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Unanswered Dumbledore Questions

by David Haber

These are elements of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that would seem to be related to either the Dumbledore or Snape mysteries, but they have loop-holes or unresovled bits of information, and we're not sure about them and are still checking into them...

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Reader Comments: (Page 2)

you are so right dumbledore can not be .1 why wuold snape dumbledore he has put up with him for lots of years if snape really hated dumbledore he would have ed dubledore ages ago.

Posted by karime from artesia nm on September 16, 2006 2:06 PM

this is a wonderful site...
i hav a question.. mundungus was banned from d hogs head, as it has been said in the 5th book, and the barman havin a good memeory... but in the 6th book, harry spots dung with someone in hogsmeade and reconises him as the barman from hogs head(aberforth, dumbuldore's bro)... if he was banned, how com it is tat he's frnds wdt the barman?

Posted by thej on September 17, 2006 03:00 AM

i think there's one more possibility you should consider regarding the bottled pensieve memories. last time i read half blood prince was when it newly came out, so im not so sure of the exact details, but i remember that the first time harry saw one of slughorn's memories, and it was modified, with parts erased. when harry had to get the original memory, he got it from slughorn in a bottle. i think it may be possible that the memories dumbledore showed harry were modified, like slughorn's. again, i dont remember the exact details of the book, so i'll leave it to you to theorize as to why he'd use modified memories, other than that he might be a fake dumbledore.

Posted by octavio barretto from corpus christi, texas on September 17, 2006 6:28 PM

Here's a question that's been bugging me since I first saw this site. There is a theory that Dumbledore had Snape him to fulfill some unknown purpose.

Why in the world does Dumbledore think he would be more useful in the battle with Voldemort than alive?!

Posted by Saint Cad from Los Angeles on September 19, 2006 12:01 AM

I think that Dumbledore is expecting Voldemort to be overconfident...knowing that He is not around, and that Harry be confronting him alone. Overconfidence ususally makes for sloppy work

Posted by Sharon from Michigan on September 20, 2006 10:25 AM

I think this is all really good, but there's just one place where I have something to say...

The theory that Dumbledore is not Dumbledore for most of the book doesnt really fit. I dont think Dumbledore would be that irresponsible to actually hand himself to someone else, especially not at a time where he has so much to teach Harry. To explain the whole memory-in-a-bottle situation, here's my theory:

We all know that Snape stored his memories in the Pensieve before he and Harry practiced Occlumency because (even though Harry was horrible at it) there was a chance that Harry could get an insight into Snape's mind (which he does later, seeing flashes from Snape's childhood). And memories aren't even safe in the Pensieve. Didnt Harry view Snape's worst memory in OotP by simply going into the Pensieve? So isnt there atleast a small possibility that Dumbledore put his memory in a bottle to make sure nobody would ever see it?

Posted by Lili from Texas on September 20, 2006 7:29 PM

To the comment related to Snape and Dumbledore switching places with polyjuice potion...

The last memory that particular Dumbledore(or disguised Snape) shows Harry is of the prophecy of Trelawney. When Harry asks whose memory it is, Dumbledore/possibly Snape says, "Mine." If it is Snape, then he too can truly say "mine," because he was at the Hogshead that evening...also...I think ( I really ought to read it for the 7th time ) that the memory is cut off and Dumbledore/Snape says "unfortunately there was an interruption" or something to that effect and since the memory is NOT completely seen, it is not clear whose memory it is! If the memory had been fully lived as Dumbledore's, he would have stayed in the room with Trelawney. Were it Snape's, then the memory would logically follow Snape's uncermonious ejection from the Inn.
Regardless, the theory of Snape and Dumbledore switching places, while farfetched, can be logically explained, and do fit in with the bottled memory theory.

Of could just be for safekeeping...

Posted by Dave Arthurs from Marion, IN on September 21, 2006 5:04 PM

I agree with Phablo that Dumbledore (wanted to) because then Harry would continue with the Horcrux hunt. And that he went with Harry to get the (fake) horcrux to secretly communicate to Harry that that's what he (Dumbledore) would've wanted him to do: find the other horcruxes.

...RIP Albus Dumbledore...

Posted by El Barto from Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 25, 2006 3:27 PM

Interesting article. Unfortunately, the fact is that he is "," and very few of these "Unanswered Questions" are in fact unanswered, or at least unanswerable.

Question 1.
The idea of a time limit is an intriguing one, and something which occurred to me around my second reading of the book. I agree that it's unlikely, and would suggest that the 'time frame' has to do with a.) the situation at hand and b.) opportunity. I think that, with Draco obviously unable to commit , and given the opportunity to Dumbledore, had Snape not done so, then the Vow would have been considered broken.
Also, Draco's task was never to fix the vanishing cabinet. I don't have the book with me so I can't specifically reference it, but I believe the cabinet was an innovation entirely his own, certainly meant to help in his task of ing Dumbledore, but not the task itself.

Question 2. (including 2a)
If you didn't have to be to get your picture on the wall, why has Dumbledore's picture only now joined the ranks?
Umbridge presents a bit of a sticky problem... I think it is because she isn't daed, but it could conceivably have to do with official recognition by the Board of Governors, etc. I don't think that has a lot to do with anything, though.

Question 3.
She showed up at the "wearing an unconvincing look of grief" (I hope I remembered that right...?) because pretty much everyone was there - including the Minister of Magic, Scrimgeour, aka her boss. Also, going along for a moment with your claim that it was unusual for her to be there, how would that make her any more convincing as a 'witness?' Personally, I'm convinced that she was there because it was the of an important person, and, as disgraced as she might be, there was no way she could justify missing it.

Question 4.
Interesting conjecture regarding the potions. I must admit, I hadn't realized that all but one of the potions mentioned figured so prominently. Unfortunately, the face remains that Dumbledore was not only shot with a ly spell, but also knocked off a tower; if the spell didn't him, the fall certainly would have.

Question 5.
Unfortunately, there is little evidence to support any conclusion here. I don't think anyone was impersonating Dumbledore, but that's something I would need access to the books to back up. (Why, oh why did I leave the set at home when I left for college...) Personally, I'm inclined to believe that the bottles were used for safekeeping, perhaps to prevent any unwelcome intruders from stumbling upon them... or to keep them separate from the vast amount of memories contained within the Pensieve. (Or, maybe just for dramatic purposes.:D)

Anyway, especially in light of Rowling's more recent comments, and considering all the evidence available to us in the books, I don't really find any good reason to believe Dumbledore is still alive, whereas I find plenty of good reasons to believe he is .

(Specifically: He had to so that Harry could fully realize and begin to work towards his task of ing Voldemort, instead of looking to Dumbledore for guidance; also, I fully subscribe to the belief that Dumbledore asked Snape to him, to spare Draco from having to become a er, and that the seventh book necessarily deal with Snape's redemption/Harry's realization of why Snape has done what he has done.)

I've said enough for today. Curtis, out.

Posted by Curtis from Rochester, NY on September 26, 2006 8:51 PM


Question 2: His picture wouldn't have shown up before now because he wasn't a former headmaster before now. (There are other ways to become former headmaster than , people do retire.)

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on September 26, 2006 9:16 PM

The idea that Dumbledore would have switched places with Snape is simply far-fetched. Why? Because Dumbledore, being Dumbledore, would never have ed Snape like that. It's entirely out of character for him. Dumbledore is all about self-sacrifice - who took the blame for the 'Dumbledore's Army' situation? Who insisted that his own blood be used to open the portal? (Yes, I know there is other significance to that act, but the point is it shows his spirit of self-sacrifice.)

I would add also in response to (what I would perceive to be the timbre of) certain comments, that I'm pretty sure Dumbledore didn't know it was a fake Horcrux, for the simple reason that there is no logical way he could have known.

Next - Dumbledore does NOT have a Horcrux. Absolutely not. There is no possible way to emphasize this enough. Remember that the Horcrux is considered the "most wicked of magical inventions" (again, working without the text, so I hope that quote's accurate), and its very creation involves a "supreme act of evil." I hope nobody is suggesting that Dumbledore would be (morally) capable of such a terrible thing.

And finally, to end on a light note, Saint Cad said:

"Here's a question that's been bugging me since I first saw this site. There is a theory that Dumbledore had Snape him to fulfill some unknown purpose. Why in the world does Dumbledore think he would be more useful in the battle with Voldemort than alive?!"

Perhaps Rowling had simply been watching too much Star Wars.:D

Posted by Curtis from Rochester, NY on September 26, 2006 9:16 PM

Dave said: His picture wouldn't have shown up before now because he wasn't a former headmaster before now.

That's true, I should have thought of that. But I still don't think that shows that he's still alive, because as you said, we can now consider him a former headmaster rather than a current, and he certainly didn't have a chance to formally retire.

Posted by Curtis from Rochester, NY on September 27, 2006 10:24 AM

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