above quote was directly from GrandPre, or if it was something she inferred. I was surprised today to find that she actually e-mailed me back! Here's the exchange:

Q: Hi -- read your interview with "Harry Potter" illustrator Mary GrandPre, and I had a question. Did Ms. GrandPre specifically tell you that the illustration on the cover of the most recent book, "Half-Blood Prince," shows the Pensieve? Or was that your assumption? I belong to a web Forum that has passionately argued over whether the illustration is that of the Pensieve, or is it of the basin that Dumbledore and Harry find in the cave at the end of the book? If GrandPre said it was the Pensieve, then that would settle the matter. Thanks!

A: That was not information provided to me by GrandPre. That was my assumption. I apologize for the confusion.

Donna Hartman

So, still nothing definitive, I guess.... I should've invited her to join the Forum -- she should know better than to make assumptions like that!

Finn BV - Sep 26, 2005 7:06 pm (#105 of 232)

Ah, yes, thanks Madam P - I was wondering about that one. So that really gets us somewhere!

RoseMorninStar - Sep 26, 2005 10:59 pm (#106 of 232)

I definitely think it was the basin in the cave. I think the pedestal kind of gives it away. And there are no runes on the sides of the basin, as their should be if it is the Pensieve. I don't know when that article you refer to was written, but either they had not read the book, did not look carefully or the interview was before the book came out and they didn't want to give away any of the plot.

Hogs Head - Sep 27, 2005 2:46 am (#107 of 232)

So that really gets us somewhere!

To look on the bright side, it assists the sleuth in avoiding a false elimination -- the Basin in still in play.

However, I doubt that cover art clues will get us far into solving our issue of real death vs. fake death.

Madam Pince - Sep 27, 2005 9:02 am (#108 of 232)

RoseMorningShire, the article with the interview with GrandPre was just done recently, so definitely after the book came out. I think the author just didn't read the book that carefully. The interview link is on MuggleNet.com if you want to read the whole thing.

Finn BV - Sep 27, 2005 9:56 am (#109 of 232)

I can understand how she thought it was the Pensieve ñ you know, trying to add some words to her minimum.

And LOL, Madam P, you must have been reading RoseMorninStar's second line of information, because you called her RoseMorningShire.

RoseMorninStar - Sep 27, 2005 11:34 am (#110 of 232)
Edited Sep 27, 2005 12:38 pm

LOL That's really funny. Actually, that sounds pretty good...Rose MorningShire. Very hobbity. My *ahem* 'real' name is Dawn, hence, 'Arose the Morning Star' ... Oh, us hobbits love a good riddle! I do have a daughter that I named Rose however. And we do very well living in the 'Shire'.

Madam Pince - Sep 27, 2005 11:45 am (#111 of 232)

Oops! Sorry, RoseMorninStar!

Vaughn - Oct 28, 2005 9:08 am (#112 of 232)

I had a thought that I posted in another thread but I think it could go here too. So here it is:

I wondered about how DD knows so much about that night in Godric's Hollow. I have a hard time with it being a good guy who tells DD what happened but does not take Harry when he goes to tell DD. We know that Hagrid found Harry in the ruins because DD told him to go get Harry. So how did DD know that anything was wrong? I suppose DD is magical enough that he could have felt LV being damaged but that is a little too Star Wars for me. "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if thousands of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced" --not quite HP enough.

So I still don't know how DD knows to send Hagrid to get Harry...but I do have a theory on how he knows so much about that night. Could he have extracted a memory from baby Harry and watched it in the Pensieve? We know that the memories that are shown in the Pensieve are accurate to what really happened not just what the person remembers or saw. So a memory from baby Harry would be accurate enough to show DD exactly what took place with LV, James, and Lily.

Oh and maybe the memory shows Snape there trying to help Lily before LV comes, and that is why DD trusts him.

What do you think?

Puck - Nov 20, 2005 6:45 pm (#113 of 232)

Yes, and perhaps Snape was the one who went to tell DD that LV had found Harry. I can imagine that he wouldn't have taken Harry.

I had another thought about the Pensieve: How does it know what to show Harry? Should we look at it as coincidence that Harry saw the trial of Crouch Jr? Or, had DD been watching the scene because he suspected something?

I guess my real question is does the Pensieve have a "mind" of it's own, much like the sorting hat? Can it show you what you need to know, choose from the many memories within which you should see?

Solitaire - Nov 21, 2005 12:26 pm (#114 of 232)

Could Dumbledore perhaps have left Fawkes on the watch at GH, suspecting that Voldemort might make a move? He has used Fawkes as a lookout before--in OotP, right?


Hogs Head - Nov 27, 2005 3:33 pm (#115 of 232)

Has anyone written prior posts on whether the "Pensieve" is seen in extrinsic literature or myth?

The reason I ask -- a weird word association pops into my mind. The children in Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe -- aren't they named "Pevensie." Don't these letters unscramble to Pensieve? Is JKR paying a little tribute to C. S. Lewis? Sorry if that's just too random to believe.

Solitaire - Nov 27, 2005 8:49 pm (#116 of 232)

I've always associated Pensieve--a device which allows one to examine his thoughts--with pensive, which refers to being deep in thought.


timrew - Nov 28, 2005 4:04 pm (#117 of 232)

To quote Wordsworth, Solitaire, from the poem often called, 'Daffodils'...........

"For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils."

Hogs Head - Nov 28, 2005 7:01 pm (#118 of 232)

timrew, you forgot the last line:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils, while I down yet another cold brew."

timrew - Nov 29, 2005 2:47 pm (#119 of 232)

Yes, Hogs Head.........I forgot that line!

Hogs Head - Dec 2, 2005 9:07 pm (#120 of 232)

So no one else likes my "Pevensie" / "Pensieve" observation? That's okay. One more brain bolt to the rubbish bin.

Solitaire - Dec 3, 2005 3:20 pm (#121 of 232)

Very good, Tim & Hogs Head!

MickeyCee3948 - Apr 16, 2006 8:40 am (#122 of 232)

Has anyone considered whether Dumbledore's thoughts would remain after his death. Boy would that be a storeroom for Harry to peruse. Why DD trusted Snape? Where else had DD looked for the horcruxes? There could be answers that Harry will need in the final battle.


Gemini 13 - Apr 17, 2006 7:30 am (#123 of 232)

Mickey - We know that thoughts can be kept after someone has died. We saw this from Morfin's memory of LV coming to his house and the Elf's memory when he visited the rich old lady (can't remember her name).

Choices - Apr 17, 2006 8:34 am (#124 of 232)

Hepzibah Smith

Viola Intonada - Apr 18, 2006 2:30 pm (#125 of 232)

Recently, I finally read JKR's interview with Emerson and Melissa. I was thrilled to see some clarifications on the Pensieve! What a wonderful tool. I wish I had one. Just think of what if would do for our justice system.

As for gathering someone's memories after death, I got the impression that you have a very limited time after someone dies to "gather" their thoughts.

Choices - Apr 18, 2006 4:47 pm (#126 of 232)
Edited Apr 18, 2006 5:48 pm

I thought all of the memories Dumbledore got were gotten before the person died. There was Bob Ogden, Hokey, Dumbledore's own memory, Slughorn's memory - all gotten while they were alive. Can you tell us where in the book it talks about getting memories from a dead person?

Viola Intonada - Apr 18, 2006 6:20 pm (#127 of 232)

You're right, Choices. I can't find any after death. The memory he retrieves from the house elf said that the house elf was near death and Morfin died within a few weeks. So nothing about after death. Maybe it is time for me to reread book 6......

cindysuewho45 - Apr 21, 2006 11:24 pm (#128 of 232)

Hi all, I like the idea about some of DD's thoughts still being in the Pensieve. After all DD still had some thoughts of a man who had died in a bottle, that he and Harry looked at. So that may not be to far off the mark! I have always thought that DD may have left his Pensieve to Harry or to DD's brother. If AD get the Pensieve then that will be a good way for Harry to see things about DD's past through his brothers eyes. And also for Harry to look back into his own memories, back when he was 1 year old.

geauxtigers - Apr 22, 2006 7:43 am (#129 of 232)
Edited Apr 22, 2006 9:35 am

Yes I agree, Cindy, I think it will factor in big time in helping Harry in his Horcrux hunt, that is if DD is really dead. even if he's not, it will still help him. That’s a nice thought about remembering when he was one, but I think first he will have to remember something from when he was one, and I know I can't remember a things since I was about 5 so I don't know maybe its a wizard thing!

EDIT TO ANWSER VIRGINIA'S QUESTION: Sorry guys, but I'm saving my posts up, but yeah ginny, you're right, my bad!

virginiaelizabeth - Apr 22, 2006 8:29 am (#130 of 232)

I think she means that Harry will see some of DD's memories of him when he was one.

Choices - Apr 22, 2006 8:41 am (#131 of 232)
Edited Apr 22, 2006 9:41 am

"After all DD still had some thoughts of a man who had died in a bottle..."

LOL Sorry, but that struck me as so funny - how did that man get in that bottle? And what killed him? Guess I need more coffee. LOL

cindysuewho45 - Apr 23, 2006 10:06 am (#132 of 232)

Hi all, LOL, you are right, you can read this two different ways! No, a man did not die in a bottle, LOL! That was a good point. As you know, I was saying that DD had a bottle, that he had put some memories in, before the man died. And the memories were still good. Have a good day.

Choices - Apr 23, 2006 10:29 am (#133 of 232)

LOL That was too cute Cindy! It gave me a good chuckle, but I did know what you meant. :-)

TheSaint - Apr 23, 2006 12:21 pm (#134 of 232)

The memories were extracted before death, were they not?

cindysuewho45 - Apr 24, 2006 6:00 am (#135 of 232)

Hi all, Yes, the memories were extracted before death.

cindysuewho45 - May 1, 2006 11:30 pm (#136 of 232)
Edited May 2, 2006 12:33 am

Hi all, I was thinking about this Legilimency thing, and this could mean that not only could Harry look into others old memories in the Pensieve. But he could look in on LV's memories also! Do any of you think that AD will have a memory of DD's, when he went after the ring horcrux? Or maybe just a memory of DD telling AD about what happened. That would make more sense, to get the memory from AD. That could be a lot of help.

virginiaelizabeth - May 15, 2006 3:48 pm (#137 of 232)

This has been brought up on the Harry Potter Thread here's the last post (its from me)

Yeah Harry also says that he felt his feet leave the office floor, so that makes me think that you do leave it, but the whole Snape grabbing his collar and DD pulling him out thing just doesn't fit.

We are getting off topic here so I'm moving this to the Pensieve thread if anyone else wants to discuss it!

Basically we are trying to figure out whether the person actually leaves the starting place(Harry talks about his feet leaving the floor) or whether your feet actually stay at out and its just your head... there ya go!

geauxtigers - May 15, 2006 4:39 pm (#138 of 232)

I think it’s pretty clear at least to me that only your head goes into the Pensieve, but mentally you are falling into the Pensieve. You haven't gone anywhere physically, it’s all in your head so to speak. What I want to know is can you just pick your head up to leave the Pensieve or does someone have to pull you out. There must be another way because DD always brings Harry back when they are in it together. So since we know that can happen is DD simply picking up his head and grabbing Harry? What do y'all think?

Robert Dierken - May 15, 2006 7:19 pm (#139 of 232)

If someone is trapped in the Pensieve, does this mean that they are lost in thought?

virginiaelizabeth - May 15, 2006 8:24 pm (#140 of 232)

Maybe all you have to do is want to leave the Pensieve, and just think, ok time to go! Every time we have seen Harry use it, he hasn't wanted to leave yet.

Mrs. D. - May 17, 2006 6:06 am (#141 of 232)

I'm getting a mental picture of Harry head first in the Pensieve with his feet sticking up and flailing about. Hee hee hee

virginiaelizabeth - May 17, 2006 2:05 pm (#142 of 232)


Soul Mate for Sirius - May 22, 2006 11:54 am (#143 of 232)

Hehe! I always saw it as your entire body disappears into the Pensive. If not, it would probably have been really awkward and hard for DD and Harry to be in Pensive at the same time, because it doesn't seem to be that big. I know the one in the movie was big, but I think that's just movie contamination, because in OotP and HBP, isn't it sitting on Snape and DD's desks respectively?


Choices - May 22, 2006 5:50 pm (#144 of 232)

I have always been of the opinion that one completely enters the scene in the Pensieve, not just the head. Your comment, Soul Mate, makes me believe that even more - there really wouldn't be room for Harry and Dumbledore to both squeeze their heads into the basin.

virginiaelizabeth - May 22, 2006 6:36 pm (#145 of 232)

Yes the Pensieve is small, so that would be difficult, plus I'm currently reading HBP and Harry says every time that he feels his feet leave the floor and then land in the Pensieve scene, and visa-versa.

Solitaire - May 28, 2006 9:34 pm (#146 of 232)

The only problem with the entire body going into the Pensieve ... how would Snape know it? Would he look into the Pensieve and see Harry running around, watching him? It would seem more likely to just assume Harry had left his office.

The Pensieve is simply one of those things that requires "willing suspension of disbelief" from me. I guess I'm too easy. I just accept that it is what it is and I don't really need to know where Harry's body goes in order to understand the important points of the scenes. Oh, well ...


virginiaelizabeth - May 29, 2006 8:41 am (#147 of 232)

The Pensieve must do something to indicate that it's in use...maybe the contents swirl very fast and when Snape went to put it away, he noticed the swirling memories and knew someone was in there so he went in to get him out and discovered Harry watching his worst memory.

geauxtigers - May 29, 2006 8:50 am (#148 of 232)

I tend to agree with you on this Solitaire. I think it’s more of a sensation that you are falling and you feet have left the ground. I don't think that you actually do because Harry looked around and saw Snape grabbing his shoulder and pulling him out. I picture it as standing by in a pool with your head under and looking back at the surface and seeing someone grabbing you shoulder. But your feet are still on the floor. Wow I know that’s confusing but that’s how I see it in my mind.

Choices - May 29, 2006 9:17 am (#149 of 232)

I agree with you Virginiaelizabeth - I tend to believe that the contents of the Pensieve do something to indicate that it is being used - changing colors, swirling, bubbling or whatever. Maybe you can even hear what is going on when a memory is "playing".

Catherine - May 30, 2006 3:17 pm (#150 of 232)


I always pictured Harry's legs hanging over the edge. Big clue THAT would be!

More seriously, how do other wizards "know" if someone is (lawfully) in a Pensieve?
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The Pensieve! Empty The Pensieve! (posts #151 to #200)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:21 pm

Choices - May 30, 2006 4:47 pm (#151 of 232)
Edited May 30, 2006 5:49 pm

Well, Pensieves seem to be very rare - Dumbledore is the only person in the books that we know of who has one. It appears that the only time someone might sneak a peek at your memories or thoughts is when you are interrupted while examining them and leave the Pensieve unattended - as Dumbledore and Snape did. Most often, I would think that wouldn't happen, as you would place the strands of thought or memory back into your head once you had finished with them. Pensieves are rare and having someone invade your Pensieve uninvited would, in my opinion, be even more rare.

MichaelmasGal - Aug 17, 2006 6:33 pm (#152 of 232)

When using the Pensive what happens if the person is killed somehow inside the memory? Or in the real world while they are in the memory? And are you aware of what is going on in the real world while you are in the memory?

Mediwitch - Aug 17, 2006 6:46 pm (#153 of 232)
Edited Aug 17, 2006 7:49 pm

I doubt the user is aware of the outside world, or perhaps I should say that Harry does not seem to be. Cases in point: when Dumbledore joined him in the courtroom while watching the trials, Harry is startled to see a Dumbledore on either side of him (GoF) or when Snape caught him in "Snape's Worst Memory", Harry had no idea he was there (OoP). I don't think you can die in the memory; you are simply watching something that ALREADY happened. It's like watching a video. With regard to the other part of your question - it seems to me (based on Jo's descriptions of Harry falling into the memories and being lifted out of them and feeling his feet hit the floor again) that if you "enter" the memory completely, then you have temporary left the "present day" world and cannot die in it. If, however, you are simply looking down into the memory in the Pensieve without entering it, I would imagine you are still in the "present day" world and can therefore die just like anyone else. But that's JMHO!

Viola Intonada - Aug 29, 2006 9:45 am (#154 of 232)
Edited Aug 29, 2006 10:47 am

My theory, a long time ago, is that the Pensieve transports your "spirit" back to that episode so that you can witness exactly what happened. Harry could read what James had written on his test even though Snape never would have seen it in order to remember it. When you do go back in time, though you may not be able to touch or affect anything, your presence might be able to be felt like a light breeze. This might explain all of the "light breezes" that were appearing in the first books. That in short is my theory. JKR reconfirmed some of my theory when she said that you see things as they happened in the Pensieve, not necessarily how you remembered or perceived it.

Therefore you wouldn't be aware of what is happening to your body, because you're "not there" in it.

Ponine - Sep 6, 2006 10:30 pm (#155 of 232)

We had an interesting discussion about the Pensieve a while back -- I was also curious about the practical aspects around entering a memory in a Pensieve. What for instance, would happen if, say, Snape attempted to retrieve his worst memory while Harry was still in it? Would it be impossible simply because of Harry's presence? Or would Harry's soul/spirit be trapped in Snape's mind? (Could we attempt to trap Lord Voldemort in this manner?)

On a very different note, would it not have been possible for Dumbledore to: a)place memory A in a Pensieve, b)enter memory B, and meander through it, examining at leisure if you will, while musing out loud various the memory's impact, various potential consequences, and possible solutions/alternatives/insights about the memory c) leave memory A d) immediately extract memory A1 -- the Original memory A, but including his own thoughts and input about the memory -- and place it in a container for someone to inherit or something, for instance...

I truly believe that Dumbledore knows **sniffles** knew, I mean, what he was doing, and that he has prepared for the time when he would no longer be around. I am convinced that Harry and the rest of us will hear the story of what happened to his hand, possibly also about his London Tube scar, and that he might have left Harry some of his more crucial memories. And maybe a few of his parents’? I'm all about not living in the past, but I personally think the boy deserves a few scenes from his parents' life -- wedding day perhaps, Harry's childhood -- even hearing his mother cooing his name, or his father beam with pride over a new tooth -- anything, really... Yay? Nay?

haymoni - Sep 7, 2006 5:18 am (#156 of 232)

I cry enough when I read these books - tender moments with Lily & James will just kill me!

Solitaire - Apr 2, 2007 6:54 pm (#157 of 232)

Over on the Malfoy's Task & The Vow thread, Madam Pince posted the following statement: ... if someone "pulls out" a memory and places it into a Pensieve, is that memory then erased from the person's mind until it is retrieved and put back in

I then posted the following:

Madam Pince, I've often wondered about this. When Dumbledore has looked at his memories in the Pensieve, they still seem to be in his mind. Yet Snape appears to have removed a memory from his mind so that Harry could not get to it. But could that be wrong? Is it possible that he wanted Harry to see that memory but thought that Harry lacked the skill to penetrate that far into his mind ... so he put it where Harry would be sure to snoop and find it? (Would Dumbledore have told him about Harry's ventures into the Pensieve?)

There seems to be a conflict here. If Snape knew that the memory put into the Pensieve was still in his mind, then why did he put it there? OR ... if the memories in the Pensieve are actually removed from one's mind while they are in the Pensieve, then were the actual memories Dumbledore placed in the Pensieve officially removed from his brain? If so, are they still in the Pensieve, assuming he had not replaced them before he was killed?

I know this belongs on a different thread, so feel free to respond to it on the Pensieve thread.

Can anyone answer my questions?


haymoni - Apr 3, 2007 3:43 am (#158 of 232)

I wondered about that too - if you've removed the memory, how do you know that you put it in the Pensieve???

Anna L. Black - Apr 3, 2007 7:26 am (#159 of 232)

Maybe you remember only the "general idea" of the memory, not the details? Like when you wake up after a dream... (Lame, I know)

Although, Slughorn used the same memory twice (I think he tampered with the first "copy" after he got it out. And actually, it doesn't matter much), and seemed to remember it afterwards. So it must be a copy of the memory you have in your mind...

Solitaire - Apr 3, 2007 8:55 am (#160 of 232)
Edited Apr 3, 2007 9:56 am

I've always wondered about this, because if Dumbledore did not take the memory of the prophecy out of the Pensieve and put it back into his mind, is it still in the Pensieve? If so, then the Pensieve and anything in it is certainly vulnerable.

Here is something else to chew on ... When a person dies, do any memories left in the Pensieve evaporate, or do they remain there, intact? I can't remember if this has been discussed and answered (by JKR) or not.


haymoni - Apr 3, 2007 9:16 am (#161 of 232)

Jo says that Pensieve memories hold everything - our own memories only recall bits and pieces. Maybe your memory is still there, but only how you recall it - not the whole thing.

Snape removed certain memories on the off chance that Harry would be successful - with the full memory in the Pensieve, Harry would only "see" bits & pieces.

Anna L. Black - Apr 3, 2007 9:51 am (#162 of 232)

"When a person dies, do any memories left in the Pensieve evaporate, or do they remain there, intact? I can't remember if this has been discussed and answered (by JKR) or not." - Solitaire

I think we have the answer to this in canon - Morfin's and Hokey's memories were still intact (when DD showed them to Harry), and their owners were already dead by then.

Nathan Zimmermann - Apr 3, 2007 12:48 pm (#163 of 232)

Anna, I believe Bob Ogden was also deceased by the time Harry viewed his memory as well.

Laura W - Apr 3, 2007 1:20 pm (#164 of 232)
Edited Apr 3, 2007 2:27 pm

Not to mention Bertha Jorkins, right? (Who I *did* just mention.) Killed in Albania sometime during the summer of 1994; speaks from the Pensieve several months later.


mona amon - Apr 3, 2007 7:08 pm (#165 of 232)

But that was Dumbledore's memory of Bertha, if I remember correctly, not Bertha's own memory. Not that it matters. As Anna points out, we have canon evidence that the memories remain intact even when the person is deceased.

What puzzles me most is why Snape stored his memories in the Pensieve (thereby giving Harry easy access to them), when he could have stored them in a bottle or something, like the other memories we see in HBP. I can only conclude that it was purely for plot reasons.

Solitaire - Apr 3, 2007 10:03 pm (#166 of 232)

Morfin's and Hokey's memories were still intact (when DD showed them to Harry), and their owners were already dead by then.

Yes, they were ... but both of the memories were given directly to Dumbledore and stored before they died. I just wonder about memories that are not "protected" in any way but are sitting unprotected in the Pensieve. I wish Jo would tell us a bit more.


Laura W - Apr 4, 2007 12:41 am (#167 of 232)
Edited Apr 4, 2007 1:49 am

What puzzles me most is why Snape stored his memories in the Pensieve (thereby giving Harry easy access to them" (mona amon)

Does Snape even know that Harry has seen a Pensieve and knows what it is? I don't think so. I don't believe Dumbledore would have told Snape about his and Harry's excursions into the Pensieve. Therefore, Snape would have thought it perfectly safe to store his memory there. Just an ornate bowl sitting on his desk amongst a number of other objects is what he thought Harry would see.

I'm a little confused by your comment above, Solitaire. I always saw the Pensieve itself as protecting the memory.


mona amon - Apr 4, 2007 5:53 am (#168 of 232)

Laura, that's not exactly what I meant. Maybe I should have left Harry out of it. What puzzles me is why Snape stored his memories in the Pensieve (going through all the trouble of borrowing it from Dumbledore), when he could have stored it in a bottle the way Slughorn does.

After HBP I got the impression that the Pensieve is for viewing memories, and not for storing them.

Solitaire - Apr 4, 2007 9:02 am (#169 of 232)
Edited Apr 4, 2007 10:04 am

You don't think Dumbledore would have told Snape that Harry had ventured into the Pensieve before? If it is Dumbledore's Pensieve, I should have thought he might have told Snape ... but perhaps not. Even so, Snape should know after four-and-a-half years how inquisitive (okay, nosy!) Harry is and how prone to explore anything he should probably leave alone.

Laura, I guess I do not necessarily see a Pensieve as a means of protecting memories. I see it as a tool which can make them accessible to more than one person--hence, vulnerable. Also, if it is safe to leave memories in the Pensieve indefinitely, why didn't Dumbledore just dump the phials containing Hokey's and Morfin's memories into the Pensieve at once and leave them there? I still think there is more we have to learn about the Pensieve and what happens to memories that remain there for any length of time. However, we can agree to disagree about this.


haymoni - Apr 4, 2007 9:31 am (#170 of 232)

I'm still trying to picture what Harry looks like when he's in the Pensieve.

Is he bent over with his face in the bowl?

Dumbledore didn't yank him out like Snape did - he went into the Pensieve as well. Is he standing there bent over with his face in the bowl as well?

Or do they actually go in?

If so, how did Snape grab Harry without actually being in the memory next to him?

Or did I read the whole thing wrong?

Solitaire - Apr 4, 2007 9:36 am (#171 of 232)

I haven't figured that out either, haymoni ... but I believe it is one of those "willing suspension of disbelief" things where we just accept that it happens and don't ask how. Yeah, right! Fat chance with us forum-ers, eh? LOL


haymoni - Apr 4, 2007 9:52 am (#172 of 232)

I just don't want to picture Harry & Dumbledore standing bent over with their butts - oh, it's just wrong!

journeymom - Apr 4, 2007 11:46 am (#173 of 232)

Haymoni, I sense a kippendo. *snicker*

I figured it's like Riddle's diary. I'm thinking the movie GoF got it right, a person enters face first and is literally, bodily walking around in the memory. Harry, Dumbledore and Snape all walked around in the Pensieve. But- then how did Snape know where Harry was?

It's magic.

Laura W - Apr 4, 2007 1:09 pm (#174 of 232)
Edited Apr 4, 2007 2:12 pm

"Laura, that's not exactly what I meant. Maybe I should have left Harry out of it. What puzzles me is why Snape stored his memories in the Pensieve (going through all the trouble of borrowing it from Dumbledore), when he could have stored it in a bottle the way Slughorn does." (mona amon)

Ah, that's a different point altogether! And you're right; he could have just stored it in a small crystal bottle. It would have made more sense.

"You don't think Dumbledore would have told Snape that Harry had ventured into the Pensieve before? If it is Dumbledore's Pensieve, I should have thought he might have told Snape ... but perhaps not." (Solitaire)

Of course we don't know for sure on this, as there is no canon, but I personally don't think Dumbledore would have mentioned that he and Harry have been going on trips back in time to view the trial of certain DEs, etc. during Harry's fourth year, Solitaire.

"I still think there is more we have to learn about the Pensieve" (Solitaire)

Possibly. I do think the Pensieve will play a part in DH, so maybe more details will be revealed (sorry - bad pun - (grin) ) then. Or maybe Jo feels us she has told us all about the Pensieve and how it works in GoF and HBP, and will just show us a Pensieve incident in the next book without explaining about such details as what happens to a memory when it has been sitting in the bowl for a long time. We shall see.


Solitaire - Apr 4, 2007 2:22 pm (#175 of 232)

maybe Jo feels us she has told us all about the Pensieve and how it works

... and I understand it almost as well as I understand the Fidelius Charm! LOL

I personally don't think Dumbledore would have mentioned that he and Harry have been going on trips back in time to view the trial of certain DEs, etc. during Harry's fourth year

I hardly think that, either, Laura. But I do think it is possible that Dumbledore might have mentioned to Snape that Harry has had experience with the Pensieve ... period. Even by year five, Snape is surely aware that Dumbledore has had a great deal of direct interaction with Harry, and that he has shared things with him that he has not told other students--or perhaps even other professors--so such a disclosure would probably not seem unusual.


Choices - Apr 4, 2007 4:59 pm (#176 of 232)

Perhaps the only way to be able to get the memory back, is to place it in the Pensieve. If it is placed in a bottle, possibly it cannot be taken back - it is gone forever. The Pensieve preserves the memory and allows the wizard to retrieve it and put it back into his mind.

haymoni - Apr 4, 2007 5:10 pm (#177 of 232)

I thought the Pensieve allowed Dumbledore to put his thoughts together. If he thought about Barty Crouch Jr., all the memories about him would come together and Dumbledore could make connections, tie things together.

mona amon - Apr 5, 2007 5:27 am (#178 of 232)

Choices, I think that is a good explanation for why Snape had to use the Pensieve. Though I don't think the memory will be lost forever if you put it in a bottle.

The way I see it (using your idea), you can store it in a bottle for as long as you want, and then when you feel like putting it back into your mind, pour it into a Pensieve, scoop it up with your wand and re-insert it.

Snape wanted his memories back in his head as soon as the lesson was over, so that’s why he borrows Dumbledore's Pensieve. It fits rather well!

Laura W - Apr 5, 2007 6:25 am (#179 of 232)
Edited Apr 5, 2007 7:38 am

That's true. Note that when Harry got Sluggy's memory in a bottle, DD did not somehow release it from there but needed to put it in the Pensieve in order for he and Harry to see/hear it.

So, a memory can be taken out of the head with a wand and stored in a bottle, a phial or maybe other containers (like a teapot with a cork in the spout?). And it must stay fresh - for lack of a better word - in those containers.

Do we know from canon exactly when Slughorn removed the real Horcrux memory from his mind and consciously replaced it with the altered one which he gave to Dumbledore? Regardless, the real memory obviously was as clear as anything - as Harry and DD saw/heard it; so the little bottle was a good vessel in which to store it for whatever length of time it was in there.

But, again, it could only be viewed by another when put into the Pensieve. So the Pensieve has some special enchantment beyond just storing memories. It, and it alone, allows one to actually physically enter the memory it is storing.


mona, I guess Snape could have put his worst memory into a little bottle just before the Occlumency class, and when the lesson was over go up to Dumbledore's office and ask to borrow the Pensieve to dump his memory in so that he could place it back into his head. It would have been another way of doing it.

Of course, we know he had to have the Pensieve on his desk and he had to leave the room so that - to make an important plot point - Harry would let his curiosity once again run away with him and he would witness that whole Snape's Worst Memory scene (which might actually be relevant again in DH).

In other words, Severus borrowed the Pensieve from DD and left it on his desk because Jo had to give Harry and her readers important info about the Mauraders, young Severus and the 15-year-old Lily Evans. (Big Grin)


Solitaire - Apr 5, 2007 11:48 am (#180 of 232)
Edited Apr 5, 2007 12:50 pm

Could Slughorn have used a Pensieve to alter his memory? Surely there must be more than one Pensieve in the Wizarding world. Maybe he borrowed Dumbledore's Pensive to look at the memory on his own and then modified it, removed it, and placed it in the phial. If the real memory still remains in the brain, undamaged and unchanged (as it seems to have done), then this is possible.

Alas, this brings up the pesky problem of Snape again ... Why would he need to put his memory of James in the Pensieve if it were still going to remain intact in his head? What was the point?


journeymom - Apr 5, 2007 11:57 am (#181 of 232)

There's an essay somewhere out there in cyber ether forwarding the notion that Snape left it out there for Harry to see, on purpose. This does answer the above problem, but Snape's furious reaction seems too genuine to have faked. He was barely holding it together. He still threw Harry across the room and hurtled a bottle of cockroaches at him. (A non-magical response, by the way.)

haymoni - Apr 5, 2007 12:16 pm (#182 of 232)

I don't think he did it on purpose.

The memory must truly disappear, but maybe you don't forget that you had the memory or that you put it in the Pensieve.

Solitaire - Apr 5, 2007 1:03 pm (#183 of 232)

This is an interesting issue for me, because it truly does seem to affect how I think about some things and some characters. If the memory is still intact and accessible in the mind, then the question of why Snape put it there is an important one.

Initially, Snape's angry reaction was sufficient to convince me that he did not intend Harry to see the memory. Now, however, I am no longer sure. Don't forget that Snape has been successfully fooling either Dumbledore or Voldemort for years. Surely anyone capable of this caliber of acting is capable of expressing a bit of rage for the kid he's hated, belittled, and tormented since the day he first saw him walk into his classroom at Hogwarts. After all, the rage has probably always been there; it's just a matter of allowing it to escape rather controlling it.


TheSaint - Apr 5, 2007 10:44 pm (#184 of 232)

Wouldn't Snape have developed a memory of putting the 'memory of that day by the lake' into the Pensieve? He would know what the memory was about but not have the details in his head for Harry to access.

journeymom - Apr 6, 2007 10:49 am (#185 of 232)

Y'all figured this out ages ago, but it just occurred to me that the Pensieve is probably a really useful thing for Snape when he goes before Voldemort. He might be a skillful occluder, but I imagine he can't hide everything all the time.

haymoni - Apr 6, 2007 2:05 pm (#186 of 232)

Maybe that is why Dumbledore trusts him - he knows he keeps certain memories in the Pensieve.

And...since Dumbledore knows that Harry has already taken a nosedive into the Pensieve, perhaps he doesn't want to tell Harry or Harry will try to view those memories and would compromise Snape's position if Voldy ever got into Harry's mind.

me and my shadow 813 - Jan 13, 2009 3:27 pm (#187 of 232)

It seems this thread hasn't been touched since DH came out.

In order to better understand this device, I am wondering if anyone cares to shed light on the purpose of the Pensieve. A discussion has taken place regarding the Pensieve being no more than a means to "rewind" a story, and that it cannot be relied upon as accurate information given someone is always going to be filtering it. This seems a bit existential to me, but I am wondering how to reconcile such a notion.

Could a Pensieve memory be used in Wizard Court? I say yes, but the opinions expressed on other threads seem to oppose this. I welcome hearing what others think.

Ludicrous Patents Office - Jan 13, 2009 7:20 pm (#188 of 232)

I've always wondered why DD never looked at some of Harry's memories in the Pensieve, especially Voldemort's rebirthing. LPO

mona amon - Jan 13, 2009 8:13 pm (#189 of 232)

I don't think you can extract memories from other people's heads and put them in the Pensieve. Harry would have to do it himself, and he doesn't know how.

Could a Pensieve memory be used in Wizard Court?

I think a Pensieve memory is as objective a bit of evidence as you can get, just as good as an eyewitness account. It's like a video recording of the incident. However, in a court you'll have to prove that it has not been tampered with.

Solitaire - Jan 13, 2009 9:19 pm (#190 of 232)

A Pensieve memory is as objective a bit of evidence as you can get, just as good as an eyewitness account.

That is not always so great. Eyewitness accounts can conflict. Two eyewitnesses to the same event will often see things quite differently.

mona amon - Jan 13, 2009 11:51 pm (#191 of 232)

Ah, I worded it all wrong. I meant it would be just as good as the judge being an eyewitness. Of course the judge himself will see things in his own subjective way, but that's an inescapable part of human justice.

Orion - Jan 14, 2009 10:48 am (#192 of 232)

If a Pensieve memory is tampered with, it must be done very well or you see it. Slughorn's memory, for example. It is done so badly that you'd have to blind and deaf not to notice that. Such a modified memory can't be used as proof or evidence but then someone who would bring such a memory along would seem very suspicious.

I wonder why the students don't learn spells that the teachers know and use quite ordinarily. They don't learn how to conjure something, and not how to use the Pensieve. I can only think of these two examples but there are more of them.

Swedish Short-Snout - Jan 14, 2009 11:20 am (#193 of 232)

"Conjuring spells are advanced magic; they are N.E.W.T. level at Hogwarts, taught in sixth and seventh years"

Quoted from the Lexicon.

They don't learn how to use the Pensieve, though. Or perhaps they learn it in seventh year?

Orion - Jan 14, 2009 11:32 am (#194 of 232)

SSS, thanks for the correction. They never conjure anything in HBP and DH, so I thought they don't know how to do it. Hermione uses Accio to get DD's books instead of conjuring them, and they don't conjure food in DH. (Maybe they would have got it from the Burrow, out of 12 GP or from Hogwarts, as you must know where it is to conjure it. Like McGonagall does in COS with the plate of sandwiches.)

me and my shadow 813 - Jan 14, 2009 1:57 pm (#195 of 232)

I meant it would be just as good as the judge being an eyewitness. Of course the judge himself will see things in his own subjective way, but that's an inescapable part of human justice. - mona amon

Exactly. That's my feeling, too. How are we to ever ever ever be 100% objective without turning into robots? Or, is that the master plan of eliminating subjectivity?! ; ) I think the Pensieve is as objective as one could get in the books. Certainly those that are tampered with could be done very well, but still, I'm talking about how we as readers interpret Pensieve scenes.

(edited for clarity)

me and my shadow 813 - Jan 14, 2009 3:34 pm (#196 of 232)

I thought it was interesting how Severus's memories were coming out of his ears, etc., as he lay dying. Usually the person extracts the silvery substance by pointing their wand toward their brain. Severus's floated out of him, we assume, by his sheer will to have Harry receive them. I don't know what that could imply but it was unique as far as I remember...

I really liked a post about using DD's memory to find out who truly was responsible for Ariana's death. Aberforth is still alive, maybe we should get it from him : )

Julia H. - Jan 14, 2009 4:17 pm (#197 of 232)

Usually the person extracts the silvery substance by pointing their wand toward their brain. Severus's floated out of him, we assume, by his sheer will to have Harry receive them. I don't know what that could imply but it was unique as far as I remember... (Shadow)

Yes, it is unique. He does not use a wand, to start with, so he cannot point anything at his temple. I think he just concentrates all his power and strength on releasing the memories and perhaps he concentrates on all of them at the same time, so they float out of his head. He knows he has to be quick because the memories will stop coming when he dies, so he is opening several ways out of his head for the memories. The most interesting part for me is that he does not need a wand to do that. LV has killed him because he thinks a wand will make him invincible and here is Snape dying and making sure LV's defeat by doing magic without a wand at all.

I really liked a post about using DD's memory to find out who truly was responsible for Ariana's death. Aberforth is still alive, maybe we should get it from him : )

Yes, DD could have done that any time. A Priori Incantatem could have been done as well at least in the beginning. (Later it would have taken a lot of time to wait for those particular spells to come out.)

me and my shadow 813 - Jan 14, 2009 4:59 pm (#198 of 232)

LV has killed him because he thinks a wand will make him invincible and here is Snape dying and making sure LV's defeat by doing magic without a wand at all.

Yeah, poetic.

Orion - Jan 15, 2009 10:03 am (#199 of 232)

Sometimes it's said that when you die your life flashes in front of your eyes, and the scientists say it's because when the brains stop working certain barriers switch off which contain information and a huge wave of stored memories floods out of the barred regions of the mind, and I see that memory scene as a representation of a near-death-experience. In short (get to the point Orion) I think that Snape couldn't have done this if he hadn't been dying at that moment. He would have needed a wand.

me and my shadow 813 - Jan 15, 2009 7:20 pm (#200 of 232)

Okay, just went back to examine the passage. I avoid that page unless I am willing to shed a tear. Recently I said that it seems most of the Severus-supporters are female. I didn't mean it in the obvious way, as I'm sure few of us would be content in a relationship with such a man. But what I did mean was how incredibly romantic it is, and how painful it is to consider all that he has suffered, and how the *tendency* to ponder such things is what we women do.

Back to the Pensieve, it's interesting how DD is the only one who owned one that we know of. I wonder what requirements the basin must have - runic symbols must help...

Orion, interesting thoughts. We are told that pre-school aged Harry's magical ability was ignited during highly stressful or emotional moments (usually anger for him). Perhaps that has something to do with what you're saying.
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The Pensieve! Empty The Pensieve! (posts #201 to #232)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:23 pm

Solitaire - Jan 16, 2009 7:15 am (#201 of 232)

I have always thought this, Orion. I'm not sure he would have let out those memories of Lily otherwise, considering his injunction to Dumbledore.

it seems most of the Severus-supporters are female

It's the tendency to "remake" a man that we women are frequently accused of having. Women everywhere (who like to remake men) can remake Snape into whatever they want him to be, now that he is dead.

Orion - Jan 16, 2009 7:39 am (#202 of 232)

No, we like him the way he is.

Choices - Jan 16, 2009 8:04 am (#203 of 232)

I have heard that the only real chance a woman has to change a man is when he's a baby. LOL Ready, set.....GROAN.

mona amon - Jan 16, 2009 8:18 am (#204 of 232)

LOL, Choices!

I agree, Orion.

Soli, I liked him long before he died.

Orion - Jan 16, 2009 8:53 am (#205 of 232)

Choices, ROTFL!

Julia H. - Jan 16, 2009 9:15 am (#206 of 232)

LOL, everyone!

me and my shadow 813 - Jan 16, 2009 2:00 pm (#207 of 232)

I'll plead the fifth on that one... Perhaps we should have a "hen-house" thread - no boys allowed ; )

Solitaire - Jan 17, 2009 6:51 pm (#208 of 232)
Edited Jan 18, 2009 7:21 pm

Soli, I liked him long before he died.

Since we are not shown any particularly likable qualities in Snape before "The Prince's Tale," I have a hard time understanding how anyone could have liked him beforehand. He was bullying and arrogant to his students, he played favorites, and he was grossly unfair to many of them on more than one occasion. He attempted to have Sirius and Remus "soul-kissed" without even listening to what they had to say about Peter--even though he had been hiding under the cloak and listening in on the conversation long enough that he knew the kids were in no real danger. Those things alone turned me off to Snape, and that was back in book 3.

Yes, in the end, we see that he did help both Dumbledore and Harry ... but I can't go back in time and say that I liked him before learning so many of the things I saw in "The Prince's Tale," because I didn't. Frankly, IMO, there wasn't that much to like ... but I don't want to turn this thread into a Snape-fest, too.

mona amon - Jan 18, 2009 7:18 pm (#209 of 232)

Funny how every thread can turn into a Snape thread! Soli, I'll answer you sometime, on the Snape thread.

Solitaire - Jan 18, 2009 7:25 pm (#210 of 232)

That's okay, Mona. I am very familiar with how most posters view Snape. I've been on this forum for four-and-a-half years. I've read most of the posts made since that time and a great many that were made before I got here. I've also read the books several times and discussed this issue ad nauseum. My opinion of Snape's personality has never varied, and I doubt it will start now.

PeskyPixie - Aug 16, 2009 10:11 am (#211 of 232)
Edited Aug 16, 2009 11:26 am

Whew, I've finally gotten to this thread!

"Since we are not shown any particularly likable qualities in Snape before "The Prince's Tale," I have a hard time understanding how anyone could have liked him beforehand."

"I am very familiar with how most posters view Snape. I've been on this forum for four-and-a-half years. I've read most of the posts made since that time and a great many that were made before I got here. I've also read the books several times and discussed this issue ad nauseum. My opinion of Snape's personality has never varied, and I doubt it will start now."

Ummm, I'm not quite sure what you you're getting at, Soli. At first it seems that you don't understand why some people like a character who is not likable on the surface. But then, you decline the offer of an explanation of why mona feels the way she does, and you write that your opinion of Snape is not likely to change now.

I'm just a bit confused because I don't equate attempting to understand how a person differs in opinion from me as an attempt to make me change my views.

You are in no way being pressured to change your opinions. You are not required to like Snape (there really is nothing to like on the surface anyway! ).

However, those of us who do find him entertaining do so for a variety of reasons. It's not a simple case of 'Bad-Boy Syndrome'. Rather, some find him very complex and try to understand why he is the way he is; others just enjoy him for the character that he is (thoroughly nasty, but wickedly witty.)

Once again, this is just a brief explanation of why some people like Snape. I hope you understand that I am in no way trying to change your opinion. I'm just explaining mine. Similarly, I completely understand why you feel the way you do, although it doesn't change my own ideas.

Regarding the Pensieve, I wonder if it is one of those rare magical objects which are unknown by the vast majority of the Magical world?

Choices - Aug 16, 2009 10:47 am (#212 of 232)

"However, those of us who do find him entertaining do so for a variety of reasons. It's not a simple case of 'Bad-Boy Syndrome'. Rather, some find him very complex and try to understand why he is the way he is; others just enjoy him for the character that he is (thoroughly nasty, but wickedly witty.)" - Pesky

Count me in that group. That very well sums up my feelings for Snape.

PeskyPixie - Aug 16, 2009 11:47 am (#213 of 232)
Edited Aug 16, 2009 12:47 pm

Yes, he's a bit of a hilariously nasty nut, and that's how we like him! (Except for those of us who don't. )

Back to the Pensieve. I wonder whether Dumbledore possesses one of the very limited number of Pensieves in the world (like the palantirs, or whatever they were called?). Are any other Pensieves mentioned in the books? I can't remember.

legolas returns - Aug 16, 2009 12:05 pm (#214 of 232)

I wonder what Harry did with Snape’s memories that he left in the Pensieve. Did he scoop them up and stick them in his head or leave them lying about for someone else to find?

PeskyPixie - Aug 16, 2009 12:09 pm (#215 of 232)
Edited Aug 16, 2009 1:10 pm

I think that they were bottled up and put in the war museum (where we've also placed the broken shards of the horcruxes).

Seriously, I think that the memories would be a great heirloom for the Potter family. I'm sure they were bottled up and labeled by Hermione, then tucked away until Harry was able to fully appreciate them.

me and my shadow 813 - Aug 20, 2009 3:34 pm (#216 of 232)
Edited Aug 20, 2009 4:43 pm

I think a Pensieve is owned by people who are highly accomplished, and perhaps create it themselves. There might be a spell that works with the Memory to "open it" when you, um, stick your head in it?

What I've always wondered is if you have no memory of the Memory when you remove it. Dumbledore said he removes thoughts when his mind gets too crowded, which says to me extracting the memory is like erasing it from your mind. If it were the case, I wonder if DD and Severus bottled up their painful memories and inserted them back in when they were feeling strong enough to revisit them.

I'm not sure if this is what JKR intended us to infer, though. It doesn't seem like it to me.

edit: okay, original post was addressing this very question and it seems many folks don't think extracted memories have a shelf life. If this is true, then how did Dumbledore keep all those old memories from other people?

PeskyPixie - Aug 21, 2009 1:28 pm (#217 of 232)
Edited Aug 21, 2009 2:29 pm

I've wondered about that as well, MEAMS. I've finally come to the conclusion that it takes effort to bring a removed thought to the forefront of one's mind. For example, if Harry had accidentally spilled the contents of SWM and they went drifting away, Snape would not be permanently rid of those memories. He would still be able to think them up. However, as these thoughts probably dwell at the surface of his thoughts at any given time, he removes them when he gives Occlumency lessons (as there is a chance that his own defences may be broken into at these times).

me and my shadow 813 - Aug 21, 2009 5:25 pm (#218 of 232)

Okay, I'll buy that. The silver swirly stuff is like the film/image but there is still an imprint on the screen

PeskyPixie - Aug 21, 2009 5:33 pm (#219 of 232)

That's the only explanation that works for me. Believe me, I have had fierce debates with myself over this one.

Julia H. - Aug 23, 2009 2:57 am (#220 of 232)
Edited Aug 23, 2009 4:07 am

I like this explanation, too. If the person totally forgot a removed memory, how would Dumbledore know which of his own bottled memories he wants to view in the Pensieve? The fact that Slughorn can give the same memory to Dumbledore twice strongly supports the idea that the owner of a memory does not lose the memory by removing it. I would also think that viewing one's own memory in the Pensieve maybe several times (as Dumbledore seems to do) would create copies of that memory in the person's head. It seems removing a memory can serve three purposes we know about:

1) To share the memory with someone else

2) To view it in the Pensieve, which is an objective and clear method of recalling a memory

3) To make it inaccessible to others' Legilimency attacks perhaps by removing it from the surface of one's mind (as Pesky suggests).

In the latter case, it is like a form of Occlumency, but Snape does not seem to use this method against Voldemort. Of course, the Pensieve is not his, and anyway, he may not always have time to remove all the memories Voldemort should not see, and he probably would not generally want to leave behind his memories when he leaves Hogwarts. It is also possible that doing Legilimency and Occlumency at the same time is difficult or impossible. Snape uses Occlumency against Voldemort, but not Legilimency, since Voldemort would surely notice that; but he uses Legilimency all the time in his Occlumency class with Harry, therefore he knows he can't do Occlumency as well, and that's the reason why he removes some of his memories when facing Harry.

BTW, I wonder what will happen to the bottled memories Dumbledore keeps on his shelves after Dumbledore's death. I'm sure several people would be interested in watching them; but then they could find out about Horcruxes, I guess. (Although I think it is possible that Slughorn steals his own memories from Dumbledore's cabinet as soon as Dumbledore is gone.)

Orion - Aug 23, 2009 5:22 am (#221 of 232)

But that's a good thought, that having access to a Pensieve certainly makes it easier to work as a spy. But doesn't know Voldie that such a device exists? And doesn't the fact that such stored memories still exist in your head make the whole action of pulling them out, for example before an Occlumency lesson, rather pointless? If you have a memory, you have it, whether at the forefront or a bit farther back in your mind.

Betelgeuse Black - Aug 23, 2009 6:51 am (#222 of 232)

The facts as far as I can tell are:

Snape used the Pensieve to keep Harry from seeing particular memories.

Snape retrieves the memories after the Occlumency lessons.

Slughorn does not seem to have lost the memory of the horcrux conversation with Riddle.

I would propose that the person removing the memory has a choice to make a copy of the memory, or remove the entire memory for temporary storage.


Julia H. - Aug 23, 2009 8:36 am (#223 of 232)

If you have a memory, you have it, whether at the forefront or a bit farther back in your mind. (Orion)

That may be another reason why Snape uses Occlumency against Voldemort rather than removing some of his memories. However, in the case of Harry, Snape probably does not have to worry about Harry breaking very deeply into his mind, so it is enough if he removes some memories from the forefront of his mind. Of course, it would mean, whenever Snape looks at Harry, his Worst Memory comes into the forefront of his mind. How terrible must that be?

PeskyPixie - Aug 27, 2009 12:38 pm (#224 of 232)

That's a very interesting point, Julia.

me and my shadow 813 - Oct 1, 2009 4:37 pm (#225 of 232)
Edited Oct 1, 2009 5:38 pm

I've been thinking about Dumbledore and his Pensieve. He has unlimited access to this amazing object. One can get a completely objective viewpoint of any memory they possess. IMO this must be one of the reasons why he is so evolved in his understanding of human nature.

We've discussed whether or not he should have revisited the memory of the tragedy with Gellert and Aberforth and Ariana. With all of his depth of insight regarding others, he was just too afraid to face what he thought might be the truth of his own culpability.

But I really can imagine him sitting for hours and hours with his head in that basin, studying human behavior and, more importantly, the perception and interpretation of an event from all angles. This is a highly useful tool when trying to go beyond the usual stuck point of view. There is a (non-forum-friendly) film called Rashomon which deals with this idea of viewpoint and how one-sided it is. If Dumbledore really did use the Pensieve to its fullest potential with his own memories -- even besides the Ariana one -- this could explain quite a bit about why he was the greatest wizard of all time (besides Harry, of course).

PeskyPixie - Oct 2, 2009 9:00 am (#226 of 232)

Harry is not the greatest wizard of all time.

Honour - Oct 12, 2009 3:05 am (#227 of 232)

I wonder why DD didn't ask for Sirius' memory of the night that he was supposed to have killed Wormtail and all those Muggles? After all DD chased after the other memories he collected for Harry to seek out the Horcruxes. Why not Sirius' and even Hagrid’s (to exonerate him from the Myrtle investigation)?

Julia H. - Oct 12, 2009 4:04 am (#228 of 232)
Edited Oct 12, 2009 5:12 am

Good question. Sirius may have been too guilt-ridden to demand fair treatment and a trial, but Hagrid was probably telling everyone that he was innocent. In Hagrid's case, the only possibility I can think of is that Dumbledore did not have the Pensieve in those early years...

BTW, we know that people's memories can be modified (like Morfin's) - so memory viewing may not be regarded as decisive evidence.

Weak arguments, I know.

PeskyPixie - Oct 17, 2009 10:06 am (#229 of 232)

I suppose the best argument is that Dumbledore did not have the Pensieve back then. As we've seen elsewhere, Dumbledore has many correct hunches, but how is one to get society to believe those hunches? Besides, everyone is mesmerized by handsome, brilliant Tom Riddle. They'd be doing backwards cartwheels in order to make his story work.

haymoni - Jan 23, 2010 1:30 pm (#230 of 232)

Hi all - wasn't sure where to put this but the current discussion on the Snape thread reminded me of something I wish we would have seen in the stash of memories that Harry collected from Snape.

I would have liked to see what happened between Snape and Flitwick on the night that Dumbledore died.

Hermione tells what she knows, but I'd like to have "seen" it first hand.

PeskyPixie - Jan 25, 2010 3:59 pm (#231 of 232)

I would love to see a lot of Snape's story firsthand! Spies are so interesting.

BTW, I plan on getting caught up on the Snape thread (and start contributing regularly again) very soon.

Julia H. - Jan 27, 2010 5:25 pm (#232 of 232)

Yes, it would be good to see more of Snape's memories, but I would also like to see his thoughts, which the Pensieve never shows, and his emotions, which the Pensieve does not always show.

About Flitwick: Snape asked Hermione and Luna to help Flitwick, who had "collapsed". Hermione later assumes that Snape Stupefied Flitwick, which may easily be the truth; although the way Hermione describes Flitwick, he sounds agitated enough to have collapsed on his own. In both cases, Snape managed to keep three people (including two students) out of the fight when he knew that it would be his job alone to save Hogwarts this time. He did everything in his power to protect the students.
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