All was not well, a conclusion

In the words of the fifth Harry Potter movie:” Dumbledore is he daft or is he dangerous?”

This is a question I do not have the answer to. Did Dumbledore make a lot of mistakes? Yes definitely. Is he the most horrible person to ever walk the earth in the Harry Potter universe? No, not really. I think if we look at Dumbledore as a God-like figure who is above everyone else but does not impact them in any real way he is framed exactly right. If Dumbledore was ‘faith embodied’ it would be a wonderful story and I would not have posted 35,000 words being mean to him. But I did because he isn’t. Dumbledore is first and foremost a headmaster who forgets to be a headmaster. Dumbledore is one of those people that looks at the many instead of the few. Which is maybe fine but definitely not when it’s a 17-year-old that you groomed into killing himself. Your first real course of action in the tragedy that is this child’s life is to leave him with abusers, sending him back to abuse and making sure he does not have any relationship with the last family member he has. Or maybe it all went downhill when he asked the child’s parents for the family invisibility cloak.

Dumbledore might not be the worst person in the Harry Potter series to you and that is fine. But what we are not going to do is say things like ‘he did what he had to do’. In this scenario he knew Harry had to fight Tom, he might even know he must die. What he should have done is keep Sirius out of prison, and go to war for him as he did for the much more undeserving Snape. He should have given Harry the childhood his parents wanted for him. Then he should have trained him and taught him all the things he had to know. He should have talked to Harry or taken Harry with him to his talks with experts so that at 17 Harry had the confidence to know that there was a chance for him to survive but even if there was not, there was no other option to get rid of the Horcrux. There was no reason for Harry to not know he was loved, that he was cherished that his parents and their friends loved him very much. But there is the thing, Sirius Black would have taken the curse before Harry even thought of letting it hit himself. Because that is what parents do. Sirius Black or any other well-thinking individual would have taken Harry out of Dumbledore’s clutches and told the world that their boy Harry was their child and he wasn’t going to save anyone that refused to get off their bums.

While working on this project in the information gathering stage I got so angry and I felt so bad on Harry’s behalf. Is everything lined out in these posts all solely Dumbledore’s fault? No. Tom Riddle might have been destined to become Voldemort, Regulus might have always died, and James and Lily might have always been targeted. Draco might always have become a death eater, Harry might have always died at 17 and Sirius might have always been cursed by Bellatrix. None of those things take away from the fact that Dumbledore made some very big unforgivable mistakes. Yes, mistakes were made. Yes, other things could have been done but none of that excuses his behaviour. Even not knowing about Harry’s abuse for ten years (though arguably he should have known). Sending him back not once but no less than seven times with the last one being post-mortem. I cannot say anything else but that it is sick. This story revolves around a little boy that had no one in his corner, no one that looked out for him. Yes alright, there were adults around but did any of them stick their neck out for Harry? No, arguably Sirius did in the extent to which he could be there for Harry. But the rest of them? Oh, they were all more than happy to duck and hide behind a 17-year-old and send him off to war on his birthday. I cannot help but conclude that the reason for this was that they didn’t put a little bit of brain power into it themselves. They listened to Dumbledore on bended knee and did what he said. Truthfully a 17-year-old shouldn’t have to have had to make the choices Harry did.

It was so interesting to re-read the whole series and focus on what was said and done and reflect on them. After reading fanfics and opinion pieces and watching the films of course I had some ideas that I now can’t seem to back up. Such as the book Ginny is so much better than the movie Ginny when I like neither Ginny very much. Or the ‘madness’ and ‘immaturity’ of Sirius Black that held so little evidence it was staggering. Or how about Snape? Who in the film is good at heart in the end and mostly sarcastic more than anything? Book Snape is a greasy bully who holds beliefs at the age of ten that made him flee into the arms of dead eaters after school. I come across as more critical than I would want I suppose. I feel that this has been a journey and I cannot begin to express how upsetting it has been. After all the brainwashing, the gaslighting, and the trauma. I would implore my head-canon Harry to pursue help for his mental health. A natural consequence of this is that he probably wouldn’t end up with Ginny but above all else, he would never in a million years name his child Albus. The way we can view a story we haven’t truly read critically or haven’t read in ages is interesting. The way the films influence us also comes to mind.

To me, film Dumbledore is a different person than book Dumbledore. It’s similar to Snape and easier to understand. Where film Snape is sarcastic, imposing, and a bit intimidating. He is not the stalkerish, bullying arse that he is in the books. It makes him a different person. While in the movie I believe that Dumbledore cares a great deal more I also feel he is generally doing more than he ever did in the books. The problem arises with the fact that we are talking about the books. Book Dumbledore is a neglectful person who puts his nose in a business where he has no place to be. Dumbledore thought that he did what was best. But that doesn’t change the fact that he purposefully neglected a child and put him on a doorstep. There is simply never a reason, a justification, or anything else for abuse. Harry is the most famous child to ever exist in the magical world, there would be families lining up to take him in. Not to mention that he has family through Sirius. Even if we are worried how Harry would grow up or how safe he would be an unbreakable vow would have taken care of this issue. It doesn’t matter that Dumbledore is a very grey character, that he can be seen as the villain in the clothes of the hero. That he did the wrong thing over and over again. That at the end of the day, Dumbledore wasn’t much different from Tom Riddle. What is the problem is putting Dumbledore on a pedestal where he doesn’t deserve to be. We need to look at him realistically and see that he was wrong a lot of the time. It doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the character. We have to be honest though, Dumbledore wasn’t the Godlike character he wanted others to see him as. He was an old man who made mistakes, put lives in danger and only came off his behind when there was no other option. It might not be the nicest conclusion but it’s the most truthful one.

It was a joy to discover Dumbledore’s ‘crimes’ together. When I was reading the series, I was taking notes on a lot of other aspects of the story. Truly though, I think it’s enough for now. Maybe one day we will revisit this world and I’ll tell you all the things swimming in my brain but until then. Thank you, for going on this journey with me.

Case closed.

Read the rest of the series:
Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4 // Part 5 // Part 6 // Part 7 // Part 8 // Part 9

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