Sharing Thoughts

The Pensieve and the Importance of Memory.

Some of the most important, moving and pivotal scenes in the story of Harry Potter are presented through floating memories in the Pensieve which can be found in the office of Albus Dumbledore. Memories are like shadows, perched on the sanctuaries of the mind and are decisive both for a person’s personal life and for the human history, but also for every story too.

The Pensieve is a rare magical object whose creation is placed long before the founding of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In fact, it is rumoured that Hogwarts was built on this particular site of the Scottish Highlands because the Pensieve was found half buried there. It is made of stone with runes carved on it and has the ability to reproduce stored memories, so that they are revived with every detail. It is located in the office of the Headmaster and over the years, each headmaster has bequeathed a small collection of memories. We often see Professor Dumbledore use it for meditation, for memories of Tom Riddle – such as Professor Slughorn’s precious memory of that particular student, and in private sessions with Harry. Through it, we learn about Severus Snape’s past (which made us cry a lot) and in an elaborate way we dive into the past, into the foundation of the story by J. K. Rowling. Despite its good points, however, the Pensieve carries risks as the memories can be revived by any user.

But in the world of wizards as well as the world of muggles, such a magical object is extremely rare. And so our memories and thoughts float in the ark of our minds and senses. Memory is what gives a sense of continuity in our lives. One remembers the experiences, impressions and knowledge he gains and thus can learn to survive throughout his life. It is divided into short-term and long-term memory. The natural process of a human memory follows a specific course starting from the coding of information, continuing to its storage – as in magic vials – of the mind and thus ends in the retrieval of a memory. Some memories, of course, prevail over others, depending on the intensity of the experience. Mental pain, for example, can revive a memory.

The gift of memory has been given to us and fill our lives with meaning from the moment we are born. An infant recognizes his mother’s voice, while a scent can transport us to the place where we first met someone or a place we visited. But the benefits of memory function do not end there. In our memory loved ones that we have lost are still alive along with many life experiences. Without this ability to bottle memories, technology and art are our little Arks. History and knowledge are recorded in books and databases which educate the next generations. Photos and videos allow us to relive beautiful moments. Many people, on the other hand, experience a different reality, as their memory is lost or slowed down because they have been hit by a spell – whether it is called Alzheimer’s or an accident. But even in these cases, hope is not all lost. Take a good look at movies such as 50 First Dates, the Notebook and of course, our favourite forgetful fish, Dory.

Without the Pensieve and spells, we keep our memories and learn from those, like Harry did in difficult times. The main point is not to live in them but to solve the equation of life in the present times by making new ones and whatever difficulty we encounter, we must not forget to “Swim”!

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