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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 20)

I think you guys are over thinking the whole "Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak, Thank You." thing.

I believe these were mearly (albus) Dumbledore favorite words, and I also think that the "thank you" is part of the speech not a rap up. I believe Jo has put them there to tell us something about dumbeldore's personality.

If I am wrong I would say I like them being names of house elves most, but since Jo has said she won't introduce new characters I think he was asking them to do something at that specific speech and we shall find out what later.

"Thank You."

Posted by E from Portland, ME on April 8, 2007 07:12 AM

Anna, I think that Aberforth and Albus don't really speak because Aberforth is undercover, and it would be a bit of a give away if the simple local barman went up to the school pretty often.

Posted by will from London on April 8, 2007 07:31 AM

Yeah, it's pretty obvious that the Hogs Head barman has the locket, there was no real reason to put the scene in otherwise. When Harry first sees them, Mundungus is fumbling with something in his hands (which we find out moments later is a suitcase that contains all the junk from Sirius' house), and the barman is drawing his cloak "tightly around his neck". If he had just bought the locket, it would obviously be around his neck.
If the barman is Aberforth, and he is in the Order once more, it stands to reason that he'd take interest in the Horcrux if he saw it saw in the hands of Mundungus on the street. There's also the posibility that Mundungus wasn't trying to sell the items at all, rather he had brought the locket to Aberforth on Dumbledore's or Aberforth's orders to be destroyed. Maybe Mundungus was carrying the other stuff as well to hide the Horcrux, or maybe he thought he'd make a clean job of it by cleaning out the area where the Horcrux was.
Excellent article, you've got me convinced. J.K.R. wouldn't keep mentioning the bar and the barman if they were insignificant, and the idea of the Barman as Dumbledore's sibling is anything but insignificant.

Posted by Alex from New England on April 8, 2007 7:47 PM

I have been thinking along these lines for a while now and am glad that others agree.

In support of it, JKR said in an interview after HBP that "Dumbledore's family was a profitable line of enquiry". Also remember that in the pensive memory about Voldemort coming to ask Dumbledore for the DADA job Dumbledore knew about Voldemort's Eaters coming with him and staying at the Hog's Head because he was "friendly with the local barman".

Posted by Aroosha from Edinburgh on April 9, 2007 3:31 PM

First of all I think the aberforth barkeeper idea is correct.

Now people are making a short list of who we think the "person to perform magic later in life" is.
Jo has already said it won't be petunia.

So here is my list in no particular order:

1. Filch ( Hogwarts caretaker)
2. Ms. figg ( Harry's neighbor)
3. Trelany (DIvination teacer/ the prophet. I doubt this one)
4. Madam hooch (quiditch/ flying teacher) I don't recall her ever doing magic, and she hasn't really been there to do anything but quiditch stuff. On the other hand she may be in the books to do nothing but quiditch stuff.
5. Madam Pince, the hogwarts librarian

Posted by E from Portland, ME on April 9, 2007 3:43 PM

E, I agree with your list.

I don't know how we can interprete what Jo said. Did she mean someone who was never seen to have practiced magic, or someone who is known to be a squib?

If she meant a squib, then there are only two for sure: Mrs Figg and Filch. And maybe Dudley.

Mrs Figg is a squib for sure. I think that Jo said that she didn't see the Dementors, but could feel them (like Dudley).

I already said that before, and I'm still not sure at all that Filch is really a squib. First, it would be very hard for a squib to be the disliked caretaker in a wizarding school. Second, he uses shortcuts and secret passages, and most of them are probably protected by spells. Third, he's given security tasks in HBP and he can find a magical object (a head in Crabbe's pocket) with the use of a device that doesn't work at Hogwarts, according to Barty Crouch. And, still in HBP, how did he manage to unstick his tongue when Harry cursed him (and by the way, if someone else helped him, how did Harry escape without being punished?)

We have no real proof that Filch is a squib, only a letter on his desk, left clearly visible to Harry, and what he said in CoS.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on April 10, 2007 01:09 AM

E and Herv�, what about Dudley or Uncle Vernon?

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on April 10, 2007 11:40 AM

emilio (and anyone else) can you honestly picture dudley and even more weird uncle vernon ever doing magic?
Cause I can't and if they did I think I'd go into shock for a bit then start ranting to the air about how big a mistake Jo had made...

Seriously dudley doing magic?

Posted by E from Portland, ME on April 10, 2007 4:54 PM

I have to correct on one thing: Madam Hooch seemed to produce magic in OotP, when Harry got mad at Malfoy after a quidditch game. She stopped Harry, using her wand.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on April 11, 2007 02:17 AM

there's a genealogy book mentioned in OOTP, while Harry and the rest were cleaning at grimmauld's place. maybe harry check out aberforth there at one point, maybe even RAB. as for the chocolate frog cards, would dumbledore's card say something different now he is presumed ?

Posted by kit from phil on April 12, 2007 02:00 AM

the book's called it's Nature's Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy, chapter 6 page 116 in the US edition. i also agree that aberforth is the barman at the hog's head.

Posted by kit from phil on April 12, 2007 9:28 PM

Very interesting discussion. I lean toward Aberforth being the Order member JKR said she'd introduce us to properly, because she also says we'll learn more about Dumbledore's past - and who better, than from his brother?

Posted by Lynn from New Jersey USA on April 15, 2007 09:22 AM

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