A cutting examination of the character of Dumbledore first posted in a small private forum I frequent by a member. It was so apt I got permission to repost because everybody should have a chance t...
- Dumbledore is a funny character and only an author who conviently forgets what she wrote in the previous books could come up with such a mess. Most people like to think Dumbledore is just a good man who makes a few mistakes, but his ability to always make mistakes in the most painful way possible for the good guys and the most helpful to the bad guys makes that rather supsect. Insane, addle minded or merely stupid could not produce that kind of consistent results.
My favorite rant about all this is Dumbledore's ability to find good people and shape their minds onto the right path. NO one under dumbledore's attention really achieved anything yet at no point did anyone tell him to retire or did the idea ever cross his mind he wasn't fit for the job anymore. Even at the height of Voldemorts second rise Dumbledore kept on being headmaster, like fighting ultimate evil was a weekend or summer time sport. That you could conviently ignore the trouble in the rest the world to shuffle papers around and eat lemon drops. If Voldemort wasn't so kind as to make all his plans go off at hogwarts and around Harry Dumbledore's defensive 'wait and see' aproach would of been even worse.
I think the biggest joke is many say Harry was being raised to be Dumbledore's successor as leader of the light, yet at no time did he get any real leadership training. Even the DA was all about what other people wanted, Hermonie talked him into it and all that. If Dumbles truely wanted a Leader for the next generation you have to wonder why Harry was bred to be such a mindless pawn, willing to follow bad orders to the death on just about any one elses command. Dumbledore, Fudge, Snape, even Ron's stupid suggestions like Duels at midknight or stealing a car are instantly agreed to.
(#) brian_mithran 2010-02-17 02:22:33 AMLet me expand on literary reasons for those who don't have an interest in literature. Harry Potter is at its core an escapist book, much like the better known romance novels. Romance novels require for literary reasons a love interest and something keeping the two would be lovers apart, that's the core of the genre. Escapist books require something to escape from, some form of oppression and a fantasy, an alternate reality like escape for the character. That's why the Dursleys are there, whether you believe JK Rowling made the situation believable is a question about her skill as a writer. I think she did well but could have done better, like I said it doesn't seem to gel completely. That's what literary reasons mean, not "it's in a book it doesn't have to make sense" but that the essence of the story is based around some simple concepts and that those concepts are required to make a good story.
@siaru, take a creative writing course, or even join a book club, it'll do you good.
- I always found it a sign of a weak author or lousy planning to have to rely on the 'it's a book it doesn't have to make sense' excuse. A story should make sense at least by it's own rules many Sci-fi or fantasy series have a psuedo science to explain what they do and how they do it, it may not be realistic but it makes sense in that own universe. Ignoring that was one the biggest flaws with the Dursley's.
JKR put a lot of effort into establishing Harry's home life being pretty lousy, but the why or how it could be that way was rather empty. Dumbledore merely knowing about how badly Harry was treated would not explain how they got away with it, why did no one ever notice Harry's poor health or clothes in comparision to dudley? Especialy in a little closed comunity that seemed to thrive on being noisy and gossip? The nurse at hogwarts also seemed to never notice Harry's poor health or eating habbits either. In my mind that means Dumbledore or some one else had to take an active hand in covering up evidence and ignoring complaints for them, just like Dumbles did for Snape.
Not to mention acidental magic, canon says Harry teleported, super jumped or something to the school roof just being slightly scared from Dudley and his gang, why didn't he ever reach that level of fear for magic to work from Death eaters or Dementors? Dudley pushing harry down at the Zoo got him angry enough to 'punish' Dudley with some magic, yet we lead to believe Harry been abused for years? Either his magic would been going off all the time or it would been beaten out of him to even think of rebelling at such a small slight. Aunt Marge insulding his mother wasn't much better, puts off the whole 'age or wand' theory into acidental magic stopping once reach hogwarts. So why does he over react yet again in such a magical way at a few bad words when he's lived his whole life hearing how stupid his parents were from the Dursleys, Malfoy, Snape etc?
Like i siad before the Harry Potter series are more like a selection of books, each written by a different author then a continous series by the same person, unless they have alltimers or something.
- Bravo to the author and thanks for sharing. I don't agree that he is actively evil though. Incompetent yes, suffering from Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), most probably (NPD as defined in the U.S...."a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy."quoted from wikipedia which notes its source...), one of the worst "good guys" most definitely.
i do like all the reasons given, and i agree with most of them, given as there is really no ACTUAL proof as of what really happened, one is left to draw their own conclusions...
I'm fairly certain his apologies in book 5 were just platitudes. I'm also fairly certain that he knew about Harry being a horcrux from the beginning and that was why he left him with the Dursley's. What better way to make someone give up their own life, than to make sure their life is horrible?
Well thats just my two cents, im sure JKR would happily call those of us who dont think like her delusional. Just like she did the H/Hr shippers... but i lost the remaining respect i had for JKR after the epilogue. I mean, "Albus Severus" Potter? Malfoy walking around free? Harry and GINNY? nope no respect for JKR at all... The first 4 books are still readable, the 5th if im in a good mood, cause Luna IS a good character...
(#) rdgale2000 2010-02-17 12:27:01 PMThank you for re-posting this statement! I couldn't agree with you more! The more I see what Dumb-as-a-dore did to EVERYONE in the stories makes me wonder who the true Dark Lord was.
I have seen some stories where Dumbledore is evil and Voltemort is the rebel trying to get the people to see the light... but you don't do that by killing everyone who won't join your cause.
No, BOTH Dumbledore AND Voldemort are evil and need to be removed!
Note to user Alorkin: Thank you for your sacrifice and service in doing a very unpleasant and unpopular job. We are free because of people like you.
(#) WhiteGoblinKnight 2010-04-16 05:40:31 AMI liked this, but for one thing.
You were actually too general. There were a multitude of other things indicative of Dumbledore's character that you didn't mention: for example, he spends more time deceiving his -allies- than his enemies. This is not merely stupid, it is pathologically so.
- I would like to respectfully disagree with this argument that Dumbledore is evil and/or responsible for the majority of the bad things that happened in the wizarding world. I will begin by trying to refute its premises, then by proposing the premises and conclusions of my own, alternate hypothesis.
Firstly is the idea that Dumbledore being evil resulted in his sister's death. This is perhaps the most difficult premise to dismiss because we know so little about what actually happened between the four teenagers. What we know is that Ariana died, Grindlewald scarpered, and Aberforth blamed Albus for her death. Also that Albus does not know who cast the curse. While I do assign responsibility to Dumbledore for this tragedy, I cannot designate him evil for it. No doubt his judgment of Grindlewald was awful; to allow someone like that close to your family is ludicrous. However, based on what is in canon, it seems that Albus went to his brother's defense when Grindlewald attacked. Clearly this is a familial reaction, and one impossible to an evil character. What would Voldemort have done? He would have killed any and all that stood in his way. Dumbledore defended Ariana and Aberforth, even though their deaths would allow him to conquer the world. If nothing else, he has a conscience.
Secondly, the development of Tom Riddle being blamed on Dumbledore is simplistic at best. From the start he told us that he had reservations about Tom, but he did not suspect that he would become the most evil wizard to ever walk the Earth. Furthermore, the power to allow or disallow a student admission into Hogwarts did not yet reside with him (if it ever did, we don't know how that is handled). He was merely the transfiguration teacher at the time, and he did not become headmaster until after Tom graduated and moved on to Albania. Indeed, Riddle knew that Dumbledore was the first to suspect him of opening the Chamber of Secrets and that it would be nigh on impossible to do it again while still in school.
The claim that education should be denied to those not worthy of it is a ridiculous way to approach education. Who can decide who is worthy and who isn't? Is it not possible for people to change, especially given the empowerment of an education? Denying an entire house of an education just because they believe something different from you is not only illogical, it is flat out immoral. It violates nearly every conception of freedom that humans have ever believed in. And in a more practical application, it has been shown that when a group is treated with discrimination, when they do rise to power, they will act more harshly and bigoted than ever before.
With regard to the Order of the Phoenix and their supposed ineptitude, I cannot help but disagree with you. Indeed, it is much more due to Voldemort's immense talent for spreading fear and enmity than the Order's lack of action that resulted in the first war going badly. He is extremely good at being evil. That can be blamed on no one else but Tom himself. Again, Voldemort caused Sirius' death, not Dumbledore. If he had done this, if he had done that, Sirius might still be alive. What ifs are not reality. The absence of proof is not proof of absence. In effect Dumbledore's inaction had many consequences, but proposing hypothetical alternatives reveals just as many possible consequences, and Voldemort will use every conceivable scenario to try to maim and kill. At the end of the day, it comes back to Voldemort, not Dumbledore.
Finally, the idea that he did not know who he was hiring for DADA is actually incorrect. He knew exactly what he was doing for each hire, with the exception of Barty Crouch Jr. Why would he have set Snape on Quirrell if he did not know Voldemort was possessing him? Of course he knew. The real question is, what did he hope to gain by keeping Voldemort close? He knew Gilderoy was a fraud and Umbridge was power hungry. However, both the curse set by Voldemort, and tactical maneuverings demanded that he act as he did.
I do not believe Dumbledore is a great person. I don't think he is a role model, or a grandfather figure. I think he is human, and tries to stand up for his beliefs in a way that respects those around him. I don't think that is a bad thing. He is definitely flawed. He is arrogant, self-oriented, and secretive. However, he is also trusting, intelligent, and understands his weaknesses. Overall, he has good and bad traits, just like anyone. Remember when he talked about his mistakes being far more significant than the mistakes of most people, even though he made less of them?
In the end, we are judged by our actions, not our intentions. Dumbledore was friends with Grindlewald. But he later defeated him. Dumbledore was using the cloak the night the Potters died. But he gave it back to Harry, rather than keep it. He destroyed the ring, even though he was originally tempted to use it. I think in general, Dumbledore is just easily taken in by the small picture before regaining sight of the big picture enough to salvage the situation (e.g. planning the destruction of Voldemort, but coming to love Harry).I hope you take this in mind. Dumbledore is a complex character and much more difficult to place than being simply evil or good. There are varying shades of gray therein.
Thanks for reading!
- I found the longer reviews as enjoyable as the story itself. I am learning from this experience... I had truly not looked so deeply into Dumbledore, myself. I like when others do look deeply into literary characters. But nobody else seems to have noticed the Biblical overtones of Harry's behavior...
- I'd like to point out that saying there's a pretty big mistake.
"The best that can be said is that while every dangerous lunatic wizard was a Slytherin, not all Slytherins were dangerous lunatic wizards."
I can point to Peter Pettigrew to debunk that. Not only that, there is no demographic information given about which houses turn out the most dangerous lunatics (I'd vote Gryffindor myself. Ambition lends itself to not being a lunatic, bravery and lunacy however are just two sides of the same coin...) The only bit of information we have is the word of Ron Weasley. Sorry, Ron really REALLY isn't a reliable source of information.