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Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/albus_dumbledore.jpg
"Soon we must all face the choice, between what is right and what is easy."
Click here to see his younger self. 

Portrayed by: Richard Harris (Films 1-2), Michael Gambon (Films 3-onward), Toby Regbo (young), Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts series), Barry McCarthy (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, first West End run), Edward James Hyland (Cursed Child, first Broadway run)

Voiced by: Ichirō Nagai (Japanese), Toshiyuki Morikawa (Japanese/young), Claudio Rodríguez (European Spanish), César Arias (Latin American Spanish. Harry Potter films), Sergio Gutiérrez Coto (Latin American Spanish, Fantastic Beasts films) Marc Cassot (French, Harry Potter films), Alexis Victor (French, The Crimes of Grindelwald), Lauro Fabiano (Brazilian Portuguese, Philosopher's Stone-Deathly Hallows Part 1), Mauro Ramos (Brazilian Portuguese, Deathly Hallows Part 2), Alexandre Moreno (Brazilian Portuguese, The Crimes of Grindelwald'')

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Appears in: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (mentioned only) | Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald | Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore | Philosopher's Stone | Chamber of Secrets | Prisoner of Azkaban | Goblet of Fire | Order of the Phoenix | Half-Blood Prince | Deathly Hallows | Cursed Child | Hogwarts Mystery

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and considered to be the modern Merlin in terms of his magical ability. Like any good old, wise guy, he's extremely vague about everything important he says; he is also humorously eccentric. Founded the Order of the Phoenix, the organization that spearheads the fight against Voldemort; most of the characters in the series are personally loyal to him.

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Enjoys tenpin bowling, lemon sherbets, chamber music and a nice view of London from up high. Born in 1881, which ironically makes him born in the zodiac year of the Metal Snake.


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  • 100% Adoration Rating: Dumbledore is arguably the most beloved headmaster in all of Hogwarts' history and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the school walls willing to say a bad thing about him. Even Slytherin students will acknowledge respect for Albus' career and skill as a wizard. As a leader in the overall wizarding community he's also so widely respected that he was offered the post of Minister of Magic three times. Downplayed in Order of the Phoenix due to the smear campaign conducted against him by the Ministry of Magic but he regains his popularity when the Ministry is forced to admit that he was telling the truth about Voldemort's return.
  • The Ace: Albus Dumbledore is easily the biggest example of this in the entire series, exceeding all other Aces in the world. From a young age, he was already considered the most brilliant student ever in Hogwarts and far outclassed all his peers. As an adult, he became considered the best professor his school ever had and then officially became the greatest wizard in the world by defeating Gellert Grindelwald, who had terrorized the entire wizarding world. He then was promoted to Headmaster and once again he proved to be the greatest person to ever have that title. Even in his older days, he is still so famous that Lord Voldemort, or more infamously referred to as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, feared him, and the latter is so successful that a secret society of wizards risks their world to publicly celebrate his defeat and so powerful that no one, even the stern and mysterious Professor McGonagall, is brave enough to say his name. Harry learns about him from the praise of the first wizard he meets, a trading card about Dumbledore, and the glowing review of an older student (albeit with the caveat that yeah, he is a bit mad). Rowling even states that Dumbledore got this far primarily through self-effort. However, beneath the surface of the series greatest character, he started out with plenty of issues and flaws and though they were acknowledged to have been what shaped him into the great wizard he is now, he never fully got over them.
  • Actor Swap: Portrayed by Richard Harris in the first two films, and subsequently by Michael Gambon after Harris' passing from Hodgkin's disease.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The film version of Dumbledore proves to be much less powerful than his book self while duelling Voldemort in the Order of the Phoenix. The film choreography implies Dumbledore is actually struggling to hold his own, as he grimaces and covers down often, looks downright scared at Voldemort's fiery snake, and even gets knocked down by a spell at one point. Their duel also ends in kind of a cautious stalemate, as Voldemort teleports away by his own decision and leaves both Harry and Dumbledore looking tired and impressed by his power. In stark contrast, the book version of Dumbledore perfectly counters all of Voldemort's spells calmly, taunting and trying to take him alive instead of dueling to kill, and ultimately forces the dark wizard to try possessing Harry in order to escape from a decisive binding spell, before finally cutting and running.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: In the fourth movie, his film portrayal becomes quite hammier than his book self, as well as generally more aggressive, emotional and flappable. This change didn't come immediately at the point Michael Gambon took over the role, as he still acted more like the serene, poised book Dumbledore in his debut at the third movie - though it can be debated that it was certainly Gambon's acting style, much more extroverted than Harris' candid delivery, which ended up influencing the character into that form. In later films, likely as a response to the backlash, Gambon played Dumbledore much close to his book self.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Subverted. He wasn't begging for his life as Snape was about to kill him; he was asking Snape to Mercy Kill him.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Make no mistake, Dumbledore loved his brother and sister, and cared for them, but was also emotionally distant due to his ambition, brilliance and talents. He could also be neglectful whenever he got carried away with his studies. Then Grindelwald came along and made things worse. While Dumbledore ultimately chose his family over Grindelwald when push came to shove, it was too late — Ariana died, and his relationship with Aberforth was strained for decades. One of Dumbledore's biggest regrets (if not the biggest) was that he wasn't a better brother to his siblings.
  • All-Powerful Bystander:
    • As revealed in the final book, Dumbledore's tendency to leave Harry and the others to solve the conflict at hand isn't entirely because the villains are just that aware of the necessity of avoiding fighting him. He was actually able to intervene in some occasions, but as he knew Voldemort's return is inevitable and Harry has to be the one to kill him, Albus decides to remain on the side-lines ensuring Harry gets to experience enough life-and-death situations to develop the skill needed, as while he does have the ability to defeat Voldemort himself, he just isn't the one destined to finish him. He supplies Harry with the information needed, but he lets Harry do his work unless things are too much because Dumbledore had to let Harry build up enough skill over the years to fulfill his destiny.
    • Subverted in Fantastic Beasts, with Grindelwald. He remains a bystander only because he can't move against Grindelwald due to their pact. The moment Newt gives him the pact, Dumbledore is more than willing to act himself with the stakes higher than ever.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In some cases, such as with the gauntlet of traps Harry and his friends run in the first year, it's unclear how many situations Dumbledore engineered and how many were out of his control.
  • Anti-Hero: Early on, he has shades of being a minor, Classical Anti-Hero, reflecting a mysterious past and questionable decisions. He's eventually revealed to be a Pragmatic Hero, at least in his youth, with ideas of a "greater good" that were mostly discarded in his adult life; he also does a fair bit of manipulation throughout the series proper that is revealed in later school years.
  • The Archmage: Dumbledore is specifically acknowledged to be the greatest and most powerful wizard in the modern era, if not all time. Even the two Dark Lords, Lord Voldemort and Gellert Grindelwald, feared him. Dumbledore states that he was "perhaps a shade more skillful" than Grindelwald, which is backed up by how he was able to defeat him while the latter was wielding the Elder Wand. Meanwhile, in their only seen confrontation, Dumbledore keeps Voldemort on the back foot with consummate ease. Numerous times he fights entire groups of enemies and easily defeats them all without breaking a sweat. While still a student at Hogwarts, he won just about every honour imaginable. Word of Rowling even confirms his knowledge of magic is unmatched and he got there purely through his own hard-work and skill.
  • Backported Development: Both actors have scenes that take place before the first film, creating a timeline that would imply Dumbledore switched between his two forms multiple times.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Dumbledore is skilled in dark, forbidden schools of magic including curses and Legilimency. This doesn't diminish Dumbledore's position as the Big Good. Of course, he rarely uses them, but as McGonagall bluntly says, Dumbledore could pretty much match even Voldemort's dark magic if he intended to.
  • Badass Baritone: Michael Gambon's portrayal gives him this.
  • Badass Bookworm: Dumbledore's spectacles and wizened beard communicate his scholarly nature, but in Goblet of Fire, these traits make it quite the shock for Harry to see him blow a door open and command an interrogation of a dark wizard with absolute resolve.
  • Badass in Charge: Dumbledore was the Headmaster of Hogwarts and considered the greatest wizard to ever live or at least in the modern era. His extraordinary abilities were admired and feared by even others of outstanding magical talent. Even the Dark Lord Voldemort, who thought himself as the greatest and strongest wizard of them all, had acknowledged that Dumbledore was a very great wizard and secretly feared him. Even though Dumbledore's abilities had been somewhat diminished since his legendary defeat of Gellert Grindelwald due to old age, he is still more than capable of handling his own against pretty much anyone he fights: His defeats of Death Eaters and Aurors aside, he demonstrates Voldemort was right to fear him by forcing him to cut and run after a duel in the Department of Mysteries.
  • Barrier Maiden: Albus was practically the only one keeping Hogwarts and the British Ministry from being taken over by Voldemort. It was even stated that the Dark Lord wouldn't try either as long as Dumbledore is still alive and able to thwart him. Albus himself is quite aware of this and before his death, made sure to entrust his followers how to contain Voldemort. Indeed, after his death, it was only months before Voldemort took over the Ministry and Hogwarts.
  • Batman Gambit: His ultimate plan to defeat Voldemort hinges on manipulating Voldemort's personality, teaching Harry to do the same, and - more controversially - manipulating Harry by using his nature against him.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: Albus never forgives himself for the role he played in his sister Ariana's death, or for feeding into Grindelwald's extremism rather than tempering it. No matter his accomplishments or the good he tries to do, he spends his whole life feeling that deep down, he's a monster unworthy of love.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In his youth Albus bitterly resented having to squander his prodigious talents - as he saw it - to take care of his brother and mentally ill sister and wished to be able to use his potential. He ends up no longer having to take care of Ariana when she dies in the three way duel between Albus, Aberforth and Grindelwald, made worse by the fact that Albus himself may have killed her. This ended up snapping him out of his Well-Intentioned Extremist phase and Aberforth later bitterly lampshades how this event supposedly made Albus "free." Harry instead reveals to Aberforth the effects of the Drink of Despair and how Ariana's death was never what Albus wanted.
  • Berserk Button: Anyone threatening his students. In book 6, when Harry implies Dumbledore left the students at Hogwarts unprotected.
    'Enough,' said Dumbledore. He said it quite calmly, and yet Harry fell silent at once; he knew that he had finally crossed some invisible line. 'Do you think that I have once left the school unprotected during my absences this year? I have not. Tonight, when I leave, there will again be additional protection in place. Please do not suggest that I do not take the safety of my students seriously, Harry.
    • Furthermore, the only time we ever see Dumbledore get angry at Umbridge-a Sadistic Teacher who represents the regime that have been slandering him for months, and who is slowly taking over his school-is when she manhandles Marietta.
    I cannot allow you to manhandle my students, Dolores.
    • Dumbledore makes it very clear during the series that he despises the Dementors because of their vile nature, and refuses to let then on the Hogwarts grounds when they're sent to guard the castle from Sirus Black. When the Dementors violate Dumbeldore's orders, swarm in on a Quidditch match, and almost get Harry killed, Dumbledore is enraged:
    'Dumbledore was really angry,' Hermione said in a quaking voice. 'I’ve never seen him like that before. He ran onto the field as you fell, waved his wand, and you sort of slowed down before you hit the ground. Then he whirled his wand at the Dementors. Shot silver stuff at them. They left the stadium right away... He was furious they’d come onto the grounds.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's extremely powerful. And while he's usually a very friendly person, anyone who's ever seen him truly angry was terrified at the sight. On the "list of things you do not fuck with if you wish to live", Dumbledore takes the top spot easily.
    At that moment, Harry fully understood for the first time why people said Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared. The look upon Dumbledore's face as he stared down at the unconscious form of Mad-Eye Moody was more terrible than Harry could have ever imagined. There was no benign smile upon Dumbledore's face, no twinkle in the eyes behind the spectacles. There was cold fury in every line of the ancient face; a sense of power radiated from Dumbledore as though he were giving off burning heat.
  • Big Good: Head of the school, known as the most powerful wizard of the age and the only one Voldemort feared, and an important mentor figure.
  • Broken Ace: He is the world's greatest wizard, exceedingly talented, powerful, and famous bordering on revered for defeating Grindlewald and leading the fight against Voldemort, both of whom are said to have only feared him out of all wizards. As the books go on, it becomes clear that he's also a deeply lonely man whose intelligence does not prevent him from making emotional mistakes. The "broken" part really kicks when his Dark and Troubled Past is revealed in book seven.
  • Broken Pedestal: Harry was hit with a bad case of this after reading Rita Skeeter reports of his youthful wizard supremacism, though hearing Aberforth's account of what happened to their sister and a conversation in the afterlife with Dumbledore's spirit where Dumbledore lays out all his vulnerabilities and failures lead to Harry renewing his trust in the man despite his faults.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Aside from the frequent plans that usually involved him appearing to do absolutely nothing (getting the school temporarily closed down in Chamber of Secrets or getting removed from power in Order of the Phoenix), the opening of Philosopher's Stone contrasts his amazing reputation with his inexplicable quirks.
    Dumbledore: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!
    Harry: Is he — a bit mad?
    Percy: Mad? He's the greatest wizard in generations! But yes, he is a bit mad.
  • Benevolent Boss: To such an extent that even Jerkass characters like Snape and Filch genuinely like him. He's also kind enough to employ Dobby despite him being a house elf and pays him a far bigger salary than he expected.
  • The Cassandra: The Ministry of Magic declines to believe Dumbledore's claim that Voldemort has returned, and instead raises his sanity into question, claiming that he'd gone senile due to old age. They also ignored his warnings about the Dementors and how they would join Voldemort to satisfy their hunger for positive emotions.
  • Celibate Hero: He hasn't pursued romance since his young heart was broken.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Dumbledore is greatly burdened by this. Being so much smarter than everyone around him means he's not only lonely but can never not treat people on a need-to-know basis, which might or might not work in the way they expect it. Even someone like Snape, despite his considerable sacrifices is only given a piece of Dumbledore's great plan, offended that he'd rely so obviously on a boy who's not skilled or disciplined, Dumbledore justifies this on pragmatic grounds of withdrawing the most sensitive information from the person with the most precarious position.
  • Character Development: Throughout the second and third Fantastic Beasts films, his arc is him coming to understand that Grindewald is way too far gone to ever reconcile and that he must let him go and take him down. During their meeting at the restaurant, he's still trying to get him to back down but he won't do it. Once the blood troth is broken, he turns his back on Grindelwald and starts walking away with Grindelwald being the one screaming at him about how that means he'll be alone for good and abandoning their love.
  • The Chessmaster: Just about everything in the overarching plot of the series happens thanks to his plotting and machinations. Luckily, his ultimate goal is good and he more guides Harry than manipulates him, but he crosses more than a few moral lines in his plans (including part of his plan to destroy Voldemort involving Harry's sacrifice. If Voldemort hadn't used Harry's blood to regenerate and the Elder Wand plot had not worked out as it did, Harry would have truly died in book seven. Though, as soon as he found out about these, Dumbledore did change his plans to make sure that Harry would be able to survive his "death." However, it still may have been unsuccessful, because Dumbledore only made a guess that the Horcrux inside Harry would be killed instead of Harry himself. He was right but it could have turned out for the worst, as he states).
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Difficult to tell how much is Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Coconut Superpowers: The sixth book mentions that his lack of special effects when casting spells is because he has better control.
  • Coffin Contraband: Dumbledore has the Elder Wand buried with him in a sarcophagus, figuring that barely anyone in the Wizarding world would recognize the artifact's significance even if they found it, much less think to check this particular coffin for this particular item. It doesn't work.
  • Cool Old Guy: Extremely old but amazingly affable and friendly to nearly everyone he meets.
  • Cool Teacher: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald shows he was this when he actually taught. His lessons are shown to be both informative and enjoyable, with the students giving him their full attention and participation. When the Ministry comes to confront him, one of his students preemptively defends him by telling them he's the best teacher the school has.
  • The Corruptible: Dumbledore stayed away from positions of power to avoid becoming a tyrant.
  • The Corruption: In a biological example the curse of Marvolo's ring has this effect on Dumbledore. In a bit of Fridge Brilliance the effect of the curse is very similar to the effects of severe necrosis (premature death of cells) and rhabdomyolysis (death of muscle tissue throughout the body) after a venomous snake bite. Given Voldemort's fondness for snakes this may not have been an accident.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Combined with Indy Ploy, he doesn't know if something crazy will happen like getting assassinated for sure but he has a contingency plan in case namely having Snape kill him as part of a deception. It helps that he was dying already at the time.
  • The Creon: Was offered the position of Minister of Magic at least three times, but turned it down because he doesn't trust himself with political power.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Defied. He knows that if Marvolo Gaunt's cursed ring doesn't do it, then one of Voldemort's sadists will, so he orders Snape to give him a quick and clean death.
  • Cuckoosnarker: Goes hand-in-hand with his Cloud Cuckoolander personality, especially in the first few books. Once the series progresses, however, he tends to up the snark and drop the cuckoo.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dumbledore's arrival turns the entire Battle of Department of Mysteries into this on the Order's favour, as in a matter of moments, he captures every Death Eater not beaten yet. Only Bellatrix and Voldemort put up any semblance of a fight and Bellatrix ends up being subdued the moment Dumbledore is free to target her fully without being hindered. He proceeds to force Voldemort to flee after a spectacular duel in the Department of Mysteries.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Inverted — he was going through a Well-Intentioned Extremist phase before the death of his sister Ariana snapped him out of it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Dumbledore went through the following events in his lifetime:
    1. His sister was rendered magically unstable due to being attacked by three Muggles.
    2. His father was sent to prison for attacking said Muggles.
    3. His mother was accidentally killed by his unstable sister.
    4. He then neglected his brother and said sister to spend all his time planning a takeover of the Muggle world 'for the greater good' with his lover Gellert Grindelwald, and
    5. he might have accidentally killed his sister in a three-way duel with his brother and Gellert Grindelwald. (What he did while in a relationship with Grindelwald effectively turned him celibate).
    6. the complicated issue of his unstable nephew who is an obscurial.
  • Defiant to the End: When surrounded by Death Eaters at the end of book 6, weakened and wandless, Dumbledore continues to make light conversation with them, even throwing a few barbs their way, such as implying that the Carrows will be lucky if they reach old age. Subverted when he starts begging to Snape. Double subverted when we learn later he was begging Snape TO kill him as they previously had agreed.
  • Determinator: He does everything in his power to help defeat Voldemort by manipulating Harry into letting Voldemort kill him, thus destroying Voldemort's final Horcrux.
  • Deuteragonist: Is this for the final book, despite him being a Posthumous Character. It is essentially a Sidelong Glance Biopic of his life and all his choices, helping us understand his character, his philosophy and his worldview, with himself as the pivot that connects the entire story.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Being the most powerful and capable wizard around, Dumbledore is repeatedly side-lined through much of the stories conflicts, as it's acknowledged he would have been able to handle the situation by himself.
    • He is briefly driven off Hogwarts twice in the Philosopher Stone and Chamber of Secrets to keep him from stopping Quirell and the rampant fragment of Riddle as he could have easily done so without endangering the trio that much, (though for the former, he does return in time to deal the finishing blow to Quirell and Voldemort and save Harry). The Prisoner of Azkaban forces him to keep the facade of staying to watch over Harry and Hermione and lock them up himself to ensure he cannot help them in their time-travel efforts to help Sirius escape, while the Goblet of Fire keeps him entirely out of Voldemort's plan of resurrection.
    • The one time he acts during the Order of Phoenix demonstrates exactly what would happen if he had acted against the bad guys himself, his participation alone ensuring that Voldemort and the Death Eaters suffered their first defeat after Voldemort's second resurrection, and he is killed off in the Half-Blood Prince so as to give Voldemort the upper hand for much of the Deathly Hallows and ensure he doesn't do anything that will ensure Harry's defeat of Voldemort goes too easy, which also serves to reveal Dumbledore's own background story.
    • He does this again in the Crimes of Grindelwald due to being unable to move against Grindelwald due to their blood pact, which means Newt and the other good guys must confront the most powerful dark wizard of all time by themselves. The results are the tragically decisive defeat of the heroes at the hands of Grindelwald and demonstrates to them that Dumbledore is really the only chance they have to defeat Grindelwald, ending the film with Newt and the others seeking Dumbledore's help and bringing him the blood pact to be destroyed.
    • Dumbledore never really fights in Hogwarts Mystery as his enemies are well-aware that he can and will stop them if they give him the chance or proper incentive and take measures to ensure he isn't around whenever they are acting. He is also never present in dealing with the Cursed Vaults and the teachers even lament that he isn't around at such dire times as before he was the only reason they succeeded in suppressing the first time the curses came around and he would have solved things, ensuring that the protagonists can do their job and get away with breaking rules by virtue of the fact they saved the school.
  • Didn't See That Coming: A master of long-term convoluted planning, not much surprises Dumbledore or leaves him unprepared but finding the Resurrection Stone, the final Deathly Hallow from a quest he abandoned nearly a hundred years in the past in literally the Last Place You Look completely left him free of his senses, causing him to make a rare mistake that starts the endgame of the series.
  • Dissonant Serenity: He's very calm, composed, and polite in almost every scene we see him in, even in the midst of battle or being shouted at. The rare exceptions are always notable.
  • Does Not Like Spam: He avoids Berty Bott's Every-Flavour-Beans after eating a vomit-flavoured one in his youth. The one time he tries giving them a chance after that, he gets earwax.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Snape suggests this trope is in effect for Dumbledore. Despite this, he displayed in the fifth book where he overpowers Fudge and a contingent of Aurors, subdues the remaining Death Eaters Harry & co. were having a protracted battle with in a manner of seconds, and forces Voldemort to flee. This was finally exacerbated after his left hand is cursed by the horcrux ring, which was needed to keep the tension in his and Harry's adventures and later ends up in Dumbledore willingly accepting his death.
  • The Dreaded: It's repeatedly stated that he's the only person who Voldemort ever genuinely fears. He was even this to Gellert Grindelwald, who is said to have avoided magical Britain for fear of having to face Dumbledore, who was his only magical and intellectual equal, though this is Downplayed when it's revealed the reason why Grindelwald really avoided Britain was because he literally couldn't face Dumbledore. Ironically, Dumbledore feared Grindelwald far more than the latter feared him, albeit for unconventional reasons. Death Eaters also scatter like roaches when they see him.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Before the site's decision to stop naming tropes after characters, Dumbledore was the Trope Namer. He has his quirks, but he is very wise and ends up teaching Harry some valuable lessons.
    Percy Weasley: He's a genius! Best wizard in the world! But he is a bit mad, yes.
  • Even the Loving Hero Has Hated Ones: Dumbledore is never shown to be harsh towards anyone, expressing toward Voldemort and the Death Eaters in the tower only mild sarcasm. However:
    • In the Goblet of Fire, he shows only harshness toward the fanatical Death Eater, patricidal imposter Barty Crouch Jr.
    • In the same book he shows true dislike for Rita Skeeter, due to her obnoxiousness and her willingness to tarnish or ruin others' reputation or life just to sell her articles. She's notably the only character he treats with rudeness, and he bans her from Hogwarts after she made a particularly cruel article on Hagrid and his giant origins. He also let it slide when Harry insults her, comically pretending that he has gone deaf and has no idea of what Harry said.
    • He also has nothing but disdain for Dementors, coldly telling Percy Weasley that he will never allow them to enter Hogwarts, telling Alastor Moody that the Ministry of Magic should have never associated with them in the first place, and trying to warn the Ministry several times of the Dementors' treacherous nature.
  • Excellent Judge of Character: Is largely very canny about people and has the ability to discern the quality of their character with very little information, which is particularly notable with respect to characters like Snape, who tend to confound other people's impressions of them. Notably, Voldemort (as Tom Riddle) mentions Dumbledore was the only teacher at Hogwarts who was never charmed by his charismatic affectations, always seeing through his facade. The only notable exception is Grindelwald, whom Dumbledore trusted in his youth but grew up to be an infamous dark wizard.
  • Face Death with Dignity: It took him years but Dumbledore has finally adopted this view, seeing death as an inevitability and not something to fear or run from, in sharp contrast to his younger years when he believed he could overcome it and Voldemort who sees death as his worst fear. He shows no fear when he has to get Snape to kill him and, when Harry sees him in the afterlife, Dumbledore's demeanour shows that he is completely accepting of his fate.
    • This can be seen when Snape grimly tells him that he won't live longer than a year due to the curse of Marvolo's ring. He seems completely unbothered by the news.
  • Face Your Fears: He feared Gellert Grindelwald, not because of the man's magical ability, but because of the possibility that Grindelwald knew the truth of the death of his sister. But when Grindelwald's crimes became too great to ignore, Dumbledore stopped standing on the sidelines, steeled himself, and faced his greatest fear in order to end Grindelwald's reign of terror.
  • Fair for Its Day: In-Universe. While wizard supremacist quotes from his youth bother Harry immensely, it's worth pointing out that his teenage years took place a hundred years ago, in a time of immense, institutionalized racism. With that in mind, his comments may seem extreme, but not malicious.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • When he was young, Dumbledore had a whopping case of Pride because of his brilliance, his telents, his magical ability, thinking he could conquer death and all evil if everyone listened to him. He snapped out of it with the death of his sister and spent more than a century deliberately avoiding powerful positions because he didn't trust himself with power. He refused the position of Minister of Magic multiple times, for instance.
    • Another, much more lasting, flaw is emotional cowardice. Dumbledore frequently admits that his reasons for not sharing vital information with Harry are simply that he cannot bear to give Harry yet more bad news after everything he's gone through. Even as a young man, his fear of confronting Gellert Grindlewald again keeps him out of the fight for years because Dumbledore couldn't bring himself to face his former friend. This prolonged the war until Dumbledore felt he had no choice but to act.
  • Feeling Their Age: Dumbledore confirms that due to his age, his magical abilities have been declining even if only a little ever since his legendary defeat of the Elder Wand-wielding Gellert Grindelwald. However, this is ultimately not much of a flaw, as he is still extraordinarily skilled and powerful, with how he alone dealt Voldemort and the Death Eaters their first defeat in the Ministry, and while Snape mentions to Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy during their meeting in Half-Blood Prince that Dumbledore's fight with Voldemort "shook" him and attributes Dumbledore being cursed by Marvolo's ring to his reflexes slowing down, due to his position as Dumbledore's mole, it's apparent Snape was exaggerating this, especially since Dumbledore putting on Marvolo's ring was an emotional mistake more than anything. Plus the fact that he even survived putting the ring on is a testament to Dumbledore's incredible skill as a wizard.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: Harry Potter's interactions with him revolve around measured dispensing and denying of plot critical information — all as a "learning experience".
    • In the sixth book, he admits that this was a bad idea. But even then, he still doesn't tell Harry what a Horcrux is, even though he has excellent reasons to do so (Harry doesn't think finding out about them is that important, if he knew what they were, it might move up his priority list).
    • In the seventh book, he implies to Snape that he kept secrets from Harry so that Voldemort wouldn't know through their Psychic Link but likewise he felt that Harry having to commit a Heroic Sacrifice is not something that he can outright tell him.
  • Fireballs: Shot some at an Inferi trying to drag Harry into the water.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: His First Love Gellert Grindelwald was even more of a Manipulative Bastard than he was (in fact, it's safe to say that Dumbldore's manipulative tendencies were actually curbed after Grindelwald), and used Albus's attraction to him in order to chain him by his side. When their romantic relationship fell apart with the death of Ariana, Dumbledore swore off love for fear of having to endure such an ordeal ever again and losing sight of what's truly important, such as his moral compass.
  • First-Name Basis: With everyone in the series, barring Hagrid, who nobody calls by his first name — but most notably with a certain Tom "Lord Voldemort" Riddle. Dumbledore makes a point of always calling him "Tom", a name he knows Voldemort loathes, as he refuses to play into Voldemort's obsession with making himself more than a man and to show that he isn't frightened of him.
  • Foil:
    • To Voldemort. They're generally considered the two most powerful wizards in history and, like Voldemort, Dumbledore once believed that he too could conquer death due to his outsized ego. But Dumbledore grew out of such a belief, has become aware of his flaws and tried to fight them while Voldemort's pride and belief that he could overcome death only grew until it took over his entire life.
    • Also to Percy Weasley. Like Dumbledore, Percy loved his family but couldn't help but feel like an outsider to them. And part of that was because, again like Dumbledore, he longed for fame and glory and for his abilities to at least be recognized. He even went through with abandoning them in pursuit of that, something that Dumbledore had also planned to do with Grindelwald. Luckily for Percy, he eventually got his head screwed on straight and reconciled with his family before it was too late; Dumbledore, unfortunately, didn't see how foolish he was being until it destroyed his remaining family.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Initially played straight with Albus and Aberforth but it ends up being zigzagged and deconstructed. Based on what we know of Aberforth before meeting him, Albus - a brilliant prodigy and revered headmaster of a school - seems to be the responsible sibling compared to the bartender who Albus mentions may not be literate and practiced "inappropriate" charms on a goat. Then in Deathly Hallows we discover how foolish and arrogant Albus was in his youth while Aberforth was the responsible one. Albus, in his youth, was intensely aware of his genius and his great potential, and bitterly resented having to squander his gifts, as he saw it, by taking care of his brother and his mentally ill sister. Aberforth, who is more down to earth and every bit as stubborn as Albus, would have been happy to ditch his formal education and care for Ariana, but Albus put his foot down, meaning that Albus's sense of responsibility was what compelled to be the caretaker to his sister so his brother could finish Hogwarts. In other words, the traits that made Albus such a force for good in the world as an adult did him and those around him great harm in his youth. Albus himself believes Aberforth was the better man, calling him "my rough, unlettered, and far more admirable brother."

    G-M 
  • Gambit Roulette: Way too many of his schemes require exceptionally precise combinations of events and circumstances that can't realistically be predicted. For example, his plan for beating Voldemort would have failed he been a little more thorough with one particular murder. In Order of the Phoenix, his attempt at distancing himself from Harry to ensure that Voldemort cannot get access to his secrets does backfire, leading directly to the death of Sirius Black.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: He admits to being fond of Muggle sweets not long after he's introduced (he even offers McGonagall a sherbet lemon) and the password to get into his office is always a kind of candy.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: He remains polite and well-mannered in all situations (even to his enemies), and is a renowned scholar known to have worked with Flamel, credited with the discovery of twelve uses of dragon blood as well as known to speak Gobbledegook and Mermish.
  • Glory Seeker: He was this in his youth with disastrous results. After Albus was bitterly resigned to caring for Aberforth and Ariana after his mother's death, Grindelwald stoked Albus's hunger for power and glory with talk of wizard domination. When these dreams ended in Ariana's death and Albus's estrangement from Aberforth, Albus snaps out of it and instead becomes a teacher to avoid the temptations of power. When the Qilin goes to him in Secrets of Dumbledore he's struck with panic, because this is exactly what he wanted to avoid - even though, ironically, the Qilin's sensing his pure intent means he's now ready for power and glory. He then tells it that he's honoured, but surely, as two Qilin were born, there's another who's equally worthy? Cue the Qilin choosing Vincencia Santos.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Downplayed case in regard to Voldemort. Even after learning of the disturbing amount of magical abuse Tom Riddle has committed at the orphanage, Dumbledore tried not to let this knowledge dissuade him from allowing the young wizard from starting anew at Hogwarts and had hoped that Tom may have seen the error of his ways. Nevertheless, he had resolved to keep a close eye on him from then on.
  • Guile Hero: He's a master manipulator and extremely powerful wizard who nevertheless devotes himself to battling Voldemort and regrets lots of his unavoidable yet harsh decisions.
  • Handicapped Badass: Despite suffering from a year-long death curse that's compounded by a particularly nasty potion, he's still fully capable of fighting an army of inferi in Book 6. (In the film, he does it by conjuring up a freaking firestorm. Goddamn!)
  • Heel–Face Turn: As revealed in Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore actually used to be a wizarding supremacist as a teenager, plotting with Grindelwald to overthrow the Ministry of Magic and conquer the Muggle world. In Secrets of Dumbledore Albus tells Grindelwald that he only went along with him because they are in love, but Grindelwald says that the plans were Albus' to begin with. In "Deathly Hallows", it's made clear that he was under no illusions as to Grindelwald's intentions. He ultimately abandoned these plans after Grindelwald attacked his younger siblings, resulting in a duel which got his younger sister, Ariana, killed.
  • Hero of Another Story: His involvement with the wizarding war against Grindlewald. Mentioned briefly in book one, and book seven gives way more importance to Grindelwald. Finally displayed in the Fantastic Beasts films.
    • He also served as The Spymaster and leader of the original Order of the Phoenix in the first war against Voldemort.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: In Order of the Phoenix. Cornelius Fudge, desperate to deny Voldemort's return and convinced that Dumbledore wants to usurp his position, uses Ministry of Magic to wage a smear campaign against him. Among other things he's fired from several political positions and branded as senile and dangerous. Averted entirely by Half Blood Prince when the wizarding world discovers that Dumbledore was telling the truth.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Deathly Hallows very clear that despite his confident and wise demeanour, Dumbledore hates himself on a level that no one else could ever hope to achieve. When Aberforth accuses his brother of being relieved and freed with their sister Ariana's death, Harry flashes back to his memory of Dumbledore after drinking the poison in Voldemort's grave, Harry says Albus was literally begging his memory of Grindelwald to torture and kill him in place of his siblings, and counter-claims that Dumbledore was never free. Indeed, when Harry meets his mentor again in the afterlife, Dumbledore confesses his status as The Corruptible and was terrified of what he could have done if he had ever had free rein, and laments his many mistakes over the years, both before and after the death of Ariana.
  • Honour Before Reason:
    • In Goblet of Fire, he insists on following the official Triwizard Tournament rules and doesn't give any help to Harry or Cedric, even though cheating is considered an traditional part of the tournament and the other school administrators are actively doing so for their champions.
    • He kept his reasons for trusting Snape very much a secret. Specifically, when Harry learns that Snape sold his parents out to Voldemort, Harry asks how Dumbledore could possibly trust Snape after that. Dumbledore does seem conflicted on whether to reveal the truth, but ultimately does not, causing Harry to be infuriated with him and deepening Harry's hatred of Snape.
    • Revealing the Death Eaters murdered Cedric which ruins his reputation just because of his respect for the boy. On the other hand, at the very least it sowed the seeds of doubt and spread the possibility of Voldemort's return far and wide, which was the last thing Voldemort wanted, so there were some sound tactics behind it.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • Averted in later life, for the most part, as it's even discussed in the final book that Dumbledore understood almost everybody in a way most others did not. He's also the only person to judge Snape and Riddle for exactly what they are - he's the only character to really judge Snape properly, even if he misleads people on his thought process, and one can surmise that his previous experiences with Grindelwald informed his judgement of the future Voldemort.
    • Played straight with Gellert Grindelwald in his youth. By the time Dumbledore met Grindelwald, the latter had already been expelled from Durmstrang for "twisted" experiments in the Dark Arts. The same Durmstrang that is the only confirmed magical school to teach its students the Dark Arts at all. To a normal person that would be a glaring red flag, but Dumbledore was too happy to have a peer, and later, too in love to care. It's also worth noting that it's implied Dumbledore suspected Sirius Black of being The Quisling when in fact, Sirius's defining character trait was his loyalty to his friends (though given that all the evidence at the time was that this was the case, he can be forgiven in this regard - even Lupin admits he suspected Sirius).
    • Has a moment of this coupled with the Idiot Ball in Order of the Phoenix. He assigns Snape to teach Harry Occlumency assuming that, even if Snape hates Harry, he will still put his personal feelings aside for something as important as this. He was dead wrong.
    • In the books, Dumbledore has a reputation among his friends and the wider wizarding world as someone who believes in second chances, helping and befriending outcasts, oddballs and people who are regarded, even by wizarding standards, as freaks. Each one of them ultimately vindicates his trust. It helps that on closer inspection, Dumbledore isn't quite as trusting as he comes off at first.
  • Horrifying the Horror:
    • It's repeatedly stated that he's the one person Voldemort (himself the terror of their entire community) ever feared. Harry only starts to understand why around books four and five.
    • It is also said that Grindelwald also similarly feared nobody except Dumbledore, despite having possessed a wand which was more powerful than any other, to the point that even as he was waging war against the entire Wizarding World, he specifically avoided Magical Britain. In the Fantastic Beasts films, it's explained that this is due to a blood pact - though Grindelwald does seem rather perturbed when he faces Dumbledore in Bhutan that he's facing someone who can match him.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Dumbledore grabs hold of this during Order of the Phoenix, admitting to Harry that keeping Harry out of the loop was wrong on his part to the point of taking partial blame for Sirius' death.
    • He grabs it even harder between Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince; putting on Marvolo Gaunt's ring when he knew it was a Horcrux in the hopes of seeing his dead sister again has got to be one of the dumbest things he's ever done in his life, and certainly in the series.
  • Informed Ability: Hogwarts' status as a safe haven is mainly attributed to Dumbledore's hawk-like watch over the place. For all the cunning he displays elsewhere, it's worth noting that, in only six years, two Death Eaters slipped onto the payroll as teachers, one of them lugging around Lord Voldemort himself, Slytherin's monster was unleashed on the grounds and carried out five attempted murders, a hunted (presumed) murderer slipped into the grounds repeatedly, once reaching as far in as the bedside of his presumed target, the horde of Dementors hunting said murderer slipped out of control repeatedly and tried to kill a student, a fascist-racist child torturer was legally instated as teacher and later Headmistress while the staff failed to pose effective resistance, underestimation of Draco allowed a squad of Death Eaters to enter the heart of the castle with only a handful of defenders posted and the yearly near-death situations and almost bi-monthly grievous injuries Harry faces while within the grounds. It's no surprise that Hogwarts' blatant unsafeness is a running joke among the fans. On the other hand, the number of casualties on school grounds during his time as Headmaster can be counted on one hand (and in some of these situations, it's explicitly stated that they were beyond his control), so maybe he was doing something right after all.
  • I Gave My Word: While he himself never outright states it, this is revealed to be the reason why he never told anyone the full reasons why he trusted Snape. He was the only one to know of Snape's true reasons to defect from Voldemort's side, and Snape made him promise that he wouldn't reveal that to anyone.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Dumbledore is quite serious about maintaining academic decorum and other norms. When Little Tom Riddle started admitting he was interested in coming to Hogwarts, Dumbledore stated that the package deal involves the little punk calling him Professor. Likewise, Dumbledore always insists that Harry call Severus Professor Snape in his presence. The only time he stops is at the end of Book 6 when Harry brings up Snape telling Voldemort the prophecy, leaving him too shocked to correct Harry.
    • Likewise he always insists that Voldemort be referred to by his name, and insists that Harry do the same at the end of Book 1. Whenever he and Voldemort do interact however, he insists on being on a First-Name Basis as if Voldemort never left Hogwarts.
  • Insufferable Genius: Throughout his youth and occasionally in his older age, too. Dumbledore tries to be humble, but can't help but pat himself on the back occasionally. He's proud of his gambit with the Mirror of Erised calling it one of his better ideas. This is given a darker slant in Deathly Hallows where, during his conversation with Harry in King's Cross, he admits that he resented being forced to sacrifice his grand future and look after his family when his father was imprisoned, and that this resentment was part of the reason he fell in with Grindelwald, who was the only one he could find to match his intellect.
  • Intellectually Supported Tyranny: In his youth, Dumbledore exchanged letters with Grindelwald discussing their plans for Muggle domination. Grindelwald sold Dumbledore on the idea that it would be for their own good, and Dumbledore starting coming around, insisting that the essential point to remember is "For the Greater Good". After what happened to Arianna, Dumbledore snapped out of this and regretted it for all his life, remarking to Harry at once, that when intelligent people make mistakes, they actually can be on a much bigger and dangerous scale. For the rest of his life, Dumbledore becomes a committed anti Dark-Arts activist and philanthropist and ends up being the main reason why Grindelwald's attempts to achieve this is a failure.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: According to Word Of God herself, this is Dumbledore's great tragedy. He's so smart and so far ahead of field that there is no one out there who can offer him companionship and understand him. His relationship with the one person who could offer that, Grindelwald, ended terribly, to say the least.
    • He apparently did have a close relationship with his family growing up, at least until the attack on Ariana Dumbledore by three Muggle boys which led to his father getting imprisoned in Azkaban. His only close friend during his Hogwarts years was Elphias Doge, and Aberforth and others dismiss him as more of a sidekick than a true friend.
    • The only person he ever seemed to truly bond with and show romantic interest in was Grindelwald. He seems to be the only person who could truly offer him companionship and understanding as they are about as equally brilliant as each other. It just goes to show how much they bonded and how much losing that companionship hurt them that Grindelwald gave his life for him and he himself cried hearing this even though they were only together for two months a century earlier. They both still pine for each other and desperately try to get the other to back down to be together. Both also are open with each other in a way that’s not seen with anyone else. Grindelwald even rubs this in his face in desperation, almost screaming, “Who will love you now? You’re all alone!”
    • Even years later, Dumbledore, despite surrounding himself with other brilliant minds like Snape and McGonagall, doesn't fully open himself up to even them. Snape, much like Harry, resents how Dumbledore doesn't share everything with him and from the way Dumbledore reacted with surprise about Snape's declaration of his love for Lily, it's clear that even they weren't very close. Only Harry, who he loved as his son, really gets to know the real Dumbledore, to the point that Dumbledore lets his guard down with in their final scene together asking him for forgiveness. Even then, that was in the afterlife where Dumbledore was long dead and had nothing to lose. Dumbledore notes that, of all the people he's met, Harry is the only one who has zero interest in power despite every good Freudian Excuse offered by the world to seek it, and the mind and talent to claim and achieve what he wants. Part of why Dumbledore was willing to let his guard down around him was because he knew Harry would never try to use his faults to manipulate him.
    • Taken even higher when Fantastic Beasts shows his younger self, with Grindelwald being his rival. It's clear repeatedly that Dumbledore can never fully trust anyone because he is that much better than almost all his allies during the conflict with Grindelwald, especially as Grindelwald's intellect means he has to go to extremes to win against him as Gellert is very nearly his equal. Newt's role as his most trusted man is essentially Dumbledore using him to communicate with his other allies what they need to do, relying on Newt's charisma in getting them to do it. Grindelwald even states that they both know that Albus can never find a common ground with anyone who isn't his equal, which only Gellert is, and he'll be alone if he abandons him for good. Indeed, the end of the third film shows him solemnly walking away and leaving his allies behind as they are happy, clearly acknowledging that his war with Gellert will cost him a lot and he has to remain isolated to ensure he doesn't leave himself vulnerable.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Dumbledore's dynamic with Harry throughout Book 6 becomes this, more or less dispensing with the Headmaster-Student dynamic. In Half-Blood Prince, he comes to meet Harry personally at Privet Drive, gives him private lessons, openly asks his opinions about his appointees (such as Slughorn) and even confesses to Harry that one of his teachers, Trelawney is indeed a hack that Dumbledore hired because parents insisted and demanded Divination as a subject at Hogwarts, and also for her own good (to protect her from Voldemort finding the prophecy). Before Book 6, Dumbledore at least made a show of upholding teacher-student divides as an academic norm, but in Book 6 and in the case of Trelawney (not Snape incidentally), he does make an exception.
  • It's All My Fault
    • He blurts this out when drinking the potion in The Half-Blood Prince, although Harry doesn't fully understand what he is referring to at the time. It turns out his brother Aberforth does. It is actually his massive guilt over his sister's death, which he sees himself as responsible for. Learning that his brother had blamed himself all this time, leads Aberforth, who had resented Albus over said death, to have a charge of heart.
    • Dumbledore also holds himself responsible for everything his nephew has endured. He believes that if he had been a better brother Aberforth would have been willing to ask him for help and they could have prevented Aurelius from being lost at sea.
  • It's Personal: Pottermore reveals that he was friends with at least two of the wizards and witches that Gilderoy Lockhart wiped the memories of so he could claim their accomplishments as his own. He hired him as the DADA teacher because he wanted to expose him as the fraud he was and vindicate his colleagues.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: An 1899 photograph of Dumbledore with Grindelwald shows that he was quite handsome as a youth. Not to mention, in the Fantastic Beasts movies he's played by Jude Law.
  • Keeping the Handicap: He never fixed his crooked nose broken by Aberforth, presumably out of guilt over Ariana's death. It seems to be his life philosophy in general: he didn't remove the scar on his left knee because it's a perfect map of the London underground, and refused to remove Harry's forehead scar:
    Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in useful. I have one myself above my left knee which is a perfect map of the London Underground.
  • Large Ham: It is occasionally necessary for him to be one.
  • Living Lie-Detector: He has a way of looking at people that makes Harry feel like he's being X-rayed. Dumbledore later confirms that he's good enough at Legilimency to have a very good idea when someone's lying to him.
  • Long-Lived: He's in his 110s during the events of the books, but still in excellent health.
  • Loophole Abuse: He employs this when urging Snape to promise to end his life, under the guise of doing it on behalf of Voldemort. He makes the distinction that Draco Malfoy killing him would damage the boy's soul, whereas Snape's soul would not be harmed due to merely mercy killing Dumbledore to help him avoid the pain and humiliation of being killed by Fenrir Greyback or Bellatrix Lestrange.
  • Love Hurts: Love has never been kind to Albus Dumbledore. The love of his life manipulated him and basically obliterated his little remaining family (both literally and figuratively). Years later, he had to face said man in an epic duel with the fate of the entire world on the line, with his opponent wielding an unbeatable wand no less. Even after somehow managing to make it through that, and having long since sworn off romantic love, love still manages to hurt him. He's forced to manipulate the boy he loves like a son to his death, with said boy's only hope of survival hinging on an educated guess resulting from a combination of Voldemort's arrogance and ignorance, and pure dumb luck. Rather understandably, Dumbledore hates himself — perhaps far more than anyone else could ever hope to.
  • Love Makes You Stupid:
    • Brilliant as he was, Dumbledore's love for Grindelwald blinded him to the man's true nature, the sheer insanity of what he was suggesting, and eventually destroyed his family. Rather understandably, any thoughts of romance Dumbledore had died after that to avoid these kinds of situations. While that didn't stop him from making emotional mistakes for those who he loved like friends and family, he at least was never at risk of being manipulated like that again.
    • Dumbledore admits to Harry at the end of Book 5 that he kept delaying and continued to delay telling Harry the Prophecy because he cared about him and wanted Harry to have as much of a childhood and teenage life he could possibly have before he bestowed his destiny to him. He also tried to distance himself from Harry in the same book because he was worried that Voldemort, if he figured out that their bond had always been "more than headmaster and student", then Voldemort would try to get to Dumbledore through Harry, by possessing him and daring Dumbledore to kill him by attacking Harry.
    • As he admits at the end of Book 7 that this was the reason why he got cursed by one of Voldemort's horcruxes. Somehow, Voldemort's Ring-Horcrux in the Gaunt Shack was the very Resurrection Stone from the Deathly Hallows quest he had cast aside for decades. Rationally he knew that the ring was cursed by one of Voldemort's spells but emotionally he was worried that breaking the curse could damage the stone's magic and lose him his one chance of seeing Arianna and his mother again, and begging them for forgiveness. He admits that this was incredibly stupid and irresponsible and more or less a "Shaggy Dog" Story since the Resurrection Stone indeed survived the breaking of the curse. He sees the events as proof that he was not worthy of the Hallows and being Master of Death.
  • Master of All: He became the greatest wizard in history because he has quite literally mastered and understood literally every magical branch. In fact, a fan even states Dumbledore's understanding and prowess is unmatched and the author just affirms that he is and that he reached that level of skill primarily with hard-work and his own efforts. He taught defense agains the dark arts and transfiguration, writes for many magazines, including potions, transfiguration, and charms, and can even work with Divination, a rather infamously difficult and ill-known branch. He can use even dark powers perfectly well, and McGonagall implies he is just as skilled with the Dark Arts than Voldemort. All this accumulated makes him the single wizard who can school Voldemort, who is also woefully ignorant of any form of magic that doesn't involve killing others or preserving his own life.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Though a largely benevolent version who works tirelessly against the Dark Arts, there's really no excuse for him hiring Gilderoy Lockhart, knowing full well that Lockhart is a fake, solely to expose him as a fraud when he could just as easily have just... told someone. A newspaper, the Ministry. Anyone.
    • As the "Fantastic Beasts" series shows he's not above using his relationship with students for his own ends - he sends Newt to Paris to fight Grindelwald in his stead but not out of cowardice, but because a blood oath prevents him from doing it himself. Although Newt makes it clear that he knows he’s being manipulated.
    • Many of Albus' plans in "Fantastic Beasts" should have or did lead to Grindelwald escaping rather than being brought to justice. If this is intended he certainly did not tell Newt and this would qualify him as this.
  • Mercy Kill Arrangement: When he learns that Lord Voldemort has set Draco Malfoy the task of killing him, he tasks Snape with killing him so Malfoy doesn't have to. Plus, he's already dying from Voldemort's curse on Marvolo Gaunt's ring.
  • Moment of Weakness: He's so overcome by the thought of seeing his family again that he forgets that Marvolo's ring - containing the Resurrection Stone - is a Horcrux and puts it on. This triggers a deadly curse and only Dumbledore's immense skill and Snape's aid buy him roughly a year to live.
  • More than Just a Teacher: Is the most powerful wizard alive, and could have been Minister of Magic if he wanted to, but opted to be headmaster of Hogwarts instead.
  • Mr. Exposition: He explains the plot in every book.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • His greatest regret was potentially accidentally killing his little sister (its never stated who actually landed the blow). He actually flashed back to that memory when he was drinking the potion in The Half-Blood Prince and begged to be killed in her place.
    • Has hints of this in Order of the Phoenix when he realizes that his attempt at distancing himself from Harry to keep Voldemort from reading the boy's mind and getting information instead led to a horrible loss for Harry.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • A man as old as Dumbledore has had several, but it's safe to say that Gellert Grindelwald was the biggest mistake of his life. His love for Grindelwald led to him neglecting his family and espousing anti-muggle bigotry while not being a better partner to his boyfriend, culminating in an argument with his brother that ended in a melee between all three men that killed their sister, destroying the Dumbledore family forever and leaving Grindelwald alone, causing him to become further radicalized and bitter. After that, Dumbledore gave up on any ambitions for power that he once had and devoted his life to research and academics. If it hadn't been for Grindelwald and, later, Tom Riddle, he would've happily settled into a quiet life as teacher and then headmaster of Hogwarts.
    • He admits to Harry that giving young Tom Riddle a fresh start at Hogwarts was not the right action to take and he should've told Headmaster Dippet and the rest of the Hogwarts staff about the cruelty and bullying he did at the orphanage. Had they all known, they wouldn't have fallen for his charm and have been able to prevent his transgressions at school. Most notably, Dippet would've realized he was the one behind the Chamber of Secrets opening and Professor Slughorn probably would've seen that his questions about Horcruxes went beyond mere curiosity and refuse to tell him anything.
    • He also harbours a lot of guilt in his not intervening and preventing Harry's neglectful and abusive upbringing under the Dursleys. It's also implied that he regrets that he could not apparently figure out any other way of completely killing Voldemort that didn't involve Harry dying outside of an extremely lucky guess. If there had been a way to get the Horcrux out of Harry and/or destroy it without killing him, he probably would've done it first chance he got. Cursed Child goes even further and his portrait reveals that Dumbledore had actually considered defeating Voldemort by himself to not give Harry the burden of having to deal with him and he regretted not doing so himself and instead trusted Harry more.
    • In the Half-Blood Prince movie, as a way of delaying Draco while waiting for Snape to come and kill him, Dumbledore tells Draco that he knew a boy who made all the wrong choices. It is unclear who he is talking about but there were certainly a string of young boys who made all the wrong choices: Tom Riddle, Severus Snape, Gellert Grindelwald and potentially Albus himself are all on that list.
  • Mythical Motifs: Old, powerful, respected, and wise — it's no surprise that his pet is an elderly phoenix.

    N-Y 
  • Nasal Trauma: One of the first physical characteristics mentioned about Dumbledore is that his nose is long and crooked, as if it had been broken at least twice. Deathly Hallows strongly implies that at least one of these instances was when Aberforth punched him in the face at Ariana's funeral.
  • The Needs of the Many: "For the Greater Good" was the motto of both Dumbledore and Grindelwald when they were younger. After their relationship fell apart, Grindelwald used it as an excuse for the many atrocities he committed in pursuit of his ideals, in order to alleviate his guilt. Dumbledore, however, gave it as the reason for his many manipulations in order to defeat Voldemort, and unlike Grindelwald, it was an unfortunate reality he was forced to accept, something that makes him feel more guilty about those actions even though it's the truth.
  • Nice Guy: Dumbledore is very calm, cordial, kind, courteous and caring towards everybody and is very polite to everyone he meets, including his enemies.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Dumbledore is unfailingly kind and fair to all magical creatures. He offered Dobby the full wages and benefits of a human employee, and the chronically oppressed Centaurs and Merpeople came out to honour Dumbledore at his funeral.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Dumbledore's position as Big Good makes him a beacon of wisdom and hope, who look to him for a chance at stopping Voldemort and leave him beloved and admired worldwide. However, his younger brother, Aberforth, knows that when Albus was a young man he almost started a wizard-supremacy movement similar to Voldemort's, and didn't realize it was a bad idea until a fight between Dumbledore, Grindelwald and Aberforth resulted in their sister's death, and while they may have achieved a cordial relationship, even defeating Grindelwald and in a sense avenging Ariana is not enough to earn him his brother's admiration, Aberforth still bitterly resenting the fact that it was Ariana's death that allowed Dumbledore to become the greatest wizard and that Dumbledore acted against Grindelwald only after their sister had died. Only learning just how much Albus regretted Ariana's death finally earned him Aberforth's forgiveness. When Dumbledore's spirit shows up in the last book, he admits that his younger brother, who lived a humble, quiet life as a bartender, was ultimately the better man.
  • Noodle Incident: How, exactly, did he get that scar on his knee that serves as an exact map of the London Underground? Of course, this being Dumbledore, it's possible he just made that up.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When Harry found that he was free from the body-bind spell Dumbledore cast on him, Harry realized that Dumbledore is dead.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: He admits his wisdom is not as absolute as it often seems.
    "I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being — forgive me — rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Never stupidity per se, but he nearly always knows a lot more about what's going on than he lets on. Michael Gambon seemed to be working under the impression that all of Dumbledore's Cloud Cuckoolander qualities are cases of this. Notice in his portrayal that he only pulls out an oddity like enjoying knitting patterns when he's intentionally trying to fool somebody or throw them off their guard.
  • Omniscient Morality Licence: Some of the things he says and does could make him seem like an outright Jerkass, but it's all okay because he knows everything about what needs to happen already.
  • One-Man Army: The few times Dumbledore is seen fighting, he demonstrates exactly why even though he has gotten older, he is still the most powerful and skilled wizard in the modern era by casually taking down entire groups of wizards and witches. An entire group of Aurors and Death Eaters takes only a matter of moments for Dumbledore to put down, and even weakened by both a death curse and a hallucinating potion, he still single-handedly takes down an entire army of Inferi. To give further credence to Dumbledore's status as this, he's the only known person to be capable of defeating Gellert Grindelwald, who we've seen easily defeat entire armies of wizards and witches, at his prime, and even years afterwards with him older, he drives Voldemort to flee their duel, though Voldemort himself has slaughtered some of the brightest wizards and witches around and even handled McGonagall, Shacklebolt, and Slughorn alone, showing that he's certainly the king of the hierhacy of the wizarding world.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: Dumbledore seems to be the only teacher who likes to sing the Hogwarts school song, as all the teachers' smiles start to look fake as he announces the school is going to sing.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Dumbledore is always polite and courteous to friend and foe, even greeting the Death Eaters who arrive to assassinate him in Half-Blood Prince cordially, and he never judges people for their actions or behaviour. The one exception is seen in Snape's memories as Snape fearfully tells Dumbledore that he fears for Lily Evans' life, and that he begged for her to be spared at the expense of her husband and son. Dumbledore disgustedly calls Snape out on being willing to let James and Harry die as long as Snape can have what he wants, outright saying, "You disgust me." Even Harry is startled, having never before heard such contempt in Dumbledore's voice.
    • Likewise, as stated before, Dumbledore is endlessly polite and soft-spoken. However, when Umbridge starts to manhandle Marietta for a confession, he absolutely loses it at her. Granted, he does so without doing more than raising his voice, but his demeanour shifts enough that everybody in the room is instantly, and completely, cowed by his reaction. Similarly, he shifts into absolute Tranquil Fury in Goblet of Fire when protecting Harry from Crouch Jr.
  • Overly-Long Name: "Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore." Note that the only thing that makes "Brian" an Odd Name Out is the fact that it is still in (common) use today. It is an old name.
  • Papa Wolf: Again, he "cannot allow you to manhandle [his] students." Which is a polite way of saying that if you try to hurt his students, he will end you. In The Order of the Phoenix, when Voldemort is about to kill Harry, a very angry Dumbledore emerges from the Floo Network and turns Voldemort's gloating session into a very one-sided fight for his life.
  • Parental Substitute: Acted as a father/grandfather figure to Harry.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Dumbledore has a certain gift for being scathingly condescending yet perfectly polite at the same time, often seen when dealing with people he dislikes.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: He and McGonagall are incredibly close and have been since he was her teacher, some fifty years before Harry went to school. She's probably the only person to whom he told the whole truth (well, when he was alive) and it's not even clear that Aberforth even knows it all. By the time of the books, they're probably the most important people in each other's life and she's one of the only people whom he lets question him.
  • Playing with Fire: Created a wall of fire and shot fire balls to protect himself and Harry from Inferi.
  • Posthumous Character: In the seventh book, where he is given immense Character Development through flashbacks and historical exposition.
  • Pride: He knows just how brilliant he is, and despite attempts to consciously rein himself in, often thinks he knows better than others.
  • The Profiler: He plays this role in analysing Voldemort in the sixth book, carefully going over his past, his upbringing and psychology to figure out how many Horcruxes Voldemort made and which objects he would use to do it. He's quite good at this, but then he did teach Tom Riddle at school. He passes his knowledge and analysis to Harry, who, having lived a similar life to Tom Riddle, comes to understand him even better than Dumbledore did while hunting for the Horcruxes.
  • Putting the "Pal" in Principal: He was the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the entirety of Harry Potter's stay there. He is generally well-liked among the forces of good, his approval rating much higher that Cornelius Fudge when he was running for the position of Minister (despite not running himself), is the only person that Lord Voldemort ever feared and is generally accepted as being the Big Good of the series. As Headmaster, he comes off as a bit of a Cloudcuckoolander, but is all-around a loved and respected member of the staff.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He is perhaps too easygoing when it comes to Harry, but considering the trouble he tends to attract, it pays to listen when Harry says basilisks/death eaters/trolls/whatever are mucking about. He's one of the few authority figures in the Harry Potter universe who is consistently not evil and on the ball as far as what's going on, and therefore knows well enough to trust the heroes (and occasionally bail them out of school trouble when it's convenient).
  • Running Gag: Offering people sherbet lemons (lemon drops in the American versions), and setting the password to his office as whatever candy he's fond of at the moment. Which is usually one of the weirder ones, like Cockroach Cluster and Acid Pops.
  • Scratchy-Voiced Senior: In the first two films, courtesy of Richard Harris. After his death, Michael Gambon took over and gave him a much stronger and deeper voice.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: In the sixth book, he is a lot less cheery and slips on his Cool Old Guy image, showing little patience for some of Harry's usual excuses and hi-jinks and no longer playing at false modesty. This is probably due to the fact that he's dying, and knows it.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Even if the Ministry is being Lawful Stupid, Dumbledore will start and prepare for La Résistance behind their backs. The Ministry, in their paranoia, think he's going to pull a coup d'etat and gathering an army for the same reasons. While willing to take the heat for his students wrongdoing he also has no inclination to "come quietly". It's also implied that he used his time of not being confined to Hogwarts to lay some major groundwork for the Horcrux hunt and the resistance.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Ministry attempts to arrest Dumbledore after he claims responsibility for the creation of Dumbledore's Army to protect its members from the Ministry's wrath. He gets away scot-free, however, with help from Fawkes.
  • Secret-Keeper: For Snape, as he refused to tell anyone about the latter's true reasons to defect from Voldemort (namely, of his love for Harry's mother).
  • Secretly Dying: The Gaunt Ring cursed him before book six, giving him less time to live.
  • See the Invisible: Seems to be able to see Harry when he's wearing his Invisibility Cloak. Word Of God says he non-verbally casts Hominem Revelio.
  • Ship Tease: His affection for Grindelwald in Deathly Hallows is meant to show that Dumbledore loved Grindelwald, and as Fantastic Beasts revealed, they were in fact lovers. Although Rowling indicated Grindelwald exploited Albus's feelings for his own benefit and their relationship would have continued if it meant Dumbledore would've become a Big Bad Duumvirate with him, it's apparent even he did feel very deep and genuine romantic feelings for Dumbledore. Dumbledore himself never fully got over him, even after he defeated and imprisoned the man in Nurmengard.
  • Single-Stroke Battle:
    • He instantly knocks out Fudge, Kingsley, Dawlish, and Umbridge with a single spell that leaves them so stunned he still has plenty of time to help and instruct McGonagall and Harry about what to do next.
    • While weakened from drinking the Potion of Despair, a single fire spell from Dumbledore defeats the entire horde of Inferi in the Cave that are seconds from killing Harry.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: For Gellert Grindelwald. Unlike most examples, however, it wasn't because Dumbledore was incapable of falling in love again after Grindelwald — he simply chose not to in hopes of avoiding someone manipulating him like Grindelwald had.
  • The Smart Guy: Both in the Order of the Phoenix and in Hogwarts, he's the one with wisdom and intelligence to make decisions.
  • Stealth Mentor: Dumbledore serves as this to Harry, who gradually realizes that a lot of the things he tells him have multiple layers of meaning which only make sense years later. One of the more admittedly dickish aspects of his behaviour is the fact that you can see him carefully preparing Harry for the role of sacrificing himself to Voldemort throughout the books, alternately enabling Harry's reckless curiosity and adventuring, and withdrawing and reeling him in for additional information, much like a director feeding an actor the motivations of his role. Snape gradually picks up on this and gives his mentor a scathing speech.
  • Stealth Pun: The door to Dumbledore's office is adorned with a griffin-shaped knocker. In other words, it's a "griffin door."
  • Story-Breaker Power: Albus Dumbledore is the brightest and greatest wizard who is one of the very few who has almost anything needed to handle themselves rather well in a world where many wizards and witches are quite capable in their own right but are constantly faced with many dangers that can very well take them down and lethally at that, which makes him capable of being this.
    • While he is very old, as Word Of Rowling confirms, he is still so powerful and skilled that anyone facing him in battle would have been subjected to a Curb-Stomp Battle. As he himself admits, having him would have decisively solved all the problems Harry faced over the years much sooner and as Harry needed to develop his own skills, he generally stayed out of the conflicts unless he absolutely has to. The only time he fights for real is after Voldemort has returned and the stakes are higher than ever, where he utterly defeats the Death Eaters and drives Voldemort to flee after an epic duel. After this spectacular display, Dumbledore gets killed off to prevent him from finishing off Voldemort himself to allow Harry to be the one to do the job and also to make the situation that much more grimmer without Dumbledore to keep Voldemort from winning. He even confirms that he could have defeated Voldemort himself had he really put his all into it and decided against trusting Harry enough to believe he had it in him.
      • In fact, in Hogwarts Mystery, Dumbledore doesn't actually do anything to solve the problems himself. This time, it's due to the fact that he has in fact previously dealt with the curses that plague the school and as such if he was there at the time there would have been little need for the main characters to risk their lives to break the curse as he can pretty much stop it himself. And the antagonists, R, are smart enough to never tangle with him at all. Through the game, all Dumbledore provides is advice, authority support, and off-screen damage control.
    • Even though Dumbledore is unable to move directly against Grindelwald, this does not extend to his followers and as Grindelwald is the only one on the other side who poses a real threat to Dumbledore, this is still a matter of great concern for Grindelwald's Army. Grindelwald himself flat out says that until he recruits Credence, sending anyone but himself against Dumbledore would just waste his followers for nothing, as he believes that he is the only one who has an actual chance of killing Dumbledore, and seeks out Credence, an Obscurial whose power was so strong as to survive beyond the usual limits of Obscurials, hoping that Credence would be another person who can stand up to and possibly remove Dumbledore from the picture. He is subsequently entirely left out of the conflict during the second film, placed on house arrest to keep him out of the action and ensure Grindelwald, Dumbledore's near equal and literally capable of being a Story-Breaker Power in his own right, easily wipes the floor with the heroes but in the process loses the vial that has their blood pact, which the heroes give to him in order to bring in the one big gun they know for sure would work.
  • Sweet Tooth: Implied. Aside from his fondness for sherbet lemons, Dumbledore tends to use the names of different types of candy as passwords for access to his office.
  • Taking the Heat: He claims credit for Dumbledore's Army to protect Harry and the other students from being expelled.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Although he doesn't act on it, when Snape and Dumbledore talk after Lily Potter's death, Snape makes the much forgotten remark "I wish... I wish I were dead...". Dumbledore quickly shoots this down by saying in a harsh tone "And what use would that be to anyone?"
  • Teen Genius: His prodigious magical abilities were apparent even as a teenager.
  • Tender Tears: In the books at least, he tends to well up when someone does something heartwarming, like when Harry shows his fierce support of him or when Snape shows his love for Lily by casting his Patronus.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Apart from sparing him an Undignified Death due to the curse on Marvolo's ring, a secondary reason Dumbledore requested that Snape Mercy Kill him was so that he would further gain Voldemort's trust and confidence from that act, which would better allow him to learn more about Voldemort's plans.
  • There Is No Cure: In Half-Blood Prince, his right hand has become blackened. In the next book, it's revealed after Dumbledore's death this was because he wore a Horcrux and got his hand cursed. Severus Snape can only state he, with all his knowledge about the Dark Arts, can only slow the curse.
  • Together in Death: Dumbledore's fear of death is undercut by his desire to be with his sister and mother. His death was caused by trying to use the Resurrection Stone to see them again, so one can (morbidly) interpret it as the stone giving him what he wanted after all.
  • Too Clever by Half: Teen Genius that he was, young Dumbledore was an arrogant and controlling young man who was bitter at the world, resentful of how his brilliance was being restricted due to the ills of his family — family that he loved, yes, but was resentful of all the same. Then he met Gellert Grindelwald, and fell for a manipulator even worse than he was, setting off a chain events that destroyed the family he neglected. Dumbledore finally wised up after that.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tragically deconstructed. Dumbledore never got over his decades-long guilt and fear that he might have been the one that cast the curse that killed his sister during a duel between himself, his brother and Grindelwald, and his longing to see the spirit of his sister again ultimately led to his doom when he touched the Resurrection Stone contained by Marvolo's ring, forgetting that the ring had likely been turned into a Horcrux by Voldemort and being inflicted with a powerful and painful curse, forcing Snape to Mercy Kill him at the end of Half-Blood Prince.
  • Tragic Hero: In his youth, his love for Grindelwald and lust for power made him help with his plans to rule the world, until his sister was killed somehow during the duel between Grindelwald and the Dumbledore brothers. And a year before he died, Albus had brought upon himself a curse when, in an act of impulsiveness, he had failed to remember that the Resurrection Stone was a Horcrux when he put the ring on, because he wanted to see his dead sister again.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Dumbledore goes into a variation of this whenever he disciplines his students — however, instead of quiet anger his attitude is quiet disappointment. In the few times Harry has had to be disciplined by Dumbledore, he believes that he would have preferred him shouting in rage. On rare occasions, however, Dumbledore is capable of going into a tranquil fury which is truly something to behold:
      At that moment, Harry fully understood for the first time why people said Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared. The look upon Dumbledore's face [...] was more terrible than Harry could have ever imagined. There was no benign smile upon Dumbledore's face, no twinkle in the eyes behind the spectacles. There was cold fury in every line of the ancient face; a sense of power radiated from Dumbledore as though he were giving off burning heat.
    • It is not a good idea to harm Dumbledore's students, but he doesn't have to raise his voice to express it. At the end of the fifth book, with most of Harry's friends injured or incapacitated in the Ministry and Voldemort's return made public, Fudge is quelled by Dumbledore's Death Glare and quiet order to "remove Dolores Umbridge from the school" and to have his Aurors stop chasing Hagrid.
    • He shows no signs of anger, but during his visit to the Dursleys when he calmly describes their appalling treatment of Harry, Harry feels a chill emanating from him and notices that the Dursleys draw closer together as if in fear.
    • When Harry sees Snape's memories in Book 7, among them is Dumbledore disgustedly chewing Snape out for seemingly being willing to let Voldemort murder Harry and James Potter so he can finally have Lily to himself.
  • Troll: His response to Umbridge firing Trelawney is to hire Firenze the centaur (Umbridge fanatically hates centaurs) as an "acceptable" replacement. Firenze is more than acceptable, being a centaur who is very well versed in Divination. Dumbledore is being both a troll, and a good headmaster in making sure his students are getting a good education.
    • Dumbledore spends a chunk of his visit to the Dursleys in Half-Blood Prince doing this, literally forcing the Dursleys to sit down and having drinking glasses bat at their heads. Even Harry gets the sense that Dumbledore is enjoying himself (especially when he non-chalantly says it would have been better to just drink them) and it also serves as a Take That! against the Dursleys for their treatment of Harry.
    • In Prisoner of Azkaban, at the school's Christmas dinner, he gives Snape a cracker that has Augusta Longbottom's hat inside after the entire school learned that Neville vanquished a Bogart in the form of Snape by putting it in his grandmother's clothing. Snape is clearly unamused. Dumbledore then puts the hat on and wears it for the rest of the dinner.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In Dumbledore's commentary on The Tale of the Three Brothers, he dismisses the existence of the Deathly Hallows and even argues against their existence. He also suggests that the objects are simply figments of Beedle's imagination, created simply to highlight the negative consequences of trying to defy death. However, the eponymous novel reveals that Dumbledore was actually aware that the Deathly Hallows were Real After All, and he handled all three at various points in his life. Dumbledore's misdirection here can be justified in that searching for the Hallows in his youth led him to fall in with Grindelwald and his extremist views, and ultimately caused the death of his sister, Ariana. He would then decide that the Hallows are too dangerous for anyone to possess and use, and dedicate a good portion of his life to ensuring that they do not fall into the wrong hands. It should also be noted that the majority of the wizarding world thinks that the tale is nothing more than a fable and do not believe that the Hallows exist. At best, suggesting that the objects are real would lead to Dumbledore being dismissed as a crank, and at worse, draw unwanted attention to the objects, going against his goal of safeguarding them in the first place.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Although technically not unrequited because Grindelwald desperately loved him back, he never moved on even though they could never be together. He blushes and bats his eyes like a lovesick teenager when seeing him for the first time in thirty years. No one could ever match Grindelwald as a partner in his mind and he stayed in love with him until his death, evidenced by his crying when Harry says Grindelwald died to protect his tomb.
  • Virtual Ghost: His living portrait displayed within Hogwarts, like the numerous others to the long-dead people they respectively represent, is this, but is only actually shown being conversed with in The Cursed Child.
    • In "Deathly Hallows", his portrait and then Headmaster Snape were also shown discussing the plan for Snape to give Harry the Sword of Gryffindor in a way that required courage.
  • War Hero: He received his Order of Merlin (First Class) for winning the wizarding war against Grindelwald.
  • Warts and All: Over the course of the Deathly Hallows, Harry finds his image of Dumbledore tainted as his mentor's past is exposed, and comes to the startling realization that he never truly knew the man at all. His faith in Dumbledore wavers continuously until the end of the book, where he meets Dumbledore in "King's Cross" (Harry's representation of the afterlife) and hears his side of the story. After that, Harry's faith is fully restored, and while he knows the man he saw as a father was far from perfect, he still loves and admires him all the same.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • He manipulates those under his guidance and intended for Harry to sacrifice himself to defeat Voldemort, and he once thought that plotting to Take Over the World would be best for everyone. Granted, he suspected that Harry would probably live, but it was still a big risk. However, he only does this when he realizes Harry may be a Horcrux, and this isn't until much later after he puts Harry with the Dursleys. He was not raising Harry for slaughter, but realized that it was the only way to defeat Voldemort (and this only happened because Voldemort manage to restore his body in the first place). It can be argued that it was Harry's choice to sacrifice himself and that Dumbledore did not manipulate him.
    • It's implied that Dumbledore knew Harry would survive especially when he tells Snape it must be Voldemort to kill him in order to destroy the faux Horcrux that Harry had become. It's likely Harry could have been killed by anybody and the faux Horcrux would have been gone. Dumbledore specified this because he believed Harry could survive if it was Voldemort to be the one to do it because of his connection with Harry's blood. Also Dumbledore believed in choices, and for his gambit to work, a real choice has to be made with full awareness of stakes, which is another reason for his hands-off approach.
    • He's perfectly willing to waste his students educations by hiring a man he knows for a fact to be a fraud solely for the chance to expose said man as such. While certainly an admirable goal, one would think that he could have done that without using his students as pawns.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Gellert Grindelwald. They used to work together finding the Deathly Hallows; that is, until he and Gellert had a fight with each other that resulted in Ariana’s death.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • His brother Aberforth and others question the way he uses Harry throughout the series. Snape does a particularly good job of calling him out in one of the memory scenes in Deathly Hallows:
    "I have spied for you, lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter—"
    • He himself calls out Snape when it turns out that Snape begged Voldemort for Lily's life in exchange for Harry's. See You Monster! below.
    • Harry himself calls him out on his treatment in Order of the Phoenix and posthumously, after reading Rita Skeeter's books is appalled that at his age, Dumbledore was planning to Take Over the World with Grindelwald.
  • Wizard Beard: A long, silvery Wizard Classic beard for the archetypal old wise wizard sage and he's one of the most powerful wizards alive. It's much shorter in Fantastic Beasts however.
  • Wizard Classic: While all male magic users are called 'wizards' in the series, Dumbledore specifically fits the wizard image. He's old, wise, has a beard, wears robes and floppy pointy hats, and lives in his office in one of the tallest Hogwarts towers.
  • The Wonka: Extremely powerful wizard... and more than a little bit quirky. Example: announcing that he'd like to "say a few words" at the opening ceremony, and then saying, "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" He's the headmaster for a reason.
  • World's Best Warrior: Dumbledore currently is the most powerful and skilled character in the series, acknowledged to have been the greatest wizard of his time. He was regarded to be the most brilliant student Hogwarts ever had, being already on contemporary terms with some of the best wizards and witches even while still a teenager. During his prime years, Dumbledore was considered to be the only one capable of defeating the Elder Wand wielding Gellert Grindelwald whereas so many others had been easily beaten by him, so much so even a Ministry official who disliked him had to admit it, and the greatest dark wizard, who he admits rivaled him in terms of power but Dumbledore was a shade more skillful, and Grindelwald himself would only send an extraordinarily powerful Obscurial, Credence Barebone, to face him when he couldn't, and when he was finally able to move against Grindelwald, their legendary duel was stated to be unmatched as Dumbledore proved himself to be ultimately the better wizard and defeated and imprisoned him. Even in his old age, up until his death, Dumbledore remained the strongest and best wizard alive, being outright stated by Rowling herself to be leagues above almost any other wizard and witch alive, and being feared by the Dark Lord Voldemort, so much so that Dumbledore's school was untouched because Voldemort could never have breached the defenses by himself nor defeated him in battle. He displays show he is still fully capable of casting extremely powerful spells that can one-shot several powerful wizards and witches, and drives Voldemort to retreat in a spectacular duel in the Department of Mysteries.
  • You Make Me Sick: Says "You disgust me" to Snape when he asks Dumbledore to save Lily Potter from Voldemort.
  • You Monster!:
    Dumbledore: If she means so much to you, surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son? [...] You disgust me.
    • Dumbledore was once on the receiving end of this from Aberforth Dumbledore: he punched him during the funeral, and later from Severus Snape, who is appalled that Dumbledore has anticipated and prepared and trained Harry to sacrifice himself at the right moment, "like a pig for the slaughter" and justifying it on pragmatic grounds.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: After being affected by the curse of Marvolo's ring, Snape gives him up to roughly a year to live, and that's only after managing to delay the spread of the curse.

"Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it."
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