Readers first discovered the Pensieve in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As introduced in the book by J.K. Rowling, the shallow stone basin has strange carvings around its edge and filled with swirling whitish silver content. The Pensieve is used to relive memories and is a primary delivery vehicle for the flashbacks used to recall the past events relevant to wizarding world's fight with Voldemort in the present.
Recreating such an experience in our world without the help of magic is daunting, but Audible and Pottermore Publishing accomplished that tall task at New York Comic Con with A Harry Potter Pensieve Experience.
In honor of Harry Potter's 20th anniversary, the two companies created an interactive experience that allows fans to relive moments from the series. The installation is outside the hustle and bustle of the exhibit hall and is designed to evoke the swirling memories of the Pensieve.
Visitors enter by walking along a small corridor in which the voice of Jim Dale, narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks, recounts Harry's introduction to the Pensieve. It sets the tone for what's to come and acts as a nice way to refresh those who may have forgotten about the Pensieve.
Participants are then given the choice of whose memories they're like to relive before entering the main area. There are six characters to choose from: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Lord Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore, and Severus Snape. Visitors choose their characters by selecting a small vial from an arched doorway. These vials look just like the ones we know memories are kept in the wizarding world and are labeled with the characters' names.
From there, participants enter a space full of swirling white masses fittingly recreating the moving contents of the Pensieve once more. While inside, various excerpts from the audiobooks are played, so it's always like you're inside a memory from someone in the series.
With a vial, one can approach four different stations set up inside. Insert the vial into each station which also includes headphones and a tall video screen. After placing the vial into the opening, a specific audiobook excerpt about a character plays as the image on the screen moves and changes.
Each station plays a different moment related to the character. The "memories" aren't in any specific order, so anyone looking for a more linear journey for a character through books one to seven won't find that here. However, as Harry did with Dumbledore, one will be able to feel immersed in the select few moments that are there. These audiobook excerpts aren't long, but they're long enough for you to be thrust back into a classic scene from the series for a little while.
The Harry Potter Pensieve Experience is a fun, interactive way fans can briefly revisit iconic Harry Potter moments. To try creating something inspired by such a magical object is quite a feat. Even with the limitations of space at a convention and the number of fans sure to visit though, this is a stop any Potterhead will want to consider making during their time at New York Comic Con.