The Repeating History of Dumbledore

When we first meet young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I believe J.K. Rowling is wording descriptions of events with it in mind for us to see similarities between Tom Riddle and Harry. They’re both orphans, both gifted wizards, they can speak Parseltongue. But now that we know the end of the story, and now that we know more about Dumbledore himself, courtesy of announcements made by J.K, I have lately been thinking more about similarities between Tom Riddle and Gellert Grindelwald.

We know, by J.K.’s own admission, that Dumbledore was, at least at first, attracted to Grindelwald sexually. Not that I necessarily believe anything physical ever happened between them, but I think sexual attraction is always a component of our human relationships. Take, for example, a happily-married business man who hires a beautiful woman as his secretary. Nothing need ever happen between them for us to admit that sexual attraction was a component of why the business man likes having the pretty girl around.

The genius wizard Dumbledore, having won countless awards, meets an equal in Grindelwald. As Rita Skeeter says in The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore:

Educated at Durmstrang, a school famous even then for its unfortunate tolerance of the dark arts, Grindelwald showed himself quite as precociously brilliant as Dumbledore.

DH pg 356/290

Much later in the book, Aberforth says the same thing:

“At last, my brother had an equal to talk to, someone just as bright as he was.”

DH pg 566/456

That, in and of itself, could have proven “attractive” to Dumbledore, as it might to anyone. On top of that, they were similar in age, Bathilda Bagshot is quoted by Rita Skeeter as saying:

“He seemed a charming boy to me,” babbles Bathilda, “whatever he later became. Naturally, I introduced him to poor Albus, who was missing the company of lads his own age. The boys took to each other at once.”

DH pg 356/291

And I’m sure it didn’t hurt that Gellert was a good-looking young man. Harry himself notes this:

He rifled through the pages, looking for photographs. He came across the one he sought almost at once, the young Dumbledore and his handsome companion, roaring with laughter at some long forgotten joke. Harry dropped his eyes to the caption. Albus Dumbledore, shortly after his mother’s death, with his friend Gellert Grindelwald.

DH pg 352/288

In his own letter to Gellert, Albus seems to already be questioning Gellert’s plans for dominance of the muggles. Instead of trying to talk him out of the plan, which Dumbledore must have known would end their friendship, Dumbledore instead tries to find reason with the plan, and at the same time, tries to minimize Gellert’s violent tendencies:

Your point about wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLE’S OWN GOOD — this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and, yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be basis for our counter-arguments. We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD. And from this it follows that where we meet resistance, we must only use the force that is necessary and no more. (This was your mistake at Durmstrang!)

DH pg 357/291

In this letter, which infuriates Harry because all he can see is Dumbledore plotting with Grindelwald, Dumbledore is actually trying to change Grindelwald from the impulsive wizard that was expelled from Durmstrang into seeing a bigger picture for the good of all, and not to use any more force than they must. We know that it’s common for people in relationships to try and change people, to mold people they like into what they need in a relationship. Dumbledore liked his relationship with his “best friend” and tried to change Grindelwald into someone who wouldn’t do so many bad things.

As anyone who has tried this will know, you can’t change people, and Dumbledore obviously didn’t change Grindelwald, who eventually went so bad that Rita Skeeter says of him, “in a list of Most Dangerous Dark Wizards of All Time, he would miss out on the top spot only because You-Know-Who arrived, a generation later, to steal his crown.”

Dumbledore left Grindelwald behind and turned his energies to the betterment of wizard-kind and muggles alike, so you’d think he’d learn from his mistakes.

But did he?

“A generation later,” as Rita put it, but actually from our perspective, in the previous book, Half-Blood Prince, we see Dumbledore meeting the young Tom Riddle, and our very first impression of him is his good looks:

tominbed

“A boy was sitting on top of the grey blankets, his legs stretched out in front of him, holding a book. There was no trace of the Gaunts in Tom Riddle’s face. Merope had her dying wish: he was his handsome father in miniature, tall for eleven years old, dark-haired and pale.”

HBP pg 269/252

Dumbledore must have known, or suspected before this meeting, that Tom was already using his powers for bad reasons. Unlike Harry, who before he knew he was a wizard, used his powers only defensively, like when he jumped up on the roof of the school to avoid the kids who were picking on him, the orphanage’s Matron tells Dumbledore:

“He scares the other children.” “You mean he’s a bully?” asked Dumbledore. “I think he must be,” said Mrs. Cole, frowning slightly, “but it’s very hard to catch him at it. There have been incidents… nasty things…”

HBP pg 267/250

Even at this first meeting, it is clear Dumbeldore knew of Tom’s negative inclinations, and believed he could control them. In his orphanage bedroom, Dumbledore tells Tom:

“At Hogwarts,” Dumbledore went on, “we teach you not only to use magic, but to control it … Hogwarts can expel students, and the Ministry of Magic will punish law breakers still more severely. All new wizards must accept that, in entering our world, they abide by our laws.”

HBP pg 273/256

Is Dumbledore making the same mistake with Tom Riddle that he made with Gellert Grindelwald, for the same reasons? Like Grindelwald, Tom is a talented wizard. Like Grindelwald, Tom is a “bad boy”. And, like Grindelwald, Tom is a handsome boy.

And like Grindelwald, Tom Riddle grows up to be the most feared wizard of his time.

Does Dumbledore’s attraction to Tom’s looks and power make Dumbledore relive the past? Was Dumbledore longing for something he cherished but lost so long ago with Gellert?

More importantly, is Dumbledore responsible for the terribleness that Tom became, because he ignored his mistakes of the past and was willing to think that Tom could be changed for the better?

What would the world have been like if Dumbledore had not met Grindelwald as a boy? Would he have been able to not wait so long before their final confrontation? And what would the world have been like had not Dumbledore sponsored Tom Riddle at Hogwarts? Could Voldemort have become as powerful as he did had he not gained influence as model student and head boy at Hogwarts?

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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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Dave Haber
Dave Haber
16 years ago

That’s what we do here sometimes, we play the “what if” game! That’s part of what this site is for!

Davis
Davis
16 years ago

I don�t think that Dumbledore was attracted to Riddle sexually AT ALL! I think that this was simply another case of Dumbledore seeing the best in people once again. He saw that Riddle had some flaws but he also saw the enormous skill and ability in Riddle. I think that Dumbledore might have also seen some of the power issues, that he expresses that he has in DH, in Riddle, and therefore thought that if he tried to mentor Riddle, he could be changed. Dumbledore made a mistake there of course. The difference between them was that Dumbledore was wise enough to see the problem within himself. Riddle was not. Though we have no evidence to assume that Dumbledore ever was a “bully” or tried to control people we do know that Dumbledore had his followers. Doge for example was described as someone who wasn’t extremely bright but “worshiped at the feet of Dumbledore” as expresses by Aberforth. Even though Dumbledore never tired to take control he certainly could have. I am sure there were many like Doge that would have been more than eager to join up and follow Dumbledore (and even Grindelwald later). When you look at it this way Dumbledore and Voldemort are similar in many ways. The difference was that Dumbledore had the wisdom to see the problem that he could have with power, and choose not to take it. Not out of fear for himself, but for others. This took one thing…love. Dumbledore had the capacity and the willingness to love. Something that is constantly said that Voldemort NEVER had. This brings us to one of the main themes of the Harry Potter series; Love has to power to change the world.

parvati
parvati
16 years ago

Just a thought, was Voldy also gay? He has not shown any inclination towards the female gender but liked snape. Any thoughts?

waterbaby
waterbaby
16 years ago

All the way through the entire series, Dumbledore kept pushing the concept of love being so powerful that it could overcome any obstacle. I think he believed that the love between him and Grindelwald was strong enough to persuade Grindelwald away from the dark arts – perhaps it would have, had Dumbledore’s sister not died that way.

I also think that when Dumbledore went to see Riddle, it was not so much a case of seeing the best in him, as (a) acting on the instructions of the headmaster of the time, and (b) hoping that however bad and/or mixed up Riddle was, that Hogwarts would provide a nurturing environment for him to be sorted out. Tom Riddle, Severus Snape and Harry all came from similar miserable unloved backgrounds.

I think what JK did, was to show that no matter how bad the starting point, the way you developed was largely dependent upon the people around you, and the way they treated you. Snape was ridiculed and despised from the very first train journey to Hogwarts. How different would his story have been, if Lily had loved him instead of James? Or if he had been put into Gryffindor and found some decent friends? It seems to me that he didn’t so much choose the wrong friends, as was grateful for anyone who would be his friend. In the end, it was his love of Lily, and Dumbledore’s belief in his ability to change and help put things right, even at considerable risk to himself, that made him question, and then change, his allegiance to Voldemort. Riddle seems to have been beyond help, by the time he got to Hogwarts, but if his mother had chosen to fight for her own life, and then to give Tom a decent upbringing, perhaps his story would have been different. Harry, in complete contrast to either of them, was fortunate enough to meet Ron and his family at the start of his first journey to Hogwarts. Before that, even, Hagrid had shown concern for him, even buying him his owl, Hedwig, as if he (Hagrid)were a favourite uncle. Ron’s parents almost adopted Harry; in short, he was shown love and concern from his very first introduction to the world of wizarding.

I wonder, if either Snape or Voldemort had received the overwhelming support that Harry did, whether they too would have fulfilled their potential to do good.

Patty
Patty
16 years ago

Dave,
Yes, there is a difference between thought and action, but when you say that Dumbledore would have been influenced by Riddle’s attractiveness, then you are saying his actions are affected by his thoughts, that Dumbledore was a slave to his desires.
As a young man, Dumbledore may have been attracted to Grindelwald, and may have acted on it. I think he probably did. Grindelwald may have had similar feelings, or he may have used Dumbledore at the time. Whatever happened was between contemporaries, not a teacher and a prospective student who was young enough to be his son and not yet mature.
I agree with Siena that it is an insult to Dumbledore to infer that he had thoughts of sexual attraction toward a student, which then influenced his actions to repeat the mistakes of his youth.
Anytime someone is in a position of power, whether it is a teacher/student, business man/secretary, doctor/patient relationship etc, what is there to stop thoughts from becoming actions? Not much except for the powerful person’s own moral compass. I believe Dumbledore viewed Riddle as a troubled boy who had the brilliance to become very powerful, as a student in his care, not as just a handsome boy. He could recognize Riddle’s attractiveness, as we all would, as Harry did, but it did not cause him to overlook the rest of what he saw in Riddle.

Andromeda
Andromeda
16 years ago

I think that Dumbledore took a certain interest in Tom because he wanted to ensure that Tom didn’t turn out like Grindelwald. He failed, of course. I do not believe that Dumbledore had the attraction to Tom as he had had with Grindelwald.

Mark Campbell
Mark Campbell
16 years ago

I do not think that Dumbledore was drawn into Riddle as he was to Grindewald for the reason. If it is commented that Dumbledore would have liked Dumbledore as he was similar to Gindewald. Why would he? Grindewald brought about his sisters death, he killed many people. Why would anyone be drawn to someone because they were like that? I think that Dumbledore went to Riddle to prevent that developing in him. Quite obviously he didn’t succeed. I think that Riddles attractiveness had nothing to do with it.

Pamela sue
Pamela sue
16 years ago

I think even if Dumbledore did know that Tom Riddle would become the most evil of all he would have asked him to come to Hogworts, maybe because all wizards were given the chance to go to school or, maybe because he knew Riddle would have a hard time keeping his evil tendencies under control as did Grindlewald and Dumbledore wanted to keep a eye on Riddle or… He wanted to study him and see what would develope, how evil he could get. I think Dumbledore wasn’t dumb, He saw in Tom some of Grindlewald traits. But remember Dumbledore was drawn to power something Grindlewald and Riddle both had even at their young ages. Grindlewald was thrown out of school at age sixteen; and I like to think he was the one who killed Dumbledore’s sister. Riddle killed his father, grand-parents,moaning mrytle and created his first horcrux at age sixteen. I also think that Dumbledore was also drawn to both Grindlewald and Riddle because of their evil power. I thinks something about their power fascinated him. But I don’t think he was sexually attracted to Riddle.

Ari
Ari
16 years ago

Really, honestly, I don’t believe Dumbledore’s sexual preferences have to do anything with his choosing of friends or students. I think he’s beyond all that… maybe I’m being na�ve, but that is my point of view.

Hannah
Hannah
16 years ago

I don’t know. It seems a stretch to me to think that Dumbledore was attracted to Tom Riddle in any way, even professionally. As a teacher at Hogwarts, Dumbledore “interviewed” the prospective student, Riddle, and put together a composite profile of the boy from what he already knew about Tom and what he was told at the orphanage. That, together with his evaluation of Tom when he met him personally might have piqued his curiosity and interest but, I don’t believe we ever are led down the same path that JKR leads us in her description of Grindelwald. The one thing we do know for sure was that Dumbledore was not attracted to Riddle’s character (or lack thereof) to the point that not only did he watch Riddle’s behavior and intereactions with others but even Riddle knew Dumbledore didn’t trust or like him as much as the other teachers.

I don’t think JKR would have made it so clear that Dumbledore didn’t trust Riddle if she was trying to draw a parallel with his attraction to Grindelwald. With Gellert, Dumbledore was attracted to him and presumably trusted him and liked him. He didn’t like some of Gellert’s ideas and wanted to change them but that is very different than not liking someone’s personality and basic character. Given time, Dumbledore might have been able to change Gellert’s ideas but one individual cannot really change another’s character.

Siena
Siena
16 years ago

Thank you Patty for your comment. Further to your thought that Dumbledore would have surely used his moral compass at all times when dealing with students, even IF (something I doubt very much) he was attracted to a particular pupil. Furthermore I think that it very well possible to find someone attractive without even THINKING about that person in a sexual way. Dave mentioned actors in his comment; well, I do find that Brad Pitt is a very attractive man but he doesn’t appeal to me sexually at all. Another male actor, on the other hand, certainly does. Both actors I find equally attractive! The same applies for two collegues of mine. Also, I am a heterosexual woman and I do admire women who have a certain style – but their attraction to me is everything but sexual! It is more like an inspiration to me, I would maybe like to dress like her, etc. Or a good-looking person inspires me to take his/her picture.

Monika
Monika
16 years ago

I do not think outer appearance or attraction or whatever you may call it influenced Dumbledore’s behaviour towards Riddle. Remember: Riddle was 11 when they first met.

If the dark enemy in this story was not Tom Riddle, but Miranda Riddle, we would not talk about such possibilities. And if Rowling had not said Dumbledore was gay, we wouldn’t make a fuss about it either. Dumbledore is a teacher and wants to help children, that’s it. Even if he sees strange tendencies. We all are touched if we deal with young, poor, intelligent orphans, no wonder that good hearted Dumbledore is.

Yet, as someone has stated above, he remains sceptical and never trusted Riddle as much as the other teachers. So in fact Riddles later development is not Dumbledore’s fault, but destiny and Riddle’s will. What other possibilities than taking Riddle to Hogwarts were there for Dumbledore? Kill the boy on the spot? Leave him and let him develop his strange abilities without guidance? Don’t think so…

What about parents whose grown child commits murder. Can they be responsible for that?

Alex B.
Alex B.
16 years ago

Voldemort was one of if not the most powerful dark wizard of all time. While knowing little would have held him back he would definitely have searched for others similar to him (wizards). Even without a wand he would have torched the fact about wands out of them and would have surely gone to the best shop olliviander’s and purchased it.

He would have easily stole or earned a lot of money and from there buy many books, studying them to become as great as he was in the series. He would have applied for the defence against the dark arts teacher as before and may not have been denied the job.

In short, he would have found the chamber of secrets and either opened it or used it for future plans, that could possibly be his base. He would have still met other dark eaters similar to himself who would become his death eaters and from there it could have been better worse or very similar to what happened in the series. It would be an interesting book if written about.

Katie T
Katie T
16 years ago

I know Dumbledore likes to see the good in people, but for Tom Riddle in particular, I think it is more likely that Dumbledore wanted to keep an eye on him, maybe even ‘tame’ him. He probably thought — or, at least, hoped — that he could prevent Tom from becoming what he did. The unfortunate reality is that he couldn’t.

Orlando
Orlando
16 years ago

To try and quote Dumbledore (without having the text in front of me) – it is our choices far more than our abilities that show us what we truly are.

Using the quote I think that Dumbledore’s choices in life show that he believes there is good in everyone – and perhaps, whilst not actively trying to change a person he tries to coax them in the right direction and ‘choose’ the right path.

However, I do see an extremely valid point with the concept of Tom Riddle reminding Dumbledore deeply of his perhaps one true love Grindelwald. In the battle in the Ministry at the end of OotP Voldemort seems surprised that Dumbledore does not seek to kill him. Although technically Voldemort cannot be killed (as Dumbledore knows) it is within Dumbledore’s powers to reduce Voldemort back to a state of nothingness – yet he chooses not to. Perhaps feeling he is battling yet again with Grindelwald; Dumbledore’s choice to not go further is indicative of misguided love – and the consequences it brings.

Joe
Joe
16 years ago

What an excellent site this is. I love the diagnosis of Riddle as psychopath, and discussion of Dumbledore’s moral compass and other excellent points…

There are differences between the Dumbledore Grindelwald relationship and the Dumbledore Riddle relationship. Dumbledore and Grindelwald are equals…they are the same peer group: same age, of equal intelligence, attracted to eachother as equals. They are free to interact with eachother in any consenting way they choose. And they do I’m sure. Dumbledore tried as Grindelwald’s equal to change his ideas for the better. I disagree that you can’t change people essentially. Look at Snape…he obviously did change with time…coming to use his powers to heal others rather than to hurt them as he grew older…and under Dumbledore’s influence. And, as someone else pointed out, Grindelwald was able to love and hence felt remorse in his old age. He was not psychopathic in the way Voldemort appears to have been. Dumbledore might have gone after him earlier if he hadn’t loved him…but who knows.

Dumbledore’s relationship with Riddle is different. Riddle is an eleven year old boy when Dumbledore meets him, and Dumbledore is a teacher (in a position of authority over Tom). Dumbledore would probably have gone to see Tom as part of his job. All magical children seem to be given the opportunity to attend Hogwarts and Tom is no different. We can’t deny someone an education just because of what they might do with it. No-one could have seen at 11 what Riddle would become. I think Dumbledore was attempting to guide Riddle away from evil…hoping he could influence his ideas for the better perhaps and keep an eye on him at the same time (excellent point about the Statute of secrecy). But he was well aware of his true character…and wasn’t taken in by Riddle at all. Dumbledore’s relationship with Tom was as Teacher to pupil with the responsibility on the teacher’s part that that entails and I’m sure he acted impecably. There may have been similarities between Grindelwald and Riddle…but there were also important differences.

Dumbledore is not responsible either for what Tom became or for failing to change Grindelwald’s ideas. After all, Tom, Harry and Snape all came from difficult backgrounds and their choices made them what they became. This is one of the themes of the books…that we have choices…we can choose what we act upon. Dumbledore is not responsible for Riddle’s choices or his inability to love. If Dumbledore hadn’t brought Riddle to Hogwarts and had the chance to learn about him, Harry would not have known his enemy as well as he did.

“It is not how you are alike, Harry, it is how you are not”

Bnickel
Bnickel
16 years ago

I agree with Joe from England that Dumbledore’s thinking was probably more in the line of it not being his right to deny someone an education just because of what they might do with it. I don’t think Dumbledore ever trusted or even liked young Riddle but didn’t see it as his place to judge.

Helen
Helen
16 years ago

I definitely disagree that Dumbledore was attracted to Tom Riddle because of his good looks. Since JK announced that Dumbledore was gay, everything seems to be analysed in this light, but a person’s sexuality doesn’t influence every decision they make or how they respond to every person they meet.

To suggest that a then adult Dumbledore would react to an 11 year old boy because he was attracted to his good looks is ridiculous – as a straight female I am not attracted to eleven year old boys, so why would Dumbledore be attracted to Tom Riddle? There is a MASSIVE difference between being gay and being a closet paedophile, which is what this article seems to suggest.

Dave Haber
Dave Haber
16 years ago

It’s just NOT what I was suggesting, and I really don’t understand why everybody thinks I was.

Physical attraction is everywhere and part of everything. This doesn’t have anything to do with sex, either desired or acted upon. But do you deny that it’s the “cute kids” in orphanages who get adopted first? There’s nothing sexual about that, but its true. When we meet a new friend, even when a straight man meets another straight man, there is a physical attraction first, and then the friendship either succeeds or fails when the two people learn more about each other. But the physical comes first, you say to yourself, that looks like someone who would be fun, etc.

That’s what happened between Dumbledore and Grindlewald. Whether there was ever physical sex between them is debatable and the topic of a different discussion. But something attracted them to each other initially, and if you look at it in a certain way, the same dynamics that could have attracted Dumbledore to Grindelwald could also have existed between Dumbledore and Tom Riddle.

Attraction. Not sex. OK?

Harry's Godfather
Harry's Godfather
16 years ago

no, Dumbledore just had a tendecy to see the good in people, just like Lilly. Dumbledore is not an idiot, he’s one of the people who learns from his mistakes, that’s why Riddle says that Dumbldore wasn’t fond of him.

swati
swati
16 years ago

Orlando from England!
i also wondered abt that battle thing and dumbledore not reducing voldemort to the same “without body” stage by using AK curse, after reading OOP. but after some thinking i came to the conclusion that only dumbledore knew that voldemort can not be killed (not even harry at that time) and if he tries and voldemort flies than it’ll be a “public secret” that once again voldemort cud not be killed. his death eaters will this time start finding him immediately, perform dark magic of resurrection and bring him back and that will destroy Dumbledore’s plan forever as everyone now ‘ll know that voldemort is immortal. the same kind of thing will happen even if dumbledore does not let voldemort fly and keeps him as a prisoner (in any form) the world’ll know. however the question remains what was dumbledore trying at battle which i think that he was bargaining (while protecting harry surely) for time as fudge and aurors were on their way and may be if aurors cud capture him (which i doubt) he would be sent to azkaban (where undoubtedly they would not be able to kim him longer) or subjected to dementor’s kiss.

Ruth
Ruth
16 years ago

I think that yes Dumbledore gave Riddle a chance to be bad but do you not also think that he would have found a way to dominate anyway? I mean he was what 12 and he already had the orphans under his thumb. For all we know there may have loads of kids like Riddle who’d used their powers for bad but then turned good when they were given a chance. It’s just unfortunate that we only hear about the ones who become the most evil wizards of all time.

Patty
Patty
16 years ago

Dave,
Your article suggests that Dumbledore could not help himself, that his attraction to a handsome, powerful boy was stronger than his good judgement. That is the part that makes me uncomfortable.
Where is the Dumbledore who chose to believe Hagrid over Riddle?

Rashida
Rashida
16 years ago

I really like the way you wrote this Dave, you always come up with more things to talk about!

Wow, those are some heavy questions. It really does make you think if things would have turned out differently if Dumbledore hadn’t given Grindlewald or Riddle a second chance.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
16 years ago

About Dumbledore choosing not to try and kill Voldemort in OotP – Obviously Dumbledore knew that Voldemort could not be killed. If he did use the Killing Curse successfully, then Voldemort would again be reduced to less than spirit, but don’t forget, Dumbledore knew the prophecy. He knew that it was Harry who was going to have to finish Voldemort if anyone could do it. He wouldn’t have wanted to do anything that might have interfered with that. Remember, the prophecy didn’t say that Harry WOULD finish Voldemort. Only that he was the one who COULD. Suppose Dumbledore had reduced Voldemort to his former state and Harry had died before Voldemort returned again? Dumbledore of all people knew that messing with time and prophecy is a risky business. I think what he was doing in that battle was two part damage control; protecting Harry, not just because of the prophecy, but because he loved him; and giving the aurors time to arrive so the truth would be out.

Alex Bunzl
Alex Bunzl
16 years ago

it would be cool if a book was written from voldermorts perspective either how it was or if dumbledore had never visited him and riddle had of used his small magical power to torture the knowledge of who he was out of others like him (wizards) before buying a wand and many magical books to study from and then possibly trying for the post of defence against the dark arts at hogwarts….who knows it could have been better or worse?

Raven
Raven
16 years ago

yeah, it makes some sense, but as someone mentioned despite this first encounter in which dumbledor gives a boy a chance who perhaps didn’t deserve one, that is the only instance he is shown in that way. Sure, Dumbledore always has to see the good in people, both a weakness and a strength, but Dumbledore is always refered to as the only one you-know-who was ever afraid of, and the other flashbacks showed them as being enemies in school, almost like reverse harry-snape.

Joe
Joe
16 years ago

Dumbledore definitely didn’t kill Voldemort in OotP because he knew about the horcruxes and knew that Voldemort wouldn’t die, but Harry would I guess, being possessed by Voldemort at the time…so as Elizabeth and others have said he didn’t kill Voldemort both because he knew he couldn’t and in order to protect Harry and give him his chance to finish Voldemort in the end, as stated in the prophecy. Only Dumbledore knew about the horcruxes at this pointand he wanted this knowledge kept secret. But also, only Dumbledore knew then that he had the elder wand…so I suppose Dumbledore was in control of that confrontation in more ways than one.

Enrique Olcina
Enrique Olcina
16 years ago

I think he learnt from mistakes. He tried to watch him closely, and as far as I can remember. Pity that Dumbledore he didn’t watch him closely enough. And Tom knew he couldn’t charm Dumbledore, as well.

Camille
Camille
16 years ago

The difference between Tom Riddle and Dumbledore is Dumbledore chose to love. That’s it, end of story. They were both similar, but Dumbledore chose to be loving and that influenced all of his decisions. He was always kind and considerate because he was loving in his heart. Riddle had a heart of stone.

Pamela
Pamela
16 years ago

Not everything has to be about Dumbledore’s sexual orientation. Dumbledore always sees the good in people. He is also kind, understanding and forgiving. He wanted to give Tom a chance to improve himself. He did not coddle him or ‘allow’ him to be evil. He believed in second chances. Snape is the perfect example of this and I doubt he did that because he liked Snape’s looks since he was a greasy git.

Holly
Holly
16 years ago

I agree with Pamela that even though JKR said Dumbledore was gay, that’s not the only thing we should see about him. Dumbledore was alway kind and fair to people, and also like Pamela said, he believed in second chances. Of course Snape is an example, but what about Draco? Couldn’t he have just expelled the lousy git? Instead of doing that, though, he was always fair to Draco and all his nasty followers. In my opinion, that’s what makes Dumbledore different than everyone else. He never got angry at or hurt someone without a really really good reason.

Amy
Amy
16 years ago

I think that Dumbledore just wanted to give Grindelwald a chance to find the goodness in himself. Even though Dumbledore didn’t know that Grindelwald was bad at the begining I think over time Dumbledore began to see through Grindelwald and see what he really was. As we know Dumbledore always wants to give someone the chance to come to the good side. For instance, Dumbledore gave Tom Riddle the chance even though he didn’t trust him. Even though Dumbledore means good sometimes he can give someone too much of a chance and then Dumbledore can become vunerable.

Abby
Abby
16 years ago

I don’t think that Dumbledore being gay affected any situation except that of Grindelwald. speaking of Grindelwald, did anyone else notice that his defeat corresponded with the WWII? Coincidence?

Brett
Brett
16 years ago

Did anyone else notice that Dumbledore beat Grindelwald even though Grindelwald had the Elder Wand! How is that possible? If it was a fair duel then Grindelwald would have won! Also Harry and Tom Riddle are related! Harry gets the cloak from Ignotus and Tom’s Grandpa gets the ressurection stone from a Pevrell so therefore since the Pevrell brothers are related then so is Tom and Harry! It is a distant relationship but did anyone else notice that?

monkeeshrines
monkeeshrines
16 years ago

To put another perspective on the difference between attraction and sexual desire: being a straight female not only do I have an initial attraction to other women who I choose to be friends with, but also to my male platonic friends. These are men I have no sexual interst in and would not be my proverbial “just-in-case”, but men who I care about dearly, who started with that initial “hey, he looks like he’d be a cool friend to go skydiving with!” attraction Dave was talking about. (Not that I skydive…)

The cutest child, the cutest kitten, the cutest puppy, they all get adopted first, or at least considered for adoption first, often with no matter to how they are acting in the orphanage/shop/shelter. In the human mind since the beginning of the homo sapiens race, aesthetics equals good.

As to whether I think there was such an attraction between Tom and Albus… Yeah, probably. And Tom was remarkably bright; I’m sure Albus could see that and was hopeful that Tom could change his baser insticts for evil because of this. What an asset to the wizarding world Tom would have been if he had not been so inclined to practice dark magic, if he had some sort of conscience!

Kelley
Kelley
16 years ago

“It is our choices, far more than our abilities, that show us who we truly are,” Albus Dumbledore (someone was trying to think of that quote-it inspires me so I have it on my desk).

I don’t believe that Tom being invited to Hogwarts was a Dumbledore thing. He was invited because he was a wizard. Dumbledore (especially at the time Tom was at Hogwarts had no say in who be allowed or not at the school). Just as Snape (when he was so mad at Harry-didn’t have the power to have him kicked out). He had the requirements for the school. If there was no easily identified rule breaking to use to throw him out then he had the right to the education. To get rid of the bad seeds they’d almost have to eliminate Slytherin as a house, but that is not how Hogwarts works. I don’t think Dumbledore aided Tom at all. And furthermore I don’t believe Dumbledore had “feelings” for him either.

I personally believe that there is only one student relationship of Dumbledore’s that could ever be questioned and that is with Harry. There are references throughout the books that Dumbledore’s relationship with Harry is beyond that of the regular student, but even that relationship we understand was established in Dumbledore’s head before he ever got to know Harry the boy, because he understood what Harry needed to become and felt that he needed to help him in the journey.

Kelley
Kelley
16 years ago

I noticed that Harry and Tom were related right away. I called my brother as I finished the book (as he was the only one done before me back in July) and we talked about it right away.

Also, I don’t think anyone could have prevented Tom going to Hogwarts, he was after all an heir to one of the founders. They said Harry’s name was down since he was a baby. I would expect Tom’s was done even before he was a baby.

To say that attraction has anything to do with choices a teacher makes, is to say that McGonagall didn’t kick Harry and Ron out in the CoS because she was attracted to them. That’s just rubbish.

Diamond
Diamond
16 years ago

I have to agree with Dave attraction is apart of life, as human and wizards alike we use our eyes before any of our other senses. Yes there are many forms of attraction� physical, mental, sexual, and there is of course the attraction to a challenge. I feel that is this last one that is actually involved with the relationship between Tom Riddle and Dumbledore�

Albus� relationship with Gellert was actually an attraction on all these levels. To find ones equal in all reams is well rather difficult and Albus�although yes wanting to seek the power that Gellert possessed so naturally knew that out of responsibility that one could not allow the power to posses you. Which was Gellert�s trouble all along, he did not know when or how to stop at the limit. Dumbledore tried as friend and lover to help but the �damage� had already been done. The greed for power and control has well rooted into Grindelwald.

Enter in Tom Riddle who possessed the same attributes that attracted Albus to Gellert, intelligence, talent, but also there was the greed for power. Dumbledore�s mind was perhaps flooded with the memories of his youthful love as he walked into the room where Riddle sat, but which perhaps also sent sparks to his mind that where he had once failed with Gellert he would try not to with this child. However Riddle was already a skeptic to love and showing concern or interest into anything more than his brilliant talents as a young masterful wizard caught the young Riddle by surprise and placed him on defense. Riddle quotes that all the other teacher�s liked him where as Dumbledore never trusted him. I think perhaps the other teachers were satisfied with just touching the surface of the boy where as Dumbledore wanted to dive deep into his being to again true influence.

I mean in the end it was because of this that Riddle feared Dumbledore the most�.perhaps respected him the most as well�.

The other thing regarding the appearance of Riddle and to that of Gellert..I feel that Rowling continues to point out first the looks of Tom from the eyes of Dumbledore and from Harry but I feel that it is not out of neither a sexual nature or of a physical one but that she is trying to point out that one�s appearance will change over time when you allow yourself to be influenced�Riddle went from being an attractive 11 year old boy who had dabbled in someone evil behavior into a disfigurement of a man when he chooses to submerge himself into the dark arts.

Talia
Talia
16 years ago

I think you are making too many connections with Dumbledore being gay, and trying to find new conclusions where there are none. We could play the ‘what-if’ game for hours, and though we may have fun, it’s not worth it. Just because dumbledore was gay, you can’t blame him for Tom’s power in the wizarding world. That is going too far. Yes, there might be an attraction dumbledore feels, but other than that, nothing.

carni
carni
16 years ago

well. if people get older they mostly lose sexual attraction as far as I know. and dubledore was REALLY old allready when he got to Tom Riddle. maybe he was gay when he was younger but just didn’t have any sexual attraction to people anymore when he got older

double do
double do
16 years ago

potter fan is absolutely right.. ever since the outrageous revelation of Dumbledore everyone is seeing Dumbledore in the bad light. dont you think its a bit unfair? we should just ignore that unfair accusation of dumbledore and look only at what the book itself says. not J.K’s opinion of dumbledore or what she has transformed dumbledore into.

Dumbledore was simply looking at the good in Riddle… simply giving him a chance.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
16 years ago

Accusation? I don’t see it as an accusation, unfair or otherwise. Accusation suggests that in being gay Dumbledore has done something wrong. Nor is it a matter of Rowling “transforming” Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s sexuality will have been part of her conception of his character from the very beginning. Or if she didn’t realise it right off the bat, then it is something that has come to her during the writing of the stories that explains Dumbledore’s character to her and makes sense of it. When you write there is always heaps more about the characters that the author knows, but that never makes it onto the page. Things like, does he like dogs? What is his favourite colour? Why is he so fond of Muggle sweets? Why does he particularly love chamber music? The author knowing all that means that the character remains consistent on the page. It gives the character depth. This is not Rowling’s “opinion” of Dumbledore, this is who Dumbledore is. If she says he’s gay, then he’s gay. It has nothing to do with whether he’s kind or cruel, loving or full of hate. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals can be either good or bad people. Sexual orientation in this context has nothing to do with morality.
Dumbledore is still a great human being, but it is not a matter of him being a great human being “despite” being gay.
It is of course entirely possibly that being gay has given him a greater degree of understanding and tolerance for difference and eccentricity in other people such as Snape, Lupin and Hagrid.

Helene Harrison
Helene Harrison
16 years ago

In an interview with JK Rowling on ITV1 a few weeks ago, she said that she always viewed Dumbledore as being gay but she never specified with whom. However, when reading about how Dumbledore and Grindlewald were together, there is no doubt that they both gay.

Shayna
Shayna
16 years ago

the first comment… jk rowling stated that dumbledore is gay. he loved grindewald. the question was “does dumbledore find true love?” and jk answered simply “dumbledore is gay”.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
16 years ago

“In an interview with JK Rowling on ITV1 a few weeks ago, she said that she always viewed Dumbledore as being gay but she never specified with whom. However, when reading about how Dumbledore and Grindlewald were together, there is no doubt that they both gay.”

Yes, quite likely. And this is exactly what I mean about the author’s basic concept and knowledge of the character helping to keep the character consistent on the page. Even though the books never state Dumbledore’s sexuality, because Rowling KNOWS he is gay, his behaviour throughout the series and finally his interaction with Grindelwald always rings true. It’s like actors being told to remain “in character” all the time.

Joe
Joe
16 years ago

Reading Half Blood Prince again….I love reading it knowing so much more about all the characters…especially Dumbledore. When he tells Harry to keep his invisibility cloak about him always it must be because he knows for sure that it is one of the deathly hallows and he wants Harry to keep it safe…rather than because Harry is likely to be in danger while at Hogwarts…which is what I assumed before.

Anonymous
Anonymous
16 years ago

i think that i’ve found something AMAZING here when i was thinking about the book after reading it.

I could be wrong but i think:

dumbledore overlooked something else too, something massively important to the whole wizarding society.
Dumbledore held the wand of destiny, the deathstick, in short the most powerful wand and all other wands were just as powerful as the wizard as Hermione always reminds us but doesn’t Dumbledore say something in the final book about Harry’s wand being more powerful then a normal wand because it contains Voldermort’s skill as well as Harry’s. He says this in the chapter King’s cross but surely this means that harry’s wand is more powerful then a normal wand and even if it isn’t as powerful as the elder wand surely it is the second most powerful wand there is meaning that in future generations the equivalent of a grindelwald will want to find that if he cant find the elder wand?

Also in the last book at one point (i think either during the battle of hogwarts or when ron, harry and hermione escape from malfoy manner) harry happens to be holding three wands and does a curse at an enemy with triple effect (other words describe it in the book. does this mean that the more wands the more powerful the spell because if so it changes everything, would wizards use at least two wands in a duel?

If these points are true then dumbledore has missed much more then anyone ever thought.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
16 years ago

“He says this in the chapter King’s cross but surely this means that harry’s wand is more powerful then a normal wand and even if it isn’t as powerful as the elder wand surely it is the second most powerful wand there is meaning that in future generations the equivalent of a grindelwald will want to find that if he cant find the elder wand?”

Dumbledore also says that Harry’s holly and phoenix feather wand is only abnormally powerful against Voldemort. Otherwise it was a wand like any other. That’s almost a quote, I think. It’s in the same chapter, same conversation as far as I can recall. There is no suggestion that Harry’s wand will work like the Elder Wand. The whole point of Harry rejecting the Elder Wand at the end after using it to mend his own wand is that he is rejecting that sort of power.

someone
someone
15 years ago

Just because Dumbledore was gay doesn’t mean he liked little boys. He was his TEACHER and at the time the boy was 11. Thats messed up to try to say he was a attracted to him. He loved Grindelwald and because of that he was “made a fool by love”(as JKR puts it) He never even trusted Riddle or liked him like the other teachers did. What are you going to say next that Flitwick had a secret love for Hermione?