Bertha Jorkins was a few years ahead of James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was a gossipy girl and not very bright, which Sirius noted to not be a very good combination. During her school years she would regularly complain about mistreatment from other students and spread rumours, even once ending up in front of Dumbledore following an incident. Bertha was described as being a slightly plump girl with a sulky expression, though her expression could just be due to the fact she was complaining to Dumbledore.
Career at the Ministry
After graduating from Hogwarts, Bertha went to work at the Daily Prophet briefly before joining the Ministry of Magic and floated between Departments. She finally ended up in the Department of Magical Games and Sports under the head of Ludo Bagman.
Bertha had the misfortune of making a visit to the estate of Barty Crouch Snr with some papers for him to sign, where she discovered the Crouch family secret that they were keeping their convicted Death Eater son Barty Crouch Jr trapped in their house under the Imperius Curse and an invisibility cloak when their house-elf Winky was talking to the criminal, of which Bertha heard enough to deduce who was under the cloak. When Bertha confronted Crouch Snr, he had to place a powerful Memory Charm on her to alter her memory and make her forget what she had found out. However, the Memory Charm was so powerful, in fact, that she suffered permanent brain damage, leading to the extreme forgetfulness she had since been known for.
Bertha Jorkins went on holiday to Albania in 1994. One night in a wayside inn, she ran into Peter Pettigrew, who the Ministry thought to be dead at the hands of Sirius Black. Although she recognised him, he was able to persuade her to take a stroll with him into the woods, and he was able to overpower Bertha and bring her before his master, Lord Voldemort, who was hiding in Albania. Lord Voldemort was able to break through the memory charm placed by Crouch Snr on her through torture and learned of the imprisonment of his follower Crouch Jr, and also learned valuable information about the Triwizard Tournament which he would use to try to kill Harry Potter.
Breaking through the memory charm had left Bertha severely "damaged," by permanently damaging her mind and body beyond repair, and Lord Voldemort murdered her with the Killing Curse, because he had no more use for her. Voldemort used her death to turn his snake Nagini into a Horcrux. Pettigrew noted this was a poor move, believing that the Ministry would notice her disappearance and that they could have simply modified her memory to cover their tracks, which Voldemort believed would be an insult to her memory.
As a result of her demise, Bertha did not return when she was supposed to. Her reputation of being forgetful and not very bright made many believe she had lost track of time and was perhaps just lost, so the truth was never discovered.
During the duel between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort in the Little Hangleton graveyard, when the spells of the two duellists clashed into a Priori Incantatem, Bertha is one of the echoes to emerge from the bond. She supported Harry while withholding Voldemort. Harry would later report Bertha's fate and temporary return to Dumbledore and Sirius, thus solving the mystery of her disappearance.
Her first name, Bertha, means "intelligent" or "shining" — an ironic first name, as she was gossipy, forgetful and not always wisely cautious about danger. Jorkins may be from Mr Jorkins, a character in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield and A Christmas Carol.
Behind the scenes
- She once complained about being Hexed by a boy whom she teased because she had caught him kissing Florence behind the Hogwarts greenhouses.
- She was cut from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film), for time reasons.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
Notes and references
- ↑ Sirius stated that he attended Hogwarts with Bertha but that she was "a few years above" him. Sirius' first year was 1971, so Bertha could've started any time between 1965 and 1969, assuming that she was at least two years older than Sirius ("few" indicates more than one year). This means she would have likely been born sometime between 1 September, 1953 and 31 August, 1958.