Okay, I am not a native speaker, so I will only post my views as a comment. But: In my opinion they mean almost the same thing. Only the 'only too well' has a slight nuance in it that he was confronted with their power before. So he knows their powers really well, but not from hear-say. Probably from being confronted with these powers before. Also the difference between knew/remembered emphasizes this. Apart from that it is just a different way to say it, let it sound more poetic, stylish, narrative.
But, may any teacher or native speaker correct me, if I am mistaken!