Since the Pensieve is a 'bubble-of-reality' what would happen if you used a time-turner in a memory? (Pre-Cursed Child time-turners - say five minutes to an hour)

Would you go back in time in the real world or in the memory?

Yes the Pensieve is a bubble-of-reality:

MA: Do the memories stored in a Pensieve reflect reality or the views of the person they belong to?

JKR: It's reality. It's important that I have got that across, because Slughorn gave Dumbledore this pathetic cut-and-paste memory. He didn't want to give the real thing, and he very obviously patched it up and cobbled it together. So, what you remember is accurate in the Pensieve.

ES: I was dead wrong about that.

JKR: Really?

ES: I thought for sure that it was your interpretation of it. It didn't make sense to me to be able to examine your own thoughts from a third-person perspective. It almost feels like you'd be cheating because you'd always be able to look at things from someone else's point of view.

MA: So there are things in there that you haven't noticed personally, but you can go and see yourself?

JKR: Yes, and that's the magic of the Pensieve, that's what brings it alive.

  • 6
    Picture every molecule in the universe suddenly coming apart at the speed of light. Probably nothing like that.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 12:08
  • 3
    i don't think JKR thought of that while writing the books mate, we can only speculate :)
    – Manav
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


You would go back to wherever you were one hour ago

A time-turner brings the user back to wherever they were one hour (per turn) before they used it.

The dark ward dissolved. Harry had the sensation that he was flying very fast, backward. A blur of colors and shapes rushed past him, his ears were pounding, he tried to yell but couldn’t hear his own voice —

And then he felt solid ground beneath his feet, and everything came into focus again —

He was standing next to Hermione in the deserted entrance hall and a stream of golden sunlight was falling across the paved floor from the open front doors. He looked wildly around at Hermione, the chain of the hourglass cutting into his neck.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 21

A time-turner is not a reality-warping device. It just moves the user(s) back to where they were before.

If they'd already been in the pensieve for one hour then they would end up in the pensieve. Otherwise they would end in the real world.

  • 1
    That's correct for the books. In the movie the Time Turner only goes back in time but the people stay at the same place. As can be seen in this video youtube.com/watch?v=lqTLETOYkQg
    – J_rite
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 11:04
  • There must be more to it than "It just moves the user(s) back to where they were before". If it was that simple, you'd be guaranteed to see yourself.
    – J. Mini
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 20:03
  • @J.Mini - People don't look behind them as they walk. You'd end up appearing right behind the past person, and with sufficient skill should be able to stay unseen.
    – ibid
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 1:22

Best guess, you would go to the appropriate hour that you turned to, thus leaving the pensieve. The Time-turner is person specific (hence Harry having to hold onto Hermione), whereas the pensieve is in a particular place and the person would have entered it at a specific time. What they are seeing are simply memories, they are not in that time period.

  • 1
    Can you provide any backup for this? On this site, we prefer answers that include some sort of source. Adding one would greatly improve your answer.
    – Mithical
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 14:16
  • No backup, just the evidence I've cited as to how each has been used in the books, and how they've have been explained by the characters in the books. It would appear highly probable.
    – fdec01
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 14:22

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