As she guided me towards the gargoyle, I thought about everything that passed between him and Harry. ‘Acid Pops”, she called out to the gargoyle and it opened its wide wings as if to embrace me. I stepped in and it moved spirally-the shape of infinity and of zero. The shape of great things and small. I stepped into its moving stairs and as I saw a door, my heart started beating loud, very loud. I knocked the door, almost expecting a ‘come in’, in that unfamiliarly familiar voice – I think I did hear it-a hallucination, may be!
I saw the room exactly as was described to me previously, almost as if it was never inhabited after that: those funny little noises, curious silver instruments, the hat and the stand that seated Fawkes, the phoenix, sadly, empty. I thought about him, about how good a son, a brother, a teacher, a muse, a headmaster, a wizard, he had been. An icon, a human he had been. I thought about the silent struggle he must have gone through to be what he is, or what he showed the world. That is, not to mention the criticism and the pain he endured. Yet, the reason he died, following his own version of the principle, “For the greater good” would be a very rare in the history of humanity.
As I first set my eyes on his biography by Rita Skeeter, I felt my blood boiling fast in response to the lies and the sensationalism showed by her. And that reminded me of all the scraps of information I had collected and woven into a story, a story of his life.
Then, there, I could almost see the story, the facts I had so well rehearsed in my head. He was born in July 1881, I believe somewhere around the twentieth, give or take two days. He being the eldest son of Kendra and Percival had two siblings, Aberforth and Ariana.
Before Ariana got attacked by those three Muggle boys and got into ‘trouble’ in 1891, they lived in Mould-on-the-Wold; after which they shifted to Godric’s Hollow, when he was about ten years old. He must have been the source of inspiration to his siblings, and as his father was imprisoned in “you-know-where-“, as Hagrid describes it, it must have had a tremendous impact on him, and would have had to hear the worst things from his acquaintances especially because of his sister being suspected of being a ‘Squib’ . Regardless, he boarded the Hogwarts express in August 1892, a pretty much stronger boy.
And that’s when my eyes laid on the Sorting Hat. I asked about the man who was my idol. He said that he, like his favorite student Harry, was very difficult to sort into, Ravenclaw, typically, but Gryffindor, obviously! Although he was seen as a Muggle-hater and a dark wizard, initially, as months passed, everyone saw the brightness in him. They forgotr him to be the son of a wizard who was a prisoner of Azkaban, but remembered him for being the greatest sorcerer they’d ever known, yet. And obviously, he topped every class that he took. By the end of the year, he was forgotten to be a son of a Muggle hater, and was known nothing more or less than the most brilliant student seen by Hogwarts. He not only won ever prize of note offered by the school, but was soon in regular contacts with the greatest Magical names of their times, including Nicholas Flamel, the noted alchemist. His papers were already published in the likes of ‘Transfiguration Today’ and ‘Challenges in Charming’ amongst others. In 1899, the boy who was already the prefect and head boy, passed his NEWTS, obviously topping every class. He was all set to tour the world with his dear friend Elphias Doge, but all his dreams went into the drain as that fateful summer, Ariana killed her mother, accidentally and the responsibility of the family fell on him. It was during this time that his friendship with Gallert Grindelwald budded.
It is sad, actually, how someone with a high potential is held back due to such calamities. And obviously, the brothers then had a fight that changed all their lives. Ariana dies. And so does the loose link between the brothers- done with forever. And like Doge discovers, he was more reserved and much less light-hearted.
And then, obviously his relationship between, Grindelwald: discussing plans and sending posts at midnight and finally knowing that he wasn’t what he thought he would be, and subsequent breaking up- he must have by that time lost all his belief in relationships, and may be it must be at this time that he found out about the powers of love in magic. This is when he learnt the seductiveness of power and its costs and spent the rest of his life trying to understand and contain darker impulses in the wizarding world.
It definitely had a great impact on his life- the duel with his brother and best friend that killed his little sister, the mystery of who actually did kill her-which could have been easily found out by using prior incartatium, which they didn’t want to use, I’m sure because of the guilt that they will live the rest of their life with. But then, I bet it must be Grindelwald, given his records… and like Aberforth said that after his sister, his brilliance could never be limited to the four walls of their house, which Grindelwald wanted, because then he would have a ‘friend’ to help support his cause, and a brilliant one at that. I’m sure it must be Grindelwald’s plans to bring Britain under his power too, it might even be the cause of him coming to Britain on the first place. But more about Grindelwald, later! (A great shock, it seems!)
Aberforth, on the other hand, blamed his brother for it. Poor boy, I’m sure, he loved his sister and all, but was eclipsed by his brother in whatever he did. No wonder he wanted something-some claim for himself. Ariana, according to him loved him more than she loved her elder brother. That was some kind of an achievement of him. And, may be, that was true :may be our hero was much more introverted to actually write it on his forehead and walk how much he cared for somebody. Both the brothers were too different to be compared, as we all know. The younger one was too realistic to be optimistic, whereas the older one was too optimistic to be realistic, as we may infer from Aberforth’s account. And then, Aberforth went and broke his brother’s nose in the funeral.
All this was uncovered in an abrupt way of course! But couldn’t it be just because he was either too introverted, or just loved puzzling people he considered worthy? Yeah, you are allowed to laugh, but no denial to the fact that that he loved puzzling people and dropping little wise clues all along the path so that his subject and only his subject could finally uncover the truth in the end- isn’t that evident if we think about what happened in Harry’s Deathly Hallows adventure? And isn’t that exactly how Hermione knew she had to use the Time turner to save ‘more than one innocent lives’?
And also, maybe he wanted people especially Harry to know that he wasn’t perfect either or that her had ‘an entirely blameless life’-come to think of it he might have wanted to show Harry that even he was troubled by inner monsters! So, maybe he tried to tell that all people have problems in their lives-traumas even, which may be beyond their control, butr true power lies in overcoming them and living beyond as well as through them. He was deeply ashamed of something he did and thought in his youth. So if he was inclined towards the dark arts at all, given the fact that it was due to those three Muggles that his family was uprooted, and he was denied his innocence and childhood, it is no surprise if he was, if he was, then he’d learnt to live beyond that phase and to fight the impulses henceforth. And if he actually did that, that makes him a bigger and far more greater human than he is- because he not only stood up for what he believed in, but also learnt from his mistakes, the mistakes he knew were mistakes, also because of his own introspection, and tried to be good- people who try are bigger and better according to most people, than people who are born with it.
He then entered Hogwarts to pursue his passion to teach by 1938 as the Transfiguration professor. The idea that he had grown immensely emotionally and psychologically, can be seen from the fact that in 1938, he went to the orphanage to receive Tom Marvolo Riddle to the wizarding world- his repulsion to dark and forceful magic is very evident here. And all those years of keeping an eye on ‘Tom’- especially in 1942-43 when The Chamber of secrets was opened to the ‘heir of Slyntherin’. And then, Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts, but as we know due to his efforts, he was restored as the Game and ground keeper of Hogwarts. In 1945, Riddle left Hogwarts and took the name of ‘Lord Voldemort’, and became the most feared wizard of Britain in due course of time, as his first-known-wizard had predicted.
In 1945, as the Muggles saw the Second World War come to a close, the wizards saw the battle between two brilliant wizards. Even as he fought his erstwhile ‘best friend’ Grindelwald and further locked him up in Numengard, he put an end to the second greatest exponent of dark wizardry after his own student Riddle, we may know that this battle must be emotionally draining for him, especially, if he tormented and basically hallucinated about Ariana’s death all his life-it was in his head, all along, wasn’t it?
In 1995, he was appointed the headmaster of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and wizardry. In 1965, Lucius Malfoy entered Hogwarts, followed by James Potter, Lily Evans, Severus Snape, Sirius Black, Peter “Wormntail” Pettigrew and Remeus Lupin in 1971. This was followed by the First Wizarding War of the 1970s. I shan’t go into the details of all this, it is too well known, but henceforth, he has surely been known as the best headmaster seen by Hogwarts in its history.
In 1979, the prophecy was made out by Prof. Trelawney.
“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. … Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives. … The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…”
In 1980,. July the 30th and 31st, Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter were born as the two most likely people to fulfill the prophecy. Full protection was given to both families, especially by the recently founded Order of Phoenix. The Potters were singled out by Riddle and hence were given extra protection in Godric’s Hollow in 1981.
I’m sure he liked Severus Snape as well- or maybe that’s just me! Anyways, the friendship between Severus and Lily, two exceptional students mustn’t have gone unnoticed by those blue eyes: especially because one was a hard-core Slyntherin and the other a Gryffindor through and through, and the fact that they were friends since before they entered Hogwarts. More about Snape, seriously later!
So, then, one year old Harry Potter was attacked on Halloween Day in 1981 and thereby weakening the darkest wizard alive, then and making him free. I’m sure that the headmaster was hit by the passing away of two very great wizards, and better humans-James and Lily Potter. They were co members of The Order of Phoenix as well. And his promise of keeping Lily safe didn’t work, because of betrayal by a friend of theirs. But the bubbly attitude displayed when he first met Professor McGonagall would be either just a mask, or he’d he genuinely relieved after the death of Riddle. That, plus one more soul shall be saved from the pull of darker forces (Snape, I mean)- that his theories of ‘love’ being an integral part of wizarding powers shall be put to test once more, and the belief that after Lily Potter’s sacrifice it will win-and then, he had a new goal, of nurturing a wizard who shall be remembered forever.
So, after seeing to the fact that Harry had been put up in a not-so-bad condition, after all, a house where his mother’s blood still ran through- and anyways, there must be a part in ‘Tuney’ which still loved Lily, however minuscule that part might be-a part which will understand the sacrifice made by her sister-she herself was a mother, after all.
After this, he went and met Severus Snape, who was definitely miserable up to a level, which maybe none of us may even understand. He must have been so devastated, especially knowing that Lily, his Lily Evans died because he let the prophecy slip- and, oh! There I go again!
Anyways, Severus’ confidante understood, (although not fully, thus underestimating the intensity of) his love for Lily- and by telling him that Harry had survived, he did a great job-bringing back Severus Snape to the side of “good”- at least Severus’ heart was at the right place, if not all of his deeds. And I’m sure the headmaster was pretty much moved by Severus’ request of ‘never revealing the best ‘of him- something he must have never seen before- love actually does different things to different people, doesn’t it? Or am I just being too superfluous?
Anyways, he would be waiting for ‘the boy who lived’ to come to Hogwarts, till then, keeping an eye on him through Mrs. Figg, while in November 1981, the Longbottoms were attacked and Snape joined Hogwarts as the Potions master. Also, in 1991, he was given the post of Minister for Magic, which he declined. Funnily, enough, most decisions for the minister were done by him!
In September 1992, after all, did Harry Potter join Hogwarts- after, constant persistence and well, a little threat by Hagrid- he sure knows how to win over people, doesn’t he?
And then, he faced the same question of if-Harry-should know about-his relation-to-Riddle, which later became a question of when. He saw that young Mr. Potter was brought up in a way, exactly like he’d wished he would be-polite, modest and likeable. He was reasonably talented, yet very brave. And the, there were things beyond his control like, well, being a magnet for trouble, inherited from his father. He must be pleased by his decision to bring Harry up far from what the wizarding world had to offer-and with an extra effort by Vernon Dursley, he definitely did not consider himself normal, forget super-normal or exceptional, special, or anything of that sort.- he wasn’t pampered right up to being another, rich spoiled brat- that is, another Draco Malfoy! That by itself was an achievement.
And then, every year he came to facing the ultimate question while he tried as hard to protect Harry from any prophecy to take away his childhood experiences- and then there always was Snape to take care of the rest!
In, 1995, Riddle was reborn and the order of phoenix was reactivated. He was arrested again in spring 1996 or, at least he it was tried. And then, as Knightley says, he escaped in style. Further, in 1996 the Battle of Ministry of Magic took place and he was reinstated the headmaster, the details of which if you do not know, you have no right to read this blog, let alone call yourself a Potter-fan, forget Potter-maniac, or the like!
So, after proving his worth five times, Harry asked him THE question and when he was faced with it, I mean the way in which…. – in a way, it must have been a blow to our dear headmaster. But by then, he was assured of Riddle never entering Harry’s body again (later, he found out that it was because Harry was the seventh horcrux, and trying to bring the ripped apart souls would cause a lot of pain!) and that he had the upper hand of letting himself into Riddle’s head, through Harry, Harry being the seventh horcrux. And, maybe that was when he got the idea of what Riddle’s secret actually is!
As I sat down on a chair on one side of the room, I realized how long it actually took to recall what I already knew. Never before had I known this man so well- never had I realized that he had a separate life, apart from the role he actually played of being the headmaster of Hogwarts and never before had I realized that he was an institution all by himself- with enough controversies and enough criticism- still, for those who knew him, and for those in front of whom he opened the doors of his heart- those very chosen few, he was an idol, an inspiration.
And again, my thoughts went back to June of 1996, when he found the ring of Marvolo Gaunt, carrying the second Hollow .I actually was shocked at him being greedy of wanting the resurrection stone, but then I understood, that he did not want the second Hollow, by itself: he just wanted the stone that had the power to bring people back from the dead. I surely did understand if he wanted his sister, his mother and his father back- maybe he wanted to undo what he did as a young wizard who understood that he was powerful or maybe he wanted to reunite and restore his broken family. So, then, he found that he actually almost got himself killed and then Snape got the potion and he got an extension of life-he knew he had a deadline and that he had to act fast. He had the burden of knowing- he’d rather not know- ignorance is bliss, sure! And then, he trained Harry and trained him to live a life without him. And he didn’t take any chances by asking Harry to tell his dear friends. Obviously, he still worked for the greater good. And he knew that Harry would fight against Riddle, no matter what and that he had no choice anyways- so if he took Harry for granted, it wasn’t his fault either, because even he didn’t have a choice- he had to try and give Harry every possible clue.
The, the relation between the headmaster and his favorite pupil was not exactly smooth. Both of them did talk a lot about Harry, Harry’s past, Harry’s present, and Harry’s future. I wonder if he did not want to talk about himself, or did he wait for Harry’s question? I bet, that he did want Harry to ask, and that Harry’s not asking him must have hurt him, but he might have not guessed that he was about to die until him going for the ring of Slyntherin.. And after that, he definitely wanted to pass on every bit of knowledge about killing Riddle. And the fact that he was moved by Harry declaring himself his man “through and through” was definitely enough for him! Oh, I’d die to see the tears of pure joy from his eyes!!!
He knew that he didn’t have time to waste, and so with Severus and Harry he sealed he had sealed whatever he could do. He gave Harry all the puzzles and through Severus all the resources to solve them-plus, Harry wasn’t alone, he had two friends who could help him and an ally who will further boost him- plus multitudes of supporters who had hopes and who were ready to fight and die, if need be- all because of this one man. And unlike others, he did try to make only those involved who would be involved, no matter what, for instance, he tried to keep away the members of the order because they had a choice- and he had to rope in Harry, Ron and Hermione because even if they had a choice, they wouldn’t choose it- and Snape, obviously, after the death of Lily lived only to let Harry live.
It sometimes seems to me that he was the master puppeteer and the grand storywriter of many lives, especially the entire ‘Deathly Hallows’ adventure- because he had given them a path through which they shall move and not deviate, because if they did, he had an alternative path. He had sealed everything before he died- he was one of those very few in the history of humanity who had planned his death, his murder and even what others will do after that. So, in June 1997, after giving Harry Potter all the clues of the horcruxes, he proceeded to the cave and drunk the green potion in hope of finding the horcrux, which ultimately was fake- and then returned to Hogwarts, one last time, where he was killed, I shall say, not murdered, by Snape, as per the plan! That was definitely not the end of him- he lived on, in the hearts of all of us- as the greatest headmaster, not only of Hogwarts, perhaps, in the entire world.
He was the epitome of goodness, a man I am going to be so proud of knowing, of researching about. The man who did deeds greater than any other man did, and the one man who played the game as the coach of the team, and the man who worked behind the camera, the one man to have challenged the two greatest dark wizard of all times, and to have won both the wars. The one man who followed his heart to glory. The man to have realized that he was human, but would not succumb to his humanly needs. The man who hasn’t really left us, at all- because he is the goodness within us all “Do you think the dead we love, ever truly leave us? You think we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?” Isn’t that exactly how Harry was able to talk to him in 1998, one last time when he was “killed” by Riddle?
So this, another half-blood, brilliance personified wizard whose name means white and whose surname refers to the bumblebee and thus making him a fan of music (refer to the fact that he’s fond of humming to pass time), was one of the bravest and wisest wizards of all times. He shall be remembered by every little wizard who lives –his stories shall be told and retold and shall teach them a lesson of humanity and bravery and trust in love.
This, my dear friends, my fellow Potter-maniacs, and my darling co-Obsessive Compulsive ’Harry Potter’ Disorder- sufferers, is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore!!!