Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"He bit Goyle for us once!" Ron said miserably. "Remember, Harry?"
"Yeah, that's true." said Harry.
"His finest hour," said Fred, unable to keep a straight face. "Let the scar on Goyle's finger stand as a lasting tribute to his memory." (13.1.9-11)
Though this scene is really funny, it also points to an important theme in the novel: people's tendency to recall the past fondly and to gloss over what it actually was. In Scabbers's case, that would be useless and boring. What other characters are fans of nostalgia and selective memory in the book?
"I met him!" growled Hagrid. "I musta bin the last ter see him before he killed all those people! It was me what rescued Harry from Lily an' James's house after they was killed! [...] an' Sirius Black turns up, on that flyin' motorbike he used ter ride. Never occurred to me what he was doin' there. I didn' know he'd been Lily an' James's Secret-Keeper." (10.3.160)
Hagrid undergoes an interesting experience here, where he learns that his memory of a past event wasn't what it seemed. Harry and his friends learn the "truth" about Sirius Black, and then learn that said "truth" was actually a lie, over the course of the novel. This makes for some unsettling experiences for the gang, as they confront the fact that memory and the past aren't stable or set in stone.
"A thought that still haunts me," said Lupin heavily. "And there were near misses, many of them. We laughed about them afterwards. We were young, thoughtless – carried away with our own cleverness." (18.50)
Interesting word choice here: Lupin speaks "heavily" about his past regrets, as if his guilt and anxiety are literally weighing down on him.