|"Well, I think we should put it back in order for them, don't you?"|
- "My own brother, Aberforth, was prosecuted for practising inappropriate charms on a goat. It was all over the papers, but did Aberforth hide? No, he did not! He held his head high and went about his business as usual! Of course, I'm not entirely sure he can read, so that may not have been bravery..."
- —Albus Dumbledore[src]
Aberforth Dumbledore (b. 1884) was a half-blood wizard, the second son of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, younger brother of Albus, and older brother of Ariana. He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry between 1895 and 1902. His father – who had been sentenced to prison for attacking three Muggles – died in Azkaban when Aberforth was young, and his mother and sister were later accidentally killed. Aberforth blamed his brother Albus for the death of their sister, Ariana and thus their relationship was rather strained.
Aberforth was the owner and barman of the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade, and was a member of the original Order of the Phoenix during the First Wizarding War. In 1998, he assisted Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger from a distance during their Horcrux hunt, sending the House-elf Dobby to help them escape from Malfoy Manor. He later allowed them to use a secret tunnel that connected the Hog's Head to Hogwarts when the trio arrived in Hogsmeade. He subsequently fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and survived the Second Wizarding War. He continued to live in Hogsmeade, tending to his goats.
Early life (1884-1891)
- "They were not alike; Aberforth was never bookish and, unlike Albus, preferred to settle arguments by duelling rather than through reasoned discussion. In fairness to Aberforth, it must be admitted that living in Albus's shadow cannot have been an altogether comfortable experience."
- —Description of the Dumbledore brothers by Elphias Doge[src]
Aberforth was the middle child of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, younger brother to Albus and older brother to Ariana. The family lived in Mould-on-the-Wold, and Aberforth's favourite tale while growing up was Grumble the Grubby Goat from The Tales of Beedle the Bard . The Dumbledore family was traumatised when Ariana, then six years old, was attacked by three Muggle boys who had seen her performing magic. The attack left Ariana half-insane and unable to control her magic. Their father cursed the boys in retaliation, and was arrested for it. He did not reveal to the authorities the reason for his attack, as Ariana would have been taken from the family as a threat to the Statute of Secrecy and placed in St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries permanently. Percival was imprisoned in Azkaban, and Kendra moved the family to Godric's Hollow, putting out a story that Ariana was ill and needed to remain at home. This story led to the assumption that Ariana was a Squib.
Aberforth attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry between 1895 and 1902. Unlike Albus, Aberforth preferred to solve his differences by duelling, rather than dialogue. He was in Albus's shadow, as his brother was an extraordinarily talented and academic Wizard.
Aberforth was Ariana's favourite sibling, and he took part responsibility of taking care of her. However, he was not at home when Ariana lost control of her magic and accidentally killed their mother. Following his mother's passing, Aberforth wanted to drop out and take over the care of his sister, but Albus would not allow it, as he wanted his younger brother to complete his education, although he bitterly resented having to abandon his grand plans. By this time, Aberforth was described as a "wayward" young man, known to chuck goat dung at their neighbours and inclined to get into duels with those he had disagreements with.
When Gellert Grindelwald came to Godric's Hollow, he and Albus instantly struck up a friendship, together dreaming of finding the Deathly Hallows and leading a revolution that would make Muggles subservient to wizards. When Aberforth pointed out that Albus could not be the heroic leader of the revolution with Ariana in tow, Grindelwald became furious and used the Cruciatus Curse on Aberforth. Albus tried to protect his brother and a three-way duel broke out. While the three battled, Ariana tried to help her brother, but a stray curse from one of them hit Ariana, killing her. Aberforth blamed Albus for Ariana's death, going as far as to physically assault his brother at their sister's funeral and actually breaking Albus's nose. He continued to resent his brother for years, despite Albus's immense feelings of regret, of which Aberforth did not know.
Barman at the Hog's Head Inn (Post 1899-?)
At some point, Aberforth became the barman of the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade village. When Tom Riddle returned to Hogwarts to apply for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post, Albus revealed that he had connections with the local barman, who told him about Riddle's compatriots awaiting him in the Hog's Head. Later, when the First Wizarding War broke out, Aberforth joined the Order of the Phoenix, opposing Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
First Wizarding War
In 1980, Albus visited the Hog's Head to interview Sybill Trelawney for the position of Divination professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Severus Snape, a Death Eater, overheard part of Trelawney's prophecy about Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. Snape was unable to hear its entirety, however, as Aberforth caught him eavesdropping and threw him out.
Between the wars
Around 1982, Aberforth was prosecuted by the Wizengamot for "using inappropriate charms on a goat," causing a "minor scandal" that was widely reported in the papers. According to his brother, Aberforth did not let the gossip get him down or force him into hiding. However, Albus was not certain if this was due to bravery, as he claimed not to be completely sure Aberforth could read.
Second Wizarding War
- Harry Potter: "It's...he left me a job."
- Aberforth: "Did he now? Nice job, I hope? Pleasant? Easy? Sort of thing you'd expect an unqualified wizard kid to be able to do without over-stretching themselves?"
- Harry Potter: "I — it's not easy, no. But I've got to —"
- Aberforth: "Got to? Why got to? He's dead, isn't he? Let it go, boy, before you follow him! Save yourself!"
- — Aberforth on the task his brother left to Harry Potter[src]
In 1996, Aberforth met with Mundungus Fletcher outside the Three Broomsticks Inn, who appeared to be selling stolen goods from 12 Grimmauld Place to him; one of those items was Sirius Black's two-way mirror. The exchange was observed by Harry Potter, who attempted to confront Mundungus following Aberforth's departure.
In 1997, the Battle of the Astronomy Tower took place at Hogwarts, culminating with the death of Albus Dumbledore at the hands of Severus Snape who (although this was unknown to everyone else at the time besides the deceased Dumbledore) was working under Albus's orders. A great number of people attended his funeral, including Aberforth, Hogwarts students, professors, old friends, Hogsmeade residents, Order of the Phoenix members and Ministry of Magic officials. After his brother's death, Aberforth had no family left.
The next year, since Dumbledore had died and could not protect the school from Death Eaters, Lord Voldemort managed to take over Hogwarts. Snape became Headmaster, and Alecto and Amycus Carrow, two Death Eaters, became Deputy Headmasters. The Carrows liked punishing students, and were cruel and sadistic. They used their power to torture the students who opposed them. Aberforth's pub was used as passageway into Hogwarts to the Room of Requirement, he supplied the students in hiding with food and water.
Deciding to look for the next of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes in the Death Eater-controlled Hogwarts Castle, Harry, Hermione, and Ron Apparated into Hogsmeade village, setting off a Caterwauling Charm that alerted Death Eaters to their arrival. As they were hidden under the Invisibility Cloak, the Death Eaters decided to send Dementors to find Harry. The Dementors, sensing fear, rapidly closed in, and Harry cast a Patronus Charm to repel them. A door creaked open behind, and Aberforth waved the trio in. Aberforth then convinced the Death Eaters that he set off the alarm by letting his cat out, and it was his goat Patronus, not Harry's stag, that they actually saw.
Harry recognised the man as Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus' younger brother. Aberforth wanted them to escape the village the next morning, believing the Order of the Phoenix finished, Voldemort had already won the war, and those still fighting were only deluding themselves. When Harry refused, saying he must complete Dumbledore's mission, Aberforth berated Harry for following his brother, and asked if he knows the entire truth about him. Harry, already doubting Dumbledore's intentions, was unable to respond. With little prodding, Aberforth related the true story about their childhood.
Despite hearing of Dumbledore's past, Harry intended to complete Dumbledore's mission, with or without Aberforth's help to get inside Hogwarts. Bowing to the inevitable, Aberforth addressed Ariana's portrait, and she disappeared down a long, dark tunnel, soon returning with another figure; Neville Longbottom. Neville led the three back to the Room of Requirement, and alerted the Order of the Phoenix that Harry had arrived at the school. The Hog's Head then became the main transportation hub for the outgoing students and the incoming Order members prior to the Battle of Hogwarts through a secret passageway behind a portrait of his sister Ariana.
Aberforth fought in the battle; he entered Hogwarts to complain to Harry about how hundreds of evacuating students were thundering through his pub, and that they should have kept some Slytherin students as hostage against parenting Death Eaters, to which Harry countered that it would not stop Voldemort and that Albus would never do it. Aberforth sneered at the latter theory before leaving to defend the castle. During the battle, he offered encouragement to Ginny when she fought some Death Eaters. When Tonks asks if he has seen Remus, Aberforth replied that he was last seen duelling Dolohov. In the renewed battle, Aberforth Stunned Rookwood as he headed into the Great Hall. After the battle, he talked with Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan.
After the warAberforth survived the final battle of the Second Wizarding War. After Voldemort's defeat, he returned to his former life, "still at the Hog's Head, playing with his goats."
- "The barman grunted. Harry approached him, looking up into the face, trying to see past the long, stringy, wiry grey hair and beard. He wore spectacles. Behind the dirty lenses, the eyes were a piercing, brilliant blue."
- —Description of Aberforth[src]
Aberforth Dumbledore, like his brother, wore spectacles and had very bright blue eyes. He was also tall and thin, with a great deal of long, stringy grey hair and beard. Harry thought he was a rather grumpy-looking old man. He also had an appearance "like a goat".
Personality and traits
Aberforth is regarded by most people who are familiar with him as odd and gruff. Alastor Moody, who met him at the taking of the photo of the original Order, only described him as a "strange bloke". He has a curious obsession with goats, and dealt with a great many dodgy customers at the Hog's Head Inn. He also has a long memory; he once placed a lifetime ban from the Hog's Head on Mundungus Fletcher for offending him. Aberforth had a sharp wit and was a talented duellist, though he had no interest in academic matters. He was a very terse person, commenting that the trio were being "Bloody Fools".
Aberforth generally seems cynical and bad-tempered, such as when he sarcastically pointed out to Harry Potter how little Albus Dumbledore had really told him even while putting an enormous responsibility on his shoulders. However, his actions sometimes seem to belie this. For example, despite generally disliking his older brother for his glory-seeking, and blaming him for their younger sister's death, the two obviously maintained contact with one another, and Aberforth joined the Order of the Phoenix, which Albus founded and led. Also, in spite of claiming earlier that "You-Know-Who's won, it's over, and anyone who's pretending different's kidding themselves", he fought bravely and selflessly at the Battle of Hogwarts. His unwillingly courageous nature shows itself in one of his last conversations with Harry; after Harry thanked him for saving his and his friends' lives twice, Aberforth gruffly retorted, "Look after 'em, then. I might not be able to save 'em a third time".
Magical abilities and skillsThough not as powerful as his brother, Aberforth was nonetheless a talented wizard in his own right, given his participation in and subsequent survival of the First and Second Wizarding Wars.
- Patronus Charm: Aberforth was able to conjure a corporeal Patronus, which was very advanced magic as well as proof of superior magical ability. His Patronus took the form of a goat.
- Charms: Aberforth Dumbledore once used a charm to keep a goat clean and its horns curly. Though he was prosecuted because that charm was considered inappropriate, it was still a testament of sorts to his being skilled in Charms.
- Dueling: During his school years, Aberforth was said to prefer to settle things by duelling instead of negotiating, which implies that, even as a student, he was already an active and experienced duellist. He also participated in the three-way duel between himself, Albus, and Gellert Grindelwald, both of whom would eventually become two of the most powerful wizards who had ever existed. During the Battle of Hogwarts, he defeated Augustus Rookwood and emerged as one of the survivors.
Aberforth's relationship with his parents is not very well known. His father was imprisoned in Azkaban after he used illegal spells on three Muggle boys who attacked Ariana. Because of this, it's likely that, like Albus, Aberforth did not hold Percival in high regard. His mother was described as a good woman, and it is possible that she and Aberforth had a good relationship; however, Kendra was accidentally killed by Ariana. Aberforth was devastated by her death.
- "I was her favourite... She liked me best."
- —Aberforth regarding his little sister[src]
Aberforth Dumbledore was Ariana Dumbledore's older brother. She seemed to have preferred him rather than their eldest brother, Albus Dumbledore. After her attack, Aberforth was the only one who could calm her down when she flew into a rage, something even their mother could not always accomplish. The two often fed goats together in their free time. Aberforth was not present when Ariana lost control of her magic and accidentally killed their mother. He believed that he would have been able to prevent the death of his mother. After the unfortunate incident, he wanted to take care of Ariana, but their older brother Albus insisted that Aberforth complete his education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry first.
Soon after, Albus became friends with Gellert Grindelwald, and Aberforth stepped in when they began making plans for world domination and Muggle subjugation, pointing out that Ariana was in no state to be dragged along with them. This resulted in a three-way duel between Ariana's brothers and Grindelwald. Ariana tried to interfere, and was inadvertently killed by one of them, which devastated Aberforth and caused an unending rift between him and Albus. It is unknown who actually cast the spell which led to her death. At Ariana's funeral, Aberforth broke his brother's nose and shouted at him that her death was all his fault. Long after Ariana's death, Aberforth continued to keep a portrait of his late sister in the Hog's Head Inn, symbolising his affection for her. It concealed a secret passage to the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts Castle.
- Dumbledore: "Then if I were to go to the Hog's Head tonight, I would not find a group of them — Nott, Rosier, Mulciber, Dolohov — awaiting your return?..."
- Tom Riddle: "You are omniscient as ever, Dumbledore."
- Dumbledore: "Oh no, merely friendly with the local barmen."
- — Dumbledore talking about his brother Aberforth[src]
Aberforth forgave his late brother after Harry explained Albus' drinking of the Drink of Despair, and fought in the defence of his brother's school, the first of the Hogsmeade residents to do so. Although Albus initially was resentful towards Aberforth for dragging him down from fame and glory with the responsibility of being head of the family, Albus loved his brother dearly, and came to respect and admire him greatly for his devotion to Ariana.
Aberforth disliked Gellert Grindelwald immensely. Grindelwald was Albus's friend after Hogwarts. While Aberforth was taking care of Ariana, Albus and Grindelwald were planning to enslave the Muggles. As the two boys were planning to travel around the world, they also planned to take Ariana with them. Aberforth opposed them, telling them that they were being irresponsible and that he would be able to take care of Ariana once more. Grindelwald became very angry and used the Cruciatus Curse on Aberforth; Albus then defended his brother and the three boys began to duel. None of the three ever knew who had cast the fatal spell, but by the end of the duel, Ariana lay dead on the floor. Grindelwald immediately fled the country; the two brothers both lived the rest of their lives with the fear that they had cast the curse that killed their sister. Aberforth retained bitter feelings towards Grindelwald for many years after their fateful encounter, and when he recounted the events that led to his sister's death Harry noted the "positively dangerous" look that came over his face when Grindelwald's name was mentioned.
- "That's a boy's answer. A boy... You don't strike me as a fool, Harry Potter."
- —Aberforth impression of Harry Potter[src]
Aberforth became friends with Harry Potter before the Battle of Hogwarts. Aberforth had previously helped Harry, Ron and Hermione while they were captured by Bellatrix Lestrange and other Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor. Aberforth's possession of one of the two-way mirrors became a great help to Harry and his companions. It can be said that if Aberforth didn't have the mirror and hadn't sent Dobby to the Trio's aid then Harry and his friends would have most likely died at Malfoy Manor.
Aberforth narrated to Harry the story of his early life. Harry pitied him, and was almost devastated when he heard it all. Harry also argued with Aberforth when he told Harry to leave Hogsmeade, in order to save his own skin. However, they later both fought at the Battle of Hogwarts and survived the war. It is conceivable that they remained in contact afterwards.
Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger
Aberforth met Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in 1998, before the Battle of Hogwarts. As Ron and Hermione were Harry's friends, they visited Hogsmeade in order to get into Hogwarts. Aberforth helped them, while telling them the story of his family life. Ron and Hermione were both shocked. They later fought at the Battle of Hogwarts with Aberforth and they all survived the war. It is possible that they remained in contact later on.
- Aberforth Dumbledore: "Thought he'd be with you. Where've you left him?"
- Harry Potter: "He's dead. Bellatrix Lestrange killed him."
- Aberforth Dumbledore: "I'm sorry to hear it. I liked that elf."
- — Aberforth and Harry Potter discussing Dobby's fate[src]
Over the course of his employment at Hogwarts, Dobby, a house-elf, became close friends with Aberforth, and spent much time at Aberforth's home in Hogsmeade, getting to and from the school through a secret tunnel. As Aberforth was an old and grumpy person, he did not have a good relationship with many people. However, Aberforth himself stated that he liked Dobby.
In 1998, Harry Potter and his friends were captured by Snatchers and imprisoned at the Malfoy Manor cellar. Harry asked for help while looking at a two-way mirror; Aberforth had the other mirror. He sent Dobby to rescue them; the house-elf did so, but was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange.
Order of the Phoenix members
Although he had a good relationship with some members of the Order of the Phoenix, Aberforth was described as a "strange bloke" by Alastor Moody. He also fought in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998. Aberforth seemed to know Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks and Fred and George Weasley. He saw Lupin fighting with Antonin Dolohov and he told Tonks so. He met many allies of the Order during the Battle of Hogwarts, when many people were getting into Hogwarts through a portrait-hole in a room of his pub.
Aberforth has a mixed relationship with Mundungus Fletcher. While Aberforth banned Mundungus for life from the bar for offending him, the two remained in touch, with Mundungus selling stolen goods to Aberforth.
In Welsh, Aberforth means "from the river". Dumbledore is Old English for "bumblebee". When breaking down the etymology of Dumbledore, dora is the Old English word for humble-bee, which became dore or dorre in Middle English. Also in Old English Aber means "the river mouth", and would look like Æbber when written in Old English. (See Æbbercurnig here: http://www.oldenglishtranslator.co.uk/index.htm).
Behind the scenes
- Aberforth appears briefly in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix played by Jim McManus and is portrayed by Ciarán Hinds in the two-part film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- Though in the books his Patronus is a goat, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 he produces a non-corporeal Patronus while fending off hundreds of Dementors.
- The character first appeared as the innkeeper at the Hog's Head in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, though he was not revealed to be Aberforth in the books until the final instalment. Many fans, however, made the connection through the hints provided. When asked about the various hints, Harry Potter series author J. K. Rowling at first coyly stated "I was quite proud of that clue," but then admitted "Well yes, obviously."
- In a 2005 interview, when asked who her favourite member of the Order of the Phoenix was, J. K. Rowling stated that "...there is one member of the Order of the Phoenix that you have not yet met properly and you will, well, you know that they are a member, but you haven't really met them properly yet and you will meet them in seven, so I am looking forward to that." It is likely that Rowling was referring to Aberforth, as readers had "met" him as the owner of the Hog's Head, but at the time did not yet know him for who he was.
- In response to Twitter user Tasha Florentz-Clift's comment ""It does not do to dwell on goats and forget to live." J.K. @jk_rowling #AddGoatRuinAQuote", JK Rowling stated "That just turns Albus's motto into Aberforth's."
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (Appears in concept artwork)
Notes and references
- ↑ His brother, Albus, was born in 1881. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows states that Aberforth entered Hogwarts three years after his brother, indicating a birth year of 1884.
- ↑ Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 24 (Rita Skeeter's Scoop)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 28 (The Missing Mirror)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 2 (In Memoriam)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Tales of Beedle the Bard
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 9 (The Woes of Mrs Weasley)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- ↑ Based on a birthdate of 1884, Aberforth would have attended Hogwarts between these dates, starting at age eleven and continuing for seven years.
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18 (The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16 (In The Hog's Head)
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 12 (Silver and Opals)
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
- ↑ 30 July 2007 Bloomsbury Webchat with J.K. Rowling
- ↑ MuggleNet: Name Origins
- ↑ Edinburgh Book Festival Interview
- ↑ Edinburgh "cub reporter" Press Conference, available via Accio Quote!
- ↑ The card "Hagrid and the Stranger" depicts the Hog's Head Inn, and a man is visible behind the bar. While he looks far younger than Aberforth, this can be attributed to the identity of the barman being unknown when the cards were made.
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