Deathly Hallows Discussion Point #5: Narrative Misdirection

Ms. Rowling’s signature flair is the stunning ending in which you learn that what Harry thought is not only wrong but outrageously wrong (again, see Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader for an in-depth look at Ms. Rowling’s use of this narratological trick she gets from Austen’s Emma). The end of Half-Blood Prince seemed to be the exception because Harry has always believed that Snape was bad and in Prince he argues from the start that Draco is up to no-good. We learned, of course, in Deathly Hallows that Harry was mistaken in Prince — everything on the Tower was staged, Severus was acting in obedience — and, incredibly, about Dumbledore as well. What did you think of The Prince’s Tale, in which we learned that Snape was a Heathcliff Hero and that Dumbledore was using Harry Potter all along as a necessary sacrifice in the war against Voldemort? Did the conversation with Albus in King’s Cross soften the blow of learning how Harry was a pawn in Dumbledore’s game? Were you caught off guard in either instance?


  1. It was no surprise since being in this room and all of the predictions that were made. that was one of the big ones. It could have gone either way no one could predict, but only guess. It makes since in the book now.

  2. Snape as Heathcliff and Dumbledore as – Machiavelli’s Prince?

    The resemblance to Heathclff ends at the point that the love object Cathy/Lily dies. Before then, they are both passionate but surly and temperamentally mismatched lovers. After that, Heathcliff sets out to avenge himself on both Catherine’s and Linton’s families. Snape, on the other hand, nobly determines to save Lily’s son from the man who killed her. Closer to Sydney Carton, I think, although he didn’t deliberately make the ultimate sacrifice (Voldemort didn’t give him the chance) and only had a few good lines (“Always!” and “Look … at … me …”) vs. “It’s a far, far better thing that I do . . .” that Dickens gave Carton.

    I wasn’t really surprised by the Prince’s tale, nor would most of the people commenting on SOG: we had him as Dumbledore’s man by a large margin and many speculated on his unrequited love for Lily.

    But Dumbledore as Machiavelli’s Prince? That was unexpected. Snape said it best:

    “‘You have used me.’


    ‘I have spied for you, and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter -‘”


    A few people did argue that Dumbledore was manipulative and deceitful. I just thought that his deceptiveness was a function of the need to keep the reader in the dark. Never would I have imagined that Dumbledore had brought up Harry to walk into death, even with a high likelihood that he would survive the encounter.

    So I’m shocked. But not unpleasantly so. Truth be told, I find this Dumbledore more interesting than the gentle, loving, compassionate Dumbledore. The Dumbledore who toys with Muggle dominance, who may have killed his sister, who covets objects of power so he can master death, and who omits to tell a young child in his care that he is destined for death is more than a match for Voldemort whose evil lacks imagination.

    It’s quite ironic, isn’t it?There we were arguing the merits of Snape’s fit with Machiavelli’s Prince, and all along the position was already taken.

    Does the encounter at King’s Cross take away some of the sting? Harry doesn’t seem to mind, because he sees the mission as necessary, and it’s too late for second thoughts anyways at that point. The worse is over.

    I don’t think the explanation changes anything. Dumbledore loves Harry. But not enough to trust him with the truth until knowledge of the truth can’t change anything.

    He’s quite cold, actually. But that’s ok. It’s just different from what I expected.

  3. I was very troubled by all of Dumbledore’s secrets, but I think that with all those secrets undermining my previous conception of his character, the most closely-held secret, not passed on to Snape OR Harry, was a good one: the hope that by willingly accepting death at Voldemort’s hands, Harry would not be killed but freed.

    If Harry was being raised for slaughter, I think we can see from his talk with Dumbledore at the end of Order of the Phoenix that it was not an easy thing for Dumbledore to do.

  4. Billy the Kid says

    Your honor I present myself as a witness for the defense of Dumbledore.

    Let me start by reminding everyone that what happened at Godric’s Hallow on that Halloween night was completely unique. Voldemort was finishing creating more than one horcrux (never been done); Lily WILLINGLY throws herself in front of a killing curse (We’ve no indication that anyone had ever done that before. I imagine killing curses are pretty rare outside of Death Eater circles and I doubt they had ever been used on a baby before, especially with the mother standing nearby) and Harry survives the curse (never happened before in all of history).

    I state these things to show that on that night the defendant, Albus Dumbledore, is in the dark as much as anybody. He doesn’t know what happened to Harry or Voldemort. He may dreadfully suspect Voldemort of making a horcrux, but only one at that point. He knows the prophecy though, that Harry is now the one to finally defeat Voldemort. If not now than later. So he must protect Harry at all cost, and that is his only goal as the book series opens.

    Not until the end of CoS does Dumbledore get proof that there was a horcrux, and ONLY then does he begin to suspect that there was more than one. At this point he might begin to have a bad feeling about Harry’s scar, but no evidence that it may be part of Voldemorts soul. That evidence will not begin to appear until two years later in GoF. It is then I think that Dumbledore begins to realise Harry may have to die, (though I feel certain he looked for other ways to get rid of the part of Voldmorts soul in Harry, hence the Dark Magic books in his study).

    This is why the look of triumph in his eye at the end of GoF is so important. The fact that Voldemort had Harry’s blood wasn’t going to help defeat Voldemort, but it might be a way to save Harry! The new conection could bring him back if he died, minus the Voldemort parasite. There was Hope!

    We (as Harry) see very little of Dumbledore in OoP and HBP, but neither does anyone else. He always seems to be in hurry, or missing. We know now he was out looking for Horcruxes and information. His end came sooner than he expected, and he had to hand over things to Harry in a somewhat incomplete form.

    I’m also remind you of the only time Harry saw Dumbledore agitated with him. It was in HBP after he told Harry about the Horcruxes. It was crucial that Harry understand that he doesn’t have to face Voldemort because of the prophecy, but he has to want to, willingly. Only then would Harry have the courage to do what Dumbledore knew he must one day do. Walk bravely into that forest and willingly lay down his life. Throughout all the things in all the books that Dumbledore tells Harry, this is the most important. He in essence is saying to Harry “neither I, nor the prophecy, nor anyone else can force you do this Harry. You have to be willing to do it of your own free will.” harry understood that.

    In summation, Dumbledore did not raise Harry for slaughter from the time he was a baby. He could not even have suspected that Harry held a horcrux in his scar until the end of COS when Harry was almost 13 yrs. old, and would not have had full proof until was almost 15, and at that time, he had almost as strong evidence that Harry could survive that death.

    I place the evidence presented into the hands of this very capable Jury, and rest my case.

  5. Miss Prewett says

    Jo, like any masterful author, manipulated my emotions so flawlessly that despite six previous books’ worth of (blind) Dumbledore loyalty, halfway through Deathly Hallows I felt, like Harry, incredibly betrayed and angered at Dumbledore’s motives, actions, and manipulations of certain characters (mainly Harry & Snape). However, once Dumbledore’s actions are explained in full (via Dumbledore’s time with Harry at King’s Cross as well as Snape’s memories), I felt my sympathies returning to Dumbledore. By the end, I was once again able to think of myself as “Dumbledore’s girl, through and through.”

    The back story on Dumbledore’s younger days was brilliantly done, pitting our tendency to mistrust anything Rita Skeeter writes against mounting evidence that she may, for once, have been correct. This gives us our first glimpse of a Dumbledore who is not omniscient or selfless as previously portrayed, but who shares many characteristics with Voldemort himself: incredibly brilliant, power-hungry, elitist, and somewhat of a loner. However, like Dumbledore explains to Harry at the end of Chamber of Secrets, what matters “…is our choices……far more than our abilities.” Despite Dumbledore’s resemblances to both Tom Riddle and Gellert Grindewald, he chose not to place himself in positions of high power and chose not to continue his youthful plans for wizard domination.

    Throughout the series we’ve thought of Dumbledore as Harry did: as if “he sprang into being venerable and silver-haired.” However, Jo depicts his chaotic and rebellious youth as the very catalyst that forged him into the wise, tolerant, loving wizard we’ve known since Sorcerer’s Stone. But Dumbledore himself admits that he makes mistakes (and those mistakes are often catastrophic). Knowing that Dumbledore has flaws, a secretive past, a hidden family tragedy, etc. makes him more real, more believable, and frankly more likable than a detached, omniscient Gandalf-figure.

    Some people might claim that Snape’s real loyalty was a blatant use of misdirection, but I beg to differ. In nearly every book, Harry has been glaringly wrong in his judgment of someone’s loyalties or motives. Most obviously, he suspected Snape all though Sorcerer’s Stone, but as we learned Snape was protecting Harry the entire time. The series is remarkably symmetrical (that symmetry is enough to warrant an entire essay or editorial so I won’t expound on that here), and so it makes a lot of sense that Harry was very wrong about his Snape judgment in books one and seven.

    Rowling carefully uses point of view in her literary misdirection. Chapter One of Sorcerer’s Stone is told, more or less, from Professor McGonagall and Vernon Dursley’s points of view. From there forward, the series proceeds entirely from Harry’s perspective with a few notable exceptions. The Riddle House chapter in Goblet of Fire is shown from Frank Bryce’s standpoint, and in Half-Blood Prince we’re given two non-Harry POV’s: the Muggle Prime Minister and a third person neutral of Narcissa/Bellatrix/Snape in Spinner’s End. Finally, the Death Eater Social at the Malfoy’s in Deathly Hallows wraps us the only instances when what the readers know is not strictly through Harry’s paradigm. In this way, we truly go on the journey along with our hero, and so our reactions are usually in total alignment with Harry’s. We are vulnerable to carefully planned manipulation, but I think that is one of the best things about Jo’s writing: she pulls us into her world so completely that it seems only natural.

  6. What really threw me off in Half-Blood Prince was how the Dumbledore character was so different than the Dumbledore of the other books: his treatment of the Dursleys came close to Muggle baiting (bouncing glasses off their heads?), his assignment of the Horcrux memory retrieval task to Harry (no instructions, no advice, just “do it! yesterday!), and the language of the cave character. I was convinced this had to be (!) someone else.


    It certainly was unlike Harry’s idea of Dumbledore that was what we had in the first four books — but it was the Dumbledore of Prince that was the real Dumbledore.

    Narrative Misdirection at its finest.

  7. Manning67 says

    I will not repeat the deeply illuminating and perspicuous legal case made by Council, Billy the Kid.

    However, I will suggest this footnote: You, Sir, rock.

    I completely agree with Billy – I don’t think Dumbledore knew the full situation and its impact. And I am willing to go a little further – I don’t think Dumbledore *knew* that Harry was a Horcrux until midway through Book Six.

    The altered memory that Harry retrieved from Slughorn confirmed Dumbledore’s suspicion that Voldemort made quite a few Horcruxes. Prior to this knowledge, Dumbledore may have had suspicions that it was “more than 2,” but he didn’t know it was 7.

    My impression from DH was that part of the reason Harry was inadvertently made into a Horcrux was because after 7 splittings of Voldy’s soul, there were little “soul chunks” ready to fly off at a moment’s notice! Dumbledore didn’t know this for a fact until midway through Book 6. So he couldn’t have been sure about Harry’s situation – or made a solid guess about it – until then.

    Ironically, that detail wasn’t even the reason for my post. I just wanted to add a little bit, bolstering Billy’s case case.

    My real goal in posting tonight was to talk about Dumbledore through Harry’s eyes. Maybe it’s really the narrator’s misdirection. I tend to think it captures tumultuous teenage thinking rather well.

    In PS, Dumbledore is Harry’s savior, rescuing him from a miserable life with the Dursleys. He’s the Knight in Shining Armor. He’s golden and perfect, and oozing gentle benevolence.

    As the books evolve, and Harry matures, Harry’s perceptions of Dumbledore change…there are cracks in Dumbledore’s shining armor. He doesn’t understand why Dumbledore “ignores him” for most of Book 5. It makes him terribly angry…nevertheless, he trusts this pseudo-father.

    Harry even yells at Dumbledore in HBP – we see some real open rebellion.

    Mark Twain once said, “All children judge their parents. And if the parents are lucky, they’re forgiven.”

    For me, the quote is really about a rite of passage that all of us go through as we begin to see our parents as real individuals: they make mistakes, they give us bum advice, they try their best, they have bad taste, etc.

    In DH, Harry gets the Big Dose of Dumbledore’s darker side. We’d seen Harry struggle with it in OoP and HBP, but now it’s cracked wide open: Dumbledore has deceived others. He has made a power play. He was once a racist against Muggles. He’s partially responsible for a negligent death.

    Can Harry still love this father figure, this man who knows greed, arrogance, youthful mistakes, and blood on his hands?

    I think that Harry’s most powerful moment, most transcending moment in DH is not when he kills Voldermort, but when Dumbledore cries in King’s Cross and Harry – despite being lied to, given incomplete information, his current incomplete answers and his internal chaos, etc. – Harry comforts Dumbledore. Let’s him be human.

    At that moment, Harry Potter has truly grown stepped into compassionate, loving adulthood.

  8. esoterica1693 says

    I’m still able to interpret HBP Dumbledore as simply showing the stress of having to get all the loose ends tied off in short order when he didn’t know exactly how much time he had, and couldn’t confide the issue of his *dead*line to anyone besides Snape, who isn’t exactly a warm fuzzy supportive friend, no matter how loyal!

    Frankly I think the Dursleys got off easily w/ just some glasses bouncing off their heads (and they were ignoring every standard of hospitality, which must have offended AD rather much–he who maintained the formalities of courtesy even w/ the DEs on the tower)–and an opaque remark about Dudders. Think how furious AD must have been at them over the past 5 yrs for how they’d treated Harry.

    In addition to all the Draco/Snape/Harry/Hallows/Horcrux loose ends he had to deal w/, think of all the parts of his life we never see–whatever balls he was juggling re Wizengamot, international stuff, his efforts towards the giants and werewolves, etc. He had an ginormous number of loose ends to tie up as soon as possible while not betraying that he was in a rush at all. If his impatience showed, I think it’s simply more evidence that he was human, but not that he was severely flawed.

    I can hear the rebuttal–if he hadn’t been trying to orchestrate so many other peoples’ lives he wouldn’t have had so many loose ends, right?

    I really don’t think AD manipulated Harry excessively. The only person who really has a bone to pick w/ him, I think, is Snape, b/c he really did milk Snape’s remorse for all it was worth and then some. Asking someone to repeatedly risk or undergo torture or death as a double-agent betraying the nastiest wizard alive, and then to commit murder, even if w/ extenuating circumstances, is quite a demand.

    But it is clear that even on the night of his death AD still felt terrible remorse for what he had done to his sister and didn’t feel he had yet made amends, even after 130 years of trying to do good. Perhaps he *assumed* that Snape’s remorse gave him just as insatiable a need for making amends, which could never fully be satisfied.

  9. I guess to say that the Dursleys deserved it would be wrong, and the dark wizard’s excuse for Muggle Baiting. I just thought the bouncing glasses was Dumbledore’s nod to Harry…a way of saying…I know they’re nasty and rude and they further prove it at evey turn. They tried his patience. Not an excuse, but still not a nasty trick that harmed them.

    I was also taken aback by the way Dumbledore turned over the task of priming Slughorn to Harry with no guidance, but I believe he was out of ideas (he’d obviously tried numerous times before). Dumbledore hoped Harry held leverage he did not, and he delegated because he had his hands full looking for Riddle stories and Horcruxes and the clock was ticking.

    It was also a reflection of the way children see adults. Young children think adults have all of the answers. As we age, we begin to see their flaws.

  10. hambrick91 says

    I’m new to all this, but utterly fascinated!

    I’m not sure this falls under “Narrative Misdirection,” but as I thought about John’s comment here about how Dumbledore seemed so different in HBP, I got to thinking that one reason for that is Harry is growing up. There comes a point in our lives when we see our parents as not just our parents, but as PEOPLE–with good characteristics and bad, with heroic traits and flawed ones. That realization and coming to peace with it are a significant part of maturing into adulthood, and hopefully the start of the transition from parent-as-authority to eventually having your parent as a friend or equal.

    Though Dumbledore is not Harry’s father, he is about as close to it as Harry gets in life. So could it be that we see Dumbledore differently in HBP because Harry is maturing? And could it be that’s part of why Harry has to question who Dubledore REALLY is through much of DH? Part of his maturing to adulthood is making peace with his hero’s humanity? We get the vast majority of the story from Harry’s point of view, so as he matures, it makes sense to me that our view of Dubmbledore would also change.

    Just a thought…

  11. korg20000bc says

    I don’t think Dumbledore was bumping those glasses into their heads. He created glasses that wanted to serve the drinker and they were responding to the Dursley’s impolitness. Hardly muggle baiting


  12. Jayne1955 says

    Am I the only one who was disappointed that Jo seemed to promise certain things we didn’t get? Does thsi fall under misdirection?

    1. After all the hype and wonderful theories about Lily’s eyes, I expected more from that line of reasoning than just the fact that Snape loved them and saw Lil’s eyes in James’ face when he looked at Harry.

    2. Jo said Ginny was powerful and Harry’s equal. I didn’t see that in DH. She did what a lot of others did, and did very little alone. Tome she wouldn up being the prize Hary got for winning, and I didn’t like that. Where was the power? In her being able to kiss like firewhiskey?

    3. Voldemort had so much power over his death eaters. How many times did Jo impress upon us that “He knows!” But he didn’t know Narcissa was lying about Harry being alive? That makes no sense to me.

    4. Jo stated a lot of lines of questioning that did not get answered, even though she said the book wold tellus everything, and the epilogue would tell us what happened to the survivors. I didn’t expect everything, but were things like the locked room, the veil, the wand in the window, and so many of those other things we loved to play with really just red herrings? And I want to know what happened to a lot more of the survivors than theones that were in the epilogue. I loved the book, for the most part, But I hated the epilogue.

  13. I also object to the bumping glasses. It may be rude to refuse hospitality, but it’s ruder–much worse than rude– to try to force an alcoholic beverage on someone who doesn’t want it.

  14. Augustus says

    This may not count as narrative misdirection, but I’m curious: Does Neville fulfill the prophecy when he kills Nagini? Dumbledore says that LV had chosen Harry, but it seems to me that Neville’s “killing” the last bit of LV’s soul that isn’t part of his body is a part of the vanquishing of the dark lord, and this step might be a reflection of Harry’s journey, just as the rest of Neville’s story was a reflection of Harry’s journey. It had to be Neville who did it–not Ron, Hermione, or Ginny. And Harry recognized this when he gave the direction to Neville.

  15. Re: Neville above: The scene does perhaps demonstrate another fulfillment of the prophecy: Voldemort is, in a way, marking Neville as an equal, by mockingly “re-sorting” him into Slytherin while commenting on his pure blood (the one thing Voldemort wishes he could be.) This approach, of course, backfires as much as the later killing curse, as Neville demonstrates his true Gryffindor spirit and pulls both life and a necessary means for Voldemort’s destruction (the sword, a power Voldemort did not know about) out of the hat Voldemort intended to cause his death.

    Amid all the discussion about whether a clearly flawed Dumbledore can be a God- or Christ-figure, I’d like to suggest that Dumbledore could instead, or additionally, represent the church. Clearly, in Harry’s eyes, Dumbledore goes from the “flawless-father-figure-who-is-always-right” to a more human figure, particularly after the death of Sirius, when he for the first time gets angry with Dumbledore and questions his judgments and motives. Rita Skeeter’s book certainly reflects a modern-day tendency of secular society to cut down the established church: it’s corrupt, it’s hypocritical, it’s built on a biased and falsified history, it hasn’t really given us all the good things it take credit for (“12 uses of dragon’s blood? Someone else had already discovered 8 of them!”) Note that these accusations, like Rita’s may not be entirely without merit, although her motivation for revealing them is entirely to boost her own importance and sell books, not out of any real desire to uncover the truth and that, given a choice, she’ll go with the juiciest rumor “Ariana was a Squib!” rather than the best supported facts.
    A think it’s significant that Harry’s deconstruction of Dumbledore takes place at the end of his education, when he’s done with his OWLS and working on his NEWTS. Certainly college is the time a lot of young adults encounter scholarship that leads them to question the basic tenets of heir faith. You can even hear some typical questioning from Snape: when he gets angry over the fact that Harry’s being raised “like a lamb for a sacrifice.” Why would a just and loving God demand the Sacrifice of his son? Or, more relevantly, why isn’t the Church outraged at that very idea?
    But, in the end, Harry realizes that Dumbledore, flawed and sinful as he is, does have the basic plan of salvation right, not because he made it that way, but because that is the way that it is. There may be sin in Dumbledore’s past, and present, and gaps in his understanding, but in the end he points Harry in the correct direction, and Harry chooses to take it.

  16. says

    I find it interesting how different people react to the same situation. For example, I never felt betrayed or angry at the Dumbledore character while reading Deathly Hallows. My reaction was along the lines of “that’s interesting” and “oh, I see how he has grown.” Others have commented mightily on this theme, but, if it were meant to be misdirection, it didn’t work for me, and I’m glad it succeeded for others.

    The bouncing glasses, on the other hand, I took as some light humor. Different people have brought different perspectives to the scene. For example, my tradition (and the English tradition of J.K. Rowling) doesn’t have any aversion to mead (or beverages with alcohol in general), whereas Trish’s does. I do think that it is the communal aspect of shared refreshment which is the issue: had Vernon said, “Thank you, but I’ll just get me a glass of water”, methinks his meadglass would’ve disappeared, to be replaced by a nice glass of ice water.

    Don’t make assumptions about people. My tradition doesn’t have the slightest aversion to mead or alcoholic beverages in general. (My grandmother was English, btw.) It’s the idea of pressuring people to accept an alcoholic beverage they don’t want–or any food or drink they don’t want–to which I object. It’s not shared if it’s accepted against your will, even if it’s just ice water.

  18. says

    Thanks for your correction. My apologies for misreading where you were coming from. The latter clarification “or any food or drink they don’t want” helped me better understand what you were getting at.
    I wonder: had the Dursley’s responded with a “no, thank you”, would Dumbledore have kept the glasses abouncing? My gut feel is, no, they would’ve disappeared. But the Dursley’s refused any polite interaction.
    Thanks again for setting me straight.

  19. Of course, it was the Dursleys’ house, so offering any sort of refreshment wasn’t really DD’s place anyway, was it?

  20. says

    Yes, but methinks a bit more than just “place”: it was the Dursleys’ responsibility to be hospitable and offer refreshment. (Dumbledore fills that lacuna with a bit of humor, gently reminding them in a forgiving spirit. In Lutheran terms, he was applying ‘Law” to a situation in a gentle manner.) My perception is that context is important: were the Dursleys visiting Hogwarts and being pressed to be sociable, then I’d be agreeing with you.

  21. Wow, Trish. The Dursleys treat Harry to 15 years of misery and neglect, and you are offended that Dumbledore offers them alcoholic beverages they don’t want. Yes, what an awful injustice. What an arrogant and terrible man.

    I similarly struggle to understand the people who are so appaled that Harry used an unforgivable curse against Carrow. It’s the same issue–of focusing on a small detail, blowing it out of proportion, and letting it skew your view of a person who may have done a thousand other admirable things. This man and his wife abused and, literally, tortured hundreds of students for a year. Yet these people forget that. It’s not that Harry’s use of the curse was right, but it was by far the least of the evils that were going on in the story. Like all of Jo’s characters, and like all of us, Harry is not perfect. Isn’t it understandable that he lost his temper in the presence of this man? Why not talk about how Harry loyally stood up for Professor McGonagall, or about how terrible Voldemort and his death eaters were?

    Is it your assertion that if someone pushes his way into my house uninvited I’m supposed to offer him a drink?

    The Dursleys had no responsibility to do anything for Dumbledore.

    So the Dursleys weren’t nice to Harry, so it’s okay to mistreat them? Yeah, you know what, that IS injustice. It’s certainly not the way I was taught to behave.

  23. trish,
    I’m really surprised you won’t admit different degrees of wrongdoing here. 15 years of neglect, verbal abuse, making a child live in a cupboard, etc—surely you can admit that is a much greater evil than simply insisting someone take a drink.

    If it makes you feel better, when I read that part of the book, I had the feeling that if the Dursleys had simply taken the glasses in their hands, they would have gotten away with not actually drinking them. The issue was that they refused to even acknowledge the wizarding reality that was Harry’s (and Petunia’s sister’s), even when it was literally smacking them in the heads.

    If you’re dead-set on believing that Dumbledore is terrible, I don’t think losing/winning this argument will help your case much one way or the other.

  24. rab–
    What are you talking about???????
    The fact that the Dursleys may have mistreated Harry does not give Dumbledore carte blanche to abuse them, any more than the fact that Dumbledore abused the Dursleys (which he did) gives them the right to abuse the entire wizarding world. One thing does not justify the other.

    If you believe my posts said, “I am dead-set on believing that Dumbledore is terrible,” you either didn’t actually read them or I have completely failed in making a coherent sentence. I don’t think the failure is mine. Human beings are not good or evil; actions are. I was addressing Dumbledore’s action.

    Whether an action is right or wrong is not dependent on whether or not the person on whom you perform it is wonderful or terrible. If you murder a “terrible person”, the act is still murder.

    I do believe that some acts are more evil than others. And Dumbledore’s were very close to the worst possible. Forcing someone to take a drink is a true evil–much, much worse than providing minimal lodgings to someone.
    But let’s suppose that the Dursley’s acts were truly much, much worse than Dumbledore’s, just for the sake of argument. How does that possibly excuse Dumbledore? He did the wrong thing. You don’t like the people to whom he did it, so that excuses him? That’s not the Christian view.

    Once again, it doesn’t matter how many things the Dursleys did that may or may not have been worse. What matters is that Dumbledore did the wrong thing. To attempt to excuse it in any way is to partake of the evil.
    I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.

  25. And that ends this unpleasant exchange… Thank you both (three?) for moving on to another topic.

    John the Genial Moderator

  26. Actually, it reminded me of Tom Brown’s School Days. He did in the end beat the bully and save the school and beyond. But more so, in the bible, God gives up his son for the salvation of the whole world. It could be a parallel. I am not saying an allegory, but symbolically.

  27. ‘I have spied for you, and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter -’”
    ‘after all this time?’ always”..

    does that mean that snape actually love harry or its because of his love for lily????

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