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05 August 2006 @ 11:36 pm
Defending Dumbledore, Part II: "I shall not, of course, lie"  
Let's be clear: I'm quite willing to be wrong in my defense on Dumbledore, if Rowling writes him a different way than I've imagined; but until Book 7 is published, I'm not going down without a fight, and I think there remains plenty of evidence for his goodness (not flawlessness, of course, but goodness). But in interest of of fairness, I want to take up one of the more plausible Manipulative!Dumbledore theories: The theory that when Albus heard Trelawney make the prophecy, he was the one to act on it first, not Voldemort. It works something like this:


In 1980, Albus, who has the defeat of Grindelwald under his belt, has been trying, unsuccessfully, to bring down Voldemort. Obviously, he's not getting much help from the bungling Ministry of Magic, and after all these years of terror, he's ready to do whatever it takes to finish the Dark Lord off and stop him killing all these innocent people.

On the night he visited Trelawney to interview her for the Divination position, he hears the prophecy - and sees in that prophecy an opportunity to bait Voldemort, force him to make a big mistake, maybe draw him out, and destroy him - or at least create the weapon who can. To that end, Dumbledore himself leaks the first part of the prophecy, most likely through Snape, who was already on Dumbledore's side, working as double agent, at the time. We can obviously establish his presence that night with both Albus and Sybill as witnesses. But there is that kind of funny glitch in the two stories about how much Snape heard. And Aberforth's being the bartender and all makes the scene a little suspect.

Now that Albus has been presented this opportunity, perhaps he can make the prophecy happen, i.e., have a hand in creating the "one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord." Or maybe he thought he could keep a close watch on the Potters and Longbottoms, draw Voldemort out at the births of Harry or Neville, and ambush him in his attempt to kill the baby.

There are a lot of strengths to this theory. In the first place, it gives us a much more palatable view of Dumbledore than "Evil" or inherently "Manipulative," one that might even fit Rowling's description of him as the "epitome of goodness." He's still a great man; but he made a gigantic mistake out of desperation that led to a long series of necessary actions that Dumbledore otherwise would never have taken. Or, as Joyce Odell puts it:

Turning loose a Prophecy was one of the biggest mistakes that Dumbldore ever made in his life. It locked him into a course of action which was out of character, and at which he did not excell. The gamble seems to be paying off, but the price has been way too high. He trapped himself every bit as much as he trapped Tom Riddle. (Loyaulte Me Lie)


[Note: Rowling has recently abolished any possibility of what constitutes a significant portion of Joyce Odell's theory, namely, that Dumbledore faked his death, and is still alive. This does not automatically negate the "prophecy plan" portion of the theory, which is able to stand without the "faked death" theory, in my opinion.]

This theory has a lot of strengths as well as some canon evidence. Let's take a look at just some of the mysteries it makes sense of, in no particular order:

Dumbledore's trust in Snape: If you're not a "Good Snape" advocate, you hate this theory. But if Snape were in league with Dumbledore, this explains, far better than the "remorse over the Potters' death" story, why Dumbledore trusts him - in fact, in adds to the "remorse" story, by making it the biggest regret of their whole plan that the Potters ended up dead.

It also explains how Snape got a teaching job so soon after his repentance. It seems even Albus should know better than that.

Dumbledore's "plan" talk in Order (ch. 37): Just what was that all about, anyway? And linked to this, don't we learn in that very same chapter ("The Lost Prophecy") that Dumbledore would be willing to sacrifice lots of nameless and faceless people in order to protect Harry's happiness? And isn't that exactly what he did if he took a chance on the prophecy - put lots of nameless and faceless people at risk?

Dumbledore's favoritism of Harry: Nothing like the guilt of orchestrating the death of a kid's parents to make you want to treat the kid extra special.

Dumbledore's reluctance to tell Harry the whole story: If this is the real story, who can blame Albus for not being all too quick to spill it to Harry?

Dumbledore's lie: The man who claims not to lie (PS/SS), and that "the truth is generally preferable to lies" (GOF), most definitely lied to the Ministry about "Dumbledore's Army" (OP). Maybe the "old coot" isn't as honest as we thought, and maybe he is capable of lying when he thinks the cause worthy enough.

The Prophecy Problem: It is, indeed, one potential solution for the two odd accounts of the prophecy overheard.

There are more, but let's move on for now; you get the idea that some interesting and important plot points can be tied together with this theory.

There's a lot that needs to be explained. The "Prophecy Plan" (I'll call it that for the remainder of the essay) fills in a lot of holes, and it may be a fairly good explanation. After all, there are a lot of links to Greek mythology in these novels, and Greek tragedies almost always centered around somebody fumbling a prophecy.

Before we get all breathless with excitement about this theory, though, we need to take a serious - I mean good, hard, serious - look at the conclusions to which it leads. Follow me now on a trip through Hogwarts history, 1992-1997. Let's assume the Prophecy Plan; Dumbledore let loose the prophecy in order to orchestrate the downfall of Voldemort. Temporarily, it worked better than he possibly could have imagined; Voldemort was defeated. But, of course, Dumbledore would agree with Hagrid - it was "cadswallop," the idea the Voldemort wasn't still out there, trying to regain his power. And Dumbledore would have to be ready with his "chosen one" for the time when the Dark Lord succeeded in returning. So, invoking the ancient blood magic (Narnia, anyone?) over the Dursley house to keep Harry safe, let's fast-forward to 1992.

Little Harry Potter has just managed his second defeat of the Dark Lord, and he has some questions. Dumbledore explains the wonderful and dangerous nature of truth, that it must be treated with caution, and then tells Harry there may be some questions he cannot answer. But he finishes it with this statement: "I shall not, of course, lie." Harry's first question, "Why does Voldemort want to kill me?", alas, cannot be answered. But Dumbledore, who has confessed the importance of the truth and his unwillingness to lie to Harry, has promised a full explanation in the future.

Now let's fast-forward again. Four years later, same time of year, Harry still has not gotten his answer. Now, after having been through so much, Dumbledore is finally prepared to tell Harry everything he knows, everything he withheld from him all those years. Assuming the Prophecy Plan to be true, let's evaluate Dumbledore over the course of the conversation, and recall that Albus was quite clear: "I shall not, of course, lie."

Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37: The Lost Prophecy

After a long discussion about Kreacher, Sirius's death, and the debacle at the Ministry, Dumbledore decides it is finally time (long past time, in fact) to answer Harry's question from five years ago: "I shall tell you everything," he assures Harry.

Dumbledore most certainly does not tell "everything." "Everything" would include the fact that he himself had let the prophecy loose, but as we shall see, he entirely avoids this. It also means that he radically trivializes his "mistake" (see immediately below).

As the conversaton progresses, Dumbledore, much to Harry's frustration, gives a general overview of Harry's first four years at Hogwarts, and explains his bad reasoning for not telling Harry the whole truth prior to that very moment. In short, his reason for not telling him - indeed, the great flaw in his "plan" - is as follows: "I cared about you too much."

Now, even with the prophecy plan in place, and the great flaw being his not telling Harry the truth early enough, this would be a manipulative cover on Dumbledore's part. Deflecting his own culpability in the deaths of Harry's parents by not telling him everything, as he promised, and talking instead about his great love for Harry - well, that's really calculating and cold, especially from a man who has taught Harry so much about the "truth" and "love."

From here, Dumbledore explains the prophecy to Harry, and how the first part of the prophecy is leaked to Voldemort: a snoop overheard the first part, but was apprehended before being able to hear the second. The snoop went and told the Dark Lord.

This, of course, is a flat-out lie if the prophecy plan is true. If Snape was listening in, and then leaked the first part of the prophecy on Dumbledore's orders, the whole "thrown from the building" part is a lie, and Dumbledore lies quite baldly when he calls the catching of the eavesdropper "My...one stroke of good fortune." It wouldn't have been a "stroke of good fortune," but a calculated plan.

Half-Blood Prince

Chapter 10: The House of Gaunt
Just a brief stop here to note that Harry presses Dumbledore on the question of whether or not he told him "everything," and Albus strongly affirms that he did. A second lie on the same subject, if the prophecy plan is true.

Chapter 23: Horcruxes
Things get really, really ugly for Dumbledore's character in this chapter, if the prophecy plan is true. After the discussion on horcruxes, the conversation turns to the prophecy, and Dumbledore is to the point of agitation at trying to convince Harry of one point in particular: "...what the prophecy says is only significant because Voldemort made it so."

He simply will not let Harry get away without understanding this properly. He tells Harry, "You are setting too much store by the prophecy!" This is the height of hypocrisy if Dumbledore was the one who initially set too much store by the prophecy, and his accusation that it was Voldemort's "grave error" to act on it, causing this whole chain of events, is a lie and more hypocrisy. This is more than manipulative; it's flat-out evil, in my opinion. The whole discussion is rubbish, if Dumbledore was the architect behind the whole plan.

Sorting it All Out

It does not seem reasonable to me, in light of all of this, to believe the Manipulative!Dumbledore theories, because, ultimately, they result in an evil, lying Dumbledore. Not evil as in "on Voldemort's side." But evil in a different way, nonetheless. To be caught in so many lies while proclaiming the importance of truth, love, and loyalty is the worst kind of hypocrisy imaginable. Albus Dumbledore, quite frankly, would have to be an unfeeling monster for this to be true.

If you're committing to a Manipulative!Dumbledore theory, then this is what you've got to sign onto. He may have meant well at the time the prophecy was "set loose," but he's become downright awful ever since. The little house cup trick at the end of Book 1 isn't enough to merit "evil monster" status, or even indicate that potential in someone, is it?

Rowling simply has not written Dumbledore as an unfeeling monster. Re-read his conversations with Harry, his actions towards him and for him. I know...we've been fooled by Rowling too many times on whether or not a person is good or bad. We're all determined not to get fooled again. But Manipulative!Dumbledore theorists are reading far too much into certain details. This is not a man who is cold and calculating.

What about the identity of the eavesdropper?
This is an important question, of course. I've just complained that Dumbledore becomes a liar if he didn't tell Harry "everything" at the end of Order, but we know for a fact that he held back information about the identity of the eavesdropper - Severus Snape. But I think we can understand this in another way. Consider the following points:

(1) The identity of the eavesdropper was not crucial to understanding "everything," nor did neglecting to reveal Snape as the snoop result in a long chain of lies like everything else about the prophecy plan does. Dumbledore told the truth about what happened that night; he didn't reveal the snoop's identity for good reasons. If the prophecy plan is true, our whole list of manipulations, deceptions, and hypocrisies remains.
(2) There are at least two good reasons for Dumbledore's not revealing Snape. (a) Dumbledore quite obviously loves and protects Severus Snape; it is in Snape's best interest that Harry not know, especially since Dumbledore believes wholeheartedly in Snape's repentance. Indeed, to re-open that wound, especially at this time, would be a dishonor to Snape's repentance and Dumbledore's forgiveness. (b) Dumbledore thinks it of the utmost importance that Harry learn to trust and respect Snape as well, because Snape is so valuable to the war against Voldemort, as is Harry. They need to be on the same side. But this is already an uphill battle. If Harry needs to know the identity of the eavesdropper - and eventually, he does - one can't blame Dumbledore for thinking it best to delay that revelation until the war is over, and Voldemort defeated.

Dumbledore's lie to the Ministry

Of course, we did catch Dumbledore in a lie, didn't we? When the Ministry asked him about "Dumbledore's Army," he baldly lied, did he not? Isn't this the man who said he wouldn't lie?

Well, no, not really. He said he wouldn't lie to Harry, and he believes the truth is "generally preferable to lies." But he's not a moral absolutist on the question of lying (on some questions, he is). Set the lie in context. The clueless, bungling Ministry is not only not helping, they're hurting themselves and the entire wizarding world by their actions. One small group of students at Hogwarts, led by the "chosen one," is preparing themselves for a war that they and Dumbledore know is coming, but to which the Ministry has turned a blind eye. The Ministry's action is the height of irresponsible use of power, and Dumbledore's lie is protecting the good side.

You're hiding an innocent person, or a good person who has broken an unjust law. The inquisition comes to your door to ask if you've seen the person; you know these folks will kill him unjustly. What do you do? You tell the lie, and it's the right thing to do. Even the Judeo-Christian God is fine with this, by the way; there's that whole issue of the prostitute Rahab being justified by faith because she hid some spies and lied about their location. So let's not get all in a tizzy about the evil of all lying. This one lie in no way proves that Dumbledore frequently lies or thinks that deception is a good idea.

Conclusion

Put simply, Manipulative!Dumbledore theories prove too much. You can't really have it both ways. Theories that posit a well-meaning Manipulative!Dumbledore are a fantasy, because they inevitably result in a deceptive, unfeeling, arrogant, hypocritical old man who cares nothing about anything but his own plans while pretending to love.

Certainly Dumbledore has his faults, and certainly he's good at getting his way. But his position toward Harry has been loving, gracious, and kind, and he is a worthy mentor for our hero. Thank goodness Harry is "Dumbledore's man through and through." I don't know who would be better to emulate than Albus Dumbledore.
 
 
 
kiki: (hp) uncle albusbeyond_pale on August 6th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)
I like this, a lot (even as a stauch anti-K_ntian).

You have taken three of my most treasured and long-held beliefs and quite thoughroughly and thoughtfully explicated them: That Snape is good; that Snape took the prophecy to Voldemort on Dumbledore's orders; and that while Dumbledore is excellent at revealing the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth to people before allowing them to agree to be placed directly in danger, when the situatiion is more fuzzy, it's strictly need-to-know time.
felicitys_mindfelicitys_mind on August 6th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
What is an anti-K_ntian?
(no subject) - beyond_pale on August 6th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kawakiisakazukikawakiisakazuki on August 6th, 2006 08:57 am (UTC)
A good essay, but I differ on the conclusion that
Theories that posit a well-meaning Manipulative!Dumbledore are a fantasy, because they inevitably result in a deceptive, unfeeling, arrogant, hypocritical old man who cares nothing about anything but his own plans while pretending to love.

I think Dumbledore is a calculating, deceptive, somewhat arrogant, and sometimes hypocritical old man. I don't think he is unfeeling, pretending to love, or cares for nothing except his plan. He doesn't want Harry to know about his manipulation for much the same reasons he was hiding Snape's involvement. He didn't want Harry to hate Snape even more, and he certainly didn't want Harry to hate *him* at that time.

I think people put to much importance on DD's "I will not lie" by assuming he will never lie, rather than that he will not lie in that particular conversation. They then have to make all kinds of contortions to prove that DD's occasional untruths and nearly constant lies of omission are not in fact lies.

I don't think DD is necessarily always conscious of his untruthfulness. When he told Harry "everything" in OotP, it somehow slipped his mind to mention horcruxes, didn't it? Although that little bit of info turns out to be slightly crucial? But if confronted about it, he would probably say something to the effect that he didn't have proof yet, and I think he would believe it himself. Although he's been gathering evidence on that theory for the last decade or so.

It somehow also slipped his mind to ever inform the ministry about Sirius' innocence during GoF - but then he was probably too busy with really important matters like organizing a childrens' contest.

I think one of DD's fatal flaws is pride. For all his loving kindness, he seems to be infinitely condescending, to everybody. Schoolteachers tend to be prone to that attitude. He doesn't ever want to be seen to be mistaken, so he rather witholds vital information from his followers (like, about the horcruxes) than risk having to say "oops, wrong lead". It seems he doesn't trust people's ability to think and arrive at their own valid conclusions. I think he honestly believes that nobody but himself is capable of making the correct choices - and he witholds information to make sure it stays that way. Somehow I think that the Ministry at the time of the prophecy didn't know as much about Tom as they could have. I don't think DD ever showed anyone but Harry his memories of meeting Tom. Because they make him look bad, and he hates that and will avoid it at almost any cost.

Harry tends to have the same tendency of believing he is the only one who can save the day. Acting on that belief has already lost him Sirius. He really doesn't need to emulate DD more on that point.

I think Dumbledore certainly has some feelings for Harry, but Harry is first and foremost Dumbledore's weapon, and he never intended not using it. He will do nothing to keep Harry from hurt (such as a decade of abuse by the Dursleys) or danger (such as facing Quirrell) if it increases Harry's potential as a weapon against LV.
travisprinzi on August 6th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
It somehow also slipped his mind to ever inform the ministry about Sirius' innocence during GoF - but then he was probably too busy with really important matters like organizing a childrens' contest.

How, exactly, did the issue of their being no credible proof of Sirius' innocence change from the end of PoA to the beginning of GoF. Dumbledore's hands were just as tied as before. And didn't we learn from OP that Dumbledore's "political" influence is not as heavy as we might think?

I think Dumbledore certainly has some feelings for Harry, but Harry is first and foremost Dumbledore's weapon, and he never intended not using it. He will do nothing to keep Harry from hurt (such as a decade of abuse by the Dursleys) or danger (such as facing Quirrell) if it increases Harry's potential as a weapon against LV.

Disagreed. The whole point of the "lost prophecy" conversation was that Dumbledore's love for Harry over-rode any "plan" to turn him into a weapon. And all the teaching throughout HBP was so centered on the "love" issue, you simply can't sideline the issue. And really, it's a false dichotomy. Since Voldemort (not Dumbledore) acted on the prophecy and marked Harry as the "chosen one," there's really nothing for it. Harry's got to face him. Dumbledore's not "using" Harry as a tool; he's preparing him, by teaching him to love, to face his own fate.

(no subject) - koloagirl on August 7th, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 7th, 2006 11:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - koloagirl on August 8th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kawakiisakazuki on August 8th, 2006 07:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - koloagirl on August 8th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
snorkackcatchersnorkackcatcher on August 6th, 2006 12:27 pm (UTC)
generally agree, although there's one more big strike against the Manipulative!Dumbledore-revealing-the-prophecy theory you might mention: he has no good reason for thinking it will work. The unplanned variable in what happened was Lily's sacrifice protecting Harry against the AK, something that no-one knew could happen because there were no cases on record. Without knowing about that, DD would be taking a huge gamble in letting Voldemort know -- the most likely result is that LV goes round and kills all three Potters and three Longbottoms before they have a chance to do anything about it. Even if he assumes that something about the nature of the prophecy will cause it to be fulfilled, he's still better off taking the precautions he did, on the grounds that if he just steps back and allows LV a free shot that in itself could affect things.
kawakiisakazukikawakiisakazuki on August 6th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC)
The unplanned variable in what happened was Lily's sacrifice protecting Harry against the AK

This is assuming it WAS unplanned. Yet DD seemed to know exactly what had happened, without being there or even getting the report from Hagrid, he had already decided to leave Harry with the Dursleys.
(no subject) - koloagirl on August 8th, 2006 01:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Summer: hg lionesssummerborn on August 6th, 2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this thoughtful essay. I think it's important to follow theories like that one down the path to see what else we have to swallow along with the premise. And when you look at it that way, it seems a lot less likely.
Lyvchiralove on August 6th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
Lovely essay; I think that you're quite justified in your conclusions. I will admit that I sometimes read Manipulative!Dumbledore fics, but then I sometimes read Harry-in-Azkaban fics and just about anything that will up the angst factor of a story. While fanfics with this sort of plot theme can be diverting, I don't think that JKR would ever even remotely consider that sort of idea for Book 7. Dumbledore being manipulative or Harry dying or Voldemort winning are the sort of things that would entirely turn the universe she's created upside down and who goes out and writes several thousand pages just to say "oops ... didn't mean it after all" in the end?
felicitys_mindfelicitys_mind on August 7th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)
Well, you know from our HogPro posts that I agree wholeheartedly with Good Dumbledore. Not St. Albus, but Good Dumbledore, and I can't accept any theory in which Dumbledore deliberately let the prophesy loose to provoke Voldemort to act on it.

Dumbledore expected nothing from Trelawney that night and only met her as a courtesy, so he wouldn’t have given anyone a heads up to listen in “just in case.” The whole thing smells powerfully of “necessary plot set-up” so that Snape COULD overhear the first half of the prophesy. Why did Trelawney want to be interviewed in a guest room instead of in Dumbledore’s office? If she chose the Hog’s Head because her funds were low, shouldn’t we find it odd that she needed to pay for a room in the first place? She is a witch and could have Apparated into Hogsmeade and then either walked to Hogwarts for the interview or asked Dumbledore to meet her somewhere like The Three Broomsticks for a brief interview. For that matter, she could have asked Dumbledore to Apparate to a public place close to her home; he was willing to walk to the Hog’s Head, and Apparating from the gates of the castle grounds would have been less exerting for him. How did she get to Hogsmeade in the first place? Apparation? Floo Powder? Broom? Train?

I have to assume she had been a student at Hogwarts, so she would be familiar with Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. When Harry and the Weasley's were returning to Hogwarts one time, they used McGonagall's fireplace, which had been temporarily connected to the Floo Network for that purpose. Even if Trelawney is too inept to Apparate, certainly arrangements could have been made for a cost-free Floo ride into Dumbledore's office just for the interview. I can’t account for her preference to be interviewed at night in a cheap inn or for her need to get a room at all since she was nearly broke.

But of course, had Trelawney been interviewed in Dumbledore’s office, there would have been no opportunity to be overheard. So the only explanation for the setting and plotting of that night is that Rowling needed to set up the interview in the dodgy Inn known to be a hangout for dark wizards where Dumbledore’s brother was the barman so that a Dumbledore loyalist could catch the eavesdropper in the act.
kawakiisakazukikawakiisakazuki on August 8th, 2006 07:22 am (UTC)
Note that all this coincidence can be neatly explained by my theory that Trelawney *didn't* make a prophecy that night, and was set up. :)
(no subject) - felicitys_mind on August 8th, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
felicitys_mindfelicitys_mind on August 7th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
PS I meant to add that I love the way you brought out all the scenes in HBP in which Dumbledore had to be blatantly lying to Harry.
the earth logic does not computekirabana on August 7th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
there are just too many questions that i have about DD to trust him. either he sucks or JKR just didn't think this through.

also, what about when they were in the cave and he was crying about how it was his fault? what was his fault? he was obviously very torn up about it. that could be used to argue the whole "DD let loose the prophecy" thing.

i have never understood all this love he has for Harry. Why? many other children at Hogwarts are from unfortunate circumstances, yet he doesn't give them nearly the attention at Harry gets. what about Neville?

all of that stuff about Voldemort fearing DD just irritates me. Why was he afraid of him? DD certainly never did anything to get rid of him that was effective. plus, in the part where Minerva and DD were talking about what powers DD was "too noble" to use (SS) it just made it sound like he could have defeated Voldemort if he put his mind to it. did he ever really try or just concede to wait for Harry to do it. i wish there was more backstory on what the Order might have actually done to try to defeat him. what exactly did DD do to make Voldemort so afraid?

and why didn't DD pay more attention to Tom? he was obviously disturbed and even when he got worse DD still didn't say anything to anyone about it.
travisprinzi on August 7th, 2006 11:44 am (UTC)
I'm not sure we can trust the effects of a dark, evil potion to reveal the true feelings and fears of Albus Dumbledore.

I think your desire for more "backstory" is key, and we don't know anywhere near enough about the Potters yet to know why Dumbledore has this specific love for Harry. But my guess, Dumbledore being the merciful man that he is, is that much of it is wrapped up in the hard life Harry has had. And we simply don't know enough about Dumbledore to know what it is in Harry that he loves so much. But to posit a Manipulative!Dumbledore, simply because we don't have enough backstory...well, that's not good enough. There's a lot of solid evidence that Dumbledore truly does love Harry, even if the reasons are someone difficult to figure out right now.

all of that stuff about Voldemort fearing DD just irritates me. Why was he afraid of him? DD certainly never did anything to get rid of him that was effective.

Well, this one's easy enough...Voldemort never gave DD the opportunity to do anything to get rid of him, because Voldemort was too afraid to go near him.

Did you read the scene where Albus took out all those aurors? Come on now.

plus, in the part where Minerva and DD were talking about what powers DD was "too noble" to use (SS) it just made it sound like he could have defeated Voldemort if he put his mind to it.

That's only if Dumbledore was willing to use Dark Magic. Which he wasn't. Which is a strong strike against Manipulative!Dumbledore. If all he really cares about is defeating Voldemort, why not use a little Dark Magic to do it? And would a man who is "too noble" to use Dark Magic choose a Dark course of action, involving intentional deceit, manipulation, and hypocrisy? Doesn't make sense.
AloysiusWeasley: Anti-slash Siriusaloysiusweasley on August 7th, 2006 04:48 am (UTC)
Interesting idea...I'm still in the midst of my thorough re-reading, but after some suspicious words at the end of CoS, I'm nearly to the office to purchase a ticket for the Manipulative!Dumbledore Express. If your theory is a little closer to the mark, then perhaps what Dumbledore saw in the sea-cave after drinking from the "Punchbowl of Doom" (lol, and props to whomever coined it that) was indeed the consequences of his biggest mistake, his fumbling of the prophecy business. Perhaps he saw the people that died, were tortured, or placed under Imperio as the repercussions of his course of action - and not to meantion what happened to both the Longbottoms and the Potters as a result of his meddling.
Keep up the good work! :)
travisprinzi on August 7th, 2006 11:37 am (UTC)
Whoah, hang on...to be clear, I'm writing against Manipulative!Dumbledore and against the prophecy plan theory. I don't think Dumbledore had anything to do with letting the prophecy loose, nor that he is a "callous, manipulative old coot." I expounded the prophecy plan theory to take it down, not advocate for it.

Out of curiosity, what are the suspicious words at the end of COS?
(no subject) - aloysiusweasley on August 7th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 7th, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aloysiusweasley on August 8th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
AloysiusWeasley: Weasley familyaloysiusweasley on August 7th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Sorry - got cut off by the LJ limit (I can really empathize with Hermione's writing more rolls of parchment than needed! :D):

For those who scoff at #4, listen to this:
on pg. 425, when Lucius is already in the office and Dumbledore has just held up the diary, he's described as this:
"A clever plan," said Dumbledore in a level voice, still staring Mr. Malfoy STRAIGHT IN THE EYE (emphasis mine)....ect.
then: "Mr. Malfoy said nothing. His face was suddenly MASKLIKE. (Emphasis mine again)
This sounds REMARKABLY like Dumbledore was using Legilimency on Malfoy, to glean his part in the plot, and Malfoy is using Occulumency to block. Elsewhere, I'm pretty sure Snape's face is also described as "masklike" when Legilimency comes into play.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this yet, as I'm currently on a re-read of PoA - but my slowly-developing cracktastic theory is that Dumbledore hitched a ride on Fawkes to the Chamber (I noticed Fawkes also didn't use the same method of entry Harry, Ron, and Gilderoy did - hmmm...) and was giving/already given Fawkes instructions. Perhaps it was uncommon bravery and common sense that made Harry drive the fang into the diary - or perhaps Legilimency from Dumbledore. Perhaps he was invisible in the backround - it kills me when he reveals later in the series that he doesn't need a cloak to become invisible, and I'm sure at that hint it meant he was at spots in the books before and after that using his skill (especially in the room when Harry and Ron are using the Mirror of Erised - but that's another thing altogether:)
Thanks for entertaining my longwinded thoughts! :D
travisprinzi on August 7th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
Woops! Should've read more before commenting above.

The situation might be possible, but highly unlikely I think.

Though, yes, Dumbledore's assertion about not needing a cloak does lead to some interesting possibilities for speculating about certain scenarios in the books!
(no subject) - aloysiusweasley on August 8th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travisprinzi on August 8th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Navigating Changing Seas: Dancing_FeltonWatsonkoloagirl on August 7th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
Dumbledore would be willing to sacrifice lots of nameless and faceless people in order to protect Harry's happiness.

But is Harry's happiness what Dumbledore is protecting? Might Dumbledore be protecting Harry himself? Might Dumbledore have a bigger picture in mind, ie., Voldemort's downfall, in which case it's both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds at stake?

If, according to the prophecy, Harry is the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord, has Dumbledore, as one of the only people privy to the prophecy's terms, been self-appointed to maintain responsibility for keeping Harry intact until such time Harry's capable of vanquishing Voldemort? And, in that same role, has Dumbledore not been working diligently over the course of Harry's life to (a) protect Harry (keeping him with the Dursley's) and (b) piece together the means by which Harry might defeat Voldemort?

To the latter point, at the time Dumbledore "tells Harry everything" at the end of OOTP, Dumbledore doesn't know about the Horcruxes -- he only suspects, he is gathering evidence. That evidence comes in the form of what Harry himself shares, ie., what Voldemort says at the end of GOF, as well as collecting pensieve memories, whether from Slughorn or any of the others we see during HBP. Dumbledore explicitly shares what he knows about Horcruxes with Harry over the course of HBP, even as he continues piecing it together. He starts with facts and builds to educated guess. He gives Harry what he has to offer; he does not hold it back.

Dumbledore's "plan" talk in Order (ch. 37): Just what was that all about, anyway? And linked to this, don't we learn in that very same chapter ("The Lost Prophecy") that Dumbledore would be willing to sacrifice lots of nameless and faceless people in order to protect Harry's happiness? And isn't that exactly what he did if he took a chance on the prophecy - put lots of nameless and faceless people at risk?

Dumbledore's plan. I've always taken his plan to be the overall goal of enabling Harry to defeat Voldemort. Harry's the one with the power. Not Dumbledore. Not Emmeline Vance. Not Amelia Bones. Not any member of the Order. Harry.

Which returns me to the inescapable fact that Dumbledore is flawed. I have yet to see any evidence (canonically speaking) that Dumbledore wants anyone to die, that he does not care for the people putting themselves in harm's way, or that he thinks they are expendable. I think he makes calculated risks. I think he takes precautions when acting or asking others to act upon those risks. I think he is not coercing people to act upon those risks. I also think he only tells people what they need to know so that the overall effort and the others involved are not compromised.

Do his strategies work 100% of the time? Plainly, the answer is no. If people he cares about get harmed or killed as a result of one of his plans failing, might he feel remorse? Might he feel blame or guilt? In the face of drinking a poison contained in an Inferi-ridden cave, might the poison cause him to be consumed with the compounded guilt he feels? Does he feel any less guilt about one person's life because he's striving for the larger goal of ridding the world of Voldemort? While I can't say definitively that the answer to my final question is yes, I think there is ample room for that possibility.
kawakiisakazukikawakiisakazuki on August 8th, 2006 07:47 am (UTC)
according to the prophecy, Harry is the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord

But isn't one of the main points of HBP that prophecies are actually bogus, not to be taken at all seriously? SO DD turning Harry into his weapon is his *choice*, not something fated.

I think you are dead on that DD sees himself as the self-appointed saviour of the world. But I'm not sure he's the right guy for the job, and I really don't like his methods.

Why did DD let the events in GOF happen, when it was obvious from the start that it was a Harry trap? What was with the "gleam of triumph"?

Dumbledore doesn't know about the Horcruxes -- he only suspects, he is gathering evidence.

I say nonsense to this. He was already mopping up horcruxes over the holidays, he didn't need Slughorn's memory at all. In fact we learn surprisingly little of use in that memory.
Part I - koloagirl on August 8th, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Part II: Horcruxes - koloagirl on August 8th, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Part II: Horcruxes - travisprinzi on August 8th, 2006 02:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
saracene on August 8th, 2006 10:50 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by saying that Snape was already in league with Dumbledore at the time of the prophecy. Do you mean that Snape was never really a Death Eater and was always Dumbledore's agent? Or that Snape was Voldemort's follower but switched sides some time before the Prophecy?

If it's the latter, then what's the explanation for Snape switching sides and Dumbledore's trust? If it has nothing to do with Potters' deaths, then we're basically back to square one in terms of information.

And personally, as someone on the good!Snape bandwagon, I'd be hugely disappointed if it was revealed that Snape was never really a Death Eater and always worked for Dumbledore. That IMO would drain the character and his story of so much complexity if we find out that, guess what, he was always a goodie.
travisprinzi on August 8th, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
And personally, as someone on the good!Snape bandwagon, I'd be hugely disappointed if it was revealed that Snape was never really a Death Eater and always worked for Dumbledore. That IMO would drain the character and his story of so much complexity if we find out that, guess what, he was always a goodie.

I agree, and it's one of the reasons I don't buy the prophecy plan. I don't think Snape was in league with Dumbledore at the time of the prophecy. You'd have to read Joyce's theory (linked in the essay) to discover exactly what she thinks about when Snape was a DE and when he "repented."
(no subject) - saracene on August 9th, 2006 07:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
woman_ironingwoman_ironing on August 9th, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC)
What a good essay and discussion! What I like about Dumbledore is that he makes me think about the nature of goodness and how good it is possible for anyone to be. Good is not the same thing as perfect, and not the same thing as right. I think that the reader disappointment with Dumbledore is because good has got mixed up with perfect and right. I also have a feeling that Harry may yet be disappointed in Dumbledore. 'Dumbledore's man through and through' just makes the hazard warning lights flash because doesn't Harry need to be his own man?