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13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Albus Dumbledore

May 6, 2021 3.9k votes 623 voters 104.3k views13 items

List RulesVote up the details about Dumbledore that show why he's Order of Merlin, First Class.

Albus Dumbledore is one of the most enigmatic, fascinating, and morally complex characters in the Wizarding World. Depicted as brilliant beyond measure, Dumbledore is a powerful and keen sorcerer whom many wizards flock to for leadership. During his 115 years of life, he led the resistance against Voldemort twice over, served as headmaster of Hogwarts, and earned the Order of Merlin, First Class for his defeat of his lifelong rival and love, the malicious Gellert Grindelwald.

But behind all his glory and renown is a dark past filled with secrets, regrets, and dark machinations that hinged on sacrificing his prized student Harry Potter for the "greater good." Many know the headmaster as the kind, grandfatherly figure he became in his later years, but before Hogwarts, Dumbledore lived a complicated life. The truth behind his shrouded history is the subject of much fascinating speculation among fans. How many of these obscure facts about Dumbledore's life have you already discovered, and which do you find most intriguing?

  • 1

    Dumbledore's Death Was Foreshadowed In 'Prisoner of Azkaban'

    Photo: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Those who pay very careful attention while reading The Prisoner of Azkaban can pick up on subtle clues that foretell Dumbledore's death. While Harry is having Christmas dinner at Hogwarts, Dumbledore rises from the table to greet Professor Trelawney. She is about to join the party when she stops with sudden fright. She proclaims that if she sits, the number of seated guests would become 13. The divination professor dramatically warns that the first to rise from a table of 13 will be the next to die, and she refuses to partake in the merriment to avoid this unlucky situation.

    However, what she doesn't know is there already are 13 guests at the table: Peter Pettigrew is present, but in his Animagus rat form, "Scabbers," hidden in Ron's pocket. Having stood up from the table upon Trelawney's arrival, Dumbledore's fate was forewarned. Though Trelawney's warning is laughed about and dismissed, it turns out that Dumbledore actually is the first to die among those who are present that night.

    Interesting detail?
  • 2

    He Developed The Method Of Using Patronuses For Communication

    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    In addition to being the inventor of the Deluminator, Dumbledore shows his genius by creating new spells and methods of using existing spells in new ways. In Order of the Phoenix, many of the wizards and witches in the Order take advantage of the very convenient ability to communicate via their Patronuses. Dumbledore discovers and develops this clever function to give the members of the Order an extra edge over Voldemort's followers.

    The technique is a vital, lifesaving tool at Bill and Fleur's wedding, when Kingsley Shacklebolt sends word that the Ministry of Magic has fallen and the malcontent group of Death Eaters is on its way.

    Interesting detail?
  • 3

    Dumbledore Gave Lessons To His Headmaster Portrait Before He Died

    Photo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / Warner Bros. Pictures

    It has been revealed that portraits of the headmasters and headmistresses of Hogwarts are kept in a secret cupboard before the demise of the person they depict. Part of the duties of the headmaster or headmistress is to frequently visit their portrait in its hiding spot and give it lessons on how to behave and speak like their subject. Bits of important information are also passed from subject to portrait during their life as a way of protecting vital pieces of intelligence that they need to safeguard until the correct moment.

    Dumbledore also gives regular lessons to his portrait during his time as headmaster. It seems Dumbledore anticipates some of the events that occur after his death, because the portrait he leaves behind secretly aids Snape in supporting Harry and his friends as they seek to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes.

    Interesting detail?
  • 4

    His Boggart Took The Form Of His Sister's Corpse

    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Dumbledore is haunted throughout his life by the passing of his sister, Ariana. As a young girl, she suffers emotional difficulties after a group of Muggle boys harm her. The event so deeply scars her that she becomes an Obscurial, suppressing her magic to such a great degree that it sometimes comes out in uncontrollable bursts. Kendra Dumbledore keeps Ariana's secret by raising her in a sheltered home away from prying eyes, but the unthinkable happens when Ariana loses control of her magic one day and slays her own mother. With no one left to care for the young, fragile girl, Dumbledore is forced to cancel his plans to travel abroad.

    Though he harbors great resentment for the situation, he never could have predicted that his tensions with Grindelwald and his brother Aberforth would snap and trigger a deadly duel. During the melee, one of the three wizards fires a curse that ends up striking Ariana and ending her young life. It is unknown which of the three is ultimately responsible. This event breaks Dumbledore, leaving him with unbearable regrets for the rest of his life. This is also why Dumbledore's boggart takes the form of Ariana's body - it is the manifestation of his greatest fear - that his actions directly led to her demise, and he may have been the one who cast the curse that ended her life.

    Interesting detail?