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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
HP Musings

I'm a Dumbledore fan. This shouldn't be a shock - I figure if the author wants us to like someone, there should be a reason. (I do sort of understand the opposite position - people don't always like being manipulated.) He's not *perfect*. Rowling has done something very out of the ordinary - normally, the good guys are one dimensional "hero" types (think poor Cedric) and the bad guys get all the layers. In this universe, while the "bad guys" are uniformly black or very dark gray, the "good guys" are all shades of gray.

Harry's angry and suspicious of authority. He shouts and scares his friends. Ron is awkward and jealous and bothered by his family, and doesn't perform up to potential. Hermione is bossy, convinced she's right, and very, very ruthless. (Which I love about her, actually.) The twins are brilliant but don't study and do things that are, franky, dangerous to themselves and others. I maintain they're doing weapons research for the Order, though.

As for the adults - Snape is so complex that I can't even tackle him, Sirius was mad and Lupin, for all I love him, did omit telling about a mass murderer, as he thought, being able to turn into a dog. McGonagall is willing to compromise her own fairness to obtain a Seeker for her House Quidditch team (I don't think it was Harry's Harryness that got him the privilege. It was his Seekerness. If any of the others had showed the same skill and he had not, he'd be watching from the sidelines, and, say, Lavender would have gotten the Nimbus 2000.) Dung's a thief, and Moody's insanely paranoid, which didn't stop him being locked in a trunk for a year, and the Weasleys - well, I like them but Molly is annoying and Arthur does feel patronizing.

And then there's Dumbledore. We don't know what's going on behind that twinkle. We do know he's manipulative. We do know he keeps secrets, and takes chances with the lives of children. We also know he commands loyalty and deep respect from people as diverse as Snape and Mundungus Fletcher. He's also the most powerful wizard of his generation, and maybe the most powerful in Britain, if not the world. He's been offered political power and turned it down to be Headmaster (Headmaster of the only wizarding school in Britain, so he has *more* influence.) However, in the first couple of books, he was constantly called upon to advise Fudge. He's fought in two major wizarding wars already - Grindelwald and Voldemort I.

He's been called a terrorist, but I don't see it. Where is he creating terror? Where are he or his followers destroying property and/or lives? Where are there people cowering in fear at the thought of the Order? I'm not even sure anyone outside the membership even knows it still exists. He's been called an insurgent, too - but he doesn't seem to be looking to overthrow the Ministry. He has infiltrated the Ministry, yes, but the Ministry infiltrated his school and eventually had him removed from his position. If anyone can be called an insurgent, it's Hermione, and she's doing it all on her own.

We think.

Fear Hermione. :)

Fudge does need to leave office, but it'll be Hermione's doing, not Dumbledore's. Someone better might not let him have Kingsley run a false investigation. Not that that matters since Sirius is dead.

It's also been said he should be minding the school, not running the Order.

I disagree about that.

Something bad is about to engulf his nation again, and he's the only one who can stop it, or at least control it until the prophecy comes in. Everyone in that nation under the age of 70 is a former student of his, either as a teacher or a Headmaster, including Voldemort and his followers, and maybe I'm projecting, but I see Dumbledore as always thinking "once a student, always a student."

I don't think he sleeps at night. I do think he holds himself as partially responsible for the way Tom Riddle turned out, even though he was just the boy's Transfiguration teacher, and not even his Head of House.

I think.

She never says what Dumbledore's House was, not definitively. People in the books assume it was Gryffindor, but it's never actually *said*. It probably was, but we don't *know*.

Anyway, how can he sit back and allow it to happen? If he does, his students will die. Their parents will die. If he does act, the same will happen, but hopefully in smaller numbers. He has no choice. And he can't even take a leave from Hogwarts because it would be suspicious - he probably used his exiles in books 2 and 5 well, but he also fought to return. No one would believe him leaving voluntarily. And, again, the Order is a secret.

As for his behavior towards Harry in OotP - it was meant to bother us. It damaged his relationship with Harry. But when their eyes did meet, Harry could feel Voldemort, so Dumbledore was right. And as for telling the prophecy...

This is chilling.

Harry is still a rotten Occlumens. He now knows the entire Prophecy.

How long until Voldie finds out?

Dumbledore has to know that, so why did he tell it to Harry?


What I still can't figure out is why it would be so problematic for Voldemort to learn the prophesy. Is there anything in it that's really going to give him any advantage he didn't already have, or harm the Order?

If I were Dumbledore (perish the thought), I'd have used the prophesy to bait a trap for Voldemort.

True. It's not like he's been shy about trying to kill Harry in the past, has it?

I kind of had the impression that they were trying to lure Voldemort out into the open--he must have had a pretty good idea about what was in the prophecy, but wanted "the exact wording." That doesn't seem worth all the risk the Order took... unless they were trying to catch him at the Ministry.

I took one look at the prophecy and thought, "Duh. Bloody obvious." It seemed hardly worth fighting for.


Even I don't think Dumbledore's a terrorist, and I don't think he's a good person at all. He gives me the creeps, and I don't think I'd like his ideal world at all--but terrorist is the wrong word.

(As to the whole, 'if the author wants me to like them, she must have a good reason' thing: I figure the author wants me to like the characters she likes, but her standards for who she does and does not like may not be remotely similar to mine.)

One of the reasons I say the Potterverse is dystopic is that the good guys aren't very good, and the bad guys are barely human. I like that aspect of it though; I like seeing Harry try to survive in such a world. What annoys me are all the fans who try to deny that this is the case, and the author's baffled insistence that if the fans don't see things the way she wants them to, there's something wrong with us and it isn't a failure on her part to convey the message she meant to convey.

When I write something, and people give me feedback that makes me go WTF, my first thought is to rethink the piece and take a look at it. Are they right? Is someone I've portrayed not what I think they are? Or did I write it in an unintentionally misleading fashion?

I know that sometimes I don't realise how good/bad my characters actually are until I see them through different PoVs, personally. I never understood the true level of ugh that Gabrielle Malfoy elicits from some people until I saw her through Ercole Zabini's eyes.

I'm not sure what Dumbledore's ideal world would be at all. I don't think we've been given any clues.

The only thing we can say for sure in terms of particulars is that he's opposed to blocking Muggle-borns and half-bloods from studying magic, while Voldemort's people are against allowing this kind of "immigration."

I think part of the problem with the rest is that we know Dumbledore is against "Dark Arts," but we haven't been given a really clear idea what separates Dark Arts from the rest of magic, and why it's good to be opposed to them. We know the three Unforgivables, which are aimed at harm and control, but other spells seem to be involved with causing harm, without being "dark arts" (Leg-Locker Curse, Tarantellegra... though the latter, imho, is pretty scary; it's basically a fairy tale curse that causes people to dance themselves to death). Voldemort's resurrection potion uses human ingredients, which should be a big old clue, but so does Polyjuice Potion. My assumption is that Dark Arts are pretty damned dark, aimed at permanent domination or destruction, and using permanently harmful means--taking Peter's hand for the Potion (as well as using the dead, in the form of Tom's father), etc. Necromancy would probably be a Dark Art. But it's hard to tell, so if you're making the assumption that Dark Arts would just be magic used to achieve bad aims, then it could be assumed that having a staunchly anti-Dark Arts policy is just trying to silence political disagreements. It seems from the text, just by tone if not explicit definition, that there's more to it than that, and I'm willing to take her word for it... though an actual definition would be a good thing. Then again, leaving it vague leaves each reader to understand Dark Arts as the worst possible use of power, which will vary from reader to reader, while defining it would leave space to say, "Hmmm, well that's not so bad."

How old is Dumbledore anyway, I figure he must be past 90. On the other hand when Tom Riddle was at Hogwarts he was probably a very new hire.

One wonders what education past Hogwarts the wizarding world has.

He's about 150. Not so new. :)

We have no clue as to how long Dumbledore had been teaching when Riddle was in school.

Rowling says that there are no British Wizarding universities, and it's pretty clear that Hogwarts will not send anyone to a Muggle university - all the classes are wizarding specific and the kids do not take A-levels. Post-Hogwarts education seems to be job-training - three years for Aurors and whatever is required for Healers and mediwitches/wizards.

Dumbledore's my favorite, too

Have you ever considered that we like Dumbledore because he's the image of a tzaddik? I mean more than in appearance. He treats all under his care with love and respect, but does fight and fight hard against evil. I've met people who say Dumbledore gets on their nerves, and they're usually people who have never met a similar person in their own lives.

Interesting point about telling Harry the prophecy. The only way to rectify that mistake is for Dumbledore to teach him Occulmency. Wouldn't it be something if we get to see inside Dumbledore's mind?

My other favorite character is Luna because she is the one most at peace with what's behind the veil and the one who helps Harry understand it (a little). I think Luna has a lot more to teach Harry, and I also think she'll best Hermione in a few things. I don't know what you mean by Hermione's ruthlessness, but I do think she's in for a lesson in humility, and Luna will be the one to teach it to her.