I asked my sister Megg to write a guest post for Dumbledore, because no matter how I feel about Albus Dumbledore, my sister loves him about a million times more.
I have a hard time deciding who my favorite Harry Potter character is, but I think if I were forced to choose, my favorite adult character would be Albus Dumbledore.
Dumbledore represents so much in the world of Harry Potter. To Harry, he is both a grandfather and a mentor, and I think he is the character Harry respects the most. Dumbledore embodies respect, love, gentleness and, above all, calmness in even the scariest of storms. Even when he knew he was dying on top of the astronomy tower (either at the hands of Draco or another death eater or by the potion he had just consumed), he spoke calmly with everyone there.
It never really occurred to me that, once a long, long time ago, Dumbledore was a young man. That is, until I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and we learned about Dumbledore’s past. The man that I always thought was a wonderful hero, actually did some disturbing things, the most notable centering around his relationship with the dark wizard Grindelwald. When Dumbledore was 17, he had a short friendship with Grindelwald which ended abruptly with the mysterious death of Dumbledore’s little sister. Before that, however, we learn that in the two short months that the two were friends, they discussed things so against what Dumbledore would later believe that it almost seems impossible that the ideas could have come from the man we grow to love much later in his life.
So what stopped Dumbledore from following Grindelwald when he left? Why did he just leave him, watch as he slowly slipped deeper and deeper into the dark arts, killing wizards and muggles alike with little care or worry about what he was doing? It took several years before Dumbledore finally found Grindelwald, battled with him, took, as we later learn, the Elder wand and imprisoned him in a prison of Grindelwald’s own design. The fact that Dumbledore discussed and supported Muggle killings with Grindelwald made many prior Dumbledore supporters question their undying loyalty.
However, I believe that Dumbledore always had good in him and that he never intended on following through with the things he and Grindelwald discussed. You see Dumbledore, at his core, is the good and caring man we saw in the first books, but he also has a darker side, a side he kept in check in a way that many of us could not. Dumbledore both loved and craved power. He wanted it more than anything else in the world, and this, I believe, is what drew him to Grindelwald. But something, and we may never know what, kept him in check and he realized that he could never have that power because it would be too dangerous. Perhaps he saw a bit of Grindelwald in himself and was afraid of what he might do. Dumbledore was offered the position of Minister for Magic on several occasions, but always turned it down. I used to wonder why, until I finally understood the whole story. With the Elder wand in hand, and power over the whole Wizarding community in England, he knew he would not be able to control himself. Despite his faults, nothing could make Dumbledore more noble and hero-worthy, than the fact that he turned down power for the sole reason of knowing that he couldn’t handle it properly.
I sometimes forget that Dumbledore wasn’t perfect, rather he is a man with many flaws, both good and bad. He both craves and resists power, knowing he can’t handle it properly. He trusts where many would not. And perhaps my favorite fault of his is that he loves. Dumbledore loves to the point of almost carelessness. He loves Harry so much that he protects him from everything, right up until the end, leaving Harry with virtually no information when he sends him on his final quest. This particular flaw, I believe, makes up for all of Dumbledore’s others. It is what stopped him from seeking the power that he so desired.
What must it be like, to have two, polar opposite desires and feelings? To turn around and completely ignore one, for the sake of the other? Dumbledore loves, trusts and believes, and I think he expected others to do the same. Turning down the power he wanted proves, once again, that love prevails above all things. That, more than anything else, solidifies my love for Albus Dumbledore.