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Albus Dumbledore

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"Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"
—Albus Dumbledore[src]

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (1881- June 1997) was the Head Of Gryffindor House, Transfiguration Professor, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and finally the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. He was considered by most to be the most powerful wizard of his time.


Early Life

Little is known about Dumbledore's early life. He was born in July or August 1881.[1] His brother, named Aberforth, also was a member of the Order of the Phoenix, and was prosecuted in the Wizengamot for "practicing inappropriate charms on a goat". Aberforth is currently the bartender at the Hog's Head in Hogsmeade.[2]

Albus Dumbledore began his education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in approximately 1892, 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]

Dumbledore's family history is marred by tragedy. His sister, Ariana Dumbledore, was viciously attacked at an early age by three Muggle boys who were scared of her magical abilities; Dumbledore's father, Percival, attacked the Muggle boys and was sent to Azkaban for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Dumbledore's mother, Kendra, locked Ariana up to prevent her from being sent to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. After the attack, Ariana was not sane, and her magic was uncontrolled and dangerous. Eventually, she ended up killing her mother around the time of Albus Dumbledore's leaving Hogwarts, just before he had planned to tour the world with Elphias Doge.

As a result, Dumbledore was forced to stay home and take care of his brother and sister. He explained that as a young man, he expected bigger and better things from wizardry. He regrettably neglected his duty to his family and instead pursued powerful ideas about the world, including the Deathly Hallows, with Gellert Grindelwald. He and Aberforth ended up in an argument over Albus' neglect of Ariana. When the argument became more heated, Grindelwald attacked Aberforth with the Cruciatus Curse, and a duel ensued. Albus rushed to protect Aberforth, and curses were cast in every direction amongst the confusion. A Killing Curse hit Ariana; though the caster was unknown and the targeting was purely accidental, this haunted Dumbledore for the rest of his life and was one reason he sought the Deathly Hallows.

An unknown time, Dumbledore returned to the school as Professor of Transfiguration. He later became Deputy Headmaster, in which capacity he also served in recruiting students for the school. Most prominent among the students he recruited was Tom Riddle, who would eventually take the name Lord Voldemort.

In 1945, Dumbledore defeated and imprisoned the now-Dark wizard Grindelwald. Eventually he was appointed Headmaster of Hogwarts.

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

As Hogwarts Headmaster

File:Dumbledore escape.jpg

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.

As Leader of 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.

Notable members of the Order included the Weasleys, the Longbottoms, the Potters, Hermione Granger, Mundungus Fletcher, Severus Snape, Alastor Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Nymphadora Tonks.

Accomplishments and skills

"You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts ...but you cannot deny he's got style..."
Phineas Nigellus to Cornelius Fudge[src]
Dumbledore and Elder Wand

Albus Dumbledore and Elder Wand

Dumbledore 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. He is also capable of conjuring a Patronus, one that takes the form of a phoenix.

His weapon of choice seems to be fire. In his duel against Voldemort he used a fiery rope; when he displayed his Wizarding powers to young Tom Riddle, he did so by setting Riddle's wardrobe on fire, without actually burning anything; in the Cave he also used a vast amount of fire to hold off the Inferi. He is known to be able to conjure Gubraithian Fire (magical everlasting fire). His pet Fawkes is a phoenix, which dies and is reborn in flames

Dumbledore has devised a method of sending messages using a Patronus Charm, a skill he has taught only to members of the Order of the Phoenix. He has claimed to be able to become invisible without using an Invisibility Cloak. Dumbledore is also skilled in Occlumency and Legilimency. He can also produce magic without the use of a wand, and is incredibly skilled at nonverbal use of magic.

He also is capable of sensing magical energy, and the one who cast it. He can lift any charm put on Hogwarts (though this is probably a privilege given to Headmasters, rather than specific to Dumbledore). At the age of 64, he had enough power to defeat the mighty wizard Grindelwald, who at the time had far greater power as he was wielding the Elder Wand. Though he died at 116 years of age as a result of a killing curse cast by Severus Snape, it is questionable how long he would have lived if he were to reach the point where he dies of old age, due to the fact that he was currently dying of a separate curse, and was incredibly old.

Dumbledore is also skilled at conjuring objects. He also has several personal spells. One that stuns several people, and bears the sound of a gunshot, which he used both in his office when the Fudge Ministry attempts to arrest him, and at the Department of Mysteries. He also uses a spell that pulls a running death eater back to him with no effort in the Department of Mysteries.

Dumbledore places great emphasis on memories; he uses them both as a weapon and as a means of research. He uses his Pensieve to show Harry many people's memories that he has collected about the history of Tom Riddle and how he became Lord Voldemort, as well as the events leading up to the creation of the Horcruxes. Also, when Harry stumbles across the Pensieve for the first time and is found in it by Dumbledore, he explains to Harry what it is and how it works.

Dumbledore can speak Mermish, the language of the Merpeople,[HP4] as well as Gobbledegook. He can recognise Parseltongue, the language of snakes, as he demonstrates while he and Harry are inside Bob Ogden's memory; he is able to quote verbatim a Parseltongue phrase uttered by Morfin Gaunt in a later memory.[HP6]

While he is by no means 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 Potter in their occasional meetings in the sixth Harry Potter book of the series that he makes mistakes, and since he is rather more clever than most men his mistakes tend to be "correspondingly huger".


183 Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore at the start-of-term feast 1993.

Dumbledore is tall and thin, with long silver hair and a long beard. He has blue eyes, which usually twinkle with kindness and mischief, but during the few times we see him angry they burn with a cold blue fire that makes even Lord Voldemort falter. Dumbledore has 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 sherbet 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 woolen socks. His favourite flavour of jam is raspberry[HP6].

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

Dumbledore was murdered by Severus Snape in Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts. Dumbledore planned for his death a year ahead of time with Severus. J. K. Rowling confirmed this at a charity reading on August 2, 2006. (Although there was a small but out-spoken group of fans who disputed his death before it was confirmed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.) He is survived by his brother, Aberforth Dumbledore.

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 for 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.

Also, in the sixth book, Albus continually reminds Harry that love is the greatest magic of all and then shortly there after, immobilises Harry to save him before he dies.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry's soul goes to a place where Dumbledore talks to him, and reveals that Harry was a seventh Horcrux that Voldemort accidently created, and that Voldemort was unaware of said creation. He also answers other questions, after which Harry goes back to the physical world. Dumbledore was well known for his steadfast championing of Harry.[3]

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.

In this series, Albus Dumbledore takes on the role of the mentor or teacher, and although there are obviously many of those at Hogwarts, Harry is more attached to him than any other. The teacher must help their pupil to grow and learn as much as they can, but eventually, the pupil must make the journey without their teacher, just like, as previously mentioned, Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Dumbledore: "It was foolish of you to come here tonight, Tom. The Aurors are on their way."
Voldemort: "By which time I shall be gone, and you...shall be dead."
— Dumbledore and Voldemort[src]

Name Etymology

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, which presumably comes from his father; '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 Gellert Grindelwald, the dark wizard Dumbledore defeated in his 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. Percival is the name of Percy Weasley then again indicating they are related. Ron also received a wristwatch like Dumbledore and he used to have Auburn hair rather like the Weasleys.

Traits and Personality


One of Dumbledore's dominant traits is his ability to always give someone a chance if he believes that they are good-intentioned. 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 is allowed to become Hogwarts gamekeeper after he is expelled when he has no family to turn to, and Remus Lupin, a werewolf, is given a place as a pupil despite the potential backlash from parents were they to find out.

However,one of the most significant aspects of Dumbledore's character is his unwavering trust in people. His knowledge of people's true personality appears to go beyond being simply a good judge of character. Despite Snape's background as a Death Eater, and despite strong incriminating evidence, Dumbledore trusts him with many important tasks.

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 comprehend 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's one flaw, as he explains to Harry in 1997[HP7], is his desire for power. Although he only ever desires to use this power for good, as he explains to Harry, those best suited for power are those who do not desire it. Ultimately this desire would lead to his downfall, when he attempts to wear Gaunt's Ring and finally unite the Deathly Hallows he recieves the curse which was placed on the item which will ultimately kill him, leaving his arm black and withered.


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

In his first appearance at the start-of-term banquet in Harry's first year, Dumbledore stands and says he would like to say a few words: "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" He then promptly sits down.

Dumbledore's humor is sometimes considered inappropriate by some of the other teachers. A notable example of this was when he was telling the school about The Triwizard Tournament, and the Weasley twins shouted "You're joking!" This prompted Dumbledore to begin telling a real joke, before he was brought back on course by Minerva McGonagall

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.


  1. According to his citation as Wizard of the Month by J. K. Rowling in September 2007, though the precise date is only known to be in July or August (his eighteenth birthday falling shortly after his completing his studies at Hogwarts)
  2. J.K. Rowling's official site
  3. Wizard of the Month on J.K. Rowling's website

External Links


The Bloody Baron (late 10th century — early 11th century) was a wizard who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Founders' time and was Sorted into Slytherin house. After Hogwarts, he fell in love with Helena Ravenclaw, but she did not love him. He was sent by Rowena Ravenclaw to find Helena in Albania, but Helena refused to return with him and so he killed her in a rage. When he realised what he had done, the Baron stabbed himself with the same knife and died. Since then, he is one of the ghosts that haunts Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the ghost of Slytherin house. Covered in Helena Ravenclaw's blood to this day, he earned himself the moniker of the "Bloody Baron".


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