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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 8)

Claire: Jo told us that Dumbledore is 150 years old in an interview on (10/16/2000). Here is her quote in the interview:

"Dumbledore is a hundred and fifty, and Professor McGonagall is a sprightly seventy. Wizards have a much longer life expectancy than Muggles. (Harry hasn't found out about that yet.)"

And I don't think that Aberforth is a squib-- he got in trouble for practicing magic on goats and that doesn't seem squib like.

Posted by Amber from Georgia on February 26, 2007 06:39 AM

well done mates, these are amazing theories. From the very first moment I read about Aberforth I thought that he would play a very important role to the plot. I had also thought that it wasn't Albus who d, but Aberforth. But now, having read a lot of theories I think that it was Albus who d. I also think that Emmeline Vance play a significant role, too. Ah, on the web there is a photo of the barman of the Hog's Head and it says that this is Aberforth. After that I don't think anyone of you doubts that the barman is Albus Percival Wulfrick Brian Dumbledore's brother.

*Erin you are a GENIOUS! A few people if not no one else would have thought that. Hogwarts' Headmaster!

Posted by undertaker from trikala, greece on February 26, 2007 09:50 AM

Can Aberforth do magic? We're still not sure or how well! I believe that Aberforth is a very wise man even if it is in an unorthodox way. "Inapropriate charms on a goat" does not necessarily mean that he performed magic. It could mean that it was a poor attempt gone wrong. I'm not saying that he is a squib either. I'm only saying that he is a very mysterious character that we know very little about. But I also believe that he be vital in Harry's quest to find and destory the horcruxes and evenually defeat Voldemort.

Posted by Jeff from Tennessee on February 26, 2007 3:09 PM

good idea about RAB being R. Aberforth B. Afterall Hagrid is actually Ruebeus Hagrid, and is just called by his last name, why not aberforth?

Posted by aberforth from hogs head on February 26, 2007 8:54 PM

Amber reminds us that Jo said wizards have long life expectancy. On the other hand, Jo said in a famous interview that Harry's grand parents were getting old when Harry was born. McGonagall is less than 80 years old and supposed to be old and physically weak. We never hear of Ron's grandparents, nor do we about Malfoy's. The only person over 100 years that we see is Albus Dumbledore. How old is Aberforth, and what would make Albus and Aberforth be, far ahead, the two oldest wizards living in the saga?

Posted by herve from strasbourg on February 26, 2007 11:01 PM

I am currently re- listening to OotP and still wonder if Dumbledore be appearing to Harry via the Chocolate Frong cards, however, this is by the by.

I just wanted to say that I think Aberforth is probably a proper wizard, not a squib, Dumbledore has simply implied that he is strange or unorthodox. Not every wizard works for the Ministry, or such like, many have more "ordinary" types of jobs such as shop keepers and publicans and this is either what Aberforth does, or what he has established as a cover.

It is also interesting, as has been pointed out, that Aberforth could very well be a surname - we all call Dumbledore - Dumbledore after all, not Albus. I still think that RAB is Sirius' brother though (who was not the goody two shoes to the House of Black that Sirius thought... but never mind).

Posted by Marjorie from New Zealand on February 27, 2007 12:51 AM

Herve from Strasbourg, in OotP while they are taking their newts, one of the examiners comments about how Dumbledore did things with a wand he had never seen before. Which would make the examiner at least twenty to thirty years older than Dumbledore.

Posted by Russ from Cleveland,Ohio on February 27, 2007 09:32 AM

the only problem with the aberforth is RAB theory is 1.wouldnt he have told dumbledore
2.though in english it is black and RAB in other countrys the letter that sirius last name begins with e.g i think one country is svart? but anyway in that country the RAB is RAS and the same in many other countries.

Posted by shelley on February 27, 2007 12:20 PM

Marjorie - Aberforth isn't a surname. Go to and find Order of the Phoenix. There, it gives the name of Aberforth Dumbledore under the full cast and crew section

Posted by Michael from Philadelphia, PA on February 27, 2007 3:03 PM

Rowling's hidden yet obvious use of foreshadowing in her previous works clealry shows that Aberforth may indeed be the barman in the Hog's Head. Also, she uses names to describe people the way they act and according to their personalities. i.e. argus is "guardian" What does Aberforth mean? Perhaps it tell us more about him, and his role in the 7th book. Maybe he is a secret keeper to the location of Dumbledore's horcrux. We may only guess. However, Rowling's purpose of showing Dumbledore's brother scattered throughout her works should not be taken as trivial imformation. Again, your guess is as good as mine.

Posted by Brian from Barcelona on February 27, 2007 3:52 PM

I just remember something I read. I can't remember for sure, but i think on jkr's website, she said someone would do magic latter on in life, but it won't be petunia. maybe aberforth has stopped using magic after the incident with the goats and bar tends full time. maybe he'll take up magic again, in order to help Harry somehow, maybe he destroy the necklace.

Posted by aberforth from hogshead on February 27, 2007 4:27 PM

Hmmm? Someone doing magic later in life (thinks of Veron Dursley suddenly going over to the other side!) I think I remember JKR saying something about Petunia not doing magic but that she wasn't a squib - so - Aberforth could be our man.

In an ideal world he would be suffering from amnaesia (perhaps in an incident related to the goat?) and, after being struck on by a barrel of butterbeer, rembers who he is and after a quick update from the Order becomes Harry's mentor to replace Dumbledore. Well it's a thought!

Posted by Marjorie from New Zealand on February 27, 2007 7:45 PM

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