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Memory Charms

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The Harry Potter Canon

Charms used to modify or erase a (portion of a) person’s memory. The spell used is “obliviate”.

  • These spells are used routinely by the Ministry of Magic as they work to keep the wizarding world a secret from the Muggles.
  • They are used if a Muggle sees a dragon (PS14) and after an enchanted item falls into Muggle hands (CS3).
  • So many Muggles have seen the Loch Ness Monster that the Ministry of Magic has been unable to perform Memory Charms on all of them (DP).
  • According to Blenheim Stalk in Muggles Who Notice, some Muggles "escape" Mass Memory Charms on occasion that are used to cover up major incidents (FB).
  • Memory Charms were used on the witnesses to Peter Pettigrew's murder of twelve Muggles and subsequent escape as a rat (PA10).
  • Bertha Jorkins had had a Memory Charm placed on her by Crouch Sr. after she discovered Barty Crouch Jr. at the Crouch home (GF33).Voldemort broke through it, but the process left her mind damaged and he killed her (GF1).
  • Mr. Roberts, the campground manager near the Quidditch World Cup, needed ten Memory Charms a day or he started noticing odd things going on. Later, after he and his family had been attacked by the Death Eaters, they all received Memory Charms (GF7, GF9).
  • Lockhart used Memory Charms on those whose adventures he claimed as his own. He'd interview someone who battled some creature or conquered some dark foe, then write the story as if he did it himself and cast a Memory Charm on to the person so they'd forget it was really them. He tried to do the same to Harry and Ron, but it backfired onto him instead (CS16).
  • The Ministry of Magic arranged for the President of an unnamed country to forget to telephone the Muggle Prime Minister in order to clear time on the latter's schedule for an interview with Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour (HBP1).
  • A Ministry wizard whose job it is to cast Memory Charms is called an Obliviator (GF7).
  • Mnemone Radford was the first Ministry of Magic Obliviator, noted for developing Memory Modifying charms (JKR).
  • Teams of Obliviators attempted to modify the memories of all Muggles who saw what really happened during the so-called hurricane in the West Country during the summer of 1996.
  • Hermione modified her parents' memories, making them forget not only who they were and that they had a daughter, but making them think that they had different names and wanted to move to Australia (DH6). However, she later said that she had never cast a Memory Charm before (DH9).
  • Hermione cast this on various witnesses to the café incident to cover her trail and that of her friends (DH9).
  • Hermione looked as though she had been Obliviated when she recalled seeing the locket Horcrux two years before (DH10).
  • Isolt planned to obliviate James to keep the secret of magic but his fear of magic wore off and she fell in love with him. (pm)

Commentary

Etymology

"oblivisci" is Latin for to forget

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