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Old June 30th, 2012, 10:26 pm
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meesha1971  Female.gif meesha1971 is offline
Master of the Magical Arts
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Re: Do you remember memories in a pensieve?

Originally Posted by HedwigOwl View Post
I was under the impression that Dumbledore used the pensieve to look for patterns/connections between memories, which is easier than trying to do it in your head, with so many other memories present as well. I thought the "cluttered mind" remark was humor on Dumbledore's part.
That's how Dumbledore explained it. Here's the quote from GOF.

GOF, pg 597“This? It is called a Pensieve,” said Dumbledore. “I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.”

“Er,” said Harry, who couldn’t truthfully say that he had ever felt anything of the sort.

“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.”

“You mean . . . that stuff ’s your thoughts?” Harry said, staring at the swirling white substance in the basin.

“Certainly,” said Dumbledore. “Let me show you.”

That is also consistent with what Snape told Harry when he said Legilimency sounded like mind reading. Dumbledore told Harry in HBP that he used Legilimency to acquire the memories they viewed in the Pensieve.

OOTP, pgs 530-531“Only Muggles talk of ‘mind reading.’ The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing, Potter . . . or at least, most minds are. . . .” He smirked. “It is true, however, that those who have mastered Legilimency are able, under certain conditions, to delve into the minds of their victims and to interpret their findings correctly."

With the explanations given on page regarding the Pensieve and Legilimency, my take is that Legilimency does not remove the actual memory, but rather the thought in your mind about that memory. Such thoughts can be viewed "mentally" - as we see when Harry accidentally reverses Snape's Legilimency in OOTP and sees into his mind - or they can be placed into a Pensieve where they can be viewed more objectively to look for patterns and links.

Likewise, when Dumbledore shows Harry his own memory of meeting young Tom Riddle for the first time, it does not appear that he does not remember what happened in that memory. On the contrary, Dumbledore seems very aware of what will happen - even knowing where he would be and pointing himself out to Harry. Afterward - with that thought still in the Pensieve - Dumbledore was able to fully discuss the memory they just viewed - revealing to Harry what he was thinking at the time and his impressions of young Tom Riddle that were not revealed by simply viewing the event in the Pensieve. So I would say the actual memory was still in Dumbledore's mind and the thought about that memory is what he put into the Pensieve.


Reform must come from within, not from without. ~ James Cardinal Gibbons

"So, if people want information on my characters, then they have to accept that I'm going to give them the information on the characters. And if they don't like it, that's the nature of fiction. You have to accept someone else's world because they made that world, so they probably know a little better than you do what goes on there." ~ J.K. Rowling

All posts are my opinions and interpretations based on reading the Harry Potter books and interviews with J.K. Rowling.

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