#AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z #HarryPotter – P is for Pensieve

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There are times in life when memories come rushing back in at the drop of a hat. They have the tendency to come from the vaguest of thoughts and discussions. It’s something that I find very intriguing, yet uncomfortable. So when I found a magical object in the world of Harry Potter that is used not just to review memories, but to jump into them and relive them, it was very surprising.

Pensieve. Image Source: Harry Potter Wikia

The Pensieve is a metal or stone basin that is used to review thoughts and memories. The person who wants to review or relive the thoughts and memories takes the memories out of their head like a silvery wisp and pushes the wisp into the Pensieve before diving in after them. They then walk through the memories like a third person, watching what had happened. The word itself is coined from the words Pensive and Sieve, meaning to filter out the thoughts that make us ponder deeply. In the movies, Severus Snape uses his tears to show Harry his memories through the Pensieve, though this has never been mentioned in the books. Also, though Harry goes into the memories and becomes a part of them in the books, it’s not so every time in the movies. To imagine Harry tumbling into the memory was more fun than seeing him just watch it.

This magical object is one that is not very prominent, but plays a major role, because through the Pensieve, Harry and Dumbledore go back in time to what has or may have happened, building up to the finale of the sixth book and of course, to the all-important seventh book. I personally feel that the Pensieve is something that JK Rowling conjures up to make the flashback scenes way more interesting than they would be had it been like a conversation between Harry and Dumbledore. It definitely felt more interesting to read it and imagine it that way.

Reading about the Pensieve on Pottermore, I found that because it is filled with the most personal of thoughts, when the person dies, the Pensieve is generally buried with them so others can’t see them. But the Pensieve at Hogwarts is a common one used by any Headmaster or Headmistress. It makes me wonder, if Voldemort did know about the Pensieve, would he have tried looking into Dumbledore’s memories. I feel he would have if Snape told him about it, but he doesn’t. This adds to and confirms the loyalty of Snape to Dumbledore.

What thoughts would you review or relive in a Pensieve, if you had the chance?


How fast time seems to fly by. I remember taking part in the first ever April A to Z Challenge, where for the month of April (except for Sundays) we write on themes around the 26 alphabets. This year marks the 7th Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and my 7th as well. I’ve successfully completed 4 of the 6 years before, so hoping for a fabulous 5th year of blogging success. You can go here if you want to know more about what the challenge is. My theme this year is ‘The World of Harry Potter’.


(© 19th April 2016)

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Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

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16 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z #HarryPotter – P is for Pensieve

  1. Lovely post yet again Vinay 🙂 I still remember the scene when Harry drops Snape’s tears into the pensieve ..what a turning point in the movie it was..and yeah i guess Snape’s character is the most loved character. RIP Alan Rickman 🙁
    I would want to go back to the memories and see the times spent with my mom. Its been five years since she passed away and i guess i would want to have a pensieve to myself lifelong so that i can see here whenever i missed her.
    @sneha_sasi from
    Life As a Potpourri

    • Such a meaningful thing, Sneha. I do wish the mirror was with you. 🙂

      I remember that scene most of all, and I had shared it when Alan Rickman had passed away 🙁 It is a sad memory of the series, but a very powerful one too.

      Glad you liked the post.

  2. Hmmm…. I think I would let the thoughts be. Somehow, it feels like an invasion of privacy.
    But then, the memories or thoughts that get collected by Dumbledore help them in defeating Voldermort. So, it was a means to an end.
    Personally, I wouldn’t intrude upon anyone’s private and innermost thoughts.
    (Pixie recently posted…Monday Musings on a Monday)My Profile

  3. I loved the idea of the pensieve. I will never forget the utter heartbreak I felt when Harry watched Snape’s memory after his death. I felt this worked way better in the movies than the books as it was so visual and all the more haunting
    Debbie
    (Random Musings recently posted…Quiet)My Profile

  4. I am of the opinion that Voldemort walks around looking too high that he misses those little details at his feet. He had access to the pensieve and were it me, I would have gone there and seen all those memories that would tell me in a jiffy what Dumbledore had been up to. He did not need Snape to tell him that particular detail. He could have used one of the Carrows or someone to bring him the pensieve by force in the seventh year. If it really were the property of headmasters, it would not have been such a big secret. So coming to that, he tends to overlook the details and fail miserably.

    If I had the pensieve, I will store the memory of the first time I got a bicycle and my dad helped me ride it and relive it all over again. I don’t know why but this is so special. He still laughs when I tell him that.

    As an aside – if a person puts any of their memories in their pensieve – does that mean they won’t be able to remember it normally? Like the way we recollect our thoughts?

    • Who knows? Maybe Voldemort was told by Snape that the Pensieve was empty, and the Dark Lord trusted that. He wouldn’t go using Legilimens on every Death Eater, witch or wizard. 🙂

      You riding a bicycle seems comical somehow, Dhivya. 😀 And I don’t think they put the memory as it is, but a copy of it, so they can jump into it. 🙂 Erasing the memory would mean Obliviate, no?

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