Harry Potter: 5 Moments Dumbledore Was A Genius (& 5 He Wasn't)

Obviously the Harry Potter film and book series is about the titular character of Harry Potter, but honestly, Harry Potter would not be the boy he was or the man that he became if it wasn't for Albus Dumbledore. Professor Dumbledore is one of the most powerful and brilliant wizards who ever lived, and he will go down in history alongside the likes of Merlin and the founders of Hogwarts as one of the greatest wizards in history.

RELATED: Mad Men: 5 Times Don Draper Was A Genius (& 5 When He Wasn’t)

Dumbledore was a genius whose power and intelligence was unequaled during his lifetime, and may have been unequaled in all of wizard history. His masterful strokes and clever insights changed the wizarding world for good, and he did many things that no other wizard was even capable of. However, like any person, even a brainiac, he has also done things that were incomprehensibly stupid. So here's 5 times that Dumbledore was a total genius, and 5 times that he really wasn't.

10 Genius: Defeating The Greatest Dark Wizards Alive

Most witches and wizards in the global wizarding world have not been able to face off against Gellert Grindewald or against Lord Voldemort and come out of the confrontation alive, let alone the victor. But Albus Dumbledore can say that he has squared up against the most powerful dark wizards of all time and not just survived, but actually won. Clearly Dumbledore's formidable natural power deserves a lot of credit for that, but the reality is that if he wasn't an actual genius then his raw power wouldn't have meant much up against wizards that were as skilled and as powerful as those two.

9 Or Not: Not Telling Harry About The Prophecy

There are some reasons why Dumbledore would not have wanted Harry Potter, or really anyone else in the world, to know about the prophecy that he witnessed from Professor Trelawney that explained Harry's power and his role in the fight against Voldemort. But ultimately those reasons don't really hold up against basic common sense.

RELATED: Sons Of Anarchy: 5 Times Jax Teller Was A Genius (& 5 When He Wasn’t)

There was some danger in telling Harry the truth, but leaving him completely clueless seems infinitely more dangerous. Dumbledore's entire mission in Harry's life was to prepare him to go to war against Voldemort, and letting Harry know what he was actually getting into would have made that way easier.

8 Genius: Plotting His Own Death

It sounds weird to say, but one of Albus Dumbledore's most masterful strokes in life was actually planning out his own death in order to make it as effective in the fight against Voldemort as possible. Like many wizards before him, Dumbledore let himself succumb to temptation, and that temptation ultimately started the countdown clock to his inevitable death. And once Albus had accepted that this was the reality that he had to deal with, he decided to make his death as meaningful as possible. Letting Severus kill him instead of just waiting to die ensured that the greatest double agent in the wizarding war would be trusted by the dark wizard that trusted almost no one.

7 Or Not: Not Telling Harry He Was A Horcrux

Withholding information about the prophecy from Harry was one thing, but not telling Harry that he was actually a Horcrux when Dumbledore figured it out seems like a wildly dangerous risk to take. It's something that very clearly could have been used to Harry's advantage if he had known about it, but it was also something that could have given Voldemort a massive advantage if he had figured it out, and since Voldemort was a veritable expert on Horcruxes, it's actually pretty shocking that he never put two and two together. Horcruxes are dangerous enough on their own, but one attached to Harry Potter is not the kind of risk that anyone should be comfortable with, let alone someone as typically smart as Dumbledore.

6 Genius: Masterminding Events After His Death

Usually when people make plans for events after their death, it's pretty much just planning out their own funeral and wake so the people around them don't have to. But Albus Dumbledore managed to be one of the key players within the final face off between the dark wizards and good wizards in the entire wizarding world even though he was already dead at the time.

RELATED: Breaking Bad: 5 Moments Saul Goodman Was A Genius (& 5 He Wasn't)

He really had an eye for the bigger picture and seemed to be playing three dimensional chess when everyone else in the world was playing checkers, and despite the fact that he wasn't there to see it it's safe to say that the good wizarding world may not have survived without him.

5 Or Not: Trusting Grindelwald

Love can certainly blind people to the realities of the world that they simply do not want to face, but it's extremely difficult to believe that someone as smart and savvy as Albus Dumbledore didn't come to the realization that he was in love with the wizarding world's version of Hitler long before Gellert Grindelwald rose to power. It's not fair that so much responsibility should rest on one man's shoulders, but Dumbledore knew what Grindelwald was and was probably the only man that could have defeated him, and he ignored all of the obvious signs and avoided doing what needed to be done because his emotions trumped his morals when it came to Gellert.

4 Genius: Figuring Out Harry Was A Horcrux


Albus Dumbledore has a near encyclopedic knowledge of all things magical, so it's easy to understand why he is such a skilled and creative magician. But what is really intriguing about his insight into magic is that he has such an intuitive feeling for it that he can surmise things that no one else would ever figure out on their own. Making a Horcrux is an undoubtedly difficult undertaking, but Dumbledore sussed out that Voldemort's soul had become so unstable that the rebounding killing curse not only killed him, but split his soul again, and that a fragment of his soul attached itself to Harry and created the bizarre and seemingly inexplicable connection between them.

3 Or Not: Giving Harry To The Dursleys

Dumbledore dueling in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Raising Harry Potter away from the magical world and in the world of muggles obviously has a lot of plus sides to it. And there are special reasons why Petunia Dursley made a safer guardian for Harry Potter than any random person may have been. However, leaving a child to be tortured and abused by his family members without any kind of intervention seems sadistic and stupid.

RELATED: Dexter: 5 Times Dexter Morgan Was A Genius (& 5 When He Wasn't)

Harry's childhood experiences made him kinder, but if it had made him crueler then god knows what would have happened. Plus, Dumbledore knew Harry was a Horcrux, so putting him into such a negative environment with such a dangerous magical malady was insane.

2 Genius: Preparing Harry For The Fight Against Voldemort

Richard Harris as Dumbledore in Harry Potter

There are a lot of different forms of intelligence that are valuable and important in their own way, but Albus Dumbledore really needed to use every form of intelligence under the sun in order to guide Harry Potter towards his fight with Voldemort in just the right way. Some of the information that Dumbledore withheld from Harry seemed to be a mistake, but overall he taught Harry just what he needed to learn right when he needed to learn it. And more importantly, he guided Harry enough that Harry could learn those lessons himself instead of just being told what to do, which absolutely made Harry a stronger and more powerful wizard.

1 Or Not: Using The Resurrection Stone

Dumbledore falls

The temptation of something as powerful as the resurrection stone is understandably hard to resist, but you'd think that Albus Dumbledore would be capable of resisting it. Dumbledore more than anyone would understand the potential risks to it, and he was undoubtedly familiar with how horribly the resurrection stone had affected it's previous owners. And again, not to put the weight of the world on one man's shoulders, but that decision was incredibly stupid and selfish. Dumbledore is one of the only wizards who can go toe to toe with Lord Voldemort, so causing his own premature death when Voldemort was reaching the peak of his power risked the fate of the entire world.

NEXT: Mad Men: 5 Moments Peggy Olson Was A Genius (& 5 She Wasn't)

More in Lists