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I've just became curious about one aspect of the Pensieve in the Harry Potter universe. The spectators always seem tp walk on the floor in the memories. But if it's a memory, you can't really interact with anything (e.g.: doors). How would you solve a situation where the 'memory owner' quickly enters a door and closes it before you can follow him/her? Could you just walk through the door, or you have to 'rewatch' that memory again, and make sure to follow properly next time?

And if you can walk through obstacles, can you glide in the air as well? Like a ghost for example.

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    Umm... Magic, perhaps?
    – TGnat
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 0:26
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    Pensieve shows you the person's memory. So you'll always be on the "correct" side of the door, as they only remember the correct side. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 0:35
  • @DVK-in-exile not really, look at Dawny33's answer
    – Rothens
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 11:17

1 Answer 1

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The threads/strands in the Pensieve is a person's memory

So, if a person has not seen a particular scene, then the one who is going through(or using) the pensieve also cannot.

Could you just walk through the door, or you have to 'rewatch' that memory again, and make sure to follow properly next time?

No, one cannot. One haven't watched something means that they can't watch it even after trying for any number of times.


The above was from my perception from reading the book and the movies.

Seems like you can indeed move about (but in a very limited way)

According to Pottermore,

The perceived dangers of the Pensieve relate to its power over memory or thought. The Pensieve is enchanted to recreate memories so that they become re-liveable, taking every detail stored in the subconscious and recreating it faithfully, so that either the owner, or (and herein lies the danger) a second party, is able to enter the memories and move around within them. Inevitably, those with things to hide, those ashamed of their pasts, those eager to keep hold of their secrets, or protective of their privacy, will be wary of an object like the Pensieve.

So, one can move around in the memory and hear whatever they can which owner of the memory haven't heard or paid attention to, provided they stay in the vicinity of the memory (or roughly the radius of the memory)

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    But in OotP Harry can see/hear the Marauders talk after the O.W.L. exam in Snape's memory. But he definitely can't see them, because he is immersed in his exam paper.
    – Rothens
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 10:49
  • @Rothens I have edited the answer with more info. from Pottermore
    – Dawny33
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 10:55
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    "So, if a person has not seen a particular scene, then the one who is going through(or using) the pensieve also cannot."Hokey's memory in the Half Blood Prince showed what Tom Riddle and Hepzibah Smith talked about, although Hokey went out of the room before that
    – user13267
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 4:07
  • @user13267 Pl read the updated part from Pottermore too. The details are a bit fuzzy. But, looks like you can indeed go through some scenes which aren't in the memory of the person, but which happened geographically very close to the memory :)
    – Dawny33
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 4:09
  • any details on whats the cutoff for the radius of the memory available?
    – user13267
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 4:11

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