Let’s face it: We all know that Dumbledore knew a hell of a lot more than he let on, and he knew plenty of it from day one. He could have saved Harry a lot of time if he’d just been honest about some of it. I want to preface this by saying that I’m well aware that these are mystery novels. If information wasn’t kept from Harry—and, by extension, us—then there wouldn’t be a story to tell. It’s still fun to pick apart what information is kept from us, though, and what motivations the characters might have for zipping their lips.
We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.
– Albus Dumbledore
1. “Draco’s been recruited to kill me. Don’t worry, I have a plan.”
No doubt the biggest time sink in Harry’s sixth year was his obsession with Draco Malfoy and his suspicions regarding his behaviour. In this year it so happened that Draco had been recruited by Lord Voldemort to kill Dumbledore, and this is what Harry was witnessing.
Dumbledore knew all about what Draco had been ordered to do, of course, but his solution was to insist to Harry that what’s happening with Draco is not something he should concern himself with.
Excellent plan, Dumbledore. Met Harry, have you?
2. “Oh, if you see Snape kill me, that’s part of this whole plan we have, so…”
On the same track as the previous issue, Dumbledore knew for the entirety of the time that Draco was trying to kill him. But, Dumbledore was going to die anyway. A slow, horrible death caused by one of the Deathly Hallows. All of this led him to make an arrangement with Snape. Snape would kill Dumbledore, saving Dumbledore the pain of a slow death, and Draco from becoming a murderer.
How this all ended up going down was with Harry witnessing Snape kill Dumbledore in what seemed to be cold blood. Now, in what’s a discussion for another time, Snape is still an awful person, but he was ultimately on the Order’s side. He stayed as Headmaster of Hogwarts for this reason. He still had things to do for Dumbledore.
But, for all that time, Harry saw him as a coldblooded killer. As a Death Eater and just a Death Eater. This is because he had no reason to think otherwise. As with Draco, Dumbledore insisted, “Snape can be trusted,” and left it a that. Great strategy from Dumbledore, as always.
3. “You’re, uh, gonna have to die. I mean. I’m like, ninety-nine percent sure.”
As far as Harry was aware, Voldemort had seven Horcruxes preventing him from being killed, and these were the seven he was out to destroy. Actually, there were eight. The eighth was Harry.
In Harry Potter lore, murder is soul destroying. It fractures the soul, and when someone commits murder they can put a piece of their soul into an object. As long as that object remains intact, they can’t be killed. Without meaning to, Voldemort turns Harry into a Horcrux. This is what causes the connection between them. As far as anyone understood, Harry being a Horcrux means that he would have to die for Voldemort to do the same.
Dumbledore seemed pretty sure of this, too. And while it has to be impossible to tell a young person of their impending death, learning of it by himself was surely more traumatic than having something of a chance to prepare.
It’s also interesting, given that Dumbledore dedicated a school year to teaching Harry about Horcruxes, that he thought that giving him all the information he needed didn’t actually mean giving him all the information that he needed.
The funny thing about this is that this only scratches the surface of the less-than-wise decisions Dumbledore made over the course of the books. Yes, he’s only human, but he is a man known for his wisdom so you would think that he of all people would know better.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
– Albus Dumbledore
Thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts about Dumbledore, then drop me a comment and tell me what they are. Or, if you have any characters you’d like me to take a look at, let me know!
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