While waiting for Dumbledore in his office, Harry discovers a Pensieve, which holds Dumbledore's memories:

animated GIF of the scene described above

Why did the Pensieve reveal itself to Harry Potter?

  • 20
    I think it might be a movie only thing... fairly sure in the book it was in the main office and Dumbledore "accidentally" left his memories in it before wondering off, rather than being hidden in a cupboard thing... (haven't read the books in quite a while though - so could well be wrong...) Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 7:11

2 Answers 2


The pompous effect of the door opening itself to present the Pensieve as magnificent magical object is only in the movie. It was probably included to add some drama to the scene.

In the book Harry noticed the glow through the door ajar by accident and he got so curious to open the door and examine the source of light.

The sword had once belonged to Godric Gryffindor, founder of Harry's House. He was gazing at it, remembering how it had come to his aid when he had thought all hope was lost, when he noticed a patch of silvery light, dancing and shimmering on the glass case. He looked around for the source of the light and saw a sliver of silver-white shining brightly from within a black cabinet behind him, whose door had not been closed properly. Harry hesitated, glanced at Fawkes, then got up, walked across the office, and pulled open the cabinet door.

Indeed later Dumbledore confirmed he had been in a hurry and might have left his cabinet half-open:

"I was using the Pensieve when Mr. Fudge arrived for our meeting and put it away rather hastily. Undoubtedly I did not fasten the cabinet door properly. Naturally, it would have attracted your attention."

  • 33
    Might have purposely left his cabinet half-open.
    – user21820
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 14:40
  • @user21820 It's a really interesting idea! Do you have some quotes which support it? Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 14:47
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    No direct evidence, but Dumbledore kept doing lots of little things on purpose, and even Harry suspected that.
    – user21820
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 16:42
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    I think there's sufficient evidence in the books that suggest Dumbledore playing 5D chess the entire time. He was the most omniscient character in all of the HP universe (as noted by Voldy himself) and seems to more or less know what goes on around the castle (and perhaps outside of it). He gave Harry enough impetus and help during the 6 years they were at the castle and allowed him to figure his way around, to test his abilities, to gather knowledge, to eventually hopefully fulfill the prophecy.
    – Siddhartha
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 21:30
  • Seems like the book (/author) was saying that the sword effectively arranged to call Harry's attention to it.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 15:34

I'm quite sure that Dumbledore wanted Harry to discover the Pensieve.

In the book the accident of leaving the door slightly ajar was on purpose.

In the movie, he would have enchanted the cabinet to dramatically open while Harry was in his office.

  • 4
    Hi, welcome to the site. You could improve this answer by quoting the relevant text from the book, and specifying which book the text is from. Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 19:43

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