Harry Potter: 25 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter franchise, is perhaps one of the most mysterious and interesting characters in the series. His old age and years of experience leave him as one of the most respected characters in the Wizarding World, with nearly every wizard and witch in the series thinking highly of him, with many fearing him.

Dumbledore has a rich history in the Harry Potter lore, with some of the stories about him dating back to a hundred years before Harry Potter came into the picture. Much of Dumbledore's history is further explained in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which will feature a younger version of Dumbledore, back when he was only a professor at Hogwarts and was still struggling with his relationship with Gillert Grindelwald.

This movie will further expand Dumbledore's past in the series. Much of Dumbledore's history was explained in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with Harry and his friends learning more about the elderly wizard's past as they try to seek out Voldemort's Horcruxes. This final installment to the Harry Potter series even put the heroes face-to-face with Albus Dumbledore's younger brother Aberforth, who up until then they did not know even existed.

Despite The Deathly Hallows going in depth with Dumbledore's history, many Harry Potter fans often get lost in the mystery of Dumbledore and overlook some important facts regarding the Hogwarts headmaster. Additionally, over the years, a number of false facts and theories regarding Dumbledore have spread across the Internet and been taken as fact.

With that said, here are the 25 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Dumbledore.

25 The Dumbledore Family Lineage Isn't Exactly Noble

Ciarán Hinds as Aberforth Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

When someone says the name "Dumbledore" in the Wizarding World, most people react with respect, immediately thinking about the Hogwarts headmaster. Before Albus was the great wizard he grew into, however, the Dumbledore name had a bit of a bad reputation.

Albus's father, Percival Dumbledore, gave the Dumbledore name a bad reputation after he brutally attacked some muggle children, leading to him spending the rest of his life in Azkaban. When Albus started attending Hogwarts, the other students actually avoided him when they heard his last name was Dumbledore, not knowing that the name "Dumbledore" would have some drastically different connotations further down the road.

24 Dumbledore Never Actually Had All Three Deathly Hallows At Once

One of the most common fan theories regarding Dumbledore is that he was the first wizard to ever obtain all three of the Deathly Hallows at once. While he did technically get his hands on all three of the Deathly Hallows, they were not at the same time. He had given the Invisibility Cloak to Harry before he had retrieved the Resurrection Stone.

Harry, on the other hand, was closer to having all three Deathly Hallows at once. While he never had all three in the same place, he had the Resurrection Stone and Invisibility Cloak during The Deathly Hallows, at the same time that the Elder Wand technically belonged to him, even though Voldemort physically had it.

23 He Doesn't Always See Grindelwald In The Mirror Of Erised

Dumbledore Grindelwald Mirror of Erised Fantastic Beasts Crimes of Grindelwald

In The Sorcerer's Stone, Dumbledore claimed that he saw himself with a fresh pair of socks in the Mirror of Erised, which many people assumed was a lie. The Crimes of Grindelwald finally shows what most people thought Dumbledore had seen in the mirror instead: Grindelwald.

However, according to J.K. Rowling, this isn't even what Dumbledore saw in the mirror in The Sorcerer's Stone. At some point between The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Sorcerer's Stone, Dumbledore's deepest desire changed from Grindelwald to his entire family back together, as according to Rowling, this is what he saw in the mirror during the Harry Potter franchise.

22 Dumbledore Actually Knows The Dark Arts

Dumbledore vs. Voldemort Order of the Phoenix

Dumbledore is seen as the brightest wizard, fully distancing himself from the Dark Arts to become quite the opposite of a dark wizard. However, as revealed by Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore was actually well versed in the Dark Arts, and could even pull off even the darkest types of magic that Voldemort was able to use.

This actually makes sense when you think about it, though. Dumbledore strongly believed that in order to defeat your enemy, you have to understand them. In order to defend against the Dark Arts, Dumbledore likely thought it was important to understand this more evil spectrum of magic thoroughly.

21 He Was Not A Modest Man

Dumbledore was certainly a humble wizard, but he was far from modest. While he doesn't regularly shove his incredible skill and intellect into people's faces, he is known for bringing up exactly how much he knows about a particular subject if that subject comes up.

However, this doesn't particularly mean that Dumbledore was arrogant. He would often admit that he had made many mistakes in his life and did not try to convince people that he was perfect in any way. He just didn't particularly care for false modesty.

20 The Loss Of His Sister Always Haunted Him

When Harry and the gang encountered Dumbledore's brother Aberforth, Aberforth insisted that Albus had gotten over the loss of his sister long ago and moved on as if nothing had happened. This would be easy to believe, seeing as Albus never brought up his sister Ariana, but it's actually quite the opposite from the truth.

Ariana's passing haunted Albus for the remainder of his days. The main reason he never mentioned her, or anyone from his family, was out of guilt. The pain was too strong for him to ever want to relive it again.

19 He Didn't Believe In Prophecies

Dumbledore may be well known as a master of magic, but there was one aspect of the wizarding world that even he did not believe in: prophecies. In fact, when he took over as the headmaster at Hogwarts, he intended to cut Divination from the school's curriculum.

When Professor Sybill Trelawney applied to become the new Divination instructor, Albus allowed her to interview to be respectful, but not even her interview was enough to make Dumbledore believe in prophecies. In fact, he only hired Trelawney after she made her "first prophecy," which foretold the defeat of Voldemort. Even then, he only hired her to protect her from the Death Eaters, and it took some time before he ever believed that particular prophecy. Even when he did start to believe it, he still took it all with a grain of salt.

18 He Is Not Played By The Same Actor As Gandalf

Ian McKellan as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings

To most Harry Potter fans, the fact that Albus Dumbledore and Gandalf the Grey are played by different actors should be common knowledge. Despite this, there are a great deal of Harry Potter fans who seem to believe that they are played by the same actor.

For clarity, Gandalf was played by Sir Ian McKellen, whereas Dumbledore was played by Richard Harris first, and then Michael Gambon. However, Ian McKellen was almost cast as Dumbledore after Richard Harris passed away, but he turned down the part because he and Harris had had bad blood and he didn't feel right taking his role after his passing. Michael Gambon was offered the role next, who graciously took it and played Albus Dumbledore through The Deathly Hallows Part II.

17 He Is Just Over 100 Years Old

Harry Potter - Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore in Horcrux Cave

It's no secret that Albus Dumbledore is incredibly old, yet there are many fans who don't realize exactly how old he is. In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry and his friends joke about Dumbledore being possibly above 100, but this wasn't just a joke. When Dumbledore passed away in The Half Blood Prince, he was 115.

The original reports about Dumbledore's age claimed he was about 150 years of age, until his actual birth year, 1881, was revealed by J.K. Rowling some time after the books were published. This means that Dumbledore is actually only 46 when The Crimes of Griendelwald takes place.

16 He Was The Head Of Transfiguration At Hogwarts

Many fans mistakenly believe that Dumbledore primarily taught Defense Against The Dark Arts at Hogwarts, which isn't entirely true. While Defense Against The Dark Arts was the first class taught by Dumbledore at the school, he eventually moved on to Transfiguration, which became his primary class.

Before he became the headmaster, Dumbledore served as the Head of Transfiguration for decades. While he may have taught Defense Against The Dark Arts, it was more of an entry level position for Albus, with Transfiguration being the class that actually moved his career along.

15 He Was Always Meant To Be Gay

Richard Harris as Dumbledore in Harry Potter

One of the biggest accusations made about Dumbledore is that J.K. Rowling only chose to make him gay in order to please the LGBTQ+ community, which may seem like a fair assumption considering that his sexuality was never brought up in any of the books.

However, Rowling actually went in depth with her explanation of Dumbledore's orientation. In her eyes, Dumbledore was always gay, yet it wasn't anything that needed to be explicitly written down in any of the books as there were a number of other features that better defined this wise old wizard beyond his sexuality.

14 He Ignored The Truth About Grindelwald For Most Of His Life

The Crimes of Grindelwald will go more in depth regarding this topic, but essentially, Dumbledore knew that Grindelwald was evil, yet Dumbledore was too blinded by infatuation and optimism to realize the truth. It took many years and countless tragedies for Dumbledore to realize that the man he cared for was a horrifically dark, evil wizard.

Dumbledore even told this to Harry in The Deathly Hallows, saying, "Did I know, in my heart of hearts, what Gellert Grindelwald was? I think I did, but I closed my eyes." Presumably, future Fantastic Beasts movies will go more in depth with this muddled relationship.

13 He Cared More About Harry's Well Being Than For His Plan

One of the most heartbreaking moments in The Deathly Hallows was when Harry learned that he would have to lose his life in order for Voldemort to be defeated, and Dumbledore knew about it the entire time. This led many fans to dislike Dumbledore, as it seemed he was more focused on defeating Voldemort than protecting his student. Even Snape accused Dumbledore of raising Harry "like a pig for slaughter."

However, these accusations are not true. Throughout Harry's years at Hogwarts, Dumbledore cared a great deal for Harry, and actually thought more about Harry's peace of mind than the plan itself, often times risking his great plan in order to keep Harry safe and happy.

12 Dumbledore Cannot Apparate On Hogwarts' Grounds

Harry and Dumbledore Apparate From Hogwarts Half Blood Prince

The Harry Potter movies often have little inconsistencies with the books that slightly irritate fans, yet one inconsistency that made a great deal of fans furious was when Dumbledore apparated with Harry from atop a tower in Hogwarts, even though it's impossible for anyone to apparate or disapparate on the castle grounds.

When asked about this, Dumbledore merely stated that he had an exception as headmaster, which really isn't true. While the decision to include this moment was likely to save time in the movie, skipping Harry and Dumbledore's journey to Hogsmeade to disapparate from there, it left a bit of a plot hole, as there is no "magical exception" to an anti-apparation enchantment without taking down the entire enchantment.

11 He Knew Harry Was Being Abused By The Dursley's During Harry's Entire Childhood

Harry's childhood wasn't just rough because of the loss of his parents. After his parents passed, Harry had to spend the next 10 years of his life being abused and practically enslaved by his brutal, Muggle aunt and uncle. As bad as it may seem, Dumbledore actually knew that Harry was being abused as a child thanks to Mrs. Figg, a Squib who Dumbledore had placed in the neighborhood to watch over Harry in secret.

Technically, the Dursley's weren't even supposed to be Harry's guardians after the loss of his parents, but Dumbledore didn't seem to care. He assumed placing him quietly in the Muggle community was the best option to keep him safe. While the experience did teach him humility, it also had negative impacts on Harry's life.

10 All Of His Staff Members Admired Him (Except Umbridge)

Professors Sprout Dumbledore and McGonagall in Harry Potter

While most workplace environments, even in the Wizarding World, feature subordinates who really don't like their boss, this was not the case at Hogwarts when Dumbledore was headmaster. Every staff member at Hogwarts had a great deal of respect for Dumbledore and thought highly of him, including Snape.

While some of his staff members may have questioned him at times, including McGonagall, who was arguably Dumbledore's greatest admirer, they did so with respect, and never questioned Dumbledore's character. Throughout Dumbledore's time as Headmaster, the only staff member who ever seriously doubted his character and showed him blatant disrespect was Umbridge.

9 He Doesn't Need His Wand To Cast Spells

Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter

Generally in the Harry Potter movies, whenever Dumbledore is shown casting a spell, he is using his wand and citing some sort of enchantment. However, this isn't always the case. Many powerful wizards are able to cast minor spells without their wands, yet Dumbledore has shown that he is able to cast enormous spells without using his wand or saying a word.

Hypothetically, Dumbledore would even be able to win a duel against another powerful wizard without his wand, simply due to how skilled he is with magic. Though this is something we never saw him attempt, it still would have been cool and would've been a brilliant demonstration of his abilities. However, Dumbledore was a bit too humble to show off in that way.

8 Dumbledore Is The Only Person To Ever Be Buried At Hogwarts

Albus Dumbledore's Tomb at Hogwarts

Following Dumbledore's funeral, a few Harry Potter fans were somewhat convinced that there was an entire cemetery on Hogwarts's grounds. However, that is not the case. Instead, Dumbledore was actually the first (and as far as we know, only) witch or wizard to ever be buried at Hogwarts.

While it was unprecedented for anyone to be buried at the school, it was at Dumbledore's request that an exception be made for him, seeing as he had dedicated almost his entire life to the school. The Ministry of Magic allowed this exception, with the White Tomb becoming a landmark at the school years later as the only grave on the campus. Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuarón attempted to put a graveyard at Hogwarts when he redesigned the school for his movie, but the idea was shot down by Rowling, who wanted Dumbledore's final resting place to be kept special.

7 Dumbledore Can Understand Parseltongue

The Chamber of Secrets went a bit in depth with the lore of Parseltongue, and that typically only wizards with a Slytherin heritage can understand the ancient snake language. However, this isn't always the case.

In The Half Blood Prince, Dumbledore displayed that he could actually understand Parseltongue when he and Harry saw a memory in the Pensieve where a man spoke entirely in Parseltongue. Dumbledore was able to understand every word that the man said, which is actually quite remarkable. Presumably, this is not something that came naturally for Dumbledore and he had to study for many years in order to grasp the language. Even after studying the language, Dumbledore was still unable to speak Parseltongue.

6 He Was Offered To Be Minister Of Magic, But Turned It Down

One would think that Dumbledore would've jumped at the opportunity to lead the Wizarding World, seeing as he was an active part of the Wizarding community and almost always seemed to have an opinion about how the Ministry was being operated. However, this is apparently not the case, as Dumbledore was actually offered the position of Minister of Magic on numerous occasions and turned the offer down every time.

His decision to not take the position wasn't as much due to humility as it was his guilt. The way he handled Grindelwald haunted his memory for the rest of his life, and he did not trust himself in a position of power after his poor decision making took the life of his sister.

5 He Can Make Himself Invisible Without An Invisibility Cloak

Invisibility is one of those magical traits that most wizards in Harry Potter seem to be unable to use. The only way to seemingly become invisible is with the Invisibility Cloak, which was created by Death himself, so even that idea is not practical for the average wizard. (Note: the Wizarding World has found ways to make invisibility barrier, but generally can't make an individual person invisible.)

Despite this, Dumbledore still seemed to find a way to make himself completely invisible using only a Disillusionment Charm. According to Dumbledore, this was something he was able to do at age 17.

4 His Feelings For Grindelwald Only Went One Way

Some people mistake Dumbledore and Grindelwald's past as a mutual relationship, believing that the two wizards were actually together before they became enemies. However, this is not the case, as Grindelwald did not share Dumbledore's feelings.

Right now, it's unclear if Dumbledore ever explicitly told Grindelwald how he felt about him, but if he did, Grindelwald more than likely rejected him. Instead, the two wizards were nothing more than close friends who, for some time, had incredibly similar ambitions. Hopefully future Fantastic Beasts movies will expand further on this one-sided romance.

3 He Wasn't Always Fond Of Muggles

While Dumbledore is well known for opposing anti-Muggle wizards like Voldemort, this hasn't always been the case. In fact, during some of his early years, he was actually a bit anti-Muggle. Part of it had to do with his upbringing, considering that his father was a well known anti-Muggle wizard, but most of hit had to do with his connection to Grindelwald.

When Dumbledore and Grindelwald first started to work together, Dumbledore was so blinded by his infatuation that he allowed some anti-Muggle thoughts to motivate his actions. However, as soon as he realized what he was doing was wrong, he backed away and fought for the co-existence between wizards and Muggles for the rest of his life.

2 He Doesn't Know Who Ended Ariana's Life

Fantastic Beasts 2 Jude Law as Dumbledore

After Ariana Dumbledore lost her life in the duel between Albus and Grindelwald, Albus's life changed forever. He never learned to move on or forgive himself for what happened to his sister, completely blaming himself for the loss of her life.

While he was certainly partially to blame for the loss of Ariana, it's actually unclear if Dumbledore was the one who cast the spell that ended her life or if it was Grindelwald. Despite this, Dumbledore still completely blames himself, and just generally assumes that it was his spell that ended her life.

1 He Thought Lowly Of Himself

Many people interpret Dumbledore as a wise old wizard who lived a proud life, but that's not entirely true. While he did live a great life, following the loss of Ariana, Dumbledore was never able to truly think highly of himself. No matter how many great things he achieved, he was never able to look past his mistakes.

In fact, Dumbledore thought so lowly of himself that he even considered his younger brother Aberforth to be a better man than he was. While Aberforth wasn't necessarily a bad person, he never achieved the great and magnificent things that Albus achieved, making Albus's comparison between himself and his brother feel rather odd. It just shows how lowly Albus Dumbledore truly thought of himself for the remainder of his life. He may have been a great wizard, but he was a miserable man who could never escape his own guilt.


Are there any other common misconceptions that fans make about Dumbledore in Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments!

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