- "It destroyed her, what they did: She was never right again. She wouldn't use magic, but she couldn't get rid of it; it turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn't control it, and at times she was strange and dangerous. But mostly she was sweet and scared and harmless."
- —Aberforth Dumbledore on his younger sister Ariana[src]
Ariana Dumbledore (c. 1885 - late summer 1899) was a half-blood witch and the youngest child and only daughter of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore. She was the younger sister of Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore. At the age of six, Ariana was attacked by Muggle boys who saw her practicing magic, and, when she couldn't show them the trick, attacked her in an attempt to stop her from using the magic. This left her traumatised to the point of rendering her magical abilities unstable and uncontrollable. This prompted her father to attack the boys and be imprisoned in Azkaban, while her mother moved the family to Godric's Hollow and kept Ariana hidden away from the general population, because she knew Ariana would be taken to St. Mungo's hospital if her condition were widely known. During a fit when she was fourteen years old, Ariana caused a magical explosion that killed her mother, after which her older brother Albus became her guardian. Ariana died when she was accidentally struck by a curse in a three-way duel between her older brothers and Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald, Albus's friend at the time; it was never known who struck the killing blow. This event would have a profound impact on both her brothers' lives.
- "When my sister was six years old, she was attacked, by three Muggle boys. They'd seen her practicing magic, spying through the back garden hedge: She was a kid, she couldn't control it, no witch or wizard can at that age. What they saw, scared them, I expect. They forced their way through the hedge, and when she couldn't show them the trick, they got a bit carried away trying to stop the little freak doing it."
- —Aberforth Dumbledore on Ariana's attack[src]
Ariana was the youngest of three children of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, born in 1885 in Mould-on-the-Wold, a wizarding village in England. At the age of six, she was seen practicing magic by a group of Muggle boys. When she was unable to show them how to do the same thing again, they violently assaulted her. The attack left Ariana emotionally scarred and unable to control her magic. Her father sought revenge against the boys and was sentenced to Azkaban for life for the crime. He refused to reveal the reason for the attack, since Ariana would have been sent to St Mungo's if her condition was discovered, as it threatened the Statute of Secrecy.
To keep her daughter safe, Kendra moved the family to Godric's Hollow and Ariana was secluded from the outside world. Many did not know that the Dumbledores had a daughter (or that Aberforth and Albus had a sister). Ariana was sweet and kind, but when she couldn't control her magic she became slightly dangerous. It was wondered why Kendra didn't send Ariana to Hogwarts; many believed Kendra had produced a Squib, and she was disgraced. Others were just curious as to why Ariana didn't attend Hogwarts.
When Ariana was fourteen years old, she had an episode in which her emotions and her magic spun out of control. Her favourite brother Aberforth was not at home to calm her down, and she caused an explosion that caused the death of her mother.
Albus Dumbledore, who had been preparing to go abroad with his friend, Elphias Doge, stayed in England in order to attend his mother's funeral and to take over the position of taking care of Ariana - a role he later admitted to resenting. Aberforth wanted to be the one to take care of his sister, but he had not yet finished his education, and his older brother insisted upon him graduating from Hogwarts.
- "I resented it, Harry. I was gifted, I was brilliant. I wanted to escape. I wanted to shine. I wanted glory. Do not misunderstand me. I loved them... but I was selfish... So that, when my mother died, and I was left the responsibility of a damaged sister and a wayward brother, I returned to my village in anger and bitterness. Trapped and wasted, I thought! And then of course, he came..."
- —Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter while they are in limbo.[src]
At some point after Albus became Ariana's guardian, Gellert Grindelwald came to Godric's Hollow to stay with his aunt, Bathilda Bagshot, having been kicked out of Durmstrang Institute for his extreme experiments with the Dark Arts; even the school of Dark Arts could not turn a blind eye to his twisted experiments. Grindelwald also had a bad history in his country of violence but Albus ignored that. Albus and Gellert quickly became friends, as they were both extraordinarily talented and very ambitious. Some say Albus even took a special fancying to Grindelwald. The two formed a plan to take over the wizarding world and make Muggles subservient "for the greater good".
Aberforth confronted them over these plans, pointing out that Ariana was in no state to be dragged along with them as they pursued their plans. Grindelwald became furious, insisting that once they subdued the Muggles, there'd be no need for Ariana to be hidden, and a three-way duel broke out between him, Albus, and Aberforth. Ariana, aged about 14 at the time unable to control her magic, tried to stop it, and was inadvertently killed; it was never known which of the three wizards was directly responsible for her death. After this occurred Grindelwald fled and Albus started what would be a long and prosperous life in teaching.
- Aberforth: "And Albus was free, wasn't he? Free of the burden of his sister, free to become the greatest wizard of the—"
- Harry: "He was never free... Never. The night that your brother died, he drank a potion that drove him out of his mind. He started screaming, pleading with someone who wasn't there. 'Don't hurt them, please... hurt me instead.' He thought he was back there with you and Grindelwald, I know he did. He thought he was watching Grindelwald hurting you and Ariana... It was torture to him, if you'd seen him then, you wouldn't say he was free."
- — Harry Potter and Aberforth Dumbledore[src]
Immediately after Ariana's death, Grindelwald fled the scene, fearing retribution from the authorities and losing his friendship with Albus permanently, though it seems they retained some affection towards one another.
At Ariana's funeral, Aberforth broke Albus's nose and blamed him for their sister's death. Aberforth never forgave his brother for his part in their sister's death, nor was Albus ever able to forgive himself. Ariana was buried in the same location as her mother in Godric's Hollow, and they shared a gravestone bearing the epitaph, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," selected by Albus.
In the Mirror of Erised, Albus would forever see his family whole and intact with Ariana alive and using magic, although he claimed to see himself holding only a pair of socks when questioned. Rita Skeeter wrote a scathing biography of Albus Dumbledore after his death in 1997, and included humiliating false statements about Ariana being a Squib whom the family mistreated.
A portrait of Ariana hangs in Aberforth's room in the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade. It conceals a secret passage to the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts Castle. This passage appeared only after the students had begun using the Room of Requirement in their efforts to fight the Hogwarts administration under Headmaster Severus Snape. It was used to transport Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley to Hogwarts in 1998 with Neville Longbottom, and later other members of Dumbledore's Army and the Order of the Phoenix who answered the call to defend the castle against Lord Voldemort's encroaching army.
Harry Potter thought that Ariana, as an infant, "was a little longer than a loaf of bread and no more distinctive-looking." At the age of fourteen, as depicted in her portrait in the Hog's Head, she was described as "a blonde girl who gazed out at the room with a kind of a vacant sweetness."
Personality and traits
Ariana was severely traumatised by the attack she suffered at the age of six. Afterwards, she was unable to control her magic, which turned inwards and made her mentally and magically unstable. At times, she was mad, strange, and dangerous, according to her brother Aberforth Dumbledore. On these occasions, she could let out her magic in uncontrolled explosions that could hurt or even kill those around her, like her mother. Most of the time, however, Ariana was kind and gentle. According to Aberforth when she was calm and sweet she would help him feed the goats. She was also brave, as she tried to intercede in the three-way duel between Albus, Aberforth, and Gellert Grindelwald, despite not being able to control her own magic, but was killed in the effort.
- "...my father went after the bastards that did it, and attacked them. And they locked him up in Azkaban for it. He never said why he'd done it, because if the Ministry had known what Ariana had become, she'd have been locked up in St. Mungo's for good... We had to keep her safe and quiet. We moved house, put it about she was ill, and my mother looked after her, and tried to keep her calm and happy."
- —Aberforth Dumbledore on Percival and Kendra Dumbledore[src]
Ariana's parents, Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, were devastated by their daughter's attack. Percival attacked the Muggle boys who did it, and was sent to Azkaban for it. He never told the Ministry of Magic his reasons, knowing that if they knew about Ariana's condition, she would be confined to St Mungo's as a threat to the Statute of Secrecy. To maintain this secrecy, Kendra moved the family to Godric's Hollow and looked after her daughter. However, they may not have been very close, as only Ariana's brother Aberforth was able to keep her calm. Eventually, Ariana accidentally killed her mother in an explosion of uncontrolled magic.
- "I was her favourite... She liked me best."
- —Aberforth on his sister[src]
Aberforth Dumbledore was Ariana's older and favourite brother. 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 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. Afterward, 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 a permanent rift between him and Albus. At Ariana's funeral, Aberforth broke his brother's nose and shouted at him that her death was all his fault.
- "They say he feared me, and perhaps he did, but less, I think, than I feared him... You see, I never knew which of us, in that last, horrific fight, had actually cast the curse that killed my sister... I dreaded beyond all things the knowledge that it had been I who brought about her death, not merely through my arrogance and stupidity, but that I actually struck the blow that snuffed out her life. I think he knew it, I think he knew what frightened me."
- —Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter about his guilt over Ariana's death[src]
Albus Dumbledore was Ariana's eldest brother and was not nearly as close to his younger siblings as they were to each other. Although he loved his younger sister, Albus was resentful when he had to take responsibility for her after their mother's death, which forced him to stay at home, and thus abandon his ambitious plans. When he and Gellert Grindelwald made plans to subjugate Muggles and take power in the Wizarding world, Albus planned to bring Ariana with them, but Aberforth pointed out that she was in no state to go. This launched a three-way duel between the brothers and Grindelwald, and Ariana was accidentally killed in the fray. For the rest of his life, Albus lived with guilt over the part he played in her death and with the fear that it had been he who killed her.
From then on, Albus' Boggart would be Ariana's corpse. In 1991, Albus Dumbledore told Harry Potter that he saw a pair of socks when he looked into the Mirror of Erised. However, in truth, he saw "his family alive, whole and happy - Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him" He did not want to admit it to anyone, especially Harry.
- Ariana is the Italian version of the Greek name Ariadne, comprised of the elements αρι (ari) "most" and αδνος (adnos) "holy".
- The name could also originate from the Welsh arian, meaning "silver".
Name imagery and relation to legend
- In Greek mythology, Ariadne was a princess of Crete who helped Theseus slay the Minotaur. The legend revolves around the Labyrinth: a hidden and enclosed location where people were sent to die as tribute. In this way, Ariana's name nods to her secluded, tragic life and death.
- There are parallels between the myth and Ariana's relationship with her two elder brothers, Albus and Aberforth, and their roles in her life and demise. Aberforth represents the heroic character of Theseus, fighting against Albus and Gellert Grindelwald (who function together as the dual-natured Minotaur). Aberforth was the most devoted to his sister, and was also her favourite; Ariadne also takes an instinctive liking to Theseus. As in the Greek myth Ariana (Ariadne) enables Aberforth (Theseus) to defeat Albus and Gellert (the Minotaur). Additionally, both stories end in tragedy-- Theseus betrays and deserts Ariadne on the island of Naxos. Reading Ariana's death through this myth, it can be argued that Aberforth may have cast the fatal blow. Alternately, it could be argued that he either failed or did not attempt to prevent her death. Ultimately, her death exists as a source of conflict between the Dumbledore siblings.
Behind the scenes
- Hebe Beardsall portrays Ariana Dumbledore in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- Although Ariana is identified in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Aberforth does not explain how she died or her backstory as explained in the book.
- Harry Potter Film Wizardry incorrectly states that Ariana died in 1900, and that she was thirteen at the time.
- The epitaph on Kendra and Ariana's gravestone, which was made of granite - "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" - is Matthew 6:21 from the Christian Bible. This epitaph, chosen by Albus Dumbledore, is curiously similar to the function of one of Albus Dumbledore's inventions, the Deluminator.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned) (Name appears on gravestone)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game) (Appears in portrait(s))
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18, it is stated that Albus received a letter informing him of Kendra's death shortly after leaving Hogwarts in mid-June 1899, that he befriended Gellert Grindelwald that summer, and that this friendship ended after "barely two months" when Ariana was killed.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ch. 28
- ↑ Deathly Hallows, Ch. 8
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Deathly Hallows, Ch. 35
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Deathly Hallows, Ch. 11
- ↑ Deathly Hallows, Ch. 29
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ MuggleNet transcript of Bloomsbury Webchat
- ↑ Behind the Name: Ariadne
- ↑ "Deathly Hallows Casting Updates: Teen Dumbledore Cast, Chris Rankin Returns (Updated)" from The Leaky Cauldron
- ↑ http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=127572