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In Harry Potter, the portraits of people move and behave as though they are actual people. It's even possible to converse with them. So what's the deal with them? Are they simply extensions of the person(s) they're renderings of? Do they have the same memories of the actual person? Can they learn like people do?

As seen in the answer to this question

What causes the portraits of Wizards to behave interactively?

and this one

Why could the pictures and paintings in Hogwarts talk and the photos of Harry's parents couldn't?

Rowling basically says that they repeat catch phrases and then goes on to explain that if Harry had a picture of his parent's that they wouldn't have been able to help him. Yet Harry actually converses with the portrait of Dumbledore. Aberforth, actually gives instructions to the portrait of his sister. Gryffindor's fat lady actually interacts with the students. So, are the portraits 'sentient' beings that are capable of emotion, memories, and with learning potential?

marked as duplicate by DVK-on-Ahch-To harry-potter Dec 29 '14 at 18:43

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    What about the answers to this; scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/12878/… did you not like? – Valorum Dec 29 '14 at 18:36
  • @Richard, that's actually the first question I linked to – Robert Dec 29 '14 at 18:40
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    The first one answers it. The portraits contain an imprint/aura. I admit, it's not really a satisfactory answer, but that's all JKR gave us. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 29 '14 at 18:46
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    The portraits in Dumbledore's study seem very interactive. – Valorum Dec 29 '14 at 18:49
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    @Richard I'd refer you to Cleverbot. It also seems really interactive, almost sentient in it's own right. Does that mean it has emotion, can learn? Depends on how you define those characteristics. It literally learns phrases by interacting with thousands of users, but does it really LEARN? It outputs phrases with punctuation that can indicate emotion and tone, but does it really FEEL? does it really EMOTE? – Premier Bromanov Dec 29 '14 at 20:07

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