At the beginning of the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore was one of the most beloved characters. He came off as a benevolent kindly grandfather figure, who only wanted the best for Hogwarts and all of its students; as if the man could do no wrong.
As the series progressed, however, some darker secrets were unleashed about Dumbledore and he made some seriously questionable decisions. As the revelations and questions piled up, some fans actually ended up hating him by the time the books were over. Dumbledore was maybe always trying to do the best by those he cared about, but he messed up quite a few times in his decisions.
8 Awarding The House Cup To Gryffindor At The Last Second
It might have seemed like a minor infraction at the time—if it seemed like one at all—but this was pretty messed up. At the end of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, Slytherin had enough points to win the House Cup until Dumbledore awarded a bunch of random, last-minute points to Harry and his friends.
Sure, that was great for them, but it was actually pretty disappointing to the young Slytherin children who lost out on their celebration. Slytherin is often treated as the evil house, but this simply isn’t true and wasn’t fair to them at all. As a teacher, and just generally as a human, Dumbledore should have recognized this.
Way to foster the Gryffindor and Slytherin rivalry.
7 Leaving Harry With The Dursleys
When Lily and James died, Dumbledore deemed family protection the most important thing for Harry. He took the baby to the Dursleys and left him on the doorstep with nothing but a letter explaining that his aunt and uncle would have to raise him now.
We can all see the logic there, as Harry needed the blood protection from Voldemort, but it was a double-edged sword. Dumbledore condemned him to a life of neglect and abuse and didn’t really lift a finger to try and help him — even when he was really struggling. Surely a wizard as powerful as Dumbledore could have protected Harry in some other way — or at the very least, let him stay at Hogwarts over the summer holidays.
6 Hiding The Truth From Harry
In general, Dumbledore wasn’t really fair to Harry. He was constantly hiding the truth from him. He knew of the prophecy from pretty much the night it was spoken, and never bothered to tell Harry about it until he found out himself. Even then, he lied, never telling Harry he was going to have to die to save the world. He was grooming him for a really tragic ending.
Dumbledore’s reasoning for this was that he didn’t want Harry to be miserable, but he left Harry with the Dursleys until he was 11, so he clearly didn’t want him to be happy above all else.
5 Avoiding Harry When He Was Nearly Possessed By Voldemort
In Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Harry ended up semi-possessed by Voldemort for most of the year. Voldemort would randomly enter his head and they would share moods and emotions though neither of them were quite aware of what was happening for most of it.
Dumbledore was, though.
And rather than just explain to Harry and teach him Occlumency himself, he ignored Harry. He left him desperate, upset, and furious because he didn’t want Voldemort to be able to spy on him. And what about Harry, who was forced to let Voldemort enter his head? Come on, Dumbledore.
4 Ignoring Snape’s Abuse Towards The Students
Severus Snape is another controversial character. He, ultimately, was on the side of the good guys, but he was still… not very nice, and his motivation was sketchy. Yes, Dumbledore needed him to spy on Voldemort, sure — but keeping him in a teaching profession seems to be the questionable part of that. He reduced Hermione to tears by making comments about her appearance, he bullied Neville, and he attempted to bully the other children, too.
Did he ever receive disciplinary action? Not that we know of.
Seriously, did him spying on Voldemort somehow give him the right to be absolutely horrible to children?
3 Continuing The Defense Against The Dark Arts Post
When Dumbledore turned down Tom Riddle for the Defense Against The Dark Arts post, he put a curse on it. This had to mean that for decades, they were running through one teacher a year who was forced out at the end in some unpleasant circumstance because the position was cursed.
It’s important to defend yourself, but keeping this subject just didn’t seem worth it. Couldn’t they have scrapped it and put defense in with something else, or changed the subject enough to lift the curse? Or couldn’t Dumbledore have tried harder to break it, since he was more powerful than Voldemort? Seems like a poor use of resources not to.
2 Keeping Sirius In Grimmauld Place
When Sirius got out of Azkaban and became part of the Order, Dumbledore was determined to keep him locked up in Grimmauld Place. Yes, he wanted Sirius to avoid capture, which is fair enough, but that was a home that held lots of terrible memories for him. It was a home he was presumably abused in, judging by the portrait of his mother and reputation of his family.
Even Dumbledore acknowledged that when Sirius became reckless and got himself killed, locking him that house was to blame. And then poor Harry ended up blaming himself. Dumbledore was definitely kind of at fault here.
1 Allowing Harry To Participate In The Triwizard Tournament
We know Voldemort is trying to come back by the time Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire rolls around. Dumbledore is well aware of the fact. So when Harry’s name pops out of the goblet and he’s told he has to participate in dangerous tasks, wouldn’t the best thing to do be to ban him?
Nope. Dumbledore decides it’s best to let him participate. And even McGonagall has questions.
Movie Dumbledore is so much worse about it, but book Dumbledore should also have withdrawn Harry immediately. What did he expect to happen here? It was always going to have a bad ending.