Character Journey: Albus Dumbledore – The Eccentric Headmaster

Character Journey

Albus Dumbledore: The Eccentric Headmaster


Order of the Phoenix, reached its climax with an epic battle between Good and Evil, of Light versus Dark. On the Dark side, there was Voldemort. On the Light side, there was Albus Dumbledore. The two wizards were so powerful, young Harry could only sit on the sidelines and watch as the two most powerful living wizards of their time send curses after hexes after jinxes towards each other.

It was strange to see Albus Dumbledore, who takes on an appearance of an old man, managing to appear so strong against Voldemort, who is decades younger than Dumbledore in terms of age and physical appearance. In the first and second Harry Potter fare, Dumbledore was portrayed as a mild, benevolent, and aged headmaster, though this might be attributed mostly to the performance of the late Richard Harris, the first actor who played Dumbledore on screen. Harris portrayed Dumbledore as a kind-hearted mentor who patiently advised young Harry about the evils of the world and taught him it was his choices in life that made him different from his nemesis, Voldemort. Harris’ successor, Michael Gambon, portrayed a different Dumbledore. His Dumbledore was more brusque and more eccentric. Infinitely more lively, too. Which Dumbledore is the real Dumbledore?

Believe it or not, both actors’ Dumbledore is true to the canon. Through their interpretations, the audiences have the chance to feel the nuances in Dumbledore’s personalities tangibly, just like in the book. This is a man who is both astute and reckless, a teacher who is eccentric and sensible at the same time, and a wizard who is elderly and yet still powerful. In this sense, Dumbledore is more than a match for Voldemort. Which is why, Harry constantly needs Dumbledore’s guidance to defeat the evil wizard.

Dumbledore has always been there since the beginning of the boy wizard’s journey. He was the one who placed Harry in the care of the Dursleys (questionable decision, but not without a good reason) and passed along Harry’s family heirlooms, along with the advice on how to deal with the possible dangerous magical object, Mirror of the Erised, in Harry’s first year at Hogwarts. Dumbledore showed faith in Harry in Chamber of Secrets and encouraged him to investigate the Basilisk attacks when the Ministry threatened to close Hogwarts that was Harry’s home. He gave Harry and Hermione a clue on how to save Sirius Black and Buckbeak the Hippogriff using the Time-Turner in the next movie. In Goblet of Fire, it was through Dumbledore’s Pensieve, an object that stores his memories, Harry learned the existence and identities of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. Although initially he avoided Harry in Order of the Phoenix and hurt Harry’s feelings by keeping him at arm’s length, he solidified his support for Harry by fighting Voldemort at the MoM.

Under Dumbledore’s tutelage, Harry continues to grow as a stronger wizard in Half-Blood Prince. There’s apparently more knowledge to pass on to Harry in this next installment. Dumbledore is going to try and help Harry discover more about Voldemort’s history by showing him those memories he had been keeping in the Pensieve. A younger Dumbledore will appear in front of our eyes, so we, too, will be able to discover more about this great wizard’s background. But how long will it take for Dumbledore to teach Harry? Surely, he can’t hold Harry’s hand forever. There will be a time for Harry to fight the war alone, without Dumbledore. That time may come sooner than Harry, and all of us, might think.



Credits and disclaimers: This article was written for FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia, issue 18, July 2009. Pages scanned from FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia and are not for commercial use. Images are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Indonesia. Do not hotlink and/or use without permission.


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