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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 6)

Aberforth probably informed Albus about Mundungus stealing Sirius' stuff (or maybe it was Tonks who informed him?):

"Ah yes, I am already aware that Mundungus has been treating your inheritance with light-fingered contempt," said Dumbledore, frowning a little. "He has gone to ground since you accosted him outside the Three Broomsticks; I rather think he dreads facing me. However, rest assured that he not be making away with any more of Sirius's old possessions."

Posted by Javed from Vancouver, Canada on February 21, 2007 8:07 PM

Aberforth is a very interesting character for someone we know very little about. As a barman he could be very useful in gathering information about unsavory individuals. He is probably well connected with the criminal element of the wizarding world. Having dealings with Mundungus would be nothing unusual for him. I believe he now has Slytherin's locket. Obtained from Mundungus. The barman (Aberforth) left pulling his cloak tight around his neck against the cold.
As Albus' brother and only surviving relative (we assume) Aberforth should inherit all of Dumbledore's belongings. Does this mean he could be Fawkes new owner and is he the last heir of Gryffindor or could that be Harry? These are questions for another day but it seems that Jo said that Harry is not Gryffindor's heir.
Can Aberforth read? We're not entirely sure. I believe that Dumbledore was being quite honest when he said he didn't know. How much magic can Aberforth do? Again we don't know for sure. Perhaps there is some traumatic experience in his past that has suppressed his magical abilities. He may be the character that Jo refers too when she said that someone display magical abilities late in life, which is very rare.

Posted by Jeff from Tennessee on February 22, 2007 12:36 AM

In book 5 Mundungus is sent to look after Harry in hogsmeade, why would he do that if the barman was a member of the order?

Posted by Cynthia from Mississipi on February 22, 2007 04:08 AM

You know, no one, including Albus Dumbledore, ever says that Aberforth isn't bright, or isn't a good wizard. Moody describes him as a "strange bloke" and Albus casts some doubt on his ability to read. Not being able to read would not necessarily make him an idiot. When Dumbledore makes that comment it does come across as a joke to lighten the mood since Hagrid is very upset. But that wouldn't preclude Dumbledore being perfectly serious about it. He makes a similar joke at the end of PoA when Harry tells him about Trelawney's prophecy, and he says that brings her up to two. Immediately I started wondering what the first one had been and why on earth Dumbledore kept her on as a teacher when she is clearly incompetent. Which all means I would dearly like to know just what Aberforth was up to with those goats!
Great article by the way, Dave.

Posted by Elizabeth Rolls from Australia on February 22, 2007 07:37 AM

Cynthia from Mississipi said the following:
"In book 5 Mundungus is sent to look after Harry in hogsmeade, why would he do that if the barman was a member of the order?"

or now i come to think of it, maybe it is because Mundungus was just in Hogsmeade to look after Harry, but not expected Harry to come to the Hog's Head itself.

One more thing - someone mentioned CHARLIE and his affiliation with DRAGONS. On this sight itself, on the horizontally running thin long box under the name BEYOND HOGWARTS, it says the latin motto of Hogwarts "Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus". when you hover your pointer over it, it translates the words and gives us the sentence "Never Tickle A Sleeping Dragon"... could Jo have foreshadowed Charlie's significance?

if this is what it is, it's gotta be Jo's biggest slap-on-the-face yet, as it's written in the first few pages of every book (but in latin, so few would understand it).

by the way, when i was reading HBP, and particularly when Harry was having his private lessons with Dumbledore, i kept suspecting that Dumbledore may be someone else just impersonating him. this was when i first read HBP, i think. not sure, but i know it was way before i read anything about Dumbledore and Aberforth.

i honestly dont know or at least dont remember why i had that feeling, but something told me it was a strong possiblity.

i dont know if this has any signifance with anything, but maybe there was something in the book that made me think that this theory is possible. any comments on this?

Posted by Ayoub from Kuwait on February 22, 2007 09:59 AM

Of course Dumbledore was different in HBP. He was finally speaking to Harry as an adult....not trying to gently inform him. It was the first time Dumbledore treated him as an equal just-like he promised him at the end of OotP.

Posted by Amber from Georgia on February 22, 2007 10:55 AM

Some evidence for this theory, Ayoub, is that Dumbledore pours some of his OWN memories into the pensive from bottles. (During private lessons in OotP.) If they were his own memories why wouldn't they be in his head or already in the pensive?

Posted by Lucy from Hogwarts on February 22, 2007 11:45 AM

When I read the OOTP and JK mentioned that the barman looked somehow familar, and described him immediately I thought of the brother of Albus Dumbledore: Aberforth, so I think this theory is right!

Posted by Hermione Fan from Curacao on February 22, 2007 12:51 PM

Elizabeth from Austraila - hi! I think (though I could be wrong) that when Dumbledore jokes about Trelawney's prophecies, the first one is the prophecy concerning Harry and the chosen one. The second refers to Voldemort returning to his body with Wormtail aiding him. I think he has kept her at the school to keep her safe as Voldemort most likely knows that the prophecy was made by her to Dumbledore. I would think that she would remain safe as long as she stays at Hogwarts. Again, these are just my thoughts.

Posted by Kim from Manchester, MA on February 22, 2007 4:21 PM

I was thinking about Emmeline Vance. (I was perusing the other articles on this site.) One of the comments reminded us that she was ed right outside of the prime minister's office. This got me to thinking about Kingsley Shacklebolt(sp) We really don't know too much about him either. But he seems to crop up from time to time in the books. Maybe we learn more about him.

Posted by Kim from Manchester on February 22, 2007 4:49 PM

If Albus Dumbledore is really old then how old is Aberforth?

If Aberforth was doing magic on a goat then he is probably not a squib as has been suggested. Also, he would be of little use to the Order if he was a squib. Maybe sending Mundungas to Hogsmeade was not only to watch Harry but to deliver/pickup information for the Order. It would blow Aberforth's cover if there was not someone else from the Order to be in Hogsmeade if something did happen.

How much do you have to know about reading to do magic anyway? Someone could pick up on spells just by listening to others say them. One of the theme of HBP was non-verbal spells, not on reading them. Look at Crabbe and Goyle, they can do magic and they're idiots.

Posted by Dave Porter from New Mexico, USA on February 22, 2007 6:59 PM

Kim from Manchester, in response to Elizabeth from Australia gave her theories on why Dumbledore kept Trelawny at Hogwarts. its not a theory, its fact. Dumbledore himself says this in i think HBP, but it could be in OotP.

I've been thinking about Aberforth being illiterate. maybe he is just as smart as Dumbledore, or possibly smarter, but he and Dumbledore agreed that Aberforth would pretend to be illiterate and Dumbledore the wise one.

listen to the wisdom in this: they could switch places and, as long as they acted like each other (i.e. Dumbledore acted like an illiterate Aberforth and vice versa), no one would be able to know that they had switched places.

so Aberforth may have d, and Dumbledore could have turned into a barman.

this suits the Bottle Theory too. what i mean is this: read the parts with the lessons carefully. you notice that Dumbledores style of speech is just as it always is. so maybe it WAS Aberforth, but he's not as stupid as he and Dumbledore made the world think. i hope i havent confused anybody.

Posted by Ayoub from Kuwait on February 22, 2007 11:29 PM

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