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.
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?
(© 19th April 2016)