The Man With a Plan: Why Dumbledore was a Hero Who Made a Few Mistakes


Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore: Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards.

Throughout history, and fiction, you can find countless examples of ‘good’ characters who either took the wrong path on their mission or made a bad decision with the best of intentions. A perfect example of this is Albus Dumbledore. While his choices may seem bad, or even cruel, he always looked at the bigger picture. I believe that he was just a hero with a couple mistakes, not some sort of mastermind villain.

Before the events of the original books and movies, Dumbledore had already amassed plenty of accomplishments, accolades, and recognition.

  • He became headmaster of Hogwarts school after serving as the Defense Against the Dark Arts and the Transfiguration teacher.
  • He published several scholarly works such as Challenges in CharmingTransfiguration Today, and The Practical Potioneer.
  • He was one of the only alchemists in existence.
  • He held an Order of Merlin, First Class, for Grand Sorcery; the most elite award you can receive in Wizarding Britain.
  • He held the position of Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, the legislative body of Wizarding Britain.
  • He was the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards; the wizarding equivalent of the United Nations.
  • He defeated Gellert Grindelwald, saving the wizarding world from destruction.

He was a legend in the community. How could he not be after all of the good he has done over his lifetime? However, as with everyone, he has made mistakes. When Voldemort was on the path to darkness, Dumbledore did everything in his power to make him see the good in the world. In his effort to save Voldemort, the latter only got more powerful. Another time he made a mistake was placing Harry with his Aunt Petunia after the death of his parents and Voldemort. There was no way for him to know that they would treat him in the manner they did. Making matters worse, Harry never officially or unofficially reported it to him. Since he was not told, there was a good chance he did not know about the abuse. However, while Harry was in school, he always did his best to protect him. Several times he tried to keep Harry away from the threat or danger, so he could live a normal life, which is understandable since he knew Harry would never have one if Voldemort returned. All he ever tried to do was the right thing.

Dumbledore pushing Harry out of a fight with Voldemort, putting his own life on the line.

Don’t just take it from me! According to Mrs. McGrath: “I don’t remember [Dumbledore] doing a single bad thing.” If a librarian can vouch for him, that is pretty good. They would be the ones most knowledgeable about this subject, as they see it every day. If you do not believe her, look no further than Brandon Skinner, who commented on another of his sacrifices, “[Dumbledore] basically ordered Snape to kill him.” This refers to Dumbledore letting the Potions teacher Severus Snape kill him, in order to save another student from being killed. He traded his life for a student’s life who by his own admission was trying to kill him.

Yes, he made mistakes. All of us do. However, it is not these mistakes that define us. What we do with our life is what we are, and he dedicated him to good, which I believe outweighs the few bad choices he made. So he was not bad, just human.