|"Are you a wizard or not?"
The title of this article is conjectural. Although it is based on canonical information, the actual name is a conjecture and may be supplanted at any time by additional information released from canonical sources. If this occurs, please move this page to the appropriate title.
This was a spell (incantation unknown), which could be used by a witch or wizard to implant a false memory into their victim's mind, without the victim realising it was not originally theirs. It differed from the Memory Charm, in that the latter erased memories whilst this one added them, albeit wholly artificial ones.
Tom Riddle cast this spell twice; firstly in 1943 upon his uncle Morfin Gaunt, then sometime later on the house-elf Hokey. Both instances were to hide his crimes and make the victims believe they were responsible. Albus Dumbledore was able to use his considerable Legilimency skills to bypass the false memories and obtain the truth that was hidden beneath. However, while he attempted to use the true memory to secure Morfin's release from Azkaban (and failed as Morfin died before he could be exonerated), Hokey's memory was insufficient to prove her innocence.
Later that same year, Tom Riddle may have used the spell to make Harry Potter believe his godfather Sirius Black was being tortured by him in the Department of Mysteries. However, it was possible that Voldemort simply created an image in Harry's mind through his tight Occlumens connection with Harry (due to the Horcrux connection) so that Harry would see what Voldemort's imagination dreamt up. It may have been up to Harry whether or not to believe it, since he was persuaded by Hermione to check to see whether Sirius is really in the Department of Mysteries (not in Grimmauld Place). Voldemort was relying, therefore, on Harry's concern for Sirius's safety to get him to come, just as he was sure Harry would come to him in the Forbidden Forest during the break in the Battle of Hogwarts.
It is possible that Professor Horace Slughorn used this in the next school year to hide his memory of Voldemort asking him about Horcruxes, although as he retained awareness of the true memory his spell may be a different one. It is also possible that he simply repressed it to such a degree that it could not be extracted from him against his will, as the memory he gave Dumbledore simple went blank at the right times and was replaced by a disembodied shouting, rather than images; this was noted to be crudely done.
Hermione Granger used this in 1997 to make her parents believe they were named Wendell and Monica Wilkins respectively, that they had no children, and to make them move to Australia in order to protect them from Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
Behind the scenes
- The actual name and incantation for this spell are unknown.
- This spell is reversible, as Hermione found her parents after the war and lifted it.
- Albus Dumbledore could use Legilimency to extract the true version of the memories that Riddle falsified using the spell, although he admitted it was difficult and required a great deal of skill in the art.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Hermione uses the Memory Charm instead of this spell to alter her parent's memories.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Possible appearance)
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)
- J. K. Rowling - "Mnemone Radford 1562 - 1649. Developed Memory Modifying Charms. First Ministry of Magic Obliviator." this potentially means she invented this spell as well, because its plural.
- 30 July 2007 WebChat with J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)