Chapter 30 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Pensieve
Professor Moody opens the door and invites Harry in. Professor Dumbledore asks Harry to wait there while he, Cornelius Fudge, and Professor Moody survey where Mr. Crouch appeared and then disappeared.
Alone in Dumbledore's office, Harry notices a shimmering light. Inside a partially opened cupboard is a stone bowl filled with an odd, glittering, substance. Peering into it, he sees a torch-lit stone room, filled with tiny witches and wizards. He moves closer for a better view and is catapulted into the scene. Nobody in the room, including Dumbledore and Moody, notices him, and Harry, realizing he is inside a memory, settles down to watch.
In a courtroom, a younger Bartemius Crouch is overseeing the proceedings. Chained to a chair, Igor Karkaroff bargains for his freedom, offering to identify Death Eaters. He names Antonin Dolohov, Evan Rosier, Travers, and Mulciber. All have already been captured or killed. Karkaroff then claims that Augustus Rookwood, who works in the Department of Mysteries, was passing information to Voldemort. This information was unknown, but Karkaroff is to be returned to Azkaban while the court deliberates. In desperation, Karkaroff names Severus Snape as a Death Eater. Dumbledore interjects, saying that while Severus had been a Death Eater, he had turned double agent before Voldemort's downfall and is no longer the Dark Lord's servant.
The memory fades and returns to the same room with a lighter atmosphere. A younger Ludo Bagman stands accused of aiding Death Eaters. Bagman claims he was unaware that Rookwood was working for Death Eaters and believed that he was collecting information for "our side." The Wizengamot votes to free him, though Moody and Crouch seem annoyed by the verdict.
Again the memory fades and reappears, only now the room is grimmer. A witch and three wizards stand before Mr. Crouch, accused of torturing the Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom to uncover Voldemort's whereabouts. The Wizengamot unanimously sentence them to life in Azkaban. The boy, Barty Crouch, Jr., pleads for his father to spare him; Crouch, stony-faced, disowns his son while Mrs. Crouch, weeping, watches as Barty is condemned.
A second Dumbledore suddenly appears and, grasping Harry's elbow, returns them to Hogwarts. The bowl is a Pensieve. When too many thoughts and memories cram Dumbledore's mind, he siphons some off and stores them there. Patterns can be seen inside the Pensieve that are not otherwise immediately apparent. Using his wand, Dumbledore extracts a thought and places it in the Pensieve. Harry sees his own face smoothly turning into Snape's who says, "It's coming back, Karkaroff's too . . ." It is a connection Dumbledore could have missed without help. Harry apologizes for snooping; Dumbledore responds that curiosity is not a sin, but it requires caution. A teenaged girl's image then rises from the Pensieve. It is Bertha Jorkins as she was at Hogwarts. She is complaining that a boy jinxed her because she reported him for kissing Florence behind the greenhouses. Dumbledore asks why she followed him behind the greenhouses in the first place.
Harry then recounts his dream, but is surprised that Dumbledore already knows about his scar hurting him that summer. Unknown to Harry, Dumbledore has been corresponding with Sirius. Dumbledore believes Harry's dream was hardly ordinary and that Harry's scar hurts whenever Voldemort is nearby or feeling strong emotions. In the dream, Harry never saw Voldemort, only an armchair from behind, but there would be nothing to see: Voldemort still lacks a body. Dumbledore says Voldemort is growing stronger, and his earlier accession to power was marked by unexplained disappearances; there are currently three missing people: Bertha Jorkins, Bartemius Crouch, Sr., and a Muggle, Frank Bryce. Dumbledore believes they are linked, though the Ministry does not.
Harry learns that Neville's parents, mentioned in the memory, were tortured until they went insane, and now permanently reside in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. That is why Neville lives with his grandmother. Also, Ludo Bagman and Severus Snape have been uninvolved in anything Dark since the trials and he trusts Snape. Dumbledore requests that Harry say nothing about Neville's parents, not even to Ron or Hermione. That is Neville's story to tell. Finally, he wishes Harry luck in the third task.
Readers have watched the story unfold mostly through Harry's point-of-view or as told to him by other characters; gradually, the author has added additional mechanisms for Harry (and readers) to gain information about Voldemort and his Death Eaters. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry viewed Tom Riddle's memories that were stored in his diary. Now Dumbledore's Pensieve provides yet another means for Harry to observe historical events first-hand. The Pensieve is also introducing new characters who are from the past that readers may see again in the present. It also sheds light on some current characters, such as Ludo Bagman, who was interrogated but never convicted as a Voldemort follower, though his actual involvement is apparently still suspect to Dumbledore and Moody. And though Harry has learned much from Tom Riddle's Diary and Dumbledore's Pensieve, these are still memories, and they may be imperfect and somewhat tinged with personal viewpoints and biases. And in Voldemort's case, they were purposely presented in such a way as to give Harry a false impression. That will not be the last time Harry will see a deliberately skewed memory.
Harry has also been occasionally watching events in real time through a mental connection existing between him and Voldemort. As these mostly play out when Harry is asleep, he still believes these are just bad dreams. Harry's mental connection to Voldemort may become his most valuable information avenue, as he is viewing things that are currently happening, though he has yet to completely utilize this, being previously unsure if what he saw was actually real; also, the information he does receive is sporadic and incomplete, making it difficult to analyze. There is also a danger that Voldemort can learn as much through Harry if he also discovers this link; it is probably only a matter of time before he does.
Also, Dumbledore has likely been depositing his abundant thoughts into the Pensieve for many decades, presumably many unrelated to Harry or Voldemort. How then does Harry happen to see only those memories directly related to current events and that are the most helpful to him? Is it possible that Dumbledore intended for Harry to view these particular recollections, leaving him alone in his office at an opportune time? The opened cupboard door almost seemed like an invitation, beckoning Harry to peer inside. Dumbledore may be legally or ethically prevented from sharing such confidential information with a student, and by making his memories available in this way, he is able to pass this on to Harry without reprisal. Quite possibly, Dumbledore was merely reviewing those particular memories because they may be related to current events, and Harry happened upon them during an unguarded moment. All this is, of course, only speculation and unfortunately, it remains unanswered.
The Pensieve also reveals much about Neville Longbottom through what happened to his parents. The trauma Neville has suffered over his mother and father's sad fate may partially explain why his memory and magical abilities are impaired. For whatever reason, Neville has chosen to keep his parents' condition secret; Harry's knowledge about this will bring the two boys closer together, and Harry realizes that Neville has lost his parents to Voldemort, just as he has lost his.
As a side note, it is interesting that even though the courtroom scenes are from Dumbledore's viewpoint, he is seen as a bystander. This matches what had happened in Tom Riddle's memories; though it was Tom's memories, Harry was always standing beside Tom, rather than seeing directly through Tom's eyes.
- Why has Neville never told anyone about what happened to his parents? How might this knowledge change Harry's relationship with Neville?
- Why is Harry so surprised that Dumbledore has been communicating with Sirius? Why has Sirius never mentioned this to Harry?
- Why did Harry wait so long to tell Dumbledore about his dreams?
- Why is Dumbledore convinced that Harry's visions are something other than dreams?
- Why does Dumbledore refuse to tell Harry the reason he trusts Snape? Is Dumbledore's trust warranted?
- Why does the Ministry maintain that Bertha Jorkins', Mr. Crouch's, and Frank Bryce's disappearances are unrelated? Are they? Explain.
- Did Dumbledore intend for Harry to view his memories in the Pensieve? What evidence is there for this? If he did intend for Harry to see them, why didn't he just tell Harry all this instead?
Knowing now that Harry has had at least two "dreams" which mirrored Voldemort's thoughts, Dumbledore is beginning to understand exactly what the link is between Harry's mind and Voldemort's. This causes Harry great concern in the next book, as Dumbledore takes great pains to conceal his and Harry's relationship from any potential eavesdropping by Voldemort through that link. Dumbledore believes, correctly, that if Voldemort knows that he and Harry have anything more than a student to headmaster relationship, he will use that as a weapon against Harry, Dumbledore, or both. To conceal his affection for Harry, Dumbledore will studiously avoid nearly all contact with him. As a result, Harry feels hurt and abandoned, and will, on several occasions, refuse to pass useful information to Dumbledore. Voldemort learns about the link near Christmas, when, through it, Harry "sees" Mr. Weasley being attacked. Shortly after that discovery, Voldemort will begin to use that link to manipulate Harry into stealing a Prophecy for him.
Harry will use the Pensieve again, to provide answers not only about Voldemort, but also his father and mother, Aunt Petunia, and also Snape. Perhaps interestingly, the Pensieve's primary purpose is not to store and search for connections between existing memories, as is implied here. Its function is to replay memories placed in it. In the next book, it will show us an episode in Snape's life. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we will examine memories belonging to individuals who knew Voldemort in his younger days, when he was still known as Tom Riddle. And in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we will replay Snape's memories from both his youth and adult life, thereby learning more than a little about Harry's parents.