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In Goblet of Fire, after the last task why didn't they simply use the pensieve to restore Harry's memory instead of making him relive the events?

Wouldn't this provide valuable evidence to make everyone believe Voldemort is back? It would be easier to make a ‘fellowship' if everyone was aware of what was coming which was clearly what Dumbledore wanted.

So why didn't he use the Pensieve?

  • 8
    Because JKR didn't think of it. – user16696 Jun 29 '15 at 17:31
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    memories can be faked – Himarm Jun 29 '15 at 17:50
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    Perhaps Dumbledore (or other school staff like McGonagall) wanted Harry to say what happened in a therapeutic sense. – ThruGog Jun 29 '15 at 19:08
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    @ThruGog’s point is really the only possible explanation here (apart from JKR just not thinking of it). There is no other scenario where a spoken testimony of a memory can be considered superior to a Pensieve replay of that same memory. As we know the Pensieve can also accurately show subconscious details the rememberer wouldn’t be able to recall themselves, it might even have revealed important additional evidence in the fight against Voldemort which Harry himself was not even aware he was carrying around inside him. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 17 '17 at 9:37
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There are two aspects to this: one practical, one political.

  • Memories are not a foolproof record of events.

    Skilled Legilimens can conceal their memories against “mind reading”, so Occlumency is out. Also, you can tamper with memories – witness Slughorn in Half-Blood Prince – and somebody of Dumbledore’s skill must be able to produce a convincing forgery.

    That means that any memory provided by Dumbledore and/or Harry would be treated with scepticism.

    And just because Harry remembers something doesn’t mean that it happened. Memory modification (whether by magic, hallucination or trauma) is well-established in the Potterverse. Given the proximity of these memory’s to the trauma of Cedric’s death, plenty of people would be sceptical of their accuracy.

  • Nobody who matters would listen.

    The main person denying Voldemort’s return is Cornelius Fudge.

    He is well aware of Dumbledore’s skill, and – as we learn in Order of the Phoenix – is paranoid about Dumbledore’s ambition. He is determined to ignore any evidence of Voldemort’s return, especially if it comes from Harry or Dumbledore. A memory won't sway him.

    Most other Ministry officials are going to tow Fudge’s line. Even if you could convince them to witness the memory, I don’t think they’d be much help in convincing Fudge.

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    I feel that #1 is merely a technical excuse for #2. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 2 '15 at 22:04
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    "That means that any memory provided by Dumbledore and/or Harry would be treated with scepticism." - I mean, yeah; as wou ld any testimony coming from Harry. What's the difference? Harry is far from a skilled legilimens, so it would at least by somewhat more convincing than a verbal account – Ed S. Jun 8 '16 at 19:45
  • I think you have Legilimency and Occlumency back to front in the first bullet point? Legilimency is mind reading, Occlumency is concealing your memories. – Harry Johnston Feb 4 at 23:01
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Using the Pensieve may have a been a plausible way to check details, it's not necessarily accurate, as if you remember from the Half-Blood Prince, the first memory retrieval of Slughorn's conversation with Riddle/Voldemort about dark magic and horcruxes you'll remember that it looks like it's been tampered with, or at least been edited in some way.

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