pqotw 146

Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 146

At the emotional apex of the chapter (and one could argue, the book), we ponder its implications for the future.

The death of Dumbledore in this last chapter has obviously shaken the readers with its unexpected timing, as well as a lot of the characters in the novel who assumed Dumbledore was untouchable. We see a few reactions, including that of Harry (anger, denial, bargaining) and Hagrid (denial, sadness), and even Fang howls to the night. With this big of an emotional moment, who do we believe feels it more? Whose course in life does it alter more dramatically?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or send us an AudioBoom using the little green button on the right!

  • MoodyHorcrux

    To ask who feels Dumbledore’s death more is challenging.. but after a lot of thought I think Harry is the one whos life is altered the most dramatically. He really depended on Dumbledore probably more than he realized. He was the last father figure Harry had, and I think it really crushed him. His final great defender, falling. But this event changed something in Harry. He had to figure things out for himself from that point on, and become a brave, strong leader, and mature into the kind of person he needed to be in order to defeat Lord Voldemort. It made Harry think for himself more, instead of trying but mostly relaying on Dumbledore to be there for the rescue. Dumbledore’s death also gave Harry the last, but one of the most powerful things that fueled the fire of Harry’s anger, revenge, and determination to end the war once and for all. Finally it was truly Harry against Voldemort. Because lets face it, up till this point, Dumbledore was always in the middle of the two impending forces. Magnets that in the end were going to end up trying to destroy each other, which couldn’t happen while Dumbledore was there.

    • MoodyHorcrux

      I of course also believe it effected Minerva greatly.. I get the sense they were very close long term friends, and Hagrid… who owes Dumbledore so so much and Hagrid’s love for that man runs really truly deep.. and of course their lives changed, a lot of lives were changed – but not as drastically as Harry’s.

      Snape is also debatable. Of course it changed his life! Snape was murdered because he killed Dumbledore! One would say that’s a dramatic alteration in your life.. the fact that it ends. But I believe Harry was effected just a little bit more by the event then by poor Severus.
      The courage he needed to have to kill the man… and then hide all the best features of himself to the world and act like he had been playing a double agent for Voldemort this whole time – that’s huge. Snape did a big thing for Dumbledore in aiding Dumbledore with this part of his plan (even though he might have been forced to do it) he still held his word to Dumbledore and did what he asked.

  • DisKid

    I’m sure this was not the intent of the hosts, but this question looks like it’s putting a competition on who feels worse which is often an unfortunate competition among folks affected by death (I.E. arguing about who it’s more difficult for). Having two ministers as parents; I’ve been to several funerals over the course of my lifetime and am sure I’ll be at several more. I’ve also seen the aftermath years after the funeral is over. Something that always happens is nobody reacts the same way. Some people are almost seemingly unaffected with no tears what so ever, then a few months later they burst out so badly that it’s hard to calm them down and the person who was crying most is very calm now. There’s also a matter of different forms of PTSD which can happen to people who did not even witness the event and some people who did don’t get it. Truth of the matter is there’s no way to know for sure how everyone’s life was affected by a death completely or who’s feeling it more. Especially since this book is more so from Harry’s point of view. We have no idea how this death affected Hagrid, McGonagall, Draco, or anyone else years later. This certainly isn’t a bad question and I’m sure many people have different opinions, but it all comes down to there really is no correct answer for this question unless you know every little thing about these characters lives back to front. Perhaps JK Rowling is the only one who can truly answer this question.

  • Casey L.

    Honestly, Dumbledore’s death probably doesn’t affect Harry’s course moving forward as much as we might think at first glance. Obviously he is deeply hurt by it, but his objective is to find and destroy the remaining horcruxes . . . and eventually, Voldemort, himself. None of that has changed with Dumbledore’s death. Sure, the job has gotten harder, but the ultimate goal is the same. The biggest change to Harry’s course in life is that he doesn’t finish his formal education, but again, in the long run, not even that keeps him from the career path he would have taken had he graduated.
    Snape on the other hand is a much different story. His ultimate goal is to pass along vital information to Harry that will help defeat Voldemort, and he’s lost almost any way of doing it. He’s had to kill the person who gave him a respectable footing in life again, and he’s been forced to alienate himself from the network of people who have been supporting him all this time, even if it was only because Dumbledore told them to. His “protectors” are now the Death Eaters, people who until now, did not necessarily trust his loyalty to Voldemort and will now be jealous of his inevitable elevation in status within their group. If possible, he might be even more of a loner now, than he was before killing Dumbledore.
    That’s a huge change, and right here, right now, he’s probably the character whose course in life has changed the most. His safety net is gone – sure Voldemort trusts him, now, but as he (and we) have already seen, that trust can change easily, and as he later finds out, it can change due to factors beyond his control.

  • Hufflepug

    I don’t think anyone felt it “the most”, but I think it would have had a unique impact on Aberforth. He was the only family member that Dumbledore had left and he was one of the people who knew the most about who Dumbledore was as a person, but ironically he was not the closest person to Dumbledore. Dumbledore really wasn’t “close” to anyone, which becomes clear in the final book when Rita Skeeter digs up information that hardly anyone knew about him. He really never opened up to anyone in his later years, and we see how Harry struggles with this realization when he had believed that he and Dumbledore had an intimate, familial relationship. So I think that, as someone who had known Dumbledore deeply and who had been betrayed by him and eventually fought in the Order under him despite still having an estranged relationship, Albus’s death would have dug up a lot of feelings and memories for Aberforth which nobody else would have experienced upon learning about his death. So again, I don’t think it’s possible to say who felt it the most – it may not have been Aberforth or Harry or Hagrid at all – but I think Aberforth may have felt the most personally affected by it, even though their relationship was estranged in the later years.

    I’m juggling between Harry and Snape for the character whose course it affected the most, but I’m going to have to go with Harry for the simple reason that Dumbledore’s death means he will no longer be able to ask his mentor what to do and will have to go off to destroy Voldemort with his own skills, the clues Dumbledore left for him, and the help from his friends. That’s an intimidating task for anyone and it shows that Harry has really matured since he is able to accomplish it mostly without Dumbledore’s help.

    • MrsSlrKls

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who first thought of Aberforth. ~ “No one ever seems to count Aberforth”
      After all, he and his brother never really resolved their differences. Things like that stick with a person after they’ve lost a loved one and they realize they’ll never get the chance to say “I’m sorry”.

  • Sian Zoe Dawson

    To say which person Dumbledore’s death affected the most is a hard one, for as we know, Dumbledore touched a lot of people when he lived. But I think that one of the people his death affected the most was Hagrid. Dumbledore stood by Hagrid when no one else believed him about the Chamber of Secrets, and had been a father figure to him when his own father died and was always there for Hagrid when he had no one else to talk to. I think that another person that was affected by Dumbledore’s death is McGonagall. This is because she always looked up to him and admired him, as did almost everyone else in the wizarding world, but she knew that she could talk to him about anything she was really close to Dumbledore and had a really good friendship with him. Even after he died, McGonagall still stood by Dumbledore, which is shown when Harry says to her in Deathly Hallows that he has work to do on Dumbledore’s orders.

    • Casey L.

      The other thing about Hagrid is that, as a half-giant, Dumbledore needs to protect him somewhat from the more prejudiced branch of wizarding society, so he becomes somewhat exposed with this death, and once the Death Eaters take over the Ministry of Magic, he does face a very real danger of being arrested and possibly even killed, as we see in Deathly Hallows.
      McGonagall is someone I hadn’t really thought too much about at first, but I think she’s in a very similar position as Hagrid once the Ministry falls – in great danger. As you noted, she and Dumbledore were very good friends, and if Dolores Umbridge is any indication, people view her as Dumbledore’s second-in-command. She’s also a smart person – she couldn’t have had any real expectation of being Headmistress at that point, yet she didn’t run away. Talk about courage. It’s probably a small miracle she’s even alive and at the school when Harry returns in Deathly Hallows.

  • MoodyHorcrux

    I don’t think the Hosts meant “who would be more sad by this death”. I think they are just asking “who’s life would change/alter the most because of this death”.

  • I feel like Snape is probably reeling in this moment. He just killed someone & not just anyone but some he deeply respected. On top of that he was basically forced to do it. That has to be a massive roller coaster of emotions! Then it ended up costing him his life. I think there’s a chance Snape could’ve survived the war if Voldemort hadn’t incorrectly thought that Snape had been the master of the Elder Wand. Snape was able to convince Voldemort all this time that he was a true Death Eater so there’s no reason he couldn’t have done so until Voldemort’s end.

    The scenario of Snape surviving does however make me wonder what would’ve happened to Draco once Voldemort figured out he was the true master of the Elder Wand? Would someone (Harry, Snape, Narcissa or even Lucius) been able to save Draco from that fate that was ultimately dealt to Snape?

  • Eileen_Prince/Jones

    A lot of people have answered Harry or Snape, but i would argue that each of their paths after dumbledores death was planned, even if harry didn’t know it until later, and even if Snape despises it…so i don’t think their lives were altered all that much, for the following year at least.
    I think that the students of hogwarts lives are altered the most. Not all of them could have had a relationship with dumbledore yet a lot of them stayed for his funeral. Its because he was a great teacher and respected. Because dumbledore is now gone that means voldemort has control, and he gives it to Snape and the carrows. No one had a choice anymore, they had to go to school. Snape does his best to protect students, but you still have to think there were students too afraid to stand up to the carrows who were then forced to do illegal magic on other students. All the time since voldee came back in bk 4 the students have been relatively safe at hogwarts, and now with dumbledore gone the danger comes right in.

  • SpinnersEnd

    I think the character that was most affected by Dumbledore’s death was the school itself. Hogwarts functions as it’s own independent character throughout the series. It provides for the students and staff of it’s own accord, it has its own secrets and dark spaces, just like any other human,centaur/elf/etc.. we see. And we see the school change dramatically after it’s headmaster is gone. It goes from a place of protection and learning to a place of brutality and forced thinking. We see the Hogwarts become incongruously dark and scary.

    But it’s not irrevocably so. Hogwarts still hopes. It still gives the small rebellion resources to continue on, just as people do in real life everyday.

    • ISeeThestrals

      After the war however, Hogwarts is back to being home for a new generation of wizards. Although it’s quite difficult to imagine Hogwarts without Dumbledore. Can you imagine what it would have been like throughout the school year if Dumbledore had died early and Harry had to take on a new school year without him? If Dumbledore’s death hadn’t made room for Snape to take over with Voldemort’s rise. I’d imagine it’d be a depressing year to read about.

  • Dumbledore’s through & through

    I’m glad several people have mentioned Hagrid and McGonagall, who both have very close realtionships to Dumbledore. However, I want to throw in Lupin: he’s maybe a similar case as Hagrid, without Dumbledore he wouldn’t have ever been able to go to Hogwarts, but because Dumbledore was seeing him as a person instead of a monster, he found a way and made it possible for Lupin to go to school, have a childhood like every other kid and make great friends. Lupin at this point has lost his two (or three, if you count Peter) closest friends, he’s is already depressed and heart-broken and shunned from society because of his furry little problem. And now Dumbledore, who is probably a father figure to him, too, a man who protected him and believed in him and trusted him, is dead. Also, it’s Snape who killed him, and Lupin has always defended Dumbledore’s trust in him. In the next chapter we see his violent reaction to this. But also, Dumbledore’s death finally makes Lupin see a possibility for him and Tonks being together, to finally find the courage for this decision. So he looses someone, but finds love at the same time.

    I think there are several characters who are dramatically affected by Dumbledore’s death, because Dumbledore was just such a great person and played an important role in the lifes of many. In my opinion they all feel it, there is no contest. Dumbledore was a unique person in their lifes, they have unique reactions to that and a unique way to grieve for him.

    • RoseLumos

      I was just to type almost the exact same thing in regards to Lupin. From Harry’s perspective, Lupin had never broken down before. He has suffered almost as much as Harry throughout the series, and I think Dumbledore’s death was the icing on the cake. Multiple characters say throughout the series that nothing bad can happen when Dumbledore is around, and I think that provided Lupin with a great comfort. Now, there is almost no where to turn.

  • SocksAreImportant

    Another set of people greatly impacted by Dumbledore’s death is the members of the Order. Dumbledore was the leader of the order and it makes me wonder how much the order knew about his impending death. In book 7, we learn that the last words Dumbledore spoke to Lupin and Kingsley was “Harry is the best hope we have. Trust him”. This seems an odd sort of thing for Dumbledore to talk to Lupin and Kingsley about if they don’t know that he is close to dying. The way the members of the order act in the next chapter tell me that his death came out of no where.

    The order goes from trusting Dumbledore, a remarkable, only one you-know-who ever feared, veteran adult wizard to trusting Harry, a still relatively young wizard. This is a big change to make and I think without Dumbledore’s last words to Lupin and Kingsley, the order’s faith in Harry wouldn’t be as strong.

    • TheAmazingBouncingFerret

      Yeah, I think you’re right. I guess it felt like it came out of nowhere because the members of the Order never expected a fellow member to kill him, and could never have dreamed Dumbledore would make a death pact with Snape. I know Snape is probably the most proficient and knowledgeable person in the Order when it comes to the Dark Arts, but it’s still likely that someone else, like Lupin or Kingsley, figured out what his black dead hand meant, or at the very least recognized it as dark magic. I don’t think Dumbledore ever said it directly to them or the rest, but maybe they were still on the same page and these “trust Harry” pronouncements probably confirmed it for them.

  • Silverdoe25

    I believe Harry feels Dumbledore’s death more down the road in Deathly Hallows, but in the here and now of the end of Book 6, I think the hardest hit is Hagrid. He is truly in denial at first, and I don’t think he thought anyone could have reached Dumbledore. I’d have to say Harry’s life is most dramatically altered, because Dumbledore’s death launches him immediately onto the hero’s journey. Granted, Dumbledore was never going to tell Harry “everything” before dying of withered hand, but it would have interesting for Dumbledore to learn that the horcrux was a fake, and what course of action he may have taken in his remaining months to help Harry along.

  • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

    Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to say who was affected the “most” by Dumbedore’s death. Each person (or creature) that came into contact with Dumbledore would have had a unique response to his death. As it is with the death of any prominent figure – fictional or otherwise – there is no way to gauge who felt it the most. However, I think the second part of this question is really interesting. I don’t believe it altered Snape’s or Harry’s lives most dramatically because they both were given plans regarding what to do after Dumbledore died. Something similar is true for McGonagall, other teachers, and members of the Order. They all knew what they were supposed to do, with or without Dumbledore (even though having Dumbledore around to answer some questions and lend a hand would have been incredibly helpful). I think those who’s lives were most altered were those who never thought about Dumbledore leaving them. Hagrid is the obvious example, but, as a Hogwarts teacher, he would have been guided back into a role Dumbledore would have wanted/planned for him. Outside of Hagrid, I believe that the student body and general public were greatly impacted and their lives altered because there was no preparation. Yes, they have people to lead them and guide them how Dumbledore would have liked or in his footsteps, but Dumbledore did not have specific plans for many (if any) of them and many (especially students – if we can judge from how Harry, Ron, and Hermione treated the concept and person of Dumbledore) never expected Dumbledore to die – let alone be killed by another teacher. Having to come to terms with that AND accept that a person many took for granted or assumed would always be there is gone would have changed the lives of countless students and members of the public.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    Of course everyone is affected by Dumbledore’s death, being bigger than life his death would be a shock to everyone. But those who would feel it the most, at least at first, would be Harry and Snape because they actually watched him die. And in a way that was devastating for each of them. As for the person whose life is most affected, I’d have to say Snape. Everyone else at least has someone to share the loss with. Most have their familiar surroundings and their jobs or classes and, as hard as it is, can carry on with their lives as they were in some fashion. Snape loses everything. Not only Dumbledore, who was his only real confidant and the only person who truly trusted him, but everyone and everything he had lived with at Hogwarts since becoming a teacher at age 21. Even when he returns as Headmaster, he is forced to occupy the office and rooms of the man he was forced to kill and work among colleagues who despise and distrust him. Not even Spinner’s End is safe for him, because it is known to be his home. Despite “proving” his loyalty to Voldemort, he is not safe among the Death Eaters either, where he had told Bellatrix that “people carry false tales of my treachery.” He may have some “friends” there, but he must play is part and can’t share his grief or fears. Though he doesn’t realize the giant target that Dumbledore has painted on him by leading Voldemort to believe that Snape is now Master of the Elder Wand, he must know that as the killer of the great Albus Dumbledore and a high-ranking Death Eater working closely with an unstable maniac, his days are numbered. I can’t even imagine the grief, isolation and fear he must have lived with right up to the moment when he is finally killed.

    • ISeeThestrals

      I’m not surprised you would say Snape, and upon looking at this question again, my thoughts went to Snape before reading your comment. I feel the whole Wizarding world is affected by Dumbledore’s death, possibly because I’m thinking of Dumbledore as some king like character of the wizarding world. I think many will greatly miss his wisdom and cleverness. But yes, I do feel Snape would be greatly affected due to the fact that he had to carry out this awful deed of killing a man I’m sure he highly respected. Murder, specifically the type under which Snape has fallen, adds a great weight of grief. I believe, had Snape lived, he might not have gotten over this death. I can see it haunting him to the very end.

    • SocksAreImportant

      I love this analysis of Snape’s feelings between the end of book 6 and the beginning of book 7. Another thing to consider though is that Snape had time to prepare for Dumbledore’s death because he knew about it for almost a year while presumably everyone else did not. It’s hard to say who was affected more, those who had their leader killed out of nowhere but took comfort in family and friends near by who knew him or Snape who knew Dumbledore would die soon but is then forced to be surrounded by Death Eaters who relish in his death.

      • SnapesManyButtons

        I know it is different for everyone, but I lost my husband suddenly in an accident when he was only 30 and later my mother after a 2 year battle with cancer and there really is no preparing for losing someone. In a way, knowing is harder because you live with the dread of it every day and when it does happen, it isn’t any easier. I sometimes envied those who had time to say goodbye, but in those grief groups nobody had an easier time than anyone else. It all sucked. What made the difference was the support that people had. In a widow/widower group most of us had family and friends and when they started to feel we should have “moved on” we had each other. One poor girl lost her fiance and his family shut her out because she “wasn’t family” and her own family and friends thought she was overreacting because they weren’t married. She suffered so much because she had nobody to share her grief with and it made her loss that much more stark because he was the one person she should have been able to turn to and he was gone. That’s how I see this situation. Everyone else had someone to share their grief with, someone else who was also mourning. But Snape had nobody. He didn’t even have the comfort of his own rooms and his own bed.

        • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

          I’m very sorry for your losses. One thing I cannot abide is the expectation some people have that mourning has a timeline with a clear end date, after which you are suddenly expected to “get over it” and “move on.” Everyone processes differently and in her own time.

          Thinking about Snape’s story this way makes me very sad.

        • SocksAreImportant

          I am sorry for your loss. I think everyone handles grief in their own way and I think that is what this discussion has leaned towards. There are many examples of characters and how they handle Dumbledore’s death. There is no right way or wrong way to handle it. Everyone will handle it in their own way. The truth is that Dumbledore’s death affected everyone in the wizarding world even those who did not know him, because of his prestige and influence in the wizarding world.

  • Yo Rufus On Fire

    What about the Muggleborns???

    I believe that Dumbledore’s death directly affects the muggleborns the most. Without him around to defend them, The Ministry hunts them down to persecute them. His death affects the ones closet to him at well, but I believe that if Dumbledore hadn’t died, then the Muggleborns would still have some sort of protection. I don’t think the Ministry would have been in a full uprising with him still alive and kicking.

    This is just like when the Jews were round up and killed by the Nazi’s just for being who they are. Right before the war officially broke out the Jews had to register their property and in turn preventing them from earning a living. Dolores Umbridge had all of the Muggleborns register themselves and she prosecuted them for “stealing” magic from “real” witches and wizards.

    We see in Harry’s second year how just Dumbledore’s absence in the school puts the muggleborns in great danger. Once Dumbledore is dead, then the floodgates open and they get hunted down.

    I agree that there are many people that feel the death of Dumbledore and are affected by it, but I really believe the Muggleborns take a direct hit.

  • RavenPaw

    Well, the main people that Dumbledore’s death affected were Snape and Harry. Hagrid was close to Dumbledore, but we don’t see a change in him after this event. However, as pointed out in a previous comment, the question really isn’t about who cries the most. It’s about the impact that it had on their character, lives and development as a person. It’s obvious that just about everyone feels emotions of sadness and disbelief, from the teachers to the students to the parents.

    In my opinion, it is from this point on that Harry really finds his feet. He knows that his mentor is no longer with him, and that (because he doesn’t tell anyone else about the horcruxes) Ron and Hermione are his only hopes. It is here that Harry really realises that he IS the Chosen One, and he HAS to kill Voldemort. Something that always struck me is the major turn around that occurs between the end of Half Blood and the start of Deathly Hallows. Suddenly, Harry isn’t concerned about Quidditch matches or getting detention. He sees his task ahead and something just clicks. I think that Dumbledore’s death is the reason for this.

    Harry’s life is definitely altered more, but as for if he ‘feels it’ more than Snape? I don’t think so. Although Harry is obviously distraught, I have always wondered exactly why. Yes, he was ‘close’ to Dumbledore (although Aunt Muriel’s conversation makes him rethink this), but seriously, he had some private lessons this year, almost no contact last year besides the ending, and little contact through the previous books. This leads me to believe, once again, that it was Harry’s loneliness and loss of guidance that caused his grief.

    And then there’s Snape. He knew that he had to kill Dumbledore, and he was already in Voldemort’s inner circle (ish), so I don’t think his course in life was altered that much. Dumbledore had planned it all out for him. His life probably would’ve been altered more if he HADN’T killed Dumbledore. All this deed really did was confirm Snape’s path and the role of a double agent that he had taken on.

    Snape would’ve felt it, though. He never really wanted to kill Dumbledore, and (as mentioned in another comment), Dumbledore was the one, and probably only, person who completely trusted him. However I like to think that Snape would’ve found comfort in the fact that he gave Dumbledore what he wanted.

    From the evidence given in the book, Dumbledore’s death definitely affected Harry the most. However as it is from Harry’s perspective, it’s an unfair judgement. For all we know, Snape could’ve been extremely traumatised and distressed but hidden it well. I guess we’ll just have to wait for JKR to give us a little more insight.

    • RavenPaw

      (I sincerely apologise for the excruciatingly long comment)

  • Laura Belle Briggs

    Dumbledores death was a major blow to many characters especially Harry Hagrid and Snape because he became father figure for them. However, the character that I think is effected the most is Remus Lupin.
    Lupin being turned into a werewolf, as a child made, him an outcast in society. It was Dumbledore who allowed him to come to Hogwarts to receive an education and have a relatively normal childhood with friends. Then Lupins life was turned upside down again when he lost all of his friends in one swoop. As far as we know Dumbledore was Lupin’s only ally in his life after James and Lily’s death. Dumbledore even gave him a job when no other person would even think of doing so. Once the Order of the Phoenix reformed Lupin was brought into a community of people who had his back and his life improved. When Dumbledore died Lupin lost his greatest ally and his center. I think Lupin lost it in the Death Hallows because Dumbledore was his confident and was the only one that would have been able to quell his fears about his “furry little problem” effecting his child. Lupin’s response to Dumbledores death was a simple cry of “No” but it was filled with such an emptiness that its gives the reader the loudest pang.

    • The Half Blood Princess

      Excellent comment, is your username supposed to be 934always or 394always?

      • 934always

        Thanks! its suppose to be 9 3/4 but i couldn’t use symbols