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01 August 2006 @ 12:24 pm
Defending Dumbledore, Part I: Loyalty and Manipulation  
Perhaps I came at the question of Dumbledore's goodness or badness from a rather naive point of view: there appears to be a really large amount of debate as to whether Dumbledore is good, evil, or manipulative. I've spent more time reading some of the work. I've been troubled by some of it; Dumbledore does seem a little "shady" at times, I've always thought that. But evil? Or even manipulative? Let's see if we can take a look at Albus Dumbledore's actions and see if we really do find a good, wise old wizard who occasionally makes a monumental mistake, rather than an evil old man who intentionally manipulates children.



Dumbledore under Scrutiny

It's come to the point where we can possibly find as much conflicting evidence about Dumbledore's character as we can about Snape's - though we might want to say the Dumbledore side is weighted towards "good," and the Snape weighted towards "bad." Of course, everything we come at, whether we're thinking about Dumbledore or Snape or any other character, must be considered with the Harry filter in mind. We see things through Harry's eyes and experience.

But we dare not turn that into a mandate to always conclude that if Harry believes it, it's probably wrong. He was correct about Malfoy in Half-Blood Prince, was he not? It's just possible that Harry believes Dumbledore is a great wizard and hero, and that he is also right about that belief.

It's the Harry filter that most Evil!Dumbledore or Manipulative!Dumbledore are blaming for his good reputation. Dumbledore is Harry's hero, and he respects him; therefore we all love Dumbledore, and are blind to his faults.

Codswallop, in my opinion. We can find just as much anger and disdain at Dumbledore through the Harry filter as we can awe and respect, and I might even argue that J.K. Rowling intended to (mis)lead us to significant doubts about Dumbledore through the Harry filter with the end of Half-Blood Prince. After all, it turned out Harry was correct all along - Dumbledore was foolish to trust Snape, right? Right? You see how confusing this all gets.

So we can't argue that Harry's awe and respect for Dumbledore is fooling everyone into thinking he's good when, in some form or another, he's bad. I mean, Harry hated the guy straight through Order of the Phoenix.

I think Evil!Dumbledore theories (i.e., Dumbledore is really on Voldemort's side) can be just thrown out the window. There can't be a well-constructed one out there. J.K. Rowling might be willing to call Dumbledore the "epitome of goodness" if he can be a bit manipulative at times, though with good motives; she wouldn't have deliberately lied about a really sinister character.

But various versions of Manipulative!Dumbledore exist, and they're based on some good canon evidence. Let's look first at Philosopher's Stone, shall we? From an essay complaining that Dumbledore is a "callous and manipulative old coot," we get this statement:

I've had major reservations about the old coot ever since his little House Cup switcheroo in the first book...


That was quite the little trick, wasn't it? A former Gryffindor who happens to be the present Headmaster just happens to deem it proper to award just enough points to his old house to let them win. Yes, that sounds a bit suspect. And then you've got the whole problem of his manipulating all the events of Book 1 so that inexperienced, 11-year-old Harry has to have a showdown with Voldemort/Quirrell. And then the poor, innocent lad thinks well of Dumbledore for staging such a meeting:

I think he sort of wanted to give me a chance. I think he knows more or less everything that goes on here...It's almost like he thought I had the right to face Voldemort, if I could...." (PS/SS-17).


But we adults know better. Dumbledore loves to scheme, manipulate, and put children's lives in danger to accomplish his own purposes. Poor, impressionable Harry just doesn't realize this.

Now let's revisit these two items. The first one is really stretching, and the writer of the quoted essay has no need to be quite so suspicious. Who has one the House Cup the many years prior? Oh, right - Slytherin. And who was the Headmaster during those years? Could you speak up, please? Yes, thank you - Albus Dumbledore. So perhaps the old man wasn't being a "manipulative coot" after all. Maybe descending into the depths of the castle to fight Voldemort and save the world really is worth enough points to win the cup. It's not like that happens every year at Hogwarts. (At least until Harry shows up, anyway.)

That leaves us with the second example - Dumbledore sending a kid who'd known nothing about magic until just 9 months ago to face the most terrible Dark Wizard in a long time. But let's get something straight - stories like this are about the underdog. And J.K. Rowling's being a postmodern writer increases that theme exponentially. It just might be possible that with Albus Dumbledore, she has written a character that actually believes children are more capable than adults give them credit for. Wasn't it he who said, "Old age is foolish when it underestimates youth"? (HBP-26)

Having demonstrated two alternate - and probably better - readings of Dumbledore than the "Manipulative Old Coot" crowd might suggest, there's a much better way of going about this than swatting down each alleged manipulation. By carefully observing a key "Dumbledore" theme - loyalty - we can easily demonstrate that a Manipulative!Dumbledore reading is entirely inconsistent with Albus' character and the plotline itself.

Dumbledore's Man Through and Through

Unquestionably, Dumbledore values loyalty to himself. This strikes us as being a tad arrogant, perhaps. But there's magic - good magic - involved here. The first key "loyalty to Dumbledore" text comes in Chamber of Secrets, when Harry's strong words in favor of Dumbledore call Fawkes to the rescue, resulting in the demise of Diarymort. Dumbledore had clued him in to this when he was taken from the school with the famous line that he would never truly be gone as long as there was someone loyal to thim there. So in our first example, loyalty to Dumbledore results in the triumph of good over evil.

Then we have Half-Blood Prince, in which Harry is established as "Dumbledore's man through and through." There are three distinct references to this: (1) Harry's first meeting with Scrimgeour, (2) Harry's conversation with Dumbledore, and (3) Harry's last meeting with Scrimgeour. The three are significant.

The first one establishes the fact: Harry is loyal to Dumbledore. It's also tied to Dumbledore's political values, which are very significant to understanding his character; Dumbledore is clearly an advocate for the oppressed, a sort of postmodern who is deconstructing the metanarrative of the supremacy of wizards. He is concerned for injustice, but as I've argued before, he is a slow, gradual change kind of politician, not a revolutionary. This is an important link between Harry and Dumbledore - Harry has learned that the statue in the ministry "told a lie," and, as the great uniter of the magical brethren and the four Hogwarts houses, he must follow Dumbledore's lead in this.

The second reference is with Dumbledore himself, and please note: it takes Dumbledore by surprise. Look, if Dumbledore is the master manipulator, I can't imagine him responding this way:

"He accused me of being 'Dumbledore's man through and through.'"

"How very rude of him."

"I told him I was."

Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again. Behind Harry, Fawkes the phoenix let out a low, soft, musical cry. To Harry's intense embarrassment, he suddenly realized that Dumbledore's bright blue eyes looked rather watery, and stared hastily at his own knees. When Dumbledore spoke, however, his voice was quite steady.

"I am touched, Harry." (HBP-17)


This is not the response of either an intentionally manipulative old coot or a previously manipulative man who is now having regrets. In case you think the Albus is just an incredible, on-the-spot actor, please note the musical response of Fawkes, which is significant - whenever loyalty to Dumbledore is shown, Fawkes responds. The phoenix symbol is not an evil one, and that is an essential point. Fawkes, as a character in the plot and, more importantly, as a symbol in the narrative, is always linked to the defeat of Voldemort and the downfall of all that is evil. This symbolism is so crucial it deserves its own essay, but suffice it to say that Rowling did not create a vital connection between a manipulative, deceitful man and the series' most important symbol of goodness and virtue (download the essay at the bottom of this post for an introductory look at the meaning of the phoenix symbol).

The third reference is the clincher in the argument. Let's step back and look at where the final chapter of Half-Blood Prince fits into the story as a whole. For six books now, the great alchemist Albus Dumbledore has been watching over Harry's life - the wise, old wizard guiding his student, the hero of the story. At the end of Book 6, the wise old man dies, and the hero emerges, finally ready to take on this "heroic task" on his own. This is classic storytelling. As the hero emerges after his six years of preparation for his task, he is identified by this one key self-understanding: "Dumbledore's man through and through."

Now you have to step back and consider this question: As the hero emerges after 6 years under the tutelage of the wise old man, is it realistic to think, from a storytelling point of view, that he has emerged identifying himself "through and through" with a manipulative, lying, scheming man? Take the bird's eye view; think as the author would: you're writing the story, teaching your hero to be a hero, growing up his character to a certain point, and you choose to identify him with nothing but deception and manipulation? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. (This is particularly detrimental to the theory that Albus is the one who let the prophecy leak to Voldemort, manipulating those events and, in effect, killing James and Lily.)

The point in all of this is rather simple: Rowling has not given us a hero who is loyal to a deceitful, manipulative mentor. The focus on loyalty to Dumbledore, reinforced by the phoenix symbolism, is simply nonsensical if Dumbledore is a "manipulative old coot." Nobody wants a hero modeled after such a person.

In Part II, we'll look at a more nuanced, and perhaps more sympathetic view of Dumbledore - but one that is ultimately as problematic: the view that Dumbledore, though a well-intentioned and honorable man, made the blunder of a lifetime by manipulating the initial Trelawney prophecy in order to bring Voldemort down.
 
 
 
cordelia_vcordelia_v on August 1st, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
A lovely long essay! But could you please put it under an lj cut? Thanks.
Weezie: Completelyrainylondonight on August 1st, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
Interesting essay, indeed, but as stated above - LJ-cut pretty please.
travisprinzi on August 1st, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
Got it, sorry! I was looking around to figure out how to do it. There you go.
(no subject) - rainylondonight on August 1st, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Deccaboo: HP: Unbreakable Vowdeccaboo on August 1st, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
Interesting points made :) I like the picture you paint of Dumbledore, it's pretty much the way I read him from the books as well. Dumbledore can be manipulative and scheming, but that's only because he can see the big picture; or at least, has a good idea of what the big picture is shaping up to be with each passing year of Harry's 'training'.

Can't wait to read the second half!
the ghost of Alex Krycek: I'm the devil!cs_luis on August 1st, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
Very interesting! I do think that Dumbledore is, to a degree, quite manipulative, but he is in no way evil, and you explain why nicely.

I do take issue with your interpretation of Dumbledore awarding Gryffindor the House Cup during their first year. Of course, Gryffindor certainly deserved the win - but to me there is no way to explain Dumbledore's cruelty at allowing Slytherin to think they'd won, only to snatch it away from them with no warning in the middle of the celebrations. To me, that's unnecessary, and very cold. I have to say that I see a huge anti-Slytherin bias in Dumbledore that's made it difficult for me to like him very much.

Looking forward to part 2!
Weezierainylondonight on August 1st, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
but to me there is no way to explain Dumbledore's cruelty at allowing Slytherin to think they'd won, only to snatch it away from them with no warning in the middle of the celebrations. To me, that's unnecessary, and very cold.

I thought I was one of the only people who thought that. I always thought it was such an unwarranted thing for Dumbledore to do. He could have so easily avoided that. That still annoys me.
(no subject) - kawakiisakazuki on August 1st, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sunnyskywalker on August 1st, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shishkeberry on August 1st, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - illuen on August 3rd, 2006 12:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - randomjitter on August 1st, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - a_t_rain on August 1st, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nemesister on August 1st, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - a_t_rain on August 1st, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nemesister on August 2nd, 2006 12:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - woman_ironing on August 2nd, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 3rd, 2006 02:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - saracene on August 4th, 2006 10:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Despinazoepaleologa on August 1st, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
Excellent character study, backed by stern logic. I've never been able to understand how in God's name anyone can read Evil! or Just as Bad as Voldemort, or Manipulative!Dumbledore.

There is no "Harry Filter". As has been pointed out by many, it's properly third person limited point of view.

Looking forward to the second part!
lanjelin on August 3rd, 2006 12:08 pm (UTC)
I think the fact that some people misinterpret Harry's opinions as the opinions the reader should share is what has resulted in the term "Harry filter". It's just a way to explain that yes, Harry sometimes doesn't notice things, or are wrong about the conclusions he draws.
(no subject) - baddest_witch on October 7th, 2016 07:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Laurus: lunalaurus_nobilis on August 1st, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
Great essay! :)

I've never seen how Dumbledore is worse than any other Wise Old Mentor out there, and the people who think he's as bad as Voldemort confuse me. He's made mistakes, and he's got his flaws, but he's obviously a good guy overall. If anything, he's nicer than most mentors I can think of.

But we adults know better. Dumbledore loves to scheme, manipulate, and put children's lives in danger to accomplish his own purposes.

We adults should know that we are reading a coming of age story, I think. :) I've seen many arguments about how the Evil Adults in the HP books let children do all by themselves, and it puzzles me. For me, that goes in the "suspension of disbelief" section of my brain, because it's what I expect in a coming of age story. Does that make sense?
travisprinzi on August 3rd, 2006 02:18 am (UTC)
Exactly, EXACTLY! Dumbledore HAS to let Harry do it by himself. That's the whole point.

Everyone repeat after me: "Old age is foolish when it underestimates youth." That goes for Dumbledore as well as Voldemort, and Dumbledore knows it. These are "coming of age" stories, hero initiation stories. Harry HAD to go it alone, and Dumbledore knew it.
kawakiisakazukikawakiisakazuki on August 1st, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
Some comments to your points -I'm not saying DD is EVIL, but I think he's not all that good either:

The house points: it was unfair to award them during the feast, rather then after the events for which they were awarded. It definitely feels like cheating, especially as there was a difference of only one point. Imagine Snape awarding some last minute points of his own for some Slytherin having done well in Potions three months earlier. And didn't DD admit at some point to Harry that he did it to make Harry's house win (don't remember where, did I imagine that?)? I think you hurt your argument by denying this obvious favoritism - not for Gryffindor, but for Harry.

I don't understand your justification for Dumbledore sending a kid who'd known nothing about magic until just 9 months ago to face the most terrible Dark Wizard in a long time. Basically you just said it was justified, because perhaps Dumbledore thought it was?

No real argument with your third point (since I don't think DD is Evil), but I'm not sure loyalty is equivalent to "good magic" - not to be mean, but Voldemort is very big on loyalty from his followers. He kills them if they aren't loyal! ;) Bella is extremely loyal to Voldie, and he in turn risked staying in the Atrium to rescue her... So was Barty Jr. And you fail to mention any points that might seem to contradict your theory... such as for example that James and Lily apparently didn't trust DD enough to have him be their secretkeeper?

I don't think it's nonsensical at all that there are parallels between DD and LV - as there are between Harry and LV - it will give Harry the opportunity to make a REAL choice without automatically knowing he is fighting for the side of "Good". If DD was all-wise, Harry can't grow beyond his mentor.
emurphy42emurphy42 on August 1st, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)
The line of argument was not about loyalty in general, but Harry's loyalty in particular.
(no subject) - kawakiisakazuki on August 1st, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
travisprinzi on August 1st, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
How exactly is "third person limited" not subject to the "Harry filter" problem? It's exactly how Jane Austen always misleads, right? We see through Emma's or Elizabeth's eyes, and we get the wrong conclusions; so with Harry.

I think a_t_rain is on to something with the "fairy tale" nature of the first book; you can feel it in both the films and the movie. It is, perhaps, a flaw in the series, but I think it gives us at least some explanation as to that final act.

I'm also not sure the timeline would have provided for much of anything different. After all, when Harry finally came to and Dumbledore finally had the chance to speak with him, it was perhaps only hours before the final ceremony...it says that Harry made his way down to the Great Hall "that night." So, sure, Albus could have awarded the points just a few hours earlier and not let the Slytherin banners be hung; but what's the possibility that Snape would have found a way to give just a few more points in those hours, taking away the deserved Gryffindor win? After all those years in a row of Slytherin wins, I guess I just don't feel that badly about them.

Yet we should remember Albus is a Gryffindor, and he's probably very similar to Godric himself - I highly doubt he's prejudiced against Slytherin.

I think Dumbledore was justified in sending Harry for at least two reasons: (a) he honestly believed Harry could handle it, and (b) he knew the protection that existed on Harry. Maybe that's not enough...I'll give it some consideration.

No, loyalty in and of itself is not "good magic." Loyalty to Dumbledore, however, is a different story - because of the Fawkes connection.

Fair enough point about James and Lily, and I'll give that consideration as well.

I'll be honest - I'm definitely willing to be wrong about this, but not without a fight. Manipulative!Dumbledore doesn't work for my reading of the series at this point.

Part II will take some time.
kawakiisakazukikawakiisakazuki on August 2nd, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
I think Dumbledore was justified in sending Harry for at least two reasons: (a) he honestly believed Harry could handle it, and (b) he knew the protection that existed on Harry. Maybe that's not enough...

I think it's a poor excuse, knowingly sending an 11 year old boy to face horror and mortal peril because you *believe* he can handle it. It only makes sense to me as some sort of "trial" Harry had to go through to become DD's weapon against LV. I don't see that as any sort of justification. If nothing else, it IS horribly manipulative. Harry may have been safe from LV but he could still have been hurt getting through the traps. Ron or Hermione didn't benefit from Harry's protection, and might easily have been killed, or taken hostage if the trio had run into Quirrel before he reached the mirror.
(no subject) - kawakiisakazuki on August 2nd, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 2nd, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
celiagrace: dan; mister brightsidesmithycal on August 1st, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)
I'd say this was a brilliant essay. The thought of Dumbledore being manipulative/evil never crossed my mind, frankly; it seems ridiculously over-analytical, and I have no doubt that JK would be very surprised to hear people say such things.

I think Dumbledore has his flaws, yes. JK Rowling has even gone over them. However, just because (in Harry's eyes) Dumbledore is portrayed as basically the best, super-duper wizard EVER, this does not mean he is in someway inhuman and thus not subjectable to having flaws.

I would also say that the whole plot of Harry Potter and the way that JK Rowling speaks about Dumbledore as a rhetoric device (as a confidante, at times) and someone who has to be 'removed from the scene so the hero can go on alone,' (paraphrased) suggests to me that Dumbledore isn't as important as all that. I don't think he's going to pop around a corner in the seventh book and say, 'AHA. I FOOLED YOU ALL. YOU HAVE TO FIGHT ME, NOT VOLDEMORT. MOO HA HA HA.' He might have left a few helpful clues for Harry and the trio, but I sincerely doubt he'll show up again in physical form.

But I'm rambling, anyway. Very good essay, thank you.
kawakiisakazukikawakiisakazuki on August 1st, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
I agree that JKR treats DD as a plot device, and as such, he probably will remain what passes for "good" in the story, but as to his actual character, I think it's very... problematic.

...and can we be sure that he REALLY destroyed the Stone? He *could* become the next dark lord ;D
(no subject) - smithycal on August 1st, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kirabana on August 1st, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sunnyskywalker on August 2nd, 2006 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
the earth logic does not computekirabana on August 1st, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
sorry, previous post replying to op not you
Nemesister: BFF by luciouslucius9nemesister on August 1st, 2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
Great essay. Although as a lot of commenters have already said, I think he is manipulative.
I don't know why you treat manipulative as such a horrible thing, that a good mentor could never be. God is manipulative in the bible, very very much so. (Think of the Abraham story.)
Obviously Dumbledore thought that Harry would survive Voldemort, he wouldn't want to lose the Chosen One. Obviously he wants the best for the wizarding world, which would be destroying Voldemort. And he goes at it in a very manipulative way, probably the only possible way.
I like him for it, the manipulative old coot. ;)
I also think that he has other very good traits like sympathy and trust in people.
felicitys_mindfelicitys_mind on August 1st, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
I have to agree that Dumbledore is the wise old wizard in the Gandalf mold. It's true that he lies on occasion (as when he's up against Umbridge regarding the DA or Harry's vision of the attack on Arthur), but he never lies to Harry. I don't believe he sets Harry up in any way, and I certainly don't believe, as you know, that he "let the prophesy loose" so that Voldemort would act on it.

Dumbledore's default position is to trust and give people a chance to change for the better and work out their problems as he did with young Tom Riddle; he did with the Sirus and Snape after the Shrieking Shack incident. He is naive, perhaps, in his expectations that people can change and overcome deep dislike, but that's not manipulation.

Good point about Fawkes as a symbol of loyalty.

As for the wand that chose Voldemort and the wand that chose Harry, they both indeed contained a feather from Fawkes, but 1) a wand is made of both a core and a wood, and 2) I'm not convinced at all that the animal from which the core comes in any way influences the witch or wizard the wand ultimately chooses. There's no evidence that dragon heartstring wands usually choose dark wizards because dragons are vicious and dangerous whereas unicorn hair and phoenix feather wands usually choose light wizards because unicorns and phoenixes are pure and noble creatures. Voldemort got a phoenix feather wand and Hermione got a dragon heartstring wand.

As for a wand being both core and wood, someone pointed out that the woods make all the difference between Voldemort's wand and Harry's wand: Voldemort's yew is a poisonous, long-lived plant associated with immortality whereas Harry's holly ("holy") is associated with life, endurance, vitality, and protection.

So frankly, I don't see how a wand containing a feather from Fawkes that chose Tom Riddle in any way invites suspicion against Fawkes.
travisprinzi on August 2nd, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Good points, all. Here was the response I planned to make to that comment:

When the wand chose Tom Riddle, Tom Riddle still had "choices" to make about what he would become. Sure, he was a young sociopath, but as any other student under the tutelage of Dumbledore, the choices were laid before him.

When, however, the two phoenix tails met in battle, who came out the victor? Certainly Harry did not overpower LV with his own cunning and power as a wizard. The phoenix song erupted, and it was LV's wand, not Harry's, that was forced to regurgitate previous spells.
Sunnyskywalkersunnyskywalker on August 2nd, 2006 12:07 am (UTC)
I don't think Dumbledore is evil, but that doesn't mean he can't be manipulative. Who says he has to be sitting around laughing and going, "Dance, puppets, dance"? He might have the best intentions and persuade himself it's all for the best. We know he forgets what it's like to be young, and just about everyone is young compared to him. JKR has said that he's very lonely and has no equal he can talk to. If he finds it hard to really understand what others are going through, he could very well do things that seem callous while really thinking he's doing what's best for everyone. He could award the Gryffindors points during the feast rather than just before everyone walked in the hall, because he thinks a surprise win will bolster their spirits after years of losses - while forgetting just how hard the Slytherins might take that.

I don't think it follows that because the hero of the series identifies with Dumbledore, Dumbledore can't be massively flawed and someone Harry needs to move beyond. Harry identified strongly with James for the first five books. Does that mean that James can't have been a bully at school? No. It means Harry has to learn to recognize what good qualities in James (which finally won out) he still wants to imitate, and which flaws and mistakes he doesn't want to repeat. It could be the same with Dumbledore: Harry could realize that while Dumbledore had some great qualities which anyone would want to imitate (and which still make him a good person worthy of admiration), he had some major failings, moral as well as tactical, which he needs to make sure he avoids. Trying not to repeat your elders' mistakes is just as much a part of growing up as trying to be like them is.
Andreaandreaphobia on August 2nd, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
/agree
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 2nd, 2006 02:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sunnyskywalker on August 2nd, 2006 02:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 2nd, 2006 02:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cs_luis on August 2nd, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 2nd, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cs_luis on August 2nd, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - woman_ironing on August 2nd, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 3rd, 2006 12:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sunnyskywalker on August 2nd, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
the earth logic does not computekirabana on August 2nd, 2006 12:50 am (UTC)
another point: did he never think that he would die? did he leave any kind of contingency plan in place? poor mcgonnagall, she's gonna be like WTF? the whole seventh book. how is she supposed to run the school and help Harry without knowing all the details? was she his second-in-command or what? i'm beginning to think we just assumed that since i can't really find any canon evidence in the book.

even if he is supposed to be doing it himself, let's be real, he has no idea what he's doing and is still going to need help from someone
travisprinzi on August 2nd, 2006 02:13 am (UTC)
I think Dumbledore was quite certain he was going to die (with all the options before me, I'm still partial to Cathy Leisner's "stoppered death" theory), and I think Harry's year 6 was Dumbledore's year to "put his affairs in order" (parallel to Flamel in Book 1).

My guess is Dumbledore has indeed left a plan for after he died. We'll learn all about it in book 6. Of course, we have to ask the question, Will the school even be open?
Chesterchester_w on August 2nd, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
I don't view Dumbledore as evil. Manipulative and misguided, definitely, but not evil. For me, he is simply not a sympathetic character. The ending of Philosopher's Stone is part of the reason. If viewed as a stand-alone novel, it is a good ending. Voldemort is the big bad guy, and he gets his. The Slytherins, namely Draco, are the more everyday bullies, and they lose in the end as well. If the story ended there, that would be enough. Unfortunately, it doesn't. By teasing them with victory and then taking it away in front of the entire school, Dumbledore sets himself up as someone who the Slytherins can't trust, making the themes of unity and teamwork that come up in later books practically unattainable.
The Multilingual Kittenkali_kali on August 2nd, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
Dumbledore sets himself up as someone who the Slytherins can't trust, making the themes of unity and teamwork that come up in later books practically unattainable.

YES. I think you've got it spot on right there. Everyone always talks about the Slytherins as evil people who have it out for everyone else, but rarely is it considered that they may have been groomed to be that way by being the "outcast" house (since there's always a big deal made out of the fact that Salazar Slytherin didn't jive with the other three, and then left and such).

To be sure, some, like Draco, are raised into the idea of We Are Superior Pure-Blooded Wizards And Everyone Else Sucks, but I'm sure not all of them are (especially any half-bloods that end up in the house, such as Snape or Tom Riddle himself). By being treated as evil, mean and nasty from the beginning, they eventually learn that they aren't going to be given an opportunity to get away from that image, so then they embrace it since there is no other alternative.

Sorry for the rant, but that also helped me flesh out some ideas for an essay I plan on submitting soon....
(no subject) - cs_luis on August 2nd, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - illuen on August 3rd, 2006 01:04 am (UTC) (Expand)