The Mystery of Aberforth

During the interview after the launch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, someone asked J.K. Rowling which member of the Order of the Phoenix is her favourite. She responded:

“I keep killing all my favourite members of the Order of the Phoenix, but there is one member of the Order of the Phoenix that you have not yet met properly and you will–well, you know that they are a member, but you haven’t really met them properly yet and you will meet them in seven, so I am looking forward to that.”

CBBC, July 18, 2005

How many members of the order have we briefly met, but not yet properly? And how many have the potential to be J.K. Rowling’s favourite member of the Order? I think it’s very possible that J.K. is referring to Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus Dumbledore’s mysterious brother.

Dumbledore, himself, only mentions the existence of Aberforth once, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as they are trying to coax Hagrid out of his hut after he had been exposed as a Giant by Rita Skeeter in the Daily Prophet:

“My own brother, Aberforth, was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat. It was all over the papers, but did Aberforth hide? No, he did not! He held his head high, and went about his business as usual! Of course, I’m not entirely sure he can read, so that may not have been bravery…”

GoF pg 454/394

The only other time Aberforth Dumbledore is mentioned directly is in the next book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, at the party at the Burrow celebrating Harry’s acquittal and Ron and Hermione’s prefect badges. Mad Eye Moody shows Harry a wizard photograph of the original Order of the Phoenix, and while listing the people in the photo, points out to Harry:

“That’s Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, only time I ever met him, strange bloke …”

OotP pg 174/158

It’s interesting to note that Mad Eye confirms that Albus Dumbledore is also in the photo.

So, those are the only two times in the books that Aberforth is mentioned by name. But it’s possible we know much more about Aberforth than those two mentions. There is good evidence that Aberforth is currently the barman at the Hog’s Head, which places him close to Hogwarts and all the action in the books.

Even from the very first book, even before we had ever visited Hogsmeade, J.K. has wanted us to know something’s up at the Hog’s Head. We find out in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that the Hog’s Head is where someone sold Hagrid the dragon egg, and as Harry, Ron and Hermione are questioning Hagrid about where he got Norbert, Hagrid says:

“Yeh get a lot o’ funny folk in the Hog’s Head — that’s the pub down in the village.”

SS/PS pg 265/193

Several books later, in Order of the Phoenix, Hermione picks the Hog’s Head as the first meeting place of what would become Dumbledore’s Army, and she describes the place very similarly:

“I’ve told the others to meet us in the Hog’s Head, that other pub, you know the one, it’s not on the main road. I think it’s a bit…you know…dodgy…but students don’t normally go in there, so I don’t think we’ll be overheard.”

OotP pg 335/299

On that same page we learn one more important thing about the Hog’s Head:

The Hog’s Head bar comprised one small, dingy and very dirty room that smelled strongly of something that might have been goats.

OotP pg 335/299

And we meet someone very interesting:

The barman sidled towards them out of a back room. He was a grumpy-looking old man with a great deal of long grey hair and beard. He was tall and thin and looked vaguely familiar to Harry.”

OotP pg 336/300

Obviously, these are clues pointing to the fact that this man is Aberforth, Dumbledore’s brother. He is tall and thin, old, bearded, and Harry vaguely remembers him. Of course he does, he looks like Dumbledore, and Moody showed him his picture. And goats are mentioned again.

Now that we know that the Hog’s Head barman is Aberforth, where else have we encountered him in the books? We know he was at Dumbledore’s funeral at the end of Half Blood Prince:

Some people whom Harry merely knew by sight, such as the barman of the Hog’s Head …

HBP pg 641/598

But Aberforth makes one other appearance in the story, and although it’s very brief, it’s very important. In Half-Blood Prince, in The Seer Overheard, Professor Trelawney inadvertently tells Harry the story of how she overheard The Prophecy. She reminds us it happened in the Hog’s Head (as Dumbledore has already told us at the end of Order of the Phoenix), and then in the course of remembering what happened, she says:

“…but then we were rudely interrupted by Severus Snape!” “What?” “Yes, there was a commotion outside the door and it flew open, and there was that rather uncouth barman standing with Snape, who was waffling about having come the wrong way up the stairs, although I’m afraid that I myself rather thought he had been apprehended eavesdropping on my interview with Dumbledore …”

HBP pg 545/509
sibylltrelawney

So, at this incredibly crucial time in the story, when the prophecy is being made to Dumbledore, and being only partially overheard by Snape, which causes Snape to only partially report it to Voldemort, and causes Voldemort to mark Harry as his equal without knowing that he would do so, IT WAS APPARENTLY ABERFORTH who prevented Snape from hearing the entire prophecy. Snape was eavesdropping and Aberforth discovered him, and a commotion ensues, culminating with Aberforth and Snape bursting into the room.

In interviews, J.K. has hinted that we will discover more about Dumbledore’s past in Book 7, and Aberforth seems to be the perfect means of discovering more information about Dumbledore. What else does Aberforth know? Even if Dumbledore is really dead, it seems that Aberforth has been very closely connected with the Order’s work against Voldemort all these years, and can potentially be a very big help to Harry in his quest to find the remaining horcruxes and the destruction of Voldemort.

And what of Aberforth himself? Isn’t it strange that someone so learned and wise as Albus Dumbledore would have a brother who can’t read? And what was Aberforth doing with those goats? Could it have anything to do with bezoars? Again, in a clue from so early in the first book, Snape teaches us:

“A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons.”

PS/SS pg 138/103

Was Aberforth working for the Order of the Phoenix even then, trying to stockpile bezoars in case members of the Order were poisoned by followers of You-Know-Who, the way Ron was in Half-Blood Prince?

But the very existence of Aberforth in the story brings up a much more important question. At the end of Order of the Phoenix, via a memory in Dumbledore’s pensieve, Trelawney tells us the entire prophecy:

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…”

OotP pg 841/741

A few pages later, Dumbledore tells us:

“He only heard the first part, the part foretelling the birth of a boy in July to parents who thrice defied Voldemort. Consequently, he could not warn his master that to attack you would be to risk transferring power to you, and marking you as his equal. So, Voldemort never knew there might be a danger in attacking you, that it might be wise to wait, to learn more.”

OotP pg 843/743

What would have happened if Dumbledore’s brother had not interrupted Snape and prevented him from hearing the entire prophecy that night? Would Voldemort had acted differently had he heard the entire prophecy? How would Harry’s world be different now if he had?

(Thanks to Laura Matheson for help with this article.)

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David Haber
David Haber

D.S. Haber (known to his friends as Dave) is a professional muggle computer programmer and web designer and lives in Los Angeles. He is proud of the fact that he is a new-blood wizard with no (apparent) previous magical blood in his family. His favorite Quidditch team is the Falmouth Falcons, who's motto is "Let us win, but if we cannot win, let us break a few heads." He is also a West Ham United (Hammers) fan.

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Asif Kalloe
Asif Kalloe
17 years ago

Very nice theory, you really convinced me that the barman of Hog’s Head is Aberforth. Our J.K. leaves many tiny details where some people can predict (a part of) the course of the Harry Potter story. But the question is why is Aberforth hiding his true identity? To protect Harry in secret? And if he’s really the brother of Albus, why can’t he read? I’m anxious to discover that on 21 of july.

Orlando
Orlando
17 years ago

Aberforth is going to have a role in the 7th book as he is making an appearance in film 5 this summer. If he had no part to play in the final book he would not be in the film, or he would be – as ‘the barman who overhears the prophecy’ but it would be a two second part not worthy of a famous actor.
One other person who gets a mention in the people at the funeral is ‘the hairy bass player from the Wierd Sisters’. Perhaps he too is a member of the Order.

Marjorie
Marjorie
17 years ago

I am sure I have missed something about Aberforth. The mentions of his in the books are few (unlike, say, Lily’s eyes’) unless you DO count the appearances of the barman in the Hogs Head. The mention by Dumbledore of his brother implies a less than savoury incident (goats was it?) but he has always been a shadow.

If, as Asif suggests, Aberforth is hiding his true identity then who might he ‘really’ be? JKR has stated categorically that Lilly is dead, but I can’t remember about James. However, I can’t see James Potter spending years in disguise simply to rid the world of one bad guy.

Dave Haber
Dave Haber
17 years ago

Aberforth is not “hiding his true identity”, as if he’s pretending to be someone he’s not. He’s just hiding, not operating out in the open, preferring to stay in the shadows. Mad Eye said he was a “strange bloke”.

Besides, Aberforth can’t be someone else we know from the story, like James, because that picture of the Order was taken way before the night James and Lily died, and Aberforth was in it (along with Albus).

As to the “unsavory incident”, perhaps J.K. just worded it that way to make us think that, but in truth, Aberforth got in trouble for something more sinister, in the same way Sturgis Podmore got in trouble while he was staking out the ministry for the Order.

Javed
Javed
17 years ago

If Snape heard the prophecy, it could be possible that Aberforth also heard the prophecy right? Another important part in HBP is when Mundungus is with Aberforth in Hogsmede and Aberforth quickly disappears. Then Harry finds out that Mundungus has been stealing Sirius’ stuff. So Aberforth might have Slytherin’s real locket, which Regulus Black stole from the cave and hid in his house (Grimmauld Place). This could be the reason why Aberforth is important in Deathly Hallows.

Colleen
Colleen
17 years ago

Thanks, Dave, for starting in on Aberforth (as well of course for this beloved site). My curiousity about him was first sparked in OOTP when Mad Eye was sharing the pic with Harry. Well, it just continued to grow with everything you sited. What solidified the importance of him for me was when he was spotted by the kids outside with Mundungus when he was peddling Sirius’ belongings in HBP. Of course, when Harry began to tell Dumbledore of Dung’s sidewalk sale, Dumbledore said he had already known. Who told Dumbledore? His brother of course. The same barman who has had problems with Mundungus before, according to Sirius in OOTP, which is why he was in disguise and saw the kids at the DA start-up meeting.

No, I don’t think Aberforth is hiding. Bezoar collecting, quite possibly. Academically challenged, perhaps, but, you don’t need to be a genius to be part of the Order. (Bless Hagrid’s heart.) But vital to the Order, as well as the end of the saga, you bet. For everything Dave pointed out, as well as something little that wasn’t mentioned. It might not be of any signifigance, but “the Hog’s Head sign creaked a little, though there was no breeze” as Harry and Dumbledore prepared to apparate to the cave in HBP. Was this a signal between brothers?

ketaki
ketaki
17 years ago

Amazing amazing.. I had put all the things together earlier; except the last piece with Trelawny saying that Snape was there with Aberforth.. I have all appalauds for this piece.. good job..

Britney
Britney
17 years ago

god… I did not believe that Aberforth was the barnman in Hog’s Head till now. Everything sort of makes sense. However, I think Aberforth can read. I mean, being the brother of the greatest wizard in the world {probaby}, he should be somewhat clever?

Jo, hurry up… I wanna read DH

herve
herve
17 years ago

I think that Aberforth has to do with the word “Oddment” Dumbledore said in his first appearance at Hogwarts, and Harry reminded at the end of HBP. There were four words, probably related to four persons leading to four Horcruxes/relics of the founders. Aberforth is probably related to Slytherin locket.

Miran Ahmed
Miran Ahmed
17 years ago

The moment I finished reading HBP, I was convinced that Aberforth would feature in Book 7, but I wasn’t sure where he’d appear from. Now I’m convinced he’s the barman at the Hog’s Head.

Natalie
Natalie
17 years ago

When dumbledore shows harry the prophecy it was shown the full prophecy with no interuptions so does that mean that the prophecy was repeated twice and it could be repeated again so voldermort could hear that he cant live why harry is alive so why was the prophecy shown with no interuptions? p.s good theory though

Juhi
Juhi
17 years ago

i think that Aberforth is going to help Harry find the last horcrux and then destroy Lord Voldemort. He probably knows all about the prophecy from the night when snape was caught evesdropping. I really want to know why Aberforth cant read. Maybe he knows about Dumbledore’s current whereabouts.
But it is possible that there is someother member of the Order who has been mentioned just a few times. Any guesses? (I dont know who that can be)

What about the night when Lupin and Tonks came to private Drive to take Harry to Grimmauld Place along with Moody?
There were a couple of other wizards along with them weren’t there? Maybe it is one of them who will play an important role in the next book.
I just cant wait to get my hands on it!

Dave Porter
Dave Porter
16 years ago

There’s magic and then there is alchemy. Ancient “magicians” used to try to turn lead into gold, maybe Aberforth was trying to get goats to make bezoars. The world’s often critical of those that try something new, he may just have been ahead of his time. With all the potions introduced in the series lately, they are going to need all the bezoars they can get.

I think the only magic Dudley will ever do is make an entire cake dissappear!

Kyle
Kyle
16 years ago

Dave: You do make a very good point! But after reading your comment I remembered what Hermoine first said when we met her in the first book. On page 105 in the English edition, she walked into Harry and Ron’s compartment on the train looking for Neville’s toad. When Ron was beginning to do magic on Scabbers. And this is what she said exactly…”Well, it’s not very good, is it? I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. NOBODY in my family’s magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter,…”

Like Michael said that when Jo was asked if Petunia was a squib she said, “No, but that is very close.” I believe that there is a term used for wizards that are born into muggle families. That we haven’t heard of yet. That may be what she meant by very close.

herve
herve
16 years ago

Marjorie: I think Aberforth will help Harry, at least in finding one of the Horcruxes.

First, several people on this forum have insisted on the fact he got, through Mundungus, things that were in 12 Grimmauld Place – maybe the real Slytherin Locket.

Second, because when Dumbledore says: “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!”, it looks very much as if he talks about four persons that help Harry in the Deathly Hallows. To me, the most obvious is Blubber (Slughorn: Hermione compares him to a walrus), and the runner up is Oddment: Aberforth.

gordon
gordon
16 years ago

could lilly be adopted?

Kyle
Kyle
16 years ago

Gordon: I don’t see why Lily would be adopted. We do know that Hermoine doesn’t have anyone else in her family that can do magic. If it’s possible that Hermoine is the only one in her family that can do magic, Why can’t Lily be the only one in her family that can do magic? Think about this…Petunia hated that her sister could do magic! Is it possible that Petunia only hated Lily for doing magic because she couldn’t do magic herself?

Patty
Patty
16 years ago

Gordon,
Not unless Petunia was also adopted. Dumbledore placed Harry where his mother’s blood still lived to keep him safe until he turned 17.

nalie
nalie
16 years ago

i think aberforth will replace albus as a fatherly figure to harry in book seven. aberforth has been sleuthing (i presumed) for the Order, this means he is aware of what’s going on. maybe harry and him will establish a closer relationship, both missing albus. just my thoughts.

Ashley
Ashley
16 years ago

Ok Im jumping into a conversation from the last page, about Petunia being a Squib. I think that their parents could have been expelled from Hogwarts or something but my mom came up with this very reasonable arguement:
“Some Muggles would HAVE to know that Hogwarts was there otherwise they wouldn’t sent their kids there. Its pretty stupid to send you kid to some school that you have never heard of, in an unknown part of the country, just because you got a letter from some quote quote Wizard saying that your kid is a Wizard.”
Come to think of it, would any of you want to send your kid to a school you had never heard of, just because you got a letter from that school? They would pretty much have to know something about it, otherwise why would they let their kids go?
So I think that Lilys parents were a witch and a wizard, expelled from Hogwarts and sick of the magical world. That way they could tell Lily and Petunia that they were totally shocked by Lilys letter coming, and raise them for most of their lives to be Muggles.

claire
claire
16 years ago

herve i like that idea. could “Tweak” be Wormtail? it sounds sort of like sweak. and “Nitwit” would be someone really stupid.

Charlie Tarbox
Charlie Tarbox
16 years ago

Don’t the Creevy brothers come from a Muggle household? Dennis was so shocked to find out why he could do the things he did as a kid before getting the letter. This did not seem to bother the Creevys as it explained some of the ‘strangeness’ that had been going on around the kids since they were born. Perhaps Muggle families are only shocked in relation to how much ‘wierdness’ they have or have not had to live through with the kids before they hear from Hogwarts?

herve
herve
16 years ago

Claire: I’m starting to think of Mme Pince to be “Tweak”: she is vulture like (vulture have claws and tweak little animals to kill them) and in french, the verb “pincer” means tweak (Tweak is translated as “pin�on” in french)

Marjorieq
Marjorieq
16 years ago

True, Charlie. I had a thought that the Creevy brothers continue to make regular appearances in spite of not being central to the plot…..

Herve, interesting comments. I’m still not 100% sure about Aberforth as mentor (it just seems like a good idea right now!) I still cling to my chocolate frog card idea and have started to wonder about other characters as I listen to OotP once again for the last time before I see the film in July. It will be interesting to see what Aberforth looks like behind the bar!

Marjorie
Marjorie
16 years ago

Hmm? My last comment could be misconstrued… What I meant was – we have access to a lot of characters who are mentioned regularly although not explored in depth (Order members or not). Ironically, this comment applies to Aberforth – there is not a great deal on him, just sprinklings of information. Red herrings, I fear, abound. As Colleen suggested previously, what about the Longbottoms – just as an example.

Amy
Amy
16 years ago

I only noticed this interesting passage today while rereading HBP.

Pg 245 American Hardback

“The exceptions were two men a little ahead of them, standing just outside the Three Broomsticks. One was very tall and thin; squinting through his rain-washed glasses Harry recognized the barman who worked in the other Hogsmeade pug, the Hog’s Head. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione drew closer, the barman drew his cloak more tightly around his neck and walked away, leaving the shorter man to fumble with something in his arms. They were barely feet from him when Harry realized who the man was.”

It was Mundungus.

Sooo…first of all, since we know that Aberforth is the barman, then he was outside the Three Broomsticks talking to Dung, who was banned from the Hog’s Head. So while he was banned, it does seem that Dung and Aberforth still have some sort of relationship. Also, why did Aberforth feel the need to quickly leave when he saw the trio coming?

Koby
Koby
16 years ago

Hmm, I wonder what sort of inappropriate charms Aberforth cast upon the goat? I’m hoping not TOO inappropriate, if you know what I mean. But, he never gave up upon his goat experiment, because if OoTP, when the DA eneters the Hog’s Head, they are overpowered by a sudden waft of aroma that smelled very much like a goat…

Heather
Heather
16 years ago

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that the only fact we have ever learned about goats is that the bezoar comes from the stomache of a goat. Was Aberforth doing something with a goat to make the ideal bezoar? Has he been storing them? As Koby suggested, he is most likely still performing these charms on goats at the Hog’s Head.

Maybe these bezoars are being given to members of the Order as a precaution. Kind of like how people in the US stocked up on Cipro (an antibiotic) in order to treat an Anthrax outbreak. Don’t soldiers carry all sorts of antidotes on their person to protect against biological warfare? The bezoar may be something similar—needed to protect against various enemy poisons. During warfare, you don’t leave home without one. just a thought.

Kim
Kim
16 years ago

I, too, am interested the passage from HBP that Amy posted. It seems odd that Aberforth would draw his cloak closer to his neck as they approached. I was struck by the fact that he had glasses on. I can’t remember if the description of Aberforth from Moody’s photo included glasses. I can’t wait to go check. I still think that Aberforth may not be Aberforth.

I also wonder about JK’s phrasing during her answer about her favorite order member. (I just reread the article at the beginning of this thread.) She starts off by saying one member, but then switches to “they” and “them”. Could it be possible that she is talking about more than one person? Like a married couple, the Longbottoms?

will
will
16 years ago

Maybe, Petunia is the member of the order we will “get to know better.”

Amy
Amy
16 years ago

I don’t believe that the passage is saying that Aberforth is wearing glasses, but rather is referring to Harry’s glasses.

David
David
16 years ago

I really doubt that the bar man in Hog’s Head is Aberforth.
When Harry and very weak Albus apparate back from the cave, Albus doesnt even consider going to the Hog’s Head even though they must be 30 seconds away from it (as far as i remember Hog’s Head is pretty close to Rosmertas place). But Aberforth might be examining some goats in New Zealand or something and thats why Albus doesnt go to the Hog’s Head to look for his brother…
Even though he isnt the bar man i am sure we havent seen the last of Aberforth.

Ashley
Ashley
16 years ago

Gramatically speaking, the semicolon in that sentence would mean that we were referring to Harry’s glasses.
“One was very tall and thin; squinting through his rain-washed glasses Harry recognized the barman who worked in the other Hogsmeade pug, the Hog’s Head.”
If it were to mean that the barman had rain-washed glasses, it would look like this:
“One was very tall and thin, squinting through his rain-washed glasses. Harry recognized the barman who worked in the other Hogsmeade pub, the Hog’s Head.”
So, if you divide the sentence gramatically, Harry is the one wearing the glasses, not Aberforth.

harry
harry
16 years ago

Maybe Aberforth drew his cloak closer to his neck because its what other people would do with a coat or a scarf (ie for warmth, or an equivalent to putting up a hood when its cold). If he was hiding something so important as not to let Harry see it from a distance….he probably wouldn’t be out in the open with the thing the day Hogwarts has a Hogsmeade venture…

mikey
mikey
16 years ago

Herve, to add to possible meanings.
Blubber! Slughorn
Oddment! Aberforth
Tweak! Tonks. [Would anyone consider metamorphmagus abilities as tweaking?]
Nitwit! Mundungus, or better yet Stan Shunpike [probably the biggest nitwit of all the characters]

Also Hermione used the term “tweak”. She said that Felix Felices helped Harry to tweak the circumstances in obtaining Slughorn’s memory. So it’s just a thought that the words might not necessarily refer to people.

Amber
Amber
16 years ago

What if Aberforth is an unregistered animagus who turns into a goat? He could have been in goat form and was going to be caught so he changed the situation. It might have made him look like he was practicing magic on another goat. He got in trouble for it, but not as much trouble as an unregistered animagus…

Kyle
Kyle
16 years ago

I had the same thought as Amber. Only what if Aberforth is Crookshanks? Its pretty farfetched but crookshanks was helping Sirius get scabbers. And they all said he was pretty smart.

Ashley
Ashley
16 years ago

Come on we have to draw the line somewhere, there were three unregistered Animaguses; Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail. I have an obsessive theory that Dumbledore is a phoenix Animagus; so I don’t think that Aberforth could be an Animagus, but rather that he has doing something involving bezoars.

Marjorie
Marjorie
16 years ago

I have always wondered if Crookshanks would turn out to be more than a Kneazle, but interesting though the proposal is, I can’t really see it. As has been pointed out there are a limited number of animagi, BUT as we have seen from Rita, unregistered animagi are a different matter altogether.

My main conflict is 1) I believe Dumbledore to be dead — after all JKR really labours the point when he pleads with Snape to go through with it and kill him (I think anyway) and I think we can assume him dead – opinions differ on this as we all know. 2) However, I cannot reconcile this with the fact that I keep wondering if Albus IS actually Aberforth in disguise – partly through other comments, partly through my re-listening to OotP at the moment. Dumbledore escapes from Fudge et al via Fawkes – and we do not know the rules pertaining to Fawkes and magic, Fawkes also reappears at Dumbledore’s funeral and sings, then disappears.

Lyle
Lyle
16 years ago

In what book does Dumbledore say nitwit, blubbler, oddment and tweak? I don’t recall reading that ever..

herve
herve
16 years ago

In PS/SS, when he welcomes everyone at Hogwarts after the sorting ceremony. Actually, he says more: “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!” He never says thank you in anyother speech. I presume that here “thank you!” is part of his words, and not a conclusion for the audience.

That’s why I think those four words represent four persons, and there is no reason to thank them except if they do outstanding things in DH, like providing the Horcruxes.

If he doesn’t foresee the future, then he already lived DH. Hence, he must have lived DH prior to SS/PS.

Kyle
Kyle
16 years ago

I like the idea that Herve has. But in PoA, when Harry and Hermoine go back in time they stress not to be seen by themselves or really anybody. But maybe if Dumbledore came back in time he took up the position at the Hogs Head, where he could still keep tabs on things.

Kim
Kim
16 years ago

That’s what happens when you read too quick. I completely missed the fact that it was Harry’s glasses. And to think that I am always on my students for not reading carefully. It’s a good thing they are not reading over my shoulder!

I seem to remember reading somewhere (maybe JK’s site) that Crookshanks is NOT an animagus.

Javed
Javed
16 years ago

“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” could probably be four house elves at Hogwarts. So Herve, you may be right that the words represent four people. Sounds like the names of house elves – “Dobby, Kreacher.”

Kyle
Kyle
16 years ago

Even if those are people who can help Harry, I doubt that he will remember that Dumbledore even said that. Being his first year time at Hogwarts, he was so excited and anxious I don’t see how he could remember something that was said in the first hour upon being there.

Thomas
Thomas
16 years ago

“Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak” Could it be that we are reading TOO MUCH into this? I don’t have PS/SS in front of me at the moment, but, as I remember, Dumbledore said something like “I’d like to say a few words” before these four were spoken. When I read the passage (the first of many times) the idea of hidden meanings/clues/etc. never occurred to me. I took it as an example of JR’s humor, no more than that. I fear that all this analysis is taking away some of the charm of the series, for me at least.

herve
herve
16 years ago

Kyle: At the end of HBP, Harry remembers the four words “Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak” (but not the final “Thank you!”). A repeated clue is often a good one.

The great talent of Jo is to make things appear differently than what they really are. Everybody thinks, like Percy, that Dumbledore is a little bit foolish (just like Doc in “Back to the future”). My two cents he is serious.

D. L.
D. L.
16 years ago

Kim, you’re right that JK did say that Crookshanks is only a kneazle in one of her many interviews. I don’t understand why so many people are so quick to dismiss what JK has to say. After all she did write the books and she has never lied to us before! Her integrity remains intact.

Dumbledore's Fan
Dumbledore's Fan
16 years ago

Harry does remember “Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak”. He remembers it really recently during Dumbledore’s funeral even though he heard it about 5 years before the funeral.

Darren Lee Turner
Darren Lee Turner
16 years ago

JK Rowling said this at a book festival in Edinburgh, UK, when asked by an audience member:

Audience Member: Why is the barman of the Hog�s Head vaguely familiar to Harry? Is he Dumbledore�s brother?

JK Rowling: Ooh�you are getting good. Why do you think that it is Aberforth? [Audience member: Various clues. He smells of goats and he looks a bit like Dumbledore]. I was quite proud of that clue. That is all that I am going to say. [Laughter]. Well yes, obviously. I like the goat clue�I sniggered to myself about that one.

This would support that the barman is Aberforth, Dumbledore’s brother.