Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
|Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore|
|Nicknames and aliases||Dubbledore, Dumby, Dumbly-dorr, Mr. Dumberton, Mr. Dunderbore, Mr. Brilliant, Your Headship, Professorhead|
|Parents||Percival and Kendra Dumbledore|
|Sibling||Aberforth and Ariana Dumbledore|
|Appearance||long, silver hair and beard (originally auburn); bright blue eyes; tall; thin; long crooked nose; half-moon spectacles|
|Hogwarts achievements||Hogwarts Staff|
|Occupation||Transfiguration teacher and Head of Gryffindor; later Headmaster|
|Special abilities||possibly the most brilliant and accomplished wizard of the century; prodigious Transfiguration skills|
|Allegiance||Order of the Phoenix|
|Portrayer in the movies||Richard Harris (PS and CS) and Michael Gambon (PA, GF, OP and HBP)|
|First appearance in canon||The Boy Who Lived (PS)|
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was one of the most brilliant wizards of modern times and a leading figure in the wars against the Dark wizards Grindelwald and Voldemort. After graduating from Hogwarts, he befriended Gellert Grindelwald, and the two plotted together to establish wizard domination over Muggles and gain immortality and power through the Deathly Hallows. After his sister Ariana died in a confrontation between him and Grindelwald, Albus, regretting his arrogance and power hunger, contented himself with the position of Hogwarts Transfiguration professor—and later Headmaster (DH35). He defeated Grindelwald in 1945 and took the Elder Wand from him (DH18).
When Lord Voldemort started terrorising Britain, Albus founded the Order of the Phoenix to oppose the Dark Lord (OP4). After the end of the First War, Albus suspected that Voldemort would someday return and therefore kept a close watch on Harry Potter. When Harry informed the Headmaster of Voldemort's return in June 1995, Dumbledore immediately regrouped the Order. He confronted Voldemort in person at the end of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries (OP36, OP37).
In July 1995, Dumbledore found and destroyed one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, the Peverell Ring. However, the ring carried a curse and Dumbledore suffered an injury that was certain to kill him in about a year. Albus, knowing that Voldemort wished him dead, asked Severus Snape to kill him should the need for this arise (DH33). He dedicated his last year to teach Harry about Horcruxes and the Dark Lord's past (HBP10, HBP13, HBP17, HBP20, HBP23). In June 1996, he took Harry to a cave where Voldemort had hidden the locket of Slytherin. When they returned to Hogwarts, they found that it had been invaded by Death Eaters. Dumbledore was disarmed by Draco Malfoy and Snape killed him in compliance with the Headmaster's wish (HBP27).
- 1 Characteristics
- 2 Harry Potter's first years at Hogwarts
- 3 The 1994 Triwizard Tournament
- 4 Voldemort's return
- 5 The beginning of the Second War
- 6 Dolores Umbridge's regime
- 7 The Battle of the Department of Mysteries
- 8 Dumbledore's last year
- 9 Harry's lessons
- 10 Death
- 11 Funeral
- 12 Reactions to Dumbledore's death
- 13 Postmortem influence
- 14 Ships
- 15 Images
- 16 See also
Dumbledore was a tall, thin man with waist-long silver hair and beard (PS1). As a teenager, he had elbow-length auburn hair, and sported a small wispy beard (DH13). In his sixties, as a teacher at Hogwarts, he had long auburn hair and beard (CS13). Albus had bright blue eyes, just like his brother Aberforth (OP16, DH2, DH28) and wore half-moon spectacles (PS1). His nose was very crooked due to a punch of Aberforth's (DH18).
Albus usually tucked his hair and beard into his belt. He had peculiar taste in clothes, often favouring purple robes and an overall extravagant appearance (PS1, HBP13). When travelling, he commonly wore a long black cloak and his pointed hat (HBP3, HBP25).
After his attempt to use the Resurrection Stone, Dumbledore's body was affected by a dreadful curse. Severus Snape managed to contain it to the Headmaster's hand (DH33), which became black and shrivelled (HBP4). In the afterlife, both his hands are undamaged (DH35).
Harry Potter's first years at Hogwarts
Harry's Hogwarts letter
When Harry Potter was about to turn eleven years old, Dumbledore gave Hagrid the task of delivering a Hogwarts letter to the boy. He warned Rubeus that there could be problems reaching Harry (PS4), and this was true (PS3). Hagrid finally managed to complete this task in a remote hut where Vernon Dursley had taken his family to escape the flood of letters.
After informing Harry of his acceptance at Hogwarts and delivering the letter, Hagrid sent Dumbledore an owl to notify him of this (PS4). He took Harry to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies; while there, he carried out another of Albus' orders: Hagrid showed a letter from the Headmaster to a Gringotts goblin and was allowed to transport the Philosopher's Stone out of vault 713 to Hogwarts.
In Diagon Alley, Harry bought his first wand, which, like Voldemort's, had a feather of Fawkes' tail hair (PS5). This amazed Ollivander, who immediately sent a letter to Dumbledore to notify him (GF36).
Harry's first year
After Harry arrived at Hogwarts, most teachers reported to Dumbledore that he was fairly talented, modest and agreeable. Severus Snape, on the other hand, complained that Harry was undistinguished, arrogant, attention-seeking and insubordinate. Upon hearing this, Albus pointed out that Severus saw only what he wished to see (DH33).
When Minerva McGonagall spotted Harry's Quidditch potential, she asked Dumbledore to bend the rule that forbade first-years from playing in the house teams. The Headmaster acquiesced, and Harry joined the Gryffindor Quidditch team shortly afterwards (PS9, PS10).
Dumbledore sent Harry the Cloak of Invisibility at Christmas, 1991, along with an anonymous note that read, "Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well. A Very Merry Christmas to you." That same day, Albus attended the Christmas feast, and used a flowery bonnet that he had obtained from a cracker instead of his usual hat. He sat at the High Table, and Harry saw him laughing at a joke Flitwick had just told him (PS12).
The following night, presumably with the use of a Disillusionment Charm (BLC), Dumbledore saw Harry showing the Mirror of Erised to Ron. It is possible that he had also seen Harry visit the room the night before. On Harry's third visit, Dumbledore revealed his presence, and explained to Harry the nature of the Mirror. He cautioned the boy not to search for it again, for it would be moved to a new location (PS12).
In November, Harry was injured during a Quidditch match (PS11), and Dumbledore decided to attend the next Gryffindor match (PS12). The Headmaster's presence intimidated Quirrell into not making another attempt to jinx Harry (PS17). Harry caught the Snitch, and Gryffindor won the match. Albus approached him after the victory and congratulated him for not brooding over the Mirror and for keeping himself otherwise busy (PS13).
Dumbledore collaborated with the alchemist Nicolas Flamel, the most recent known maker of the Philosopher's Stone, for many years (PS6). Flamel presumably entrusted the Stone to the Headmaster; it was kept in Vault 713 of Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Fearing for the Stone's safety, Albus ordered Hagrid to retrieve it on July 31, 1991, giving him a letter to present to the Gringotts goblins (PS5).
Hagrid got the Stone out of the bank hours before Gringotts was broken into for the first time in its history. Quirinus Quirrell, following Lord Voldemort's orders, managed to gain access to Vault 713, which was empty by then (PS8).
Shortly before this, Quirrell, who was the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts (BLC), had returned from a year-long researching trip, in the course of which he had met Voldemort in Albania. Charity Burbage had presumably taken Quirrell's teaching post, and upon his return Dumbledore gave him the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher (PS5). However, the Headmaster was mistrustful of Quirrell, for some reason; in the beginning of the school year, he ordered Snape to keep an eye on Quirrell (DH33). Snape was thus able to hinder one of Quirrell's attempts to steal the Stone in the course of that school year (PS17).
Gringotts was said to be the safest place in wizarding Britain, second only to Hogwarts (PS5). Dumbledore planned the protection of the Stone; he asked some teachers—Sprout, Flitwick, McGonagall, Quirrell and Snape—to devise magical obstacles and safeguards set in the pathway to the final obstacle, designed by the Headmaster himself: the Mirror of Erised, which would only give the Stone to someone who wished to find, but not use it (PS14, PS17). Albus also borrowed Fluffy, a Greek three-headed dog, from Hagrid, to guard a trapdoor that led to the Stone (PS11); no one but the two wizards knew how to get past Fluffy (PS14).
In the beginning of the school year, Dumbledore announced to all students that the third-floor corridor—where Fluffy and the trapdoor were located—were off-limits (PS7).
At Hallowe'en, Quirrell let a mountain troll in the castle in order to try to get the Stone. The Headmaster immediately ordered all Prefects to lead students back to their dormitories (PS10). Snape guessed Quirrell intentions and followed him to the third-floor corridor; this prevented Quirrell from trying anything else (PS17). Severus continued to pressure Quirrell to give up on his designs towards the Stone in the following months (PS14).
One night, when Hagrid was in the Hog's Head playing cards, a stranger—Quirrell in disguise—approached him to play cards. During the course of the game, they talked, and Hagrid inadvertently revealed that music was the key to getting past Fluffy.
Shortly afterwards, Dumbledore received an urgent owl from the Ministry of Magic summoning him to London, and left the school. He warned McGonagall of his departure, announcing that he would return the following day. Meanwhile, Quirrell went through the trapdoor to get the Stone. Harry, Ron and Hermione did the same, convinced that the Headmaster's absence would be the perfect occasion for someone to steal the Philosopher's Stone. Before Harry crossed the final passageway that would lead him to the Mirror of Erised, he instructed Hermione to return and send Hedwig to Dumbledore (PS16).
When Hermione and Ron were running towards the Owlery, they met Albus in the Entrance Hall. He had quickly realised, upon arriving in London, that his return to Hogwarts was imperative. After asking the two students whether Harry had gone after Quirrell, he made his way to the third-floor corridor. Dumbledore arrived at the Mirror chamber just in time to pull Quirrell from Harry and to save the boy's life.
Harry spent three days unconscious in the hospital wing; according to Hermione, Dumbledore was extremely worried about him. The Headmaster was the first visitor he saw after regaining consciousness. Dumbledore informed him that Quirrell had been effectively thwarted, and the Stone, destroyed. Both Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel had decided it was for the best; they would use what little Elixir of Life they had left to settle whatever unfinished business they had before dying. Albus also revealed to Harry that the reason that Quirrell had been unable to touch him was Lily Potter's sacrifice.
Dumbledore and Harry talked about Voldemort. The Headmaster encouraged Harry to speak the Dark Lord's name, and warned him that Voldemort's return to power had merely been delayed, for he had not been killed.
Albus gave Hagrid a day off so that the gamekeeper could obtain photographs of Lily and James, and give them to Harry. He also ordered Pomfrey to let Harry leave the hospital wing to attend the Leaving Feast. In the Feast, Dumbledore gave last-minute points to Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville for the Stone incident, allowing Gryffindor to win the House Cup (PS17).
Lord Voldemort guessed that Dumbledore would have had the Stone destroyed, and decided to seek to regain his former body instead of hoping to achieve immortality (GF33).
Due to Quirrell's demise, Hogwarts once more lacked a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Rumours that the position was jinxed were starting to gain popularity. The only man who seemed willing to take on the post was Gilderoy Lockhart (CS7). Later that year, the Headmaster gave him permission to start a Duelling Club; Snape served as Gilderoy's assistant (CS11).
Unlike most of wizarding Britain, Dumbledore did not seem to believe Lockhart's tales of wondrous triumphs. Even though he tolerated the teacher's self-important suggestions and boasting (CS9), the ironic twist of fate that befell Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets—losing his memory while attempting to modify Ron's with a broken wand—clearly amused Dumbledore, who noted that Lockhart had been impaled by his own sword (CS18).
The Whomping Willow incident
When Harry and Ron used Arthur Weasley's flying Ford Anglia to get to the school, Dumbledore confronted them about it. The Headmaster's evident disappointment made Harry feel dreadful. After Harry told him the full story, Albus announced that he would write to their families, and that he would expel the two boys if they did anything like that again (CS5).
The Chamber reopened
On Hallowe'en, 1992, Mrs. Norris was Petrified by the Chamber of Secrets Basilisk. She was left hanging in a corridor, with her tail wrapped around a torch bracket. Harry, Ron and Hermione were the first to find her; Harry had been following the voice of the Basilisk slithering behind the walls all the way from the dungeons, where Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday Party was taking place (CS8).
Dumbledore quickly arrived at the scene, followed by several teachers. He prevented Filch from attacking Harry, detached the cat's tail from the torch bracket and went to Lockhart's office along with Gilderoy, Argus and the Trio. McGonagall and Snape followed them.
Albus examined the Petrified cat, prodding it repeatedly. He attempted to use several spells on it, to no avail; after a while, ignoring Lockhart's suggestion that Mrs. Norris had been killed with the use of Transmogrifian Torture, Dumbledore announced that the cat had been Petrified with the use of advanced Dark Magic.
Filch accused Harry of cursing the cat, but the Headmaster stated that no second-year could have done so. Severus pointed out that the circumstances that had led Harry to the corridor were highly suspicious, and suggested that the boy should be banned from Quidditch until the truth was revealed. Dumbledore gave Harry a searching look, in all likelihood using Legilimency, stated that the boy was innocent until proven otherwise. He also promised to Filch that Mrs. Norris would be restored to full health as soon as Sprout's Mandrakes had grown enough to allow a Mandrake Restorative Draught to be brewed (CS10).
On November 8, 1992, another attack occurred: Colin Creevey was Petrified. McGongall found him on the stairs. Dumbledore, who had been on his way down to fetch hot chocolate, helped her carry Colin to the hospital wing. Albus managed to get the camera out of Creevey's stony hands, and opened it; its insides were completely melted.
This revelation confirmed the Headmaster's suspicions: he told McGonagall that the Chamber was open once more, and guessed that Colin had seen the Basilisk through the camera lenses. Albus knew that the culprit had to be Lord Voldemort, but could not fathom the method the Dark Lord was using (CS10); according to Dumbledore's sources, the Dark Lord was still in Albania (CS18). The Headmaster did not know that Voldemort had enchanted a diary he had used during his teenage years, transforming it into a Horcrux (HBP23). Lucius Malfoy had given the diary to Ginny Weasley shortly before the school year began (CS4, CS18), and the piece of Voldemort's soul hidden in the diary grew stronger as Ginny's trust in the diary increased (CS18, DH6).
According to McGonagall, when Albus realised that the Chamber was open, he considered closing the school (HBP29).
When the Basilisk attacked Justin Finch-Fletchley and Nearly Headless Nick, Harry was once more found near the Petrified bodies. Minerva McGonagall took him to the Headmaster's office, stating that the matter was out of her hands. This was the first time Harry saw the office; he met Fawkes, and the phoenix burst into flames moments later. Harry was terrified, but Dumbledore, who arrived shortly afterwards, explained that this was a Burning Day, and that the bird would soon regain its regular form.
Hagrid rushed into the office to tell Albus that Harry had been with him until seconds before Justin was found, and the headmaster calmed him down: Harry was not considered a suspect. Hagrid returned outside to wait (CS12)—he wanted to report to Dumbledore that someone was killing the Hogwarts roosters, and to ask permission to cast a protection spell around the hen-coop (CS11). Meanwhile, the headmaster asked Harry if he had anything to tell Dumbledore. Harry lied, and said no.
The Daily Prophet did not report the attacks; according to Draco Malfoy, Dumbledore was trying to conceal the events from the wizarding population (CS12).
After the third attack, on Hermione Granger and Penelope Clearwater, a curfew was set in place at Hogwarts. Evening activities were cancelled, and no one was allowed to wander around the corridors without a teacher. This forced Harry and Ron to use his Invisibility Cloak to leave the castle in order to talk to Hagrid. However, Cornelius Fudge and Dumbledore arrived at the gamekeeper's hut shortly after the boys. Harry and Ron hid beneath the Cloak.
Fudge stated that the attacks on the four Muggle-borns had forced the Ministry to act. Dumbledore reiterated his complete trust in Hagrid, and his belief that taking the gamekeeper away would change nothing; despite this, Fudge said that the Ministry had to do something about the Petrifications—Hagrid was to be sent to Azkaban as a precaution.
Lucius Malfoy entered the hut moments afterwards. He handed Dumbledore an Order of Suspension signed by all twelve school governors; the Headmaster had to step aside. This turn of events alarmed Fudge, who doubted anyone else could prevent the attacks if Albus had failed to do so. Hagrid angrily rushed to Dumbledore's defence, but the Headmaster ordered him to calm down. "You will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me," he said, glancing at the corner where Ron and Harry were standing. "You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it."
Lucius and Dumbledore left the hut, and were soon followed by Fudge and Hagrid. Before leaving, Hagrid dropped a clue to Harry and Ron: they should follow the spiders to find out more about what was happening at the school (CS14). The two boys followed this advice, and went to the Forbidden Forest to meet Aragog. The Acromantula confirmed that Hagrid had been innocent of the 1942 attacks.
With Dumbledore gone, an atmosphere of fear took over the school. Draco gloated that his father, who had never liked Dumbledore, had been responsible for driving the Headmaster away; he also suggested that Snape should apply for the position (CS15).
Ginny Weasley was eventually taken into the Chamber of Secrets (CS16). The board of governors heard rumours that Arthur Weasley's daughter had been killed, and eleven of its members—all save Lucius Malfoy—hurriedly sent owls to Dumbledore, requesting his immediate return. Several of them admitted that Lucius had blackmailed them and threatened to curse their families if they did not agree to suspend Albus in the first place (CS18).
Meanwhile, in the Chamber of Secrets, Tom Riddle would have regained a full corporeal shape—draining Ginny of her life force entirely—had Harry not intervened. Lockhart, Ron and Harry entered the Chamber (CS16), and Harry confronted Riddle, who revealed himself to be a younger Lord Voldemort. When Harry fiercely pointed out that Dumbledore, and not Voldemort, was the greatest wizard in the world, and that the Headmaster was not truly gone from the school, Fawkes came to his aid, bearing the Sorting Hat.
Riddle mocked Harry for the weapons that, according to him, Dumbledore had sent to the boy. He ordered the Basilisk to attack Harry; Fawkes distracted the serpent for a while but, on Riddle's orders, the Basilisk bit Harry above the elbow. Meanwhile, Harry had used the Sorting Hat to obtain Godric Gryffindor's sword, and killed the monster.
Tom forgot that phoenix tears were the only antidote to Basilisk venom, and did not prevent Fawkes from shedding tears over Harry's wound. Having regained his strength, Harry used a fang of the dead serpent to destroy the diary. Ginny regained consciousness, and Fawkes carried them all out of the Chamber of Secrets, leading the way to McGonagall's office (CS16).
Dumbledore and Minerva were in the office, along with Arthur and Molly Weasley. Harry told them what had happened in the Chamber, carefully avoiding mentions to Riddle or Ginny, for fear that she would be expelled; Albus guessed his concerns and asked how Voldemort had managed to use Ginny. Harry showed him the diary (CS18).
When the Headmaster saw the diary and heard Harry's description of the teenage Riddle's powers, he immediately understood the object's true nature; it confirmed his old suspicions that Voldemort had created one (or more) Horcruxes. The Dark Lord had intended the diary to be read someday, and used, in order to allow the Chamber to be opened once more. This carelessness—for in such a situation the diary could easily have been destroyed, as indeed happened–indicated that the diary had in all likelihood been the first and least noteworthy of Voldemort's Horcruxes (HBP23).
Albus asked Ginny's parents to take her to the hospital wing. She was not to be punished; according to him, many more experienced wizards had already been fooled by the Dark Lord. The Headmaster also asked McGonagall to go to the kitchens and have a feast prepared; the Petrified victims were due to awaken that same night.
"I seem to remember telling you both that I would have to expel you if you broke any more school rules," Dumbledore said to Harry and Ron. "Which goes to show that the best of us must sometimes eat our words." He gave them two hundred points each, and Special Awards for Services to the School.
Harry seized the opportunity to discuss his doubts regarding his placement in Gryffindor House; he confessed that the Sorting Hat had considered putting him in Slytherin, and that Riddle had noticed many similarities between Harry and himself—above all, the gift of Parseltongue, which had made many people believe that Harry was the heir of Slytherin.
Dumbledore explained that this was due to the fact that Voldemort had transferred a bit of himself to Harry on the night of October 31, 1981 (CS18). The Headmaster already suspected that Harry was a Horcrux at the time (DH35), but he did not mention this to Harry, preferring to refer simply to a transfer of abilities.
After noting that Harry had many of the characteristics that Salazar Slytherin prized in his students, Dumbledore pointed out that, despite this, Harry had chosen to be a Gryffindor, and this choice mattered far more than his abilities. The fact that Harry had been able to get Gryffindor's sword from the Sorting Hat that evening was proof of that.
Albus recommended that Harry should go to the feast, while he wrote to Azkaban to demand Hagrid's release. An advertisement in the Daily Prophet would also be necessary—there was yet again need for a Defence Against the Dark Arts professor.
Just as Harry was about to leave, Lucius Malfoy arrived, with Dobby in tow. He was furious to hear that Dumbledore had returned to the school; the Headmaster informed him of the governors' letters, and that Lord Voldemort had been the one to open the Chamber once more (CS18). Harry guessed that Lucius had been responsible for giving Ginny the diary in Flourish and Blotts (CS4).
Dumbledore guessed Lucius' intentions—to prevent Arthur's Muggle Protection Act from being approved by the Ministry—and warned him not to hand out any more of Voldemort's schoolbooks; Arthur would probably ensure that it would be traced back to Malfoy.
Lucius left the office. With Dumbledore's permission, Harry returned the diary to him, hidden inside one of Harry's dirty socks. Lucius angrily disposed of the sock, throwing it on the floor; Dobby caught it, and this freed the house-elf. Dobby was very grateful to Harry.
Albus eventually joined his students down in the feast; he announced that Lockhart would be unable to continue teaching due to severe memory loss, and everyone cheered (CS18).
Sirius Black's escape
Since Lord Voldemort's disappearance, Dumbledore had maintained that the Dark Lord was still alive. This did not disturb Fudge, the Minister for Magic who succeeded Millicent Bagnold; he was of the opinion that Voldemort was not dangerous without minions to do his bidding. For this reason, when Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, Fudge was extremely worried. He mentioned his concerns to the Muggle Prime Minister (HBP1).
Furthermore, the Ministry worried about Harry Potter's safety; they feared that Black would want to take revenge on Harry for Voldemort's downfall. It was imperative, therefore, that precautions were set in place to prevent Sirius' access to Hogwarts.
Dumbledore grudgingly agreed with the Ministry's suggestion to place Dementors guarding every entrance to the Hogwarts grounds; the Headmaster did not like the creatures, however (PA4), and refused to allow them to enter the castle (PA9). Nevertheless, he was extremely concerned with Harry's safety, and as time went on Dumbledore presumably ordered the staff not to let Harry wander the corridors unaccompanied (PA9, PA16).
Professor Kettleburn, the Care of Magical Creatures teacher, announced his retirement to Dumbledore in the summer of 1993. The Headmaster chose Rubeus Hagrid—who had always coveted that position—to teach the subject (PA5). He also invited Remus Lupin to be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, regardless of the fact that Lupin was a werewolf (PA18).
According to Remus, it was very hard for the Headmaster to persuade certain staff members of Remus' dependability (PA17). Without a doubt, no one opposed the appointment with more vehemence than Severus Snape, who believed that Remus' old friendship with Sirius would give Black an advantage, and a way into the Hogwarts castle (PA9). Snape reminded the Headmaster of these concerns several times during the following school year (PA9, PA18).
When Fat Lady's portrait was slashed, Dumbledore was immediately called to the scene, and ordered McGonagall and Filch to search the castle for the Fat Lady, who had abandoned her portrait out of shame. Peeves told the Headmaster the name of the culprit: Sirius Black, who had destroyed the painting in anger after she refused him entrance into Gryffindor Tower (PA8).
Dumbledore notified the Dementors of what had happened; they volunteered to help the search, and he refused categorically. He also sent the Gryffindor students to the Great Hall, instructing them to spend the night there and conjuring sleeping bags for them all. He asked the Head Students to watch out for any disturbances, and the teachers to search the castle.
Most Gryffindors fell asleep, with the notable exceptions of Percy and the Trio. At about three in the morning, Albus returned to the Great Hall. Sirius had not been found in the castle, and Sir Cadogan had temporarily replaced the Fat Lady in the entrance of Gryffindor Tower. She was found an Argyllshire map on the second floor; the Headmaster planned to ask Filch to restore her.
Snape joined Dumbledore in the Great Hall soon afterwards, reporting that he had futilely searched several areas of the castle. Severus asked whether the Headmaster had any theories regarding the method of Sirius' entrance, and Albus stated that he could think of several, but all of them were extremely unlikely. Snape bitterly reminded him of their conversation before the start of term, and Dumbledore reiterated his trust in Remus before leaving the Hall to inform the dementors that the search had produced no results .
When Dementors approached the Quidditch pitch during a Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff match, Harry felt their presence and fell fifty feet off his broomstick. Dumbledore ran to the field, furious with the creatures' appearance, and used a spell to prevent Harry from hitting the ground too hard. He used the Patronus Charm against the Dementors, causing them to depart from the pitch, and Conjured a stretcher for Harry, which he levitated towards the castle (PA9). Dumbledore's wrath ensured that the Dementors did not enter the castle again for several months; they complained to Fudge that the Headmaster would not allow them inside the grounds.
Fudge went to Hogwarts to dine with Dumbledore and discuss the matter of Sirius Black on December 18, 1993; before going to the school, the Minister had drinks with McGonagall, Hagrid, Flitwick and Rosmerta at the Three Broomsticks (PA10).
"You know, Cornelius, if you're dining with the headmaster, he'd better head back up to the castle," said Professor McGonagall.
Draco, Crabbe and Goyle, seeking to frighten Harry, dressed up as Dementors for the Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw match. McGonagall, indignant, gave all three detention; Dumbledore arrived moments later, and was presumably of the same opinion as Minerva.
Sirius Black gained entrance into Gryffindor Tower some time later, with the use of a sheet of passwords that Crookshanks had stolen from Neville Longbottom (PA13). The castle was thoroughly searched once more; the Fat Lady returned to her position, guarded by several security trolls (PA14).
In Hagrid's first Care of Magical Creatures lesson, the hippogriff Buckbeak slashed Draco Malfoy's arm (PA6). The Malfoys were furious, and Lucius used his influence on the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures to ensure that Buckbeak would be executed. Dumbledore testified on Hagrid's behalf, and the half-giant was not held responsible for the event (PA11).
Albus also tried to defend Buckbeak, saying that the hippogriff was harmless. When all attempts failed and Buckbeak's death was scheduled, Dumbledore wrote to Hagrid, declaring that he wished to keep Hagrid company during the execution.
Sirius met Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Shrieking Shack that evening. With the help of Remus Lupin, he convinced them of his innocence (PA17, PA18 and PA19). However, Severus Snape interrupted the gathering, and Remus' transformation into a werewolf caused Peter Pettigrew—Sirius' only hope for acquittal—to escape. Snape took the three children and Black to the castle (PA21).
Dumbledore spoke to Sirius, who revealed his story; the Headmaster was extremely impressed by the three Marauders' achievement—doubly so because they had hidden their Animagi status from Dumbledore (PA22). The Headmaster became convinced of his innocence. Fudge had already summoned Dementors to the castle; Albus knew that it would be impossible to prove Black's story in time to prevent the Dementor's Kiss from taking place.
In the hospital wing, Albus met Severus, who evoked Sirius' attempted murder of Snape at the age of sixteen. Dumbledore gave no conclusive signs of trusting Sirius, and insisted on being left alone with Harry and Hermione (Ron was unconscious); once Snape had left, the Headmaster quickly instructed the pair to use Hermione's Time-Turner, and gave them directions to the room where Sirius was locked. He reminded Hermione of the dangers inherent to time-travelling, and left the room, that he was locking the door at five minutes to midnight.
Harry and Hermione went back in time; they tried to free Buckbeak, but the Hippogriff did not wish to leave the gamekeeper's hut. Dumbledore bought them a few seconds by requesting Macnair, the executioner, to sign a form. The two children managed to take Buckbeak to the Forbidden Forest moments before the execution. Dumbledore was amused when he, Hagrid, Fudge and Macnair saw that Buckbeak was gone. He dissuaded Macnair from searching the woods for the creature, and entered Hagrid's hut, asking for tea or brandy.
Harry and Hermione met Dumbledore by the entrance of the hospital wing right after he had closed the door. He congratulated them on the success and locked them inside.
When Snape was informed of Sirius' escape, he was furious, and went to the hospital wing to accuse Harry of having somehow been involved. Dumbledore reminded Severus that the headmaster himself had left the hospital wing and locked it ten minutes previously; unable to figure out an explanation for Black's disappearance, Snape left.
Fudge recommended that Albus should be wary of Severus, who seemed rather unhinged. The Headmaster pointed out that Snape was simply disappointed, and asked Fudge to confirm that the dementors would be removed from Hogwarts (PA22).
The Headmaster told Fudge that Remus had attempted to save the Trio the previous night, and Lupin was not punished. Severus Snape, who was extremely frustrated with the loss of the Order of Merlin that the Minister had promised to him and with Sirius' escape, did not take this well; he let slip to Slytherins during breakfast the next morning that Remus was a werewolf.
Lupin resigned, knowing that several parents would protest against having a werewolf teaching their children. Harry was devastated when he heard the news, and went to Remus' office to try to dissuade him; Lupin congratulated Harry on the powerful Patronus the boy had conjured the previous night, returned the Marauder's Map and the Invisibility Cloak to him, and said goodbye.
Dumbledore arrived shortly afterwards to inform Remus that a carriage was waiting for him. The two men shook hands, and Lupin left. Harry voiced his disappointment to the Headmaster, feeling that all the events of the previous night had been pointless, considering that Peter Pettigrew had escaped. Albus pointed out that the truth had been revealed, and Sirius, saved.
Suddenly, Harry remembered that Sybill Trelawney had made a prophecy during his final exams, stating that the Dark Lord's servant would set out to return to his master. Dumbledore was impressed, and wondered if he should increase her pay now that Trelawney had made two true prophecies. His confirmation that the prediction was legilimate shocked Harry, who felt guilty for Pettigrew's survival. The Headmaster reassured him, stating that James, in Harry's position, would have done the same for Wormtail (PA22).
Correspondence with Sirius
Over the course of the following year, Dumbledore constantly corresponded with Sirius (GF30). After Harry mentioned in a letter to Sirius that his scar had hurt during the summer of 1994 (GF2), Sirius decided to return to England (GF14). He informed Dumbledore about Harry's scar. The Headmaster suggested that he should hide in a cave by the mountains near Hogsmeade (GF30).
The 1994 Triwizard Tournament
Organising the Tournament
At some point in the summer of 1994, Dumbledore attended a conference of the International Confederation of Wizards. The event was reported in the Daily Prophet; Rita Skeeter wrote the piece, and called the Headmaster an 'obsolete dingbat' (GF18).
During the summer of 1994, Dumbledore also had many meetings with Igor Karkaroff, Olympe Maxime and representatives from the Department of International Magical Co-operation and the Department of Magical Games and Sports in order to organise a new edition of the Triwizard Tournament. They agreed to impose an age limit—all potential champions had to be at least seventeen years old—for the safety of the participants.
On September 1, 1994, during the Sorting Feast, Dumbledore introduced the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Alastor Moody, and announced that the Inter-House Quidditch Cup would not take place that year, due to the Triwizard Tournament that would happen after October.
The Headmaster warned underage students against attempting to fool the impartial judge that would select the champions, and stated that he would take the precautions necessary to prevent underage students from volunteering (GF12).
On October 30, 1994, Dumbledore waited for the Beauxbatons delegation along with all the Hogwarts students; everyone applauded when the newcomers arrived. He welcomed Madame Maxime and invited them all to enter the castle and warm up. He also offered Hagrid to take care of Beauxbatons' Abraxans. Albus also greeted Karkaroff, who arrived moments later (GF15).
Everyone went to the Great Hall for a feast. Karkaroff, Maxime, Barty Crouch, Sr. and Ludo Bagman sat on either side of Dumbledore as he presented the Goblet of Fire to all students. Albus stated that he would draw an Age Line around it to prevent underage students from adding their names. Fred and George Weasley tried to fool the line by taking Ageing Potion, but this did not work, and they sprouted beards when trying to add their names to the Goblet. The twins, like fellow students Summers and Stebbins, were sent to the hospital wing.
The Goblet of Fire
At Hallowe'en, the Goblet made its choice, and Dumbledore announced their names after the traditional Hallowe'en Feast. Like everyone else, he was shocked to see that there were four, not three, Triwizard champions that year; Harry Potter, an underage student, had been selected as well (GF16). As soon as Harry's name came out of the McGonagall hurried to Albus and whispered in his ear. He bemusedly instructed Harry to join the other champions (GF17).
Bagman, Crouch, Dumbledore, Maxime and Karkaroff were to be the judging panel for all tasks of the Tournament (GF16). They, along with McGonagall and Snape, went to the chamber where all four champions were waiting. Karkaroff was especially offended to see that Hogwarts would have an extra chance to win the tournament, and Madame Maxime stressed that it simply could not happen. The Headmaster interrogated Harry, asking him whether he had put or asked someone to put his name in the Goblet of Fire. Harry denied this, and Albus was satisfied with his answers.
Maxime suggested that perhaps Dumbledore had made a mistake with the Age Line. He acknowledged this likelihood, but McGonagall refused to accept it. Bagman and Crouch, Sr. intervened to confirm that Harry was to compete in the tournament. Karkaroff was irritated; Moody joined the group minutes later, and taunted Karkaroff with contempt (GF17), reminding him that Moody had been the Auror responsible for his capture (GF30). Albus commanded Alastor to be quiet before he intimidated Karkaroff even more, and stated that they had no choice but to allow both Hogwarts champions to take part in the Tournament.
Mr. Crouch gave all champions brief instructions for the first task of the Tournament. Dumbledore reiterated his invitation for Crouch to spend the night at Hogwarts, like Bagman would, but Crouch did not stay. He also turned down the Headmaster's offer for a drink, as did Karkaroff and Maxime (GF17).
The Weighing of the Wands
Before the beginning of the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, Mr. Ollivander went to Hogwarts to carry out the required wand-weighing. He spoke with Dumbledore before the ceremony. Meanwhile, a photo shoot with the champions took place, and Rita Skeeter took Harry to a broom cupboard to interview him with the help of a Quick-Quotes Quill.
Shortly afterwards, Albus interrupted them. He brought Harry back to the room, and the ceremony took place. When Ollivander finished examining all the wands, the Headmaster recommended that the champions should go to the Great Hall for dinner. Bagman and Skeeter, however, insisted on a photo shoot with the Tournament champions and judges (GF18).
The first task
Shortly after the first task, Dobby and Winky came to Hogwarts to ask Dumbledore for work. Dobby had been unemployed for two years (GF21); after leaving the Malfoys (CS18), he had decided to demand pay for his work. He said this to the Headmaster, who agreed to pay him.
Albus offered Dobby ten Galleons a week and weekends off, but the house-elf was horrified, and chose to receive one Galleon a week, and one day off per month. Winky, on the other hand, refused to accept payment, and was ashamed of being freed.
Furthermore, Dumbledore told Dobby that the age-old rule that house-elves should not speak ill of their masters was not particularly enforced at Hogwarts. According to the Headmaster, Dobby was free to call him a barmy old codger if he so wished. The house-elf later told Harry Potter that he had no desire to do so, for he was very fond of Dumbledore (GF21).
The Yule Ball
Dumbledore attended the Yule Ball. He ate pork chops. He and Karkaroff discussed the secrecy with which the latter guarded the secrets of Durmstrang. Albus mentioned that he would not dream of presuming he knew all the secrets of Hogwarts—that morning, while looking for a bathroom, he had found the Room of Requirement (which was filled with chamber pots), but had been unable to find his way back to it.
When the Weird Sisters started playing, Albus danced with Madame Maxime. He later danced with Sprout as well (GF23). After the Yule Ball, Dumbledore spoke with Snape. Severus informed the Headmaster that the Dark Marks on his and Karkaroff's arms were growing clearer, a sign that seemed to indicate that Lord Voldemort was growing stronger. According to Snape, Karkaroff was planning on fleeing if the Dark Lord should arise once more. Albus asked whether Severus was planning on running as well; after hearing his negative reply, the Headmaster noted his bravery and mentioned that he sometimes felt that the Sorting took place too soon (DH33).
After the first task, Albus forbade Rita Skeeter from entering the school grounds (GF21). Soon afterwards, she had an article published entitled Dumbledore's Giant Mistake; in the article, Skeeter revealed that the Headmaster had chosen Hagrid for the position of Care of Magical Creatures despite the fact that the gamekeeper was half-giant. Skeeter also accused Hagrid of terrorising his students, and mentioned the Headmaster's hiring of notoriously troublesome Alastor Moody to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts.
The article caused Hagrid to hide inside his hut. Dumbledore visited him there shortly before Harry, Ron and Hermione. He was still in the cabin when the three students arrived, and conjured tea for them all. Dumbledore refused to accept Hagrid's resignation, and showed him several letters from parents who remembered Hagrid from their days at school; these parents said that, if Hagrid were to be sacked, they would certainly complain. Albus also mentioned his brother Aberforth's controversial involvement with goats as an example of reaction to hostile press. Before leaving the hut, Dumbledore announced that he wished Hagrid to return to work on Monday (GF24).
The second task
Before the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, Dumbledore sent for the four people whom the champions would have to rescue from the Great Lake. Once they arrived at McGonagall's office, he cast a spell to put them to sleep, assuring all four that they would wake up once they were retrieved from the water (GF27).
Harry Potter was the first to arrive to the hostages below the lake. Fearing for their safety, he remained with them until Krum and Cedric had rescued Hermione and Cho. After this, he surfaced, bringing Ron and Gabrielle Delacour with him. Dumbledore and Ludo Bagman pulled Harry out of the water.
Albus spoke with the merchieftainess Murcus, who revealed the reason for Harry's delay. The judges deliberated and, with the exception of Karkaroff, found that his actions were proof of moral fiber. Harry was awarded forty-five points (GF26).
The third task
Dumbledore watched the third task of the Tournament. He was the first to meet Harry after the boy returned, clutching Cedric Diggory's body, from the Little Hangleton graveyard. Harry immediately informed the Headmaster of Voldemort's return.
Fudge joined them a moment later, and was stunned to see Cedric's corpse. Dumbledore convinced Harry, who was still dazed, to let go of the body; Fudge quickly announced to the onlookers that Diggory was ill, and had to be taken to the hospital wing.
Moody offered to take Harry away from the scene, and Dumbledore told him not to do so. Meanwhile, Fudge insisted that Albus should talk to Amos Diggory before the man saw Cedric's body. Dumbledore ordered Harry to stay put, and left. Moody led Harry away from the maze and to his office; Harry was too debilitated to resist him (GF35). After speaking to Albus, Mr. and Mrs. Diggory talked to Pomona Sprout, who, as Head of Hufflepuff, knew Cedric best (GF36).
After the Quidditch World Cup incident and the disappearances of Bertha Jorkins and Frank Bryce, Dumbledore became extremely worried, and wary of Lord Voldemort's imminent return to power (GF28, GF30). He chose to hire Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, an old friend of his and a former Auror known for his paranoia, for the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Moody agreed to teach for one year, as a special favour to the Headmaster (GF14). However, unbeknownst to Albus, Voldemort had already made his way to Britain, with the help of Peter Pettigrew; he had gone to the Crouches' house and freed Barty Crouch, Jr.. Barty and Peter attacked Alastor's house on August 31, 1994. Barty replaced Moody with the help of the Polyjuice Potion, and kept him closeby under the Imperius Curse in order to interrogate him (GF35).
The fake Moody arrived at the school during the Sorting Feast, when Albus was halfway though his speech. Moody's appearance frightened most students, and only Dumbledore and Hagrid clapped to welcome him (GF12). At some point, probably before the beginning of term, the Headmaster talked to Moody about his teaching duties; among other things, Dumbledore mentioned that Transfiguration was not to be used as punishment for wayward students—a rule that Moody later disregarded, Transfiguring Draco Malfoy into a ferret (GF13)—and that Harry, Ron and Hermione thought of themselves as amateur investigators of sorts (GF29). Albus also decided that fourth-year students were to learn about the Unforgivable Curses, a subject normally taught only to sixth-years (GF14). On his orders, Moody placed all students under the Imperius Curse, and taught them how to resist it (GF15).
When the Triwizard Tournament began, Moody warned Dumbledore that, despite the Headmaster's high-handed behaviour, Karkaroff and Maxime wouldn't play fair when attempting to aid their champions. It was important for them to defeat Dumbledore, and to prove that he was fallible (GF20). Mad-Eye also insisted during the entire school year that Snape was not to be trusted. He searched the Potions master's office in search for suspicious items, using the fact that Dumbledore had asked him to keep an eye out for danger as excuse. The Headmaster was particularly eager to find out who had put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire, endangering the boy's life (GF25).
Crouch, Jr. guided Harry in the first and second task, covertly helping him to overcome certain obstacles. The Death Eater knew that Dumbledore would be suspicious if Harry succeeded easily (GF35), so he manipulated Hagrid (GF19), Cedric (GF25) and Dobby (GF26) into giving Harry essential information. Crouch himself reminded Harry that he flew well, and that it would be possible to Summon the Firebolt in order to deafeat the first task Hungarian Horntail (GF20).
Barty Crouch, Sr.
When Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew broke into the Crouches' home, Crouch, Sr. was placed under the curse instead of his son, and the Dark Lord forced him to act as though nothing of the sort had happened. However, Crouch eventually started fighting against the enchantment; Voldemort realised that this endangered his plans, confined Crouch to the house.
One day, Crouch managed to fight off the Imperius Curse completely, and Pettigrew's negligence allowed him to escape his house. Crouch, Jr.—who was already at Hogwarts, impersonating Alastor Moody—was immediately notified of the escape. Crouch, Sr. went to the school, seeking to warn Dumbledore of what had occurred and to confess that he had helped his son escape Azkaban (GF35). He met Harry Potter and Viktor Krum in the Forbidden Forest. The effect of the curse made him somewhat delusional and confused, but he convinced Harry of the importance of bringing the Headmaster to his presence. In his fit of mania, Crouch also mentioned the Dark Lord's strenghtening and Bertha Jorkins.
Harry ran to Dumbledore's office, and left Crouch with Krum, who was wary of the old wizard's lunacy but agreed to wait with him. He met Severus Snape on his way there; Snape tried to prevent Harry from entering, claiming that Albus was busy. Despite this, Dumbledore met Harry in the corridor, and immediately followed him to the forest. There they saw Krum's Stunned body, but there was no sign of Crouch. Albus used his Patronus to send a message to Hagrid, and cast the Rennervate spell on Krum. Viktor woke up, and revealed that he had been attacked from behind.
Hagrid joined them moments later, and Dumbledore sent him to fetch Igor Karkaroff. Moody also arrived, claiming to have used the Marauder's Map to follow Snape's information that something had happened in the Forest (GF28). In truth, Crouch, Jr. had received Voldemort's message and killed his father, hiding the Corpse with the Cloak. After this, he had returned to the castle in order to meet Dumbledore a while later, making it seem like he had just heard the news (GF35).
Dumbledore ordered Moody to find Crouch (GF28). The Death Eater watched the Map to wait until everyone had returned to the castle; once this happened, he Transfigured the corpse into a bone and buried it in front of Hagrid's hut (GF35).
Meanwhile, Karkaroff met Albus, and was furious to hear that his student had been attacked. He accused the British Ministry of sabotaging the Tournament so that Hogwarts would win. He spat onto the ground near Dumbledore's feet, provoking Hagrid's fury; the half-giant slammed him against a tree, and commanded him to apologise. Albus ordered Hagrid to let Karkaroff go, and to escort Harry to Gryffindor Tower. The Headmaster warned Harry to wait until the following morning to send owls, and to stay in the Tower. Hagrid did as he was told, and left Fang with Dumbledore for protection (GF28).
Albus notified the Ministry of Crouch's disappearance. Fudge went to Hogwarts a few days later (GF29). When he arrived, Dumbledore had been using the Pensieve, and put it away without closing the cabinet where it was stored; this allowed Harry to have access to it after he left the office (GF30). Fudge insisted that Crouch must have simply gone insane and wandered away—either that or his disappearance was linked to the proximity of the Beauxbatons carriage, and of the presumably half-giant Madam Maxime. Dumbledore pointed out Fudge's prejudice, and the Minister in turn accused him of being overly tolerant due to his friendship with Hagrid.
Harry's arrival at the door of the Headmaster's office interrupted the discussion (GF29). Dumbledore instructed him to wait at the office while he, Fudge and Moody examined the part of the school grounds where Crouch, Sr. had disappeared (GF30).
Harry had decided to talk to Dumbledore because he had a vision during Divination class. In his dream, Harry saw Voldemort punishing Pettigrew for having let Crouch escape (GF29). While he waited, Harry saw Dumbledore's Pensieve in a cabinet, and entered it; he witnessed the trials of Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, Barty Crouch, Jr., Ludo Bagman and Igor Karkaroff. Dumbledore returned to the office in time to transport Harry out of the Pensieve after Crouch, Jr.'s trial. He demonstrated the object's functionality by transferring to it a memory of his discussion with Snape after the Yule Ball (GF30, DH33), and a memory of Bertha Jorkins during her Hogwarts years. He also added thoughts to the Pensieve several times during their conversation.
Harry told Albus about his dream. The Headmaster shared with him a theory according to which Harry's scar hurt whenever Voldemort was nearby, or felt a strong surge of hatred. He also shared his impression that the Dark Lord was growing stronger. Unlike the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore suspected that there was a connection between three suspicious disappearances in the past few months: Frank Bryce, a Muggle who lived in Little Hangleton, Bertha Jorkins and Crouch, Sr. (GF30). Fudge disagreed with this hypothesis, and refused to see any links between these events (GF29).
Harry and Dumbledore briefly discussed the trials that Harry had seen in the Pensieve. The Headmaster asked Harry not to tell anyone about the Longbottoms' torture and madness. He also stated that neither Ludo Bagman nor Severus Snape had been accused of dark activity since the years following Voldemort's downfall. Harry asked what had led Albus to believe that Snape had turned against the Dark Lord, but the Headmaster chose not to disclose this information (GF30), as per Severus' request (DH33).
In addition to the disappearances, Dumbledore took into account Snape's warning that the Dark Mark on his forearm was growing stronger (DH33, GF30). According to Snape, all Death Eaters who had the Mark knew Voldemort was about to return because of this (HBP2).
Like Dumbledore, Sirius noticed the suspicious signs of Voldemort's return to power. This led him to travel back to England, and to hide in Hogsmeade. In a letter, Sirius warned Harry to go to Dumbledore immediately if something happened (GF14).
The graveyard rebirth
When Harry returned from the Little Hangleton graveyard, Dumbledore ordered him to stay by the maze while he spoke to the Diggorys. Moody led Harry away, and Albus realised that Crouch, Jr. was not Alastor Moody, but an impersonator. Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape quickly made their way to the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher's office. Upon his arrival, Albus Stunned the fake Moody. McGonagall tried to take Harry to the hospital wing, but the Headmaster did not allow her to do so; he insisted that Harry should stay to understand what had happened to him and why.
Dumbledore ordered Snape to fetch strong Truth Potion, and to bring the house-elf Winky from the kitchens; McGonagall was to go to Hagrid's hut and to take Sirius, who was waiting there in his animal form, to the Headmaster's office and return to Moody's office. Both teachers left at once, and Dumbledore turned his attention to the seven-lock trunk—the real Moody was hidden in the last compartment. Albus made his way down to the chamber where the unconscious Moody lay, and realised that Moody was weakened and controlled by the Imperius Curse. After ensuring that Moody was warm and out of immediate danger, the Headmaster examined the fake Moody's hip flask, and verified that it contained Polyjuice Potion.
Albus and Harry waited several minutes for the potion to wear off, and for Crouch, Jr.'s true form to be revealed. As soon as this happened, Snape and McGonagall returned, along with Winky. Severus recognised Barty at once, as did Minerva and Winky. Dumbledore fed Crouch three drops of the Veritaserum that Snape had brought, and used the Rennervate spell to wake him up. Barty confessed everything he had done the previous year, and how he had escaped from Azkaban (GF35). Dumbledore conjured ropes to tie Crouch, Jr. up and ordered McGonagall to guard him while Albus took Harry to his office. He also asked Severus to bring Pomfrey to care for Moody, and to fetch Fudge so that the Minister could question the Death Eater.
When Harry and Dumbledore arrived at the Headmaster's office, Sirius was waiting for them. Albus told him everything that Crouch, Jr. had said. Meanwhile, Fawkes flew from his perch to land on Harry's knee and sang a soft note. Sirius attempted to dissuade the Headmaster from questioning Harry, but Dumbledore thought it would not help Harry to postpone reliving the night's events. Fawkes' singing encouraged Harry to speak. When Harry mentioned that Voldemort had used his blood in the rebirth potion, Dumbledore looked triumphant for a second (GF36): he immediately guessed that this meant that Lily's protection would endure, and that Voldemort would not succeed in killing Harry (DH35).
Harry provided the Headmaster with a verbatim account of one specific sentence of Voldemort's—"I who have gone further than anybody along the path that leads to immortality"—that convinced Dumbledore that the Dark Lord had created several Horcruxes, as Albus had suspected since the destruction of Riddle's diary. No wizard before Voldemort had created more than one Horcrux. Dumbledore only obtained proof of the Dark Lord's intention to create precisely six Horcruxes in 1997, with the help of a memory of Horace Slughorn's (HBP23).
Dumbledore explained that the Priori Incantatem effect had occurred when Harry and Voldemort's wands—which had matching cores, Fawkes' tail feathers—had faced each other for the first time. Harry continued narrating what had happened in the graveyard, and Fawkes shed tears over his injured leg, healing the wound that the spider in the maze had inflicted on him. When Harry finished his tale, Dumbledore praised his bravery; he determined that Harry should go to the hospital wing, and drink some Sleeping Potion. Sirius transformed into his Animagus form to accompany Harry (GF36).
The beginning of the Second War
The graveyard aftermath
Harry's survival and the fact that he had returned from the Little Hangleton graveyard to inform Dumbledore of the Dark Lord's rebirth was a serious hindrance to Voldemort's plans. Voldemort hoped to keep his return a secret from the Hogwarts Headmaster for as long as possible. The information that Harry provided allowed Albus to reform the Order of the Phoenix within an hour after Voldemort's rebirth (OP5).
Dumbledore went with Harry and Sirius to the hospital wing. Molly, Bill, Ron and Hermione were there waiting for them; the Headmaster prevented them from smothering Harry, and insisted that the boy had to sleep. He also ordered Madam Pomfrey to allow Sirius (who was still in his dog form) to stay with Harry. On Albus' orders, Pomfrey gave Harry a potion for dreamless sleep, and he fell asleep.
Harry woke up shortly afterwards, with the sound of McGonagall and Fudge having a loud argument outside the hospital wing. Fudge, McGonagall and Snape entered the hospital wing, and the Minister asked for Dumbledore, who entered the room at that precise moment. McGonagall furiously informed him that Fudge had insisted on being escorted by a Dementor while interrogating Crouch, Jr., and that the Dementor had Kissed Crouch as soon as it had arrived. Fudge believed Crouch to be a murderer and a lunatic; he did not give credit to Crouch's assertion that he had obeyed Voldemort's instructions.
When Dumbledore stated that Lord Voldemort had regained a corporeal form, Fudge attempted to make him see reason, and voiced his mistrust in the words of unstable wizards like Barty Crouch, Jr. and Harry Potter. Albus was furious, and reaffirmed his trust in Harry. Fudge remained unconvinced. Harry backed up his testimony by naming several Death Eaters he had seen in the graveyard, and the Minister dismissed this as a mere repetition of lists of wizards suspected to have been Death Eaters in the First War.
Dumbledore warned Fudge that his position would not change, and that it was essential to remove the Dementors from Azkaban, for the creatures would without a doubt eventually side with Voldemort. Fudge was startled by the suggestion, and refused to consider it. Albus also suggested sending envoys to the giants, to prevent Voldemort from seeking an alliance with them before the Ministry did; Fudge dismissed this idea as well. Dumbledore criticised Fudge for cherishing his position far too much, and for cowardly not doing what was necessary to avoid a crisis.
"If your determination to shut your eyes will carry you as far as this, Cornelius, we have reached a parting of the ways," Albus announced. "You must act as you see fit. And I — I shall act as I see fit." Fudge pleaded with the Headmaster, saying that Voldemort simply could not have returned. Hearing this, Severus Snape stepped forward, revealing the Dark Mark burning on his forearm. He explained that Igor Karkaroff had fled that night when he had felt the Mark summoning him to the Dark Lord. Fudge was incredulous. He handed Harry the Triwizard winnings, and left the hospital wing.
Reforming the Order
Dumbledore turned to Molly, and confirmed that he could count on Arthur and her. He stated that it was essential to contact all those who could be persuaded of the truth so that they could join the fight against Voldemort, regardless of the Ministry's oblivion. Bill left at once to notify Arthur, and Albus mentioned that he would contact Mr. Weasley soon, in secret. He sent McGonagall to fetch Hagrid and Madame Maxime, and asked Pomfrey to care for Winky and take the elf to the kitchens.
After they had left, Dumbledore asked Sirius to return to his human form, and asked him and Snape to trust each other, and not to be hostile. The two wizards shook hands, but they evidently still loathed each other. Albus asked Sirius to alert those who had been members of the Order in the First War, including Mrs. Figg and Mundungus Fletcher, and to hide at Remus' house, waiting for the Headmaster's contact (GF36).
Before leaving Hogwarts, Molly asked Dumbledore whether Harry could spend his summer holidays at The Burrow. The Headmaster refused, claiming that Harry had to return to the Dursleys', but he did not explain why. On the other hand, he did not discard the possibility of Harry visiting the house at some point during his holidays (GF37).
Bill and Charlie Weasley were also recruited for the Order eventually. Bill applied for a desk job at Gringotts so that he could do more active work for the Order. Charlie, on the other hand, remained working in Romania, and on his days off he recruited foreign wizards to the fight against Voldemort, as per Dumbledore's wishes (OP4).
Severus Snape's assignment
Dumbledore did not explain what he asked of Snape; Severus understood that he had to return to the Death Eaters and regain the Dark Lord's trust, and left the hospital wing at once. Albus went downstairs to meet the Diggorys (GF37).
Severus explained to Voldemort that his delay in joining the Death Eaters had ensured that Dumbledore would continue trusting him. Snape offered sixteen years' worth of information on the Headmaster to the Dark Lord, and pretended to spy on the Order for Voldemort (HBP2). Dumbledore trusted him to withhold essential information from the Dark Lord and to reveal only details that appeared to be valuable (DH33).
Snape immediately started giving Dumbledore information about the Death Eaters' latest activities. He frequently gave his reports at the Order headquarters during the following summer (OP5). He also informed the Headmaster, for instance, that Voldemort had been furious to hear that Lucius Malfoy had given his diary Horcrux to Ginny Weasley in 1992 (HBP23).
Albus knew that Voldemort's topmost priority would be to start building an army once more, full of dark and dangerous creatures (OP5). He instructed Hagrid and Maxime to go to the giants as his envoy, seeking to form an alliance with them (OP20). Hagrid convinced Maxime to come with him (GF37). Dumbledore told them where the giants were hiding, taught them how to be slow and polite when facing the Gurg and how to win the giants over with gifts. He also gave them Gubraithian Fire to take as a present.
Dumbledore warned the two half-giants that Voldemort would certainly try to contact the giants as well, recommending that they should not attract attention to themselves so that Death Eaters would not learn of their presence. The Headmaster was right to worry; Walden Macnair and another Death Eater reached the giants while Hagrid and Maxime were still there. The giants started a war among themselves, and Golgomath took over the position of Gurg. Hagrid and Maxime remained there for some time, trying to win over the giants that had been wounded in the conflict and those who opposed Golgomath. However, after some time, Golgomoth's giants raided the opposition's hideouts, and Hagrid and Maxime were unable to convince any others. They returned to England (OP20).
"Remember Cedric Diggory"
The morning after the third task, Dumbledore gave a brief speech at breakfast, asking all students to refrain from asking Harry what had happened in the third task maze. Many students, however, believed Rita Skeeter's articles, which reported that Harry was deranged and mentally unstable.
In the Leaving Feast, Albus gave another speech. He voiced his grief over Cedric's death, and proposed a toast in his honour. The Headmaster announced that Cedric had been murdered by Lord Voldemort, and praised Harry's bravery when facing the Dark Lord. Most students followed his lead and toasted to Harry as well, with the exception of the Slytherins.
In his speech, Dumbledore stressed the need for unity in those dark times. "Remember Cedric," he said. "Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory" (GF37).
The Ministry's discrediting campaign
During the course of the Triwizard Tournament, Rita Skeeter had published several articles demeaning Harry, and portraying him as a troubled, deranged young wizard (GF19, GF31). She had used her Animagus form to spy on Harry during a Divination lesson in which he had had a vision of Lord Voldemort, and reported that Harry regularly collapsed during classes (GF29, GF31, GF37).
After Dumbledore and the Minister for Magic parted ways (GF36), Fudge did his best to ensure that no one in the Ministry sided with the Hogwarts Headmaster; he announced that all those who believed in Albus should quit their jobs. The Ministry's official position was that Dumbledore's insisting that Voldemort had returned was a dellusion that spawned from a desire to create trouble (OP4). Fudge feared that Dumbledore wanted to stage a coup and take over the Ministry, and his fear quickly became a relentless paranoia (OP14). The Order considered the possibility that Fudge was acting while under the influence of the Imperius Curse, but Dumbledore was convinced that Fudge was behaving of his own accord (OP9).
Fudge employed Percy Weasley, Arthur's third son, as his Junior Assistant. Arthur realised that Fudge wanted to use Percy as a spy on the family, and on Dumbledore; he and Percy had a row, and everyone in the family stopped talking to Percy, who left The Burrow and moved to London (OP4).
As part of the discrediting campaign against Dumbledore, the Ministry had the Prophet constantly report Albus as a senile, crazy man. On Fudge's orders, Albus' rumour-mongering was seldom reported. Since few Order members were in a position to convince the British wizarding population of the Dark Lord's return—some were Ministry employees, and had to keep a low profile at the Ministry; Sirius was still a wanted escaped convict; Remus was a werewolf, and so on—Dumbledore took upon himself the task of publicising as much as possible the news of Voldemort's rebirth. This caused him to lose his position of Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot; he was also voted out of the Chairmanship of the International Confederation of Wizards, and there were rumours that the Ministry wished to take away his Order of Merlin as well. Dumbledore joked that he did not care what they did, as long as there was still a Chocolate Frog card with his name (OP5).
The Prophet's hostility made it difficult for Dumbledore to gather supporters to his cause. Several Hogwarts students were skeptical, notably Seamus Finnigan. However, several old friends remained loyal: Augusta Longbottom cancelled her Prophet subscription (OP11); the Macmillans, who had always supported the Headmaster, also believed his story. The Lovegoods believed him as well (OP13).
When the Dementors fled Azkaban to join with Voldemort, as Dumbledore had said they would (GF36, OP8), Fudge had no choice but to blame Sirius for the escape of ten prisoners, claiming that Black had taught his allies how to leave the prison (OP25).
Number twelve, Grimmauld Place
In the summer of 1995, Sirius offered the Blacks' old home—a house located in number twelve, Grimmauld Place—as Headquarters to the Order. The house, which was unplottable, had already been protected by numerous enchantments set in place by Orion Black; in addition to this, Dumbledore added protection of his own: the Fidelius Charm. He was Secret-Keeper for the Order (OP5). One valuable asset of number twelve, Grimmauld Place was a portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black, which Phineas could visit on Dumbledore's request, for there was another such portrait in the Headmaster's office. Albus told Sirius not to destroy or remove the portrait (OP22).
Dumbledore gave Sirius specific orders to remain confined to number twelve, Grimmauld Place, a fact that irritated Sirius immensely. The Headmaster suspected that Peter Pettigrew had already informed Voldemort that Sirius was an Animagus, and that it would be risky for him to leave the house without being recognised (OP5). Sirius hated being back to his parents' house, which he had fled at the age of sixteen (OP6); in his frustration, he mistreated Kreacher, the house-elf that cared for the house, at every possible opportunity, and spoke to him harshly (OP6, OP14, OP22). Albus warned Sirius that he should be kind to Kreacher, as did Hermione, to no avail (OP4, OP6, OP14). Sirius forbade Kreacher from revealing any of the Order's secret plans that he happened to overhear (OP37).
As an added security measure, Dumbledore ordered the inhabitants of number twelve not to let owls out of their cages frequently—their presence in the square would look suspicious (OP6).
The Headmaster visited Grimmauld Place infrequently, often in a hurry. As of the first week of August, 1995, Ron and Hermione had only seen him there twice (OP4). Despite this, Order members always informed him of what they were doing—for instance, when Arthur saw Lucius Malfoy at the Ministry talking to Fudge, he left a note for Dumbledore at Grimmauld Place (OP9); when Sturgis Podmore failed to meet Moody, Lupin and other Order members to take the children to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, Moody mentioned that he would report Sturgis to the Headmaster (OP10).
Convincing other people that Lord Voldemort had returned was a painstaking and difficult job that, as a rule, could only be carried out by Dumbledore himself. Despite this difficulty, a few members of the Order of the Phoenix were recruited in the summer of 1995, notably Nymphadora Tonks, a young Auror. Kingsley Shacklebolt, another new member, was especially valuable: he was the Auror in charge of finding Sirius Black, and gave the Ministry false indications that Sirius was hiding in Tibet (OP5).
Guarding the prophecy
Dumbledore knew that once Voldemort returned to power, he would be anxious to hear the full contents of the prophecy that had brought about his downfall. Because of this, Albus ordered several Order members to guard the entrance to the Department of Mysteries at all times (OP5, OP37), sometimes under the protection of Moody's Invisibility Cloak. Some Order members—such as Kingsley Shacklebolt—passed by number twelve, Grimmauld Place after another member relieved them, and left reports for Dumbledore (OP6).
Later that year, Sturgis Podmore was arrested by Eric Munch for trying to force his way through the door of the Department of Mysteries. Podmore refused to speak in his own defence when facing the Wizengamot, and was sentenced to six months in Azkaban (OP14). Podmore had been guarding the door with Moody's Cloak, which was confiscated when he was arrested; Lucius Malfoy had cast the Imperius Curse on him on August 12, ordering him to try to break into the Department of Mysteries the next time he was on guard duty (OP26).
Distance from Harry
Since the summer of 1995, Dumbledore suspected that Voldemort would try to use the connection with Harry's mind to his advantage. Believing that proof of the boy's connection with Dumbledore would give the Dark Lord further encouragement to do so—and knowing that such possession would endanger Harry far more than it would Albus himself, as demonstrated in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries—the Headmaster sought to distance himself from Harry as much as possible (OP37). Nevertheless, he worried about Harry's safety, and asked Arabella Figg to continue keeping an eye on Harry from a distance during his stay at number four, Privet Drive. Order members took shifts watching him as well, trying to prevent the Ministry from fabricating an excuse for punishing Harry (OP2).
Dumbledore also made Ron and Hermione swear that they would not give Harry any information about the Order of the Phoenix, fearing that their letters would be intercepted by dark wizards (OP4). Harry was therefore forced to rely on the Daily Prophet and on Muggle news to get information on Voldemort's latest actions (OP1); the wizarding newspaper, however, was under orders from the Ministry not to report any suspicious occurrence, and Harry heard nothing interesting. This frustrated him immensely (OP1, OP5). Ron and Hermione tried to convince Albus to let them give Harry some information, but he insisted that they should not reveal important information (OP4).
On the night of August 2, 1995, Mundungus Fletcher was the Order member in charge of watching Harry until midnight. He Disapparated out of Privet Drive to acquire some stolen cauldrons (OP2), and Harry and Dudley faced two Dementors in the alleyway between Magnolia Crescent and Wisteria Walk (OP1). Mrs. Figg found the two teenagers moments after Harry drove the Dementors away with the use of his Patronus. Mundungus returned shortly afterwards, and she ordered him to warn Dumbledore of what had happened. Figg accompanied Harry to the Dursleys' house and went home to wait for instructions. Once inside, Harry received a letter from the Ministry expelling him from Hogwarts and stating that Ministry officials would soon visit the house to destroy his wand.
As soon as Dumbledore heard about the evening's events, he went to the Ministry to talk to Fudge (OP2). According to Hermione, he was extremely angry to find that Fletcher had deserted his post (OP4) Arthur Weasley sent Harry a letter informing him of the Headmaster's arrival at the Ministry and warning him not to leave Privet Drive (OP2).
Dumbledore confronted Fudge, reminding him that the Ministry did not have the power to expel Hogwarts students. He also warned the Minister that a wizard's wand could not be confiscated until a court declared him guilty of the charges he faced (OP8). It was therefore decided that Harry's punishment would not be carried out until a disciplinary hearing on August 12 (OP2).
Following these events, Dumbledore decided to take Harry out of Privet Drive for the rest of the summer, and several Order members—the Advance Guard—volunteered to go pick him up and bring him to the Order headquarters (OP3). Albus wrote a note containing the secret of the house's location so that Moody could show it to Harry. He also lent his Deluminator to Alastor, who used it to conceal the team's arrival at Grimmauld Place (OP3, OP4, OP6).
Before Harry's arrival, Albus cautioned all Order members—without sharing his true reasoning—not to reveal any more information to Harry than what was absolutely necessary. However, he acknowledged that Harry would have to receive more news once he was at headquarters. Regardless of Dumbledore's position, Sirius decided that his godson deserved to have some answers, and convinced some of the others to tell him, to some degree, what had happened since Voldemort's return (OP5).
Harry's disciplinary hearing
Sirius volunteered to accompany Harry to his disciplinary hearing. On August 11, 1995, Dumbledore went to number twelve, and told Sirius not to go. Albus did not visit Harry, who learned of his presence in the house the following day and was extremely annoyed not to have seen the Headmaster (OP6). The following day, Arthur accompanied Harry to the Ministry for the hearing. When they arrived at Arthur's office, Perkins informed them that the hearing's time and location had changed—it was to take place in Courtroom Ten, one hour earlier than what had been scheduled (OP7).
Arthur and Harry hurried to the correct floor; only Harry was allowed inside the courtroom (OP7), where he faced several Ministry officials. Dumbledore presented himself as witness for the defence moments later, much to Fudge's disappointment; the Minister hoped that the change of time and venue would prevent the Headmaster from arriving, but Dumbledore had arrived at the Ministry three hours early as a precaution. Some Wizengamot elders were furious or frightened to see Albus, but others waved.
Dumbledore offered Mrs. Figg as another witness for the defence; she confirmed the presence of Dementors in Little Whinging, a fact that would clear Harry of all liability for casting the Patronus Charm in front of a Muggle, accordig to Clause Seven of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery. Fudge did not wish to hear Figg's testimony, but Albus pointed out that under the Wizengamot Charter of Rights, the accused had the right to present witnesses for the case, and Amelia Bones acquiesced. Arabella, who had come to the Ministry with Dumbledore, narraged what she had experienced. Her description of a Dementor's effect on a human was accurate, and convinced several Wizengamot elders, notably Madam Bones.
Albus politely suggested that the two Dementors that had gone to Surrey had been out of the Ministry's control, and Fudge refused to face this possibility. The Headmaster suggested, therefore, that there should be an inquiry inside the Ministry to find out who had sent those Dementors to attack Harry. Fudge was furious to hear this inference of Dumbledore's in the Minister's inside affairs, and accused Harry of fabricating fantastic stories to get out of trouble every time—claiming that a house-elf had performed a Hover Charm at the Dursleys' in the summer of 1992, for instance. Dumbledore volunteered to summon Dobby to the Wizengamot if necessary.
As a response to Fudge's prolonged rant about Harry's behaviour, Dumbledore reminded the Minister that it was not up to that court to judge Harry for every single thing he had done wrong in his life. Harry's behaviour at Hogwarts, in particular, could not be evaluated by the Ministry. Albus criticised Fudge for changing the law in the few weeks since Dumbledore had left the Wizengamot—it was highly unusual to hold a full criminal trial to deal with a matter of underage magic.
The Wizengamot elders deliberated on the matter, took a vote, and Harry was acquitted. Dumbledore left the courtroom without talking to him (OP8). He also did not inform Arthur Weasley, who was waiting outside the door, of what the verdict had been (OP9).
Dolores Umbridge's regime
Start of the 1995 school year
On August 31, 1995, the Trio received their Hogwarts letters. Ron and Hermione were made prefects. Harry was slightly offended that he had not been chosen (OP9), but Dumbledore later revealed that he thought Harry would be under far too much pressure already without having to deal with this extra burden (OP37). Kingsley Shacklebolt and Remus Lupin discussed the subject shortly after they had heard the news; Kingsley stated that Dumbledore should have made Harry a prefect, as a proof of his confidence in the boy regardless of the Prophet's smearing campaign (OP9).
Dumbledore forbade Sirius from accompanying Harry and the other children to King's Cross. Sirius disobeyed this order, and Lucius Malfoy recognised him, and reported his presence to Voldemort (OP10, OP24). Lucius also tipped off the Ministry that Sirius Black was in London (OP14).
The 1995 Sorting Feast
Before the school year started, Albus sent an owl to Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank, asking her to teach Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts for short period of time. She accepted (OP15). Grubbly-Plank replaced Hagrid until his return from his mission to the giants as Dumbledore's envoy (OP20). It took Hagrid far more time to come back than expected, because he was bringing Grawp to Hogwarts against the giant's will (OP30).
It was very difficult for Dumbledore to find a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for the school year of 1995 (OP9). Taking advantage of this, Cornelius Fudge—who had been offended to realise, at Harry's disciplinary hearing, that the Ministry had no power to intervene in what happened at Hogwarts (OP8)—sanctioned the Educational Decree Number Twenty-two on August 30, which gave the Ministry the authority to appoint a teacher if the Headmaster was unable to find a candidate. Fudge appointed Dolores Jane Umbridge, his Senior Undersecretary, to the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher (OP15).
On September 1, 1995, the Sorting Feast began, as usual, with one of the Sorting Hat's songs. Having heard about the War in the Headmaster's office, the Hat felt honour-bound to warn the the school, and to urge all students to unite against the growing danger.
After everyone ate, Dumbledore started his regular speech, announcing that Umbridge would be joining the staff, as would Grubbly-Plank. Before he could continue speaking, Umbridge interrupted him with her trademark cough, much to the onlookers' surprise. The Headmaster promptly sat down and waited for her speech. Even though few students listened to Umbridge's words, the staff was paying close attention; "progress for progress's sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering," she said, and added, "let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited."
Dumbledore and the other teachers clapped briefly. After this, he continued his regular announcements (OP11).
The Hogwarts High Inquisitor
Umbridge's behaviour both in and out of the classroom displayed her criticism of the way that Hogwarts was run. As a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores advocated a return to the basic defence principles, claiming that enough study of defence theory would get the students through all their exams. Her classes consisted solely in reading parts of the textbook Defensive Magical Theory, and there was never any actual practice of magic.
Umbridge insisted that Harry and Dumbledore's claims that Lord Voldemort had returned were a lie. When Harry opposed this statement in class, she gave him a detention (OP12) during which she had him use a special quill that carved the words "I must not tell lies" on the back of his right hand. Harry refused to tell the Headmaster about this abusive punishment; he still resented Dumbledore for not having spoken to him in months (OP13).
Dolores Umbridge began interfering at Hogwarts more and more. She was soon named High Inquisitor of the school; the position gave her power to inspect other teachers, and to fire them if she found them to be substandard. The appointment was reported in the Daily Prophet, along with malicious hints that perhaps Dumbledore was no longer deemed able to manage the school. After the announcement, Griselda Marchbanks and Tiberius Ogden stepped down from their posts as Wizengamot elders in protest (OP15).
For the most part, Albus and staff members who supported him—notably Minerva McGonagall—sought not to clash directly with Professor Umbridge. However, he refused to offer her information regarding Hagrid's whereabouts (OP15). He also gave McGonagall permission to reform the Gryffindor Quidditch team, which had been disbanded due to Educational Decree Number Twenty-four (OP18). This irritated Umbridge, who asked Fudge to pass Educational Decree Number Twenty-five, giving her the right to strip students of privileges as she saw fit, and to have supreme authority over their punishments (OP19).
Umbridge kept a close eye on all teachers who were known to be close to Dumbledore (OP20). Umbridge and McGonagall had frequent disputes (OP15, OP29). Upon Hagrid's return from the mission to the giants, Umbridge inspected his first class (OP21) and put him on probation (OP25). Sybill Trelawney was also put on probation (OP17). She was sacked some time later, when Umbridge—acting based on the authority that Educational Decree Number Twenty-three had given her—obtained an Order of Dismissal signed by the Minister.
Before the Ministry could exercise the power granted to it by Educational Decree number twenty-two (OP26), Dumbledore went to the Forest upon hearing of Trelawney's dismissal and chose a new Divination teacher: the centaur Firenze, who agreed to do Albus a favour and fill in the Divination teaching post. In order to teach at Hogwarts, the centaur had to part ways with his herd, who thought it unsuitable for one of them to serve humans; the idea that he was teaching centaur wisdom to humans was also unacceptable (OP27, OP30). Dumbledore knowing that Trelawney would be in peril if she were to leave Hogwarts (OP37), insisted that she should continue to live in the castle. McGonagall and Sprout escorted Sybill back to her quarters.
Umbridge was furious when Albus introduced Firenze as the new teacher (OP26). Firenze preferred to live on the ground floor, and Dumbledore arranged a classroom for him that resembled the centaurs' natural habitat as closely as possible.
Attack on Arthur Weasley
On December 18, 1995, Harry had a vivid nightmare of Nagini attacking Arthur Weasley in the Department of Mysteries. Neville brought Minerva McGonagall to the boys' dorm, and she took Harry and Ron to the Headmaster's office (OP21). When they arrived, Albus was in deep conversation with the portraits in the office, which fell silent as soon as the visitors entered.
Harry told Dumbledore what he had seen. The Headmaster—refusing to meet his eyes during the entire conversation—asked Harry about the position from which he had seen this happen, and Harry replied that he had been the snake. Albus immediately ordered Everard and Dilys to travel to their other portraits and make arrangements so that Arthur was found in the Ministry and taken to St. Mungo's. He also requested that Fawkes should patrol the surroundings and warn him if anyone should approach; the phoenix disappeared at once.
Using one of the silver instruments in his office, Dumbledore investigated Nagini's essence, and discovered that it was, as he suspected, divided (OP22): it contained part of Lord Voldemort's soul, which was why Harry—who was also a Horcrux—had been able to have that clear a vision (BLC).
Moments later, Everard reported back, stating that Mr. Weasley had been found. Dilys also reappeared, informing the Headmaster that Arthur had arrived at St. Mungo's in bad shape. Albus ordered McGonagall to warn the other Weasley children.
Dumbledore fetched an old kettle from a cupboard and transformed it into a Portkey with the use of the Portus charm. He commanded Phineas Nigellus Black (who at first pretended not to hear the request, and that he was too tired to perform the task) to travel to his portrait in number twelve, Grimmauld Place and alert Sirius of the visitors about to arrive at the house, and of Arthur's attack.
McGonagall returned, accompanied by Fred, George and Ginny. Fawkes also appeared, leaving behind a golden feather as a warning that Umbridge had found out that students were out of bed; Dumbledore asked McGonagall to head Umbridge off. Phines returned with a message from Sirius, saying that he would be delighted to receive Harry and the WEasleys.
Harry and Dumbledore's eyes met for a second before the Portkey transported them away. Harry's scar burned, and he felt a powerful hatred growing inside him, along with an urge to bite and hurt the Headmaster (OP22). Dumbledore saw a shadow of Voldemort behind Harry'e eyes then, and was concerned (OP37).
After the children left for Grimmauld Place, Dumbledore sent Fawkes to Molly, warning her of the attack on her husband. He also fabricated a cover story to justify Arthur's presence in the Department of Mysteries. The morning after the attack, Dumbledore met Molly, and he voiced some of his worries concerning Harry (OP22). He also informed Hermione of what had happened. She went to Grimmauld Place as soon as term ended.
Umbridge was angry when she found out that Harry and the Weasleys had left the school. Dumbledore told her nothing other than the fact that Arthur was in St. Mungo's and that the children had been given permission to leave in order to visit him.
Harry overheard part of a conversation between Molly and Moody about this with the use of Extendable Ears. Upon hearing Moody's concerns that Harry might have been possessed, Harry decided to leave Grimmauld Place. Albus anticipated this and sent him a message via Phineas: Harry should remain where he was (OP23).
In light of Harry's vision, Dumbledore thought it best that Harry should learn Occlumency as soon as possible. Albus sent Snape to number twelve, Grimmauld Place during the Christmas holidays to inform Harry of this. Severus was to teach these lessons, which were to be kept secret from Dolores Umbridge (OP24); Dumbledore feared that Voldemort would be tempted to possess Harry if the Headmaster himself were to do so (OP37), for the Dark Lord had finally become aware of the connection between his and Harry's minds when Harry had the vision about Arthur (OP24).
The Occlumency lessons were a failure—Dumbledore admitted so himself (HBP4). Harry was unable to master his emotions and learn Occlumency, and Snape refused to continue teaching him after Harry saw a memory of his that involved Lily (OP28).
Harry rebelled against Umbridge's regime and her useless Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons. In order to help other students prepare to resist Voldemort, Harry founded a secret Defence group, which was entitled Dumbledore's Army as a mockery of the Ministry's fear that Albus would recruit an army to stage a coup (OP18).
The DA's first meeting happened in the Hog's Head (OP16). Dumbledore was immediately informed of this, for Mundungus Fletcher was there, disguised as a witch covered in a thick veil, watching Harry (OP17). Willy Widdershins was also in the pub; he warned Umbridge of the meeting in exchange for the Ministry's pardon in an incident involving regurgitating toilets (OP27).
Flight from Hogwarts
Dolores Umbridge found out about the DA when Marietta Edgecombe, the daughter of a Ministry employee, went to her office and gave her the time and location of the group's meeting that evening. After revealing this this, Marietta saw her face—which, due to a hex of Hermione's, was covered in green pustules with the word 'SNEAK' written on them—in the mirror and became too miserable to say more.
Umbridge ordered Draco Malfoy and other students to capture the DA members. Draco used a Trip Jinx to get Harry, and Umbridge took Harry to the Headmaster's office, where Fudge, McGonagall, Kingsley, Percy and Dawlish were waiting.
On Dumbledore's signal, Harry understood that he was to deny knowing the reason for his capture. This made Fudge furious, and Umbridge offered to fetch Marietta Edgecombe. Fudge reacted with clear horror to the spots of Marietta's face, causing her to start wailing and not say a word.
When Umbridge revealed that Widdershins had informed her of the formation of the DA, Albus stated that the Educational Decree banning student societies had been passed two days after this; therefore, the group's formation at that time was not illegal. The Headmaster asked Umbridge if she had any evidence regarding the group's activity in the past six months, and she in turn questioned Marietta—who had, by that point—mentioned nothing other than the meeting taking place that night.
Kingsley used a quick Memory Modifying Charm on Marietta, and she shook her head, revealing that she knew of no meetings in the past six months. Umbridge produced the list of DA members, and Fudge noticed the group's name; this forced Dumbledore to own up, claiming that he had indeed recruited students for his personal army in order to undermine Fudge. Harry attempted to dissuade him from saying anything else, but Albus ordered him to be silent.
Fudge announced that Dumbledore was to be taken to Azkaban until his trial. Albus disagreed with the Minister on this account, and pointed out that he had no intention of going to Azkaban. The Auror Dawlish moved forward, reaching for his wand, and Dumbledore told him not to be silly—he remembered Dawlish from the latter's Hogwarts days—and stated that he would have to react if Dawlish tried to take him by force.
The Minister was stunned to realise that Albus planned to take on Umbridge, Kingsley, Dawlish and himself unassisted. The Headmaster effortlessly hexed them all—including Kingsley, in order to avoid suspicions—and rendered them unconscious. Dumbledore held Harry's wrist and asked him to practice Occlumency to the best of his abilities. The Headmaster's proximity made Harry's scar hurt, and he had once more had the urge to bite and hurt Dumbledore.
Fawkes approached the Headmaster, who grabbed the phoenix's tail and disappeared in a flash of fire. Dawlish, Kingsley, Fudge and Umbridge woke up moments later; Dawlish, thinking that Albus had used the stairs to leave, ran down the stairs, and Kingsley and Umbridge followed him. Fudge asked McGonagall to take Harry and Marietta to their common rooms (OP27). The Aurors searched the castle for Albus, but were unable to track him down (OP28). Many Ministry officials were ordered to search for him (OP32).
With Dumbledore's departure, the Ministry of Magic decreed that Dolores Umbridge would replace him as Headmistress. However, the gargoyle guarding the entrance to the Headmaster's office refused to let her enter; Umbridge threw a fit. Word of the circumstances of Dumbledore's escape reached all students by the following day, and some loyal students, such as Ernie Macmillan, were certain that Albus would return soon (OP28). Griselda Marchbanks also voiced her belief that Dumbledore would not be found (OP31).
Umbridge suspected that Harry was aware of the Headmaster's whereabouts, and asked Snape for Veritaserum in order to interrogate Harry (OP32); Snape gave her fake Veritaserum (OP37), but Harry did not drink the tea to which Umbridge had added the potion anyway, and offered her no information (OP28).
Fred and George Weasley decided to wreak havoc at Hogwarts in order to avenge Dumbledore. They cared little for their education, and were determined to leave the school after a big showdown. The twins set off several Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-bangs around the school, and Umbridge had to spend her first day as Headmistress getting rid of them (OP28). They also used a Portable Swamp in a corridor, and flew out of the school using their Cleansweep Fives (CS7, OP29).
Umbridge continued suspecting that Harry knew something about Dumbledore's whereabouts. When she caught Harry using the fireplace in her office, she believed that he was trying to contact Albus (he was, in fact, communicating with number twelve, Grimmauld Place, where Kreacher deceived him into thinking that Sirius had gone to the Department of Mysteries). Hermione confirmed Umbridge's suspicions, stating that Harry was attempting to tell Albus that a "secret weapon" he had ordered them to make was ready. She did so in order to attract Umbridge to the Forbidden Forest—the weapon's alledged location—where Harry and Hermione succeeded in leaving her a prisoner of the centaur herd. This allowed both students, as well as several other DA members, to leave to the Department of Mysteries (OP32).
The Battle of the Department of Mysteries
Harry informed Severus Snape of his suspicions regarding Sirius' possible kidnapping (OP32). Snape obtained confirmation from number twelve that Sirius was alive and safe, but he soon noticed that Harry had disappeared after entering the Forest with Umbridge. Knowing this, he notified several Order members that Harry had presumably gone to the Department of Mysteries. Moody, Tonks, Shacklebolt and Lupin were at Grimmauld Place and volunteered to help, and Snape requested that Sirius stay behind to inform Dumbledore what had happened upon his (imminent) arrival at Order headquarters. Sirius refused to stay, and went to the Ministry as well. Meanwhile, Snape planned to go to the Forest to search for Harry.
When Dumbledore arrived at number twelve, only the house-elf Kreacher remained in the house. Kreacher, who was laughing hysterically, announced that Sirius had gone to the Department of Mysteries. Dumbledore used Legilimency on the house-elf to get Kreacher to admit that he had left the house at Christmas, gone straight to the Malfoys and revealed to them that Harry cared deeply for Sirius. This had allowed the plan of Sirius' alleged kidnapping to be prepared, and Kreacher was told to fool Harry into going to the Department of Mysteries. In order to accomplish this, Kreacher injured Buckbeak, thus ensuring that Sirius would be far from the fireplace when Harry attempted to contact number twelve to find out whether his godfather was well (OP37).
Following the false information supplied by Kreacher, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny and Luna were ambushed by several Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries. Order members joined them before long, and battled the dark wizards. Some time later, Dumbledore joined the battle; this caused most Death Eaters to try to escape as quickly as possible, to no avail; he used a spell to bind them, and an Anti-Disapparition Jinx to keep them in place.
Sirius and Bellatrix were the only duellers whose fight did not stop with the Headmaster's arrival in the Death Room. When a red jet from Bellatrix's wand hit Sirius square on the chest, both Harry and Albus turned to the daïs. Harry ran to his godfather, but Sirius fell through the Veil and did not return (OP35).
The duel with Lord Voldemort
Harry was furious to realise that Sirius had died. In his anger, he chased Bellatrix Lestrange to the Ministry Atrium and duelled with her. Lord Voldemort arrived shortly afterwards, and used the Killing Curse on Harry. Albus' timely arrival at the Atrium guaranteed the boy's survival: the Headmaster charmed the golden wizard statue in the the Fountain of Magical Brethren so that it would serve as a physical shield, protecting Harry from the curse.
Lord Voldemort's attention was effectively diverted, and he attempted to kill Dumbledore instead. Albus dodged the beam by Apparating, and cast another spell on the Fountain: the statue of the witch pinned Bellatrix to the floor; the goblin and the house-elf went to the fireplaces in the chamber walls, and the centaur moved towards Voldemort. The Dark Lord used Apparition to evade the statue.
In response to Voldemort's second Killing Curse, Dumbledore cast a powerful but non-lethal spell, which stunned the Dark Lord. When questioned, Albus stated his belief that there were many ways to destroy a man, and that simply murdering Voldemort would not satisfy him. According to the Headmaster, Voldemort's inability to understand that there were things worse than death was his greatest weakness.
Voldemort used Avada Kedavra once more, but hit the centaur statue. Dumbledore conjured a long, thin flame from his wand tip, and it wrapped itself around Voldemort. However, the Dark Lord Transfigured it into a snake that turned against Dumbledore. As it was about to strike, Voldemort—who now stood on the plinth of the Fountain of Magical Brethren—cast the Killing Curse again. Out of nowhere, Fawkes appeared and flew to Dumbledore; the phoenix swallowed the jet of green light, burst into flames and returned to his youngest state—a wrinkled, small baby phoenix. Albus Vanished the snake, and caused the water in the Fountain to cover Voldemort, creating a barrier between them and almost suffocating the Dark Lord.
With some effort, Voldemort managed to free himself from the mass of water, and disappeared. He possessed Harry instead, and begged Dumbledore to kill the body that he currently occupied ("If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy..."). Before Albus could do anything, Harry realised that he would see Sirius once more if he were to die; the surge of emotion that accompanied this realisation was too powerful for Voldemort to handle, and the Dark Lord was forced to abandon Harry's mind. Harry fell unconscious; Voldemort grabbed Bellatrix and Disapparated.
Several Aurors arrived at the Atrium, as did Cornelius Fudge. The Minister was brought forward by the statues of the goblin and the house-elf, and he was forced to acknowledge the rebirth of Lord Voldemort, who had left the Ministry moments after Fudge's arrival. Cornelius ordered Aurors to seize Dumbledore, but the Headmaster warned him of the futility of continuing to chase after the wrong man. Fudge sent Dawlish and Williamson to the Department of Mysteries to confirm Dumbledore's version of the events. Albus agreed to give Fudge half an hour of his time to explain everything, as soon as Harry returned to the school; after this time, he would resume his position as Headmaster.
Dumbledore used the Portus charm to send Harry back to Hogwarts, creating an unauthorised Portkey much to Fudge's shock. Albus ordered the Minister to remove Umbridge from Hogwarts, and to have Aurors stop searching for Hagrid so that he could return to Hogwarts as well (OP36).
Reconciliation with Harry
When Harry arrived at the headmaster's office, he informed the portraits of Dumbledore's impending return. They were glad to hear the news; when Albus appeared, several of them woke up and joyfully welcomed him. The Headmaster placed the newly reborn Fawkes on the perch and informed Harry that none of the DA members had sustained permanent injuries. Among the Order members, only Tonks was hurt, and would need to spend some time at St. Mungo's.
Harry rejected Dumbledore's futile attempts to comfort him, and was unimpressed when Albus reminded him that the ability to feel pain for Sirius' loss was Harry's greatest strength. Harry was furious with the headmaster, and started breaking objects in the office, claiming that he no longer wished to feel or care. When Harry tried to leave the office, he found the door locked; Albus refused to let him go until they had spoken.
Dumbledore confessed that Sirius' death was almost exclusively his fault, and that, had he talked to Harry about the prophecy from the start, the DA members would not have gone to the Department of Mysteries. Phineas interrupted them to ask whether his great-great-grandson had been killed; he did not believe Albus' affirmative response, and went to Grimmauld Place to search for Sirius.
Dumbledore explained to Harry the reasoning behind the Headmaster's attempts to create distance between them—his fear for Harry's mind and of Voldemort discovering that he could use the connection between the two minds, as he had during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Harry confessed that he had not made an effort to study Occlumency.
The Headmaster told Harry how he had found out the truth about Kreacher's behaviour before the Battle. Harry accused Dumbledore of being to blame for Sirius' eagerness to join the fight, and Dumbledore maintained that he merely wished to keep Sirius alive. Nevertheless, Harry insisted that neither he nor Sirius had appreciated being forced to stay indoors (in Harry's case, during the summer of 1995). This prompted Albus to reveal the truth about the prophecy to Harry, and to disclose the exact nature of the blood protection that kept him safe in number four, Privet Drive.
Dumbledore used his Pensieve so that Harry could listen to Trelawney making the prophecy that sealed his fate, and explained that a Death Eater had overheard her in the Hog's Head inn. He also said that the prophecy could have applied to both Harry and Neville Longbottom, and that Voldemort's attack on the Potters realised the final part of the prophecy—the Dark Lord marked one-year-old Harry as his equal.
Albus stressed that the greatest power that Harry had—which was his biggest strength against Voldemort—was his heart, and his ability to love. Before Harry left the office, Dumbledore apologised for not having made him Prefect at the beginning of the school year; the Headmaster felt that Harry would have enough responsibility without that extra burden (OP37).
Some time after his conversation with Harry, Dumbledore entered the Forbidden Forest on his own to rescue Dolores Umbridge from the centaur herd. He succeeded, and left the Forest unharmed, supporting her. Umbridge spent some time in the hospital wing recovering from the ordeal (OP38). She later returned to the Ministry, where she would eventually become the Head of the Muggle-born Registration Commission (DH13).
Dumbledore was officially reinstated in his post as Headmaster shortly afterwards; he also returned to the position of member of the International Confederation of Wizards, and to that of Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot (OP38).
At some point after his return to Hogwarts, before the beginning of the next term, Albus found a cave in the mountains near Hogsmeade and arranged it so that Hagrid could use it to house Grawp (HBP8).
Dumbledore's last year
The Order in 1996
The Ministry's acknowledgement of the Second War alerted the British population of Lord Voldemort's return. Ministry leaflets were sent to all wizardin homes, warning them against Dark magic and recommending basic safety cautions regarding visitors (HBP2). Dumbledore received one such leaflet; like Harry, he did not find it very useful.
When the Headmaster decided to leave Harry at The Burrow during the summer of 1996, the Ministry imposed heavy safety measures on the house. Dumbledore made Harry promise not to wander off while staying there (HBP4), and Harry kept his word during that summer and the following winter break (HBP16).
The Ministry wanted to send a group of Aurors to escort Harry to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies, but Dumbledore opposed to this. He maintained that Hagrid would be protection enough, and the gamekeeper accompanied Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys while shopping (HBP6).
At some point in 1996, Dumbledore asked Remus Lupin to act as a spy in the werewolf community. The Headmaster knew that Voldemort had been recruiting werewolves, and took advantage of Lupin's condition to obtain more information about this (HBP16). Remus could not exchange letters with the outside world during his mission due to the werewolves' dislike for the wizarding society in general. Nevertheless, Nymphadora Tonks believed him to be in communication with Dumbledore, and perhaps with Harry as well. When she heard rumours that an Order member had been injured, she hurried to Hogwarts to find out if it had been Remus, with whom she was in love (HBP21).
The curse on the Peverell Ring
Dumbledore's many years of research on Voldemort's past allowed him to find the abandoned Gaunt shack in the village of Little Hangleton (HBP23). He discovered the Peverell Ring magically concealed beneath the floorboards in the house, inside a golden box (DH29). Albus immediately recognised the Resurrection Stone, and the thrill of finally having it in his power after yearning for this Hallow for so many years drove him out of his mind. He ignored the fact that the ring was a Horcrux and put it on his finger, hoping to see his family and apologise (DH35).
No such thing happened. The ring was cursed, and Dumbledore's extensive magical knowledge was barely enough to get him safely to Hogwarts. He was heavily injured (DH33). Albus used Godric Gryffindor's sword to break the ring—destroying the Horcrux with the basilisk venom the sword had imbibed, but not ridding the Hallow of its essential properties (DH15)—and summoned Severus Snape to Hogwarts.
When Snape arrived, Dumbledore was semi-conscious. Severus fed him a golden potion, and used several incantations to contain the powerful curse; it was trapped in the Headmaster's injured hand for the time being. Albus did not reveal to Severus the real reason that he had worn or broken it. Snape informed the Headmaster that the curse would grow stronger as time went by, as it had been designed to do; Dumbledore would have perhaps a year left to live.
Albus took the news well, and refused to discuss it any further. Severus had previously informed him of Voldemort's orders that Draco Malfoy should kill Dumbledore, and the Headmaster saw this new development as a chance to save Draco (who would certainly be murdered after failing to complete his task) and to secure that he would die undefeated, thus ending the Elder Wand's bloody history (for the Deathstick would lose its powers if its master died without having been overpowered). If Draco were to fail in his appointed task, Voldemort would in all likelihood ask Snape to carry it out instead. The Dark Lord planned to take over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts at some point in the near future, rendering Snape's role as spy far less useful. It would not do his cause harm, therefore, to expose at last (what Voldemort believed to be) Severus' true allegiance (DH33, DH35).
Knowing all this, Dumbledore asked Snape to give his word that should Hogwarts fall under the Dark Lord's control, Severus would do his best to protect the students. After Snape agreed, Albus added that he should also watch over Draco's attempts to kill the Headmaster, which would certainly injure innocents; Snape acquiesced to this also. Finally, Dumbledore stated that Severus had to kill him. The Headmaster did not wish Draco's soul to be torn apart by the act of his murder; whereas Snape's conscience would dictate whether the merciful act of ridding Dumbledore of his life before the curse did so, or the likes of Bellatrix Lestrange or Fenrir Greyback could have a chance to dispose of him in a cruel way. Albus' request stunned Severus, but he eventually accepted the task (DH33).
A few days later, when Albus visited Horace Slughorn, he wore the ring on his uninjured hand. Slughorn seemed to have recognised it; he frowned upon seeing the ring (HBP4). Harry saw the ring in Dumbledore's office after his first lesson with the Headmaster, on September 2, 1996 (HBP10). By the time of their second lesson, in mid-October, the ring was no longer there (HBP13). Dumbledore had in all likelihood already hidden the ring inside a Snitch that was to be bequeathed to Harry, according to the Headmaster's will (DH7, DH34).
When Dumbledore visited the Dursleys' in July, Harry immediately noticed that the Headmaster's right hand was injured—blackened, as if heavily burnt. It hurt him to use it in any way (HBP4), and Harry later remarked that the hand seemed to have grown stiff (HBP10). Albus refused to tell Harry what had happened, promising to do so another time. The injury was shocking to most people who saw Dumbledore that year, including Slughorn (HBP4) and students in the Sorting Feast (HBP8). Harry repeatedly asked the Headmaster what had hurt his hand during the following year, but Albus did not reply (HBP4, HBP10) until he had explained to Harry the concept of Horcruxes. On that occasion, near the end of the school year, Dumbledore told him what had happened (HBP23).
Visit to the Dursleys'
In July 1996, Dumbledore sent Harry a letter scheduling to pick him up at number four, Privet Drive so that Harry could spend the rest of the holidays at The Burrow. Harry confirmed his willingness to leave Privet Drive by return-owl, and Albus arrived three days later, a fortnight after Harry's holidays had begun. Vernon, who opened the door, was startled to see him—Harry had not forewarned his aunt and uncle of the Headmaster's upcoming visit.
Dumbledore invited himself into the house. When Petunia entered the room, he greeted her (HBP3), mentioning their past correspondence (DH33, PS1 and OP2). Dudley joined them moments afterwards. Albus sat, and announced that he wished to discuss a few matters before leaving the house. He used his wand to have a sofa move towards the Dursleys, knocking the knees out of all three and causing them to sit. He conjured a bottle of Rosmerta's oak-matured mead and five glasses, which, after being filled, floated to each of the room's occupants. The Dursleys refused to drink, and their glasses began nudging the side of their heads. Dumbledore eventually Vanished the three glasses, after reproaching the Dursleys for their impoliteness.
Dumbledore informed Harry that Sirius' will established that Harry should inherit the Black estate, including number twelve, Grimmauld Place. However, Order members were unsure of how safe it was to continue using the building as Headquarters, for it was possible that charms on the building did not permit it to be owned by anyone who was not a pure-blood. If that were the case, Bellatrix Lestrange would inherit the house automatically. Albus provided Harry with a simple way to test whether the house belonged to him: Harry was to summon the house-elf Kreacher, who was bound to the ownership of the house, and give him an order. Harry did so, and proved that Kreacher—though reluctant to accept his new master—was forced to obey him; therefore, Harry was also the rightful owner of number twelve.
Albus also asked Harry whether he objected to the fact that Hagrid had been looking after Buckbeak—who was rechristened Witherwings—since Sirius' death. Harry confirmed that he wished Hagrid to keep the Hippogriff.
Having settled these matters, Dumbledore asked Harry to fetch his belongings from his bedroom. Harry packed quickly and met the Headmaster in the living room. Before the two wizards left, Albus lectured the Dursleys on their cruelty and neglect towards Harry during his time in number four, Privet Drive. He requested that they should allow Harry to return to the house one last time the following summer, for the blood protection spell Dumbledore had cast would last only until Harry turned seventeen years old.
Albus sent Harry's trunk and Hedwig's cage to The Burrow, asking that Harry remain only with the Invisibility Cloak (HBP3). The Headmaster Side-Along-Apparated with Harry to the village of Budleigh Babberton (HBP4).
Dumbledore led Harry to a Muggle house in the village. The purpose of their trip was to convince Horace Slughorn to come out of retirement and rejoin the teaching staff at Hogwarts. Albus expected Slughorn to be far more difficult to persuade than he ended up being, thanks to Harry's presence; the Headmaster sent forth word to the Burrow claiming that he would not arrive there until morning, when in fact they did not remain in Budleigh Babberton for long after midnight.
As they approached the house, Albus saw that it looked heavily damaged, apparently by a violent intruder: the front door hung off its hinges, and the sitting room was completely devastated and torn apart. There was also blood on the walls—Slughorn later confessed that it was dragon blood.
However, this apparent disaster did not fool the Headmaster. He plunged the tip of his wand into the seat of an armchair in the room, causing it to yell in pain. The armchair transformed into Slughorn himself, who complained that Dumbledore had hurt him. Albus pointed out that there had been no Dark Mark cast over the house, and Slughorn bemoaned having forgotten this detail. Both wizards used their wands to rearrange the mess.
Dumbledore introduced Harry to Slughorn, who instantly realised that the Headmaster sought to use Harry as a means to persuade him. He refused the Headmaster's imminent request, and Albus asked him to have at least a drink before he and Harry left.
Slughorn claimed that he was far too old and weary, and that he deserved to enjoy retirement. He also revealed that he had been on the run for a year, never remaining in the same place for over a week—he feared that Dumbledore and Death Eaters would attempt to recruit him. In his opinion, taking a teaching post at Hogwarts at that moment was foolhardy, and equivalent to publicly declaring his allegiance to the Order of the Phoenix.
Albus abruptly stood up and went to the bathroom, leaving Harry alone with Slughorn. The two wizards talked about Harry's parents—especially Lily, who had been a favourite of Slughorn's—and Sirius Black. Slughorn discussed his unwillingness to teach at Hogwarts, but somehow seemed to grow more certain him that it was safer to be close to Dumbledore than not. By the time Albus returned from the bathroom, Horace was nearly convinced. The Headmaster called Harry to leave, and by the time they reached the front door Slughorn had decided to accept the post.
Dumbledore congratulated Harry on persuading Slughorn to teach. Though Harry maintained that he had done nothing to that effect, Albus stated that Horace liked collecting people and contacts—and that he would certainly try to get Harry to join the ranks of his hand-picked favourite students.
Harry and the Headmaster Side-Along-Apparated once more, this time to The Burrow. Before departing, Dumbledore praised Harry for coping well with Sirius' death. He also recommended that Harry should tell Ron and Hermione about the contents of the prophecy.
Albus stated that he wished to have private lessons with Harry over the course of the following year. For safety reasons, he also advised Harry to keep the Cloak with him at all times from then on, and not to risk his own safety by wandering far from The Burrow during his stay there. Harry agreed to do both (HBP4).
During the course of the entire night, Dumbledore failed to mention which subject Slughorn would teach at Hogwarts. This led Harry to assume (mistakenly) that he Horace was to be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher (HBP8).
After leaving Harry in Molly Weasley's care inside The Burrow, Dumbledore Disapparated from the house, stating that he had urgent business to discuss with Rufus Scrimgeour (HBP5).
In the summer of 1996, Fudge visited the Muggle Prime Minister to introduce him to Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister for Magic. Fudge did not understand how Voldemort could be properly alive if he was impossible to kill, and complained that Dumbledore refused to offer further explanation. Nevertheless, he announced Voldemort's return to the Minister; the pair waited for the arrival of Scrimgeour, who took a while to arrive because he had been writing a letter to Albus.
Like Fudge, Scrimgeour was convinced that persuading Harry—whom the Prophet had taken to calling 'the Chosen One' due to rumours about the prophecy that had caused the Battle of the Department of Mysteries—to side with the Ministry was essential. In the two weeks preceding this meeting, Fudge had written letters to the Hogwarts Headmaster twice a day, requesting Harry's assistance, to no avail (HBP1). Dumbledore told him it would be impossible to ensure Harry's cooperation on this matter (HBP17). Scrimgeour persisted in these attempts, but he did not succeed (HBP1). Hours after becoming Minister, he and Dumbledore had a row about Harry, and rumours of it were published in the Prophet (HBP3, HBP17).
Albus knew Scrimgeour to be a man of action who would not underestimate Lord Voldemort, and in this he thought the new Minister was superior to Fudge. Ministry officials helped make arrangements regarding Harry's safety after the boy left Privet Drive: they aided in securing The Burrow (HBP4), and offered to send Aurors to guard Harry on his trip to Diagon Alley (HBP6).
Scrimgeour ordered strict security measures to be set in place at Hogwarts (HBP3), including defensive spells and countercharms and a number of Aurors guarding the school. On September 1, 1996, the Aurors on duty were Nymphadora Tonks, Dawlish, Proudfoot and Savage. Dumbledore cast protection spells on the Hogwarts gates himself, and anti-intruder jinxes were reinforced on the walls surrounding the grounds (HBP8).
In September 1996, Stan Shunpike was arrested for boasting that he knew secret Death Eater plans (HBP11). Dumbledore tried to appeal to Scrimgeour in Stan's favour, to no avail; the Ministry was not willing to admit that there had been a mistaken arrest (HBP16).
The 1996 Sorting Feast
On September 1, 1996, when the Sorting Feast ended, Dumbledore rose to give his speech, as usual. The student body en masse noticed his blackened hand, and started talking about it. When Harry mentioned that it had been injured since the beginning of summer, Hermione speculated that the injury could have been caused by an old curse, or a poison with no known antidote.
Dumbledore announced that Filch had instituted a blanket ban on all Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes items, and introduced Slughorn as the new Potions master. Several students were shocked, and even more so when Albus mentioned that Snape was to take on the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.
The Headmaster also talked about Lord Voldemort's return, and mentioned the reinforced safety measures that the Hogwarts staff had set in place over the summer. He also requested that any suspicious activity should be reported to a teacher at once, and sent the students to bed (HBP8).
Malfoy's murder attempts
Draco Malfoy made two attempts on Dumbledore's life, both of which affected Hogwarts students. Dumbledore, who had asked Snape to watch over Draco and to supervise his efforts to murder the Headmaster, reprimanded Snape and reminded him of his duty after Ron Weasley was injured (HBP19, DH33).
The first consisted in a cursed necklace that Draco had bought at Borgin and Burkes. He cast the Imperius Curse on Madam Rosmerta, and commanded her to give it to a Hogwarts student during the first Hogsmeade visit of the term and to order said student to give it to the Headmaster. Rosmerta gave the necklace to Katie Bell, who touched it by accident and was heavily injured (HBP12, HBP27). Severus Snape used his expertise in the Dark Arts to help Katie soon after the incident, and thus prevented the necklace's curse from spreading. She spent a while in St. Mungo's recovering from the incident. Dumbledore received hourly reports from the St. Mungo's staff, and Healers assured him that she would recover eventually (HBP13).
The second attempt was also carried out with the help of Madam Rosmerta. She poisoned a bottle of oak-matured mead that Slughorn bought to give to Dumbledore as a Christmas present. Slughorn reglected to do so, and opened the bottle on March 1, in celebration of Ron Weasley's birthday. Ron was the first to drink from the bottle, and was immediately affected. Harry saved him by shoving a bezoar down his throat (HBP18, HBP27). He had to narrate the story in full to several people, including Dumbledore, Ginny, Hermione, McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey.
Arthur and Molly Weasley visited Hogwarts after this incident. Dumbledore spoke with them in his office after they had seen Ron, and told them how Harry had saved their son (HBP19).
Harry was extremely suspicious of Draco during the entire school year, and of Snape (HBP6, HBP7, HBP11, HBP12, HBP13, HBP14, HBP15, HBP16, HBP17, HBP18, HBP19, HBP21, HBP24, HBP25). Despite several Order members' insistence that Snape was trustworthy, Harry suspected otherwise, especially after overhearing Severus offering to help Draco with the plans to murder Dumbledore (HBP16). Ron, Hermione, McGonagall and Dumbledore had similarly nonchalant reactions when Harry voiced his concerns (HBP7, HBP11, HBP12, HBP13, HBP17).
Dumbledore knew that Malfoy was responsible for the attacks, but he did not wish to confront Draco. The Headmaster suspected that Lord Voldemort would murder Draco upon learning that the Headmaster suspected Draco's involvement in the murder attempts. Albus spoke to Draco about this only during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower; he then offered Draco the chance to abandon the Dark Lord's side and to give his allegiance to Dumbledore himself, in exchange for protection for the Malfoys (HBP27).
Dumbledore was frequently absent from Hogwarts during the following year. He hardly ever had meals with the rest of the school (HBP11), and often left the school, only to return several days later (HBP12). While away, Dumbledore attempted to find out more about Voldemort's past, and to look for the four Horcruxes he had not yet found (HBP23); in June, he found the location of the Cave to which Riddle had taken Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop as a child, where the adult Voldemort had hidden Slytherin's locket, one of his Horcruxes (HBP13, HBP25, HBP26, DH10).
The Minister for Magic was extremely curious to know where Dumbledore went in his prolongued absences from the school. Scrimgeour ordered Dawlish to follow the Headmaster on one such occasion, and Albus, who found the attempt somewhat amusing, hexed the Auror (HBP17).
Albus was not at the school when Katie Bell was affected by the cursed necklace. For this reason, Harry could not report his suspicions about Draco Malfoy to the Headmaster, and had to talk to Minerva McGonagall instead. He also planned to tell Dumbledore that Mundungus had been selling stolen Black heirlooms in Hogsmeade (HBP12).
Aberforth Dumbledore bought at least one item from Mundungus—the two-way mirror that had once belonged to Sirius—because Albus had informed him that Harry had the other half of the pair of mirrors. After the Headmaster's death, Aberforth used the mirror to watch Harry from a distance; he sent Dobby to rescue Harry from Malfoy Manor after Harry used the mirror to call for help (DH23, DH28).
The Headmaster had already been informed of both facts when Harry next spoke to him (HBP13); Aberforth, who had met Mundungus in Hogsmeade (HBP12), presumably told his brother about Mundungus' latest actions. However, after Harry confronted him in Hogsmeade, Mundungus disappeared, fearing having to face Dumbledore (HBP13).
After hearing rumours that Fenrir Greyback had injured someone, Nymphadora Tonks, worried about Remus, left her guarding post and entered the Hogwarts castle looking for Dumbledore. He was not at the school (HBP21).
Sybill Trelawney visited the Headmaster's office several times in the years of 1996 and 1997. She sought to warn Dumbledore that the cards had shown her a warning every time she laid them out: the lightning-struck tower—disaster, calamity—was drawing nearer. The Headmaster hinted that he would prefer fewer such visits from her, and Trelawney was extremely offended (HBP25).
She was also displeased with the fact that, despite her return to the Divination teaching post, Dumbledore had allowed Firenze to stay at the school, and had determined that the two teachers would share the subject (HBP15, HBP20). The Headmaster knew that the Forbidden Forest herd would not allow Firenze to return, and that Trelawney would be in great danger if she left the castle. Sybill had no idea that Voldemort would wish her harm, for she did not remember having made the prophecy whose full contents he sought to learn (HBP20).
Confrontations with Snape
At some point in early 1996, Snape and Dumbledore had an argument in the castle grounds near the Forest, which Hagrid overheard; he mentioned it to Harry on March 1 of the same year (HBP19). Severus was curious to find out what Albus' lengthy meetings with Harry Potter were about; it offended him to hear that the Headmaster was giving Harry information that he seemed to deem Snape unworthy of having.
Dumbledore claimed that he did not wish to reveal all his secrets to one person—especially one who spent as much time near Voldemort as Snape did, even though he did so on the Headmaster's orders. Severus was quick to point out Harry's inability to do Occlumency, but Albus stated that Voldemort would never again try to use the connection between his and Harry's minds due to what had happened in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
When the Headmaster mentioned Severus' promise to kill him, Severus was furious. "You refuse to tell me everything, yet you expect that small service of me!" he snarled. "You take a great deal for granted, Dumbledore! Perhaps I have changed my mind!"
Dumbledore reminded Snape that he had given his word to carry out the murder in question, and that he seemed to be neglecting the task of watching Draco Malfoy closely. Seeing that Severus' anger had not subsided, Albus asked him to come to the Headmaster's office at eleven o'clock that same night.
Snape complied, and there the Headmaster explained to him—still not disclosing the exact nature of Harry's task—that Harry would have something to accomplish, and that at some point this would lead Voldemort to fear for Nagini's life. The Dark Lord would seek to protect her, and to keep her close to him. When this happened, it would be Severus' job to give Harry a message from Dumbledore: that when Voldemort tried to kill one-year-old Harry, the rebounding Killing Curse caused part of Voldemort's soul to break apart from the rest and latch onto that of the only living person in the building—Harry himself. Until this piece of soul remained unharmed, no one could kill Voldemort. It was crucial, therefore, that Harry should die, and that the Dark Lord himself should commit this murder. Albus trusted Harry to have made arrangements by then (to have destroyed enough Horcruxes) so that his own life would be the final obstacle preventing the Dark Lord's demise.
Severus was stunned and horror-struck to hear this. He believed that he had been working all those years to help Lily's son survive, not to watch him grow until it was time to see him killed. Albus noted that this concern was touching, and wondered if Severus had learned to care for Harry after all (DH33). Snape angrily cast a Patronus Charm, and Dumbledore saw that Severus' Patronus was still a doe, like Lily's (DH33, DH36). "After all this time?" the Headmaster asked, with tears in his eyes. Snape replied, "Always." (DH33).
Dumbledore made arrangements for Harry to spend Christmas with the Weasleys at the Burrow in 1996 (HBP7). He made Harry promise not to wander off while staying there, and Harry obeyed (HBP16). Harry had overheard Snape and Draco talking about Draco's plans and the Unbreakable Vow shortly before leaving the castle (HBP15), and planned to tell Dumbledore as soon as he returned to Hogwarts (HBP16).
In the middle of the Weasleys' Christmas lunch, Percy arrived, accompanied by Rufus Scrimgeour. The Minister acted as though Percy had wished to see the family, but his lie became obvious when he invited Harry to show him around the garden.
Scrimgeour, acting friendly and understanding, attempted to convince Harry to behave as though he supported the Ministry's cause. The Minister sought to use Harry's reputation as 'the Chosen One' to enhance the British wizarding community's support for the Scrimgeour administration.
Harry adamantly refused to help Scrimgeour, citing Stan Shunpike's imprisonment as an example of his disagreement with the Ministry's policies. Harry also refused to reveal what he and Dumbledore had discussed about Trelawney's prophecy, and where the Headmaster went is his frequent trips from Hogwarts. Much to Scrimgeour's irritation, Harry, like Dumbledore, preferred not to be associated with the Ministry. Harry warned Scrimgeour against opposing the Hogwarts Headmaster—such an attitude had brought no good to the previous Minister, Cornelius Fudge—and professed his loyalty to Dumbledore (HBP16).
After returning to Hogwarts, Harry told Dumbledore about his meeting with Scrimgeour, noting that the Minister was not very pleased with Harry. Albus sighed and said, "No, he is not very happy with me either. We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on," causing Harry to grin. The Headmaster explained that using Harry to boost the Ministry's morale had been Fudge's idea. Dumbledore was very touched to hear Harry's avowal of loyalty (HBP17).
When Harry and Dumbledore visited Slughorn, the Headmaster mentioned that he wished to have private lessons with Harry that year (HBP4). On September 2, Albus sent Harry a letter via Jack Sloper, scheduling the first lesson for the following Saturday, at eight PM; according to the message, the password to the Headmaster's office was "Acid Pops" (HBP9). Snape had scheduled a detention for Harry that Saturday, but Albus spoke to him and requested that he reschedule the detention.
Harry had no idea of what these lessons with Dumbledore would entail, but the Headmaster explained that they would consist of theories and guesswork that he had pieced together over many years' worth of research into Lord Voldemort's past. Albus led Harry into the Pensieve in his office, and poured into it a memory he had obtained from Bob Ogden, a Ministry official who had visited the Gaunts in their shack right outside Little Hangleton. The Headmaster led Harry inside the memory, which showed Ogden going to the Gaunt house in order to warn Morfin Gaunt of an upcoming Ministry hearing he would face for having attacked Tom Riddle, Sr.. Marvolo was unsympathetic and hostile, and refused to heed wizarding law; Ogden returned fifteen minutes later with reinforcements to arrest both Morfin and Marvolo. Both wizards were sent to Azkaban.
Dumbledore used this memory to give Harry a glimpse into the Gaunt family dynamics—clearly dysfunctional and deranged—and to introduce him to two items that were to become Horcruxes. Marvolo was wearing the Peverell Ring when Ogden arrived, and flaunted both the ring and Slytherin's locket in front of Ogden, claiming them to be proof of the Gaunts' noble ancestry and worth.
Tom Riddle, Sr. also passed by the shack on horseback with a girl named Cecilia during Ogden's visit; their presence had a clear effect on Merope, and Morfin taunted her for liking Riddle. Marvolo was furious to hear this, and attempted to strangle Merope. Ogden saved her with the use of the Relashio spell, and Marvolo's anger turned on him instead; he had to flee the house to avoid being murdered.
Dumbledore explained to Harry that Merope had in all likelihood used a Love Potion to get Riddle to marry her once Morfin and Marvolo had been sent to Azkaban. When Marvolo's sentence came to an end, he returned home to find that Merope had run away with her husband; he never mentioned her existence after this. Some months later, Tom Riddle returned to his parents' house alone, leaving his pregnant wife. Albus guessed that Merope had hoped Riddle either had fallen in love with her regardless of the potion, or would stay with her because of their unborn child she still carried in her womb; either way, she stopped giving him the potion.
Before Harry left the Headmaster's office, he asked whether he should tell Ron and Hermione what he learned in these lessons. Albus gave him permission to do so. Harry was on his way out when he saw Marvolo's ring on a table, and recognised it at once (HBP10).
Dumbledore poured into the Pensieve the memory of Caractacus Burke, which revealed that Merope had been in London after Riddle left her. She was nearing the end of her pregnancy, and desperately needed money; for this reason, she sold her most precious possession, the Slytherin locket, to Burke for ten Galleons. Albus believed that Merope stopped using magic altogether when Riddle left her.
The next memory was Dumbledore's; it showed him visiting to the orphanage where the boy Tom Marvolo Riddle lived in order to inform Riddle that there was a place for him at Hogwarts. In the memory, Mrs. Cole revealed the circumstances of Riddle's birth, and her impressions regarding his character and his interaction with other orphans. Albus met Tom shortly afterwards. The boy's tendency to cruelty was obvious, as was his penchant for amassing trinkets as trophies for his bullying.
Dumbledore pointed out to Harry that young Voldemort's dislike for his own first name, 'Tom,' indicated his belief that he was extraordinary, and his unwillingness to have such a commonplace name. The Headmaster also remarked Riddle was already friendless and independent at that point, and that the adult Voldemort behaved in a similar way (HBP13).
In this lesson, Dumbledore continued the story of Lord Voldemort, telling Harry how the young Tom Riddle had charmed most teachers at Hogwarts, with the notable exception of Albus himself. The Headmaster had not been able to find people who were willing to share their account of Voldemort's years at Hogwarts, but piecing together information from various sources he had found out that Riddle was obsessed with investigating his own heritage. In the summer after his fifth year, Tom went to the village of Little Hangleton.
Albus guided Harry into the Pensieve once more, showing him a memory of Morfin Gaunt's which revealed Morfin's run-in with teenage Riddle in the Gaunt shack. During the course of their brief conversation, Tom learned that Marvolo had died, and that Riddle, Sr. had abandoned Merope years ago and returned to his parents' home. The memory ended abruptly, and Dumbledore explained that Morfin could remember nothing from that point onwards.
Meanwhile, the Riddle family had been mordered. While Muggle authorities were unable to solve the crime, the Ministry immediately suspected Morfin, who proudly confessed that he had murdered the Riddles. However, the Peverell ring that he had worn during the conversation with Tom had disappeared. Dumbledore shared with Harry the conviction that Voldemort had manipulated Morfin and altered his memory in order to get away with the Riddles' murder.
Dumbledore showed Harry another memory in this lesson, one he had obtained from Horace Slughorn. According to the Headmaster, this was the most important memory of all: it showed Tom asking Slughorn—of whom he was a prized student—what he knew about Horcruxes. However, the memory had been tempered with; it did not show the real version of what had happened. Instead, Slughorn reacted as though he were offended by Tom's question, and ordered him to leave the office at once.
The Headmaster believed that Slughorn had altered this memory because he was ashamed of what he had done at the time, and did not wish to reveal it to Albus. It was crucial to find out the truth about what had happened that day, and Dumbledore gave Harry the homework assignment of getting the real memory from Slughorn. He knew that Veritaserum and Legilimency would not work on Slughorn, who would anticipate both; Harry's unique status and abilities were far more likely to succeed in procuring the memory (HBP17).
Harry tried to ask Slughorn for the memory once, after a Potions class, but Horace immediately guessed that Dumbledore had asked him to do so, and refused to comply with Harry's request (HBP18). On March 10, 1997, Luna Lovegood delivered a message from Dumbledore to Harry, scheduling their next lesson for that same evening.
Albus was clearly disappointed to hear that Harry had not obtained the memory; he knew that Harry had not tried hard enough to get it. Harry offered sincere apologies, and vowed to devote himself to the task.
In this lesson, Dumbledore revealed what little information he could obtain over the years about Voldemort's adult life, along with two memories. The first was that of a house-elf named Hokey, and the second was a memory of Voldemort's visit to Hogwarts shortly after Albus became Headmaster. Before sharing these memories, Dumbledore told Harry about Voldemort's graduation from Hogwarts. All teachers had high hopes for him, but Riddle refused all their offers, and soon started working at Borgin and Burkes. He wished to remain at Hogwarts, teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, but Dumbledore strongly opposed the idea, and Armando Dippet decided that eighteen-year-old Riddle was still too young to teach.
Voldemort's job at Borgin and Burkes consisted of convincing people who owned powerful magical artefacts to sell them to the store. He met an old collector named Hepzibah Smith in the course of his job, who grew very fond of him. The memory of Hokey, her house-elf, showed that Voldemort eventually found out that Hepzibah owned Slytherin's locket and Hufflepuff's cup, two priceless Founder relics. Voldemort coveted these items; Hepzibah died two days later, and the two artefacts disappeared from her collection. Much like Morfin before her, Hokey had her memories altered, and confessed that she had poisoned Hepzibah by accident.
Albus believed that Voldemort coveted Hufflepuff's cup due to his attachment to Hogwarts; in all likelihood, he saw Slytherin's locket as his birthright.
The second memory was one of Dumbledore's, which showed the day that Voldemort came to Hogwarts to request the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Albus did not share with Harry his suspicions regarding the reasons that Voldemort wished to return to the school; he said he would do so only after Harry obtained Slughorn's memory (HBP20).
Harry used the Felix Felicis potion he had received as prize earlier that year (HBP9) in order to convince Slughorn to give him the memory (HBP22). He ran to Dumbledore's office shortly after obtaining it; it was late at night, but Nearly Headless Nick informed Harry that Albus had just arrived to the castle. Harry's success delighted the Headmaster.
Albus and Harry witnessed Slughorn's memory, which confirmed the Headmaster's suspicions: teenage Riddle had approached Slughorn only to find out whether it was possible to create more than one Horcrux—to split one's soul in seven parts, in particular, for seven is the most powerful magical number (DH6, HBP23). After leaving the memory, Dumbledore explained to Harry that Voldemort had probably succeeded in creating five of the six Horcruxes he had planned to make before attacking the Potters in Godric's Hollow.
In Dumbledore's opinion, Voldemort preferred Horcruxes to the Elixir of Life as means to achieve immortality, because he would have become entirely dependent on the Elixir if he were to use it. Voldemort would have had to drink it regularly; if the Stone used to produce it or his stock of Elixir were to disappear, he would have died.
Albus revealed to Harry that he had destroyed the Peverell ring in July of the previous year, thus injuring his hand. He also reminded the boy that Harry himself had destroyed another Horcrux—Riddle's diary. Four Horcruxes remained. Dumbledore was certain that Voldemort preferred to use objects of great importance to store his soul, and two of these Horcruxes were in all likelihood Slytherin's locket and Hufflepuff's cup. Voldemort probably tried to procure something related to Ravenclaw and Gryffindor as well, but the only relic known to have been Godric's was his sword, which was safe in the Headmaster's office.
Dumbledore believed that searching for another Founder relic could have been the reason that Voldemort wished to return to Hogwarts on the day that he applied for the teaching post (HBP23). In truth, however, Voldemort wanted to hide Ravenclaw's diadem in the Room of Requirement (DH31, DH32). Albus guessed that the snake Nagini was a Horcrux as well—the sixth one, which the Dark Lord had made after meeting Peter Pettigrew in Albania. The Headmaster noticed this because Voldemort seemed to have a lot of control over her, even considering his Parselmouth skills.
Albus revealed to Harry that he was perhaps close to finding another Horcrux, and Harry asked whether he could accompany the Headmaster to destroy it; Dumbledore agreed, believing that Harry had earned the right to do so.
Harry asked whether Voldemort could feel when a Horcrux was destroyed, and Albus voiced his belief that the Dark Lord could not. He had been furious to discover that Lucius Malfoy had used the diary in 1992, for instance.
It was imperative to destroy all the Horcruxes before attempting to kill Voldemort. After losing them, he would be a mortal man, but his great magical skills would be intact. Harry complained that he could not match the Dark Lord's power, and Dumbledore retorted that he was capable of love, which is the secret power that Trelawney's prophecy mentioned.
Dumbledore stressed once more that the prophecy was only relevant because Voldemort had chosen to make it so. In attempting to murder Harry as a child, the Dark Lord had effectively created his greatest enemy—one who could share his mind and feelings, a skill that gave Harry valuable leverage. Despite Harry's intimate connection to the dark side, never had he been tempted to join it, because of his love for his parents and friends. This purity of heart was what led Harry to see the Stone in the Mirror of Erised in 1992—few wizards would have been selfless enough to see it. Harry's soul was so whole that Voldemort could not even possess him, as he had discovered in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
Albus concluded by reminding Harry that he would have wanted to kill Voldemort regardless of the prophecy. It did not necessarily create a sense of obligation for Harry; it simply allowed him to receive powers because of which Voldemort would eventually be defeated. The prophecy guaranteed that Voldemort would continue to chase after Harry, which means that one would certainly kill the other at some point (HBP23).
Departure to the Cave
After confirming the location of the cave where Voldemort had hidden one of his Horcruxes, Dumbledore sent Harry a letter via Jimmy Peakes, summoning Harry to the Headmaster's office as soon as possible. Harry correctly guessed that Albus had found another Horcrux (HBP25), and was fulfilling his promise to take Harry along with him to destroy it (HBP23).
Dumbledore warned McGonagall that he would have to leave the school for a few hours, and instructed Order members—Remus, Bill and Tonks—to patrol the corridors along with her. All secret passages into the school were covered as well, and the protection spells around the castle ensured that no one could fly to the Hogwarts grounds (HBP29).
While on his way to Dumbledore's office, Harry ran into Sybill Trelawney, who told him that she had heard someone—Harry suspected it was Draco Malfoy—celebrating inside the Room of Requirement. Harry recommended that she should tell the Headmaster about this, and Trelawney reluctantly agreed.
Trelawney and Harry talked for a while, and she told him the story of her job interview. Harry, who knew this to be the day when she had made the prophecy concerning him, was furious to hear that Severus Snape was the Death Eater that had overheard the prediction. He ran to the Headmaster's office. Dumbledore assured him that Snape was still a faithful Death Eater at the time, but that he had deeply regretted having informed Voldemort when he realised that the Dark Lord was seeking to kill Lily and James Potter.
Harry voiced his doubts that Snape was on the Order's side, mentioning that Severus was an excellent Occlumens; he also pointed out that Snape and Draco were in all likelihood planning to do something that night, given Malfoy's joyful outburst in the Room of Requirement. Albus reaffirmed his trust in Snape, and sternly told Harry to drop the subject.
Before leaving the castle, Dumbledore established one condition that Harry had to agree to in order to accompany him on this trip: unconditional obedience to Albus' every order. Harry consented to this and, on the Headmaster's orders, went to Gryffindor Tower to fetch his Cloak, and met Dumbledore in the Entrance Hall. While in the Tower, he gave Ron and Hermione his bottle of Felix Felicis, asking them to watch Draco and Snape that evening, with the help of all DA members they were able to assemble.
Dumbledore and Harry—who was wearing the Invisibility Cloak—left the Hogwarts castle minutes later, under the pretense that the Headmaster was going to Hogsmeade for a drink. They passed by the Three Broomsticks; the Headmaster greeted Rosmerta, but claimed to be on his way to the Hog's Head. Once they reached the entrance of the pub, Dumbledore Side-Along-Apparated with Harry to the cave (HBP25).
Entering the Cave
The cave was a location to which young Riddle had taken two children from the orphanage during a summer trip, terrifying them. It was hidden under a cliff of difficult access for Muggles. Harry and Dumbledore had to swim to approach it; the Headmaster held his lit wand in his teeth to guide them as they entered a narrow passageway. After swimming for a while, they arrived at steps leading to a large cave. Albus used his wand to examine the surroundings; he said that the place had known magic, which led him to believe that they had reached their destination, and that only the obstacles Voldemort had built were between them and the concealed Horcrux.
After observing the cave for some time, Dumbledore concluded that they were in the entrance chamber, and started stroking the walls of the cave, muttering strange words in a language that Harry could not comprehend. He walked around the cave twice before finding the hidden entrance. Albus pointed his wand at a specific spot, and the bright white outline of an arch appearred.
Harry congratulated him for finding it, which led the Headmaster to realise that the boy was cold in his drenched robes. Albus waved his wand, drying Harry's clothes in a second, before focusing on the wall once more. The arched outline had disappeared by now. He stared at the wall for two minutes before realising that the wall required blood to allow passage. Dumbledore seemed disappointed at the tastelessness of this requirement, and used a silver knife he had inside his robes to make a cut in the forearm of his blackened hand. Harry was about to offer his blood, but the Headmaster did not let him, claiming that Harry's blood was worth more than his own.
Albus quickly healed the cut. The bright white outline returned, and the part of the rock wall that it outlined faded. Dumbledore and Harry entered, and saw a great black lake, in the middle of which there was an island that gave off a misty green glow. The Headmaster was certain that the Horcrux was on this island.
Harry suggested that they try a Summoning Charm to fetch it, and Dumbledore encouraged him to do so. In response, one of the Inferi hidden in the lake surfaced about twenty feet away from them, and submerged again. Albus guessed that this was the reaction Voldemort had planned for when someone made an attempt to get the Horcrux (HBP26).
After walking on the bank of the lake for a while, Dumbledore noticed signs of magical concealment again. He waved his hand in midair until he managed to hold on to a thick invisible chain, which he subsequently used his wand to reveal. He tapped it with his wand once more, and the chain began sliding through his fist and falling to the ground, bringing a small boat closer to the two wizards.
Albus believed that the boat would be a safe method of transportation to reach the island, for Voldemort had probably created it for his own use. He guessed that the boat had been enchanted not to allow but one wizard—and Harry would not count as such, for he was underage. Harry and Dumbledore entered the boat, and it moved towards the island of its own accord. During the passage to the island, Harry saw a human hand under the water, and a dead human body; this did not surprise the Headmaster. He expected the Inferi to react only once he got the Horcrux, at which point he would counter their attack with fire, which was known to frighten the creatures.
They arrived at the island after a few minutes. At its center, there was a stone basin on a pedestal, filled with an emerald green potion. Neither wizard was able to touch the liquid—the air surrounding it held them off—and Dumbledore could not Transfigure, Vanish, charm, modify or move the potion in any way. He guessed that the potion was meant to be drunk, and that its effects would cause the drinker to be somehow distracted from his original purpose in coming to the island. The drinker would probably not be killed, because Voldemort would want to interrogate anyone who had gotten this close to one of his Horcruxes.
Dumbledore stated that he would drink it, for Harry was too valuable to risk himself thus; he asked Harry only to force him to keep drinking if his will should falter at some point. He reminded Harry of the promise made in the Headmaster's office, before leaving Hogwarts—Harry had vowed to obey Dumbledore in all circumstances. Harry acquiesced.
Albus conjured a crystal goblet (which was allowed to touch the liquid inside the basin) and started drinking the potion with his eyes closed. He was, perhaps, in pain. Halfway through his fourth gobletful, he staggered and fell against the basin. From that point onwards, Dumbledore seemed to be trapped between a painful, frightening hallucination and reality. "I don't want...don't make me," he begged.
Harry grudgingly forced him to keep drinking, lying that the potion would make the Headmaster feel better. Dumbledore screamed in pain as he obeyed Harry's orders with childlike trust, sobbing and shaking, "It's all my fault, all my fault... Please make it stop, I know I did wrong, oh please make it stop and I'll never, never again..." Still Harry followed his instructions, and made him drink more. "Don't hurt them, don't hurt them, please, please, it's my fault, hurt me instead," Albus pleaded (HBP26).
A year later, Harry mentioned this event to Aberforth. Harry understood then that Dumbledore had thought himself back at home, watching Grindelwald hurt Aberforth and Ariana (DH28).
After the tenth goblet, Albus started screaming that he wanted to die. When he drank the next goblet, he yelled, asking to be killed. The twelfth gobletful was the last; as soon as the Headmaster finished drinking, he rolled over and lay still on the floor. Harry tried to use the Rennervate spell on him, with no visible consequences. However, Dumbledore opened his eyes shortly afterwards. He asked for water; Harry performed the Aguamenti spell several times, but the water always vanished as soon as it approached Albus' lips.
Harry realised that the only way to get water the one that Voldemort had planned: to approach the lake and fill the goblet with its cold water. He did so, and tipped the water over the nearly unconscious Dumbledore's face. An Inferius held Harry's wrist, and attempted to pull Harry into the lake; meanwhile, many other Inferi rose from the water as well.
Harry used the Body-Bind Curse agaist the Inferius, and it released him. He cast the same spell, as well as Incarcerous and Impedimenta, on the Inferi that were beginning to climb on the island. These cuses were not enough to deter the large number of Inferi approaching. Harry tried to use Sectumsempra as well, but the gash made by the spell was bloodless and did not affect the corpses. Harry backed away from them, and fell into the arms of a group that was behind him. They started dragging him towards the lake, when Dumbledore reacted: he stood up and conjured fire to keep the Inferi from moving closer to the water.
The corpses let Harry go, and desperately tried to move away from the fire, which was surrounding the two wizards for protection. Having distracted the creatures, Albus got a golden locket from inside the now empty basin and led Harry back to the boat. When the Inferi reached the edge of the island, they returned to their previous underwater stillness.
Dumbledore was clearly very weak; the frailty of his voice and appearance frightened Harry. Nevertheless, the Headmaster succeeded in maintaining the ring of fire around the boat until the journey back to the bank was finished.
Harry urged Albus to lean on him on the way back. Harry used his blood (he had cut himself on the island) to open the way out of this part of the cave, and helped the Headmaster enter the water (HBP26). They soon returned to open air, and Harry Side-Along-Apparated with Dumbledore back to Hogsmeade (HBP27).
Battle of the Astronomy Tower
When Harry and Albus arrived in Hogsmeade, the Headmaster immediately told Harry he needed the help of Severus Snape. Before Harry could think of a way to fetch Snape, Rosmerta approached the two wizards; she was clearly distressed, and Dumbledore asked her what was wrong. She pointed out to them the Dark Mark, hovering over Hogwarts, and claimed that it had appeared minutes ago.
Dumbledore was somewhat strengthened by his resolve to return to Hogwarts at once, and asked Rosmerta to borrow broomsticks form her. He also requested that she should send a message to the Ministry, calling for help.
Albus ordered Harry to put on his Invisibility Cloak before climbing on the broomstick. Both wizards flew towards the school while Dumbledore muttered enchantments under his breath, undoing his protective spells around the Hogwarts grounds in order to allow them to enter. Upon closer inspection, they noticed that the Dark Mark was hovering on top of the Astronomy Tower, the highest in the castle (HBP27). The Death Eater Gibbon had set off the Mark and left the Tower's topmost chamber, fearing to face Dumbledore on his own; Gibbon ran downstairs, and was hit by a stray Killing Curse that had been meant for Remus Lupin (HBP29).
They landed at the top of the Tower, and saw that it was deserted. Dumbledore ordered Harry to fetch Severus, but before Harry could leave the door opened, and Draco Malfoy entered. Draco Disarmed the Headmaster, who chose to Petrify Harry (instead of defending himself) the second that he realised what was about to happen.
Draco informed Albus that there were Death Eaters in the school, and that they were duelling against Order members. Draco had come to the tower ahead of the others in order to carry out the task he had been ordered to do. Dumbledore encouraged him to do so; Draco did nothing and the Headmaster smiled, convinced that the boy was not a murderer. He claimed that Draco's attempts to murder him earlier that year were both feeble and desperate.
Draco explained how he had used a pair of Vanishing Cabinets to introduce Death Eaters into the school, and Dumbledore guessed that he had cast the Imperius Curse on Rosmerta so that she could give Katie the cursed necklace and poison Slughorn's mead. Rosmerta also notified Draco that Albus had left the school for a drink.
Dumbledore offered Draco sanctuary, and protection for his parents in case Draco chose to ally himself with the Headmaster. Before Draco could make a decision, four Death Eaters entered the room: Amycus and Alecto Carrow, Fenrir Greyback and Thorfinn Rowle.
The newcomers congratulated Draco for cornering Dumbledore, and mocked the Headmaster for the vulnerable situation in which he found himself. Dumbledore noticed that Greyback had taken to caniballism even while in human shape, and was disgusted.
The four Death Eaters were under orders not to attack Albus; it was Draco's job to do it. However, Draco hesitated—he was shaking. Greyback stepped forward to kill the Headmaster, and Rowle used his wand to move him away from Dumbledore. Alecto Carrow grew impatient, and was about to offer to commit the murder when Severus Snape climbed up the stairs and entered the room.
Amycus pointed out to Snape that Draco seemed unable to carry out the task. Dumbledore turned to Snape, and called his name. Snape rushed forwards, shoving Draco out of the way. The Headmaster pleaded, "Severus... please..."
Snape gazed at Albus for an instant, and decided to fulfill their agreement. He used the Killing Curse on Dumbledore, whose body fell backwards, out of the Tower window (HBP27).
The Headmaster's death undid the Body-Bind Hex that he had cast on Harry. When the Death Eaters left the Tower and ran out of the castle, he pursued them, and duelled briefly with Snape. Harry's intervention did not prevent all Death Eaters from leaving the school—with the exception of Gibbon, who died during the battle—including Severus (HBP28).
After the Battle
After the Death Eaters fled the school, Dumbledore's corpse was surrounded by several stunned students. Rubeus Hagrid—who had not believed Harry's earlier claim that the Headmaster was dead—realised the truth upon seeing it. Harry knelt beside the body, straightened Dumbledore's glasses and wiped a bit of blood off the corpse's mouth.
Moments later, Harry realised that the locket had fallen out of Albus' pocket; he opened it, and saw that it was not a real Horcrux. Instead, there was a note from Regulus Black inside the object, stating that he had stolen Slytherin's locket and planned to destroy it. Harry was devastated to realise that Dumbledore had died for nothing (HBP28). Harry did not leave the body until Ginny Weasley persuaded him to do so, and went with him to the hospital wing.
There Harry met several Order members, and told them what had transpired that evening. They grieved over the Headmaster's death, and were shocked to hear that Snape had betrayed Dumbledore's trust.
Afterwards, Hagrid moved Dumbledore's body from near the tower, while Sprout sent the students to bed. Slughorn informed the Ministry of what had happened. McGonagall led Harry to the Headmaster's office—which opened for her, who was presumably the new headmistress—and asked him what he and Dumbledore had done that evening. Harry refused to tell her this, in obedience to Albus' order not to tell anyone save for Ron and Hermione about the Horcruxes.
Sprout, Flitwick, Hagrid and Slughorn joined them moments later and they discussed the future of the school and Dumbledore's upcoming funeral. A portrait of Albus had already appeared in a frame over the desk; he was asleep when they entered.
McGonagall was of the opinion that Hogwarts should not reopen the following year, but Sprout disagreed. Though unsure whether Hogwarts would have pupils, she agreed with Flitwick's suggestion to consult the school governors about the matter. The teachers agreed to have Dumbledore's funeral at Hogwarts, and to send the students home after that (HBP29). Some parents withdrew their children from the school early, but most students stayed to attend the funeral (HBP30).
On the days before Dumbledore's funeral, all inns in Hogsmeade began getting crowded with wizards and witches come to pay their respects to the deceased Headmaster. The Beauxbatons carriage also came to Hogwarts, bearing Olympe Maxime. A delegation of Ministry of Magic officials, among which Rufus Scrimgeour and Percy Weasley was accomodated in the Hogwarts castle.
Meanwhile, Hermione dedicated herself to the search for the identity of "R.A.B.," to no avail. Wizarding news reported that the Ministry was searching for Severus Snape, with no success.
In the morning of Albus' funeral, all students wore dress robes at breakfast. The Heads of House—with Slughorn replacing Snape as Head of Slytherin—led students outside, where a great number of chairs were placed before a large white marble table. Neville Longbottom and Bill Weasley, who had been injured in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, left the hospital wing in time to come to the funeral.
Among the people in attendance were Aberforth Dumbledore, Irma Pince, Argus Filch, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Nymphadora Tonks, Alastor Moody, Remus Lupin, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Fred and George Weasley, Fleur Delacour, Madame Maxime, Tom the barkeeper, Donaghan Tremlett, Arabella Figg, Ernie Prang, Madam Malkin, the food trolley witch, Cornelius Fudge, Rita Skeeter, Dolores Umbridge and Firenze and all the Hogwarts ghosts. Rufus Scrimgeour and Minerva McGonagall sat on the front row.
The funeral began with a chorus of merpeople unexpectedly coming right below the surface of the Great Lake to sing a song of loss and despair. Rubeus Hagrid, crying, carried Dumbledore's corpse to the marble table; it was wrapped in purple velvet spangled with gold stars. After doing so, Hagrid sat near the back of the group, beside Grawp.
A small, tufty-haired man in black robes gave a speech about Albus; while he was speaking, the group of merpeople surfaced to hear the speech, and centaurs approached the edge of the Forbidden Forest. After the man finished talking, bright white flames rose high around the body, making white smoke rise in the air; the fire disappeared, and in its place there was a white marble tomb. The centaurs released a shower of arrows before returning to the Forest. The merpeople also sank back into the lake (HBP30). The white flames did not burn the deceased Headmaster's body; months later, his body was still somewhat well-preserved, as was the Elder Wand, with which he was entombed (DH24).
After the funeral ended, Rufus Scrimgeour approached Harry to try to find out where he and Dumbledore had gone before the Battle. Harry said nothing. Scrimgeour offered him Aurors for his safety, but Harry declined, believing that such protection would not help shield him from Voldemort. The Minister reiterated his Christmas request. Harry restated that he was "Dumbledore's man through and through," and refused (HBP30).
Reactions to Dumbledore's death
Elphias Doge's obituary
In early July, a few days after Dumbledore's death, his childhood friend Elphias Doge wrote an obituary, published in the Prophet, praising the late Headmaster's character.
In this obituary, Elphias narrated the circumstances of his first meeting with Albus, when they were both about to start studying at Hogwarst. Doge voiced his thankfulness for Dumbledore's friendly and kind disposition, mentioning his keen intellect and brilliant career. Doge narrated also Kendra and Ariana's deaths and the effect they had on teenage Albus (DH2).
The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore
Rita Skeeter published a nine-hundred-page book about Dumbledore four weeks after his death. The biography, entitled The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, portrayed the late Headmaster in a dubious—if not outright negative—perspective. Skeeter viewed all his life's achievements with scorn and disbelief, and used the book to discredit him (DH2). The biography mentioned his father Percival Dumbledore's alleged hatred of Muggles and his imprisonment for the murder of three boys, and posited that Ariana was a Squib, forced by her self-conscious mother to remain in house arrest for her entire life (DH11). Most notably, the book revealed Albus' teenage friendship with Gellert Grindelwald, and his willingness to help the latter accomplish wizard domination over the world (DH18).
Other aspects of Dumbledore's life Rita questioned in the book were the merit of his 1945 defeat over Grindelwald, the real purpose of the Order of the Phoenix, his close relationship with Harry and Harry's inexplicable presence in the Astronomy Tower at the time of the Headmaster's death (DH2).
In order to write this biography, Skeeter based herself predominantly on the memories of Bathilda Bagshot, who was very old at the time and weak enough to fall prey to Skeeter's magical investigation methods (such as Veritaserum and perhaps Legilimency). After completing the book, Rita sent Bathilda a copy, thanking her for her cooperation and mentioning that though Bathilda remembered nothing, she had been Skeeter's main source (DH18).
Elphias Doge spoke out publicly against the book, claiming that it contained "less facts than a Chocolate Frog card"; Skeeter dismissed this statement, stating that Doge had grown old and gaga (DH2).
The Ministry of Magic was overtaken by Death Eaters in the same week that The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore was released (DH2, DH8). For this reason, the shocking news of Albus' closeness with Grindelwald, though much debated, was not object of further research or great outrage. The book's revelations undoubtedly affected Dumbledore's reputation, amusing those who disliked him and unsettling his supporters (DH20).
The Order after Dumbledore's death
Dumbledore's status as the Order's Secret-Keeper meant that after his death, all the people in whom he had confided the secret became Secret-Keepers. This greatly dilluted the power of the Fidelius Charm; on the other hand, Severus Snape was one of the Keepers, and could reveal the location of number twelve, Grimmauld Place to Lord Voldemort at any time. Moody set in place protection and tongue-tying spells to affect Snape should he choose to visit the house (DH6, DH9). One such protective spell was an Albus-shaped dust figure poised to attack visitors if they did not announce that they were not responsible for the Headmaster's murder upon their arrival (DH9). The Burrow replace Grimmauld Place as Order headquarters (DH6).
Dumbledore's last words to Kingsley Shacklebolt and Remus Lupin were "Harry is the best hope we have. Trust him." (DH5). The Order showed a great concern for Harry's safety after the Headmaster's demise. Moody, for instance, remembered Albus' belief that Voldemort would want to kill Harry in person; he knew that Order members in charge of Harry's protection were in far more immediate danger than the boy himself—and said so when preparing everyone for the Battle of the Seven Potters (DH4), which resulted in Moody's death (DH5).
Harry did not return to Hogwarts for his seventh year. Instead, he, Ron and Hermione undertook the quest for Horcruxes of which Dumbledore had left Harry in charge. They shared the true nature of their search with no one else, despite Molly, Arthur and Remus' requests. Molly was particularly persistent, and voiced her doubts that Albus would have asked a wizard barely of age to do something of capital importance on his own, without the help of the Order (DH6).
The Order knew that Dumbledore had left Harry a mission, and accepted this. Remus was the only member who sought after Harry, asking to accompany the Trio on their mission. Harry refused after discovering that Remus' wife Nymphadora was pregnant (DH11).
The Ministry hunt for the culprits
After Voldemort took over the Ministry of Magic, the Ministry published a notice on the Daily Prophet stating that Harry Potter was wanted for questioning regarding Dumbledore's death (DH11). This was their excuse for a country-wide search for Harry, who became known as Undesirable Number One as the Ministry's true agenda grew more evident (DH13). According to Remus, this move on the Ministry's part was crucial: Harry was a natural rallying point for those who resisted Voldemort, and suggesting that he could be guilty of Albus' murder created doubt in the minds of many who would otherwise support him (DH11, DH15).
Order members and others close to them—such as Ted Tonks and Dean Thomas (DH15)—knew Harry to be innocent, and resented Snape for the murder. Severus was not charged; instead, he was chosen to succeed Albus as Hogwarts Headmaster, a position he maintained over the following school year (DH12). When confronting Severus before the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall and Flitwick accused Snape of the assassination while duelling with him. Snape fled the castle soon afterwards (DH30). Voldemort murdered him that same night (DH32).
After Dumbledore's death, the Ministry of Magic had access to his will; using the Decree for Justifiable Confiscation as excuse, they inspected it—and the bequests mentioned in its text—in secret for thirty-one days. (The Decree did not allow the Ministry to keep the items for longer than that.) Albus left all his possessions to Hogwarts, with only four exceptions: the Deluminator, which he left to Ron Weasley; his copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which he left to Hermione Granger; the Snitch used in Harry's first Quidditch match, which he left to Harry; and the sword of Godric Gryffindor, which he also left to Harry.
Albus certainly predicted that the Ministry would inspect his will and the items he listed in it. He left no clue as to their purpose in the text (DH7). Two of the objects were directly related to the Deathly Hallows, with which Dumbledore knew Harry would become acquainted over the course of his quest for Voldemort's Horcruxes. However, Albus chose to leave oblique hints to the Hallows, hoping that this would prevent Harry from obtaining the Hallows too soon, for the wrong reasons, without understanding their true nature (DH35).
Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister for Magic, was highly suspicious of the late Headmaster's bequests. He informed the three teenagers of Dumbledore's wishes in person, on July 31, 1997, and tried to obtain from them clues that would reveal the reason behind the will's dispositions. They were as clueless as he.
Both Scrimgeour and Hermione guessed that the Snitch had been left to Harry because of its flesh memory. On Scrimgeour's command, Harry grudgingly held the Snitch, to see if a small object had been hidden inside it, spelled to be revealed only at Harry's touch; but nothing happened.
The Minister refused to let Harry keep the sword of Gryffindor, since it was an important historic artifact, and not Dumbledore's to give away. This bequest in particular seemed to intrigue Scrimgeour more than the others. He questioned them regarding whether there was a possible connection between the sword's origins and the fact that Lord Voldemort was the Heir of Slytherin. This led to a loud argument between the Trio and Scrimgeour, in which Harry once again voiced his disapproval of the Minister's approach to the war against the Dark Lord.
Scrimgeour left shortly afterwards. Harry, Ron and Hermione puzzled over the three items they had been given for a good part of the night. Harry could not understand why Dumbledore had not mentioned in one of their lessons together what use he meant for Harry to make of Gryffindor's sword. Hermione, unlike Ron, had not been brought up hearing tales originated from Beedle's book, and was unable to fathom why Albus had wanted her to read children's stories. The Deluminator seemed to have limited usefulness, since its effect could be at least as efficiently achieved with Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder.
One bequest's hidden nature, however, was partially deciphered that night. In Harry's first Quidditch match, he had nearly swallowed the Snitch; bringing it now to his lips caused engraved words in Dumbledore's handwriting to appear on its surface, and quickly fade away: "I open at the close" (DH7).
Albus Dumbledore, drawn by ahtnamas.