PROFESSOR ALBUS PERCIVAL WULFRIC BRIAN DUMBLEDORE is a fictional
J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling 's
Harry Potter series. For most of the
series, he is the headmaster of the wizarding school
Hogwarts . As
part of his backstory, it is revealed that he is the founder and
leader of the Order of the Phoenix , an organisation dedicated to
Lord Voldemort .
Dumbledore is portrayed by
Richard Harris in the film adaptations of
Harry Potter and the Philosopher\'s Stone and
Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets . After Harris' death,
Michael Gambon portrayed
Dumbledore for all of the remaining
Harry Potter films.
Jude Law will
portray Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald .
Rowling stated she chose the name Dumbledore, which is an Early
Modern English word for "bumblebee ", because of Dumbledore's love of
music: she imagined him walking around "humming to himself a lot".
* 1 Character development
* 2 Appearances
Harry Potter and the Philosopher\'s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
* 3 Portrayals within films
* 4 Characterisation
* 4.1 Appearance
* 4.2 Personality
* 4.3 Magical abilities and skills
* 4.4 Possessions
* 4.5 Family
* 5 Reception
* 5.1 Sexuality
* 6 In popular culture
* 7 References
* 8 External links
The author has stated that she enjoys writing Dumbledore because he
"is the epitome of goodness." Rowling said that Dumbledore speaks for
her, as he "knows pretty much everything" about the Harry Potter
universe . Rowling mentioned that Dumbledore regrets "that he has
always had to be the one who knew, and who had the burden of knowing.
And he would rather not know." As a mentor to the central character
Harry Potter , "Dumbledore is a very wise man who knows that Harry is
going to have to learn a few hard lessons to prepare him for what may
be coming in his life. He allows Harry to get into what he wouldn't
allow another pupil to do, and he also unwillingly permits Harry to
confront things he’d rather protect him from." In a 1999 interview,
Rowling stated that she imagined Dumbledore "more as a John Gielgud
type, you know, quite elderly and – and quite stately." During his
time as a student, Dumbledore was in
Gryffindor House. Rowling said
in an interview that Dumbledore was about 150 years old. However, on
her website, she states that Dumbledore was born in 1881, making him
either 115 or 116 when he died.
On 19 October 2007, Rowling was asked by a young fan whether
Dumbledore finds "true love." Rowling said that she always thought of
Dumbledore as being homosexual and that he had fallen in love with
Gellert Grindelwald , which was Dumbledore's "great tragedy"; Rowling
did not explicitly state whether Grindelwald returned his affections.
Rowling explains this further by elaborating on the motivations
behind Dumbledore's flirtation with the idea of wizard domination of
Muggles : "He lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love
and I think subsequently became very mistrustful of his own judgement
in those matters so became quite asexual . He led a celibate and a
HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER\'S STONE
In the opening chapter of the first novel of the series, Dumbledore
arrives at number four, Privet Drive in
Little Whinging , Surrey. When
the evil wizard
Lord Voldemort kills Harry's parents before being
reduced to a lesser form, Dumbledore decides to place the now-orphaned
Harry in the home of Vernon and Petunia Dursley . He knows that Harry
will be protected by the special magic caused by his mother's
sacrifice, after he evokes the magic of the bond of blood and Harry's
aunt, his mother's sister - Petunia Evans Dursley, sealed it by
accepting her nephew into her home. This old magic of binding love
Voldemort incapable of touching Harry. Dumbledore leaves Harry
upon the doorstep of the Dursley home with a letter explaining the
situation. He departs with the final phrase, "Good luck, Harry."
When Harry arrives at Hogwarts, Dumbledore tells him about the
secrets of the
Mirror of Erised , claiming that when he looks into it,
he sees himself "holding a pair of thick, woollen socks." Harry later
recalls in the final book that this was probably the only dishonest
answer Dumbledore ever gave him. He is also responsible for somehow
enchanting the Mirror so that it hides the Philosopher\'s Stone and
only someone who looked into the Mirror and whose desire was "to find
the Stone ... but not use it" would receive it, as anybody else would
only see themselves using the Stone due to the Mirror's special magic.
He is called out to the
Ministry of Magic
Ministry of Magic by a false message on the
night when Professor
Quirinus Quirrell , Harry Potter,
Ron Weasley ,
Hermione Granger enter the dungeons to retrieve the Stone, but
realises during the trip that he is needed at
Hogwarts and returns in
time to rescue Harry from Quirrell and Voldemort. He also has a final
conversation with Harry after the events down in the dungeons and
tells him that he is too young to comprehend the information about why
Voldemort attempts to kill him.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
In the second novel, Dumbledore suspects that Tom Riddle is somehow
involved in the attacks on the muggle born students, as he says, when
asked who is the culprit, "not who, but how?" A younger Dumbledore
appears in Riddle's diary, when Harry sees his memory, and asks Riddle
if he knows anything about the attacks on the students. During the
last half of the novel,
Lucius Malfoy forces the school's other eleven
governors to suspend Dumbledore as Headmaster in the wake of attacks
by a basilisk in the school when the Chamber of Secrets is opened.
Dumbledore is reinstated when the governors discover that Ginny
Weasley was taken into the Chamber of Secrets and Lucius is found to
have coerced the other governors into suspending him.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
At the beginning of the third novel, Dumbledore is forced to accept
Dementors onto his school's grounds for the protection of his students
Sirius Black , the supposed murderer and accessory to murder, who
had escaped from
Azkaban . After Black's breach into Hogwarts,
Dumbledore issues orders to close every entrance to the school and
grounds. After Harry falls off his broomstick during a
because of the Dementors, Dumbledore becomes uncharacteristically
angry with them and uses his wand to cause Harry to levitate safely to
the ground. Later in that book, Dumbledore suggests Hermione Granger
use her Ministry-approved
Time-Turner to go back three hours to save
Buckbeak the hippogriff and Sirius from their unjust executions.
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
In the fourth novel, Dumbledore introduces the
Triwizard Tournament .
He also serves as a judge during the entire event. When Harry's name
comes out of the Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore is not enraged, but
remains calm; simply asking Harry whether he had himself, or had asked
an older student to submit his name (although in the film version he
does get angry to the point of manhandling Harry). When Harry answers
no, he believes him. By the end of the book, Dumbledore's fears are
realised when Harry returns from his encounter with Voldemort
clutching the dead body of
Cedric Diggory and when Mad-Eye Moody
(being impersonated by
Barty Crouch Jr , through Polyjuice Potion)
takes Harry away from Dumbledore and to his office inside the castle.
Dumbledore immediately becomes suspicious and heads straight towards
Moody's office with
Minerva McGonagall and
Severus Snape to save Harry
and to interrogate Crouch. Afterwards, Dumbledore listens to Harry's
eyewitness account about Voldemort's return. Harry though, only wakes
up later to find Minister for Magic
Cornelius Fudge in the hospital
wing arguing with McGonagall and Dumbledore. In the end, Fudge and
Dumbledore "part ways" after an argument about the situation of
Voldemort's return and the consequences that would follow should Fudge
remain in denial of this fact.
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
In the fifth book, Dumbledore is demoted from Chief Warlock of the
Wizengamot , voted out of the Chairmanship of the International
Confederation of Wizards, and is almost stripped of his Order of
Merlin First Class due to his speeches regarding the return of
Voldemort, although it is reported that he is unconcerned as long as
he is not taken off the Chocolate Frog cards. Meanwhile, the Ministry
of Magic does everything they can to discredit him and Harry –
mainly through the
Daily Prophet . At the beginning of the book,
Dumbledore enrages Fudge when he stops by at Harry's hearing with a
Arabella Figg ) to ensure that he is not expelled. While
Harry feels better when Dumbledore assists him, he becomes annoyed to
the point of being angry that the headmaster refuses to speak to or
even look at him.
During the following year at Hogwarts, the Ministry passes
Educational Decree Twenty-two, allowing Fudge to place Dolores
Umbridge to the post of
Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher (after
Dumbledore failed to find a suitable candidate). Through her, Fudge
gradually gains power over
Hogwarts and Dumbledore, who he fears is
building an under-age wizard army to overthrow the Ministry. Umbridge
forbids practical defence practice in her classes, forcing Harry, Ron,
and Hermione to form Dumbledore\'s Army (a defence group led by Harry)
with fellow friends. It is when the Ministry discovers the D.A. that
Dumbledore, choosing to accept the responsibility, falsely claims that
the organisation was his own subversive creation, and allows himself
to be removed as headmaster (for the second time) rather than allow
Harry to be expelled.
Dumbledore is not heard of again in the book until he arrives in the
Department of Mysteries to aid the Order in the battle against the
Death Eaters. He subdues all the Death Eaters, except for Bellatrix
Lestrange , and binds them with an Anti-Disapparition Jinx to prevent
them from magically escaping. He then saves Harry from the Avada
Kedavra curse conjured by
Voldemort and engages in a ferocious duel
with the Dark Lord. This culminates in Voldemort's attempting to
possess Harry in an attempt to make Dumbledore kill the boy. Voldemort
is forced to leave Harry's body and flee with Bellatrix after this
ruse fails. Many ministry officials' having witnessed the end of the
battle, Dumbledore is reinstated as headmaster and retrieves all his
distinctions. Towards the end of the book, Dumbledore explains to
Voldemort chose him as his equal and that one must kill the
other in the end, and confesses that his great affection for Harry has
clouded his judgement.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
In the sixth book, Dumbledore fetches Harry from Privet Drive and
takes him to persuade
Horace Slughorn to rejoin the
Harry notices that Dumbledore's right hand is shrivelled and black.
During the school year, Dumbledore teaches Harry of events in
Voldemort's past that he feels are of immense importance. Using the
Pensieve, they visit the memories of others, which contain important
information about Voldemort's life and his genocidal rise to power.
While using the pensieve , Harry sees a vision of Dumbledore's first
encounter with Voldemort, then a disturbed young orphan named Tom
Riddle; Dumbledore had known from the beginning that the boy was
dangerous, but believed that
Hogwarts would change him.
It is learned that
Voldemort created six Horcruxes to gain
immortality and that they must all be destroyed before Harry goes
after the final piece of Voldemort's soul in the Dark Lord's body.
Harry also repeatedly warns Dumbledore in most of their lessons that
Draco Malfoy , is working for Voldemort. Dumbledore refuses to take
any action against Draco, and instead tells Harry that he already
knows more about what is happening than Harry does.
By the end of the book, Dumbledore and Harry set out to the cave
where Dumbledore believes a
Horcrux resides. In the cave, Dumbledore
drinks a potion inside the Horcrux's container; while drinking it, he
begins to scream, seemingly enduring mental torture and being
weakened. Dumbledore begins to call out for water after he finishes
the potion, and Harry, realising he has no other choice, dips the
goblet into the lake to give him a drink. When he does this though,
all the Inferi that reside in the lake grab at Harry and attempt to
drag him down and drown him in the lake. Dumbledore suddenly recovers,
thanks to the water, and conjures a fire lasso around them. Dumbledore
takes the horcrux (a locket) and both make their way back out of the
cave and back to Hogsmeade. When they return,
Madam Rosmerta informs
them that the
Dark Mark was conjured over the Astronomy Tower . In the
tower, Dumbledore enjoins Harry not to interfere in the events that
are about to take place there, and places him in a body-binding curse
under his invisibility cloak. Hidden, Harry is unable to intervene as
Dumbledore (now extremely weak) is disarmed by Draco. Dumbledore is
conversing with Draco about the plot to kill him, when several other
Death Eaters enter the tower and try to persuade Draco to kill
Dumbledore. When Draco hesitates, Snape appears and performs the
Killing Curse on Dumbledore, only after Dumbledore pleads with Snape
saying, "Severus, please ...". To what Dumbledore was referring is not
revealed until the seventh book. Dumbledore dies in Hogwarts' grounds.
Shortly after his death, Dumbledore's portrait magically appears in
the Headmaster's office. His funeral is attended by students, Hogwarts
staff, members of the Ministry of Magic, ghosts , centaurs , merpeople
and others who wish to pay their respects. Shrouded in purple velvet,
he is entombed in a white marble sarcophagus beside the lake at
Hogwarts, and it is said that he is the only headmaster to be buried
on the school grounds.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
Rowling used several chapters in
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
to reveal two main matters concerning Dumbledore: his early life and
his death. The book introduces his parents, Percival and Kendra
Dumbledore, as well as his little sister, Ariana; his brother,
Aberforth Dumbledore , was mentioned in previous books. At six years
old, Ariana was attacked by three
Muggle boys who had witnessed her
doing magic. Because of this attack, Ariana was seriously traumatised
and never able to control her magic again, having recurring outbursts
of magic. Enraged, Percival mercilessly attacked the
(killing them in the film version ), and was sentenced to life in
Azkaban. After this, Kendra moved her family to the village of
Godric\'s Hollow . In one of her outbursts, Ariana accidentally kills
Kendra around the time Albus has completed his education. Albus
becomes the head of the family and is forced to remain in his house
with his sister Ariana while Aberforth completes his education.
Elder Wand , as reproduced in
Warner Bros. films
Soon afterward, a young
Gellert Grindelwald arrived in Godric's
Hollow to live with his great-aunt,
Bathilda Bagshot , author of A
History of Magic. The two young men took to each other immediately,
and together they dreamed of a world ruled by wizards over Muggles by
uniting the legendary Deathly Hallows . They believed that if they
were forced to destroy a few along the way, it would still be "for the
greater good", and the sufferings and losses would be rewarded a
hundredfold in the end. This scenario would never happen, though. A
discussion between Albus, Aberforth, and Grindelwald led to a duel
that resulted in Ariana's death. For the rest of his life, Albus felt
guilty, never certain whether it was his own curse or another's that
had killed his sister. Grindelwald stormed back to Bagshot's home and
departed to begin his own rule, leaving the country hours later. As a
result of his mistakes, Albus felt that he was not to be trusted with
power and, because of this, never took the position of Minister for
Magic, despite being offered it several times. Dumbledore returned to
Hogwarts as professor of Transfiguration, and he served in recruiting
students for the school.
Decades later, in 1945, Dumbledore finally defeated the now-Dark
wizard Grindelwald, who had come to possess the
Elder Wand .
Grindelwald's defeat made Dumbledore the master of the Elder Wand,
which remained his until just before his death, when Draco used the
Disarming Charm on him.
Dumbledore had another Hallow in his keeping since the death of James
Potter: the Invisibility Cloak , which he had borrowed to examine.
When James died, Dumbledore kept the cloak and decided to pass it on
to Harry, James's son.
The truth about Dumbledore's death is revealed through Snape's last
memories in the
Pensieve . Harry learns that Dumbledore made a
terrible error by placing a cursed ring on his right hand, sometime
between the fifth and sixth book, forgetting the curses that must be
on the ring. The ring held the Resurrection Stone , which Dumbledore
hoped to use to allow him to apologise to his sister and parents.
Dumbledore called Snape to help him; however, when Snape arrived and
assessed the curse, all he could do was contain it. Snape told
Dumbledore that he had little more than a year to live. After hearing
this news, Dumbledore revealed to Snape that he knew about Voldemort's
plan to have Draco kill him. He asked Snape to use the Killing Curse
on him when the time came because he did not want Draco to have to
kill him, saying that the boy's soul was still intact; Draco's soul
would have been damaged in killing Dumbledore out of malice, whereas
Snape was fully aware that he would be merely sparing Dumbledore pain
and humiliation. He also intended for Snape to be the one to kill him
and for the
Elder Wand to be buried with him, in order to prevent the
wand from being passed on again.
Dumbledore's spirit appears to Harry towards the end of the book in a
limbo-like King\'s Cross , after Harry is struck with the Killing
Curse which was conjured by Voldemort. During the last book, Harry
finds out that he must die because he is a Horcrux. When Voldemort
conjures the Killing Curse, Harry does not fight back, which stops him
from dying. When they meet again, the boy comforts Dumbledore as he
confesses all of his many regrets. Dumbledore then informs Harry of
the choice he still has: of moving on to the next life or returning to
his body to face
Voldemort one last time. After returning from the
mystical King's Cross and defeating
Voldemort for good, Harry has a
short conversation with Dumbledore's portrait in the Headmaster's
office about the fate of each of the three Deathly Hallows. He keeps
the Cloak, leaves the Stone in the Forbidden Forest where he dropped
it, and returns the
Elder Wand to Dumbledore's tomb (from which
Voldemort had stolen it). In the epilogue, it is revealed that Harry
names his second son
Albus Severus Potter after Dumbledore and Snape.
PORTRAYALS WITHIN FILMS
Dumbledore as portrayed by
Richard Harris in
Harry Potter and
the Philosopher\'s Stone .
In the film adaptations of Philosopher\'s Stone (2001) and Chamber of
Secrets (2002), Dumbledore was played by
Richard Harris , who was
expected to play Dumbledore throughout the series. Harris mentioned
that he was originally not going to take the role, since he knew his
own health was in decline. He accepted because his then-11-year-old
granddaughter threatened never to speak to him again if he did not
take it. Harris was determined to portray Dumbledore again in
Azkaban (which was released in 2004), despite having been
diagnosed with Hodgkin\'s lymphoma , and asked
David Heyman not to
recast the role. However, his death on 25 October 2002 necessitated
Ian McKellen was offered the role, but he turned it down, having
played the similar character
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
, as well as feeling it would have been inappropriate to take Harris's
role, as Harris had called McKellen a "dreadful" actor. Harris's
family had expressed an interest in seeing Peter O\'Toole being chosen
as his replacement.
Michael Gambon was cast as Harris's replacement four months after
Harris's death. Gambon was not concerned about bettering Harris, and
he portrayed the character in his own way, putting on a slight Irish
accent for the role, as well as completing his scenes in three weeks.
Gambon reprised his role in all the remaining films.
Toby Regbo was chosen to portray Dumbledore in his youth in Deathly
Hallows Part I and Part 2 , for flashbacks scenes which provide
essential information on the character's backstory.
Jude Law was tapped to portray Dumbledore in the second prequel film,
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald .
In the Chamber of Secrets DVD interview, screenwriter Steve Kloves
stated that he considers Dumbledore a fascinating character because of
the wisdom he provides, but he feels that "Dumbledore bears such a
tremendous dark burden, and he knows secrets and I think in many ways
he bears the weight of the future of the wizard world" and the "only
way that he can keep that at bay, the darkness, is to be whimsical and
Albus Dumbledore was tall and thin, with silver hair and beard
(auburn in his youth) so long that they could be tucked into his belt.
He had a very long and crooked nose that looked as if it had been
broken at least twice. (It is speculated that his brother's punch
during their sister's funeral may have played a role in shaping his
nose.) He was also said to have had long and skillful fingers. His
eyes were described to be a brilliant, soul-piercing shade of blue,
and usually twinkled with kindness and mischief.
Dumbledore wore half-moon spectacles and a colourful array of robes,
ranging from purple to bright orange. He once claimed to have a scar
above his left knee in the precise shape of a map of the London
Underground, but whether or not he actually does is unknown. His
demeanour is often – if not always – serene and ethereal, and he
usually spoke in a calm, pleasant voice even when Harry thought that
he was actually furious.
During the last year of his life, Dumbledore's right hand was scarred
when he donned Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, which was cursed. Had Snape not
intervened with a counter-curse, Dumbledore would have died much more
quickly. Regardless, the curse left his hand blackened and
dead-looking, and no amount of healing could repair the appearance.
According to Snape, the curse would eventually spread itself from the
contained hand, and Dumbledore was doomed to die in no more than one
year's time. Whether this means the blackening dead-look appearance
would spread throughout the entire body is unknown.
Considered the most powerful wizard in the world, Dumbledore is
benevolent and wise, a good wizard in the style of Merlin. He almost
constantly gives off an aura of serenity and composure, rarely
displaying intense emotions of anger or fear. Yet despite his benign
nature, it is said that Dumbledore was the only wizard Lord Voldemort
ever truly feared. Dumbledore is very eccentric and even slightly
effeminate; he is very fond of knitting patterns and frequently wears
flamboyant clothing (at one point, he is seen wearing a flowered
bonnet). He is also known for his odd displays of whimsicality; he
often uses humour to make people feel comfortable in his presence. As
a supremely talented wizard, Dumbledore displays numerous examples of
extraordinary powers. His abilities as a wizard are combined with a
kind of cunning and subtlety of mind that allowed him to comprehend
human nature and turn the better aspects of humanity (trust, love, and
friendship) to Voldemort's disadvantage in particular.
More than anything else, Dumbledore has a deep capacity for love,
frequently reminding Harry that love was the greatest magic of all.
Dumbledore believes in the good in everyone and insists on giving
second chances. The greatest example of this is Dumbledore's
relationship with Snape, in whom Dumbledore is willing to place a
considerable amount of faith because he showed remorse. Dumbledore is
highly perceptive and emotionally intelligent; his knowledge of a
person's true personality goes beyond simply being a good judge of
character. This is never more apparent than in his complex insights
into Voldemort's psyche, which he pieces together with Harry to deduce
where Voldemort's horcruxes are hidden.
However, in spite of Dumbledore's many extraordinary qualities, he
was no saint. According to Rowling, "Although Dumbledore seems to be
so benign for six books, he's quite a
Machiavellian figure, really.
He's been pulling a lot of strings." In a 2005 interview, Rowling
commented: "Immense brainpower does not protect you from emotional
mistakes, and I think Dumbledore really exemplifies that."
Dumbledore's greatest personality flaw, which he explained to Harry,
was his desire for power. He eventually found that those best suited
for power are those who do not seek it. When he and Grindelwald met
each other, they made plans to enslave Muggles and re-establish
wizards as the natural rulers of the world. However, Dumbledore was
disillusioned of this fantasy after his sister Ariana was killed
during a duel between himself, his brother Aberforth, and Grindelwald.
Dumbledore was haunted by his sad family history. In particular, he
was riddled with guilt over the circumstances surrounding the death of
his sister. He felt enormous remorse for his selfishness and was
tortured for the rest of his life by the possibility that he might
have been the one who cast the spell that killed his sister. When he
looked into the Mirror of Erised, he saw himself redeemed in the eyes
of his brother and his entire family alive and together.
MAGICAL ABILITIES AND SKILLS
Since a young age, Dumbledore has always shown great magical
abilities. During his education at Hogwarts, Dumbledore was known as
the most brilliant student to have ever stepped into the school,
winning "every prize of note that the school offered", and in his
N.E.W.T.s, "... did things with a wand never seen before". Rowling
has said that Dumbledore is primarily self-taught, although he "had
access to superb teachers at Hogwarts," and, as far as his education
is concerned, "Dumbledore's family would be a profitable line of
inquiry." While he is not vain, Dumbledore also exhibits no false
modesty, readily acknowledging that he is unusually intelligent and an
exceptionally powerful wizard. He admits a number of times to Harry in
their occasional meetings in Half-Blood Prince that he makes mistakes,
and since he is smarter than most men, his mistakes "tend to be
Dumbledore is an expert at nonverbal spells and is famous as an
alchemist who has worked with Nicolas Flamel , the only known maker of
the Philosopher\'s Stone , and is credited with discovering the twelve
uses of dragon 's blood. His Patronus takes the form of a phoenix , a
recurring symbol in the books.
His knowledge of the most powerful kind of magic, love, is extensive.
He taught Harry about its very essence, and the innate power of his
ability to love his parents, which eventually helped Harry realise his
destiny to kill Lord Voldemort.
He is known to be able to conjure
Gubraithian fire (magical
everlasting fire). He has claimed to be able to become invisible
without using an invisibility cloak , which is a powerful
Disillusionment Charm. Dumbledore is also skilled in Occlumency and
Legilimency . Dumbledore is an expert at Transfiguration too, having
taught the subject before becoming headmaster. He frequently creates
complex objects like sofa chairs out of thin air (or from less
comfortable chairs). Dumbledore is also proficient at Charms and
Potions; according to the obituary written by
Elphias Doge , his
papers were published in journals such as Achievements in Charming and
The Practical Potioneer. Dumbledore is famous for defeating
Grindelwald, who is second on a list of Most Dangerous Dark Wizards of
All Time only to
Voldemort himself, in a "spectacular duel of legend",
succeeding in doing so despite the fact that Grindelwald possessed the
Elder Wand, which supposedly guarantees invincibility in duels due to
its power. His skill at duelling is further shown when he calmly
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,
overpowering him and eventually forcing him to possess Harry to be
spared from total defeat. (It is known in retrospect that Dumbledore
Elder Wand when duelling Voldemort, having taken it from
Grindelwald.) Unlike most wizards who make a distinct popping sound
when they apparate Dumbledore notably is able to apparate silently;
the only other wizard shown to possess this skill is Voldemort.
Dumbledore is known to be able to understand Mermish and Gobbledegook
(Goblin language) and Parseltongue.
Dumbledore's office houses "a number of curious instruments." Among
them is a
Pensieve , a stone receptacle used to store and review
memories, which witches and wizards are able to extract from their
heads as a type of fluid. Harry first discovers this device in Goblet
of Fire , and it is frequently used for flashback scenes throughout
the remainder of the series. In the first chapter of Philosopher's
Stone, Dumbledore is seen using the
Deluminator , a device for
removing and later returning light, and for use as a homing device. It
is confirmed in Deathly Hallows when the object is inherited by Ron
Deluminator is of Dumbledore's own design. Dumbledore is the
possessor and master of the
Elder Wand , an extremely powerful object
known also as the "Wand of Destiny" or the "Deathstick", and one of
the Deathly Hallows . Unlike many of the wand's previous owners,
Dumbledore keeps its identity a closely guarded secret. He also has a
pet phoenix named Fawkes . It is revealed in Philosopher's Stone by
Mr. Ollivander that Harry's wand carries a phoenix feather as its
magical core and that particular phoenix only gave one other feather,
the one in Voldemort's wand that gave Harry his scar. It is later
revealed in Goblet of Fire that Fawkes was the phoenix whose feathers
provide the magical core in Harry's and Voldemort's wands.
Through various interviews and discussions about the character,
Rowling has established that
Albus Dumbledore was born in July or
August 1881 to Percival and Kendra Dumbledore. The character had
previously referenced his brother Aberforth , and in
Harry Potter and
the Deathly Hallows, it is revealed that Albus is three years older
than Aberforth. The same book established their sister Ariana who, at
six years old, suffered a vicious attack by three male
who had witnessed her doing magic. Frightened, they first tried to get
her to repeat what they had seen, and upon her failure to recreate it
due to her young age, they tried to stop her from being "different".
It is not explicitly stated in the novel what form this attack took,
but Percival was sentenced to life in
Azkaban for tracking down and
hexing the boys who seriously traumatised his daughter. The severe
trauma of the attack left Ariana unable to function socially or to
properly perform magic again. To prevent her being institutionalised
in St. Mungo\'s Hospital , or hurting someone accidentally with her
uncontrolled magic, Kendra moved the family to Godric's Hollow, and
her illness was concealed. Neighbours assumed that Ariana was a
non-magical squib .
When Dumbledore and his friend Elphias left Hogwarts, they planned to
take their "then-traditional" tour of the world. On the eve of their
trip, the eighteen-year-old Dumbledore suffered the death of his
mother Kendra, who was accidentally killed by Ariana during one of her
uncontrolled outbursts of magic. Because Dumbledore's parents were
absent (his father in
Azkaban and his mother dead), Albus became the
head of the family and it became his duty to put food on the table, as
they were not left with much gold. He was forced to remain in his
house with his sister Ariana while Aberforth completed his education.
Aberforth knew of his brother's resentment and offered to care for
Ariana himself, saying that she preferred him, but Albus refused by
stating that it was his duty as eldest to care for the family.
When Grindelwald arrived at Godric's Hollow, he immediately became
friends with Dumbledore and together dreamed of a new world order in
which wizards ruled over Muggles "for the greater good". Dumbledore
and Grindelwald suggested that they had to move to carry on their
plans, but Aberforth refused because Ariana's state did not allow her
to be moved. The discussion between Albus, Aberforth and Grindelwald
turned into a duel that resulted in Ariana's accidental death.
According to the author, as a result of this incident, Albus's boggart
became Ariana's corpse. In Philosopher's Stone, he mentions to Harry
that the deepest desire of his heart, revealed by the Mirror of
Erised, is to have a pair of woollen socks. In the seventh novel,
Harry realises that he and Dumbledore see the same thing in the
Mirror: their reunited families.
The character of
Albus Dumbledore has been compared to other
archetypal "wise old man " characters. Dumbledore acts much like
Merlin from The Sword in the Stone , in the manner of an
"absent-minded professor "; both
Merlin and Dumbledore educate a
story's main character in a castle. As writer Evelyn Perry notes,
Merlin both personally and physically; he is an
avid lover of books and wisdom who wears flowing robes and a long,
white beard." Dumbledore has also been compared with
Tolkien\'s Lord of the Rings . Dave Kopel draws comparisons between
Rowling's writing and
John Bunyan 's
The Pilgrim’s Progress and
states that, among the Christian symbols that Rowling has used in her
books, Dumbledore acts like "the bearded God the Father" figure in
which Harry puts his faith to be saved from
Voldemort and his
IGN also listed Dumbledore as their fifth favourite Harry
Potter character, saying that "or a character that was introduced into
popular culture a mere twelve years ago, it speaks volumes that
Professor Dumbledore has already taken his place among the great
mentor figures in literature and film". IGN's Joe Utichi called
Dumbledore his third favourite
Harry Potter character, calling the
revelation that he wasn't so "infallible" one of the most
heartbreaking themes of the final book. Actor
Michael Gambon received
some criticism for his louder, more aggressive, portrayal of the
character, who is depicted as exhibiting a more subdued, unflappable
calm in the books. This has been attributed to Gambon's policy of not
reading the source material from which his films are adapted.
As a main character of the series, major facts relating to Dumbledore
have generated a vast number of essays and discussions. The death of
Dumbledore at the end of Half-Blood Prince was discussed by fans and
critics alike. A website named DumbledoreIsNotDead.com sought to
understand the events of the sixth book in a different way and
provided arguments to claim that the character did not really die.
However, Rowling confirmed on 2 August 2006 that Dumbledore was, in
fact, dead, humorously apologising to the website as she did so.
Along with DumbledoreIsNotDead.com, a collection of essays, Who Killed
Albus Dumbledore?: What Really Happened in
Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince? Six Expert
Harry Potter Detectives Examine the
Evidence, was published by Zossima Press in November 2006. In
Harry Potter Mega Poll, Dumbledore's death was voted
as the most unforgettable moment in the whole series.
Rowling's statement that Dumbledore was gay caused a great debate
among critics. Melissa Anelli, webmaster of the fan site The Leaky
Cauldron , told
The Associated Press
The Associated Press , "J.K. Rowling calling any Harry
Potter character gay would make wonderful strides in tolerance toward
homosexuality. ... By dubbing someone so respected, so talented and so
kind, as someone who just happens to be also homosexual, she's
reinforcing the idea that a person's gayness is not something of which
they should be ashamed."
Entertainment Weekly 's Mark Harris said
"her choice to make a beloved professor-mentor gay in a world where
gay teachers are still routinely slandered as malign influences was, I
am certain, no accident." The stars and director of the Harry Potter
films were supportive of Rowling's revelation as well.
Some critics discussed the implications of this statement. New York
Times columnist Edward Rothstein said that "Ms. Rowling may think of
Dumbledore as gay"; however, "there is no reason why anyone else
should". The East Tennessee State University's student newspaper
accused Rowling of lying, saying her answer was a publicity stunt .
Michelle Smith quoted the
Death of the Author principle, stating that
Rowling's subsequent commentary is irrelevant to the understanding of
Dumbledore's sexuality was also condemned by several right-wing
Christian groups, such as Mission America and the Christian Coalition
of America .
Slate quotes an attendee of the book talk who said, "It was clear
that JKR didn't plan to out Dumbledore. She just cares about being
true to her readers." Mike Thomas of the
Orlando Sentinel said that
upon reflection, Dumbledore was gay from the beginning, and that this
neatly explains the behaviour of his character and his relationship
with Grindelwald. Thomas notes the skill Rowling displays in writing a
gay character without having to put a gay label on him.
Gay rights campaigner
Peter Tatchell stated that "It's good that
children's literature includes the reality of gay people, since we
exist in every society. But I am disappointed that she did not make
Dumbledore's sexuality explicit in the
Harry Potter book. Making it
obvious would have sent a much more powerful message of understanding
and acceptance." A spokesperson for Stonewall praised Rowling, saying
"It's great that JK has said this. It shows that there's no limit to
what gay and lesbian people can do, even being a wizard headmaster."
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Dumbledore has been parodied in several sketches and animated series:
* In the series
Wizards of Waverly Place
Wizards of Waverly Place , the episodes "Wizard
School Part 1" and "Wizard School Part 2" feature Alex and Justin
Russo going to a wizarding summer school called Wiz-tech, in which
Headmaster Crumbs (played by
Ian Abercrombie ) is based on Dumbledore.
The Simpsons episode "
The Haw-Hawed Couple ", Lisa asks Homer
to read her Angelica Button book to her for bedtime. Homer, learning
that the character Headmaster Greystash will die (as Dumbledore did in
Half-Blood Prince), hides the fact from Lisa by inventing a happier
ending, though Lisa does read the real ending and decides that Homer's
* Dumbledore also stars in
Neil Cicierega 's Potter Puppet Pals, in
which he frequently strips completely naked, except for his hat,
randomly in the story. Also, in half of the "Potter Puppet Pals"
videos Dumbledore is using the exclamation "Alas!" in an apparently
incorrect place, parodying Rowling's love for unusual words. In the
episode "Ron's Disease", Dumbledore reveals himself to be "a gay
Albus Dumbledore appears in some episodes of
Robot Chicken voiced
Seth Green . In "Password: Swordfish" when the threat of the
puberty creature Pubertis is known, Dumbledore gives Harry a stone
that might help him fight Pubertis. During this appearance, Dumbledore
is an African-American who states that he is played by a different
actor in each of the movies. Upon confrontation with Pubertis, Harry
rubs the stone two times, which summons ghosts to punch it. When it
comes to the third time, Dumbledore appears and tells Harry that the
stone can only be warmed up three times a day (four if he takes a week
off) and that Pubertis cannot be destroyed since it lives in everyone
just like his own demon Wandus Limpus prevents him from having
meaningful relationships. In "Tell My Mum", Dumbledore tells the
students that Professor Snape suffered a "minor potion accident" and
Criss Angel as their substitute teacher.
* In 2003, Comic Relief performed a spoof story called Harry Potter
and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan, in which Dumbledore is
Nigel Planer , who wore the beard and costume of late
Richard Harris .
* Dumbledore also appears in one of the Harry Bladder sketches in
All That , portrayed by
Kenan Thompson 's old character Principal
Williame Banes Pimpell (who appeared as Headmaster Pimpell).
* After the revelation of Dumbledore's sexuality, the American skit
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live featured a sketch featuring Rowling (played
Amy Poehler ) showing deleted scenes from
Harry Potter and the
Azkaban where Dumbledore (played by
Bill Hader ) acts
A Very Potter Musical , Dumbledore is played by actor Dylan
* Dumbledore appears in an episode of Icons of Teen from the YouTube
channel, Shut Up Cartoons voiced by
Justin Roiland . As a teenager,
Dumbledore liked to do magic and make robotic copies of himself. One
day, he went scuba diving to earn his scuba diving badge for scouts.
Dumbledore gets scared and stays on the boat while his crush Charlene
and the scoutmaster go diving. They run into a giant sea monster and
Charlene closes her eyes and says Dumbledore, a trick he taught her.
Dumbledore receives her distress signal and dives in after them. He
meets a talking dolphin who agrees to help Dumbledore if he can eat
him in the end. Dumbledore suggests he eat the scoutmaster and the
dolphin takes him to his friends. Dumbledore makes a robotic copy and
sends it into the creature's stomach, distracting the creature long
enough for Dumbledore, Charlene and the scoutmaster to escape.
Charlene thanks Dumbledore for saving them. Dumbledore makes a sexual
comment but plays it off like she said it. Charlene asks where the
scoutmaster is; Dumbledore says he's gone somewhere, when really the
dolphin ate him. Dumbledore then decides to build a robot copy of the
scoutmaster to prevent anyone from finding out what happened to him.
Albus Dumbledore appears in
The Lego Movie
The Lego Movie , though his voice
actor is not credited. He is seen among the Master Builders who meet
with Vitruvius in Cloud Cuckoo Land, including a Lego version of
Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings.
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