Potter, Riddle and somehow Dumbledore

The end of the story is very near, this is the last leg of the tour as one would say. Let’s get into it. Our story luckily starts with Harry on the eve of leaving the abusive household that he has been suffering in for years. He has been let down so many times that he doesn’t believe that Dumbledore will show up. But then he does…, It’s a letdown all around because Harry is going to leave but first he has to help Dumbledore with making a teacher want to teach. He has to do with with no information as no one is telling him anything, which is the norm really.

All the Glory
Dumbledore decides that he needs to talk with the Dursley’s giving Harry the idea he is here for Harry, sticking up for him. This is fine and all but needed to be done back when it would have made a difference when Harry was eleven or even younger (HBP:3,40). Harry has been let down so many times that he just takes what he can get at this point and we cannot blame him (HBP:3,37). Dumbledore is back being chief warlock, which is good I suppose I would have liked for Harry to get a proper apology but that didn’t happen. It’s interesting how Dumbledore gets all the praise when he hasn’t done much. The person who did do something gets to stay with his abusive relatives (HBP:3,33). Harry even misses the will reading of Sirius, we know there was a reading because Harry got everything. Harry doesn’t even know what everything is, which he also doesn’t know regarding his own family situation (HBP:3,44). Harry can finally leave but first, he needs to help Dumbledore by acquiring a teacher as I said before, they go to this house that looks ransacked and that is a wonderful place to take an already traumatized teenager of course (HBP:4,53). Then there is something deeply offensive about stealing a ring and then skipping around wearing said ring, not only that but imagine Snape mentioning this to Voldemort (HBP:4,57). The whole thing would have collapsed right there. Dumbledore also cannot help himself by talking about Sirius and how cruel it is that they didn’t have enough time together (HBP:4,64). When it was Dumbledore who helped put Sirius in prison, Dumbledore who kept Harry at the Dursleys instead of Sirius’ home, and Dumbledore who didn’t get Sirius a trial when he easily could have.

Memory lane or stalking?
This year Dumbledore decides that it is time to tell Harry all the things. It takes him forever to show Harry memories of Tom Riddle’s life and one might wonder what came first. The serial killer or the stalker who is on the case. Not to mention the fact that Dumbledore could have done a whole lot to stop Tom instead of collecting memories. You do not need all the ‘facts’ and the whole ‘timeline’ to understand that someone, who is so blatantly killing people, needs to be stopped. The timeline approach works for snakes in the grass, for people who try to act wise and friendly but sit back and see a whole bloodline be killed within 20 years. Then Dumbledore has the absolute audacity to give Harry the feeling he isn’t doing enough (HBP:23,356).

Sharing knowledge

It would have been much better for Harry and the all-out war if Dumbledore had shared real knowledge. He hasn’t learned anything from Sirius’s death and tells Harry he can only share information with his friends (HBP:10,180). Who are as knowledgeable as him, which is not very much. Harry is 16 of course he listens to Dumbledore but he should have never asked this of him. Not that the order does anything anyway but there might be a bright light there who can help. There is a time and place to share there might be seven Horcruxes that time is now (HBP:23,420). Not post-mortem via someone else that is the coward’s way really. Harry also knows he doesn’t have great skill but Dumbledore is banking on the power of love (HBP:23,423). He could have you know helped love along by actually preparing Harry. It would have been helpful for Harry to know where he could find a journal or something with all of Dumbledore’s notes. He could have hidden it in Sirius’ house or in his office or something else for Harry to grab. I mean Dumbledore knew he was dying but he dragged the sharing of information out so long that this whole war took a year longer than it should have. On the other side of the coin, some experiences should not be shared and I find taking a 16-year-old to a cave full of inferi is one of them (HBP:26,477). Especially when you do not explain anything.

Help is given at Hogwarts when it is too late
Draco Malfoy has been trying to kill Dumbledore for a full year. Dumbledore was aware of this at the very start of the year (DH:32,557). Draco’s mother was threatened which is why Draco didn’t do anything but listen when he was branded with the mark. It’s quite clear this is a way for Voldemort to punish Lucius. Now I am not saying Draco wasn’t bored with this at first, but he was sixteen. He clearly never thought it through nor would he have had the chance to. Dumbledore offers Draco help at the eleventh hour. You can think about Draco Malfoy’s character all you want but there has never been a rebuke for his words or actions, which means he did not learn what was proper. If you do not tell children they can not say certain words or do certain things you cannot blame them for not learning. They are at a boarding school and he lived with prejudiced people all his life. If you’re not teaching him, no one is. Then he was made a death eater and there was no helping hand (HBP:27,487). It almost feels as if people are only worth saving when they have done bad things, like Snape. If Dumbledore doesn’t care about anyone that would be fine but you cannot have a ‘kind old man spiel’ as a school headmaster and then have this behaviour. Doing nothing while knowing everyone is in danger, the child who is tasked with an impossible task and all the others in his way (HBP:27,489). It’s fine if you are a coward but you then cannot gas-lit a child (Harry) into wanting to become an executioner (HBP:23,425), when Dumbledore didn’t have the guts himself. The only one who ever actually gets help and protection from Dumbledore is Snape and it can be argued that it is undeserved (HBP:25,456). Also, Snape’s turning back to the ‘good side’ does not excuse his awful behaviour towards school children in later years. Harry has every right to be angry (HBP:25,455). If Snape and to some extent, Dumbledore hadn’t been there to play their games the prophecy would have gone unheard and Harry would have grown up with his family.

Dumbledore’s end
Dumbledore wants to die a hero’s death. He wants to make sure it looks like he gave his life for the war (HBP:28,495). I wonder what Dumbledore actually ever sacrificed? The answer is nothing. He doesn’t have any romantic relationships as far as we know, he has friends sure but he was dying anyway. He doesn’t get on with his brother. He has no one and lost no one.

When Dumbledore dies McGonagall debates if she should close down the school. Closing down a school and letting the muggle-borns that cannot do magic to their faiths is worse I personally think (HBP:29,522). It’s also not as if he is the first headmaster to ever die, I mean seriously? Besides he knew he was dying he could have made sure everything was clear for McGonagall to take over but of course, that didn’t happen. But even if Dumbledore had been the only headmaster ever you do not close a school because someone dies especially when you are currently at war. The story alludes to Harry having this long and deep meaningful relationship with Dumbledore (HBP:29,526). Which has been in words only never in deeds which is so heartbreaking to see. Harry feels alone and that he has to do it all by himself and it’s horrible to think this was by design (HBP:30,529). Harry believes that it is him and Voldemort in the end (HBP:30,536). The rest of the world also thinks this and is hiding behind Harry to save them all. I simply wanted better for Harry. For Harry to value himself more. Not that he should sit it out but for him to ask and accept help from others.

From beyond the grave
Dumbledore dies but his plan is well on its way with no chance of stopping. Once again, Harry has to go back to his abusive relatives to make sure those relatives are safe. It’s honestly preposterous. Then he leaves on his birthday. Meaning he had to be there for a month, as a sitting duck in the middle of a war when his address was known and he couldn’t yet do magic. He then goes to safety in the stupidest way possible (DH:1,4). He could have easily polyjuiced into a random muggle and left the house under his invisibility cloak. He could have taken the train invisible for a few stops. Removing the cloak in the toilet of the train. Get off the train and take another one. He could travel across the country and walk the rest of the way to the safehouse with nobody the wiser days before his birthday as he didn’t have to use magic. But of course, that is not a plan Dumbledore’s portrait would ever come up with and his vigilantes apparently have two brain cells between them. Does our Harry get any medical help throughout or before he sets off on his journey? No, he does not, of course, he doesn’t.

What about the Dursley’s you might wonder if Petunia and Vernon could have gone on holiday at the same time Harry took the bus. The wards would have broken but no one would have known it could have been a random Wednesday. It could have been unbeknownst to everyone else. Which would have been safe and sensible.

Dumbledore’s Lies and Drop-Out
Harry learns he didn’t know Dumbledore at all which is true and we have already explored in earlier posts (DH:2,16). Also, why was Snape still allowed in the house owned by Harry for that matter why didn’t anyone redo the fidellius (DH:14,222)? If they had asked Harry I am sure he would have been fine with it.

In this part of our quest, Harry is forced to drop out. I understand that he couldn’t go back to Hogwarts but what is stopping him from packing his things and going to school literally anywhere else? Dumbledore’s orders of course. He could have at eleven gone to school in another place, America or France. He could have come back at 17 or later a full adult wizard with the ability to kill Voldemort with full confidence but Dumbledore decided that it was better for Harry to be abused for 16 years of his life, face his parent’s murderer four times, see people he knew die in front of his eyes thrice and be relentlessly bullied on and off for all six of his school years. The greater good indeed.

Final orders, Wands, and other things
Did Dumbledore give important information on how to ‘kill’ a Horcrux? What was already checked out and which place was not? Did he tell Harry anywhere why he had to walk to his death? Were there any notes about everything he tried to do for Harry so that this could be avoided? The answer is no because he probably did none of those things. Because Dumbledore as we well know only does something when he has no other choice. When sitting out would make him look very bad. Then he died, so he couldn’t do anything anymore. Except allude to things like he always did. Push a 17-year-old child towards suicide and then… get the credit for ‘mentoring’ the child.

I find the wand lore interesting in the sense that Dumbledore was such a great wizard that the wand gladly changed alliance to Draco (DH:24,407) and then on a whim decided that because Draco lost his primary wand to Harry, Harry must be the superior owner. It makes very little sense and I wonder how Dumbledore could have gone all these years without his wand being taken from him the only thing I can think of is the fact that Dumbledore hasn’t truly been fighting all this time which is even sadder when you know he lived through at least 11 years of war. Again, Dumbledore had years upon years to finish the war before it started up again but he didn’t (DH:29,475). It keeps coming up that Dumbledore could have done more, like ask a ghost as Harry does (DH:32,502). He had enough time to do so. Not to mention that Harry must know things at the last possible moment (DH:33,560). Because otherwise he would have time to think and God forbid he would think of another option.

The sword of Gryffindor is interesting as Harry can only get the sword under conditions of need and valor when Dumbledore takes it off his wall to use where he placed it after he let 12-year-old Harry faced a basilisk alone (DH:33,563). Again, Dumbledore could have given Harry and his friends the books they needed but Hermione had to go around about way to get them, luckily the window was open (DH:6,81). Imagine giving someone a suicide mission and leaving them with nothing to aid in their quest. On the train of Harry not knowing things, the fact that he is probably the last person to see his parent’s grave in addition to him not liking the inscription at all is a choice (DH:16,267).

As I have said before Harry is much smarter than he is ever really given credit for (DH:22,351) and if he could have trusted others he probably wouldn’t have had to break into Gringotts (DH:24,395) or live in a tent for months.

Purgatory and a last Farwell

Grooming a child to end one’s own life can never be heroic (DH:33,564). It’s the same with letting someone get abused and looking the other way. It is never okay. If Harry had time to talk to his family by using the stone earlier, he would have had an easier time with the whole thing and it would have been so much nicer (DH:34,567). But of course in that case every well-thinking parent would have talked Harry out of the whole stupid idea. The same goes if Harry had confided in anyone else but Ron and Hermione (DH:34,568). But then the book would have ended on a much grimmer note, I suppose we wouldn’t want that.

If we have to take King’s Cross Dumbledore seriously I find it very interesting that he says Hermione would slow him up (DH:35,589). Which I agree with but she has been described as the brains behind the whole thing by a lot of people (I do not agree fully but it’s the general consensus). Why did she need to manage Harry though? And more importantly, why did Harry need to be slowed down, it’s war hundreds could have been saved if Harry had all the information earlier. I will keep saying it but James and Lily would have had a better chance to fight for their family if they had had the cloak and asking for the cloak in a war is bad no matter how much 17-year-old Harry believes (hopes) it wouldn’t have made a difference (DH:35,584). Maybe it would not have but there was no reason for Dumbledore to have it right then. I would have loved a Kings Cross scene where it wasn’t Dumbledore but James and Lily (DH:35,582). We wouldn’t have to deal with a fallen hero who loves half-truths and straight-up lies. But alas that was not the case.

At the end of the series Harry wants some comfort and to be told he did the right thing by Dumbledore’s portrait (DH:36,612). For all I think of Dumbledore I think it’s nice for Harry to have this closure. At the end of the day, Harry is a scared boy who is still so very young and craves the attention he hasn’t ever really gotten (DH:36,610). But then again, that had been Dumbledore’s doing as well.

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

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