Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 114

Dumbledore shows up to save the day in the Department of Mysteries. But perhaps things would not have ended so (relatively) well had Dumbledore been presented a certain option…

In this chapter, Voldemort possesses or takes control of Harry in some way, and Harry subsequently tells Dumbledore to kill him. Dumbledore, of course, does not kill Harry. But might have Dumbledore actually killed Harry here if it had not been for Horcruxes, if he had the chance to kill them both in one stroke of the wand when they were joined? Dumbledore is willing to send Harry to his doom later in the series, but would he end it directly with his own hand here if he knew he could kill Voldemort as well?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and tune in next week to see if your ideas are discussed on the show! Don’t forget that you can also send us an audioBoom by using the green recording button on the right-hand panel!

  • Sjanne15

    I think he would have killed Harry if it meant Voldemort would die as well. Hell, I think I would have killed Harry in the same circumstances. If killing one person means saving hundreds I would do it, and I think Dumbledore would, too.

    • ISeeThestrals

      I disagree. Dumbledore is not that kind of man, and rarely are characters who are put in such a similar situation. They refuse to cross the line of hurting someone innocent just to destroy the bad guy, so the same with Dumbledore. They’ve Taken My Wheezy! makes the point of reminding us that Voldemort noticed Dumbledore won’t kill him. In the book Voldemort says, “You do not seek to kill me Dumbledore?” In response, Dumbledore replies, “We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom.” This might mean another mistake on Dumbledore’s part, but he would find an alternative.

  • I believe Dumbledore mentions this in the following chapter. He says something along the lines of “Voldemort wanted me to kill you. He wanted me to think that killing you would have killed him too.” This meant that Dumbledore knew better than to try to kill Voldemort in that moment because it would not have worked. He knew it was just a trick and that it would have only been Harry who would have been killed.

    Dumbledore is not one to use the killing curse anyway. The whole battle in this chapter shows the difference between Voldee and Dumblee. Voldee says something like “you still wont try to kill me?” Dumblee never had the idea to directly kill anyone in that scene. He didn’t kill Grindewald way back when, and I doubt Dumblee ever killed anyone in his life. So I do not think any murder would have happened that night, regardless if it was “for the greater good” or not.

  • You have to remember something. The Dumbledore we see is the Dumbledore from the future, who has seen the results of the war and knows exactly what has to be done for the outcome he has seen.

    What is more interesting is seeing present time Dumbledore, who we know is disguised as Faux observing the events of the war so that when all is over her can go back and take the place of future Dumbledore and see things through. Present Dumbledore, as Faux, swallows the killing curse and lives. Does this make Dumbledore immortal? Can he only change from his Phoenix animagis form at the proper “bird to human” age or will Dumbledore always return to the same age no matter what age he is as a Phoenix?

    • Saiyangirl

      Since when was Dumbledore Fawkes? His Patronus is a Phoenix but I’m fairly sure he is no Animagus, and definitely not posing as Fawkes?

      • Well, think of it like this. Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard, who has tapped into “raw” magic as the podcasters had put it. He knows things nobody else could even fathom. He seems to have dipped his hands into all aspects of magic. Why would he never, in his 100+ years of life, mess around with animagis magic? We truly don’t know much about Dumbledore’s level of skill in magic. He is the greatest but we don’t know his full potential.

        So on the day that Voldemort first lost power, the day he killed the Potters, Dumbledore wrote a note to himself. He told himself to use a time turner or other time traveling magic to return to that very date and time once the war was over. After finishing the letter, PRESENT time Dumbledore shifted into Fawkes, his animagis form, and observed the years of Harry’s life and the war while the Dumbledore from the future took the seat as headmaster of Hogwarts.

        This future Dumbledore has already been Fawkes for 17 years. So this Future Dumbledore knows mostly what needs to be done to ensure the end result of the war. This explains why Dumbledore knows all and much else

        • Saiyangirl

          Interesting theory, but there’s no evidence of this in the series. Isn’t this one of the old theories that went around when people were hoping Albus didn’t truly die at the end of HBP? Dumbledore is not a known Animagus, and I think Jo would have confirmed it if something as wild as what you suggest had been going on during the series. And Jo didn’t even like time turners much; tried to discard them pretty much as soon as she invented them. Sorry! That’s not to say he never messed around with Animagus magic, but I think that’s a different issue. Dumbledore and Fawkes are separate entities.

          • Well, there is not really evidence in the series that say that Dumbledore and Fawkes are indeed separate entities. We know Dumbledore knows more than he should, that he watches Harry somehow, can become invisible, etc. Timeturners are some sort of magic cast into an object, however time travel is possible without a time turner.

            Why did Fawkes only give 2 feathers for wands? Because they are Dumbledore’s feathers. Why does Fawkes present himself when others are loyal to Dumbledore? because Fawkes IS Dumbledore.
            I don’t know if this is an old theory or not. Dumbledore does indeed die in HBP in this theory. This is just a theory I have been slowly piecing together as I’ve continued through this reread.

            At first Dumbledore wasn’t Fawkes, but just under Harry’s invisibility cloak constantly. The podcast gave me ideas that he could indeed be Fawkes, however I believe the cloak idea will still work better.

            This is mostly just a fun theory I have been developing and, though I think it applies and fits in quite easily into the story, it doesn’t have to be read as truth. It’s just a fun way to think about things.

          • ISeeThestrals

            What about the times when Dumbledore and Fawkes are in the same room together. Doesn’t that mean they are separate entities? Otherwise, we would not see them in the same room. One would always be missing. We first meet Fawkes and see this in the second book. With the loyalty aspect, many are strongly loyal to Dumbledore. Pets are, though in a way, I wouldn’t quite call Fawkes his pet.
            And remind us how time travel is possible without time turners because I don’t remember any other form of magic where this is the case, nor any time where time traveling without a time turner has happened.
            I’ve just always seen Dumbledore as an extremely sharp wizard with the highest of magical skills.
            I think the theory of Dumbledore being Fawkes would make for an interesting fanfiction. And yeah, I think Jo would have told us at the end if Dumbledore was an animagus.

          • Saiyangirl

            I won’t deny that it’s a fun theory, I don’t see how it could work though. For starters, Jo revealed on Pottermore that Time Turners have a 5-hour limit. And I haven’t seen any other method of time travel in the series. She’s simply too opposed to time travel as a construct for something like this to work. And Dumbledore is in no need of an invisibility cloak to become invisible, as he has said himself in PS. Plus, as ISeeThestrals pointed out, there’s plenty of scenes with Fawkes and Dumbledore in the same room. I’m sure he has a close bond with Fawkes, phoenixes are extraordinary intuitive creatures, but them being one and the same- that’s something that would have been revealed in DH had it really been the case.

          • Mama_Slytherin

            Interesting “head canon” but it doesn’t work with the books or with any information we have now (like the fact that far-back time travel is completely dangerous and causes death, time turners only have 5 hour limits and are hour reversal spells bottled, Dumbledore has no use for invisibility cloaks, and that Fawkes and Dumbledore are in the same room many times). Dumbledore is like Sherlock – he deduces what he doesn’t actually know and admits this many times, saying he has “good guesses”. He has a very close bond to Fawkes but that makes sense, given that they are so hard to tame, they must have a close bond to the owner to be kept.

          • Well there is a very simple explanation you see…

            Time travel might be dangerous, but this is DUMBLEDORE we are speaking about, and he certainly can do things nobody else can. Long distance time travel, for instance.

            Dumbledore has no use for invisibility cloaks because, well, he has already been to all the places he ever would need to be while invisible. Because 2 Dumbledore’s exist at a time (one from the present and one from the future) the present Dumbledore is always observing whilst under a cloak. The future Dumbledore sits at Hogwarts as Headmaster in the present time.

            Fawkes and Dumbledore are in the same room at the same times many times because PRESENT time Dumbledore is the one disguised as Fawkes while FUTURE Dumbledore is sitting at his desk.

            Dumbledore brushes off his knowledge as “good guesses” because it would be a bother to have to explain everything as I just have. Haha!

  • WizardorWhat

    My understanding is that, for some unknown reason, it seems that the Harry-Horcrux can only be destroyed by Voldemort himself. At the very least, Dumbledore seems to think that this is the case. As we hear in the ‘Prince’s Tale’ chapter of Deathly Hallows:

    ‘”So the boy… the boy must die?” asked Snape quite calmly.
    “And Voldemort himself must do it, Severus. That is essential.”‘

    I have two conjoined theories for why this might be:

    1) A Horcrux can only be destroyed by putting its encasing beyond all magical repair, but as Dumbledore put it in King’s Cross station: ‘”Your blood in his veins, Harry, Lily’s protection inside both of you! He tethered you to life while he lives!”‘ Due to Lily’s protection, and due to Voldemort’s use of his blood, attempting to kill Harry with dark magic is futile. Under normal circumstances, it is therefore impossible to kill Harry, and thus impossible to destroy the Harry-Horcrux.

    2) The act of killing is destabilising to the soul (hence Horcruxes requiring murder). Perhaps the Harry-Horcrux, despite Harry being invulnerable to magical killing, can only be destroyed when Voldemort’s soul is made more vulnerable by (attempted) murder. Perhaps in the unusual instance of Voldemort himself is casting the curse, it is possible to get at the Harry-Horcrux, though it remains impossible to kill Harry (at least without his consent). If this is correct, perhaps it is easier to destroy any Horcrux shortly after their creator has committed a murder.

    • Snatch The Snitch

      It is only impossible to kill Harry while Voldemort’s body still exists because that is what is keeping Lily’s protection enhanced. Either that or only Voldemort couldn’t kill Harry because that’s who the protection was originally intended for, not anyone else. Voldemort’s body has the blood with Lily’s protection. In DH if someone had used the killing curse on Voldemort Harry wouldn’t have been able to return, but Voldemort would’ve. Voldemort still had Horcruxes.

      • WizardorWhat

        Even if Voldemort’s body didn’t exist, there is still the matter of Lily’s protection – I don’t think that Dumbledore could have killed Harry. Moreover, we don’t know the status of Voldemort’s body – there is some magic at play which enables Voldemort to assume some sort of spirit form, but that doesn’t mean that his body, and the blood protection, has ceased to exist.

        It also isn’t clear what would have happened if someone had destroyed Voldemort’s body with a killing curse in Deathly Hallows. It depends on the nature of the Horcrux protection – Voldemort seems to have kept his DNA through the being-killed-then-reincarnated process – he might have also kept the traces of Harry-blood.

        • Snatch The Snitch

          I agree that Dumbledore wouldn’t try. As far as the Horcruxes, there is only evidence that the soul is what is put into them. The Horcruxes were also made before Voldemort resurected himself using Harry’s blood. So if both Harry and Voldemort were hit with killing curses there would be no vessel left with Lily’s blood protection.

          • WizardorWhat

            We’re clearly conceiving of Horcruxes in different ways. I think that you’re seeing each Horcrux as like a time capsule to which Voldemort can return upon being killed. Since no Horcrux contains Lily’s blood protection, he would lose it on death. But I don’t think that this is right. When he is ‘killed’ and reincarnated, Voldemort retains his memories and magical skills which have continued to develop after each new Horcrux is created.

            Instead, I think that the Horcruxes function as ‘anchors’ to life which, by some magic, stop Voldemort dying. They result in him assuming a spectral, but independent, existence when his body is destroyed, but there is no reason to believe that this spectral form is any less affected by magical events (like his internalising Lily’s protection) which have occurred since the creation of the Horcruxes.

          • I definitely agree with you that a Horcrux is an anchor. As long as the Horcrux exists, so can Voldee. The Horcrux is not required in the revival process. However, it is his BODY that carries Harry’s blood, not the Horcrux. Though there is a magic in the blood, the soul is a separate piece. If Voldee lost his current body and had to go through the revival process again, wouldn’t all the same steps be repeated? Bone from the father, blood from the enemy, sacrifice from the servant? The body being created for Voldee would once again need Harry’s blood in order to form that blood connection.

            I believe that without Harry to bring Voldee back the two would no longer share any blood connection and Voldee would not have Lilly’s magic anymore. There is a big difference between body and soul.

          • WizardorWhat

            I guess it depends on what we think ‘tethered to life while Voldemort lives’ means. I read it literally, to mean that Harry effectively got the benefit of the Horcruxes – as long as Voldemort was immortal, so was Harry. If this is right, the blood protection is not just a body thing – it affects every aspect of Voldemort’s being like his memories and magical skill. I don’t think that he could have committed suicide, rebuilt another body, and thus made Harry vulnerable. It appears that They’veTakenMyWheezy and SnatchtheSnitch read it to mean ‘as long as Voldemort’s body exists, Harry’s protected’. I suppose either is possible, but regardless, it is very hard to understand how Voldemort managed to destroy the Harry-Horcrux – Harry was not put beyond magical repair, and couldn’t be put beyond magical repair as long as Voldemort’s body was intact. The Horcrux should have been fine unless Voldemort’s murderous intent somehow rendered it more vulnerable.

            But this is all by the by. There’s no reason to think that Dumbledore would have been able to breach Lily’s protection, regardless of the blood-protection or the Horcruxes.

          • “it is very hard to understand how Voldemort managed to destroy the Harry-Horcrux”

            This is true. Wasn’t Harry stabbed by a basilisk fang in his second year? Doesn’t stabbing the Goblet Horcrux with the same fang destroy it? Harry had the basilisk venom running through his veins yet the Horcrux in him lived on. Some of us believe that Voldee’s soul latched onto Harry’s soul. Maybe that didn’t happen. Maybe the piece of Voldee that Harry carries is solely in the lightning bolt scar. Perhaps, had someone stabbed Harry in the scar with a fang or the sword, the Horcrux would have died. Maybe Voldee hits Harry in the face with the killing curse and that does the job of destroying the Horcrux.

            I don’t think Harry is immortal while tied to the Horcruxes. Harry is more of a vessel. If Harry lost his life while the Horcrux was still in him, Harry’s dead body would belong to hat Horcrux for Voldee to possess and control and even take over and become whole. The Diary Horcrux nearly became a whole being, so the same could have been done with Harry had Harry ever died in a way that would allow the Horcrux to live.

          • Saiyangirl

            In the King’s Cross chapter of DH, Dumbledore actually states that Voldemort’s soul did latch on to Harry’s: “A part of his soul was still attached to yours, and, thinking to strengthen himself, he took a part of your mother’s sacrifice into himself.”

            He says it when he’s in the midst of an explanation to Harry about why his wand broke the wand Voldemort had borrowed from Lucius.

          • Well we all know Dumbledore is a liar

          • Saiyangirl

            Er, that sounds like a bit of a cop-out to me. I also can’t recall one instance of Dumbledore explicitly lying, except maybe when he said he saw himself with some nice socks in the Mirror of Erised. He has a habit of omitting information, not of lying. Besides, that whole chapter is pretty much Jo giving us a full-on explanation of how Harry survived and how the whole Horcrux thing had played out. She’s said herself that she can speak and explain through Dumbledore in instances like these. I personally think we can assume that Dumbledore told the truth here, but of course, it’s up to you whether you want to do the same :)

          • Oh, no, I was only joking. I had forgotten about that line from Dumbledore. Good call.

            What do you think about Harry being stabbed by the fang in year two though? Why did that have no effect on the Horcrux?

          • Snatch The Snitch

            That line was refering to Voldemort’s return to human form. It is referenced in the previous line of that chapter. It’s probably different when it comes to living things. Like the organism has to die for the Horcrux to. Remember Harry did have a choice in DH if he wanted to die or not. Would Nagini’s Horcrux have been destroyed if she was stabbed with a Basilisk fang but Faux healed her?

          • I’d like to think that stabbing Nagini with the fang (or sword) should destroy the Horcrux without having to kill the host. We see Horcruxes in inanimate, non-living things, so the host doesn’t have to be living for it to thrive. Therefore I do not believe the host has to die for a Horcrux to die, because an inanimate object can’t die. It is not alive.

            The only error in this thought is that, as Saiyangirl pointed out, Dumbledore says the Horcrux latched to Harry’s soul. How do you stab a soul? This provides an problem. There are no souls in inanimate objects, so once again there is sketchy, messy reasoning behind all this…

            Is a soul destroyed when a person dies? I always thought the soul is what moves on while the body is what is left behind.

          • Snatch The Snitch

            Yeah, I think Dumbledore stated somewhere that to his knowledge no one had ever used a living thing as Horcrux. So I guess there is no real answer. That being said it could go either way, but I don’t find it unbelievable that the host being killed would destroy the Horcrux. Look at it this way: A person also has a soul, and when they die they move on. So it’s certainly possible that death would also destroy another soul in the organism. By soul being “destroyed” I mean it moves on from this world because no one knows what really happens.

          • Right, I guess I sort of said that and didn’t put two and two together. The pieces of soul are not “destroyed” but their vessels are, releasing the soul and allowing it to move on. That piece of soul is no longer on earth.

            So the Horcrux is not so much the “piece of soul” itself, but the vessel that keeps it from moving on. Destroy the vessel and the soul moves on. Interesting that the inanimate objects were indestructible while Harry was not…

          • Snatch The Snitch

            I mean I’m just guessing here. I’m not saying I’m definitely right just that I can see it working that way. Like if Hermione was a Horcrux say, and she was hit with a killing curse. Her soul would move on so why not the other soul?

          • Saiyangirl

            Oh sorry, I misunderstood you then! And the Basilisk fang thing did bother me for a while, but I seem to recall Jo mentioned somewhere in an interview that the venom was not able to destroy the Horcrux as Fawkes intervened with his tears too quickly. I should look that up actually, not sure where she may have said that. But that would be my explanation; Fawkes saved Harry and in doing so, also preserved the Horcrux inside him.

          • Snatch The Snitch

            He was refering to Voldemort’s bodily form. The line before the line you stated reads “Lord Voldemort doubled the bond between you when he returned to human form. A part of his soul was still attatched to yours, and, thinking to strengthen himself, he took a part of your mother’s sacrifice into himself.” Refering to him returning to bodily form.

          • Saiyangirl

            Yes, I know. He was in the midst of a lengthy explanation and this part referred to Voldemort returning to a physical form. It was all in response to Harry’s question about why his wand broke the borrowed wand though.

          • Snatch The Snitch

            Well Harry could’ve died here; he had a choice. Would we assume if Nagini was hit by a killing curse it would destroy the Horcrux? It is an area we don’t have much information about but it sort of makes sense Voldemort would be able to destroy his own creation, unintentional or not. Plus, Harry sacrificing himself is something Voldemort could never comprehend..maybe that also had something to do with? Like Voldemort’s soul couldn’t stay in Harry’s body just like Voldemort couldn’t at the ministry? Both instances Harry was ready to die.

          • Snatch The Snitch

            I also think the Horcrux is anchor to life, I just don’t think blood has anything to do with it. The reason Harry’s life was tethered to Voldemort’s life is because Voldemort shared Harry’s blood in hs own body. No body…no blood.

      • The Half Blood Princess

        I thought that anyone could kill Harry, but if V killed Harry, Harry would come back.

        • Snatch The Snitch

          Yeah I think if someone else killed Harry he would die because Lily’s protection only applies to Voldy

  • SlytherinKnight

    I think that Dumbledore knew that he couldn’t kill or destabilize Voldemort by trying to use the Killing Curse (or another Dark Curse) to drive Voldemort from Harry at the DoM. At the end of the series, we know that Dumbledore knew about the Horcrux in Harry’s scar since 1981, and probably has been researching about Horcruxes since then, or at least since Harry’s second year when Harry gave him the diary (when Dumbledore knew about the Horcruxes is something that I don’t believe has actually been confirmed).

    But also think about this, would the Killing Curse actually destroy the Horcrux in Harry, kill/disembody Voldemort possessing Harry or kill Harry himself? It begs the question would the Killing Curse be powerful enough to destroy two souls at once, even delivered by the Master of the Elder Wand.

    I am not a huge Dumbledore fan, to me he is a man who is willing to send a child to an abusive home, abandon him for almost two decades, isolate him from loved ones, pretty much make Harry into a martyr but won’t use all tools at his disposal to end a war of genocide. He is willing to make some hard choices that don’t directly affect him (abandoning Harry and Sirius, leading Harry around by the nose), but not the ones would make people think him Dark (like making sure that all the Death Eaters are punished for their crimes). The boundaries of Light and Dark are not as clearly defined in real life as the Harry Potter books portray them to be.

    • Snatch The Snitch

      To your first point, I’m pretty sure Dumbledore confirms he started suspecting a Horcrux during Harry’s second year. He discovered the Diary was a Horcrux but this is when he guessed there was more, because he couldn’t believe how causally Voldemort used this one. He guessed there must be more. Dumbledore also said that when Harry heard Voldemort say “I’ve gone further than anyone along the path that leads to immortality”, in the graveyard, that this basically confirmed to him there were more Horcruxes. This is all stated in the Horcruxes chapter in HBP. As to when he guessed Harry was one? I’d say he had suspisions from Chamber onward.

      To your second point, the Killing Curse would kill Harry because he would only live if Voldemort’s body wasn’t destroyed. Voldemort wouldn’t because Horcruxes would still exist.

      Dumbledore obviously has a dark past and doesn’t make the best decisions. That being said it was safest for Harry to stay with the Durselys because it was impossible for Voldemort to harm him there until he was 17. He made Harry go to his death because he knew Voldemort couldn’t kill him and that he’d sacrifice himself which was very important. Also in the process having Voldemort destroy his unintentional creation.

  • SwishySycamore

    Dumbledore wouldn’t of killed Harry because Dumbledore knew better than to kill Harry to kill Voldermort. Dumbledore is a very intelligent wizard after all and without knowing about the horcroxes I feel he would know that you can’t kill Voldermort with a flick of a wand.

    However, if Dumbledore knew about the horcruxes he still wouldn’t of killed Harry. Harry told Dumbledore in Goblet of Fire that Voldermort used his blood to return again. Knowing about the blood protection along with the prophecy, Dumbledore would know not to kill Harry as Voldermort had to be the one to.

  • QuibbleQuaffle

    So- when you possess someone- are we assuming the whole soul/bit of soul that’s in your body leaves your body and enters the body of the person/animal that you’re possessing? If we are then, say all the other Horcruxes are destroyed, you’ve got Voldemort’s bit of soul that’s in his body, the Harry-horcrux, and Harry’s soul, all inside Harry’s body, as well as maybe some soulless Voldemort body a few metres away or something(?). At face value, in ‘greater good’ terms, this is looking pretty tempting, 2 Voldemort’s for the price of 1 Harry. When you also add in the point that Harry is suffering a lot, and there’s a possibility that he could lose his mind/soul/something altogether, that could lean the scales more towards the ‘kill’ side.

    However I think there are a few things that would ultimately stop Dumbledore. One main thing would be that he would wait long enough to see whether Harry could fight back, partly because ideally he wouldn’t want to kill Harry if he had a choice and also because he’s curious. He then see’s Harry fighting back and prefers that Harry win this battle, even if it doesn’t end the war, because Dumbledore knows that the type of magic Voldemort is most vulnerable too is the primitive (‘raw’ I guess) stuff, based on emotions such as love. I think his overall vision of how to bring down Voldemort rests on the idea that this is his weakness, and so this type of magic will be his downfall, so the moment he sees Harry fighting back in this way he will let it play out.

  • Saiyangirl

    If Dumbledore believed he would actually be able to off both Voldemort and Horcrux-Harry in one go at this moment in time, without repercussions, nice and clean and final, he’d likely have done so (Greater Good and all that). That’s kind of the whole point though; Dumbledore must have already deduced that this would be impossible. Lily’s protection exists in both Voldemort and Harry; as WizardorWhat mentioned, even if Harry’s body would be destroyed, he’d still be tethered to life as Voldemort would still live too (many Horcruxes remain after all; Nagini, the Cup, the Ring, the Locket). He’d be condemning Harry to a spectral existence and most likely still not destroy the Horcrux attached to the boy’s soul. And as Voldy and Harry had become tied together with ancient magic, even Dumbledore would most likely not be able to foresee what destroying the remaining Horcruxes with physical forms would do to both spectral Voldy and Harry (assuming he’d have enough time before Voldemort had returned to a body). A terrible and uncertain interbellum in the war if you ask me; not something nice, clean and final as Dumbledore seems to prefer. Besides, Albus would also ruin his chance of having Harry fulfil the prophecy without meeting an untimely end. I believe the “gleam of triumph” in GoF was when realisation dawned on Albus that if Harry would sacrifice himself and allow Voldemort to kill him, there was a chance that the Horcrux would be destroyed while Harry lived. Although I have never forgiven Albus for his puppet master tendencies and his ultimate focus on the Greater Good, I do feel he cared for Harry, in his own detached, rational way. He wanted Harry to fulfil the part he had laid out for him, but he did allow himself the small hope that Harry might be able to do it without dying.

    So, to cut my answer short; yes if Dumbledore believed he could actually finish the war and kill both Voldemort and Horcrux-Harry in the process, without nasty side-effects or uncertainties in his calculations, he would have. But A), he knew that was impossible, there was too much uncertainty and it might make matters even more difficult, allowing the war to be prolonged and even more lives to be lost. B), he also knew it would ruin any chance there was of just maybe preserving Harry’s life in the whole ordeal. He’d already thought of the most ideal, most clean way, where either Harry would die of his own self-sacrifice or get lucky and survive, but still save the day. And isn’t that what Dumbledore would always want? Good chances, high probabilities, nice and clean and calculated. It would have gotten messy otherwise.

    • You truly believe Dumbledore could kill? We have never heard of Dumbledore ever kill before. He is against the inhumane use of Dementors at Azkaban. He is against the unfair treatment of magical creatures. Dumbledore is one who looks to the Humane side of things. Dumbledore was even unwilling to fire deathly spells at Voldee during this fight. Dumbledore did not kill Grindewald in the past either. We have never seen nor heard of Dumbledore killing, even if it was for the greater good.

      If Dumbledore knew that Harry had to die, he wanted Harry to know that. Dumbledore might come off as more of a “scumbag” for knowing all these cruel and dark things that have to happen, however he leaves it all up to choice in the end. He never enforces these actions. Dumbledore is a good person in the end. I think there is a limit to how far he could go for “the greater good.” He reached a limit with Grindewald after all.

      • Saiyangirl

        Yes, I believe he could. Not without being torn apart by guilt and grief, but if he truly believed it was the necessary action and the only option to save millions of lives in exchange for this one boy, I believe he would force himself to do it and suffer the consequences for the rest of his life.

        Dumbledore does, however, seem to prefer the ‘indirect approach’ when it comes to killing, which is what (in my view) he did with Harry in the series (having him meet his own fate and leave his survival up to a calculated chance). But no, I do not think he’d do it *easily* or without considering alternatives; the guy is tormented by the knowledge that he may or may not have killed his sister. Yet all the same, he is just as tormented by the knowledge that he could have prevented a lot of deaths had he only risen up to Grindelwald a few years sooner, had he quit stalling and faced the inevitable. He both feels directly (Ariana) and indirectly (people killed by Grindelwald when he was complacent) responsible for a lot of deaths. Grindelwald could evidently be cooped up in Nurmengard, the prison he built himself, without breaking free; a perfect solution. Yet it seems to me that Voldemort has gone beyond what Grindelwald did; I do not believe he could be held in a prison.

        All I’m saying is; if Dumbledore truly and utterly believed he would be able to save everyone by killing Voldemort and Horcrux-Harry at that moment, that there would be no repercussions, no backlash, no continuation of the war – just that one painful decision, one boy in exchange for so many others – I believe he would. The direct act of murder would be likely to harm him much more than the indirect approach would, and the grief and guilt would never release him, but nonetheless, I think he’d force himself to do it if he truly believed it would be the right course of action for the majority. You say that if Dumbledore knew that Harry had to die, he wanted Harry to know that, but as we all know from the books, Dumbledore knew very early on that he was raising Harry “as a pig for slaughter”. The chances of his survival were slim; Dumbledore himself barely dared hope Harry would make it through. Yet he never once told Harry the truth.

        As Harry himself surmised after he realised the truth: “How neat, how elegant, not to waste any more lives, but to give the dangerous task to the boy who had already been marked for slaughter, and whose death would not be a calamity, but another blow against Voldemort.”

        • But the prophecy states “one must die at the hands of the other” or whatever. Dumbledore knew this as well in the very moment. Dumbledore was never raising Harry as a pig for slaughter. He was raising him to be the man who could kill Voldee himself and embrace death as a final destination.

          I don’t think Dumbledore is a murderer. He could have killed Voldee in this battle before Voldee possessed Harry. Dumbledore was intentionally avoiding murder in the battle. He is not a killer.

          • Saiyangirl

            As Dumbledore explains to Harry later on though; prophecies are only fulfilled when people choose to act upon them. “One must die at the hands of the other” only pertains to Voldemort’s and Harry’s intent to be the one to stop the other in his tracks. Dumbledore could have easily chosen to ignore that phrase and act of his own accord if he thought it wise.

            And well, as to the whether he was raising him as a pig for slaughter thing or not- that’ll always be a matter of opinion I guess. Clearly, my view of Dumbledore is much more cynical than yours. It’s good to have differing views that make for such interesting discussions :) There is one thing I do agree with you on though: Dumbledore was definitely intentionally avoiding murder in the battle. Which is why I’ve been saying that I believe he’d only resort to murder at this moment in time if he’d believe it to be right; clearly, he does *not* believe it to be right!

            I also hope you haven’t been misunderstanding me; even though we disagree on whether Dumbledore can be a potential killer or not, I’m quite certain we agree on that given the choice, he wouldn’t kill. He is not a bad person, but a man way too intelligent for his own good; he’s able to look at his surroundings in a detached manner and spots terrible truths in doing so. It’s his ultimate torment; he genuinely loves and wants to save people, but he knows sacrifices must be made to achieve this. He’s a very torn man.

  • dragon-fertilizer

    I don’t think Dumbledore would have killed Harry.

    We know from DH he didn’t kill Grindelwald either, but rather threw him into prison. And even though Dumbledore loved Grindelwald at one point in his life Gellert became a dangerous dark wizard, who did a bunch of terrible things and probably deserved capital punishment.

    We also know how tormented Dumbledore was about the death of his sister and in my opinion he would not have been able to put another name on the ‘innocent people i might or might not have killed” list.

    Even when he sent Harry to hunt down the horcruxes he sent the guy who has to die anyway instead of someone a little bit more experienced, who has the chance to survive the war without tracking down the Dark Lord’s horcruxes.

    I know Dumbledore was willing to manipulate people for the greater good, but I just don’t think he had it in him to kill anyone, especially someone he cared about.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      totally agree! i have a question that goes along with this…. do we know of Dumbledore actually killing anyone?

  • PixieDragon137

    Would Dumbledore sacrifice Harry for the sake of killing Voldemort? No, absolutely not. Because it would mean that all the things he said to Harry, about caring for him more than he should have, about being afraid of Voldemort using that knowledge against him, just like he used Sirius to get to Harry, was all a lie. And Dumbledore might have been a lot of things but he was not a liar. So even without the Horcruxes, there was already a ‘flaw’ in Dumbledore’s plans, which he admits in the next chapter- that he cared more about Harry’s happiness than his plans of defeating Voldemort. Yes, he sends Harry off to his doom in the end, but everything Dumbledore did, every step that he took, was to make sure that Harry could go on living.

  • DisKid

    I strongly don’t think Voldemort would have been naive enough to kill Harry. For one, he knows Voldemort fears death and would never sacrifice himself in order to have Harry killed. He wouldn’t sacrifice himself for anybody. He’s determined to live forever. Even if Dumbledore didn’t know he created horcruxes, I bet the thought would have crossed his mind that as soon as whatever the curse would be to kill Harry was cast that Voldemort would quickly move out of the way and then he just killed Harry for nothing. Sending him to his death later in the series was a completely different scenario. He knew it would be for a good cause and I do believe Dumbledore knew that it wouldn’t exactly kill Harry. Just that part of Voldemort’s soul inside of Harry. Not to mention, he wouldn’t be doing the killing that time. Voldemort would do it.

  • If Harry hadn’t been a Horcrux, then I don’t think this series would have even existed. The prophecy wouldn’t have been made if Harry hadn’t been a Horcrux because marking Harry as his equal (i.e. making him a Horcrux) is what ultimately led to Voldemort’s downfall and the “neither can live while the other survives” prediction. So the confrontation between Voldemort and the Potters never would have happened, and Voldemort probably wouldn’t have even known or cared who Harry was. Therefore, Dumbledore wouldn’t have developed the same relationship with Harry, and he probably would have just searched for the other Horcruxes on his own until he had destroyed them all.

    And so this entire possession situation would never have happened, and Dumbledore wouldn’t have had to consider killing Harry.

  • MinervaLupin

    I do not think Dumbledore would have been able to kill Harry at all, even if he had thought that by doing so, he would kill Voldemort at the same time. Dumbledore says that he has come to care for Harry more than he should have let himself do so. His caring for Harry, I think, would have steadied his hand and caused him not being able to pull the trigger, even if it meant killing Voldemort. Also, Dumbledore is all about free will and he would not take that choice out of Harry’s hands. That is why he had planned everything in order for Harry to make that choice himself in the final book.

    Besides, if there had been a slight chance that Dumbledore would have killed Harry in this instant, Voldemort would not have possessed Harry at all. He would never, deliberately, place himself in the line of danger like that. So he would have made sure that by possessing Harry, there was no chance of his dying even if Dumbledore had decided to kill Harry in order to get to him.

    I strongly believed that if Dumbledore had killed Harry here, Voldemort would not have died, only Harry would have. This is not, I feel, the sort of possession that would killed both possessed and the possessor.

  • RoseLumos

    I am sure that Dumbledore would have never even considered killing Harry in this moment. Even if Voldemort possessed a random Muggle Dumbledore still wouldn’t have done it. There is some argument that yes, Dumbledore sets up Harry to die later, but let’s remember that it’s not like Dumbledore takes any joy in this. I think it causes him a lot of pain to think that Harry will die, but he knows that it is physically the only way to do it and there is no getting around it. While we do find out that Dumbledore is not as “white” and innocent as we think he is, he is not evil. I think his goal is to end this war with as little death and pain as possible. He knows that Harry will have to die, but he knows that in the end, it is Harry’s choice.

    • QuibbleQuaffle

      Same. I’ve got my fair share of ‘anti-Dumbledore’ opinions, but at the end of the day I do think that Dumbledore is genuinely caring, and when he say’s he’s grown to care for Harry I think that’s true.

  • SlytherinKnight

    When Voldemort possess Harry, there were three souls in Harry’s body at that time: Voldemort, the Horcrux and Harry’s own soul. So I was wondering, let’s say Dumbledore did decide to try and end Voldemort right then, would the Killing Curse destroy Harry’s own soul, the Horcrux, Voldemort possessing Harry, all three or what? We are led to believe that the Killing Curse one destroys one soul at one time (I believe that’s part of the reason Harry doesn’t truly die in DH), but since Dumbledore is the Master of the Elder Wand, would it change things or not? Just a thought that popped into my head as I was reading this PQotW and the comments.

    • QuibbleQuaffle

      That’s an interesting thought. If that’s true then I wonder what decides which soul get’s destroyed? I wonder whether the Harry-Horcrux is destroyed but not Harry himself in Deathly Hallows because of the fact that it’s a horcrux, so more unstable? Or because the horcrux is completely dependant on it’s container? Or maybe it has something to do with Voldemort casting the curse himself? If it would be a certainty that the horcrux would be killed first then it’d give more reason for Dumbledore to ‘kill’ Harry then. If it’s to do with who casts the curse then maybe that could be a reason why he held back?

  • If were are to assume that this would have all happened even if Harry hadn’t been a Horcrux, I don’t think Dumbledore would have considered killing Harry. Because Voldemort used Harry’s blood to come back to his body, Dumbledore had the very educated guess that if Voldemort killed Harry if he were to sacrifice himself, then the shared blood would still tether Harry to life. So Dumbledore wouldn’t have let anyone kill Harry, let alone himself. Dumbledore is always 10 steps ahead, so he doesn’t often give in to rash decisions.

  • TrevorTheTurtle

    Actively and directly hurting someone who doesn’t deserve it isn’t really Dumbledore’s style, he’s more of a manipulation and long-term master plan kind of guy. I would even bet that he’s never shot a lethal spell at someone after the Ariana business. Voldemort seems confident that he would never kill Harry, since he’s not aware that Dubledore knows about his horcruxes, much less that Harry is one. Not that I think he actually risked himself (or a piece of himself) at all. Even if Horcruxes weren’t a factor and Dumbledore was in the practice of throwing killing curses, he still wouldn’t do it because he knows Voldemort would never ever risk death like that. Dumbledore knows Voldemort can do some previously unheard of magic, even if he’s not sure of what that might be, and this is far too easy, he would suspect some weird dark spell that would cause Harry to be the only casualty.

  • Mama_Slytherin

    I do not think he would have killed Harry. I have no hesitation saying that. We see the guilt he has over Ariana – and he doesn’t even know for sure if he was the one to kill her. Harry is just a child, under circumstances he can not control, just like Ariana. It is true that Dumbledore led Harry to the path towards death in the end – but we must remember that the final choice to die was left with Harry. The only way it would work is if it was left to Harry. One could argue that he was conditioned to make that choice, but that is a discussion for another podcast QOTW. :)

    And honestly, I’m not sure that killing Harry would have even worked, even without the Horcrux issue. When Voldemort possessed Quirrel, he died but Voldemort managed to escape and leave that body without being destroyed.

  • ISeeThestrals

    My first reaction, is to insist that Dumbledore would not kill Harry regardless of whether
    or not Horcruxes were involved. Dumbledore would want to spare as many innocent
    lives as possible, including Harry, even if killing him and Voldemort together here would
    save the wizarding and muggle world. I feel, from this moment, Dumbledore had already
    predicted that it would be up to Harry to destroy Voldemort and not himself, regardless of
    the prophecy. He wants to give Harry a strong chance to survive as well as a choice, rather
    than take it away with his own hand. This leads me to bring up the fact that Dumbledore
    often mentions the power of love. At the end of chapter thirty-seven of Order of the Phoenix,
    Dumbledore tells Harry, “It was your heart that saved you”, which showed that Dumbledore
    knew Voldemort wouldn’t be able to remain joined with Harry for long due to his strong feelings
    of love. Still, I’m not sure Dumbledore would risk killing Harry if he felt love, as opposed to
    a killing curse, could possibly play a role in defeating the darkest wizard of all time.

    Had Dumbledore killed Harry, would the Ministry of Magic understand why? If there
    was no proof outside his word that Voldemort was possessing Harry, would anyone
    know? The wizarding community, at this point, are on the fence about whether or
    not to believe Voldemort has returned, so for Dumbledore to quickly kill him
    off in secret might complicate matters for Dumbledore unless he is believed.
    And I’m certain he wouldn’t find much popularity with the majority of students
    at Hogwarts, nor with the Order of the Phoenix.

  • HPAlison

    I don’t think Dumbledore would have killed Harry being the person he is now. I do wonder whether his decision would have been different if not for his sister’s death. Granted, the course of his entire life would have been different, but pretending that everything else stayed the same except for Ariana not dying, what would Dumbledore have done? Would he be more willing to kill Harry if he had not dealt with the guilt of possibly killing an innocent child? I think Dumbledore truly cares for Harry, but without Ariana’s death, he might have been willing to sacrifice even someone he loved for the greater good.

    Although ultimately I think Dumbledore had at least an inkling about the horcruxes and would have strongly suspected that killing Harry would not destroy Voldemort, so he would have refused to kill Harry anyway. He would have been smart enough to realize that this would work in Voldemort’s favor by both not actually destroying him and making Dumbledore a pariah. In the public’s opinion he would turn into the mad, power-hungry wizard who killed the famous Harry Potter for absolutely no gain. Imagine what Rita Skeeter would do with that. It would get Dumbledore and Harry out of the way, leaving no one to control Voldemort.

  • Claire Marie

    I don’t think Dumbledore would have been able to kill Harry here just because Dumbledore loves Harry so much. He wouldn’t even tell Harry about the prophecy because of how much he grew to care for Harry and his well-being. That said, Dumbledore also knows about the prophecy and due to the “neither can live while the other survives…” piece I think Dumbledore would have chosen not to attempt to kill Harry for fear of something crazy happening. There are still pieces that Dumbledore doesn’t understand yet, so he would know that trying to kill Voldemort by killing Harry would probably not produce the desired outcome.

  • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

    I don’t think Dumbledore would have killed Harry if this were the case for a few reasons. I think, for Dumbledore to kill Harry, he would have to be 100 percent certain that Voldemort, too, would die. I don’t think he would take the chance without being totally certain and at this point, I don’t see how he could be totally certain. I also don’t think Dumbledore would have made a rash decision in this situation. Dumbledore is still incredibly scarred from the death of his sister, and while this fight is very different, there are similarities between the chaotic scene when Ariana died and this one. Dumbledore isn’t one to make the same mistake twice, and I think he is going to be incredibly cautious when casting the killing curse in this scenario. I also don’t think that Dumbledore is “willing to send Harry to his doom later in the series.” Rather, he gives Harry all the information he has gathered and once he is one hundred percent certain, provides Harry with the information that he must die for Voldemort to be defeated. He does not force Harry into the forest and, at the end of the day, Harry could have not gone to Voldemort. Dumbledore is intent on ending Voldemort, but he also understands the bigger picture. I don’t think Dumbledore would have killed Harry unless it was actually Harry’s choice (not Harry when he is being weirdly controlled by Voldemort) and only if Harry fully understood the situation. That aside, Dumbledore isn’t going to kill an innocent person unless he is completely confident that Voldemort would die too.

  • BadgermoleButterbeer

    I don’t think that Dumbledore would have killed Harry/Voldemort, even without the horcruxes being an issue. If he had killed Voldemort while he was possessing Harry, there would have been no body left behind for Voldemort (where did his body go during this time anyhow?!) and Dumbledore would have been left standing over the body of a dead student when the ministry arrived. But even if Voldemort’s body had been left on the ground of the ministry, there still would have been a number of potential problems. Chiefly, that it is doubtful that the dead body of Voldemort would have been reason enough to reinstate Dumbledore as headmaster of Hogwarts. Fudge would have seen the body (and Harry’s body, remember he dies in this scenario), think that Dumbledore had managed to transfigure something or someone to look like Voldemort, and have arrested him (and potentially the rest of the order) on the spot. The beloved puppetmaster would likely have seen these potential problems and decided that it revelation of a living Voldemort would likely raise more support for the good guys than killing him right then and there and letting a lot of deatheaters running amok.