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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 18)

It's highly probable that Aberforth Dumbledore is a metamorphmagus. This would explain why it's difficult for people to recognize him - even the eaters wouldn't be able to track him down as he would simply change his appearance without the use of polyjuice potion or extremely complex magic, which I doubt if he is capable of performing.

Posted by Javed from Vancouver, Canada on March 26, 2007 9:02 PM

Elizabeth from Australia

I don�t remember the book, but it says that the wizard/witch does not know which animal he/she is going to transform into until he/she transforms for the first time, so it is not a conscious decision.

Chris from Walla Walla,

I don�t relieve that Dumbledore is a Half-breed, maybe born from a Muggleborn and a Wizard/Witch, but not related to House Elves.

Tonk�s, with the ability of changing her appearance, is called Metamorphmagus (metamorphosis = the act of changing shape ort transforming, Magus=Wizard)

Dumbledore�s Patronus was definitely a Phoenix, so it is possible that he might turn into a phoenix as well, but don�t think that he can come back to life like the phoenix does.

Mike from Buffalo

I like the idea of Abeforth turning into a goat, but I think that it be that he could never fully change and got stuck with some of the goat�s traces, like the smell.

David from Suffolk

I relieve JKR mentioned that in DH there was going to be someone that was going to use magic for the first time �late in life�, I had two likely candidates: Argus Filch, whom we know is a Squib, and Petunia, and your reasoning for choosing her sounds logical to me.

Pavan Srivatsav from Hyderabad

Jo said in an interview that Dumbledore would not be making a Gandalf, which jeans that he would not be coming back from the , she also said that he is and that we must go through the process of grief, or something like that.

Also, Harry saw Abeforth �cleaning� the glasses in the Hogs Head in the first meeting to plan the lessons of Defense Against the Dark Arts in OotP.

Herv� from Strasbourg

Dumbeldore can�t be Argus because they are together in the Great Hall in two occasions if I�m not mistaken, one when the Beaubatons� students arrive, and in the Yule Ball, dancing.

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 28, 2007 11:40 AM

emilio - JKR has stated that Petunia has never done magic and she never .

Posted by Michael Brinkley from Oceanside CA on March 29, 2007 9:10 PM

I have come to the HP obsession late but am now totally sucked in...and Dumbledore is my favorite character. I do think he is truly , though. Both because JKR says so and because it just fits too well with all the various plot and symbol patterns she has going.

One major plot hole that I haven't figured out. If bezoars cure you from the effects of almost every potion, and given that Aberforth and Dumbledore are brothers, and Aberforth is up to something with goats (and thus probably bezoars), why the heck didn't Dumbledore have a bezoar in his pocket as he headed off in search of the locket with Harry in HBP? (Not just a bezoar, but, say, an emergency kit of half a dozen key powerful antidotes from Snape's stores!) But since he didn't, he still could have ducked into the Hogs Head to get one immediately on his return after being so weakened by the potion. Instead he's immediately asking for Snape. The proximity of a brother, goats, bezoars and a ly potion just isn't adding up to me.

Random factoid which may mean Welsh "Aber" means "river." So "Aberforth" may have something to do with water or a river.

Posted by Jill from SoCal, USA on March 29, 2007 9:34 PM

I don't understand why, but in french, Aberforth is called Abelforth. It doesn't make sense, unless it is an initial mistake due to the translator. Emilio, how is it in spanish?

Posted by herve from strasbourg on March 30, 2007 12:15 AM

Good point about Aberforth's name, Jill. "Forth" is fairly close to "ford" which of course means a river crossing, so it could make perfect sense (Be warned: an etymologist, I am not.), only which river does he cross? The River of ? Again it would fit.

And another good point about a possible plot hole, although all the stuff about Aberforth and his "inappropriate charms on a goat" is very speculative.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on March 30, 2007 07:41 AM

Michael Brinkley from Oceanside CA,

I'll take your word for it, whom do you think be the one to use magic late in life?

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 30, 2007 10:23 AM

Herv� from Strasbourg,

I'll have to check my wife's books, which are in Spanish; I prefer to read in the original language whether it is English, Spanish or French (although I could improve the latter).

Jill from SoCal & Elizabeth from Australia,

In the dictionary I found:
a) forth
1.- onward or outward in place or space
2.- onward in time, in order, or as in a series
3.- out, as from concealment or inaction; into view or consideration: the author's true point comes forth midway through the book (I swear it was the example given in the dictionary)

b) Forth
1.- Firth of, an arm of the North Sea, in SE Scotland: estuary of Forth River. 48 mi.
2.- a river in S central Scotland, Flowing E into the Firth of Forth. 116 mi.

I understood �forth� as in �a-1� and �a-2�, but knowing Jo, everything she writes can be interpreted in several ways, thus my search in the dictionary.

We already suspected Abeforth would be important in DH, and also that Albus had a special relationship with fire. Now, if you are right, Abeforth have a special relationship with water, and I would like to add that I like �a-3�, he is coming out of concealment and/or inaction, he is coming into view and consideration of the readers.

As Jill mentioned, �in Welsh "Aber" means "river.". so the findings of �b� go with your train of thought, about Abeforth having something to do with water, and rivers.

I find this very interesting because it seems that both brothers even though they fought for the same side are opposites, Albus was a public figure, displaying his prodigious power, and being surrounded by children, wilts Abeforth is always in the shadows, not even using magic to clean the glasses at the Hoagshead, and always being surrounded by shady characters at the bar, to me they seem like they complemented each other.

I read some ware in this great site that in the Black family tree there that was donated or auctioned, there was a mention of an �Abeforth the Marauder� could it be that the Dumbledores are related to the Blacks?, is this Marauder our Abeforth Dumbledore?

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 30, 2007 12:05 PM

Who do think is the one who use magic late in life? Here are my ideas.
1. Aunt Petunia- she has knowledge of magic that she reveals in the fifth book. What if it turns out the reason she hasn't known about it until now is because her hatred of magic kept it quashed until, for some reason, she desperately needs it?
2. Argus Filch- Squibs are known to have small bits of magic, like seeing dementors. Maybe he find his talent in magic?
3. Arabella Figg (Harry's neighbor)- until the fifth book, she was just boring muggle Mrs. Figg. Then we learned that she knows about magic and is a Squib. Now what? You never know.

Posted by Connor K from Rigby, ID on March 30, 2007 2:47 PM

Wouldn't it be great if Dudley had some magic? it would give both Vernon and Petunia heart attacks.

Althogh I sincerely doubt it be Dudley.

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on March 30, 2007 5:44 PM

Jill from SoCal
I believe that when dubmledore came back the plan he had spent a very long time planning had finally been set into action. If he would have gotten a bezoar and saved himself it would have ruined the plan. When dumbldore is grtting off his broom harry says he sees the hog's head sign swaying in the wind even though there is no wind. This is a sign from brother to brother for Aberforth to NOT comeand save him.

Posted by Zach from Vail, CO on April 1, 2007 3:24 PM

"A penny for your thoughts, but a dollar for your insights."
I love Muggle bands.
Conner K--
I checked JKR's site and she said that Aunt Petunia won't ever do magic. "She never has and she never ."
You crack me up! It would be a scream if Dudley started doing magic! Although he would probably point Harry's wand at a bush and shout "Jiggery Pokery!" and expect it to do something. He is pretty thick.
Now I'm talking all British. Whoopsay.
I don't think Filch or Mrs. Figg do magic. Filch has a Kwikspell letter that starts out "Holding your wand (some useful tips)", so I sincerely doubt that he be any great shakes at, well, anything, if he can't hold a stick properly. I mean seriously, a wand is just a stick with magical properties, how hard could it be?

Posted by Ashley from Missouri on April 1, 2007 7:08 PM

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