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Albus Dumbledore Character Analysis: Personality Traits, Family & Patronus

Albus Dumbledore Character Analysis: Personality Traits, Family & Patronus

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Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is one of the most respected and accomplished wizards of the 20th century. He is best known for his tenure as Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But he was also the wizard who defeated the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald and was said to be the only wizard that Lord Voldemort feared.

About Albus Dumbledore

BornLate August 1881 – 30 June 1997
Blood StatusHalf Blood
Head Boy
Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor
Head of Transfiguration
Headmaster of Hogwarts
Grand Sorcerer
Supreme Mugwump
Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot
Wand15inch Elder with Thestral Tail Hair Core
Zodiac SignVirgo (presumed)

Albus Dumbledore Family and Early Life (1881-1892)

Albus Dumbledore was one of three children of Kendra and Percival Dumbledore. He was born in late summer 1881 in Mould-on-the-Wold. He was soon followed by his younger siblings Aberforth and Ariana.

Ariana was a particularly potent witch and even as a young child could perform magic. She was attacked by a group of muggle boys who were frightened when they saw what she could do. This left her emotionally scarred and unable to control her magical powers.

Albus’ father Percival was so heartbroken by what happened to his daughter that he sought vigilante justice against the boys. Percival refused to explain his actions and expose his daughter’s problems as she probably would have been confined to St Mungo’s. He was sent to Azkaban, where he later died.

Kendra Dumbledore moved the family to Godric’s Hollow, where she could care for Ariana and keep her affliction secret. But the scandal marked Dumbledore’s early years.

Dumbledore as a Student at Hogwarts (1892-1899)

Albus began attending Hogwarts in 1892 and was sorted into Gryffindor house. Initially many people whispered about him due to the crimes of his father, wondering whether Albus too hated muggles. But he soon befriended Elphias Doge, a fellow Gryffindor who also struggled to make friends as he was still scarred by a recent bout of Dragon Pox.

Albus’ academic genius soon outshone any gossip about his family. He became popular and well-known both at school and beyond. He was already publishing academic papers in journals such as Transfiguration Today.

Dumbledore was made a prefect in his fifth year and head boy in the seventh year. He also won various awards including the Barnabus Finkley Prize for Exceptional Spell-Casting.

He became the British Youth Representative to the Wizengamot. Dumbledore also received the Gold Medal for Ground-Breaking Contribution to the International Alchemical Conference in Cairo.

Dumbledore at Godric’s Hollow (1899)

After graduating from Hogwarts, Albus was planning on doing a world tour with his friend Elphias Doge. But on the eve of their journey, he received the news that his mother Ariana had died. He had to return home for the funeral and to take care of his two younger siblings.

While Albus felt trapped at home caring for his younger sister, he refused to let his brother Aberforth quit school to take on the responsibility.

Not long after his return to Godric’s Hollow, Gellert Grindelwald came to stay with his great-aunt Bathilda Bagshot in the same area. The two brilliant young men quickly struck up a friendship. They spent most of their time researching the Deathly Hallows and exploring Grindelwald’s ideas of wizarding domination.

A romantic connection also developed between the two, which may have blinded Albus to Grindelwald’s darker intentions. Dumbledore convinced himself that the revolution that they were planning was “for the greater good”, a slogan that Grindelwald would later adopt.

When Aberforth returned from school he was disgusted by Albus’ plans and his neglect of their sister. Aberforth confronted Albus pointing out that he could not look after his sister and follow through on his plans with Grindelwald.

Albus eventually heard reason, which precipitated Grindelwald using the Cruciatus Curse of Aberforth. When Albus moved in to defend his brother a violent duel broke about between the three boys.

When Ariana too tried to intervene, her untamed abilities caused havoc. She was hit by a stray curse and killed. Aberforth blamed Albus for her death, even though they never knew who exactly killed Ariana. Grindelwald fled.

Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald as youths

Dumbledore’s Early Adulthood (1900-1925)

While the events at Godric’s Hollow were a tragedy that affected Albus greatly, the death of his sister also freed him to explore other pursuits.

He traveled to France and studied alchemy with Nicholas Flammel. The two would eventually go on to create the Philosopher’s Stone together. When he returned to England, he researched Dragon’s Blood and discovered 12 new uses for it.

Shortly after, in 1910, Dumbledore was invited to become a teacher at Hogwarts. He took up the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. He was perhaps particularly interested in this following his contact with Grindelwald. Among his students were Newt Scamander and Leta Lestrange.

It was during these early years of teaching that Dumbledore discovered the Mirror of Erised hidden at Hogwarts. This is the mirror that he would later use in the protection of the Philosopher’s Stone during Harry Potter’s first year at Hogwarts. The mirror shows a person their deepest desire. For Albus, this was to be reunited with Grindelwald. He kept the mirror covered.

During this time Dumbledore was also watched closely by the Ministry of Magic. They were aware of his connection with Grindelwald, whose power was growing at this time.

Dumbledore kept in touch with his various international connections using enchanted note books. Torquil Travers, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, kept a close eye on Albus.

Dumbledore and the Global Wizarding War (1926-1945)

The Global Wizarding War saw Grindelwald and his followers carrying out devastating attacks across Europe. Rumors started to circulate that Grindelwald had procured a wand of immense power. Albus suspected it was the Elder Wand of the Deathly Hallows.

During their friendship Dumbledore and Grindelwald had made a blood pact never to attack one another, so Dumbledore kept out of the conflict. But he later learned that Grindelwald had a vision of a powerful Obscurus killing the man he feared above all else.

Dumbledore organized it so that Newt Scamander would be in New York and could participate in the identification and of the Obscurus. This led to the arrest of Grindelwald.

The authorities could not hold Grindelwald for long and he soon escaped. At this time the Ministry of Magic demanded that Dumbledore intervene and fight Grindelwald. When he refused, he was cuffed in Admonitors and barred from teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts. This is why he later became Professor of Transfiguration.

This time Dumbledore asked Newt Scamander to go to Paris to seek the Obscurus. There he again confronted Grindelwald, which resulted in the death of Leta Lestrange.

But Newt also came into possession of the pendant that sealed the blood pact between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Dumbledore was eventually able to destroy the pact and assemble a group of wizards to join the fight against Grindelwald.

In 1945 Dumbledore finally tracked down Grindelwald and fought him in what is considered by many the greatest wizarding duel of all time. He defeated Grindelwald and brought him to the authorities, who placed him in the uppermost cell at Nurmengard.

Dumbledore kept the Elder Wand and was subsequently awarded the Order of Merlin (First Class).

Albus Dumbledore as a young teacher at Hogwarts

Meeting Tom Riddle (1938)

It was during the events of the International Wizarding War that Dumbledore met Tom Riddle, the boy who would go on to become Lord Voldemort, for the first time. One of his tasks as a professor was to help recruit special students. In this capacity he went to meet the young Tom Riddle at his orphanage in London in 1938.

The matron of the orphange revealed to Dumbledore details of Riddle’s birth, and also the strange happenings that always seem to occur around him. She also revelaed that he had a negative influence on the other children and scared them, even though he had never been caught in the act. She related a particular incident at a seaside cave.

Upon meeting Tom, Dumbledore discovered a young boy who already had good control over his powers and used them to get what he wanted. Unlike many others, once Dumbledore convinced Tom that he was not there to take him to an asylum, he was very willing to believe that he was a wizard.

It was during this interview as well that Dumbledore discovered that Tom Riddle liked to collect trophies, as he found a box of stolen items hidden in the boy’s room. He also learned that Tom was capable of turning the charm on and off as he wished.

Dumbledore offered to accompany Tom Riddle to Diagon Alley to get his school supplies. But the young Tom Riddle was already incredibly independent and preferred to go alone.

At the very end of the interview Tom revealed that he was able to speak Parseltongue. This intrugued Dumbledore, but he still had no idea that he had just met one of the most dangerous wizards who would ever live.

Dumbledore and the Heir of Slytherin (1943)

When Tom Riddle was at Hogwarts and Dumbledore was teaching Transfiguration, the young Slytherin student discovered the Chamber of Secrets. Salazar Slytherin hid a Basalisk in this chamber. His plan was that his heir could release the serpent to kill muggle-borns at Hogwarts to purify the school.

Speaking Parseltongue and being a descendant of Slytherin through his mother, Tom Riddle was able to release the monster.

There were several attacks, and one student, a girl named Myrtle, was killed. That same year Riddle asked the then headmaster Professor Dippet if he could stay at the school over the summer holidays. His response was no because of the threat of the monster. Therefore, to resolve the situation, Riddle framed fellow student Hagrid for the incident.

Dumbledore alone seemed not to believe Riddle, but he could never find evidence against him. Nevertheless, Dumbledore kept a closer eye on Riddle, and went out of his way to help and support Hagrid over the years.

Dumbledore in the Eye of the Storm (1946-1969)

Following his defeat of Grindelwald, Dumbledore returned to Hogwarts to teach Transfiguration. While he was offered the position of Minister for Magic several times, he always turned the position down. He remembered his previous thirst for power and did not want the temptation. In the 1960s Dumbledore was made the Headmaster of Hogwarts.

During this period Albus was aware of dark magical activity across the country. He was one of the few that knew Lord Voldemort was behind it. Dumbledore was already beginning to work against him secretly, placing spies among his former student Tom Riddle’s Death Eaters.

Dumbledore also used his power as Headmaster to support those affected by this dark activity. For example, he secured a place for Remus Lupin at Hogwarts despite the fact that he had been turned into a werewolf as a child by Fenrir Greyback.

Also, when Tom Riddle came to Hogwarts seeking the job of Defence Agaisnt the Dark Arts professor, Dumbledore turned him down. He realized that Riddle, already known as Lord Voldemort to his followers, had no interest in teaching and was after something very different at Hogwarts.

Albus Dumbledore During the First Wizarding War (1970-1981)

As Lord Voldemort’s activities became more blatant, Dumbledore formed the Order of the Phoenix to mount opposition to the dark wizard and his Death Eaters.

At this time Dumbledore continued to be interested in the Deathly Hallows. When James Potter showed Dumbledore his incredible invisibility cloak, Dumbledore immediately suspected that it was the cloak from the Hallows legend. He borrowed it for a period of time from James to research and examin the cloak. Dumbledore did not need a cloak to make himself invisible.

Near the end of this period, Sybill Trelawney approached Dumbledore for a job as Divination teacher at Hogwarts. Dumbledore met with her as a courtesy, but she unwittingly revealed a prophecy to him about Lord Voldemort and a young boy.

Severus Snape, then a Death Eater, was nearby awaiting his own interview with the headmaster. He overheard part of the prophecy and reported it to his master.

Voldemort decided that the boy in question in the prophecy was Harry Potter, and not Neville Longbottom. He set out to kill the boy. Snape, always in love with Harry’s mother Lily, went to Dumbledore to see if he could prevent the attack on the Potter family.

While Dumbledore helped the Potters go into hiding, he was untimately unsuccessful in saving them. James and Lily Potter were killed. But Voldemort was also thrown from his own body, only surviving thanks to his Horcruxes. Harry went on to become “the boy who lived”.

Going forward, Snape was loyal to Dumbledore but continued to maintain the fiction that he was a Death Eater. Dumbledore suspected that Voldemort was not entirely destroyed and that one day they would need to fight again.

Dumbledore during Harry’s Youth

After the fall of Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore took responsibility for protecting Harry. He placed the infant with his mother’s muggle sister Petunia Dursley. He then made a charm that would extend the protection that Harry’s mother gave him when she died for him as long as he could call the home of his mother’s blood his home.

When Harry turned eleven, he began to attend Hogwarts where Dumbledore could watch over him more closely. He always protected Harry, but also feared what Harry was and what he would need to do in the future.

Things came to a head in 1995 at the end of the Triwizard Tournament when Harry and Cedric Diggory were kidnapped by Lord Voldemort. The Dark Lord used Harry’s blood to restore his body and killed Cedric. Dumbledore immediately believed Harry when he said that Voldemort was back. The Ministry of Magic chose to deny it.

Dumbledore played by Richard Harris before his death

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Dumbledore and the Return of Lord Voldemort

In the following year, Dumbledore was persecuted by the Ministry for speaking out about the return of Lord Voldemort. He also reformed the Order of the Phoenix.

The school was closely monitored by the Ministry. Dolores Umbridge was placed there as High Inquisitor to keep an eye on Dumbledore and his activity. Dumbledore was eventually forced to flee the school when a group of students calling themselves Dumbledore’s Army were discovered.

Despite having nothing to do with the group, Dumbledore took the blame to protect Harry. The Minister of Magic and Dolores Umbridge wanted Dumbledore arrested, but he was easily able to deal with the Aurors and escape.

Throughout this year Dumbledore avoided Harry, fearing the connection between the minds of Harry and Lord Voldemort. For this reason, he sent Harry to do Occlumency lessons with Severus Snape, rather than give them himself. This results in Lord Voldemort manipulating Harry into breaking into the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic to retrieve the prophecy about the two of them.

While the events in the Department of Mysteries finally exposed to the world that Lord Voldemort was back, it also resulted in the death of Harry’s godfather Sirius Black.

Dumbledore Mentoring Harry Potter

Following the events in the Department of Mysteries, Dumbledore finally decided to tell Harry everything. He also intensified his research into Lord Voldemort and his life.

Dumbledore had learned that Voldemort had created seven Horcruxes to protect himself from death, and that Voldemort had inadvertently made Harry into a Horcrux, and that Harry would have to sacrifice himself to make Lord Voldemort killable.

When the school year started, Dumbledore started to give private lessons to Harry to pass on all the information. He did this firstly because he knew that Harry would need to sacrifice himself, and secondly because he knew that Harry would need to finish the hunt for the Horcruxes.

Dumbledore forbade Harry from telling anyone about what they talked about during these meetings. Voldemort could not know until the final moment that his Horcruxes had been discovered or were under threat. He made an exception for Ron and Hermione, as he knew that Harry would need their help.

At the start of this school year Dumbledore also recruited Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts as Potions Master. He did this specifically because he knew that Slughorn had a memory that was the final piece of the puzzle in his research into Lord Voldemort and his Horcruxes.

Dumbledore used Harry to recruit Slughorn, who was known for collecting famous pupils. He then charged Harry with retrieving the memory, which Harry did successfully.

Death of Albus Dumbledore

In the summer before the school term started Dumbledore hunted down Marvolo Gaunt’s ring, which was one of the Horcruxes. But he recognized the stone on the ring as the Resurrection Stone of the Deathly Hallows.

Still entranced by the Hallows, Dumbledore put on the ring, which carried a powerful curse. The curse should have killed him, but Snape was able to limit the curse to his hand and give him another year to live.

Knowing his was already dead, Dumbledore hatched a plan with Snape to prevent Voldemort gaining control of the Elder Wand. Aware that Lord Voldemort had assigned Draco Malfoy to kill him, Dumbledore insisted Snape complete the task to save Malfoy and confuse the loyalty of the Elder Wand.

Near the end of the year, Dumbledore took Harry with him to retrieve the Slytherin locket Horcrux that he had located at the seaside cave that Tom Riddle visited during his time at the orphanage. As part of retrieving the locket, Dumbledore had to drink a potion that greatly weakened him. This, combined with his cursed hand, meant that he was in a terrible state when he returned to Hogwarts to find the Dark Mark overhead.

Landing on the Astronomy Tower with Harry, who was under the invisibility cloak, Draco Malfoy burst forth and disarmed Dumbledore. Malfoy was able to do this because Dumbledore did not defend himself, but instead immobilized Harry to protect him.

Malfoy was unable to bring himself to kill Dumbledore, so Snape did the deed as agreed. This consolidated Lord Voldemort’s faith in Snape so that he could continue to work from the inside. It also meant that Snape could become Headmaster at Hogwarts, allowing him to protect the students.

Dumbledore falling from the Astronomy Tower having been killed by Severus Snape

Dumbledore Beyond the Grave

After his death, Dumbledore continued to work with Snape to help Harry from his portrait in the Headmasters Office. He conspired with Snape to get Gryffindor’s sword to Harry, Ron, and Hermione so that they could destroy the Horcruxes. Dumbledore also told Snape that Harry was a Horcrux and would have to sacrifice himself to Voldemort to make him killable. Snape was then charged with passing this information to Harry at the right moment.

Dumbledore also left important items to Harry, Ron, and Hermione in his will. He gave Harry Gryffindor’s sword, but the Ministry refused to let him have it. He also gave Harry the Resurrection Stone, hidden inside the first snitch that Harry ever caught.

Dumbledore gave Ron his Delluminator, so that he would always be able to find his way back to Harry and Hermione. He gave Hermione his copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard so that she could figure out the secret of the Deathly Hallows.

When Harry did sacrifice himself to Voldemort and found himself in limbo, a vision of Dumbledore appeared to him and explained that he had the choice to live.

Dumbledore was the only Headmaster ever to be buried on the grounds of Hogwarts.

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Albus Dumbledore Personality Type & Traits

Elphias Doge gives us a fairly accurate description of Dumbledore’s personality in the obituary that he wrote for his old friend in the Daily Prophet. He describes him as someone who was personally brilliant, and always willing to see the best in people.

Albus Dumbledore was never proud or vain: he could find something to value in anyone, however apparently insignificant or wretched, and I believe that his early losses endowed him with great humanity and sympathy. I shall miss his friendship more than I can say, but my loss is as nothing compared to the Wizarding world’s. That he was the most inspiring and the best loved of all Hogwarts headmasters cannot be in question. He died as he lived: working as always for the greater good and, in his last hour, as willing to stretch out a hand to a small boy with dragon pox as he was the day that I met him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Dumbledore reveals to Harry that he was prone to vanity when it came to his own knowledge and wizarding ability. It was this that made him put on the cursed ring of Marvalo Gaunt which would have taken his life if Severus Snape had not done the deed at Dumbledore’s own bidding. He also sees this in the fanciful ideas that he shared with his friend Gellert Grindelwald in his youth.

Dumbledore was also a master manipulator. We see him using Newt Scamander, Severus Snape, and Harry Potter as if moving players on a chess board. He expects them to make great sacrifices without ever explaining himself to them. Aberforth tells us that Albus grew up in a house of secrets and lies, and that Dumbledore was a master of deception.

Albus Dumbledore Zodiac Sign & Birthday

Albus Dumbledore was born in late August 1881, which means that his zodiac sign is probably Virgo. People born under this sign are highly intelligent and observant. They are excellent at bringing together puzzle pieces to see a bigger picture. They also tend to have a highly ethical core, and do what is right, even when it is difficult.

Is Albus Dumbledore Pure Blood?

Albus Dumbledore was a half-blood wizard. His father Percival came from a half-blood family, and his mother Kendra may have been muggle born (according to rumors that she apparently denied).

The rumor that the Dumbledores hated muggles stemmed from the fact that Percival attacked some muggle boys who had previously attacked his daughter. There is no other evidence of dislike of muggles among the family.

What House was Albus Dumbledore in?

Like many of our Harry Potter heroes, Dumbledore was a member of Gryffindor House when he was at school. He may show some bias towards his own house. At the end of Harry’s first year, he awarded Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville points for their work to bring down Lord Voldemort and Professor Quirrell. They earned just enough points to overtake Slytherin and win the House Cup.

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Why was Lord Voldemort afraid of Albus Dumbledore?

It was commonly believed that Dumbledore was the only wizard that Lord Voldemort feared. While this was partially because Dumbledore was an incredibly powerful wizard who had defeated Grindelwald, it was also partly because Dumbledore seemed to be the only one to see Lord Voldemort for what he was from the very beginning.

Tom Riddle was a charming boy and won over most people, such as Professor Slughorn. But Dumbledore was never taken in by Tom. Voldemort knew that.

What is the story behind Dumbledore’s sister?

While rumors suggest that Kendra hid Ariana Dumbledore from the world because she was a squib, the opposite is true. She was a very powerful witch, already performing magic at a young age. But when a group of muggle boys saw her performing magic, in their fear, they attacked her.

This left her emotionally scarred and she became unable to control her magic. Normally, in cases like this, the young person would be confined to St Mungo’s hospital. Wanting to keep their daughter home with them, Percival and Kendra Dumbledore hid the truth.

Percival Dumbledore attacked the muggle boys that hurt is daughter in vengeance. He would not explain his actions and expose his daughter. The authorities sent Percival to Azkaban, where he died. Kendra then moved the family to Godric’s Hollow, where no one would know them, and cared for her daughter in secret until her death in 1899.

At this time, Albus Dumbledore returned home to care for his sister. But he was highly distracted by his friendship with Gellert Grindelwald. When his younger brother Aberforth came home and confronted him about the neglect, the three boys fought. Ariana was hit by a stray spell and killed.