Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore: Data
"[T]hat champion of commoners, of Mudbloods and Muggles"
-- Lord Voldemort (GF33)
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Birth name: Albus Percival
Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (OP8)
Other names: Voldemort refers to him as "that champion of commoners, of Mudbloods and Muggles" (GF33).
Birthdate: 1881 (JKR), probably in July or August. This date supercedes Jo's statement in 2001 that Dumbledore was "about 150 years old" (Blue Nose Day) and fits better with the dates that appear in Book 7. Regarding his month of birth, Rita says that Dumbledore was “nearing” his 18th birthday when he left Hogwarts in June, but was still 17 when he met Grindelwald (DH18). Basically, at some point during Grindelwald’s stay at Godric’s Hollow Dumbledore turned 18, so the month of his birth appears to be July or August.
Deathdate: June, 1997 (when he was killed by Severus Snape), but 1996 according to Rowling's Wizard of the Month declaration (JKR).
Regarding the date of Dumbledore's death: Is the "1996" date from Rowling's website a typo, or intentional? We're hoping that Rowling will let us know. Readers are asking why the Lexicon has not changed its official dates to 1996, and our answer has nothing to do with disrespect to Jo or the world she created. Our answer is that a 1996 date has dire implications for the oldest law Jo set for her Wizarding World.
What are the implications? Let's say Dumbledore truly died at some point in 1996. He appears alive to everyone at Hogwarts until the end of Book 6 (firmly 1996-97 according to Rowling), so he would have had to be revived well enough (without dark magic) that a withered hand and reduced energy were the only observable results. So, a 1996 death goes against Jo’s most immutable rule of all: Magic cannot raise the truly dead.
We know the consistency of underlying rules of her world is vital to Jo; she says so in interview after interview. But her most important rule is that death is final, and a death date of 1996 for Dumbledore would violate that law. When you weigh Jo's rules and the whole of Book 6 against the possibility of a simple numerical mistake, I think it makes more sense to believe that the 1996 is simply a typo that will be corrected some day. --Lisa
Ancestry: Half-blood (his mother Kendra was Muggle-born) (DH8).
Mother: Kendra Dumbledore, accidently killed in 1899 by her 14-year-old daughter Ariana, who was mentally unstable.
Father: Percival Dumbledore, imprisoned c.1890 at Azkaban for an attack on Muggles when Albus was about 10 years old.
Siblings: Younger brother Aberforth (born 1883 or 1884) and sister Ariana (born 1884 or 1885, died 1899); both brothers are haunted by their sister's accidental death (DH3).
Location of childhood home: Mould-on-the-Wold until the attack on his sister, then Godric's Hollow.
Relationships: Fell in love with Gellert Grindelwald when Albus was 17, but was “terribly let down by him” when he realized what Gellert was capable of (CH2).
Pet: Fawkes, a phoenix.
Eye color: blue.
Hair color: white (originally auburn).
Other characteristics: Scar in the shape of the London Underground above his knee (PS1). After summer of 1996, withered, blackened right (wand) hand (HBP3).
The ring: "It was large, rather clumsily made of what looked like gold, and was set with a heavy black stone that had cracked down the middle." Worn on Dumbledore's left hand beginning at about the same time he injured his right hand (HBP4).
After the potion: His face is damp and as pale as an Inferi. The corners of his mouth twitch.
Descriptions from the books:
"He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice."(PS1)
"He wore half-moon glasses, had along, crooked nose, and flowing silver hair, beard, and mustache."(PS6)
"Professor Dumbledore, though very old, always gave an impression of great energy. He had several feet of long silver hair and beard, half-moon spectacles, and an extremely crooked nose. He was often described as the greatest wizard of the age, but that wasn't why Harry respected him. You couldn't help trusting Albus Dumbledore..." (PA5)
The silvery light from the Pensieve illuminated Dumbledore's face, and it struck Harry suddenly how very old he was looking. He knew, of course, that Dumbledore was getting on in years, but somehow he never really thought of Dumbledore as an old man (GF30).
First year: 1892.
House: Almost certainly Gryffindor. Hermione tells us (PS6), and he can wield Gryffindor's sword (DH33).
School awards, etc.: "Examined him personally in Transfiguration and Charms when he did N.E.W.T.s ... Did things with a wand I'd never seen before ..." –Griselda Marchbanks (OP31). "Head Boy, Prefect, Winner of the Barnabus Finkley Prize for Exceptional Spell-Casting, British Youth Representative to the Wizengamot, Gold Medal-Winner for Ground-Breaking Contribution to the International Alchemical Conference in Cairo." (DH18)
Career: By c.1938 he was Hogwarts Transfiguration professor (CS17); Hogwarts School Headmaster c.1955 until his death.
“Percival” Knight of King Arthur's roundtable who was granted a glimpse of the Holy Grail. Albus shares this name with his father and Percy Weasley.
“Dumbledore” 18thC Eng. word for ‘bumblebee.’ Rowling says she wanted to associate his name with bees because she imagines him wandering around the castle humming to himself. Interestingly, the word "dumbledore" has another possibly important meaning. In an e-mail, Christopher Woosley writes:
"Although not widely known, an alternate meaning for the word Dumbledore is a style of hat the was made semi-popular in London in the 1880s-1890s. Taking this meaning into account, Albus Dumbledore's name would have the meaning "White Hat." As I'm sure you know that is a term for the hero or protagonist of a story. Mrs. Rowling named her great champion of good "White Hat"...I ran across this alternate meaning while researching a paper on British literature of the 19th century."
“Wulfric” Anglo/Saxon. ‘wolf power’ or ‘wolf ruler.’ Also, a 12thC British hermit saint known for his miracles and prophecies.
“Brian” This may be a reference to “Monty Python’s The Life of Brian,” poking fun at the pretentiousness of all of his other names.
Wand: The Elder Wand, one of the three Deathly Hallows (DH).
- Put-Outer, aka Deluminator (PS1)
- Watch with twelve hands and little planets instead of numbers (PS1)
- Mirror of Erised (PS12)
- unnamed delicate silver instruments (CS12, OP)
- Pensieve (GF30)
- Peverell ring (HBP4)
- some Legilimency (OP38)
- Can cast spells without a wand
- Can become invisible without a cloak (PS12)
- Can send messages with his Patronus (GF28), a phoenix (JKR)
- Spoke Mermish (GF26) and a language that Harry did not understand (HBP26); he also understood Gobbledegook (BLC) and Parseltongue (HBP10, BLC).
Socks: Likes a pair of warm socks. [Essay: Thoughts
Favorite foods: sherbet lemons (PS1), Cockroach Clusters, hot cocoa, raspberry jam, Acid Pops.
Organizations & affiliations: Order of Merlin, First Class, and Grand Sorcerer; Founder and Secret Keeper, Order of the Phoenix (OP6); Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards (temporarily "voted out" OP5); Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot (temporarily demoted OP5).
Also famous for: Defeating the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945; discovering the 12 uses of dragon blood.
Patronus: Phoenix. Performed Patronus Charm during Quidditch match in 1993, but shape was indistinct (PA9). Performed again in 1995, when it was described as a "ghostly bird" (GF28). JKR confirmed that Dumbledore's Patronus is a phoenix (EBF 2004).
Greatest desire ('Erised'): For his family to be restored and loving again (BLC).
Worst fear/memory: Seeing his sister die (BLC).
Incarceration: Fudge and Dolores Umbridge attempted to arrest him for illegally forming an army, but were unsuccessful (OP27).
Gringotts Vault: 713 (high security); contained the Philosopher's Stone (PS5).
Enjoys: Knitting patterns (HBP4), chamber music and tenpin bowling (PS6).
Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel.
Professor Dumbledore enjoys chamber music and tenpin bowling.
- Where did he go after being removed from his post as headmaster of Hogwarts in 1993 and again in 1996?
- How did he know James & Lily had been killed so quickly after it happened? How did he know Lily had invoked "ancient magic" with her sacrifice? (He must have known because he instructed Hagrid to bring Harry to Privet Drive).
- Dumbledore did not work on the Philosopher's Stone with Flamel, or more precisely, he didn't work on the Stone which has kept Flamel alive for six hundred years (since Dumbledore hadn't been born when that Stone would have had to have been created). The card simply says that he was Flamel's partner in alchemy, not that Dumbledore had anything to do with that Stone.
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Primary editor: Lisa Waite Bunker.
Original artwork of Dumbledore ©2001 Lisa M. Rourke, used by permission
Original artwork of Dumbledore and Fawkes ©2004 Makani, used with permission.
Original page date 30 October, 2004; Last page update 6 October, 2007.