After the wedding, Hermione has to use a memory charm on two Death Eaters, where she states that she has never done it before, but she knows the theory. However, she states that before she left on her adventure, she made her parents forget her, and move to Australia. Is this a contradiction, or is there an explanation?

  • 7
    Maybe she made herself forget casting the memory charm, after informing the others that she had done so? Perhaps she feared that, if she were captured, the memory charm could be reversed unless she made herself forget capturing it.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 20:48
  • 7
    Perhaps, misusing the memory charm on her parents, it partially backfired causing her to forget the fact that she cast it previously. Or perhaps Rowling overlooked it. :P
    – Neil
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 9:13
  • 1
    This question seems to have grown a fine crop of low quality deleted answers.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:31
  • See also “Why does Hermione say she has not made a Memory Charm in the café, when she did one on her parents?” literature.stackexchange.com/q/19867/139
    – b_jonas
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 11:57

6 Answers 6


I don't believe it's directly addressed in the stories, but Hermione indicates things about her parents' substitute life, such as the fact that they don't have a daughter; this suggests that she didn't use the Obliviate charm, but something more complicated. Obliviate COULD remove the knowledge of them having a daughter, but at the expense of the last 17 or so years of their memory, from how it's shown being used. (Or, possibly, just the 'event' of her birth/life/etc, but that would still leave too many loose ends.) This is far from the first time we've seen her use a spell that hadn't been specifically "taught."

So this could be the first time she used that specific memory charm; that being one that simply wipes memory of a certain time period or event.

Also, she later says "I’ll find Mum and Dad and lift the enchantment," but Obliviate appears to erase memories, rather than simply hold them suppressed, so what would there be to lift?

That's trying to stick to the story. What I suspect happened is that JK Rowling did some re-writes or editing, and missed that :)

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    Obliviate is not the only "memory charm"; Hermione simply used a different one than the memory-erasing Obliviation Charm. Slughorn didn't Obliviate his memory of Tom Riddle asking about Horcruxes, he simply changed the version that would be easiest to retrieve magically. He always had access to the real one. Also, even if a memory is Obliviated, it's apparently possible to re-retrieve it; Voldemort tortured Bertha Jorkins until he broke through the obliviation charm Crouch put on her. Of course her mind was broken after that happened, but still...
    – KeithS
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 1:25
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    Right; that's what I was getting at.. Her comment about not having done it before was after using Obliviate; she had never used that one before, but had used some OTHER memory charm, as witnessed by her parents... She could have said 'Well, I've never used that specific memory charm before, although I have modified memories, such as with my parents, but having never used this specific one, and only knowing the theory, I wasn't sure how it would work.' Which would not be out of character for her.. but would have been a little wordy given the situation. :)
    – K-H-W
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 4:50
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    @KeithS are you certain Bertha Jorkins was under an obliviate charm? Could that also have been some other charm? I don't remember this. btw another example of someone who has suffered the debilitating consequences of "obliviate" is Prof Lockhart who is still confused and at St. Mungos when they are there for Arthur. Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 18:43
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    See PearsonArtPhoto's answer below for a Word Of God answer: I still think mine is valid, but WOG trumps almost anything :)
    – K-H-W
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 22:26

To quote from a webchat from JK Rowling shortly after the release.

Laura Trego: Did hermione really put a memory charm on her parents she says she did but then about 50 pages later tells ron shes 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.

So, it looks like the movie's use of Obliviate was wrong, but the book was right. They just were two different charms, although related, different. That might also explain why it was possible to reverse the charm on her parents.


Hermione used a Confundus charm on her parents, and bewitched them to think they were different people. She never used the Obliviate (memory) charm before using them on the Death Eaters.

  • Is that the same spell as the one Ron used to pass his driver's licence exam?
    – b_jonas
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 8:40
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    @b_jonas yup, and the one Hermione used on Cormack during Keeper tryouts in HBP - so the fact she is accomplished in using Confundus has been previously established (as JKR often does of course).
    – BMWurm
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 21:28

From GOF:

“We could have modified her memory? But Memory Charms can be broken by a powerful wizard, as I proved when I questioned her. It would be an insult to her memory not to use the information I extracted from her, Wormtail.”

Memory charms (plural) seem to be able to modify memories not just delete them. Don't know what Hermione did to her parents but it must have been a different memory spell than obliviate.

  • The memories were still there, but the idea was to keep her parents away while she was off helping Harry Potter. I have no doubt that Hermione, after Book 7, restored her parents memory. Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 14:34
  • Yes that was her intention, to make them forget her temporarily or at least think that they don't have a daughter. I'm just saying that maybe there are memory charms that can do this, which we know nothing of. Or maybe it's a confundus charm that does this... We can't know for sure Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 11:05

She modified her parents' memories rather than erasing them. The Memory Charm erases memories, which Hermione had never done. In the movie, she used Obliviate both times, but she also never claimed to not have done that charm before (I think).

  • This seem to simply be restating the question
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:31

It was likely Confundus. There are uses in the book that I can think of at the top of my head. First use was Hermione using it on Cormac to make him move in the opposite direction. This is very different from another use where Snape under Dumbledores instruction to make Mundungus Fletcher think he came up with the 7 potters Idea. This use seems directly related to modifying memories. So with both uses I’d determine that Confundus is used to confuse the brain. This seems like it can be used for a variety of things. In theory it could be used as an alternative to at least 2 unforgivable Curses. One might convince the victim that they are suffering extreme pain, another use could essentially brainwash the victim into doing the users bidding. In theory a skilled yser could perhaps even kill with it by confusing the brain into stopping the heart, all in theory.

  • Er.... what? This is very unclear.
    – amflare
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 14:48
  • So why did Hermione say that she hasn't used a Memory Charm before? That's the question here. Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 18:22
  • because confundus isn't a memory charm - that's the explanation. Hermione said she hadn't done a memory charm before because she didn't Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 21:25

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