Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Bertha Jorkins
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
|Loyalty||Ministry of Magic|
Bertha Jorkins was a witch working with the Department of Magical Games and Sports in the Ministry of Magic. She was also Sirius Black's and James Potter's school mate at Hogwarts. When she is first mentioned in the book, she has been missing since being on vacation in Albania. It is later revealed that she is dead.
Role in the Books
In Chapter One, Lord Voldemort reminds Wormtail that he murdered Bertha Jorkins after they forced her to reveal Ministry information. With this information, Voldemort devised a plan to lure Harry Potter to a place where he would use him for a sinister purpose.
After her disappearance from Ludo Bagman's department, Bagman seems unconcerned, saying, "Poor old Bertha... memory like a leaky cauldron. Will likely turn up sometime in October thinking it's still July." Arthur Weasley is later called upon to assist in damage control when Rita Skeeter discovers her unexplained absence and writes about it in the Daily Prophet.
Bertha's absence is mentioned several times throughout the book. Sirius Black disputes Bagman's claim about Bertha, telling Harry that when they were at school together, she had a very good memory and a very long nose for gossip; a bad memory is not something he would associate with her. Professor Dumbledore summons her memory from his Pensieve, and he and Harry see her accusing a fellow student of jinxing her only because she followed him, though she later expands on this, saying she had followed him and his girlfriend, had seen them kissing, and had told him she would tell everyone about it.
Finally, under Veritaserum, Barty Crouch Jr. reveals that Bertha had visited Bartemius Crouch Sr.'s house some time before our story begins, and had discovered that Barty, who supposedly died in Azkaban, was hidden at his father's house. Bartemius put a memory charm on Bertha, but it caused her ongoing memory problems. On vacation, she fell in with Wormtail, who brought her to Voldemort. From her, Voldemort learned about the Triwizard Tournament being held at Hogwarts. By breaking the memory charm, he learned also that Barty Crouch Jr. had escaped Azkaban and was being hidden at his father's house. Breaking the memory charm destroyed Bertha's mind, and Voldemort quickly murdered her as she was no longer useful.
Before Bartemius Crouch damaged it, Bertha had evidently quite a good memory, and one gathers that she had something like Rita Skeeter's nose for gossip.
After her memory had been charmed, she seems to have become notably weak in her ability to remember, and had been, as a consequence, shunted around from department to department at the Ministry.
Relationships with Other Characters
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort had gained some kind of body shortly after Bertha had been captured by Peter (Wormtail) Pettigrew. Later on it mentions that Voldemort "pointed his wand" at Peter and used the Cruciatus Curse on him. When Harry arrives in the graveyard Peter drops an "ugly baby" into the cauldron. What if the "service" that Bertha provided was more then just the information about Barty Jr. and the Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts? It is entirely possible, though horrible to contemplate, that the body that Voldemort inhabited during this book was, in fact, Jorkins' child, possibly one that she had gone on holiday to have privately. Voldemort would, of course, not mention this in his exposition to the Death Eaters as to how he had survived, due to the shameful weakness of the body he had been forced to inhabit; and the author would not have mentioned it anyway in a book intended for children.