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DeathlyH January 26th, 2008 3:13 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
1. What are your general thoughts on Dumbledore as a character through books 1-7? Do you see a difference in his behavior and/or actions between the books?
I really always thought that he was just the typical wise old mentor with the white beard. Every hero has one. I was really shocked in DH to find out all the secrets he had kept and the shady things he did in the past. I think that was Jo's way of telling us that no one is perfect, really, no matter how they appear at first. Before all the revelations about his past, I always thought of him as a rather one-dimensional character, with nothing special about him besides being very very smart.

2. Throughout the books, Dumbledore seems to always be teaching Harry something, but his lessons are sometimes hidden and subtle. What do you believe are the most important lessons Dumbledore taught Harry? Did Dumbledore adequately prepare Harry for the trials that lie ahead in book 7? Is there anything you think Dumbledore should have told Harry before he died?
Dumbledore wasn't perfect. He taught Harry what he had to do, but not how to do it. I think there is a good reason for that, however. Unfortunately, I believe he knew he would die sometime, and Harry would have to complete the task without his help. Harry couldn't get too dependant upon Dumbledore's help throughout the first six books, otherwise he would be completely lost when he died. Dumbledore still helped him a little after he died though, with all the Deathly Hallows references.

I think Dumbledore did his best to help Harry get ready for the dangers that lay ahead of him in DH, but there was only so much help he could give. Harry was the one who needed to do the task, so Harry would have to figure some things out on his own. I think it was smart of Dumbledore to leave some work for Harry because he knew the time would come soon., and when it did, Harry would be mostly ready.

3. What did you think of the revelations of DH regarding Dumbledore's family? How did these tragedies effect the person he is now?
I thought they were very sad. I always had the feeling that we would learn a bit more about Aberforth and what impact he had on Albus's life, but I didn't think that past events in his family would have almost completely made Albus the person he was today. I thought the tragedies of his childhood played a very large role in the person he is now. From the bit of him we heard about from Elphias, he was a happy, merry carefree person before all those burdens were put in him after his mother died. He probably thought it was unfair that someone with his intelligence and possibilities had to be at home, watching over his little sister. After he realized the mistakes he had made, he was very careful for the rest of his life to avoid being put in power after the mishap with Grindelwald.

4. Why do you think Dumbledore and Grindelwald were friends? How did Dumbledore's homosexuality affect his susceptibility to Grindelwald's ideas?
Dumbledore seized the opportunity to be friends with Grindelwald because he had never met anyone before who shared the same intelligence as him. He rejoiced at the chance to share his ideas and plans with someone else who could really appreciate them. It really would have been good for him if Grindelwald hadn't turned out the way he did.

I don't think Albus's homosexuality changed his thinking of Grindelwald's ideas at all. I think it was because of Grindelwald's ideas that Albus loved him so much. Thnik about it: he had never had someone to care for him, never had someone to share his brilliance with. When that person came along, Albus was overjoyed.

5. Was Dumbledore right to keep so many secrets from so many people? Was this secrecy because of his sister? Because of his own homosexuality? I don't think he was right to keep that many secrets from everyone. I know he feared that they would come back to tarnish his reputation later, but how much did he actually care about that? Very little, IMO. I don't think it was because of his sexuality at all, actually. He seemed like the type of person who wouldn't care about that at all. If someone had asked, I bet he would have told them.

6. What do you think of Dumbledore's recognition of his own failings? His decision not to enter the Ministry?
He admitted them entirely to Harry at King's Cross. I think that was definately the right thing for him to do, because he had been wrapped up with those feelings for so long. It was good to finally get them out to someone. As for his decision not to be Minister of Magic, I definately agree with him. Judging by the mistakes he made as a kid, he didn't do well with the idea of having a lot of power. Being Minister may have brought back those old temptations.

7. Do you think Dumbledore expected too much from Harry? Did he do the right thing? Was it fair to ask Harry to sacrifice himself?
I do think Dumbledore expected too much of Harry, and that was one of his major flaws. Even though Dumbledore could have done all that in his youth doesn't mean Harry could. It was not very fair to ask Harry to sacrifice himself. All that work Harry had helped Dumbledore would have been done just to bring upon his own death.

8. Does the revelation of his homosexuality ultimately affect his character? What actions, if any, do you see differently now?
I don't think it affects his character at all. His motives for wanting to finish Voldemort were not of love, and trying to carry out his plan was what he spent all his time doing. Being homosexual was a thing of his past, something he did not bring up anymore. While learning this is very interesting, I don't think it really affected his character or actions in the present day at all.

arithmancer January 26th, 2008 4:03 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
WWB, that the Patronus is a phoenix is information from a Rowling interview (post-GoF). It is not made explicit in the books as far as I know.

However, we se him use the Patronus once in GoF, to summon Hagrid during the business of Barty Crouch being murdered in the Forest. It flies. (McG's cats, Kingsley's lynx, Arthur's weasel, and Snape's doe all walk or run as befits land animals, so I would say canon at least restricts it to a bird. Perhaps you'd care for a raven?)

DeathlyH January 26th, 2008 4:12 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zgirnius (Post 4910804)
WWB, that the Patronus is a phoenix is information from a Rowling interview (post-GoF). It is not made explicit in the books as far as I know.

However, we se him use the Patronus once in GoF, to summon Hagrid during the business of Barty Crouch being murdered in the Forest. It flies. (McG's cats, Kingsley's lynx, Arthur's weasel, and Snape's doe all walk or run as befits land animals, so I would say canon at least restricts it to a bird. Perhaps you'd care for a raven?)

Harry also acknowledges that his Patronus was a Phoenix in DH.

Deathly Hallows, Chapter 20, Xenophilius Lovegood.
"Harry... you don't reckon it (the doe) could have been Dumbledore?" said Ron.
"Dumbledore what?"
Ron looked a little embarrased, but said in a low voice, "Dumbledore... the doe? I mean.. he had the real sword last, didn't he?"
....
"Dumbledore's dead," Harry said. "I saw it happen, I saw the body. He's definately gone. Anyway, his Patronus was a Phoenix, not a doe."


It make sense to me that it was a phoenix. After all, phoenix rise from the ashes after they die, and I know this sounds dumb but Dumbledore sort of did too. I mean, he didn't come back to life, but he was still there, helping out Harry in small ways. A phoenix just seems right for Dumbledore.

arithmancer January 26th, 2008 4:25 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by deathly721 (Post 4910812)
"Dumbledore's dead," Harry said. "I saw it happen, I saw the body. He's definately gone. Anyway, his Patronus was a Phoenix, not a doe."

Ah, thanks, I had forgotten this snippet of dialogue. :)

Quote:

It make sense to me that it was a phoenix. After all, phoenix rise from the ashes after they die, and I know this sounds dumb but Dumbledore sort of did too. I mean, he didn't come back to life, but he was still there, helping out Harry in small ways. A phoenix just seems right for Dumbledore.
After DH, I found it symbolic not of Dumbledore's actions after his death, but of what he made out of his life from the 'ashes' if the Grindelwald/Ariana disaster. So I guess it represents Dumbledore, and not some other force/person important to him (unlike Harry and Snape's and Tonks' Patronuses, e. g.).

GrangerHermione January 26th, 2008 5:15 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
I had frogotton that Dumbledore's Patrinus is a phoenix. :blush: Anyway, we know that a phoenix is supposed to reflect the personality/character of the person who conjures it. So, let's see what we know about phoenixes:
1. They are beautiful birds with red and gold plumage.
2. They are very loyal.
3. They can carry immensely heavy loads.
4. Their tears have healing powers (one of the rare antidotes to basilisk venom).
5. They burst into flame when they die, and are reborn from their ashes.

So what could this mean, symbolically, about Dumbledore's character? Well, obviously, Dumbledore was loyal to Hogwarts, so that explains #2. And on #3, "They can carry immensely heavy loads," maybe that means that Dumbledore could carry heavy burdens...of guilt? He probably felt lots of guilt after Ariana's death...
I'm not sure what else we can get from this. Any other ideas?

wickedwickedboy January 26th, 2008 5:16 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Ah ya thanks...I was not doubting you Zara. I just didn't count on it being a Phoenix. I don't think a raven would have worked either though, despite Poe's take on them. I think characteristically a fox would be most befitting.

I don't know about the Grindlewald/Arianna theory. I really believe that Dumbledore had gotten over all of that. It occurred 90 years before. Certainly he still had love for them, but the potency would have worn off I would imagine. Of course that does not mean he wouldn't love to see them all in the after world and be delighted, I am just not convinced that it had any real impact on his life during the time of the series - i.e., it was not his motivation to continue forward for the greater good. Although I do believe it was the catalyst. His motivation was the real damage he saw from Voldemort which began long after all of the Grindlewald/Arianna was long past.

arithmancer January 26th, 2008 7:43 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
He tended to have some plumage too. :lol: The plum-colored suit we see in his memory of visiting the orphanage, for example. I do think his dedicatoin to Hogwarts and later the defeat of Voldemort, is a 'rebirth' compared to his error as a youth, of falling for Grindelwald.

GrangerHermione January 27th, 2008 1:07 am

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zgirnius (Post 4910941)
He tended to have some plumage too. :lol: The plum-colored suit we see in his memory of visiting the orphanage, for example.

:lol: Good point. So Dumbledore is more like a phoenix than we thought. :eyebrows: "Nice suit, sir." :D

Beatifically January 27th, 2008 5:24 am

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
In this thread, a discussion was brought up about Dumbledore's Patronus. I personally found the explanation below a good explanation for Dumbledore's Patronus.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rainie_hp (Post 4715922)
Now back to the explanation that you demanded: Well if you think of the phoenix, they are suppose to be hard to domesticate right? Well think of it in Ariana's sense - Ariana was unstable, she was kept at home but she was hard to conceal and hard to keep under control but she had a gentle nature and pure heart (thinks Fawkes here)! So even though she appears to be dangerous, once under control, Ariana was gentle and noble. So Fawkes in a way could have represented Ariana's nature...also like other people said it could also be that it might just be the fact that phoenix can come back to life, and Dumbledore may have wanted that for his family.

I also agree that the Phoenix could have reflected Dumbledore himself. Dumbledore's change in behavior could be like a Phoenix since Dumbledore "arose from the ashes" as a new person - a better person.

I think it can go either way . . . it's open to interpretation. :)

LoonyMagic January 28th, 2008 4:21 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
1. What are your general thoughts on Dumbledore as a character through books 1-7? Do you see a difference in his behavior and/or actions between the books?

In the beginning, he seemed like a kind, gentle and harmless old man. The typical wise wizard with a white beard. However, as we get further through the series Harry gets to see Dumbledore in more stressed situations and I definitely think that added more to his character. We saw that Dumbledore isn't perfect - he's only human.

2. Throughout the books, Dumbledore seems to always be teaching Harry something, but his lessons are sometimes hidden and subtle. What do you believe are the most important lessons Dumbledore taught Harry? Did Dumbledore adequately prepare Harry for the trials that lie ahead in book 7? Is there anything you think Dumbledore should have told Harry before he died?

All of Dumbledore's lessons were useful. Throughout the series he says some very wise things that have been relevent. I think the best and most important lessons were anything that he said about the Horcruxes as they led to the downfall of Voldemort. Also, "It is our choices, far more than our abilities that determine who we really are".

I think Dumbledore prepared Harry quite well for DH. He couldn't make it blindingly obvious, but he had prepared Harry with the knowledge, even if Harry didn't necessarily know it.

4. Why do you think Dumbledore and Grindelwald were friends? How did Dumbledore's homosexuality affect his susceptibility to Grindelwald's ideas?

Dumbledore had finally found an equal. Someone who he could tell his ideas to, discuss them, debate them. Grindelwald was a lot like Dumbledore, except his ideas were a lot darker and he led Dumbledore down the same path. The fact that Dumbledore was attracted to Grindelwald meant that he forgot or ignored the bad traits in him and drank in every word Grindelwald said and agreed with it.

8. Does the revelation of his homosexuality ultimately affect his character? What actions, if any, do you see differently now?

It didn't change anything for me. I could just understand his motives and actions more clearly than before :)

jenny_d_b March 15th, 2008 10:01 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
I hope it's allright that I don't use the scheme and simply ask a question.

Do you look upon Dumbledore as good or bad? I've had a major debate with a couple of my friends about this after DH. Dumbledore has been a hero to me, I love him to pieces. I think what was revealed in DH only made him more sympatethic, as it showed that he had flaws, and it made him more human. I believe he really loved Harry, as a son, and he never meant to hurt him. And he loved Grindelwald, so he did not see his flaws. My friends, on the other hand, think Dumbledore was a cynical and manipulative man who just used Harry to get what he wanted. That he had a "you have to crush some eggs to make omelette"-outlook on the war and Harry's role in it all. That he didn't care about Harry but just pretended to because he needed Harry.

What are your thoughts on this?

wickedwickedboy March 15th, 2008 10:12 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Well I think he did love Harry in his own way. He didn't mean to hurt him, rather he meant for Voldemort to kill him - at least until harry was about 14 or so. That is when Dumbledore figured out that Harry might be able to survive, but he was still willing to have Volemort kill him if necessary. I would agree he was manipulative and at times he was also cynical. Outwardly though, he showed compassion and kindness for others in general and handed out lemon drops. :)

arithmancer March 15th, 2008 10:15 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Mostly, I think probably ALbus is more good than bad, and I agree 100% with what you say about Harry and Grindelwald.

However, Harry is not the only person Albus used and harmed in his plotting. We could equally well try to defend Lucius Malfoy my pointing to the genuine affection he had for his son Draco.

Several Order members have possible grievances against him - Sirius Black, forhis mishandling of the Prophecy business in OotP, Alastor Moody, for his death in the 7 Potters raid, and Severus Snape, over the matter of the Elder Wand. Did he not mean to hurt them either? I would say this is less clear, amd equally important, perhaps even, more important, that his behavior towards Harry. It is far easier and more natural, to want the good of a person we love, after all.

wickedwickedboy March 15th, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zgirnius (Post 4957272)
Mostly, I think probably ALbus is more good than bad, and I agree 100% with what you say about Harry and Grindelwald.

However, Harry is not the only person Albus used and harmed in his plotting. We could equally well try to defend Lucius Malfoy my pointing to the genuine affection he had for his son Draco.

Several Order members have possible grievances against him - Sirius Black, forhis mishandling of the Prophecy business in OotP, Alastor Moody, for his death in the 7 Potters raid, and Severus Snape, over the matter of the Elder Wand. Did he not mean to hurt them either? I would say this is less clear, amd equally important, perhaps even, more important, that his behavior towards Harry. It is far easier and more natural, to want the good of a person we love, after all.

I agree and I think we could add Kingsley, Lupin and Arthur to that list. They were all sent on or set up in dangerous situations, at least Kingsley and Arthur not knowing what they were walking into (but Dumbledore having more knowledge about their situations he didn't provide). I think Dumbledore did have compassion for these people, but in his judgment, everyone was expendable for the greater good. We don't hear private conversations Dumbledore had with these people, but we were given an example in Harry and Snape. He is very manipulative when speaking to them, but shrouds it with compassionate and kind words and behavior. I don't mean to say that was feigned, just that the calculating and scheming going on in his mind was not always evident when he spoke to them - and his timely topic changes, when the heat was on him, are legendary.

Two of my favorites were with Snape:

1. Snape accuses Dumbledore of 'using him' in DH. Dumbledore says, 'meaning?' and Snape adds that Dumbledore worked Snape to the bone on the premises that he was acting on behalf of Lily to keep her son safe - but that was a lie, Dumbledore had only kept him safe so he could be slaughtered by Voldemort. How does Dumbledore answer the charge? Turns the topic back on Snape: "but this is touching, Severus...have you grown to care for the boy, after all?' :rotfl:. That was enough to make Snape forget all about being used by Dumbledore of course, as Dumbledore knew it would.. Topic Changed! And the heat off of Dumbledore who no longer had to answer to the charge of using Snape!

2. Snape comes to Dumbledore when Lily dies and accuses Dumbledore: "I thought you were going to keep her safe". Does Dumbledore explain why he was unable to do so with all of his brilliant knowledge and power? Nope. Instead he turns the heat on Snape: "She and James put their faith in the wrong person...rather like you, Severus. Weren't you hoping that Lord Voldemort would spare her?" :lol:. Thus effectively getting out of answering the charge and instead pointing fingers in every direction (James, Lily, Sirius) and finally directly at Snape. What is hilarious here is that Snape actually put his faith in Dumbledore; he didn't trust Voldemort would spare Lily and that is why he went to Dumbles in the first place...so if Snape's faith was misplaced, it was misplaced in Dumbledore, not Voldemort. But Dumbledore ignores that fact altogether, manipulating the conversation around to Snape being the most guilty party in the scenario of being unable to keep Lily safe. Dumbledore was a gas.

jenny_d_b March 16th, 2008 3:36 am

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
I understand what they mean, but it could be because I'm very loyal to people I love, so I just don't care. I had a friend once who stole things from us and was a compulsive liar. When we confronted her, I just wanted everything to go on like normal, while all the others demanded this and that. And no one can blame them. I just didn't want anything to change between us (which it did, she now lives in Spain). It was like... I knew she had stolen quite expensive things from me, and lied about several things, like being pregnant, but it didn't really matter. None of my other friends understood me at all there. I guess it's the same thing with Dumbledore. I know what he's done, but I just can't help loving him.

arithmancer March 16th, 2008 3:56 am

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
You asked the question of whether Albus is good, or not. That is what I was trying to answer, what I would look at and think about in trying to decide. As a huge Snape fan, I'd be the last person to tell you that you should not love a character because other people do not find him lovable. :D

The_Green_Woods March 16th, 2008 10:15 am

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jenny_d_b (Post 4957245)
I hope it's allright that I don't use the scheme and simply ask a question.

Do you look upon Dumbledore as good or bad?

I think he was a bit of both, so I would call him neither good or bad right now, so IMO that makes him intensely human. He made mistakes knowingly because he was in love when he was young and he took tough choices later on because he was the head of the Order. He made certain decisions which makes him manipulative and willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to win the war (Snape mainly and Moody) and some because he calculated wrongly (Sirius being a prime example).

I am intrigued by him. I find his character extremely facinating and he is on the inside a person of great depth and secrecy that adds to his charisma. He also IMO has a lot of what could be seen as negative traits, mainly because he has no one at his level to shut him up as it were. He had great foresight in planning his actions, the 7 Potters being one such example and the Elder wand being another.

And like Snape he loves and like Snape he makes huge mistakes that cost heavily and the rest of his life just like Snape was not enough for him to come to terms with those mistakes.

wickedwickedboy March 16th, 2008 10:35 am

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Quote:

By TGW: [Dumbledore] makes huge mistakes that cost heavily and the rest of his life...was not enough for him to come to terms with those mistakes.

And he had 100 years to do so...:err:

The_Green_Woods March 16th, 2008 12:15 pm

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
And more than 100 years; if we take Jo's initial age of DD which was more than 160 years. And he met GG when he was 18 yrs.

But the way he cried in King's Cross makes me feel he still felt both for Ariana's death in which he had a hand (maybe he even killed her) and also for GG, whom I think he could not stop loving.

wickedwickedboy March 18th, 2008 11:51 am

Re: Albus Dumbledore: Character Analysis v2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods (Post 4957794)
And more than 100 years; if we take Jo's initial age of DD which was more than 160 years. And he met GG when he was 18 yrs.

True. That is an extraordinary amount of time for him to have been carrying a torch. Perhaps he wasn't though - he could have merely been saddened then based on the friendship they had because Grindlewald was someone who he could relate to quite well at one time - maybe not solely over their little scheme, but who looked at other less volatile topics the same way too.

Quote:

But the way he cried in King's Cross makes me feel he still felt both for Ariana's death in which he had a hand (maybe he even killed her) and also for GG, whom I think he could not stop loving.
I do understand him still having strong feelings about his sister's death. He may have killed her, he was never certain. But I would think he would have gotten over Grindlewald after 130 years or so (50,000 days). :hmm:


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