Sometimes the cost of safety is high, and Hermione’s choice to use the Memory Charm on her parents in Harry Potter is the perfect example of that.
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In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, Hermione Granger casts Obliviate on her parents. At this point, the Second Wizarding War with Voldemort had begun, and she knew he would stop at nothing to find and kill Harry. Hermione also knew that her parents, and anyone else she associated with, would be in serious danger because of her friendship with Harry. And so, she chose to erase herself from her parents’ minds.
Hermione wanted to keep her parents safe from Voldemort by ensuring he had no reason to come knocking. She also promised she would find them and reverse the magic when all was said and done.
Why Did Hermione Obliviate Her Parents?
It isn’t difficult to see why Hermione used such powerful magic on her parents, even when there was a chance she might not survive to undo it. Protecting them from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was far more important than losing the family that loved and supported her. While it may seem like a drastic measure compared to simply hiding them from the Death Eaters, this is a world where magic exists, and locating people is far too easy for wizards of Voldemort’s caliber. Hermione is smart enough to understand that.
Hermione loved her parents, and on top of protecting them, erasing their memory of her served to safeguard the entire wizarding world. Many fans have pointed out that casting Obliviate not only ensured Voldemort couldn’t torture her location out of them but also prevented them from exposing the magic world to muggles by searching for her. Hermione’s parents likely would have looked for her if she went missing, which could have gotten them into trouble.
There’s also the emotional component of losing a child. Her parents would have grieved her, and they could have been forever unhappy. While not explicitly shown in Deathly Hallows, Hermione knows her parents would likely go to Australia, as it was a dream of theirs. By removing herself from their lives, she could get them to flee the country without having to know the grim reason they should leave.
Did Hermione Restore Her Parents’ Memories?
Another aspect of the charm not shown in the movie is whether Hermione reverses it. In the Harry Potter book series, it’s clear that Hermione finds her parents and undoes the magic. Additionally, author J.K. Rowling stated in a webchat that, “Yes, she brought them home straight away.”
The author also said the charm wasn’t a true Obliviate spell. Hermione actually bewitched her parents to believe they were different people. In either case, Hermione Granger and her parents reunited. According to Rowling, they continue to be proud of their daughter’s accomplishments.