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The Mystery of Aberforth

by David Haber

During the interview after the launch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling said, "There is one member of the Order of the Phoenix that you have not yet met properly, but you will meet them in seven." Is this person Dumbledore's mysterious brother, Aberforth? What do we know about Aberforth, and how is he involved in the story?

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Reader Comments: (Page 11)

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.

Posted by Marjorie from New Zealand on March 3, 2007 1:44 PM

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?

Posted by Amy from P. Kentucky on March 3, 2007 3:29 PM

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...

Posted by Koby from New Jersey on March 3, 2007 3:37 PM

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 solrs 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.

Posted by Heather from NJ on March 3, 2007 9:21 PM

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?

Posted by Kim from Manchester on March 4, 2007 09:25 AM

Maybe, Petunia is the member of the order we "get to know better."

Posted by will on March 4, 2007 12:28 PM

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

Posted by Amy from P. Kentucky on March 4, 2007 1:21 PM

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.

Posted by David from Copenhagen on March 4, 2007 3:21 PM

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.

Posted by Ashley from Missouri on March 4, 2007 3:22 PM

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...

Posted by harry on March 4, 2007 3:57 PM

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.

Posted by mikey from New Jersey on March 4, 2007 7:20 PM

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...

Posted by Amber from Georgia on March 5, 2007 11:22 AM

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