Usually, when adapting books into movies there are certain things that get left out of the final cut which leaves the fans discussing them long after the franchise comes to an end. One such question regarding the Harry Potter franchise is why did Hermione use the obliviate her parents?
The books further elaborate on this, but the simplest answer would be that Hermione was aware of the fact that it was only a matter of time before their enemies come after her parents. To avoid her parents getting hurt, she decided to alter her memories.
This is one of those parts of the book that actually got severely changed in the movies which complicates things a bit. If you would like to know what happened in the books, how the events were changed in the movies, and the way the change affects the overall plot, keep reading.
Why did Hermione “obliviate” her parents?
Hermione used the memory charm to protect them. Hermione was well known as Harry’s closest friend, by both the Ministry and the Deatheaters.
As the war went on Lord Voldemort learned he could use Harry’s mental link with him as a means of exploiting. After all, it only took a false image of Sirius being captured and tortured to lure Harry into the Ministry.
After the events which took place, Harry understood that anyone close to him would be exploited for information if they ever came across anyone on the other side of the war.
A perfect example of this is Harry sending the Dursleys as far away as possible to make sure they were not harmed. Seeing what happened to other people in his life, like Alastor Moody he understood the need for this to happen.
Unlike the Dursleys, Hermione’s parents weren’t all caught up with the events which were taking in the wizarding world. As the war was escalating there was no time for Hermione to explain to her parents what was going on.
In addition to this, her parents were muggles. After witnessing skilled witches and wizards dying during the war, her opinion that making her parents forget her was the best opinion only grew stronger.
Even if during that time the war has not yet broken out to the muggle world, she was aware that it eventually would. Since she was such a prominent figure at the war she did not really have any other options.
Before leaving for the war she decided to erase herself from her parents’ memories because she believed this was the best way to protect them. She had a very special bond with the two and could not bear any harm coming to them, which is why she was willing to sacrifice never seeing them again and her parents never remembering her if that meant they would be safe from the wizarding world.
This turned out to be the right move since shortly after her parents left for Australia her childhood home was visited by a Deatheater named Corban Yaxley. If he was successful in bringing her parents back the Deatheaters, would have a big advantage over our protagonists.
Aside from the obvious reason for protecting them, there is another explanation that is a bit sadder. We can also look at this as a selfless act on the behalf of Hermione.
Hermione was well aware of the fact that she may not survive the Second Wizarding war. The enchantment could have been a way of preparing her parent for a life in a world where she did not survive the war. This way her parents could live blissfully unaware of her existence rather than suffering through the grief not knowing what happened to their daughter.
Did Hermione Obliviate her parents in the book?
Hermione actually does not use the memory-erasing charm, obliviate in the books. The book describes Hermione as she is getting ready to leave her parents and join her friends in the war.
Many fans agree that the scene was poorly portrayed in the movies since most people who have seen them believe that she wiped their memory completely.
This however is not the case in the original story. One day while her parents were waiting for her downstairs she used a false memory charm to alter their memories.
She made them believe they were Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins, a pair with no children looking to move to Australia. Although it isn’t known what exactly happened later we do know that her parents acted on their desire and moved somewhere on the Australian coast.
What movie did Hermione Obliviate parents in?
During the scenes in which these events are depicted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1, the act takes on a whole new meaning. The movie chose to portray it as a dark and unhappy moment, filled with sorrow in contrast to the book where it is shown as something Hermione didn’t want to do, but not as something permanent.
Hermione, in the movie, joins her parents for tea, but once she makes it into the living room, she points her wand at them and utters the word Obliviate.
The following scene shows Granger’s living room area slowly being ridden of any traces of Hermione’s existence. She disappears from the family photos and other things that would serve as a reminder of their daughter slowly disappears as well.
The implication here is that Hermione used the memory charm on her parents. The charm is used in the wizarding community to rid someone of a part of their memory or all of their memories altogether.
This heavily contradicts the books, since the scene suggests that this action is permanent. In the book, Hermione makes it clear that she has every intention to find her parents once the war is over and the world is safe for them again.
She explains in the conversation with Harry that this was the best solution for any possible outcome of their hunt for Horcruxes If they survive she will be able to find her parents, life the enchantment and their life could continue as normal. On the other hand, if something was to happen to her the enchantment would keep them protected and make it impossible for anyone to figure out who the two muggles were in relation to her.
Do Hermione’s parents regain their memory?
Now this question is where we run into a bit of a problem. Due to the way how the scene was interpreted in the movies. In the books, Hermione explains that she did not use the obliviate charm on her parents, but rather a false memory charm.
Taking this into consideration the charm could have easily been reversed. Hermione probably followed through with her intention of tracking her parents and giving them their memories back.
Because this is Hermione we are talking about, she most likely waited for some time before getting her parents back just to be sure, but would ultimately do it.
Now, if we are following the movie’s narrative this would be an unlikely outcome. We already talked about how the movie implies throughout the severity of the scene that the charm would have a permanent effect.
One thing to account for as well as the effect of the obliviate charm has on witches and wizards it is used on. Perhaps the best example of this is Bertha Jorkins.
Bertha was known among her peers for her forgetfulness. However, most people do not know this is a side effect of the obliviate charm. When she discovered that Barty Chrouch Jr. has escaped Azkaban and was held in his family’s home she confronted her father who in turn used the charm on her causing her issues with memories.
It was speculated that those memories which were concealed by the charms could actually be accessed through some form of magic but we do not witness this in the series so we can not confirm this.
Luckily, since this was a popular question among Potterheads, we actually got an answer to this question by the author herself. J.K. Rowling said that Hermione did in fact seek her parents out immediately after the end of the war.
She did give them back their memories and they continued to live together in the same way they did before she enchanted them. Her parents had an important role in her life and continued to support her through everything she did later in her life.