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The Repeating History of Dumbledore

by David Haber

When we first meet young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I believe J.K. Rowling is wording descriptions of events with it in mind for us to see similarities between Tom Riddle and Harry. But now that we know the end of the story, and now that we know more about Dumbledore himself, I have lately been thinking more about similarities between Tom Riddle and Gellert Grindelwald.

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Reader Comments: (Page 6)

"He says this in the chapter King's cross but surely this means that harry's wand is more powerful then a normal wand and even if it isn't as powerful as the elder wand surely it is the second most powerful wand there is meaning that in future generations the equivalent of a grindelwald want to find that if he cant find the elder wand?"

Dumbledore also says that Harry's holly and phoenix feather wand is only abnormally powerful against Voldemort. Otherwise it was a wand like any other. That's almost a quote, I think. It's in the same chapter, same conversation as far as I can recall. There is no suggestion that Harry's wand work like the Elder Wand. The whole point of Harry rejecting the Elder Wand at the end after using it to mend his own wand is that he is rejecting that sort of power.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on January 29, 2008 10:29 PM

Just because Dumbledore was doesn't mean he liked little boys. He was his TEACHER and at the time the boy was 11. Thats messed up to try to say he was a attracted to him. He loved Grindelwald and because of that he was "made a fool by love"(as JKR puts it) He never even trusted Riddle or liked him like the other teachers did. What are you going to say next that Flitwick had a secret love for Hermione?

Posted by someone from Hufflepuff on February 23, 2008 1:29 PM

"Yes there are many forms of attraction - physical, mental, sexual and there is of course the attraction to a challenge. I feel that it is the last one that is actually involved with the relationship between Tom Riddle and Dumbledore."
I couldn't agree more with this brilliant summary by Diamond from Dallas and it is kind of what I tried to say with my clumsy comment a couple of pages before.
This is why I couldn't agree with your article, Dave: I don't think all our attraction is necessarily sexual! This is very Freudian...
There certainly was a mutual attraction between the two greatest wizards in their fields (one evil, one good) of all time - Voldemort and Dumbledore. But it a mental one, an attraction of genius. They both acknowledge each other and hate each other because they know both have travelled "further than anybody" on their unique paths of magic.

Posted by Siena from Leeds, UK on February 27, 2008 11:56 AM

Thinking again about this topic... maybe Dumbledore should have confided in a trustworthy person at Hogwarts about what he knew and learnt about Ton Riddle at the orphanage. In a very careful way though; there was always the possibility that Ms Cole's observations were exaggerated! It must have been very very difficult, the position Dumbledore was in, but I don't think any harm could have been done by confiding in someone. This was Dumbledore's mistake I think throughout; he too, not unlike Voldemort, preferred to operate alone, he too, again like Voldemort in a way, pulled strings, had no friends, didn't really trust in anyone.

Posted by Siena from Leeds, UK on March 20, 2008 04:29 AM

I don't think Dumbledore felt any attraction towards Riddle what so ever.The first meeting btween the two of them at the orphanage was nothing more than a regular job responsibility. He (dumbledore) didnt even know at that particular time that Tom was a Gaunt.
If at all he wanted to reform Tom he would have tried to establish a bond with him. Which he didn't do. Neither any of the books suggest that Dumbledore & Tom ever communicated with each other more than neccessary. Tom didn't try to charm Dumbledore bcos he knew that Dumbledore was probably the smartest teacher @ Hogwarts & for sure would see through his pretense.
There is nothing in all the 7 books that suggest Dumbledore kept an eye on Tom as he tells Harry he intended to do in HBP.
I think if we start looking for sexual connotations in Dumbledore's all relationship, people come up wth theories that Dumbledore was sexually attracted to HarrY (Rita Skeeter describes their relationship as abnormal in either HBP or DH)

Posted by Surabhi from India on May 15, 2008 12:06 AM

NO, dumby never had attraction towards riddle, because he was stern with riddle, and later voldy, unlike with grindlewald.

for one thing, as someone ponted out on the first page, he always kept a close eye on riddle, and he was distanced from riddle.

for another, i dont think the point about dumby delaying the duel with grindlewald was because of affection for grindlewald. dumbledore himself tells us in DH in the chapter where harry 's' and meets dumby that it was due to fear of finding out who ed ariana. it was guilt he felt, not really affection.

but yes, its a very good and well researched and reasoned article, as always!

Posted by Ayoub from Kuwait on June 16, 2008 03:07 AM

Well this is my first time hearing that Dumbledore is , but looking at it now it's completely understandable. Now I don't think that had anything to do with Riddle. If you look back at all the books, JKR calls damn near everybody attractive. Sirius and James (old and young), Lily, everyone really except snape and hermione in the beginning lol. But anyway, everyone else is attractive. That's one point.
Secondly, I don't think Dumbledore made the same mistake with Riddle. First, like said above, he never fully trusts or likes him liken the other teachers. also, they send a teacher to get muggle borns. He wasnt headmaster, he just got Riddle. was it out of chance, i dont think we know or at least i dont remember. And if he didn't get riddle, eventually Tom would realize there's something special about him and maybe go down an even worse track, although i dont think it could get any worse than what he did do. but dumbledore gave him the chance, like every other english boy or girl who was a wizard/witch. he just knew from the beginning because he was the one who picked him up, that he was naughty.

Posted by Trey C from Jacksonville, Fl on June 28, 2008 12:22 PM

Basically, I think the wizarding world KNOWS that a wizard is born the moment the child enters the world. Why some are chosen to go to hogwarts and not others, I'm not sure.
Hagrid commented that "Harry's been on the list for hogwarts since the day he was born." One could argue it's the same as parents trying to get their children into the elitist of elite Pre-K program, or their is something magical. Almost as if there are spells that indicate how powerful a wizard be.
I'm guessing it is how the wizarding world knows of those rare witches/wizards born to muggle families. I.E. Hermione, Lily etc.
It's my contention, that for this reason, Hogwarts was aware of Tom before he even knew he was a wizard, but it is not in their power to take in an orphan.

Posted by scout on July 11, 2008 07:45 AM

First, I want to point out that Harry (who is obviously not judging by his feelings for Cho and then Ginny) describes Tom as handsome in HBP when he sees him in the orphanage. If a person is particularly attractive, then they are...I think it is a mistake to think this affects Dumbledore's thoughts on Riddle.
Second, I want to point out that when Riddle was Head Boy, Dumbledore was NOT Headmaster, Armando Dippet was. Therefore, Dumbledore had little (if anything) to do with choosing Riddle for Head Boy. Dumbledore was sent to meet with Riddle much the way Hagrid was sent for Harry, as a trusted and respected adult at Hogwarts.
I am sick of hearing how Dumbledore being had a big effect on every little relationship he had. I am , does that fact permeate every relationship and social interaction I engage in? NO!
Please stop implying inappropriate ideas about Dumbledore. Did he have a *relationship* with Grindelvald? Very probably! Did he have that type of relationship with Harry or Tom? No! He was their teacher!

Posted by Lily from Orlando, Fl, USA on August 8, 2008 8:46 PM

"I am sick of hearing how Dumbledore being had a big effect on every little relationship he had. I am , does that fact permeate every relationship and social interaction I engage in? NO!"

It probably does have an effect on your relationships, Lily, but certainly not in the way implied by some of the reactions to Dumbledore's . Like you I'm . I also have a number of male friends both and . With the men friendship is circumscribed by my own marriage and/or by theirs. With the friends these barriers don't exist any more than they do with my female friends. I would not hesitate to accept an invitation out to dinner with a female friend or a male friend. I'd be very surprised if one of my male friends invited me out. Therefore my does have an impact on how I relate to people. However, just because I am does not mean that I view every male of the species in a sexual light. I might have heart palpitations over Viggo Mortenson, or think to myself that Daniel Radcliffe is turning out to be rather cute, or that my best friend's son is a gorgeous young man, but that does not mean that I am tempted to race them off - with the exception of Viggo they're all too darned young for me anyway! Nor does Dumbledore's ity mean that he is sexually attracted to every nice looking young man he sees. It is possible to look at a member of whichever gender one happens to be attracted to and see them as attractive without viewing that person in a sexual light. It is also possible to see that someone is physically attractive and yet not be attracted to them at all because they come across as unpleasant. I agree there is no way that Dumbledore would have viewed Tom Riddle or Harry as anything but his students, even allowing for his affection for Harry. I think his affection for Harry was more that of a grandfather or great uncle. He had taught Harry's parents and come to like and respect them beyond the confines of Hogwarts. To him Harry would have been the orphaned son of much loved friends - and someone he was determined to protect. I do not doubt that Dumbledore loved Harry, but I cannot see that has anything to do with it. If you think about it, it's pretty obvious that Professor McGonnagal is very fond of Harry too - should we read anything into that?

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on August 11, 2008 08:09 AM

Ok, first of all Dumbledore did not sponsor Riddle, Hogwart's sponsored Riddle with a general fund for underprivilaged youth who could not afford to go to the school, but based on magical ability should be there. As far as Dumbledore being attracted to Riddle, I don't think that is the right word. I think Dumbledore was highly impressed with the amount of raw magical power Riddle had, as well as his rudimentery control over it. Dumbledore knew that he could not control Riddle as he had tried to "control" Grindelwald, but he did try to scare Riddle by pointing out that bad behavior would not be tolerated, probably hoping that Riddle would learn to control his bullying tendancies. Like someone had said though, it was lucky that Dumbledore found out everything he did that day, because it gave him a better perspective of Riddle when he started at Hogwarts. Had a letter and money been sent without someone seeing the boy in person, then even Dumbledore would have been fooled by Riddle upon his reaching Hogwarts. But since Dumbledore saw how Riddle truly was, it made him even more suspicious of him when he got to Hogwarts and did not act the bully at all. He realized that Riddle was smart and headed Dumbledore's warning about breaking rules, but he played the part so well that Dumbledore knew it was a total facade. Had Riddle come to Hogwarts and occasionally gotten into trouble, then Dumbledore probably would have given him the benefit of the doubt that he was growing and learning as a person, but since he was able to wrap all the other teachers around his finger Dumbledore knew it was an act.

Posted by Keith from johnstown, pa on August 25, 2008 2:06 PM

Keith, that's a terrific reading of the situation - of course Riddle over-played his hand in pretending to be totally reformed! As you say Dumbledore would have been far less suspicious of a boy that age getting into trouble from time to time. The facade was just too perfect - which is a definite hint towards Riddle's psychopathic tendencies. Pyschopaths are generally good at presenting a facade and charming the pants off people. Particularly unwary people, but Dumbledore had already been burned by Grindelwald. Obviously he'd learned from that mistake.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on August 26, 2008 06:18 AM

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