kerravonsen: Harry Potter writing with quill (Harry)
[personal profile] kerravonsen
One of the things that bothers me about the Harry Potter series is the role of Albus Dumbledore, or, more specifically, Dumbledore's actions and motives in regard to Harry and the war in general. Especially the reasons behind his actions. Because I keep on having to toss my hands in the air and exclaim, "What was Dumbledore thinking?"

I find it very difficult to come to a conclusion about what motivated Dumbledore. I am certain that he meant well, but beyond that, I am baffled. He said one thing and did another. He was supposedly wise, and yet did incredibly foolish things. Why? It's not enough to say "he wasn't perfect" or "he was only human"; this isn't a question of imperfection, but inconsistency. In the light of what we know at the end of the series, a number of Dumbledore's actions really do not fit with someone who is both wise and loving. Because if he was loving, he was incompetent, and if he was wise, he was callous. Was Dumbledore aware of the likely consequences of his actions or not? Was he blindly optimistic, a well-meaning incompetent, a bit senile? Was he as cunning as a fox? Did he consider any price worth paying for the greater good, even if he wasn't the one paying the price? Did he genuinely love the ones he claimed to love, or were they all pawns?

I'm not going to attempt to come to a conclusion. What I am going to attempt is to list the problematic incidents and give a range of answers as to why Dumbledore did what he did. And in some cases, not give any answers at all, because I can't think of any.

Tom Riddle:

Tom Riddle may or may not have been a psychopath. Perhaps there was no better way of dealing with Tom than by threatening him as soon as Dumbledore met him. But I can't be sure of that.

The Marauders:

The relentless bullying of Snape by the Marauders is something the staff of Hogwarts should have stopped, rather than dismissing. Dumbledore should have acted as Headmaster, McGonagall should have acted as Head of Gryffindor, Slughorn should have acted as Head of Slytherin. Or maybe to a point, they were right, it was just pranks. Consider also that Hogwarts was an old-fashioned school and as such, perhaps they didn't consider bullying to be a problem at all, but merely something that "toughened up" their pupils; something character-building.

However, Dumbledore's actions in regard to the Shrieking Shack incident were unconscionable: threaten the victim with expulsion, and give the perpetrator a slap on the wrist. Why did he do it?

1. For the "greater good"; that he considered saving two lives worth a bit of injustice. Because justice would have had Sirius expelled and possibly sent to Azkaban, and Lupin would probably have been killed.
2. To cover his own ass; because he probably didn't have the approval of the Board of Governors for having a werewolf in the school, and he would have been dismissed as Headmaster if it got out.
3. That Dumbledore considered Severus a lost cause because he was a Slytherin and all Slytherins were not to be trusted.

The Prophecy:

We'll put aside the problem of why everyone involved (Dumbledore, Snape, Voldemort) believed that it was a true prophecy without question. We'll also put aside the problem of why Dumbledore would be interviewing potential teachers at the Hogs' Head rather than at Hogwarts.

Snape heard part of the prophecy, and then was caught eavesdropping by Aberforth. Snape then ran, and told Voldemort, who believed it completely. And we all know what happened because of that: Voldemort decided to go after James and Lily, Snape changed sides, James and Lily went under Fidelus, Peter betrayed them, Voldemort killed them, his curse rebounded off Harry and made Voldemort into a wraith. And all because of the Prophecy.

Some fans feel that it couldn't have happened so neatly without help; without Dumbledore's help, either by ensuring that Snape wasn't caught and Obliviated, or by setting up the whole thing by colluding with Trelawny to make up a fake prophecy and ensuring that Snape overheard it.
On the other hand Prophecies are tricky things, and self-fulfilling prophecies tend to appear in places and times designed to ensure their fulfillment.

End of Voldewar I:

On the night of October 31st, 1981, James and Lily Potter were murdered, Harry survived with a lightning-bolt scar, and the house was greatly damaged by the rebounding of Voldemort's curse.

Were there any witnesses? In the movieverse, Snape was there (he wept over Lily's body) but in the bookverse, it appears that the only people there were James, Lily, Harry, and Voldemort.

And yet, by the very next morning, November 1st, the entire Wizarding world appears to know that Voldemort is dead and that Harry Potter survived the killing curse; not that Lily saved her son, but that Harry saved himself. There are owls flying everywhere, shooting stars, and Wizarding folk wandering around Muggle parts of England, celebrating. The Boy-Who-Lived mythos was born in a scant few hours. Who told them?

Dumbledore? He's the most likely person to know what happened, but why would he broadcast it across the Wizarding world? And why do so even before Harry was retrieved?

1. Because the war was more important than any individual, and people needed hope.
2. Because Dumbledore intended to use and manipulate Harry Potter, and Harry wouldn't be of much value as a pawn unless Harry was famous.

The attack occurred in the night, and Hagrid was sent by Dumbledore to pick up Harry, and Hagrid borrowed Sirius's motorbike... and yet Hagrid doesn't arrive at #4 Privet Drive until the evening of November 1st. Was Harry sitting in the ruins of the house all that day? Or did Hagrid take an entire day to get from Godrick's Hollow to Little Whinging? Neither of those scenarios makes sense.

We also have the problem of Sirius Black. Hagrid borrowed the flying motorcycle from Sirius, which implies that Hagrid trusted Sirius. On the other hand, Dumbledore had ordered Hagrid to take Harry to Privet Drive, which means that Dumbledore didn't intend to honour James and Lily's wish that Sirius (as Harry's Godfather) be the one to look after Harry in case of their death. Why?

1. Dumbledore assumed that Sirius had betrayed James and Lily. But if so, why did he say nothing about it to Hagrid?
2. Dumbledore didn't want Harry cursed with the fame that would be his if he was brought up by anyone in the Wizarding world. (But then who caused Harry to be famous in the first place?)
3. Dumbledore wouldn't be able to use and manipulate Harry if he was being brought up by Sirius, so best to get him out of Sirius's hands and then deal with Sirius separately.

What was Dumbledore doing all day on November 1st?

Why was Minerva McGonagall hanging around #4 Privet Drive all day on November 1st? It's pretty clear that Dumbledore wasn't expecting her to be there.

What actually gave Dumbledore the right to place Harry with the Dursleys in the first place? Why didn't the Ministry equivalent of Child Services take care of Harry's placement?

1. The Dursleys were Harry's closest kin, so the Ministry saw no need to interfere, once Sirius was eliminated as a suitable guardian.
2. Dumbledore used his influence to ensure that nobody questioned it.

Why did Dumbledore leave Harry Potter on the Dursleys' doorstep with a letter, rather than telling Petunia in person that her sister was dead and that Harry needed her?

1. Dumbledore was an ignorant Pureblood and he thought that foundlings were always left on doorsteps in Muggle custom.
2. He didn't want to give Petunia a chance to refuse.
3. He wanted to give Harry as bad a start with the Dursleys as he could, because he wanted the Dursleys to hate Harry, because that would make it much easier to use and manipulate Harry by the time he came to Hogwarts.

So then we come to Sirius Black, who, instead of looking after Harry, goes off to confront Peter Pettigrew. The street is blown up, Peter sacrifices his finger, and Sirius is framed. How was Sirius arrested so quickly? Why did Sirius never receive a trial?

1. Everyone was so upset, they just assumed Sirius was guilty, including Dumbledore.
2. Dumbledore wouldn't be able to use and manipulate Harry if he was being brought up by Sirius, so as Head of the Wizengamot, he ensured that Sirius wouldn't get a trial or even be questioned under Veritaserum.

The Cupboard Under the Stairs:

Why did Dumbledore never check up on how the Dursleys were treating Harry?

1. Dumbledore assumed he wouldn't need to. They were Harry's kin, of course they would treat him with love.
2. Mrs. Figg did check up on them and she never noticed anything wrong. Mind you, she only ever saw Harry infrequently.
3. Mrs. Figg did notice something was wrong, and wrote to Dumbledore, but Dumbledore assumed that she was exaggerating and did nothing about it.
4. Mrs. Figg did notice something was wrong, and wrote to Dumbledore, but Dumbledore passed the letters unread to Minerva to deal with, and Minerva assumed that Dumbledore had read the letters and had some wise and secret plan and knew what he was doing. (Kudos to the person who wrote the fic this idea came from.)
5. Plausible deniability; if Dumbledore didn't know anything was wrong, he wouldn't have to do anything about it. Thus, he could use and manipulate Harry with impunity when Harry arrived at Hogwarts.
6. Mrs. Fig did notice something was wrong, and told Dumbledore, who Obliviated her. After all, a little abuse would make Harry much more grateful to Dumbledore for rescuing him.

Why did nobody notice that Harry's first letter was addressed to "The Cupboard Under the Stairs"?

1. The Hogwarts letters were addressed by an automated spell and nobody actually checked the addresses.
2. Dumbledore did notice and was glad that his manipulative plan was working even better than he'd expected.

Why did nobody come and explain magic to Harry or give him some sort of Muggleborn orientation?

1. The system had him down as a half-blood and thus not in need of Muggleborn orientation.
2. Dumbledore assumed that the Dursleys had explained magic to Harry. After all, he'd given them a letter.
3. Dumbledore thought that Harry would be easier to use and manipulate if he was ignorant of magic.

Why was Hagrid sent to deliver Harry's letter rather than McGonagall, Snape, Flitwick, Sprout, or Dumbledore himself?

1. Dumbledore knew there had been trouble delivering the letter, and Hagrid was intimidating enough to cow the Dursleys, while kind enough to charm Harry. Flitwick and Sprout weren't intimidating enough, McGonagall and Dumbledore were too busy, and Snape was too intimidating.
2. Dumbledore wanted Harry to be indoctrinated into a "correct" (pro-Dumbledore, pro-Gryffindor) view of Hogwarts. Plus, Hagrid was someone who would obey Dumbledore without question, and who wouldn't notice anything wrong with Harry's situation. Also, he didn't want to give Snape the chance of actually liking the boy.

The Potter Vault:

Why did Dumbledore have the key to Harry's vault in the first place? What right did he have to it?

Why did Dumbledore have James's invisibility cloak? Did that make the difference between James being alive and dead at Godrick's Hollow?

The Death of Unicorns:

So something out there is so dangerous and evil that it is killing unicorns, so Dumbledore sends off two first years with a (technically wandless) gameskeeper and a cowardly dog to look into it. Into the Forbidden Forest. After dark. What was he thinking?

1. He was high on Felix Felicis.
2. Harry needed toughening up with a bit of adventure.
3. ???

The Philosopher's Stone:

So Dumbledore retrieves the Philosopher's Stone from Gringotts, brings it into the school where it could be more easily be stolen by one of Voldemort's followers, brings lethal creatures into a school full of vulnerable children and makes a maze simple enough for first years to get through. Why?

1. He was simply doing a favour to an old friend. If students got killed, it was their own fault for not listening to him, wasn't it?
2. Harry needed training up in his role as Prophesied Hero, but Dumbledore wanted him to remain ignorant and innocent of his fate, so he had to make the training look like an accident.
3. For the greater good, Dumbledore wanted to bait a trap for one of Voldemort's followers. The war is more important than the good of the school; to worry about the children is such a short-sighted goal.

House Cup, First Year:

Why did Dumbledore postpone giving a huge amount of points to Gryffindor until after everyone had arrived for the Leaving feast, thus publicly humiliating Slytherin?

1. Dumbledore just hadn't gotten around to it.
2. Dumbledore wanted to manipulate Harry towards his role as Prophesied Hero by rewarding his heroism in as public a manner as possible.
3. It never occurred to Dumbledore that the Slytherins would be upset, or that his actions could be considered unfair.
4. The thought did cross his mind that the Slytherins would be upset, but Dumbledore considered it "character building".
5. Gryffindor always deserves to win, no matter what.
6. Slytherin always deserves to lose, no matter what.

The Chamber of Secrets:

Let's put aside the question of how a huge monstrous snake could fit into the Hogwarts water pipes and not be seen by anyone.

Why on earth couldn't the staff of Hogwarts figure out that they were dealing with a Basilisk? There surely can't be that many creatures or spells that can petrify someone.

The Prisoner of Azkaban:

So Dumbledore agrees to allow Dementors surround a school full of vulnerable children, in order to "protect" them from an escaped prisoner who had already proven able to evade Dementors... said Dementors which are barely under control, having attacked students on the train even before school got into session.
What was he thinking?

The Goblet of Fire:

How on earth could Dumbledore allow an underage student, who couldn't legally enter the competition in the first place, who didn't want to compete in the second place, still be forced to compete in a tournament which was potentially lethal? Why didn't he investigate what had Confounded the Goblet?

1. But it was a magical contract! Even though Harry hadn't signed anything, or even touched the paper that had his name on it.
2. More "hero training". Harry probably won't get killed.

Why did nobody notice for an entire year that it wasn't the real Moody? At least Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall supposedly knew the real man; why didn't they think anything was wrong?

Why did nobody comfort or counsel Harry after Cedric's death?

The Order of the Phoenix:

Why was Harry completely isolated and kept ignorant over the summer?

Why did Dumbledore refuse to teach Harry Occlumency?

1. He didn't want to chance Voldemort seeing into his mind. Even though he had a Pensieve where he could have put memories.
2. He didn't want to chance Harry seeing into his mind. Couldn't let Harry know that he was being set up as a Martyr.
3. He thought that it might force Harry and Snape to come to an understanding.
4. Snape was a better Occlumens than Dumbledore, and Dumbledore assumed that he would therefore be a better teacher.
5. It had been such a long time since Dumbledore had learned Occlumency, he wasn't sure how to teach it to someone else.

Why did Dumbledore tell Harry about the Prophecy just when Harry was feeling vulnerable and devastated by Sirius's death?

1. Dumbledore had already put it off too long, so he suddenly decided Harry had better know after all.
2. All the easier to manipulate Harry into his Martyrdom.

The Half-Blood Prince:

Why was Dumbledore taking Harry down memory lane instead of actually telling him what he needed to know?

Why was it so important that Dumbledore get Slughorn's memory, when Dumbledore already knew they were dealing with Horcruxes?

Dumbledore knew that there was someone attempting to murder him, and he did absolutely nothing to protect the children. Then again, that's completely consistent with his behaviour since the beginning.

Why did Dumbledore order Snape to kill him?

1. Just as he said, he wanted to spare Draco from the taint of murder. And to improve Snape's status in the Death Eaters. Besides, Dumbledore was dying anyway.
2. He wanted Snape to become the Master of the Elder Wand, and do it in such a way that Harry would be so insanely full of hatred that he would kill Snape as soon as he saw him, thus guaranteeing that Harry would become the Master of the Elder Wand.

The Deathly Hallows:

Okay, so Dumbledore's great plan for the defeat of Voldemort is to have Harry on the run with no clue as to where the rest of the Horcruxes are and no way of finding out where they are either, to set up Hermione to delay Harry, try to manipulate people from beyond the grave so that Harry would become the Master of the Elder Wand, and also have Harry martyr himself.

Um, what?

I'd appreciate if you could suggest further answers and further unanswered questions for this, as well as pointing out any mistakes I've made.

ETA: Decisions in Harry Potter may be helpful to look at as another aspect of the chain of influence that Dumbledore was involved in.

Date: 2012-11-26 01:10 pm (UTC)
watervole: (Default)
From: [personal profile] watervole
I wish I could post some intelligent answers here to a very thoughtful set of questions. Sadly, I'm too stressed (from stuff I'll post about soon) and in too much pain from tennis elbow and my memory of the books is too old.

For what it's worth, I don't thing the author intended Dumbledore as manipulative, but canon is canon and the author's thoughts (especially when the written word has unthought of implications) are irrelevant to the fan who wants to make the canon make sense.

Date: 2012-12-13 01:32 am (UTC)
zellieh: kitten looking shocked, openmouthed, text: WTF? (What the fuck?) (Default)
From: [personal profile] zellieh
I'm currently writing a HP AU, and I googled for dreamwidth, Dumbledore, & meta and found this post. I'm going to bookmark it, if you don't mind, because it's such a useful list of all the issues. The way Dumbledore is presented often does not match the way he acts at all.

I can see exactly why Dumbledore ended up with such weird characterisation -- it's partly because this was JKR's first book and partly because Harry's a child hero, so Dumbledore's a plot device, not a character.

In order for Harry & the Trio to be heroes, the adults have to be absent and/or incompetent and/or abusive. If there were any really reliable adults in the series, the children would naturally turn to them for help, and we'd read a much more realistic and much more boring story that would also be much shorter. For example, it'd be "Albus Dumbledore and the Philospoher's Stone" and Harry would be a supporting character; possibly the comic relief.

But that's the technical, out-universe view. From an in-universe perspective, Dumbledore's a nightmare, character-wise. I did see one fic that raised a good point about the Philosopher's Stone: the Stone in the mirror was a fake all along, and also Voldie could never get past the mirror, and so the whole thing was a trap/delaying tactic that Harry ruined. (Although, that still doesn't explain why Dumbledore set up a trap in the middle of the school, or why he didn't notice that Quirrell was possessed, so. *throws hands up in despair*)

One more point that bothered me: If Dumbledore had baby Harry for a while, and had him checked over medically, why didn't anyone spot the soul leech/fragment? Surely if you have a baby hit by unknown Dark magic (& it has to be unknown since there are no adult survivors of the attack) the first thing you do is run loads of tests to make sure the child will be okay? And then keep checking back, in case there are side effects later?

Leaving Harry on the doorstep has more problems: It was the middle of winter, and cold at night, and Harry was 18 months old, which is old enough to be mobile. If Dumbledore's willing to charm the baby to stay warm & still, and charm the streetlights, why not just use the invisibility cloak? Why not Apparate directly indoors, if privacy's a concern?

And the other point that bothered me: If Harry has accidental magic, and Petunia has no contact with the magical world, what can she do if toddler Harry throws a tantrum and accidentally zaps someone? Accidental magic is treated as a joke, but it could be dangerous; Harry could've killed or maimed someone. What if Petunia and Vernon have good reason for locking Harry in a cupboard and trying to beat or starve the magic out of him? (No, I don't agree with child abuse at all, but if Harry's accidental magic is strong enough, leaving Harry with muggles could be like leaving them with a werewolf child and no cage.)

And the wards! The security at Privet Drive's a disaster. The first thing Harry says when he's at the Leaky with Hagrid is "I recognise you, you shook my hand" or somesuch. People clearly know where Harry is! And Harry goes to school and wandering off around the village, so how secure is he, really? Voldie & his agents manage to get into Hogwarts repeatedly, and Gringotts has teams of experts that break into Egyptian tombs, so how secure are the wards Dumbledore put up, really?

I'm going to stop now, because I could go on and on and on... *g*

May I friend you?

Date: 2012-11-24 10:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh my word! I read through your list, quite literally, with my mouth hanging open. You've put deep thought into these things, and you've raised questions in my mind that weren't there before. Let me say up front that I have no useful information/thoughts to provide. My critical skills are not the best. I think I gave up trying to understand AD long ago and just despised him for how he treated Severus.

My husband has spoken often of many of the things you have listed here; JKR sucks at maths and at tidying up her timelines. To my husband I have said, "BECAUSE JO SAID SO!" just to bring the discussion to an end. To you I say, "Go with it!"

I salute you!

Date: 2012-11-24 11:27 am (UTC)
jedibuttercup: (harry potter)
From: [personal profile] jedibuttercup
Have you read over the Potterverse essays at Red Hen Publications? I don't agree with the author about every little thing, but most of the arguments are very persuasive, in trying to illuminate and explain these (and many other) worldbuilding problems created by JKR's slapdash approach to characterization.

There's a whole list of subjects down the left-hand side; Dumbledore shows up in most of them, but there's a whole essay or two on him and his family as well.

Date: 2012-11-24 12:46 pm (UTC)
jedibuttercup: (harry potter)
From: [personal profile] jedibuttercup
I found them awhile back link-chasing to do research for BAH. They're good starting points for thinkiness, at any rate. =)

Date: 2012-11-24 11:42 am (UTC)
dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (Default)
From: [personal profile] dreamflower
What a great list of story-internal questions!

The problem is that the story-internal problems exist because of story-external reasons. I have a similar list of peeves about Gandalf, (as well as a shorter list about Elrond and Aragorn), although nowhere near so bad as your list for Albus Dumbledore! But then, Gandalf wasn't human, after all. And those problems also exist because JRRT needed to advance his story.

The story-external explanations are that it was necessary for the advancement of the plot. But you've provided an excellent list of story-internal possibilities.

My preference is to consider that in the ways of the Wizarding World, Dumbledore was fairly wise--skilled and knowledgeable about spellcraft, learned in the history of his milieu, and gifted with a certain amount of foresight; but that in the ways of the Muggle World, he was fairly ignorant
as it appears the majority of non-Muggleborn or non-half-blood wizards were. I think, as well, that perhaps he had a blind spot regarding the short term consequences while he focused on the long-term goal of defeating Voldemort. Add in his own personal history of poor judgement of character when he was younger--that's a trait that is usually caused by being a little too optimistic about people.

OT so far as AD goes, but...

This brings up my own personal story-internal question: why did the Muggleborn and half-blood wizards not attempt to enlighten the Purebloods (the well-disposed ones like Dumbledore or the Weasleys) more about what life was really like in the Muggle world. While it is funny that someone like Arthur Weasley, who supposedly specializes in Muggle things, should be so shockingly ignorant of even the simplest things that he questions Harry about, it seems odd that he's never posed these questions to other wizards who would have the experience.

Is it that once brought into the Wizarding World, former Muggles lose all interest in Muggle life? Or is it that they find their own sort of superiority in amusement at the ignorance of the Purebloods? I'm sure it must have been funny to many of them to see the ridiculous clothing that was supposed to pass as Muggle, for example.

Yet I can't see that of someone as sharp as Hermione. She spent time with her parents back in the Muggle world during the holidays--I am quite sure that she kept up with technology, such as the internet (which was just coming along in the 90s) and so forth, and would have made use of it when she was home. I can't see her shoving all that aside simply because she now had magic as well...

Date: 2012-11-25 12:07 am (UTC)
dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (Default)
From: [personal profile] dreamflower
Yes, character is plot, but the way the author manipulates the information about the character or the character's POV is what advances that plot. Sometimes even the best of authors can be ham-handed about it and create interesting plotholes and inconsistencies for readers to deal with. Leaving things out is one way of manipulating a reader's expectations--and so we are left to wonder why someone did what they did, even though it might seem foolish or even ridiculous in hindsight.

POV is one way. In HP, we are kept to a tight Harry-centric POV. And so, except for those times when AD treats Harry to some of his thoughts through the pensieve, we don't get AD's thoughts. And even when we are shown his memories, they are filtered through Harry and the way Harry relives them alongside AD. So the reader must speculate on Dumbledore's (or any other character besides Harry's) actual knowledge and motives, thus furnishing much fodder for fanfic.

That's one reason I like what I think of as POV gapfillers in fanfic: they fill the gap of what other characters could have been thinking in that particular scene.

A LotR example is when the hobbits meet Strider in Bree. Life would have been much simpler for them all if he'd told them from the beginning that he knew both Gandalf and Bilbo. Not only did he NOT inform them of knowing Gandalf till the letter showed up, but he doesn't mention Bilbo at all on the road to Rivendell. And we are not given the tiniest peek inside his head the whole time. Story-externally, it was to preserve the surprise of Bilbo's presence; story-internally? Lacking any evidence to the contrary, I assume he chooses not to speak of Bilbo outside of Rivendell for Bilbo's own safety. But that's my interpretation of his silence. Someone else might come up with a different explanation.

Date: 2012-11-24 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You haven't read a lot of children's fiction, have you? :-) You get rid of the adults and give the children a mystery to solve and an adventure to have. The problem is, you're seeing this as an epic fantasy series instead of a series of children's books which eventually become YA books. If Dumbledore had done half the things he should have done there would never have been a story.

And one inconsistency you don't mention is the motor bike. In the first chapter of the first novel Hagrid says he borrowed it fom Sirius and has to return it. By the third novel he says Sirius told him to keep it. Which of these is what the author originally had in mind?

There are a lot of glitches which I believe fans call Flints. They're glitches which can happen when a writer is doing seven novels.

Dumbledore tends not to be there when a number of crises happen. In COS, for example, he's been suspended. In PS, he has been sent an urgent but fake message to go to London. See? Children's book. Get rid of the adult who could fix it.

I believe he is manipulative in the way that Obi Wan Kenobi is manipulative of Luke Skywalker when he tells him that Darth Vader killed his father, knowing all the time that Vader IS his father. And then makes a weak excuse when Luke demands to know why he lied, by which time he's a ghost and can't be punched in the nose.

Albus admits he was a fool and says that Aberforth was the better man of the two of them. By the final book, you know just how badly DD stuffed up.

Despite that, he has Harry's utter loyalty - and Snape's. Snape is shocked when he realises that after all the trouble he has taken to protect Harry, DD is planning for his sacrifice. But by this time it's too late to fix things.

I have no trouble believing that DD makes use of his own forthcoming death to get Snape in with the Deatheaters. And Snape is such a very good Occlumens that he fools even Voldemort who believes that nobody can fool him, so who better to teach Harry? At least that's what DD thinks. Not to mention that at the time he believes - correctly - that there's a connection between Harry and Voldemort. Snape might keep HarryMort out of his mind, but possibly not DD.

At one point I thought of DD as Gandalf, but he's really more like Obi Wan. Like Obi Wan he manipulates, with the best of intentions, and makes mistakes. BIG mistakes.

Date: 2012-11-27 11:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is one of the things that always annoys me when the hero/ine has to learn an awful in the worst way possible because someone they trusted decided they shouldn't know something. It is a special sort of Hero Abuse and their mentors should be really glad their charges are hero/ines because if it were me I would be hexing them up a blue streak.

Date: 2012-11-24 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Additional: I work in the school system. You do your best to deal with bullying when you catch it. You often don't catch it because kids don't report it and if they don't complain and you aren't their teacher who can observe it you may simply not pick it up. Recently one of my students did report bullying to me - students in another class, so it tended to happen at recess and lunchtime - and it was fixed very quickly. I was so pleased! But boarding schools would be different. They bullies would have more out-of-class time to be horrible and be less likely to be caught if the victim didn't report it - which he might not, because he has to live with these creeps and they would just find another way to get back at him.

It's interesting to speculate how different things might have been if the bullying of young Severus had been nipped in the bud. He might not have joined the Deatheaters at school and not been spying for Voldemort later...

Date: 2012-11-27 11:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Cupboard Under the Stairs: In the question of Harry living with the Dursleys, didn't Dumbledore explain that it was the only place Harry would be safe outside Hogwarts(pause here for a hearty laugh) and that was the reason why he had to go back every holiday instead of staying in the Wizard World? This might account for the hands off approach(The Order of the Phoenix) as well since keeping tabs on Harry in such a way to recognise the abuse would bring Harry into the Wizarding sphere of influence and make him vulnerable.

The Prisoner of Azkaban: I got the impression that Dumbledore was under a lot of political pressure over the Dementors and it was the best he could do to keep the off the grounds of Hogwarts.

One non-Dumbledore thing that always annoyed me about HP was the continued threat to close Hogwarts, even though there was no other school in Britain. If Hogwarts was closed the only choice parents and the Govt would have would be to send their kids overseas or suffer from having a whole generation of unqualified and therefore non-wizards. Wizard society would collapse.

Date: 2012-12-05 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Love this. Found you via google.

Rowling's books are just so hard to examine completely internally because they are wrapped in tropes (the doorstep, et al.), and just all around sloppiness.

So impressed with this internal view-- very similar to what I got out of my last reading of them, though obviously more in depth and you were much better at figuring out the timeline. I've been confused about the timeline surrounding Lily and James' death since Azkaban came out, I swear.

Definitely something to ponder as I re-read.

Date: 2012-12-05 05:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Harry Potter is such a frustrating world! On one hand, the build is just fantastic, if you'll pardon the pun. It's the "secret" of its mass appeal.

Then you run into the fact that a lot of the world build was either handwaved or just not explained at all. Compounded with the "slapdash" timeline, as it was put upthread, and it has a lot of problems.

The only thing that you didn't mention about Dumbledore that has bothered me SO much is the announcement that he was gay.

Pretending there is no such thing as queer people in children's fiction is one thing, and though still the norm, was especially common at the time the books were written.

However. It jumps from authorial bigotry/erasure into something much stranger when it turns out that one of the characters actually was gay "all along."

Dumbledore is never shown having any romantic relationships throughout the series, including in flashbacks. The only exception is an admiration of Grindewald that is never explicitly stated as romantic, and is detailed in very different ways than Harry's attraction to Cho or Ginny, and is less emotionally written even than Harry's platonic friendship with Ron.

The canon implications begin at the Yule Ball, where Dumbledore dances with McGonnagall. Namely, WHY? Is he merely without any other partner, the entire male faculty being straight, or does he have to dance in a male/female couple because of wizard custom? No same sex couples dance at the ball at all, or at least are not mentioned. Are those to be "assumed" as well, or as in the dance lesson, is a male/female dance the only acceptable arrangement?
That one little scene now has huge implications for the entire world!

It's heavily implied that muggle bigotry is not always mirrored in the wizarding world. But Dumbledore's apparent closeted status implies that lgb (and most likely t) bigotry IS institutionalized within the culture. If someone of his fame and status can't be out, who can?

Now, returning to the problem of Grindewald. If we are to "infer" that Dumbledore is gay based on that, then let's talk about Remus and Sirius. Remus' werewolfism was stated as a metaphor for AIDS (unless that was a false Rowling quote). Isn't that, coupled with Remus and Sirius' relationship as it is in canon enough to infer that there is something going on between them? Not to mention Sirius's possibly platonic, possibly not, infatuation with James.

All of the Maurauder stuff would require a few essays of its own to fully get into, and I'm sure someone else in the fandom already has. But let's be real here, they had more "hidden" sexual chemistry than siblings in a Folgers commercial.

I'm trying to type this all on mobile and getting increasingly frustrated, so I'm just going to end my ramblings here.

The point I'm trying to make is that Rowling's "secret" canon bugs the ever loving shit out of me, and I wish she'd just write another book to get it all out, rather than making us piece it together from interviews and slogging through Pottermore. BUT, at the same time, it'll just lead to more annoying contradictions and override fanon that actually makes sense, so maybe I don't.

Augh augh augh

Date: 2012-12-05 05:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
God, that took me an hour and all those words and I didn't even say anything.

Date: 2014-11-13 04:20 pm (UTC)
rpowell: House servants (Default)
From: [personal profile] rpowell
I do not believe there was anything odd about Dumbledore's characterization. If anything, his portrayal has turned out to be one of Rowling's triumphs.

I suspect that deep down, Dumbledore, like most, was a complex personality with both positive and negative traits. I think Rowling allowed readers to see the "best" of Dumbledore in the first six books, since the stories are basically from Harry's POV. And in the seventh book, she reveals the more unpleasant side of Dumbledore's nature in order to show how Harry developed a more mature outlook on the former headmaster. This revelation allowed Harry to begin to understand that people are a lot more complex than he had always believed. It's called "growing up".

Invasion drills

Date: 2017-03-06 08:06 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh I almost forgot. Why the bloody holy hell didn't Dumbledore or any of the Order members do monthly drills?

James and Lily could still been alive if they had done a home invasion drill where Moody does a death eater illusion attack *to start off easy* and eventually do a more realistic Voldermort invasion.

That way they could act out how they would escape or defend themselves with minimum injury to themselves and Harry or even the death eater attacking.

They would likely come up with an escape route to take and if James had his invsible cloak he could use it to cover Lily and tghen go grab baby Harry.

In fact why DOES Dumbledore have the cloak? Wouldn't be a useful tool rto escape the clutches of a death eater attack?

Did Dumbledore purposely hid the invisible cloak so that they would be forced to die for Harry?

Why didn't they have burglar alarms both mechanical and magical to warn of a breech?

Why doesn't more of the wizard world have both magical and mechanical home security devices?

Why don't muggles have home security devices? As well off as Petunia and Uncle Vernon are you'd think they would have a home monitor program to protect them in case of fire,burglary,flood.etc

In the 1980s in big cities you could with your cable company sign up to have them use your remote channel changer to watch your house.

The channel changer has a camera lens that is turned *off**.


kerravonsen: (Default)
Kathryn A.

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