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Albus Dumbledore

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Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was the Head Of Gryffindor House, Transfiguration Professor, and Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (c. 1845-1997) He is the one of the most powerful wizards of his times.

Early Life

Little is known about Dumbledore's early life. According to sources, he was born in the 1840s, and most probably 1845. His only known sibling, a brother named Aberforth, was also a member of the Order of the Phoenix, and was prosecuted in the Wizengamot for "practising inappropriate charms on a goat". Aberforth is currently the bartender at the Hog's Head in Hogsmeade [1].

Albus Dumbledore began his education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1938, and was placed in Gryffindor. His extraordinary magical talents were apparent from an early age, as later described by the elderly Griselda Marchbanks, Head of the Wizarding Examinations Authority, who personally examined the school-age Dumbledore for his N.E.W.T.s in Charms and Transfiguration. Marchbanks recalls that the young, talented Dumbledore had "done things with a wand I'd never seen before."[HP5]

An unknown time after his graduation, Dumbledore returned to the school as Professor of Transfiguration. He later also became Deputy Headmaster, in which capacity he also served in recruiting students for the school. Most prominent among his student recruited by Dumbledore is Tom Riddle, later known as Lord Voldemort.

In 1945 Dumbledore defeated the Dark Wizard Grindelwald. His card also states that he, along with Nicholas Flamel, discovered 12 uses of dragon blood.

In the course of his life, he became the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards. Dumbledore refused the position of Minister for Magic at least four times (he was requested for the office before Fudge came to power).

He was removed from these posts during his conflict with the British Ministry of Magic under Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, but was reinstated when the Ministry was forced to concede that he had correctly warned that Voldemort had returned. He holds the Order of Merlin, First Class, for Grand Sorcery.

Dumbledore is described as tall and thin, with long silver hair and a long beard. He has blue eyes, a very long and crooked nose (looking as if it had been broken at least twice) and long fingers. He wears half-moon spectacles. He once claimed to have a scar above his left knee, of which provenance is unknown, in the shape of a map of the London Underground.

Considered the most powerful wizard in the world, Dumbledore is benevolent and eccentric, an archetypal good wizard in the style of Merlin. It is said that he is the only wizard Lord Voldemort ever feared.

Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card mentions that he enjoys chamber music and ten-pin bowling. The card also reveals that he has a great affinity for sweets, magical and non-magical, and frequently sets the password for the gargoyle statue guarding his office door to be the name of various sweets. He told Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone that he is rather fond of sherbert lemons. He dislikes Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans after coming across a vomit flavoured bean 'in his youth'. He is a fan of knitting patterns and once told Harry that one could never have enough woollen socks. His favourite flavour of jam is raspberry.

While he had been repeatedly offered the post of the Minister of Magic, he had firmly refused to leave Hogwarts.

Dumbledore was murdered by Severus Snape in Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts. J. K. Rowling confirmed this at a charity reading on August 2, 2006. (Although there is a small but out-spoken group of fans who dispute his death.) He is survived by his brother, Aberforth Dumbledore.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry

Dumbledore began his career at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a teacher in the subject of Transfiguration. His students over the years included Tom Riddle, later known as Lord Voldemort, and Rubeus Hagrid.

Dumbledore's final years at Hogwarts were rocky due to political circumstances.

The death of a student Cedric Diggory during the Triwizard Tournament compelled Dumbledore to announce the return of Lord Voldemort. The news of Lord Voldemort's return was not well received and Dumbledore was removed from the position of Headmaster and forced into hiding. The position of Headmaster was then temporarily held by Dolores Umbridge. In due course, Dumbledore was taken seriously and reinstated as Headmaster only for the Second War to break out in Britain.

The Order of the Phoenix

Dumbledore has been credited as the founder of the Order of the Phoenix to combat the army and chaos created by Lord Voldemort. He was known to be a strong leader and significant contributor to the fight against Voldemort until his untimely demise.

The notable among his members included the Weasleys, the Longbottoms, the Potters, Severus Snape, Alastor Moody and Sirius Black.

Dumbledore and Harry Potter

It was Dumbledore who arranged for the infant Harry Potter to be rescued from the cottage at Godric's Hollow where Harry's parents had been murdered. He then left Harry in the care of Harry's Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon in Surrey. Throughout Harry's years at Hogwarts, Dumbledore provides Harry with protection and guidance, and supplements Harry's schooling with additional training and information as he feels it is important. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Dumbledore admits to Harry that he has also withheld from the boy knowledge of a prophecy spoken to Dumbledore by Sybill Trelawney which marked Harry as the only wizard who could destroy Voldemort.

His unwavering determination to pursue the fight against Lord Voldemort leads him to break with the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge in The Order of the Phoenix and to be temporarily removed from his position as Headmaster of Hogwarts when control of the school is given to Dolores Umbridge, an appointee of the Ministry.

By the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Albus Dumbledore takes on the role of providing Harry with additional insights into the origins of Lord Voldemort. He does this largely through the use of the Pensieve. He entrusts Harry with the task of getting a final, crucial memory from Horace Slughorn regarding Voldemort's knowledge of Horcruxes. It is in the destruction of one of these Horcruxes that Dumbledore's hand is seriously and permanently injured. Harry and Dumbledore forge a bond in The Half-Blood Prince that is sorely tested in a cave where a horcrux is supposed to be hidden. Harry, who has promised faithfully to follow Dumbledore's instructions, has to force Dumbledore to drink liquid from a goblet that is nearly fatal to Dumbledore just to get a Horcrux.

Role in the series

Dumbledore is clearly one of the most important characters in the Harry Potter books, as much for the significant role he plays in the fostering and education of Harry Potter as for his leadership in the struggle against Lord Voldemort.

Drawn from the archetype of the wise old wizard, Albus Dumbledore is reminiscent of characters such as Merlin from the medieval tales of King Arthur, of Gandalf from the more recent Lord of the Rings trilogy, and, to a lesser extent, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda of the Star Wars films. Yet J.K. Rowling has nevertheless created a character that lives with his own literary life.


Dumbledore's given names could be interpreted as representing the four primary divisions of the British Isles:

'Albus' may be the masculine form of "Alba", an ancient name for Scotland.; 'Percival' is a legendary Arthurian knight from Wales involved in the grail quest; 'Wulfric' is an Anglo-Saxon name found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and could be representative of England; and 'Brian' is the name of the real Irish high-king and hero Brian Boru who defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf near Dublin.

Rowling stated that 'Dumbledore' is an old word meaning 'Bumblebee', and that she imagined him flitting about the castle.

Albus translates from Latin as 'white', traditionally representing good.

Wulfric translates literally as wolf-power, and is reminiscent of another similar name, Beowulf, meaning powerful wolf-bear. Beowulf was a legendary hero who in his youth slew the monster grendel, a name similar to Grindelwald, the dark wizard Dumbledore slew in earlier days. Beowulf was finally fatally wounded by a dragon(the potion) in a sea cave, when the only one of his knights who would help him was his squire, the orphaned son of some loyal followers(Harry).

Percival is a name from old French, meaning 'pierce the veil'. In le morte d'Arthur by Thomas Mallory, Percival is both hero of the quest for the grail, and narrator of the tale, as is the case for Dumbledore in parts of the story.


One of Dumbledore's dominant traits is his ability to see the merits of persons that others would be prepared to ignore and to give them protection and a chance to flourish. He hires Sybill Trelawney, for example, to teach Divination even though her abilities as a seer are scant because he recognizes that she does possess a real, if highly sporadic, gift of prophecy. Similarly, Rubeus Hagrid, whose approach as an instructor is quite questionable, is offered the post of professor of the course in Care of Magical Creatures, and Remus Lupin, a werewolf, is given a teaching position despite the danger that this might pose to the students.

Pushed to the next level, this trait leads Dumbledore to always look for the spark of light within the darkest hearts. In The Half-Blood Prince Dumbledore appeals to Draco Malfoy's vestigial sense of morality when Draco, under orders from Lord Voldemort, threatens Dumbledore with death.

However, the most significant example of this aspect of Dumbledore's character is his unwavering loyalty to Severus Snape, despite Snape's background as a Death Eater, and despite evidence that Harry provides Dumbledore in his sixth year at Hogwarts of Snape's offer of assistance to Draco Malfoy to carry out a mission on behalf of a wizard who could only be Voldemort. The reason for Dumbledore's complete trust in Snape's reform is not revealed, but Snape's treachery and his murder of Dumbledore by use of the Avada Kedavra comes as a shocking surprise to everyone in the wizarding world.

As a supremely talented wizard, Dumbledore shows numerous examples of extraordinary powers, such as his battle with Voldemort and rescue of Harry from Voldemort's power in the fight in the Ministry of Magic at the end of Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. His abilities as a wizard are combined with a cunningness and subtlety of mind that allows him to apprehend human nature and, where he can, turn the better aspects of humanity (love, loyalty, friendship and forgiveness) to Voldemort's disadvantage. Yet despite his many talents and accomplishments, Dumbledore is never in the least arrogant, self-important or pompous and in this he stands in contrast to many of the other characters, from Cornelius Fudge to Voldemort himself.


Dumbledore is known for his odd displays of his whimsical sense of humour.

It is quoted that "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" was Dumbledore's before dinner speech at the start of term feast in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

His legendary sweet tooth and use of treat names for his personal passwords add to this sense of whimsy. It is this humour, and the love of the goodness of life behind it, that places everything in its proper perspective and gives purpose to the battle against the evil that Voldemort represents.

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