The amazing and magical universe of Harry Potter has taken the world by storm. Since the very first book came out way back in 1997, the magical world of Harry Potter and all his fellow wizards has changed the world. Whether it’s in the books, which encouraged a new generation of children to read, or it’s the multibillion dollar movie franchise, Harry Potter has made fans of us all.
Throughout all his stories and adventures, Harry Potter’s story and character has been compelling and fascinating. However, there have been many other characters in the wizarding world that have taken center stage. The most famous of all the wizards is Albus Dumbledore. Seen throughout the series as the wise, all knowing and powerful wizard, Dumbledore has been the central father figure throughout. However, over the course of the stories we soon realize that Dumbledore isn’t as wise and great as he is first made out to be. He may be a beloved character to many Harry Potter fans and his (spoiler!) death may have affected many of us deeply (why did he have to die?!), but when you really think about it, Dumbledore really wasn’t that great. With this list we delve back into the wizarding world of Harry Potter as we look at 15 reasons why Albus Dumbledore is actually one of the worst characters Harry Potter has interacted with.
15. Leaving Baby Harry On A Doorstep
We start our list at the very beginning of Harry Potter’s journey. At the very start of the books, a baby Harry Potter is left on the doorstep of his aunt and uncle’s house. Obviously a war has just broken out and the worst wizard to ever walk the Earth is hellbent on destroying the wizarding world, and of course Harry Potter.
So it’s understandable that Albus Dumbledore would want to hide Harry, and where better than with his blood relatives, even though they were the worst people ever! Even with all of that, why would he leave him on the doorstep? Everything is going to hell in the wizarding world and Dumbledore leaves the supposed Chosen One all alone and outside. He could have taken Baby Harry inside the house and left them with the safety of his family, and with the curse that prevents Voldemort entering his aunt’s house.
14. Why Only One Teacher Per Subject?
Our next entry has always been a bit of a strange thing to us. If you consider that all the potential wizards in Britain attend Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, then at any one time there must be hundreds of kids, if not more. Yet with all those children to teach and look after they only have one teacher per subject. That means that one teacher is in charge of all those kids for a whole subject and for the entire time they are at school right up until they graduate.
Purely from a headteacher’s point of view, shouldn’t Dumbledore hire more teachers in order to best teach and take care of all those students? We’re not entirely sure how Dumbledore landed the headmaster’s job, but it certainly wasn’t on his scheduling and people management skills.
13. And He Also Picks The Most Unsuitable Teachers
Speaking of the teachers at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Dumbledore’s choice of teachers is appalling. It’s far to say that most of the teachers that pass through the school are not suitable to teach a classroom full of children. Admittedly Dumbledore does have his reason for keeping some of the teachers, like Snape, more on him later, and Trelawney, but the rest?
So many teachers have came and went that it became ridiculous in the end. There were many of them that really shouldn’t have been allowed to teach but here we are talking about Mad Eye Moody. Of course, it wasn’t actually Moody, as he was locked in a suitcase, but it was an imposter there to get Harry into the Triwizards cup. But Dumbledore is in charge and should screen all his potential teachers for the safety of his students. This is something Dumbledore fails to do every single year. Does he not have any regard for the children?
12. Allowing Moaning Myrtle To Hang Around Bathrooms
It’s interesting in the world of Harry Potter what is acceptable and what is not. After all, in a world that is filled with magic and mystery, it’s hard to know where the line should be drawn but we think having a dead teenage girl hanging around the bathrooms is a pretty good place to draw that line. Especially as it was the bathroom that she was killed in.
Ok, so this one isn’t strictly speaking Dumbledore’s fault, after all, he didn’t kill her or even know about it back then, and Hogwarts is full of ghosts. Both friendly, helpful, and cheeky. But the simple fact is that Dumbledore could release Moaning Myrtle from her bathroom prison and set her free. Not only would she be able to rest at last, or at the very least not be constantly reminded of her death, but she also wouldn’t be able to spy on her fellow students in that slightly pervy way.
11. Generalizes Students By Which House They Are In
Next we come to a trait within the world of Harry Potter that has come to define it and yet it’s possibly one of its worst traits. Although, just like our previous entry, this one can’t be held completely as Albus Dumbledore’s fault, he doesn’t do anything to stop it. In fact he tends to fuel this kind of behaviour within his students.
When the children first turn up to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they are all sorted into different school houses by the Sorting Hat. Among the students, they have generalized the house and therefore the students that those houses take. This is fine, after all, most kids do this. However, throughout the books, Dumbledore himself is quoted as saying things about the houses, like if you’re in Slytherin then you’re bad. Even Harry himself was almost in Slytherin but the only reason he was put into Gryffindor, according to Dumbledore, is that Harry asked to be in Gryffindor, implying that Slytherin children are either too evil or too stupid to think of this. He may not have caused this divide but he certainly does nothing to stop it.
10. Not Doing Anything About Professor Quirrell
We’ve already mentioned on this list that Albus Dumbledore has a slight blind spot, particularly when it comes to the staff at his school. Not only has he employed the worst people imaginable to teach at his school, as well as having an imposter roam around the hallways trying to get Harry killed (Mad Eye Moody in case you’d forgotten), but his “blind spot” goes even further and we were all shown it in the very first Harry Potter story.
In Harry’s first year he faces off against Professor Quirrell, who as it happens has a newly regenerated Voldemort attached to the back of his head. Obviously Harry and his friends face them and win the day, but how did Professor Quirrell get as far as he did. Dumbledore got his teachers to lay some traps and Snape kept an eye on Quirrel but Dumbledore in all his wisdom should have known something? Instead he let a group of eleven year olds run around and tangle with one of the most evil wizards that has ever existed. A bad decision by Dumbledore, we think.
9. He Doesn’t Investigate Harry’s Name In The Goblet
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry’s name is magically pulled out of the Goblet and therefore he must take part in the infamous Triwizard’s Tournament. The cup itself is to celebrate three of the best wizards schools in the land and to pit their best students against each other in a series of challenges. Due to the nature of the challenges, there is an age limit to avoid younger students from applying, and Harry is too young and therefore cannot enter.
Obviously we now know that it was a trick by Voldemort and his followers so that Harry could meet Voldemort at the graveyard and Voldemort can kill him. We all know that he didn’t but Dumbledore almost let it happen, as well as the entire Triwizard’s Tournament and Cedric Diggory’s death, all of that is on Dumbledore’s head. When Harry’s name was first pulled from the Goblet he asked Harry if he put his name in, but that’s it. Harry said “no” and Dumbledore dropped it. He never investigated what happened or who did it he just let everything play out until people died.
8. Locking Sirius Black In A House
The life of Sirius Black is a sad and strange one. He was a bright and talented student that worshiped his best friend, James Potter, and his future wife, Lily Potter. He was part of the cool gang and then he grew up to fight a war against the worst wizard the world has ever seen. He survives all of that only to be framed for his involvement with Voldemort, which of course he didn’t do. He is then locked up in prison for many years and when he finally escapes, clears his name and gets a part of his life back, Dumbledore locks him up in a house.
Not just any house but the house he was tormented and abused in as a child. While we understand that Sirius was still in hiding, the fact is that he was part of the good guy team, he had a lot to prove and he wanted to help his best friend’s son, Harry. Locking him away from the world and the people he cares about is just plain cruel.
7. Children Figure Things Out Before He Does
Ok, so we know that Harry Potter is essentially a children’s story and therefore the heroes of the stories are always going to be children. But if we look at Harry Potter as a slightly more grown up universe, which it claims to be, and you have a figure like Dumbledore at the center of it, then some things don’t add up.
One of those things is how Albus Dumbledore is depicted; wise, powerful, and all knowing, and yet every single time, Harry and his friends are the ones to solve the problems or fight the monsters. It may be argued that Dumbledore always knew everything and therefore wanted to let things play out as they should, but that doesn’t take away the fact that people died and children were constantly put in danger. Either Dumbledore isn’t as clever as we all think he is or he really is a mean old man.
6. Hiding His Shady Past
Throughout most of the books, Albus Dumbledore was portrayed as the most wise, all knowing and infallible person in the entire wizarding world. He was the hero and the one you turn to if you need help or answers. However, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, all of this was questioned. As it turns out, Dumbledore had a very shady past involving torture, death, anti-muggle mentalities and pure blood antics, and some seriously bad attitudes.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with that at all. In fact the notion that Dumbledore hadn’t lived this squeaky clean life we all thought he did added to his character and personality and made him more endearing. However, given all the things that Dumbledore has done and been involved in, he is very quick to judge others and he also kept everything from Harry, letting him find out in the most humiliating way. If you wanted someone’s trust then you have to give a little to get a little. Dumbledore never gave Harry anything and it also goes to show that Dumbledore has his faults but rather than admit or confront them, he hides them. A very dangerous trait to have when you are responsible for so many people’s lives.
5. Keeping Snape As A Teacher
We’ve already talked about Dumbledore’s poor taste in teachers and our next entry asks the question “How has Snape been a teacher for this long?” We know that Snape actually served a big purpose in the grand scheme of the Harry Potter universe, in fact he was one of the most important characters throughout the entire saga. Also, given Snape’s nature, or past, Dumbledore needed or wanted to keep Snape close to him, at the very least to keep an eye on Harry Potter himself.
However, why give him a teacher’s job? Snape clearly hates children, hates people less intelligent than him and hates teaching those people. He’s never shy about expressing this fact either. So if Dumbledore needed Snape around, then why not give him a different job or role in which he wouldn’t be tormenting children everyday.
4. Endangers Everyone All The Time
This is one trait that Dumbledore has shown time and again and no one ever calls him out on it. We’ve mentioned Dumbledore’s choice of teachers that he let’s teach in his school and that he lets the children of his school run around and face monsters for him, but he often goes further than that and actually lets people, and children, put themselves in danger.
Over the course of Harry Potter’s school days, many people have died, and many people have been hurt or tortured. The school has been infiltrated by all kinds of bad wizards and monsters countless times. Not only that but he himself has taken Harry out of school and onto dangerous missions in which not only Harry’s life was on the line, but he actually used Harry as bait to get what he wants and left Harry in a cave full of dead bodies in the lake, while Dumbledore is dying and somehow Harry has to escape. He never explains anything to Harry he just does stuff and expects Harry to be able to figure it out. Not a good move for someone who is supposedly a great man.
3. Forcing Harry To Die For The Greater Good
For our next entry we delve into the later part of Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore’s relationship. As the books go on we are all aware that the story will end in a showdown between Harry and the evil wizard Voldemort. After all, how else could it end? But the way in which this is built up shows a truly dark side to the wise Dumbledore.
After becoming aware of Voldemort and the Horcruxes, he gives Harry the task of destroying them all and therefore killing Voldemort. That in itself is a lot to put onto a teenager, convincing him that it’s ok to kill. But more than that Dumbledore manipulated Harry to such an extent that he was willing, not just to kill, but to die for his mission. We all know that Voldemort needed to be stopped but the way Dumbledore went about “grooming” Harry to his way of thinking is a bit much and definitely goes a long way to denting Dumbledore’s clean image.
2. Never Telling Harry Anything
Throughout this list we’ve mentioned the many bad traits of Albus Dumbledore, mostly about how he seems to lack even the basic skills when it comes to people and the safety of others. However, the worst thing he is guilty of, especially when it comes to Harry Potter, is that he never tells him anything. From the very beginning of the story, Dumbledore answers everything with riddles and half-truths.
For all of the things that happened within those seven books, and of course Harry’s death, as brief as it was, not once did Dumbledore ever explain anything to the young wizard. He only ever gave Harry enough information so that he would follow him blindly and put his trust in him. It’s fair to say that from the very beginning, Dumbledore knew what was going to happen, or at least the big stuff like Harry being one of the Horcruxes and therefore may need to die! But Dumbledore never explained anything and this in itself made everything 100 times worse than it could have been.
1. He Won’t Admit To His Mistakes
The number one entry on our list of reasons why Albus Dumbledore is actually the worst, is the fact that he never truly admits to being wrong. It has been stated within the books a few times that throughout his life, Dumbledore has made mistakes and misjudged a few situations but never does he atone for his mistakes or even apologize for them.
As well as many deaths and disasters that can be traced back to Dumbledore, the worst thing he is guilty of is his treatment of Snape. At the end of the books it is revealed that Snape was in fact a lot more complicated and loving than we first thought. But after Snape feared that his true love Lily Potter would be killed, he left Voldemort’s ranks and begged Dumbledore for help. Ok, so Snape was a naughty boy and fell into a bad crowd, but when he saw the error of his ways and wanted to change that, Dumbledore used him again and again and only ever used Snape for his own means. He didn’t even help Lily Potter when Snape begged him to. After everything Snape did, Dumbledore could never bring himself to thank or apologize to Snape.
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