We’re about to enter the world of Harry Potter, a universe that has amassed a surprisingly enormous fan base beginning from when the first book was published. Impressively, this fan base grew even larger when the stories made their way to the big screen. I vaguely remember growing up with the movies coming out, and although I haven’t really kept up with them in recent years, I have no doubts that the movies are at least a little bit interesting to watch. But the movies aren’t what we’re here to talk about today. Instead, I would like to focus on one character that pops up in the movies and in the books and is possibly the biggest character in the entire franchise (save maybe Harry Potter himself). I’m talking, of course, about Professor Dumbledore.
We all know him, we all adore him, and damn it, we all want to be him. Just a couple little tidbits before we get started, though, especially if you’ve forgotten after a long time of not being focused on the series. Professor Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster of Hogwarts for what seems like the entire series. However, certain circumstances came to be that made not only his character a memorable one, but the actor or actors as well. I won’t lie; I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan, mostly because the genius of Star Wars exists. But I can certainly enjoy what the Harry Potter movies are trying to do. I have, of course, read the books, and they are, in my opinion, infinitely better — especially because they rely more on imagination than on moving pictures. Magic is just that anyway. Imagination.
15. His Invisibility Ability
It really shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that Professor Dumbledore, the same guy we’ve been talking about, has many, many accomplishments relating to his skills as a wizard and whatever else. First and foremost is the magical mastery, which we all saw coming anyway. Yes, as previously mentioned in this article, Professor Dumbledore is a master of his craft and has been for quite some time. Alongside this, however, are many other accomplishments and powers. His ability to go invisible is one of them. You know how you’d need the invisibility cloak to achieve this? Well Professor Dumbledore doesn’t need it. Of course, perhaps the most exciting and amazing accomplishment Professor Dumbledore has achieved is the fact that he is the only known maker of the Philosopher’s Stone. Being the famous alchemist that he was is how he accomplished such a feat.
14. Strange Relationships
Sure, Professor Dumbledore may not seem to be the kind of person to have anything noteworthy in terms of his relationships with people, but alas, there are some things worth noting that give us a little taste of what it’s like to live as this man. Firstly, given that Dumbledore’s father was thrown into Azkaban prison, the only thing that can really be concluded is that Dumbledore doesn’t think too highly of his father. Though there’s not a lot to go on with regard to that, it’s a pretty solid theory. Regarding his personal relationships, it’s only been hinted that Professor Dumbledore had some feelings towards Gellert Grindelwald, who was known as one of the most dangerous dark wizards of all time. Fitting for the greatest wizard of all time to have feelings of fondness for someone of the same stature — on the other side of the spectrum, though. It’s not been stated that Gellert felt the same way, unfortunately.
13. His Depressing Family Life
Professor Dumbledore isn’t necessarily known as a “big-family” man, considering he wasn’t part of a very large family. In fact, his family life is as terrible and depressing as they come, especially what he had to go through when he was so young. Professor Dumbledore was the child of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore. We briefly discussed that Dumbledore’s father was thrown into Azkaban prison, and unfortunately, that’s where Dumbledore’s father died as well. What’s worse is that this happened in Professor Dumbledore’s youth. Along with his father, Dumbledore’s mother and sister were both accidentally killed. We know the story of the sister already. (In a duel, she got struck accidentally.) His mother, on the other hand, lost control of her own magic and subsequently created an explosion that killed herself. While unfortunate, this is what happens when you are so powerful that you don’t know how to handle it. Magic is a dangerous game, kids. A very dangerous game indeed.
12. Who Played Him Better?
For whatever reason, one of the most surprising moments of my childhood was finding out that the actor who played Professor Dumbledore was going to be different throughout the series. Back in those days, news like that wasn’t just something that happened. It was something that sort of caught people, stuck with them, and was made parts of conversations later on. Nowadays, you can just share stuff like that and be done. But yes, Professor Dumbledore did see an actor switch early on, and honestly, the movies were so much better because of it. I mean, without being unnecessarily offensive, thank God they did an actor change! Although a lot of us really loved Richard Harris, I truly feel that Michael Gambon does such a better job of bringing the actual Professor Dumbledore character to life. In fact, I don’t think anybody else could have pulled it off that well, and thank goodness for that. The movies didn’t need any more actor changes.
11. Dumbledore Was Reeeeeeally Old
Even though Professor Dumbledore is really good at hiding his age with his magnificent facial structure and big beard, he’s actually a lot older than we realize. We already talked about him being born in 1881, but according to the books and I guess the movies, he would have been around 120 years old at the time of his death. Some probably don’t know that his death does indeed occur, but yes, spoiler alert, it does happen. I hope I didn’t ruin that for you, but it has been a few years, so I feel it’s no longer considered a spoiler. Anyway, Professor Dumbledore was very very old when he died. But although to us 120 years old is extremely old, in the wizard world, reaching 120 years old is child’s play. That’s only an assumption, of course. It’s not my fault that so many people look like they’re in their 200th+ year of life.
10. Mirror of Erised
One of the few things I really enjoyed about the first few Harry Potter movies were the deep and dark themes presented throughout. In the very first Harry Potter movie, we encounter the Mirror of Erised. You’re probably wondering why I’m pointing this out in a Professor Dumbledore article. Well, it’s simple. When Harry first found the Mirror of Erised, Professor Dumbledore explained that the mirror was to show the “deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.” If you don’t recall, this was back when Harry Potter was enamored with the idea of someday getting to see his parents again. It’s such a heartbreaking scene, and even if put on paper, it really is powerful. Professor Dumbledore even went the extra mile when asked what he saw in the mirror. Instead of explaining that he saw his family, he actually told Harry that he was standing there with a pair of socks. It’s rather depressing to think about the fact that Dumbledore couldn’t fully be open about what happened to his family.
9. Birth Date
Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was born in the year 1881 as a half-blood, muggle-supporting wizard. Although he faced several family members passing away at a young age, he grew up to be not only the most powerful wizard of all time, but also an important figure in Harry Potter lore. Although he started his magic career as a Transfiguration Professor (changing the form of an object), he later became known as the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Of course, anybody who has seen the movies or read the books would know this. And even having read the books and seen the movies, this particular fact is impressive. It’s one of those kinds of stories where someone deals with a lot in their younger years and prevails to make a name for himself or herself. Professor Dumbledore is basically what you’d call the best of the best, at least in the magical world of Harry Potter.
In English folklore, a Boggart is known as either a spirit or a malevolent genius who takes homage within fields, marshes, and whatever else. Relating to Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore specifically, a Boggart is somewhat the same thing as it is in the English folk stories. What’s different, however, is that a Boggart in Harry Potter is an amortal shape-shifting non-being that takes the form of a person’s worst fear. Basically, it’d be like looking at yourself during your worst nightmare. Professor Dumbledore has a particularly interesting Boggart attached to him. The Boggart takes the form of the corpse of Professor Dumbledore’s own sister, Ariana Dumbledore. This would make perfect sense as Ariana Dumbledore was killed at the age of fourteen when she was struck by a curse during a duel between her siblings and Gellert Grindelwald. Talk about having a severely guilty conscience. I can’t even begin to imagine.
7. Skills in Magic
Of course, this may seem obvious, given that the man we’re talking about is the headmaster of the school for witchcraft and wizardry, but Professor Dumbledore is extensively brilliant in the art of magic and trickery. Not surprised, right? I didn’t think you would be. Anyway, Professor Dumbledore is known as being the most powerful and gifted wizard of his time, which is a rather long time. Differentiated from your typical wizard and witch, Dumbledore doesn’t necessarily need a wand or objects in order to perform magic. Several times, he has shown his skills, and I have to admit, it’s pretty bad ass each time I see it. Simultaneously, while maintaining his role as the most powerful wizard, he’s also known to be extraordinarily intelligent. Just take the most well-known and famous genius on Earth right now, and you basically have the modern-day version of Professor Dumbledore. I’m looking at you, Stephen Hawking.
6. Titles and Recognitions
You better believe it! Along with everything else that Professor Dumbledore has going for him, he’s also got hordes of titles and notaries that make him even more badass than what he’s already achieved. Most people know Professor Dumbledore as the Headmaster, but further investigation proves that he’s so much more. Some other titles that Professor Dumbledore has been known to hold are Supreme Mugwump, Grand Sorcerer, and Professor. The professor title is especially interesting when you take into consideration that he was indeed the Transfiguration Professor, which we discussed earlier. Along with his titles, Professor Dumbledore also has an extensive list of affiliations and groups, some of which are the International Confederation of Wizards, Order of the Phoenix, Order of Merlin, and of course, he’s part of the Gryffindor house within the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The man has got an impressive background.
If you’ve watched the Harry Potter movies, you probably already have a really good idea about what kind of person Professor Dumbledore is. I would say you ought to ignore the first few movies because, in the same way that the actor changes, the personality of the character also tends to change drastically. In the first Harry Potter movie, you encounter a white-bearded soft, old man who doesn’t seem to have the capacity to do too much. In the later films, we meet a Professor Dumbledore who acts the role far better. Professor Dumbledore is once again known to be the most powerful wizard, but that doesn’t seem to get to his head too much. As a result, he comes off as this down-to-earth and reasonable gentlemen who can kill you in an instant. The reason I mentioned the earlier films is because I personally believe Dumbledore was “too dumbed down” there. He had a bit of spark to him, but only a slight one.
4. Hogwarts House Affiliation
Raise your hand if you’re a part of Gryffindor, or in other words, the best house in Hogwarts. If you do indeed consider yourself a part of this house, you should know that Professor Dumbledore also affiliates himself with the Gryffindor house, though this isn’t entirely surprising given his calm nature and ability to brainstorm every situation he is faced with. It’s also not too surprising to find him attached to Harry Potter, another very powerful wizard. A lot of people think that affiliating yourself with any house other than Slytherin is the best plan (though being part of Slytherin actually has its perks as well). But I don’t want to sidetrack too far. Yes, Professor Dumbledore is a part of Gryffindor. Who can blame him? The Gryffindor house is full of individuals that show great amounts of courage, chivalry, and determination — all of which relate back to Dumbledore. Hell, I’d consider myself a Gryffindor as well.
3. Parseltongue Ability
Much like Harry Potter himself as shown in Chamber of Secrets, Professor Dumbledore can also talk parseltongue. If you recall, to be able to understand such a language was almost frowned upon, at least until it was realized that using parseltongue allowed Harry and Dumbledore to get closer to Voldemort. There’s a lot to be said about making a language just for a movie, but this is definitely one of those instances that I was quite enamored with the idea of speaking parseltongue. The reason it’s important to know that Professor Dumbledore can speak and understand parseltongue is not really because it’s cool and shows his intellect. Instead, the importance lies more with him understanding more about Voldemort. Think about it, though: Professor Dumbledore knows of the language. Harry Potter can speak it. Dumbledore can speak it. Only to find Voldemort. Pretty amazing storytelling if you ask me.
2. Hogwarts Gravestone
I know, I know. I’m sorry I spoiled the fact that Professor Dumbledore does indeed die. But keep in mind that it stops being a spoiler after quite some time, and it has certainly been enough time. As I’ve mentioned before, Professor Dumbledore dies around the age of 120, though it’s theorized that he actually dies at around 114 or 115. Anyway, no surprise to anybody, Hogwarts didn’t hold a grave for anybody other than Albus Dumbledore. The white tomb seen by the lake was a request made by Professor Dumbledore so that when he died, his body could rest in peace on the Hogwarts grounds. It’s tough to stomach something like this, especially when it’s a character we’ve come to know and love over so many years. But unfortunately, certain big characters have to die eventually. It’s a shame when it happens, but that doesn’t mean their legacy doesn’t live on.
Believe it or not, back in the day when people weren’t so open about their sexuality, this particular deal became really popular amongst the Harry Potter fanbase. But if you’re unaware, or living under a rock, Professor Dumbledore was said to be homosexual. This would certainly explain why we are told that Professor Dumbledore had romantic feelings for Gellert Grindelwald, even if Gellert and Dumbledore actually fell on opposite sides of the spectrum. It’s sad, really, because even though hardcore fans and non-hardcore fans alike knew about this, it wasn’t exactly taken too well by some people. Hell, if news like this were to be revealed today, the reactions would probably be much different. But different times, of course. Anyway, I think it really adds a special characteristic to Professor Dumbledore. I remember I didn’t really think much of it when I heard about it, but it should still be seen as a big deal.