How does someone modify someone's memory?

I have read a lot of parts in the books of Harry Potter where someone modifies someone's memory.

Obliviate - spell to wipe out someone's memory

I already thought of that spell, but I think that casting that spell will wipe the whole memory.

Tom modified the memory of Morfin and the House-Elf of Hepzibah

HP and the Half Blood Prince

Hermione modified her parents' memories that caused them to go to Australia

HP and the Deathly Hallows

Correct me if I'm wrong about my thoughts about the Obliviate Spell. Is there a certain spell that's specialized to modify someone's memory? If there is, how is its procedure? How does a wizard/witch modify someone's memory?

  • With great difficulty and skill, evidently.
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2016 at 9:37
  • yes but I don't really know how they add the memories they want to that person. But maybe Rowling didn't address yet its specific details
    – Invoker
    Dec 31, 2016 at 10:25

1 Answer 1


There are two spells that govern memory: obliviate, which erases memories, and a false memory charm, which creates new ones. The incantation and mechanics of the false memory charm are unknown, but they are clearly two distinct spells. JKR addressed the difference between the two in the Bloomsbury Live Chat in 2007:

Laura Trego: Did Hermione really put a memory charm on her parents? She says she did but then about 50 pages later tells Ron she has never done a memory charm.

J.K. Rowling: They are two different charms. She has not wiped her parents' memories (as she later does to Dolohov and Rowle); she has bewitched them to make them believe that they are different people.

  • 1
    Oh now I know. But I really want to know how they put another memory or add it I can't find a specific answer through my research, maybe it is really unknown.
    – Invoker
    Dec 31, 2016 at 8:28
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    It is confusing as in the film they use the same spell but it was never intended to be the same.
    – ThruGog
    Dec 31, 2016 at 9:26
  • @ThruGog yes in the film Hermione used obliviate which was really odd since it is memory wiper.
    – Invoker
    Dec 31, 2016 at 10:23
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    I just wondered: how can a 'false memory charm' create a new memory without wiping out the original memory?
    – Lit
    Jan 2, 2017 at 0:16
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    It seems to leave the old memory in tact, and just bury it. Consider Morfin or Hokey, both of whose memories were modified by Voldemort, but had real memories which Dumbledore was able to recover.
    – 2Janez
    Jan 2, 2017 at 15:26

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