- Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, was a private character throughout the “Harry Potter” series.
- From his traumatic childhood to his familial relationships, there are many things he kept hidden from the Wizarding World.
- We do know, however, that he taught Transfiguration, knew multiple languages, and had at least one brother and sister.
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Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, was always a bit of an enigma in the “Harry Potter” series. Throughout his character arc in the books and the films, he was careful about what he revealed about himself, and to whom.
Before using her platform to spread transphobic messages, the series’ controversial author, JK Rowling, was known to use Twitter, interviews, and the official Wizarding World website to expand the “Harry Potter” canon beyond the seven books.
With the original series, the “Fantastic Beasts” films, and this additional information in mind, read on for some facts about Albus Dumbledore that even die-hard fans may have missed or forgotten.
Aberforth may not be his only brother
Albus’s brother Aberforth makes a brief appearance in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and gets formally introduced in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
He was instrumental in helping Harry, Ron, and Hermione sneak into Hogwarts for the series’ final battle.
But it may come as a shock that there might be another mysterious Dumbledore brother who wasn’t mentioned in the original series.
During the climax of the 2018 film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Gellert Grindelwald tells the orphan Credence Barebone that his real name is Aurelius Dumbledore and he’s a long-lost brother of Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana.
The reveal comes at the end of the film and will most likely be expanded upon in subsequent sequels, but for now it’s hard to determine whether Grindelwald was telling the truth or manipulating both Credence and the audience.
Albus had a romantic relationship with Gellert Grindelwald
According to Entertainment Weekly, at a press event in 2007, not long after the “Deathly Hallows” book was released, Rowling said she “always saw Dumbledore as gay.”
This was the first glimpse she gave fans into any sort of LGBTQ representation in the Wizarding World.
More recently, during a feature, originally unearthed by Radio Times, on the “Crimes of Grindelwald” Blu-ray disc, Rowling expanded on their relationship, calling it “intense,” “passionate,” and “sexual.”
This news was met with backlash from fans, who felt the author should have more clearly drawn out this relationship. LGBTQ communities specifically took issue with the fact that this part of Dumbledore’s identity was left out of the “Fantastic Beasts” movies even after Rowling revealed he was gay.
Before becoming headmaster, Dumbledore taught Transfiguration, but he may have also instructed another subject
Years before becoming Hogwarts’ headmaster, Dumbledore was a professor at the school. According to the “Harry Potter” book series, he taught Transfiguration and was a regular writer for the magazine Transfiguration Today.
There is ample evidence that he’s skilled at the craft; for example, he was able to make statues come to life and turn Nagini into a rope during the final battle in “Order of the Phoenix.”
In 2018, Jude Law, who plays young Dumbledore in the “Fantastic Beasts” films, told Entertainment Weekly that the professor “doesn’t teach Transfiguration” at that point in the series.
After the release of “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” many fans and media outlets speculated that Dumbledore taught Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts in that storyline.
He received an Order of Merlin award for defeating Grindelwald
The Order of Merlin award is given to wizards who have distinguished themselves with acts of bravery, high levels of achievement, or contributions to their fields.
Dumbledore received the highest version of the award â€” Order of Merlin, First Class â€” for dueling and defeating Gellert Grindelwald in 1945.
This event changed the course of Wizarding history and prevented Grindelwald from achieving even more power and, most likely, taking more lives.
Dumbledore seems to have lied to Harry about what he saw in the Mirror of Erised
When Harry views his innermost desires reflected in the Mirror of Erised as a first-year at Hogwarts, he sees himself surrounded by family members â€” most notably his mother and his father, who died when he was a baby.
In the scene, he asks Dumbledore what he sees when he looks in it, and the headmaster says he sees himself holding a new pair of thick, woolen socks.
But per The Leaky Cauldron, during a web chat with Bloomsbury in 2007, Rowling told fans that Dumbledore’s deepest desire was actually the same as Harry’s.
“He saw his family alive, whole and happy â€” Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him,” she wrote.
The highly debated topic shifted again when “The Crimes of Grindelwald” came out because, in the scene where young Dumbledore looks into the mirror, it shows that his greatest desire is to be reunited with Grindelwald.
His father was sentenced to life in Azkaban
It’s revealed in the seventh “Harry Potter” book that Ariana Dumbledore was attacked by a group of Muggles who saw her practicing magic.
After this event, Albus’ father, Percival Dumbledore, took justice into his own hands and sought revenge on his daughter’s Muggle attackers â€” which was highly condemned by the Ministry of Magic.
Percival worried that revealing the truth of the Muggle attack to the authorities would get Ariana sent away for using underage magic, so instead, he accepted a life sentence in Azkaban prison, where he eventually died.
Dumbledore’s sister may have been an Obscurial
Because she died so young, there’s a lot we don’t know about Ariana Dumbledore. From the bits of information that are shared in the series, however, fans have speculated that she was an Obscurial â€” similar to Credence Barebone in the “Fantastic Beasts” series.
Young wizards become Obscurials when they repress their magic so much that it manifests itself in violent and uncontrollable outbursts.
After her attack, Ariana did repress her magic out of fear, and in the seventh “Harry Potter” book Aberforth Dumbledore says, “It turned her inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn’t control it.”
Whether Ariana was an Obscurial has yet to be confirmed or denied, but more “Fantastic Beast” movies in the works will be looking into Dumbledore’s past.
Dumbledore’s boggart would have shape-shifted into the corpse of his sister
One of the greatest burdens in Dumbledore’s life was the death of his sister, Ariana. She was a bystander during the duel between her brothers and Grindelwald, and she was accidentally hit with a curse in the cross fire.
In the same fan web chat with Bloomsbury, Rowling said this moment had such an impact on Dumbledore that if he were to encounter a boggart, a creature that takes the shape of a wizard’s worst fears, he would see the corpse of his sister.
He knew multiple languages
We all know Dumbledore was a highly intelligent wizard and gifted in many areas of magic, but what you may not know is that he was multilingual.
We learn throughout the books that he was able to speak Mermish with the merpeople who live in the lake on the Hogwarts grounds.
Many of Dumbledore’s names hold significant or special meanings
Albus Wulfric Percival Brian Dumbledore is quite a mouthful, but like so many names in the Wizarding World, each one holds a special meaning.
Albus means “white” in Latin. Percival was a heroic knight of the round table, and also the name of Albus’ father. Wulfric is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “wolf” or “powerful,” but it could also refer to St. Wulfric of Haselbury, a miracle worker of the 12th century. Brian is an old Celtic name meaning “high” or “noble.”
And finally, Dumbledore is an old English word for “bumblebee.”
He wasn’t originally from Godric’s Hollow
In “Deathly Hallows,” Harry is shocked to find out that Dumbledore was from Godric’s Hollow, the same town he lived in with his parents before their murder. But Dumbledore didn’t always call that town home.
His family resided in the Wizarding village of Mould-on-the-Wold during his early years. However, after the Muggle attack on Ariana and his father’s imprisonment, his mother, Kendra, moved the family to Godric’s Hollow.
Dumbledore’s Patronus takes the shape of a phoenix
In the films, we never actually see Dumbledore casting a Patronus â€” a spell most often used to shield a wizard or witch from a Dementor attack â€” but we do know what it takes the shape of.
In the “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” book, Dumbledore casts a Patronus to send a message to Hagrid after he finds Viktor Krum has been stunned, and Harry says it looks like a “ghostly bird.”
Pottermore, now Wizarding World, confirmed that his Patronus took the shape of a phoenix â€” which is fitting since he’s rather fond of Fawkes, the phoenix he keeps in his office at Hogwarts.
Some of his accomplishments may have been over-glorified
After Dumbledore’s death, the “Harry Potter” journalist Rita Skeeter published “The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore,” in which she revealed many secrets about the great wizard.
The book’s accuracy may be up for debate given Skeeter’s history of spreading slanderous gossip, but it does appear that at least some of her criticisms could be true.
For example, in one part of the book, Skeeter accuses Dumbledore of lying about having single-handedly discovered the 12 uses for dragon’s blood. In her research, Skeeter interviewed the wizard Ivor Dillonsby, who claimed he’d already discovered eight of the uses before Dumbledore took his notes.
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