Trigger warning: mentions of abuse
Albus Dumbledore was a great wizard but a shit person.
Hold up, HP fans, let me explain.
I love Harry Potter. How could I not? I was the perfect age to grow up with Harry; I went to midnight book releases and the first movie previews, my parents read me the books before I could read them myself and I, along with almost every other teenage girl, dressed up as Hermione for Halloween nearly every year.
With that being said, I still think that Albus Dumbledore was not a good person.
Quite simply because Dumbledore left Harry with Vernon and Petunia Dursley. Albus Dumbledore, one of the most venerated characters in literary history, knowingly left a child in an abusive environment.
As the daughter of an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive father, I think that is one of the worst things an adult can do to an innocent child.
And yes, HP fans, I do understand his reasoning. Allegedly, spending time with Harry’s aunt would protect him from Voldemort, as she was a direct relative of Harry’s mother, Lily. The charm that was enacted when Lily sacrificed her life for her son, would, supposedly, continue to protect Harry if he lived with his abusive aunt and uncle.
And yes, I do understand that Dumbledore was not omnipotent and wouldn’t have been able to predict Voldemort’s plans, but he was also an incredibly powerful wizard who made no attempt to save Harry from being forced to live in a cupboard.
In my opinion, Dumbledore was an incredibly manipulative man. McGonagall explicitly tells him in the books that the Dursley’s are not good people, and yet he still leaves a child on their doorstep at night, in the middle of winter (which would constitute criminal negligence nowadays). He didn’t ask them if they wanted to adopt Harry, he simply forced another child onto two people who he was told where not very competent parents to start with. And then does nothing to try and rescue Harry from an abusive home. Although some people say that he didn’t know what was going on in Harry’s home life, I doubt that very much. A powerful wizard like Dumbledore, who had so much resting on Harry, would have easily been able to check in on him without exerting much effort. And yet, he did nothing. He let Harry endure years of abuse, to what? Build his character? Make sure his fame as The Boy Who Lived didn’t go to his head?
I’m sure there are some loopholes in my theories, but I will always stand by the fact that adults who ignore the suffering of a child when they have the ability to help are not good people, and adults who are in a position of power and knowingly ignore a child being abused are definitely not good people.
Remember, abuse does not have to be physical; it can be emotional or verbal as well. I felt so much more connected to Harry on the days that my father yelled at me or told me something was my fault because I knew that Harry had felt the same way. The Dursley’s were his abusers, but Dumbledore, like many people in my life, was the person who failed him most. Dumbledore watched as Harry was shoved into a cupboard and treated like dirt for his formative years, and instead of helping him, he went on to groom him into becoming a child soldier, someone who was willing to die for the greater good.
Even Snape realises what Dumbledore did was horrific when he is finally told of the connection between Harry and Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows:
“You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment? You have used me… I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter…” (chapter 33 p. 182-185).
At the end of the day I see no reason why a reader should like Albus Dumbledore. He leaves Harry in an abusive household, he lies to him, keeps secrets from him, becomes a father figure to him then lets Harry watch him die, and all the while making sure Harry grows into the type of teenager who will sacrifice himself.
And that, fellow HP fans, is why I think Albus Dumbledore is not a good person.
*if you’d like some more reasons, this tumblr thread lists some of the other ways Dumbledore fails not only Harry, but also many of the other characters throughout the entire series.
And here is some more tumblr inspired wisdom.