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Almost exactly 4 years ago, on July 16, 2005, as we all read the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince together for the first time, we experienced the death of Dumbledore. And now, with the release of the movie, we’re reliving it, all over again.
For the rest of my life, I will consider J.K. Rowling the greatest author that has ever lived. I don’t make that statement lightly. I do so for many reasons, including how well written the books were, and how skillfully and sneakily J.K. planted clues throughout all the books.
But the main reason I respect J.K. Rowling as an author so much, is that no other author who’s books I have read has created a totally fictional character that, when taken away in the course of the story, made me cry. I am not ashamed to admit it, I cried out loud when I read it when Dumbledore died, and I cried again when I read his funeral.
The next day, I created this web site. It was originally called dumbledoreisnotdead.com (the original content of which is still on this site, and can be found here), and I created it to explore the subject of the death of our beloved Dumbledore, and to help fans through the shock and loss of such a great character, mentor and friend.
It was a few days more than two years later, on July 21, 2007, when Deathly Hallows came out, before we finally were able to learn the truth about Snape and Dumbledore. Thankfully, those of us who have read the books don’t have to wait two whole years to find out what takes place after the death of Dumbledore now. But, that doesn’t mean watching it this time makes it any easier.
Throughout the course of the latest Harry Potter movie, we follow along with the final year of the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore. I must admit, I was a great fan of Richard Harris’ Dumbledore, and Michael Gambon has taken some getting used to for me. But for me, in this his ultimate Dumbledore performance, I think Gambon has really finally captured Dumbledore, and really made me believe, once again, as Richard Harris had done, in the love and care that Dumbledore had for Harry in the books. Just in time for him to be taken from us, again, unfortunately.
I must say, although I enjoy all of the Harry Potter books over and over, I haven’t frequently read Dumbledore’s death scene at the end of Half-Blood Prince, nor his funeral, although I did pick it up again just recently, prior to seeing the movie this week. It was still hard to read, all these years later, but not as bad as the first time, and I think it helped to read it again before seeing it re-enacted on the big screen.
And even though Dumbledore is dead at the end of book 6, for me, I take solace in the fact that books are special, in that they really don’t exist only in the reality of “from beginning to end”. You can pick up Sorcerer’s Stone or Goblet of Fire, and Dumbledore is alive again. As reader, we have that power.
As I wrote originally on this site 4 years ago, as Harry so poignantly reminded us upon Scrimgeour’s insistance that Dumbledore was dead:
“Such loyalty is admirable, or course,” said Scrimgeour, who seemed to be restraining his irritation with difficulty, “but Dumbledore is gone, Harry. He’s gone.” “He will only be gone from the school when none here are loyal to him,” said Harry, smiling in spite of himself. (HBP pg 648/604)