Albus Dumbledore

From Academic Kids

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About Dumbledore

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (born c. 1845) is a fictional character of the Harry Potter fantasy book series written by J. K. Rowling. He is the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Dumbledore is characterised as being old, benevolent, slightly eccentric, and powerful. As such he resembles an archetypal good wizard in the mould of Merlin or Gandalf. He is often sympathetic to Harry Potter's difficulties. He is also the only wizard that Lord Voldemort fears. The name Albus is from the Latin word albus ("white"), which symbolises good; "Dumbledore", which means "bumblebee", was picked by the author because she imagines him strolling along Hogwarts' halls and humming.

Dumbledore also emits an aura of extreme modesty of his magical abilities. This may be attributed to the fact that he may feel that he is no match for Lord Voldemort, despite the Dark Lord's fear of him. Conversely, he may just not feel it prudent to show his true strengths. There are few occasions where Dumbledore is straightforward about his superior magical abilities, such as when Dolores Umbridge and Cornelius Fudge try to have him arrested, and he replies with "Well - it's just that you seem to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to - what is the phrase? - come quietly". He also tells the Ministry Auror, Dawlish, not to be foolish to attempt to overpower him. He further informs the Minister of Magic that if he was imprisoned in Azkaban, he could break out in "no time". He also calls the whole exercise a "waste of time".

He is not afraid of speaking Lord Voldemort's name and doesn't refer to him with phrases like "He who must not be named" or "You know who" (Wizards around the world are afraid of speaking Voldemort's name directly). He also keeps insisting that others call Voldemort by his name, as "fear of a name, increases fear of the thing itself". Incidentally, when he confronts Voldemort, he addresses him by his actual first name - "Tom".

He is a tactician and a superb planner, though many people in the wizarding world do not realise this. The details given in the history section shed some light on this. He also admits to Harry that he has watched over Harry more than anyone (including Harry) could imagine.

Also, during certain occasions he shows great anger, such as when he

In the above situation, he even administers Veritaserum on Barty Crouch Jr. even though the use of the serum is strictly regulated by Ministry of Magic guidelines.

It is also evident from the above occasions that the Death Eaters and Voldemort, in particular, are afraid of Dumbledore. While he confronts Voldemort he retains his calmness, whereas Voldemort shows hints of fear and panic. One noteworthy point is that Dumbledore doesn't attempt to kill Voldemort during his fight.

The only occasions where he seems afraid is when Harry Potter's life seems to be in danger.

Dumbledore enjoys ten-pin bowling and chamber music and is fond of lemon drops - a form of muggle sweets.

Positions held and credits

Note: Dumbledore did not work with Nicholas Flamel in the creation of the Philosopher's stone.
  • Credited with discovering the 12 uses of dragon blood.
  • Credited with the defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945.

Modern Ideas

Throughout the series Dumbledore is portrayed as a wizard with modern/reformist ideas.

  • Unlike many others in the wizarding world, Dumbledore reads muggle newspapers and is aware of happenings in the non-wizarding world.
  • He despises Dementors and doesn't like the Ministry of Magic having alliances with them, even if it is to guard the wizarding prison - Azkaban. He believed that once Voldemort comes back, the Dementors would join forces with him. He was correct in this speculation.
  • He holds no prejudices against non-wizards, part-humans (referred to as "half-breeds") and non-humans. (He nobly refers to them as "fellow beings"). He feels that wizards have neglected their fellow beings for a long time and are now reaping the results of their behaviour.
  • He is the first Headmaster to allow werewolves to attend Hogwarts, providing a young Remus Lupin with a safe place to transform in secret away from his fellow students, as well as medical attention following his often painful transformations.
    • He opposed the mass killings of giants. He believes that wizards are responsible for the giant population facing extinction. Upon Voldemort's return, he suggested to Cornelius Fudge, the then minister of magic, that he should immediately extend a hand of friendship to the giants (who were living far away in the mountains), so as to prevent them from joining Voldemort. When the minister does not agree to this idea, he secretly sends Hagrid and Madame Maxime as messengers. (This mission is however thwarted by Voldemort). Later we learn from Hagrid that Dumbledore knew where the giants were hiding. Also, the then gurg (giant chieftain), Golgomath had heard of Dumbledore and in particular about how he had argued in favour of giants and tried to prevent their killing.
    • He appoints part-humans like Hagrid (a half-giant), Flitwick (a part goblin, many times removed), Remus Lupin (a werewolf), Argus Filch (a squib) and Firenze (a centaur) as Hogwarts staff.
    • He is hurt by the manner in which wizards treat house elves. From his actions, we find out that he is also a proponent of freedom for house elves. When he appoints Dobby to Hogwarts, he agrees to give him employment benefits like salary and holidays. He is also critical about the manner in which Sirius Black treats his house-elf, Kreacher.
    • He is also known to be interacting with the Goblins and requesting them to be a part of the anti-Voldemort movement.
    • He appoints a squib, Arabella Figg to keep watch over Harry in Privet Drive.
    • He is not blinded by superstitious beliefs about Thestrals and uses them for travelling when he doesn't feel like apparating or flying. He also allows the Hogwarts horse carts to be pulled by thestrals.
  • Dumbledore does not give importance to the so called "purity of blood" and believes that an individual's choices reflect his character rather than his birth/blood/family. Voldemort angrily refers to Dumbledore as "champion of fools, muggles and mud bloods".

Known Skills

We see an example of this in the Ministry of Magic, when he fights Voldemort. He transfigures the statues of the Magical Brethren in one go, and uses them to
  • protect Harry and himself from Voldemort's killing curse
  • keep Harry safely out of the way when he fights Voldemort
  • prevent Bellatrix Lestrange from escaping
  • inform the Minister of Magic and Aurors about Voldemort's presence in the ministry
  • applaud when the fight is over (this shows his light-hearted nature)


  • A phoenix - named Fawkes
  • A put-outter - used for switching off/on electric lights used by muggles.
  • A pocket watch with 12 hands and have planets instead of numbers.
  • portraits of famous wizards and witches, who were previous heads of Hogwarts. These portraits are honour bound to serve him. Dumbledore makes use of their capability to travel amongst all their other portraits, for spying or communicating activities in the anti-Voldemort movement.
  • A Pensieve - in which he stores his thoughts and memories.
  • Various other instruments, whose uses are hitherto unknown.
  • A scar on his knee which is the perfect map of the London underground.
  • The Mirror of Erised
  • The Sorting Hat
  • The sword of Godric Gryffindor

Movie Cast

In the movie versions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Dumbledore was played by Richard Harris, who died in 2002 of Hodgkin's disease. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Dumbledore is played by Michael Gambon.


Albus Dumbledore has a brother called Aberforth who was prosecuted for practising inappropriate charms on a goat and may be illiterate. The theory that Aberforth may be the bartender at the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade has been confirmed by Rowling.


Dumbledore entered Hogwarts around 1856. He was sorted into Gryffindor House and later became the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts.

When Tom Riddle accused Hagrid of opening the Chamber of Secrets in the 1940s, Dumbledore was the only one who seemed to think Hagrid was innocent, and while Hagrid was expelled and his wand broken in two, Dumbledore insisted that he remain at Hogwarts as the gamekeeper.

In 1945 Dumbledore defeated the dark wizard Grindelwald (which curiously co-incides with the end of World War II).

Before approximately 1970, he became headmaster of Hogwarts. That year a werewolf named Remus Lupin came to Hogwarts. Most headmasters would never have allowed a werewolf into Hogwarts, but Dumbledore thought that as long as special precautions were taken, there was no reason why Lupin should not attend. During the 1970s, the dark years when Voldemort was in power, Dumbledore worked tirelessly against Voldemort as a member of The Order of the Phoenix.

In 1980, Sibyll Trelawney applied to become the new divination teacher. Dumbledore hired her when she made a prophecy about Voldemort's fall.

When Lily and James Potter were killed by Voldemort it was Dumbledore's decision to place the now-orphaned Harry in the safe keeping of Vernon and Petunia Dursley. This was because Dumbledore did not want the fame of being "the boy who lived" to get to Harry's head, and because there he had placed a spell using the special protection of his mother's sacrifice. As long as Harry was in a shelter where his mother's blood remained, he would be safe from any attacks (while Voldemort was no longer a threat, his Death Eaters were still at large, desperate and seeking revenge, as evidenced in their attacks on Frank and Alice Longbottom).

In 1995 Voldemort rose again and Dumbledore then re-founded the Order of the Phoenix.

Dumbledore was twice dismissed from his position as Headmaster: During Harry's second year at Hogwarts, Lucius Malfoy "persuaded" the twelve governors of the school to vote for his dismissal as more and more attacks were occurring (a basilisk was petrifying people in the school). In Harry's fifth year, Harry and other students organised a club called "Dumbledore's Army". When Dolores Umbridge discovered it, Albus Dumbledore took responsibility for its creation in order to protect Harry Potter and the other students -- but he refused to be arrested, and escaped after Stunning all the Ministry employees in the room. At the end of the school year, when Voldemort's return was proven, he was reinstated (after Dolores Umbridge was chased out of the school, of course).

Incidentally, the wand cores of both Harry Potter's and Lord Voldemort's wands come from the tail feathers of Dumbledore's pet phoenix Fawkes who shares a bond with Dumbledore. It has also been established by the author that Dumbledore's Patronus is in the form of a phoenix.


Based on the cover art of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, some speculate that Dumbledore and Harry have finally come closer. Their belief is that Dumbledore has taken the training of Harry in his own hands. A newspaper in England reported on May 24, 2005 that Dumbledore may be the character J.K. Rowling says will die in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Lighter Moments

  • In Harry's first year, he conducts the Hogwarts School Song (, by asking each student to pick his/her own tune. Later, with tears in his eyes, he describes music as "a magic beyond that we learn at Hogwarts".
  • At the same opening feast, he announces that he is going to "say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you."
  • At the Yule Ball, he jokes about finding the Room of Requirement (filled with chamber-pots) only when the seeker's bladder is too full.
  • Offers Minerva McGonagall a lemon drop when she is worried about the Potters.
  • Assigns passwords to his office as "Sherbet Lemon", "Cockroach Clusters" etc.
  • When Harry forgets himself and calls Rita Skeeter a cow in Dumbledore's presence, Dumbledore pretends that he has temporarily gone deaf.
  • When Dumbledore announces that the Triwizard Tournament will be revived, George Weasley shouts "You're JOKING!" In the laughter that ensues, Dumbledore assures George that he is not joking, but now that he mentions it, he did hear a good joke during the summer about a troll, a hag and a leprechaun who all go into a bar...Professor McGonagall then cuts Dumbledore short with a loud cough.


An attempt to capture how various artists have illustrated Dumbledore.

Book Covers


es:Albus Dumbledore it:Albus Silente he:הוגוורטס#.D7.90.D7.9C.D7.91.D7.95.D7.A1_.D7.93.D7.9E.D7.91.D7.9C.D7.93.D7.95.D7.A8 nl:Albus Perkamentus ja:アルバス・ダンブルドア no:Albus Humlesnurr pl:Albus Dumbledore pt:Alvus Dumbledore fi:Albus Dumbledore sv:Albus Dumbledore zh:阿不思鄧不利多


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