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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 7)

I don't think that Aberforth being able to read or not is an issue really, although I think Dave's comments on not needing to be able to read to do magic are sensible. Dumbledore might just as well be referring to the fact that he never saw Aberforth with a book, reading. All the comments he makes flesh out Dumbledore's character more than they tell us about the person/thing referred to. Comments made by Dumbledore allow us to see him in a different light to the 'headmaster' image, after all we only see Dumbledore through Harrys eyes.

The character of Dumbledore is written so strongly too that I really can't believe that he and Aberforth would indulge in subterfuge and change places, because, as has been said, Dumbledore would not let anyone in his place. Aberforth included.

Incidentally, I always assumed, when on top of the tower (whether it be Aberforth or Dumbledore) that Dumbledore was, in fact, pleading for Snape to finish the deed, as this is what they have previously agreed, with (one gets the impression) the greatest reluctance of Snape.

Posted by Marjorie from New Zealand on February 23, 2007 12:10 AM

one of the comments said that you dont have to be smart to do magic, i think it's true. Look at the first book where Harry and Hermione were trying to get to the Stone, in the potions chamber, it's a logic test and Hermione says: (cant remember the exact wording) "many of the greatest wizards havent an ounce of logic." This could mean that the greatest wizards aren't smart or probably couldn't read. Doesn't this apply to the theory that Aberforth is a wizard (though probably not a great one) but he can't read? (or he could, regarding the comments that Albus said that as joke) Anyway, this site is awesome!

Posted by Melissa from Australia on February 23, 2007 12:54 AM

Is Aberforth's last name Dumbledore for sure? I mean, did someone call him Aberforth Dumbledore, instead of Aberforth, Dumbledore's brother? Just thinking of that because we know very little about Albus Dumbledore's origins and life. Nobody else in the wizard's world seems to have this last name.

If I met Hermione by chance, I would ask her to have a look at Hogwarts' history, to check if there was an Albus Dumbledore student back in the 19th century.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on February 23, 2007 06:52 AM

Dave Porter from New Mexico: Dumbledore is 150 so Aberforth would be around there too. Remember, Mrs. Figg is a squib and she is in the order, so don't rule out Aberforth just because of that. However, it is sugessted that he did magic on the goat so he is probally not a squib. You don't have to be able to read to do magic, as long as you can say the spells aloud or perform them non verbally.

Ayoub: This is an interesting theory, but WHY would Dumbledore want to pretend to be an illeterate barman and WHY would Aberforth want to switch with him? I just don't see any motive.

Posted by Juliana from Alabama on February 23, 2007 07:46 AM

Juliana from Alabama: I dont really have an answer. but, i mean, it could be for several reasons. for one thing, it could be so that Voldemort felt more confident and tried to come out into the open once he felt dumbledore was out of the way, then the real Dumbledore would find Voldemort and have another battle, possibly with harry helping hinm finish Voldy and the eaters off.

but, come on. this is dumbledore we're talking about. he could have millions of reasons.

Posted by Ayoub from Kuwait on February 23, 2007 08:19 AM

I think the theory of Dumbledore making some kind of sacrifice to give Harry another protection similar to what Lily did makes alot of sense. The Horcruxes be guarded by very dark magic as we have already seen. Harry be lead to Aberforth in his search for the Horcruxes. I think Aberforth help guide Harry in his quest.

Posted by D. L. from Knoxville on February 23, 2007 12:08 PM

D. L. from Knoxville: yea, i like that theory. never thought of that. but such protection be there after harry comes of age? and besides, it not work against Voldemort, only against Snape, because it was Snape who ed Dumbledore (if that is what hapened).

explain, please.

Posted by Anonymous on February 23, 2007 11:29 PM

Wow, guys,some great theories! I didn't suspect that till now!
Just a theory: Could Aberforth have possibly partially lost his mind while being tortured by Lord Voldemort, explaining why he is illiterate, and his being described as a "strange bloke" by mad-eye? I'm working on this theory i'm going to have to read all the books again for more clues? Does anyone else agree?

Posted by Elise from Sydney, Australia on February 24, 2007 7:42 PM

Firstly, Ayoub, Juliana.

I would think that Dumbledore only has one reason for doing anything, two if you count considering the all round welfare of the students at Hogwarts; and that is to destroy Voldemort, so ensure the safety of the wizarding world.

I don't believe that Dumbledore would pretend to be the barman at the Hog's Head, myself, it doesn't make much sense in the context of what we know i.e. Dumbledore has links of some kind to the pub - but these links are not made wholly clear; Dumbledore has a brother (Aberforth) much more about this we don't know - except that which we have been able to filter out of the meagre information at our disposal - the rest is conjecture and fancy.

I am interested in Knoxville's suggestion of Aberforth carrying on Dumbledore's work guiding Harry. Harry, in spite of a lot of growing up, is still a young wizard (he would not have survived the battle with Voldemort in OotP without Dumbledore's intervention I think) and I know he need help unearthing the Horcruxes. Harry, after all, has always had the help of his friends in previous books - even if he ultimately, battled something on his own.

Harry be more exposed in DH than in previous books - as "Anonymous" states, Harry comes of age, and previous protection might not be so strong. The Horcruxes must be found and destroyed, and they are, maybe, not guarded but well hidden (we do however, have clues and exercise our suspicions accordingly). Harry need the help of Order members, Ron, Hermione and an Order member we have not met 'properly' yet'. That this might be Aberforth is a strong possibility - he is a shadowy presence, waiting in the wings.

Posted by Marjorie from New Zealand on February 24, 2007 10:04 PM

I just thought of something. Someone mentioned that Aberforth's name may not be Aberforth Dumbledore. Is it possible that Aberforth is actually his middle name and he is actually R.A.B?! I know it's a little far fetched but it is a possibility.

Posted by claire from townsville, queensland, australia on February 25, 2007 03:40 AM

Juliana: How do we know for certain that Albus Dumbledore is 150? I don't remember reading his age anywhere in the 17-20 times of reading the 6 books.

I really hope Albus and Aberforth did switch places because it would support the theory of "Dumbledore is not ".

Posted by claire from townsville, queensland, australia on February 25, 2007 03:48 AM

Claire: I like your idea. We know that Albus has many names, is it possible that his brother Aberforth has that many names and he chose the initals of those other names? The only question is WHY would Aberforth leave the message saying that by the time Voldermort finds this he be ?

Posted by Kyle from Kearney, Nebraska on February 25, 2007 10:50 AM

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